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Jury Still Out on Early Deer Seasons


Officials with the West Virginia DNR say they’ll have to wait before passing judgment on the recently completed early September deer seasons in West Virginia.  

"Anytime you have a new season, it generally takes a year or two to get the word out and get the information clearly conveyed," said Paul Johansen, Assistant Chief for Game Management at DNR. "For the first year, we probably did reasonably well."

The actual harvest data isn’t known since the agency hasn’t collected tags from check stations around the state in the counties where the season was open.   Hunters were allowed a week of bow hunting and a week of muzzleloader hunting on private land for antlerless deer.  

The biggest concern among many was the heat.  Temperatures during those weeks were still crowding 90-degrees, advancing the potential spoilage of meat.   The problem was even further exacerbated by archery hunters, reluctant to track and animal until a certain amount of time had passed.

"We certainly had warm temperatures," said Johansen. "My response to that would be there are a number of southern states that have early seasons and have traditionally had them in place with warmer weather conditions than we have and they are able to pull those seasons off.  I think there’s an adjustment period that hunters have to get used to."

Hunters participating in the season were also required to buy an extra permit, above the cost of the regular hunting license.    Johansen said the fee is justified for the work done by DNR deer management programs.

"I will never apologize for the fact that it takes money to run our programs," said Johansen. "Frankly I think the DNR is an outstanding steward with regard to managing its financial resources.  We run many of our programs on a shoestring as it is.    I do think we use the dollars that hunters spend on their license quite judiciously and we want to make certain that hunters get the most ‘bang for their buck’ no pun intended."

The agency’s Wildlife Resources Section will review the results of the season and make a recommendation later to the Natural Resources Commission on whether to stage the season in September 2010. 


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