By Cory Boothe

See   Deer Kill Plummets Part I

Do we have less deer? It might be a possibility but I do not feel that we have a drastic change in population from last year. We have a drastic change in population from the late 90's and early 2000's. Thoose levels were too high and above carrying capacity. Current levels, are much more healthy for both the deer and the environment.

It is possible that the deer herd suffered some mortality last winter. Extended periods of snow cover coupled with freezing temperatures that create a crust like covering that is harmful to most wildlife. Last winter's lack of mast along with crusted over snow was a dangerous combination for wildlife. However, such conditions are Mother Nature's way to weed out the weak from the herd.

This year we have abundant mast and deer do not have to travel far for food. Less travel equals less sightings but don't necessarily mean less deer. Personally, this year I would have days or even a week with minimal deer sghtings and then move locations and see lots of deer. It was because I got on the right mast at the right time. With such an abundant mast this year, it was entirely possible to be on a great white oak tree and the deer not even being there.

The WV deer herd has been under a steady decline in most counties in the last ten years. This was needed in most of WV. The northern section of West Virginia has many,many more deer than the southern. Some southern counties still do not have a doe season and are below management objectives.

So what will the buck harvest of 2014 be?2014 buck kill predictions? I am predicting between 38-45k and would not be surprised whatsoever if the buck kill dips below 40k. For reference

2013 56k
2012 56k
2011 60k
2010 43k
2009 62k
2008 67k
2007 67k

Interesting to note that 2010 was our last major mast year. Interesting to know it was also the lowest harvest of recent.

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