Thanks for the speedy response. Several hunters that I have spoken with throughout the state seem to have different theories as to why we did not see as many deer as usual this season. First, we had a full moon and deer fed and moved more at night. Second, the available food supply was such that the deed did not have to move much to feed, and, consequently they fed and bedded for much of the day. Third, we had a really hard winter for most of the state last year and the available food supply was practically zero. This "perfect storm". if you will, contributed to a much higher winter kill than normal. Fourth, the preditors (coyotes, bears, bobcats) were more aggressive taking more deer than usual. I know where my hunting camp is located in Gilmer County the coyote population is increasing. In fact, on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings of the first week of the season, I heard coyotes at dusk. I have not heard them in years past.
I personally think it might be a combination of all of the above. However, with 275,000-300,000 hunters in the woods I would think many more deer would have been seen by the simple fact that these hunters would have jumped them while moving in the woods.
Does that mean the deer numbers are not there?
I am very curious as to what reasons the WV Dept. of Natural Resources give --IF--the deer harvest is considerably lower than last year. Of course, so far this week, at least in the mountain areas (Randolph/Pocohontas included), the weather has been horrific, and I do not think much better in a majority of the state. So, the antlerless harvest will certainly be lower. Also, another storm is projected to hit the state early next week and that may impact the muzzleloader harvest, too.
If there are other opinions, I would certainly be interested in hearing them.
Again, thanks for the response and congratulations on your 7pt. I enjoy reading the "deer stories" of others.