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Hunting & Trapping

WV hunters harvest 108,856 deer during Fall 2018 through January 2019 seasons

The Free Press WV

Hunters in West Virginia registered 108,856 white-tailed deer through the electronic game checking system during the recently completed buck firearms, antlerless, muzzleloader, archery, crossbow, youth/Class Q/Class XS and Mountaineer Heritage seasons.

The total harvest was within 1 percent of the 2017 deer harvest of 108,160 and 11 percent below the five-year average of 122,924, said Paul Johansen, chief of the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section.

A breakdown of the combined 2018 deer seasons reveals 44,599 bucks were harvested during the traditional buck firearm season, 32,751 antlerless deer were taken during all antlerless firearm hunting opportunities, 26,613 deer were harvested by bows and crossbows in the urban and regular archery/crossbow seasons, 4,234 deer were taken in the muzzleloader season and 659 deer were taken with primitive bow and muzzleloader weapons in the Mountaineer Heritage season.


Antlerless Deer Season

The 2018 antlerless deer season harvest, which includes the youth/Class Q/Class XS deer season, was 2.5 percent less than in 2017 and 20 percent below the five-year average of 40,859.

“It is important to note that the antlerless harvest is the key component to any deer management strategy, as it controls the future deer population,” said Johansen.

DNR will hold 12 public meetings across the state on March 11 and 12 to gather input on fall 2019 antlerless deer hunting opportunity recommendations to increase, decrease or stabilize deer populations in each of the 51 counties where firearms deer hunting is permitted.

The top 10 counties were: Preston (1,799), Upshur (1,289), Jackson (1,183), Lewis (1,160), Ritchie (1,123), Monroe (1,099), Roane (1,073), Hampshire (1,068), Wood (1,057) and Mason (922).


Muzzleloader Deer Season

The 2018 muzzleloader harvest of 4,870, which includes 636 deer taken with side-lock and flintlock muzzleloaders in the Mountaineer Heritage season, was 15 percent more than the 2017 harvest of 4,243 and 12 percent below the five-year average of 5,540.

The top 10 counties were Preston (213), Randolph (205), Nicholas (198), Greenbrier (178), Upshur (169), Fayette (165), Webster (158), Jackson (154), Braxton (142) and Mason (142).


Archery and Crossbow Deer Seasons

The bow and crossbow hunters’ take of 26,636 deer, which included 23 bow-harvested deer in the Mountaineer Heritage season, was 1.6 percent more than the 2017 archery season harvest of 26,206, and 3 percent below the five-year average archery season harvest of 27,506. The proportion of the harvest taken using a crossbow increased and was greater than deer reported taken by a bow for the second year.

The top 10 counties were: Preston (1,333), Kanawha (1,045), Wyoming (976), Randolph (914), Raleigh (807), Logan (772), Fayette (765), Wood (709), Upshur (683) and Jackson (676).

