(12/11/2010)
Calhoun's buck kill during the two week 2010 season was nearly 50% down from 2009, according to DNR numbers released yesterday.

The 2008 kill was down about 8% in the county.

Calhoun hunters said the deer just weren't there, after WV-DNR predicted the 2010 kill would be about the same as last year. The hunt was slowed for a couple days because of high temperatures.

The lack of a decent mast crop last winter, described as the worst in many years, caused some of the herd to die from starvation, according to local hunters.

Preliminary data collected from game checking stations across the state indicate West Virginia hunters harvested 43,226 bucks during the two-week buck firearms season, which ran from Nov. 22 through Dec. 4.

Frank Jezioro, Director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, said the 2010 buck harvest was 31 percent less than the 2009 harvest of 62,986.

The top ten counties for buck harvest were: Preston (2,030), 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).

The WV-DNR said 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.

BUCK KILL BY COUNTY: 2006-2010 (left to right):

Calhoun

1039 1163 1252 1124 565

Braxton

1308 2005 1731 1891 992

Clay

399 551 540 552 355

Gilmer

1182 1401 1585 1398 670

Ritchie

2147 1564 2369 2010 1236

Roane

1691 1873 2010 2112 1066

Wirt

919 1006 1186 1265 693

WV-DNR PRESS RELEASE - 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 (acorn mast in 2009 was the lowest in 40 years) and last year's unusually severe winter had a significant impact on the deer population and the overall 2010 buck firearms season harvest.

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.

Director Jezioro reminds hunters that the traditional six-day antlerless deer season in selected counties on both public and private land ends December 11.

Muzzleloader deer season begins Dec. 13 and runs through Dec.r 18. The Youth and Class Q/QQ antlerless deer season will be open on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 27 and 28 in any county with a firearms deer season, and will be followed by a three-day reopening of antlerless deer season (Dec. 29 - 31) in 46 counties or portions of counties (see 2010 - 2011 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary or visit the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov for county and area listings).


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