Hunters harvested 99,437 white-tailed deer in West Virginia during the 2019-20 seasons, preliminary counts indicate.

According to a news release from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, the harvest was 9 percent below the 2018 harvest of 108,856 deer, and 13 percent below the five-year average of 114,520 deer.

DNR officials say a breakdown of the seasons reveals 36,472 bucks were harvested during buck firearm season, 28,336 antlerless deer were killed during all antlerless firearm season, 29,508 deer were killed by bows and crossbows, 4,522 deer were taken by muzzleloader hunters and 599 deer were taken with primitive bow and muzzleloader weapons during Mountaineer Heritage season in January.

The 2019 antlerless deer harvest was 13 percent less than the 2018 season of 32,571, DNR officials said. It was also 21 percent below the five-year average of just over 36,000.

“It is important to note that the antlerless harvest is the key component to any deer management strategy, as it controls the future deer population,” said Paul Johansen, chief of the Wildlife Resources Section.