DNR proposes more liberal deer, bear, turkey seasons for 2016

By John McCoy, Staff Writer for the Gazette-Mail

West Virginia wildlife officials have proposed regulations that would allow hunters to kill more white-tailed deer, black bears and turkeys this fall.

The proposals came less than two months after hunters enjoyed especially good hunting for deer and bears. Deer hunters enjoyed their best buck kill since 2009, and bear hunters enjoyed their best season ever.

Division of Natural Resources biologists made the proposals during Sunday's quarterly meeting of the state Natural Resources Commission, the seven-man panel that sets season lengths and bag limits. If approved, the revised limits would encourage hunters to control deer and bear populations by allowing them to kill more antlerless deer and more female bears.

Gary Foster, the DNR's game management supervisor, said the changes were prescribed in the state's management plans for both species.

"Our deer and bear operational plans give us guidance on the setting of the seasons," Foster explained. "Typically when harvests are up, it means we are at or above our harvest objectives and need to allow additional harvest to bring the populations back to prescribed levels." Under the proposals, antlerless-deer bag limits would become more liberal in 21 counties or parts of counties, more restrictive in two, and would remain the same in 33.

In the more-liberal category, eight counties that were closed to antlerless-deer hunting in 2015 would be open under limited-permit hunting in 2016: Boone, southern Clay, northern Greenbrier, western Mineral, western Pendleton, Tucker, northern Wayne and Webster. Those counties would have a one-deer bag limit ...

READ REST OF STORY DNR proposes more liberal deer, bear, turkey seasons for 2016 By John McCoy, Staff Writer for the Gazette-Mail

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