Firearms antlerless deer hunting runs Oct. 22-24 on private land in most countiesSOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia deer hunters can take advantage of an October three-day firearm antlerless deer season on private land again this year, according to Paul Johansen, chief of the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section (DNR). In counties having a firearms antlerless deer season, the season on private land only will run Oct. 22-24, 2015.
There are several advantages to hunters and the state's deer management program if hunters participate in this season. Many hunters may find the weather better for stand hunting since temperatures should be warmer than during late November and December. Hunters who hunt in one of the nine counties where hunters are required to harvest an antlerless deer prior to taking a second antlered buck can take advantage of harvesting an antlerless deer and not worry about filling this requirement later in the season. From a deer management perspective, every antlerless deer harvested early in the October season means there will be more food for the remaining deer over the winter months.
"The harvest of antlerless deer is the key to healthier, heavier and more productive deer herds," Johansen said. "To manage West Virginia's deer herd, hunters and landowners must continually assess their expectations of the proper number of deer sightings versus the impacts deer have on vegetation."
Hunters and landowners should encourage antlerless deer hunting where needed to benefit the deer herd and other wildlife dependent on our state's woodland habitat. Conversely, antlerless deer harvests can be reduced to stabilize or increase deer populations. The early opening date for antlerless deer hunting with a firearm is a good opportunity for hunters and landowners to accomplish their antlerless deer harvest objectives, according to Johansen.
Hunters are reminded that recording their harvest is an integral part of the DNR's ability to manage deer in West Virginia. Hunters have helped manage deer in the state since mandatory game checking began in 1929, and the information provided by hunters is the foundation for tracking deer herd trends and monitoring doe harvest impacts.
Hunters need to obtain their DNR identification number to use the new electronic game checking process that allows for game checks by phone, computer or smartphone, or by the traditional practice of locating a license agent/check station.
For more details on license requirements, the new electronic game check process and all deer hunting seasons, please see the 2015-2016 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary available at DNR offices and license agents across the state. Or visit the Wildlife Resources Section on the web at www.wvdnr.gov.