Preliminary data collected from the electronic game checking system indicates hunters in West Virginia harvested 36,796 antlered deer during the two-week buck firearms season, which ran from Nov. 25 through Dec. 7, 2019.
The 2019 harvest was 17 percent below that of the 2018 harvest, according to Gary Foster, assistant chief of game management for the state Division of Natural Resources.
Foster said the harvest was below what was predicted, possibly because of the availability of more food in the southern counties and the lateness of the season.
“The harvest during the 2019 traditional buck firearm season was expected to be similar to that of last year," Foster said.
"However, the southwestern region of the state had heavy oak mast conditions, which appears to have significantly decreased the harvest in that region.
“This year’s buck season also opened later and further from the peak of “rut," which may have contributed to the reduced harvest.”
The top 10 counties for buck harvest were Greenbrier (1,511), Preston (1,407), Randolph (1,382), Ritchie (1,244), Hampshire (1,239), Braxton (1,152), Upshur (1,146), Hardy (1,020), Monroe (1,000), and Pendleton (990).
Deer hunters have several days of opportunity left this year, including the remainder of the archery and crossbow seasons, which run through Dec. 31.
The traditional Class N/NN antlerless deer season in selected counties or portions of counties on both public and private land opened on Dec. 12 and will run through Dec. 15.
Muzzleloader deer season will open Dec. 16 and remain open through Dec. 22.
The Youth, Class Q/QQ and Class XS deer season for antlerless deer will be open Dec. 26-27 in any county with a firearms deer season.
This will be followed by the reopening of the Class N/NN antlerless deer season on Dec. 28-31 in specified counties or portions of counties.
In addition, the primitive weapons “Mountaineer Heritage Season” will be open from Jan. 9-12, 2020.
Refer to the 2019–2020 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary or visit the division website at WVDNR.gov for additional details, as well as county and area listings.