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Deer season starts Monday in W.Va.

November 16, 2000

Deer season starts Monday in W.Va.



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia's thriving deer population is once again making for an attractive hunting season this year.

Because of the state's heavy deer population, hunters in 33 counties - including Morgan and Hampshire counties in the Eastern Panhandle - will be able to kill two deer during buck season, which opens Monday.

The limit was similar to last year's in an attempt to thin deer herds.

"This is a good time for people to fill their freezer," said Scott Warner, a biologist for the state Department of Natural Resources.

Buck season runs from Monday to Dec. 2. From Monday to Nov. 25, hunters in the 33 designated counties can also bag an antlerless deer if they have a Class N license, Warner said.

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Hunters can kill more than two deer if they wish. There are a number of different stamps and licenses hunters can obtain, which can allow them to kill up to 8 deer, said DNR Sgt. Jerry Jenkins, who oversees DNR officers in the Eastern Panhandle.

Deer season is big business in West Virginia.

An estimated 350,000 hunters are expected to take to the woods during buck season. They are expected to pump $248 million into the state's economy through gun sales, purchase of supplies and other purchases, Warner said.

The state's deer herd stands at about 800,000, DNR officials said.

Last year, 90,105 bucks were killed statewide, Warner said. That was an increase of 19 percent over the number that were killed in 1998, but 12 percent less than the state record kill of 102,484 in 1997, Warner said.

About 2,287 deer were killed in the Eastern Panhandle last year.

Compared to last year's opening day, when temperatures were in the 70s, Monday's weather could be much different, which could play an important role in hunting, Warner said.

If temperatures are colder, hunters typically move around in the woods more, which in turn stirs up deer and makes them more likely to be spotted by hunters, Warner said.

Chances for a successful hunt are better if it snows because hunters can see deer better, Warner said.

The forecast for the Eastern Panhandle Monday calls for a chance of rain or snow, then clearing with lows in the 30s and highs in the low 40s, said Jim Decarufel, a meterologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

If there is snowfall, it is likely to be limited to mountainous areas, Decarufel said.

"It's going to be moving real quick," Decarufel said.

There have been a lot of hunters in the Eastern Panhandle area scouting favorite hunting spots getting ready for Monday, said Jenkins.

"I've heard hunters saying there are a lot of bucks, and a lot of nice bucks," Jenkins said.

Maryland's buck season begins Nov. 25 and Pennsylvania's begins Nov. 27.

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