Deer

The West Virginia DNR is accepting applications until Aug. 13 for controlled deer hunts at seven state parks.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is now accepting applications to participate in controlled deer hunts at seven state parks.

Controlled hunts are scheduled this fall at Beech Fork, Blennerhassett, Canaan Valley, Cacapon, North Bend, Stonewall, and Twin Falls state parks. Hunters have from July 1 to Aug. 30 to apply. Drawing for the hunts will start on Aug. 31 and successful applicants will be notified between Sept. 6-17.

"Controlled hunts have proven to be an effective way to maintain a balanced deer herd in areas experiencing overpopulation," said West Virginia State Parks Chief Brad Reed. "These hunts are one of the ways we manage deer populations in our parks."

Applications for the hunts must be submitted online at WVhunt.com. Hunters must use their existing electronic licensing and game checking system account or create one to apply. Once logged in, applicants must select "Enter a lottery drawing" and choose one of the available options. There is a $15 application fee for each entry. Each application can be submitted for one or two people.

Depending on the selected date, hunt type and designated area, each application is for a three-day harvest opportunity using a compound bow, crossbow or muzzleloader. Rather than specified hunting stands for each hunter, as used in past controlled hunts, all hunters will be given a map and will be able to hunt within the designated hunting zones. Deer harvested during a controlled hunt do not count against a hunter's annual deer season bag limit.

Applicants may enter for multiple hunts occurring at the same or different state parks on different days. If chosen for more than one concurrent hunt, the applicant will be given the opportunity to choose the one they want. A multiple hunt winner cannot split the three days between two or more parks. Applicants may only enter each hunt once, either as an individual or as part of a group.

Applications are also being accepted for Class N or NN antlerless deer stamps. There are six counties or parts thereof that require resident Class N or nonresident Class NN antlerless deer hunting with prior permit application. Those counties are Boone, Greenbrier (north portion), Kanawha (north portion), Nicholas, Raleigh (east portion) and Webster.

Additionally, Hillcrest Wildlife Management Area, national forest lands in Randolph and Pocahontas counties, Camp Creek State Forest and Greenbrier State Forest have a limited number of Class N or Class NN stamps available for antlerless deer hunting.

To be eligible to hunt in one of these areas, an application must be submitted online by Aug. 13. Resident landowners do not need a permit to hunt on their own land. Successful applicants will receive notification from the DNR by mail. Applicants can also check their application status online at WVhunt.com beginning on Aug. 20. There is no cost to apply for an antlerless deer hunting permit.

In limited resident and nonresident antlerless WMAs and national and state forest hunts, a hunter may take only one deer in the antlerless season.

If chosen, each hunter will be required to confirm their intent to participate in the hunt. They must also posses a valid West Virginia hunting license (or be legally exempt from purchasing a license) within on week of being contacted. Successful applicants will be contacted with more detailed information regarding the controlled hunt. West Virginia hunting regulations apply to all controlled hunts.

Specific rules, hunting dates and hunting methods are available on the electronic licensing system at WVhunt.com. For additional information about a specific park hunt, call the state park of interest and indicate the call is regarding controlled hunt information.

When deer populations reach levels that become detrimental to the landscape, over-browsing can lead to loss of native vegetation, prevent forest regeneration, and alter habitat for all wildlife species living in the park. Controlled hunts help reduce deer numbers to levels that prevent habitat loss, property damage, vehicle collisions and potential human injuries, officials stress.

According to the WVDNR, controlled hunts help the agency maintain a healthy deer herd population while still allowing visitors the opportunity to view deer and other wildlife throughout the state park.

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