West Virginia Deer News

DNR searches for alleged deer poacher in Hurricane September 11, 2016 West Virginia, WSAZ-TV
... Friday night in Hurricane behind Hurricane Chevrolet... the suspect's trail camera  ... photos show the suspect loading a dead deer into his Jeep Liberty...

CWD sampling of Hampshire, Hardy counties deer will be mandatory August 3, 2016 West Virginia, Cumberland Times News Homepage
... Hunters who kill deer in Hampshire and Hardy counties on Nov. 21-22 -- the first two days of the buck firearms season -- will be required to take the carcasses to sampling stations where they will be checked for the presence of chronic wasting disease...

Bridgeport's annual urban deer hunt returns to thin population July 27, 2016 West Virginia, The Exponent Telegram
... Greer said that after speaking with a Department of Natural Resources’ biologist, he found that the reason the deer population is so high in Bridgeport is because there is too much forage, causing the deer to mate and inhabit the area...

Kingwood, Still legal to feed deer in town July 27, 2016 West Virginia, The DPost
... Kingwood Council voted down an ordinance that would have made it illegal to feed deer in town...

WV's chronic wasting disease problem expands with each passing year July 17, 2016 West Virginia, Charleston Gazette-Mail 
... Today the disease has spread from the Hampshire County town of Slanesville, where the buck was found, into parts of Hardy County... In the 39-square-mile area of Hampshire County where DNR officials most closely study the disease, CWD can be found in approximately one in every four whitetails...

...  Cranberry Garden Club asked council to consider an urban deer hunt in the future, and support the crop damage permit... amendment to the ordinance governing the carrying and using of weapons in the town now permits residents to use a bow or crossbow to shoot deer destroying crops...

Kanawha planners approve recommendation for Sunday hunting June 8, 2016 West Virginia, Charleston Gazette-Mail 
... the law would only allow Sunday hunting on privately owned land with written permission from the landowner.  “It’s harder to kill deer on private land than it is public land,” Shaw said. “Most public areas we have a lot of hunting pressure already.” ...

DNR reminds residents of wildlife laws June 7, 2016 West Virginia, Bluefield Daily Telegraph
...  it is not illegal in West Virginia for humans to feed deer ... Anytime you gather animals together in that type of situation, the chance for them spreading disease from one to another increases ...

Chronic wasting disease found in seven more W.Va. deer May 26, 2016 West Virginia, Cumberland Times-News
... All of the deer were harvested by hunters during the 2015 season and all came from the central portion of Hampshire County where CWD was first confirmed more than a decade ago...

Kingwood to investigate possible 'Urban Hunting,' Council will meet with DNR April 29,. 2016 West Virginia, The Exponent Telegram
... “Can we pass an ordinance where we can kill deer during the summer time,” ... “There is a process with the DNR that we would have to go through to do something like this,” Stiles said. “We also need legal advice from the DNR and our council.” ...

Kingwood, DNR to meet over deer population April 26, 2016 West Virginia, The DPost
... Kingwood Council is considering passing an ordinance to allow a bow deer hunt in town....

Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer March 2, 2016 West Virginia, WCHS
... One of the things that we're doing here at West Virginia University is using genetics to investigate how chronic wasting disease spreads over the landscape ... we've only detected chronic wasting disease in West Virginia in Hampshire county and also Hardy county...

QDMA responds to Wilson's remarks February 26, 2016 West Virginia, West Virginia MetroNews
... Commissioner Kenny Wilson expressed he would not support a motion to lower West Virginia’s buck limit which presently stands at three ...  [ Jeremy Preston, President of Mountaineer Quality Deer Management  said]:  “We’re looking for a more natural, older age structure of deer. More balanced sex ratios, harvests that are more one to one and not more heavily skewed toward bucks,” ...

DNR proposes more liberal deer, bear, turkey seasons for 2016 February 21, 2016 West Virginiga, Charleston Gazette-Mail 
... “Typically when harvests are up, it means we are at or above our harvest objectives and need to allow additional harvest to bring the populations back to prescribed levels.” Under the proposals, antlerless deer bag limits would become more liberal in 21 counties or parts of counties, more restrictive in two, and would remain the same in 33...

Some tips for finding shed deer antlers February 7, 2016 West Virginia, Times West Virginian 
...  antlers are most likely to hit the ground between now and the end of the February... Bucks are all about keeping their bellies full. So you need to find the top food sources in your grounds that are drawing in deer...

... venison is now allowed for sale to the consumer.  The meat being sold is not wild hunted deer. It comes from licensed deer farmers ...

