Deer hunters can take advantage of an earlier opening date for antlerless deer hunting with a firearm this fall. New for this deer season, in counties or parts of counties having a firearms antlerless deer season, the season on private land will be open Oct. 25-27.
“There are several advantages to hunters and to deer management if hunters participate in this season,” according to Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
“Many hunters may find the weather better for stand hunting since temperatures should be warmer than during late November and December seasons. Also, hunters who hunt in one of the 10 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. Then they won’t have to worry about filling this requirement later in the season if they hunt for a second antlered buck in November.
“From a deer management view, if enough antlerless deer are harvested early in the fall, there should be more food for the remaining deer and hunters may observe more intense rut behavior of antlered bucks in November.”
The harvest of antlerless deer is the key to healthier and more productive deer herds, Taylor explained.
“To manage West Virginia’s deer herd, hunters and landowners must continually assess their expectations of the proper number of deer sightings versus the visible impacts deer have on vegetation,” he said. “They then must encourage the harvest of antlerless deer where needed to benefit not only the deer herd, but all wildlife dependent on our state’s woodland habitat. 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.”
For more complete information on season dates and bag limits, consult the 2012–13 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations brochure available at all hunting and fishing license agents, DNR district offices and the DNR website www.wvdnr.gov.