Cal Price State Forest Proposed for Older Age Deer Mgt.


The DNR proposes another addition to a project aimed at creating trophy deer hunting opportunities on public lands in West Virginia.  The Natural Resources Commission will be asked in a few weeks to add the Cal Price State Forest to the "older age deer management areas" in West Virginia.   

The 95-hundred acres on the Pocahontas-Greenbrier County line would become the sixth such area in West Virginia where the aim is to manage the deer herd to produce bucks with above average antler size.

"The numbers of deer that are taken off those areas, generally are fewer because the deer have to meet the 14-inch spread to be a legal buck,” said DNR Game Management Supervisor Paul Johansen. "When the season was first put in place, hunter participation dropped off somewhat, but they have picked back up again significantly in many of those areas."

The management strategy in these relatively small tracts is based on the evidence that a buck can only reach its full antler potential as it reaches two and a half to three and a half years in age.   The restrictions mean any buck killed on the areas must have at least a 14-inch inside spread of their antlers.   Hunters can make a thumbnail determination on that distance by whether a deer’s ear tips are within the inside of the antlers.  Baiting and feeding deer in these zones is forbidden.

Johansen says one key to the management success is removing an adequate number of does on the areas.

"An antlerless harvest is absolutely critical to the overall management scheme,” he explained. "Those areas have had antlerless seasons in place and that’s a big part of the management scheme."

The idea started at the McClintic Wildlife Management Area in Mason County in 2000.   Johansen says the success prompted the addition of more older age areas around the state.   The Natural Resources Commission made the designation for Coopers Rock State Forest, Burnsville WMA, Beech Fork WMA, and Bluestone WMA in 2006.   The addition of Cal Price State Forest will be proposed next month.

"They’ve become quite popular and we’ve seen a number of nice animals, in terms of their antler size, taken off those areas,” Johansen said.


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