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Bountiful first day for W.Va. deer hunters

November 21, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

EASTERN PANHANDLE, W.Va. - Bountiful and hefty in size.

That was how some hunters described deer populations Monday in the Eastern Panhandle during the first day of the two-week, bucks-only gun season.

Despite predictions that deer could be spread out and less visible in open fields this deer season, some local hunters saw large numbers of deer and harvested animals that were stocky and fat.

Farming areas in the Eastern Panhandle where deer can feed on food like corn is known for producing large deer.

"I got plenty to eat this year," said Harry Dinterman Sr., as he looked over the buck he killed on private property in the Jefferson County community of Middleway, W.Va.

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"He's all fat," said Dinterman, showing the layers of fat in the deer's belly.

Dinterman said the property he hunts on is made up of cedar tree groves and he killed a six-point buck there last year.

The buck Dinterman killed Monday, which he estimated to be about 150 pounds, was walking with six does when it appeared from a patch of woods.

Daniel Stotler of Charles Town, W.Va., said he saw about 20 deer Monday morning while hunting in the Shannondale Springs Wildlife Management area on the Blue Ridge Mountain in Jefferson County.

The buck Stotler picked out was following five does when he shot the animal about 7 a.m. When he got up to the spike deer, he noticed it had already been shot by someone else and was apparently running away when Stotler spotted it.

Stotler said he could hear people shooting all around him during his morning hunt.

At the Blue Ridge Grocery store along W.Va. 9 on the Blue Ridge Mountain, about 16 deer were checked in as of 1:40 p.m., which store employee Stephanie Somers considered a good number for that time of day.

The largest deer which was brought to the store as of that time was an 11-point buck, Somers said.

Somers said the first deer checked in at the store was killed by a boy and it was the first deer he had shot.

"I got all excited for him," Somers said.

At the Shanghai Grocery store in Berkeley County, about 60 deer were checked in by mid-afternoon Monday, which is about normal, store owner Dorothy Snow said.

"We'll probably check in 50 more," Snow said.

Snow said hunters reported seeing many animals and the ones being brought in were large.

Snow said she went hunting about 8 a.m. in the Jones Springs area and saw about eight deer, although they were too far away to shoot.

Snow said she planned to go back out today.

While some hunters saw plenty of deer, others weren't so lucky and said it took a long time before they saw any animals.

At Spark's Sport Center, a popular hunting supply store in Martinsburg, W.Va., 58 deer had been checked in as of late Monday afternoon, store employee Gloria Minnick said.

Store owner Dick Pharr estimated Sunday that his shop might check in as many as 100 deer on Monday.

Minnick said some hunters commented that they did not see many animals Monday. Whether hunters saw deer seemed to depend on where they were and what time of the day it was, Minnick said.

State wildlife officials are expecting a slightly higher deer kill this year given the abundance of food for the animals. Last year, 56,901 bucks were killed, according to the state Division of Natural Resources.

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