WVU research seeks to slow spread of deadly deer disease February 6, 2016 West Virginia, wvgazettemail.com
... By analyzing the DNA present in each sample, researchers at West Virginia University hope to discover how deer move across the landscape. Armed with that information, state wildlife officials might someday be able to slow or halt the spread of chronic wasting disease, an always-fatal malady first found in the state in 2006...

The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation January 31, 2016 West Virginia, The Register Herald
... Wildlife belongs to the people. This is the chief building block of the NAMWC [North American Model of Wildlife Conservation], and could have been the real reason we had that little tussle with King George back in 1776. The basic concept here is wildlife belongs to the people, not the king, or the landowner... Public hearings and the democratic process are intended to have all wildlife managed wisely and for the public good...

Deer season has bumper crop January 26, 2016 West Virginia, Independentherald.com
... preliminary ... a total harvest of 138,493 deer in 2015... a 32% increase from the previous year... The 2014 season was marked with an above average mast crop which meant that food was abundant and whitetails didn’t have to go far to fill their bellies...  60,814 bucks were taken ... far less than the record 104,199 bucks harvested back in 2002...

DNR’s new computer-based checking system yields erroneous deer-kill numbers January 25, 2016 West Virginia, wvgazettemail.com 
... the Division of Natural Resources’ new electronic game-checking system ... caused agency officials to overestimate the firearm buck kill by more than 5,000 and underestimate the antlerless-deer kill by a similar margin...  contained a question that fooled some hunters into registering their deer into the wrong category...

Big numbers for 2015 deer January 24, 2016 West Virginia, Williamson Daily News 
 ... Preliminary counts ... West Virginia hunters harvested 138,493 white-tailed deer ... 10 percent above the 5-year average of 126,067... The 2015 antlerless deer season harvest of 39,853 ... was 1 percent more than in 2014 and 8 percent below the 5-year average of 43,188...

1/23/16 - 20 to 24 inches of snow from Winter Storm Jonas. Makes the deer desperate for food! #WestVirginia


Preston County tops two deer harvest categories January 20, 2016 West Virginia, The DPost
... the combined 2015 deer seasons reveals 60,814 bucks harvested during the traditional buck firearm season, 39,853 antlerless deer ...

... more than 138,000 deer ... 105,000 deer killed in 2014, and is 10 percent above the five-year average ...

...  500 deer farms in Ohio and more than 40 in West Virginia ...  farms supply those hunting facilities...  also provide venison for sale and provide deer to breeding services ...

Elk setback only flaw in 'good year for hunters' January 2, 2016 West Virginia, Charleston Gazette-Mail
... The buck harvest rose 77 percent from the previous year’s disappointing firearm season. Unofficially, hunters killed 66,374 bucks ...  a plan firmly in place to bring elk ... seems less and less likely that the Division of Natural Resources will be able to meet their goal of making the first stockings by April 2016... 

Bridgeport deer hunt harvest about the same as last year December 31, 2015 West Virginia, theet.com
... Hunters killed 49 deer ... Last year’s harvest was 52 deer... There were 89 deer killed in 2013 and 107 in 2012 ...

Officials hope 'family' hunts can boost antlerless-deer kill December 25, 2015 West Virginia, Associated Press
... "This year's (antlerless-deer) bag limits were somewhat more conservative than last year's," he pointed out. "The decline in last year's buck kill triggered automatic bag-limit reductions in several counties." ...

Deer hunters in W. Va. harvest 66,374 bucks December 10, 2015 West Virginia, Williamson Daily News
...  harvested 66,374 bucks during the two-week buck firearms season, which ran from Nov. 23 through Dec. 5, 2015 ...up 77 percent from the 2014 harvest of 37,450...

Hampshire, Hardy help W.Va. to large buck harvest December 8, 2015 West Virginia, Cumberland Times News Homepage
... Wildlife officials said the largest percentage increases took place in the state's western counties and were double that of a year ago. Excellent hunting weather and a lack of acorns that forced deer to move more to feed were contributing factors ...

Banner buck season for W.Va. hunters December 7, 2015 West Virginia MetroNews
... Preliminary figures indicate West Virginia deer hunters killed 66,128 bucks during the two week season ... It was the best buck number since 2008, but not nearly a record number.  Hunters in 1997 killed 102,484 bucks...

First week of buck deer firearm season shows increased harvest ... December 1, 2015 West Virginia, The Exponent Telegram 
...  WVDNR’s new electronic game check system shows a preliminary report that hunters harvested 20,105 bucks during the first day of the buck deer firearms season that began last Monday. According to the WVDNR, that’s a 77 percent increase over the 11,330 bucks taken during opening day in 2014...

