From the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
-- Preliminary data collected from game checking stations indicate deer hunters in West Virginia harvested 43,226 bucks during the two-week buck firearms season Nov. 22 through Dec. 4. The buck harvest was 31 percent less than the 2009 harvest of 62,986.
The top ten counties for buck harvest were Preston, 2,030 deer; Randolph, 1,817; Hardy, 1,350; Greenbrier, 1,348; Mason 1,264; Hampshire, 1,261; Ritchie, 1,236; Jackson, 1,216; Lewis, 1,141 and Wood 1,113.
This year's buck harvest is significantly lower than last year, with declines occurring across all DNR Districts.
The largest percent decreases occurred in the western and central counties of the state. The harvest was 30th among all recorded antlered buck firearm seasons. Overall, 14 counties were above or within one buck harvested per square of the harvest objective and 37 counties were one or more bucks per square mile below the harvest objective.
White-tailed deer are a product of the environment. Too many deer on a given tract of land will result in loss of body weight, reduction in antler development, decrease in reproduction and sometimes death due to starvation during winter months. The cumulative effects of too many deer over time causes a decline in herd condition, which actually reduces the deer herd's resiliency to years of poor mast conditions and harsh winter weather.
The below-average acorn crops in 2008 and 2009 and last year's unusually severe winter had a significant impact on the deer population and the overall 2010 buck firearms season harvest. Acorn mast in 2009 was the lowest in 40 years.
Fortunately, 2010 has been a banner year for mast and overall, deer are in good physical condition entering the winter months.
Wildlife Biologists will analyze data from the combined 2010 deer seasons (i.e., buck, antlerless, archery and muzzleloader) before making appropriate recommendations for next year's deer seasons. These recommendations will be available for public review at 12 regulations meetings scheduled for March 14 and 15, 2011. See the current 2010 - 2011 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary page 5 or visit the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov for scheduled times and places.
View the table with West Virginia's buck harvest statistics for 2006 - 2010 online.