For The Fayette Tribune
Below is information supplied by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources concerning the upcoming deer season:
- The West Virginia firearm buck gun season is Nov. 19 to Dec. 1. It is open in all counties except Logan, Mingo, McDowell and Wyoming.
- Approximately 330,000 licensed hunters will be in West Virginia’s woods during this season.
- Hunters should review the 2012-2013 hunting and trapping regulations summary for detailed instructions concerning bag limits and season dates. The regulations are available at license agents, DNR district offices, or online at www.wvdnr.gov.
- A list of wildlife checking stations in West Virginia can be found online at www.wvdnr.gov/hunting/check_stations.asp.
- The firearm antlered deer bag limit during the two-week buck season is two (one on the base license and one on an RG [resident] or RRG [nonresident] stamp). A hunter may take no more than three antlered deer per calendar year in all archery and firearms seasons combined.
- There are 10 counties or portions thereof (see the 2012-2013 hunting and trapping regulations summary) that require buck firearms hunters to take an antlerless deer during the antlerless firearms deer season (with Class N permit for residents or Class NN permit for nonresidents) prior to harvesting a second antlered deer during the buck firearms season.
- All private and public lands in counties having a firearms antlerless deer gun season (Class N for residents and Class NN for nonresidents) will be open Nov. 19-Dec. 1 (concurrent with the buck gun season), Dec. 13-15, and Dec. 28- 31. Bag limits vary among counties but will be either one or three antlerless deer. See regulations for details.
- All deer must be field tagged and checked in within 72 hours of the time of kill or within 24 hours of the close of the season, whichever comes first. Additional deer may not be taken until all previously taken deer have been checked. Only one deer may be taken per day during the buck season.
- Concurrent with the buck gun season will be a bear gun season in eight counties: Kanawha, Boone, Fayette, Raleigh, Monongalia, Preston, Hampshire and Morgan.
- Deer hunters spend an estimated $230 million in West Virginia, much of it in the rural areas of the state that depend upon the deer seasons for a large portion of their annual income.
- In 2011, deer hunters in West Virginia harvested 60,157 bucks during the two-week buck season, an increase of 38 percent from the 2010 harvest. This is two percent less than the five-year average harvest of 61,428 and ranks 24th among all past years.
- WVDNR forecasts that the buck harvest should be slightly higher for 2012. All regions should see a similar-to-higher harvest this year. The increased reproduction of 2011 and the mild winter of 2011-2012 should mean that there are plenty of 1.5-year-old animals for hunters. The overall mast conditions should be favorable. In addition, DNR has been conducting spotlight counts in many counties and have observed many large-racked animals for hunters to pursue.
- Sunday hunting is legal in the following 14 counties on private land only: Boone, Brooke, Clay, Hancock, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Marshall, Mingo, Ohio, Wayne, Wetzel and Wyoming. The only Sunday that is open in these counties during the buck season is Nov. 25. Hunters are reminded that deer gun seasons are closed in Logan, Mingo, McDowell and Wyoming counties.
- Hunters are required to wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange (about the size of a vest) as an outer garment for visibility and safety. Blaze orange camouflage patterns are legal as long as 400 square inches of blaze orange are displayed on the garment. A blaze orange hat is not required, but the hunter must have blaze orange visible from both the front and the back.
- Hunting licenses may be purchased online at any time and printed out on a home computer printer. Go to the goWILD! Web site at www.wvhunt.com, fill out the application, and purchase it over a secure server with a credit card.
- Hunters who wish to donate deer meat or dollars to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program, which distributes deer meat through the Mountaineer Food Bank and the Huntington Food Bank, should call 304-558-2771 or visit the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov to find a participating meat processor.