From West Virginia Department of Natural Resources
-- Preliminary data indicates deer hunters in West Virginia harvested 56,173 bucks during the two-week buck firearms season, Nov. 19 through Dec. 1. The 2012 buck harvest was seven percent less than the 2011 harvest of 60,157.
The top 10 counties for buck harvest were Preston (2,108), Greenbrier (1,907), Randolph (1,792), Mason (1,667), Jackson (1,662), Hampshire (1,570), Monroe (1,563), Ritchie (1,518), Wetzel (1,496) and Hardy (1,435).
This year’s buck harvest is slightly less than last year, with decreases in four of the six DNR districts. The largest percent decreases occurred in the western and central counties of the state. The harvest was 27th among all recorded antlered buck firearm seasons. This year’s preliminary buck harvest remains seven percent below the previous five-year average of 60,236.
Wildlife biologists and wildlife managers collected age-specific biological information at checking stations in 24 counties this year and preliminary analysis indicate antler development was good. The dry weather was good for hunter participation this year but made moving in the woods noisy.
Deer densities that were more in balance with the habitat in many areas, combined with the better-than-average acorn crop that allowed deer to frequent open fields less frequently, made this year’s deer season challenging for many hunters. Residual access problems associated with Hurricane Sandy, such as downed trees blocking forest roads, may have hindered the ability of some buck hunters to reach their favorite hunting spots, especially in some of the high mountain counties.
Youth, Class Q/QQ and Class XS deer season (antlerless deer only) will be open Dec. 26 and 27 in any county with a firearms deer season, followed by the reopening of Class N/NN antlerless deer season on Dec. 28 to 31 in 48 counties or portions of counties.