The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is accepting applications from hunters to participate in controlled hunts for whitetail deer at six state parks.
Controlled hunts are scheduled for the fall at Beech Fork, Cacapon, Canaan Valley, North Bend, Pipestem, and Twin Falls state parks, according to state parks chief Brad Reed.
Hunters have until August 30 to apply, and drawings for the hunts will start on August 31. Successful applicants will be notified in early September.
“Previous controlled hunts are one of the ways we manage deer populations at our parks,” Reed said.
“Past hunts have proven that this is an effective and efficient way to maintain a biologically and socially balanced deer herd in areas experiencing overpopulation.”
Applications for the hunt must be submitted online at WVHunt.com.
Hunters must use their existing Electronic Licensing and Game Checking System account or create one in order to apply. Once logged in, applicants must select “State Park Lottery Hunts” and choose one of the hunting options. There is a $15 application fee. Each application can be for one or two people.
Each application is for a three-day harvest opportunity using a compound bow or crossbow or muzzleloader rifle, depending on the selected date, hunt type, and designated area.
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.
If chosen, each hunter will be required to confirm their intent to participate in the hunt. Each must also possess a valid West Virginia Hunting License or be legally exempt from purchasing a license within one 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 Hunting Dates and Methods
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.
Controlled Hunts Benefits
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, according to division biologists.
Controlled hunts help reduce deer numbers to levels that prevent habitat loss, property damage, vehicle collisions, and potential human injuries.
Controlled hunts also help the division maintain a healthy deer herd population while allowing visitors the opportunity to view deer and other wildlife throughout the state park.