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Hunting & Trapping

Hunting & Trapping

Disease Spread Prompts Deer Transport Restrictions

The Free Press WV

West Virginia officials have placed restrictions on the disposal and transport of deer carcasses in two more counties in response to a disease.

The state Division of Natural Resources says in a news release the restrictions start July 01 in Berkeley and Mineral counties. The restrictions are already in Hampshire, Hardy and Morgan counties.

The restrictions are designed to combat the spread of chronic wasting disease, which is concentrated in brains and spinal cords of infected deer. There are exceptions, including finished taxidermy mounts and meat that has been boned out.

The statement says the disease was found in two road-kill deer in Berkeley County and one sick deer in Mineral County.

The disease has been detected in nearly 350 deer since 2005, nearly all of them in Hampshire County.

DNR Warns: Leave young wildlife alone

The Free Press WV

Spring provides many opportunities to see fawns, cubs and other young animals, but the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) would like to remind people that young wildlife should be left alone.

“You should exercise extreme caution and keep a safe distance if you encounter young wildlife,” said Tyler Evans, a wildlife biologist stationed at the West Virginia State Wildlife Center in Upshur County. “And it is especially important that the public understands the need to avoid touching or disturbing these animals.”

Picking up wildlife or getting too close greatly increases the chance of the animal getting harmed. By handling these animals, humans leave behind a scent that may attract a predator. Additionally, handling wildlife has the potential to expose humans to a variety of wildlife-related diseases and parasites.

“Rabies, ticks, and lice are just a few of the threats humans are exposed to when they handle wildlife,” said Evans.

Removing a young animal from its natural environment will almost certainly lead to the death of that animal.

“Young animals have special dietary needs and must learn survival skills that only a natural setting can provide,” said Evans. “Young animals are hidden while adults search for food, and this separation can last for several hours. Many people will mistake a bedded fawn, with no mother in sight, as abandoned, but that is rarely the case.”

As a final caution, DNR is reminding the public that state law prohibits the possession of wildlife without a permit. The fine for illegal possession of a fawn, bear cub, baby raccoon or any other species during the closed season ranges from $20 to $1,000 and could lead up to 100 days in jail.

“We want everyone to enjoy our state’s wildlife,“ said Evans. “However, for your safety and the safety of the animal, please remember that young wildlife should always be left undisturbed and given the opportunity to remain wild.”

In 43-Year First, Wyoming’s Grizzlies to Be Hunted

The Free Press WV

Just under two dozen American grizzlies could be killed this September in what the New York Times calls the “first large-scale hunt for grizzly bears in 43 years” outside of Alaska. A year after the grizzly population near Yellowstone National Park was removed from federal protection—with numbers estimated at 700, up from 136 in 1975, per National Geographic—the Wyoming Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to allow hunters to shoot up to 22 grizzlies on public and private lands east of the park. Officials say the carefully planned trophy hunt won’t hurt the species’ recovery. But critics point out grizzlies are some of the slowest terrestrial mammals to reproduce, with females birthing offspring once every three years, and stress 56 bears died in 2017 as a result of poaching, vehicle collisions, and other issues.

“You can’t kill that many bears through hunting, on top of the number already dying through a variety of causes, and not have a negative impact on the bear population,“ one critic tells NatGeo. Others say climate change puts the grizzly food supply at risk. Critics also say the sale of bear licenses is unlikely to help Wyoming’s budget crisis. An out-of-state hunter must pay $6,000, but Wyoming residents will pay $600. Several lawsuits, including some from tribal groups who view the grizzly as sacred, are seeking to restore federal protection of the animal, thus ending hunts. Should they fail, there’s talk of mass protests. Idaho is only allowing one male grizzly to be killed this year, while Montana is skipping a hunt, “citing pending lawsuits and a wish to move cautiously as the species nears recovery,“ per the Missoulian.

WV 2018 spring turkey harvest

The Free Press WV

According to preliminary data gathered by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, turkey hunters in West Virginia harvested 12,274 gobblers this spring, which is a 15-year high and a 6 percent increase over 2017.

This year’s harvest also is more than 10 percent above the 10-year average, said Mike Peters, Game Bird and Small Game Project Leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

All but two DNR districts reported an increase over 2017 harvest figures. Districts 4 and 5 were the only two districts with fewer harvested birds this year. Counties in District 1 harvested the most birds again this year with 3,416, followed by District 6 (2,651), District 5 (1,811), District 4 (1,515), District 3 (1,805) and District 2 (1,076).

The five counties with the largest harvest were Preston (553), Mason (468), Jackson (460), Harrison (440) and Marshall (417).

Youth hunters harvested 431 turkeys during the one-day youth season on April 14.

Those numbers, along with county totals, are included in the table below.

West Virginia Spring Gobbler Season Results

County

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Barbour

178

127

165

204

250

Brooke

84

67

78

100

174

Hancock

110

89

98

106

87

Harrison

264

247

286

327

440

Marion

149

170

192

256

330

Marshall

220

174

207

255

417

Monongalia

174

199

197

266

346

Ohio

91

109

111

113

145

Preston

344

333

371

475

553

Taylor

87

72

101

135

189

Tucker

88

82

90

97

89

Wetzel

203

168

196

244

396

District 1 Subtotal

 1,992

 1,837

     2,092

   2,578

    3,416

Berkeley

112

124

115

147

162

Grant

129

131

161

145

160

Hampshire

138

156

170

184

166

Hardy

135

116

132

132

150

Jefferson

57

82

79

114

115

Mineral

96

118

134

132

148

Morgan

62

64

54

64

64

Pendleton

95

94

88

112

111

District 2 Subtotal

     824

    885

         933

   1,030

    1,076

Braxton

175

194

197

209

307

Clay

68

83

101

120

142

Lewis

180

194

211

249

286

Nicholas

164

213

330

311

287

Pocahontas

130

145

144

143

113

Randolph

186

225

250

248

207

Upshur

229

231

228

303

334

Webster

113

114

156

150

129

District 3 Subtotal

 1,245

 1,399

     1,617

   1,733

    1,805

Fayette

244

239

292

278

247

Greenbrier

245

242

308

269

224

McDowell

215

218

200

177

132

Mercer

170

161

176

192

150

Monroe

212

181

184

192

182

Raleigh

214

231

283

279

213

Summers

209

199

219

209

170

Wyoming

255

257

320

262

197

District 4 Subtotal

 1,764

 1,728

     1,982

   1,858

    1,515

Boone

159

138

157

157

125

Cabell

80

110

114

176

125

Kanawha

231

227

285

319

308

Lincoln

178

169

215

228

158

Logan

181

172

181

165

157

Mason

293

314

378

448

468

Mingo

93

91

131

143

106

Putnam

150

181

210

268

235

Wayne

103

108

139

186

129

District 5 Subtotal

 1,468

 1,510

     1,810

   2,090

    1,811

Calhoun

135

128

145

164

190

Doddridge

126

118

137

160

216

Gilmer

147

124

132

143

170

Jackson

293

264

302

408

460

Pleasants

73

71

80

89

122

Ritchie

245

218

216

263

327

Roane

232

210

231

256

279

Tyler

136

144

182

181

250

Wirt

177

153

174

206

230

Wood

271

248

328

380

407

District 6 Subtotal

 1,835

 1,678

     1,927

   2,250

    2,651

State Total

 9,128

 9,037

   10,361

 11,539

  12,274

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