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West Virginia hunters harvest 45,871 bucks

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Preliminary data collected from the electronic game checking system indicate deer hunters in West Virginia harvested 45,871 bucks during the two-week buck firearms season which ran from Nov. 21 through Dec. 3, 2016, according to Paul Johansen, chief of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Resources Section.

The 2016 buck harvest is down 25 percent from the 2015 harvest of 60,814. The top 10 counties for buck harvest were: Preston (1,769), Randolph (1,610), Jackson (1,482), Greenbrier (1,445), Ritchie (1,414), Upshur (1,392), Mason (1,266), Lewis (1,238), Hampshire (1,183) and Wood (1,182).

The buck harvest decreased in all six DNR districts. The buck season harvest was predicted to decrease in the Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook brochure, primarily because of an increased number of acorns in 2016 compared to acorn crop production in 2015. In addition, high winds across much of the state limited deer activity and decreased success rates on the first two days of the season.

“Hunters continued to use the electronic game checking system established in 2015,” Johansen said. “Hunters enjoyed the ease of being able to check deer and other game using the telephone, internet or by stopping at a license agent.”

Johansen reminds hunters that several days of deer hunting opportunity still remain for 2016, including the remainder of the muzzleloader season, which runs through Saturday, Dec. 10. The traditional antlerless deer season in selected counties on both public and private land opens Thursday, Dec. 15, and runs through Saturday, Dec. 17. The Youth, Class Q/QQ and Class XS deer season for antlerless deer will be open Dec. 26 and 27 in any county with a firearms deer season. This will be followed by the reopening of Class N/NN antlerless deer season Dec. 28-31 in specified counties or portions of counties.