WEST VIRGINIA DEER HARVEST
Fall 2018 through January 2019
County Buck
Firearms
Antlerless Muzzleloader Archery/
Crossbow
Mountaineer Heritage Total
Barbour 958 875 98 536 11 2,478
Brooke 188 159 21 171 3 542
Hancock 139 100 16 267 3 525
Harrison 888 842 113 526 21 2,390
Marion 678 543 60 433 12 1,726
Marshall 637 371 58 290 8 1,364
Monongalia 750 677 70 592 17 2,106
Ohio 197 141 32 217 7 594
Preston 1,607 1,799 177 1,333 36 4,952
Taylor 491 473 65 284 14 1,327
Tucker 754 413 71 465 13 1,716
Wetzel 676 516 41 251 3 1,487
District 1 Subtotal 7,963 6,909 822 5,365 148 21,207
Berkeley 757 706 57 645 7 2,172
Grant 1,219 647 93 365 8 2,332
Hampshire 1,471 1,068 111 355 10 3,015
Hardy 1,212 774 81 296 6 2,369
Jefferson 463 411 60 445 6 1,385
Mineral 1,048 729 45 353 5 2,180
Morgan 622 562 44 251 4 1,483
Pendleton 1,275 574 59 370 4 2,282
District 2 Subtotal 8,067 5,471 550 3,080 50 17,218
Braxton 1,017 848 123 451 20 2,459
Clay 438 305 53 250 11 1,057
Lewis 1,001 1,160 105 485 20 2,771
Nicholas 1,060 862 168 634 32 2,756
Pocahontas 994 213 65 244 5 1,521
Randolph 1,685 850 185 914 20 3,654
Upshur 1,155 1,289 132 681 39 3,296
Webster 937 331 137 540 21 1,966
District 3 Subtotal 8,287 5,858 968 4,199 168 19,480
Fayette 998 441 151 694 14 2,298
Greenbrier 1,481 801 151 615 27 3,075
McDowell       628 0 628
Mercer 617 423 105 567 13 1,725
Monroe 1,193 1,099 76 505 17 2,890
Raleigh 624 229 96 806 19 1,774
Summers 701 524 74 377 9 1,685
Wyoming       974 2 976
District 4 Subtotal 5,614 3,517 653 5,166 101 15,051
Boone 672 182 109 398 19 1,380
Cabell 644 380 43 376 7 1,450
Kanawha 1,214 525 76 1,045 27 2,887
Lincoln 958 290 64 415 12 1,739
Logan       769 3 772
Mason 1,206 922 128 610 14 2,880
Mingo       410 0 410
Putnam 943 807 78 551 12 2,391
Wayne 737 53 21 291 9 1,111
District 5 Subtotal 6,374 3,159 519 4,865 103 15,020
Calhoun 698 653 63 295 7 1,716
Doddridge 659 627 38 241 3 1,568
Gilmer 800 694 76 311 7 1,888
Jackson 1,380 1,183 141 675 14 3,393
Pleasants 280 164 21 117 6 588
Ritchie 1,065 1,123 77 514 11 2,790
Roane 1,176 1,073 84 478 11 2,822
Tyler 566 542 38 258 5 1,409
Wirt 669 721 82 341 8 1,821
Wood 1,001 1,057 102 708 17 2,885
District 6 Subtotal 8,294 7,837 722 3,938 89 20,880
State Total 44,599 32,751 4,234 26,613 659 108,856

DNR seeks wildlife paintings for 2020 calendar

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is requesting original color wildlife paintings for the 2020 edition of the award-winning West Virginia Wildlife Calendar, according to DNR Wildlife Resources Section Chief Paul Johansen.

The deadline for submitting artwork is February 15, 2019.

Paintings may depict popular game and fish species or feature the state’s other wildlife such as snakes, frogs, turtles, salamanders, bats, songbirds, small mammals and nongame fish.

“This calendar offers a wonderful opportunity for artists to feature their work,“ said Johansen. “Besides distribution in West Virginia, our calendars are enjoyed by people all over the United States.“

An electronic image of each entry capable of being sized at 14½ inches wide by 11½ inches high at 300 dpi is preferred, although a high-quality print will be accepted. Artists may send in multiple entries.

Artists are reminded that the calendar format is horizontal, with measurements of 14 inches wide by 11 inches high, and they should keep this ratio in mind when creating paintings.

Paintings not chosen in previous years may be resubmitted. “Just because the artwork is not selected one year doesn’t mean it will not be selected in the future,“ said Johansen. “Often, there are several submissions of a particular species, and only one can be used in a given year.“

All artists, especially those from West Virginia, are encouraged to submit their work. A $200 prize is awarded for each painting chosen, with $500 going to the artist whose artwork is picked for the cover. Paintings are chosen based on overall composition and quality, along with anatomical and contextual accuracy. The quality of the electronic image or submitted print is very important for judging the artwork.

