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Outdoors - Weather affects deer kill totals

November 28, 2004|by BILL ANDERSON

The factor that most affects the kill totals during deer season is the weather. Late November in this part of the country can feature almost any kind of weather. This past Monday and Tuesday were not very good hunting days in much of the state. It was quite warm, and many areas had periods of rain and, even worse, heavy fog. Visibility was very poor, and as a result, it appears the kill for opening week will be down in many areas.

At the time of this writing, there was no word from the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources on the early totals, but a quick phone poll of key checking stations I have worked with for years indicates that the total from the first three days was down from that of the last few years. With much better weather in the later part of the week, things may have evened out, which is often the case. No one doubts that the deer are there.

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If you are familiar with West Virginia deer hunting, you know that concurrent hunting for antlerless deer is legal this year in the 51 counties (or parts of counties) open during the two-week firearms season. The DNR insists that this is not a hunter's choice season, because you must purchase an antlerless stamp (Class N) to take a doe during the regular firearms season.

That distinction has always been lost on me, because (assuming you have the proper tags) you can indeed take either a buck or an antlerless deer. Seems like a choice to me.

Generally speaking, I have nothing but the highest regard for the West Virginia DNR. They are very professional in the way they manage the state's wildlife resources. After more than 25 years covering outdoors issues in Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, I have also found West Virginia officials to be less influenced by political meddling than those in Maryland or Pennsylvania.

But the West Virginia DNR is wrong in the way they discriminate against hunters who hunt deer on public lands. Specifically, the regulations that do not allow concurrent hunting for antlerless deer (in counties where it is legal on public lands) and the regulations that allow Sunday hunting in certain counties on private lands, but not on public lands, are arbitrary and discriminatory. They defy logic. They are wrong.

Many hunters - residents and non-residents - have called and e-mailed to complain about the regulations for public land deer hunting in West Virginia. My advice to them is to complain often and loudly to the West Virginia DNR, to the Governor's office and to their state representatives.

West Virginia is blessed with thousands of acres of prime public hunting lands - State Wildlife Management Areas and National Forest Lands. Separate regulations for public land deer hunting are simply not acceptable.




Bill Anderson writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached by e-mail at banderson@weekend-sportsman.com

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