6:00: Morning News

Ill Weather Lowers Deer Numbers Slightly


The anticipated drop in deer numbers for the two-week buck season came to pass during the 2008 season.   The West Virginia DNR says hunters bagged 66,851 bucks in the recently completed season.

The number represents a drop from the 2007 harvest of 362 deer.  That’s not a complete shock to biologists who were predicting the harvest would be slightly up in 2008.   The first two days of the season included miserable hunting conditions across the state.  Southern and western lowlands endured rain during those two days.  The northern and mountain counties say several inches of snowfall.

Preston was the top county with 2,579 killed.   Richie County was second with 2,522 bucks, Wetzel was third with 2,195, Randolph number four with 2,104 deer killed, and rounding out the top five was Hampshire County where hunters killed 2,100 bucks.    Hardy, Lewis, Roane, Mason, and Greenbrier Counties round out the top ten in the state for this year’s harvest.

Biologists set up information points at check stations in Hampshire, Upshur, Mason, and Tyler Counties to gather biological data from those deer killed. The preliminary analysis shows few changes from last year in antler development or overall body conditions of those deer in the one and a half year age class. The information reflects in counties where the population is within range–deer are continuing to thrive with good health. A drop in body size, condition, and antler sizes is the first indicator there are too many deer in an area and the population should be scaled back.

The DNR says the counties that experienced a drop in deer kill in 2007 saw an increase this year and vice-versa for those who had a high deer kill a year ago.


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