To obtain 2020 calendar art rules or to purchase a 2019 calendar, please contact the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Wildlife Calendar Art, P.O. Box 67, Elkins, WV 26241, phone 304.637.0245. Electronic images should be emailed to:  ‘Jessica.N.Swecker@wv.gov’.

West Virginia hunters harvest 2,606 black bears in 2018

The Free Press WV

West Virginia hunters harvested 2,606 black bears during the combined 2018 archery and firearms seasons. The preliminary harvest for the combined 2018 seasons is 18 percent below the 3,160 bears killed in 2017, but is the sixth highest bear kill recorded, according to Colin Carpenter, black bear project leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Hunters killed 637 bears during the first segment of the 2018 archery season (September 29 – November 18). Bow hunters killed 374 bears, while crossbow hunters took 263. The top five counties were McDowell (54), Wyoming (49), Fayette (34), Nicholas (33) and Boone (29).

Firearms hunters harvested 1,969 bears during 2018. Hunters took 565 bears in September and October, including 18 bears during the concurrent antlerless deer/bear season. They took 537 bears during the concurrent buck/bear firearms season and 866 during the traditional December season. One bear was killed in Preston County during the first Mountaineer Heritage Season (January 10 – 13, 2019). The top five counties were Pocahontas (166), Randolph (143), Nicholas (142), Pendleton (126) and Webster (125).

“When looking at all mast species combined, mast production in 2018 was 22 percent below mast production in 2017,” Carpenter said. “In addition, the mast index for all oak species in 2018 was 24 percent below the long-term average. Historically, a scarcity of mast makes bears easier for archers to target, but these conditions encourage earlier denning and makes fewer bears available for hunters during both the buck firearms and December bear firearms seasons.”

Red oak, black oak and scarlet oak production decreased 64 percent from levels recorded in 2017. White oak production was nearly identical to 2017 and 42 percent above the long-term average, while chestnut oak was 10 percent above the long-term average.

“The 2018 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook predicted an archery harvest similar to 2017 and a decreased December firearms harvest over the levels observed in 2017,” Carpenter said. “The prediction held true for both the archery and December seasons; however, the overall bear harvest was lower than 2017. The 2018 bear harvest declined during the September/October, buck firearms and December seasons, yet increased during the bow/crossbow season.”

2018 WEST VIRGINIA BLACK BEAR HARVEST
Bow September/October Buck December Mountaineer
County Crossbow Gun Gun Firearms Heritage Total
Barbour 15 2 14 8 0 39
Brooke 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hancock 0 0 1 0 0 1
Harrison 6 0 1 0 0 7
Marion 1 0 0 0 0 1
Marshall 0 0 0 0 0 0
Monongalia 3 0 4 1 0 8
Ohio 0 0 0 0 0 0
Preston 28 7 17 36 1 89
Taylor 8 0 3 0 0 11
Tucker 19 28 4 48 0 99
Wetzel 1 0 6 0 0 7
District 1 Subtotal 81 37 50 93 1 262
Berkeley 0 0 3 0 0 3
Grant 10 11 21 43 0 85
Hampshire 10 1 29 4 0 44
Hardy 10 23 23 57 0 113
Jefferson 4 1 2 0 0 7
Mineral 14 5 5 11 0 35
Morgan 4 0 1 1 0 6
Pendleton 13 50 17 59 0 139
District 2 Subtotal 65 91 101 175 0 432
Braxton 16 6 26 9 0 57
Clay 7 6 17 34 0 64
Lewis 10 0 6 3 0 19
Nicholas 33 40 28 74 0 175
Pocahontas 9 36 18 112 0 175
Randolph 26 55 16 72 0 169
Upshur 10 6 4 9 0 29
Webster 31 51 24 50 0 156
District 3 Subtotal 142 200 139 363 0 844
Fayette 34 15 40 17 0 106
Greenbrier 17 29 31 62 0 139
McDowell 54 30 7 14 0 105
Mercer 25 1 4 2 0 32
Monroe 21 13 26 15 0 75
Raleigh 27 20 23 5 0 75
Summers 20 1 10 2 0 33
Wyoming 49 27 6 16 0 98
District 4 Subtotal 247 136 147 133 0 663
Boone 29 30 37 26 0 122
Cabell 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kanawha 18 19 41 41 0 119
Lincoln 3 0 1 1 0 5
Logan 20 38 1 28 0 87
Mason 1 0 0 0 0 1
Mingo 18 14 0 6 0 38
Putnam 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wayne 1 0 0 0 0 1
District 5 Subtotal 90 101 80 102 0 373
Calhoun 2 0 1 0 0 3
Doddridge 0 0 0 0 0 0
Gilmer 5 0 8 0 0 13
Jackson 0 0 0 0 0 0
Pleasants 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ritchie 0 0 4 0 0 4
Roane 3 0 2 0 0 5
Tyler 0 0 2 0 0 2
Wirt 1 0 3 0 0 4
Wood 1 0 0 0 0 1
District 6 Subtotal 12 0 20 0 0 32
State Total 637 565 537 866 1 2606