As predicted, deer hunters off to fantastic start November 29, 2015 West Virginia, The Register Herald
...  The 30 percent reduction in the 2014 buck harvest means that many bucks survived the season and some of them should be available for harvest in 2015. In addition, the percentage of yearling bucks in the harvest in 2014 was near 30 percent. This means many bucks are surviving to reach older age classes and the chance to kill a large-antlered buck has increased...

Deputies believe suspects intentionally struck deer on road November 27, 2015 West Virginia, Times West Virginian
...  intentionally struck and killed a deer in the Victor area of Fayette County... around 6 a.m. Thursday ... Deputies believe the vehicle involved was a black 2007 Ford Mustang GT...

... "Over my 20 years in law enforcement, in game enforcement, this is the worst case I've encountered or seen," Captain W.W. Brogan with the Division of Natural Resources ...

WV deer hunt up 77-percent on first day of gun buck season November 24, 2015 West Virginia, 59 WVNSTV
... a huge one-day harvest of whitetail deer: more than 20,000...

We interrupt this column to bring you deer season November 24, 2015 West Virginia, Independent Herald 
... Last year during the firearm season some 37,450 antlered bucks were harvested. Those harvested combined with all other seasons accounted for a total of 104,707 deer taken in the state.  That equates to about one deer for every 140 acres of habitat in the state...

WV's wildlife chief says 2015 buck harvest could be 'outstanding' November 22, 2015 West Virginia, Charleston Gazette-Mail 
... “In 2014, West Virginia enjoyed a bumper acorn crop, but that didn’t translate to good deer hunting. Deer stayed deep in the woods to be near the oak flats where the acorns were, and they didn’t come out into the fields where hunters were used to seeing them,” he explained. “We had plenty of deer, but because they weren’t vulnerable to the gun the buck harvest fell 34 percent.”  ...

Hunters during statewide buck season pump increased revenue into local economy November 22, 2015 West Virginia, The Exponent Telegram 
... The Division of Natural Resources estimates that more than 330,000 hunters will spend a total of $230 million in the Mountain State during the two-week season, leading to $34 million in tax revenue... 5,700 West Virginians are employed ...

2015 West Virginia deer firearms season fact sheet November 17, 2015 Williamson Daily News
... Approximately 330,000 deer hunters will be in West Virginia’s woods during this season ... Deer hunters spend an estimated $230 million in West Virginia, much of it in the rural areas of the state ...

Deer Hunted in Four Counties Must Be Tested November 14, 2015 West Virginia, WHSV 
...  chronic wasting disease testing. Saturday was the first of two testing dates for hunters in Clarke, Shenandoah, Frederick, and Warren counties... If you hunt and kill a deer on Nov. 14 or Nov. 21st, you have to have the deer tested for CWD ...

Pipestem State Park officials prepare for controlled deer hunt November 14, 2015 West Virginia, Bluefield Daily Telegraph 
... Members of the public had protested the controlled hunt. Pipestem’s deer have no fear of humans, which would make them easy targets for hunters, they said. William Flanigan of Princeton, who visits the states park’s golf courses, said the deer there are “almost domesticated” and did not have the survival instincts of deer living outside the park...

Three Charged in Illegal Deer Kill in Mason County November 10, 2015 West Virginia, WSAZ 3 
...  received a call about shots fired from a vehicle in Mason County...

Exploring the mysteries of the rut November 5, 2015 West Virginia, Times Free Press
... The rut, or "rutting period," is the mating season of ruminant animals.  Deer, cattle, sheep, antelope and camels are all ruminants... During the rut, male deer display many bizarre behaviors that include rubbing antlers on trees, wallowing in mud and dust, sparring and fighting with each other, and herding females together...

Keeping today's deer hunting in perspective October 31, 2015 West Virginia, Charleston Gazette-Mail
... n 1909 the West Virginia Legislature passed a pair of laws designed to preserve the few deer that remained ... The following year, the state’s whitetail herd reached its lowest ebb — perhaps 1,000 animals, isolated into pockets in just 11 counties... From then through 1973, lawmakers bounced back and forth between bucks-only and hunter’s-choice seasons ...

... The total for all seasons up to this date, including archery, urban hunts, youth/Class Q/XS and the early antlerless deer gun season (Oct. 22-24), is 17,776 deer. That compares to 15,216 taken at this time in 2014, a 17 percent increase...

The rut' is prime time for W.Va.'s bowhunting enthusiasts October 24, 2015 West Virginia, Charleston Gazette-Mail 
... Acorns are spotty this year... for the most part they’re scarce  ... those bucks, which normally operate mainly at night, change their habits during the rut’s chase period.  “They’ll be moving a lot more during daylight hours as the rut progresses,” ...

