(01/19/2006)
Deer Hunters in West Virginia harvested 56,347 Bucks and 27,790 antlerless deer during the two-week concurrent buck and antlerless hunting season.

Additional numbers are not included for other hunts.

The top ten counties for buck harvest were as follows: Preston (2,242), Mason (2,150), Hardy (2,037), Jackson (1,983), Hampshire (1,964), Wood (1,683), Roane (1,675), Wetzel (1,669), Monongalia (1,650) and Marshall (1,578).

The decline in this year's buck kill is a result of the Division of Natural Resources' efforts to reduce deer densities in regions of the state "exceeding their deer population objectives.

Severe winter weather at higher elevations, may have also contributed to population declines and lower harvest rates last fall.

In 2004 deer populations exceeded desired population levels in 12 counties and this represented 12 percent of the state's deer habitat. Preliminary data from 2005 indicate deer populations exceeded management objectives in 7 counties or 6 percent of the state's deer habitat.

DNR said the good physical condition of deer is a result of plentiful food conditions.

The agency says the harvest of antlerless deer is the key to healthier, heavier, and more productive deer herds. This is because there are natural limits to the number of deer the land can support.

When these natural limits are exceeded, deer body weights, reproductive rates, antler development, and herd health declines, including an increased likelihood that deer will die over winter.

If deer exceed natural limits long enough, habitat quality is reduced which produces a long-term reduction in the natural limit of deer the land can support.

Hunters and landowners can avoid these problems by participating and encouraging a reasonable antlerless deer harvest.

REGIONAL BUCK KILLS:

Braxton 2847(2002) 2749(2002) 1796(2003) 1539(2004) 1230(2005)

Clay 864(2001) 816(2002) 660(2003) 472(2004) 370 (2005)

Calhoun 1642(2002) 1611(2002) 1212(2003) 1125(2004) 896(2005)

Gilmer 2114(2001) 1883(2002) 1388(2003) 1229(2004) 964(2005)

Ritchie 3088(2001) 3056(2002) 2275(2003) 2000(2004) 1512(2005)

Roane 2659(2001) 2624(2002) 2020(2003) 1909(2004) 1675(2005)

Wirt 1756(2001) 1475(2002) 1299(2003) 1234(2004) 849(2005)


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