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DNR Proposes Scaled Back Antlerless Season for 2011


Photo: Eddie Ferrari 

The 2010 buck harvest in West Virginia fell by 30-percent.  Therefore it comes as no surprise the plans proposed by the DNR’s Wildlife Section call for a lowering of the number of antlerless deer during the 2011 season.

"We will be presenting more conservative antlerless regulations in many areas of the state as driven by the guidance afforded by our operational plan," said DNR Game Management Chief Paul Johansen.

Johansen and his staff made those recommendations on Sunday to the Natural Resources Commission during their quarterly meeting in South Charleston.

The 2011 proposals call for 47 West Virginia counties to still have some form of antlerless hunting season.    All of those counties will have an antlerless season that coincides with the two weeks of buck season if you’re hunting on private land.

Nine counties will require hunters to apply for a limited permit with a season bag limit of one: Barbour, Braxton, Cabell, Grant, and Tucker. Private land in Pendleton, Pocahontas, and Randolph will have the drawn permits.  A designated section of Greenbrier County will also be included in the restricted category.

Twelve counties have unlimited permits, but a season bag limit of one antlerless deer:  Calhoun, Gilmer, Monroe, Morgan, Pleasants, Preston, Putnam, Ritchie, Roane, Upshur, Wayne (north of Rt. 37), and Wetzel.

Thirteen counties have a bag limit of two antlerless deer with unlimited permits: Brooke, Doddridge, Hancock, Hardy (South of Corridor-H and a portion of 55), Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha (North of Elk River and West of Corridor-G), Lewis, Marion, Mineral, Taylor, Tyler, and Wirt

Nine Counties are proposed to have a bag limit of four-antlerless deer with unlimited permits: Berkeley, Hampshire, Hardy (North of Corridor-H and parts of Route 55), Jefferson, Marshall, Mason, Monongalia, Ohio, and Wood.

Johansen isn’t concerned about the numbers of deer.  He stands behind the DNR’s operational plan and believes it has served the state well.   He says the adjustments in the antlerless bag limits and locations are a reflection of what’s called for in the operational plan.

"We had a 30-percent decline in the buck harvest, but I’m convinced we didn’t have a 30-percent decline in the deer herd," said Johansen. "I think there were a number of factors that contributed to that decline–and certainly some were our management objectives where we targeted for reduction in some parts of the state."

The lowered number of deer killed has drawn fire from some sportsmen on the DNR’s plan.  

"Now is not the time to panic.  Now is not the time to pull back on all of our antlerless deer regulations," he said.

The DNR’s proposals are not set in stone until a vote by the Natural Resources Commission and all are open to comment during the upcoming sectional meetings around the state in March.



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