Preliminary data collected from the new electronic game checking system indicate deer hunters in West Virginia harvested 66,374 bucks during the two-week buck firearms season, which ran from Nov. 23 through Dec. 5, 2015, according to Paul Johansen, chief of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Resources Section.
The 2015 buck harvest is up 77 percent from the 2014 harvest of 37,450. The top 10 counties for buck harvest were: Ritchie (2,273), Preston (2,242), Lewis (2,157), Hampshire (2,107), Jackson (2,094), Roane (2,087), Hardy (1,885), Greenbrier (1,884), Upshur (1,864) and Wood (1,802). Clay County took 626 so far in 2015, up from 329 in 2014.
The buck harvest increased in all DNR districts. The largest percentage increases occurred in the western counties of the state where the harvest was double that of last year. Excellent weather conditions and the lack of acorns were the primary reasons for the increase in 2015.
“We are very pleased with how hunters adapted to the new electronic game checking system,” added Johansen. “We have received many positive comments about 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 2015, including the remainder of the muzzleloader season, which runs through Saturday, Dec. 12,. The traditional antlerless deer season in selected counties on both public and private land opens Thursday, Dec. 17, and runs through Saturday, Dec. 19. The Youth, Class Q/QQ and Class XS deer season for antlerless deer will be open Saturday, Dec. 26, and Monday, Dec. 28, in any county with a firearms deer season. This will be followed by the reopening of Class N/NN antlerless deer season Dec. 29-31 in specified counties or portions of counties (see 2015 – 2016 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary or visit the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov for county and area listings).