West Virginia hunters harvest 104,000 deer in 2014 - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

West Virginia hunters harvest 104,000 deer in 2014

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West Virginia hunters harvested 104,223 white-tailed deer in 2014/. West Virginia hunters harvested 104,223 white-tailed deer in 2014/.

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SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV - Preliminary counts of game checking tags indicate West Virginia hunters harvested 104,223 white-tailed deer during the recently completed bucks-only, antlerless, muzzleloader, archery and youth/Class Q/Class XS deer seasons, according to Division of Natural Resources Director Bob Fala. This year's total harvest was 31 percent less than the 2013 deer harvest of 150,877 and 23 percent below the five-year average of 136,168.

The 2014 harvest is very similar to the 2010 harvest of 106,499, the last time acorns were exceptionally abundant. Successful buck hunters this year had an excellent chance to harvest an older-age buck as the preliminary analysis of deer age data indicates that 25 percent of the antlered bucks brought to the game checking stations during the first three days of traditional buck firearm season were 3.5 years of age or older. A breakdown of the combined 2014 deer seasons reveals hunters harvested 37,766 bucks during the traditional buck firearm season, 39,514 antlerless deer during all antlerless firearm hunting opportunities, 21,653 deer during archery season, and 5,290 deer during muzzleloader season.

Antlerless Deer Season

The 2014 antlerless deer season harvest, which includes the youth/Class Q/Class XS deer season, was 30 percent less than in 2013 and 14 percent below the five-year average of 46,204.

“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 Director Fala.

In 2014, all or portions of 50 of the 55 counties were open to antlerless firearms season for hunters to harvest one to three antlerless deer, depending on the county. Next year's antlerless deer hunting opportunity will depend on the need to increase, decrease or stabilize deer populations in each of the 51 counties where firearms deer hunting is permitted.

The top 10 counties are: Preston (1,859), Mason (1,446), Lewis (1,421), Upshur (1,365), Jackson (1,296), Ritchie (1,291), Randolph (1,285), Braxton (1,254), Harrison (1,253) and Monroe (1,214).

Muzzleloader Deer Season

The 2014 muzzleloader harvest of 5,290 was 32 percent less than the 2013 harvest of 7,739, and 28 percent below the five-year average of 7,341. However, this year's harvest was within 95 deer of the 2012 recorded harvest of 5,385.

The top 10 counties are: Randolph (295), Preston (265), Nicholas (251), Braxton (195), Lewis (193), Harrison (182), Fayette (164), Barbour (156), Mason (149) and Jackson (143).

Archery Deer Season

The bowhunter take of 21,653 deer was 28 percent less than the 2013 harvest of 29,979, 19 percent below the five-year average harvest of 26,721 and is very similar to the 2010 harvest of 21,962. Archery harvests are correlated to hard mast crops, and the above average acorn crop in 2014, like that of 2010, was a significant factor for the lower harvest in 2014.

The top 10 counties are: Preston (968), Randolph (759), Kanawha (757), Mason (710), Wyoming (683), Nicholas (673) Fayette (647), Raleigh (635), Wood (602) and Logan (601).

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