From West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
-- Preliminary data collected from game checking stations across the state indicate deer hunters in West Virginia harvested 66,570 bucks during the two-week buck season, which ran from Nov. 19 through Dec. 1, according to Frank Jezioro, director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
The 2007 buck harvest was slightly higher than the 2006 harvest of 66,115. The top 10 counties for buck harvest were as follows: Preston (2,323), Hampshire (2,231), Greenbrier (2,215), Hardy (2,104), Mason (2,083), Jackson (2,070), Braxton (1,986), Randolph (1,960), Monroe (1,952), and Roane (1,903).
Twenty-nine counties reported an increase in the buck harvest over 2006 while 22 reported a decrease. The decline in several counties may be related to an outbreak of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD-Serotype II virus) that occurred in several northern and western counties during the months of September and October.
The EHD virus, which is spread by a midge, disappears with the first frost; however, the mortality rate in localized areas can reach as high a 20 percent, and this may have contributed to the decrease in harvest in certain portions of counties affected by the disease.
Wildlife biologists and wildlife managers operating biological checking stations in Hampshire, Upshur, Mason and Tyler counties reported deer in good body condition with improved antler development.
Jezioro reminds hunters that the traditional six-day antlerless deer season in selected counties on both public and private land ends Dec. 8. The Youth and Class Q antlerless season will open Dec. 24-25 and be followed by a reopening of antlerless deer season scheduled for Dec. 26-29 on private land in 42 selected counties. West Virginia's muzzleloader deer season begins Dec. 10 and runs through Dec. 15.