Bears listed for Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties as “Buck Gun” are bow or crossbow kills from 11.19 - 12.02.

Bow/Crossbow refers to bears killed with a bow or crossbow from September 29, 2018 - November 18, 2018.  All other bow and crossbow kills have been separated based on the seasons in which they were killed.

September/October gun includes bears killed during concurrent antlerless deer/bear season 10.25 - 10.28 (18 bears).

West Virginia’s first Mountaineer Heritage Season is January 10-13

The Free Press WV

Big game hunters in West Virginia will have the opportunity to take part in the state’s first Mountaineer Heritage Season this week, which runs Thursday through Sunday, January 10-13.

During the four-day season, hunters may take a deer or a bear using only primitive weapons.

“This new season is a great opportunity to hunt in January and test your hunting skills,” said Division of Natural Resources Director Stephen McDaniel. “We’re calling it the Mountaineer Heritage Season because hunters may use only the types of rifles and bows that the original mountaineer settlers had available. At a time of year when hunting activity is usually slow, we hope this will encourage people to get outside and enjoy a hunting adventure without the aid of modern technology and that it will give them an understanding and appreciation for the historical significance of hunting in West Virginia.”

Because it is a new year, hunters are required to purchase a 2019 hunting license and stamps to participate in the Mountaineer Heritage Season. Bear hunters must buy a Bear Damage stamp, unless they hold a senior lifetime license or qualify for a free license. Hunting licenses and stamps can be purchased online at www.wvhunt.com, and at license agents or DNR district offices around the state.

During this season, hunters are restricted to using only long or recurve bows, or single-shot side lock or flintlock muzzle-loading rifles of .38 caliber or larger. Only long and recurve bows are legal in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties. Telescopic sights, in-line muzzleloaders, firearms that have been converted into a muzzleloader by use of a plug and double-barreled or swivel-barreled muzzleloaders are illegal during this season.

“This season was created because a large number of hunters have been requesting additional hunting opportunities in the new year, following the end of the traditional big game seasons in December,” said Paul Johansen, chief of the DNR Wildlife Resources Section.

During the season, hunters may take a bear or a deer of either sex. Hunters who took their limit of three bucks in the 2018 fall seasons may only take an antlerless deer. Hunters also are not permitted to hunt with a crossbow or compound bow, or to hunt bear with dogs. Hunters must wear a blaze orange outer garment of at least 400 square inches, except for those hunting in the bow-only counties. Hunters also are required to use their permanent DNR ID number to check their game at www.wvhunt.com, by calling 1.844.WVCHECK or at a hunting and fishing license agent. More details about this new season are available on page 33 in the 2018-19 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

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