2015 Trophy Deer Forecast: West Virginia October 21, 2015 Game & Fish
... Like many states in the region, the majority of bucks harvested by hunters are 1 1/2 years old. Since bucks don’t reach physical maturity until ages four to five, most simply don’t live long enough to reach their potential in terms of both body size and antler growth...

Antlerless deer three-day season slated on private land October 20, 2015 West Virginia, Independent Herald
... 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...

Baiting, ethics and other moral dilemmas October 18, 2015 West Virginia, Beckley Register-Herald
... Nothing comes under the ethics microscope in the hunting world as much as baiting ... “Fair Chase, as defined by the Boone and Crockett Club, is the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals.” ...

Electronic game checking provides early hunting numbers October 13, 2015 West Virginia, Independent Herald
... Hunters have harvested almost 900 black bears and more than 5,000 white-tailed deer during the early archery and crossbow seasons that began Sept. 26 and will end Nov. 21 ...

...The total white-tailed deer harvest should be higher in 2015 than it was in 2014. Although antlerless seasons have been reduced in some counties in 2015, increased reproduction and survival as a result of the bumper oak mast crop of 2014 means deer numbers will be higher. In addition, the lack of oak mast in 2015 means deer will be more visible in fields and more susceptible to harvest, which will lead to an increase in total deer harvest...

3 cited for poaching albino deer in Boone County October 2, 2015 West Virginia, Metro News
... Social media and an aggressive member of the DNR’s law enforcement arm solved a highly publicized poaching case in Boone County... A lot of times these people like to brag ...
     Albino deer shot dead, WV Natural Resource Police investigating September 28, 2015 West Virginia, 13 WOWKTV 
... The deer was shot from a gray truck on Rt. 17 in Boone County at approximately 5 p.m Sunday ... contact 304-759-0703

West Virginia Data: Deer population around 825,000 in 2015, up because of a good acorn crop and reduced hunting of antlerless deer in 2014.  Fewer acorns in 2015. Deer population of about 750,000 in 2014 pre-hunt, down from 900,000 or higher prior to hunting season in 2013.  A snowy winter in 2013-14 reduced food sources.  The deer harvest declined by 34 percent in 2014, a newly appointed DNR chief has a goal of rebuilding the deer population.   The good acorn crop that provided ample food and weather conditions, including high winds on opening day along with rain and snow during the 2014 season are also thought to have contributed to the decline. The poor acorn acorn crop in 2013, forcing deer to move around more contributed to the 14 percent increase in the deer harvest.  The acorn crop was also very low in 2012. The 2013  harvest increase also reflects an increase in the antlerless deer harvest designed to reduce the deer population.   In 2013, 76 percent of counties were still above population goals. Deer populations are down by as much as one half in the high mountain areas where reduced logging has resulted in a more mature forests and less deer browse.  A low of about 1,000 deer in 1910.   Click to enlarge the West Virginia deer harvest graphic below from the 2014 Big Game report.  About 300,000 deer hungers in 2014, about 330,000 in 2015.
     Chronic Wasting Disease was first discovered in a road killed deer in 2005 in Hampshire County. The disease continues to spread slowly throughout the state with 29 of 591 tissue samples testing positive in the county in 2014. A total of 183 positives into 2015.
   The DNR has encouraged balanced demographics in the herd.  Twenty years ago 70 percent of the bucks taken in the firearm season were 1.5 years, by 2012 bucks of 2.5 years or older were 58 percent. Antlered deer were about 50 percent of the 2013 harvest, the goal in 2014 is to increase anterless deer killed somewhat to reduce the population..  About 330,000 deer hunters in 2014. 
     As a result of over hunting, deer populations declined and were becoming somewhat scarce by 1941.  In 1909, the West Virginia legislature passed laws to preserve the herd.  By 1910 there were only about 1,000 deer remaining in the state.  A restocking effort began, the herd slowly grew, but deer hunting was closed in 1924 - 1926.  A large deer kill in 1951 depleted the herd there were large changes in the deer harvest over the next decades as the state varied policy from buck only to hunter's choice.  Sources: Keeping today’s deer hunting in perspective,  Restocking deer in West Virginia.
    The last native elk was killed in the late 1800's.

Other useful links: 
-  West Virginia Wildlife Management Area Maps   - Elk Management Plan [PDF]

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News from WVDNR


Deer Management: There are two components of deer management: harvest management and habitat management. Both are important in determining the quality and quantity of the deer population; however, harvest management is the component which is most often overlooked in a good deer management program...

Source:  WDNR


Fundamentals of Deer Management File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat . . . developing an ideal deer management program. Different objectives may require totally different management actions ... basic deer management programs.