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Outdoors - No spikes in this year's antlered deer total

December 09, 2007|By BILL ANDERSON

The preliminary totals for West Virginia's two-week firearms buck season are proving one thing.

The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same.

The numbers for this fall are 66,570 antlered deer harvested from Nov. 19 to Dec. 1, compared to 65,841 in 2006. The DNR reports 29 counties showed an increase this year, while 22 counties were down from 2006.

DNR officials said local outbreaks of hemorrhagic disease may have been a contributing factor in the decreased harvest in some of the counties. One positive was that the weather for much of the two-week period was generally good, which is always a major factor.

If you're interested in trends, take a look at the 2001-07 West Virginia buck harvest totals.

· 2001 - 99,375

· 2002 - 96,555

· 2003 - 73,128

· 2004 - 63,873

· 2005 - 56,901

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· 2006 - 65,841

· 2007 - 66,570

The numbers for 2004-07 are pretty close to identical and apparently about where the DNR wants them to be. All indications are the aggressive antlerless deer regulations will continue in an attempt to keep the statewide herd level near where it is now.

Some will agree with the current deer management approach while some long for the good old days when a buck harvest of more than 90,000 was possible. But if you look at the buck kill numbers from 2004-07, it's pretty obvious that a kill of more than 90,000 is not likely in the near future.

Hampshire County, always one of the top deer counties in the state, is back as a leading county this year. Last year, Hampshire wasn't in the top 10 counties. Most attribute it to the CWD scare in the county and reduced hunting pressure last year.

The top counties for the 2007 season were Preston (2,323 bucks), Hampshire (2,231), Greenbrier (2,215) and Hardy (2,104).

Locally, Berkeley County recorded 892 bucks, down from 924 last season. Morgan County recorded 988 bucks, compared to 845 last season, and Jefferson recorded 643 bucks, compared to 713 last season.

It proves two of three Eastern Panhandle counties suffered down years.




Bill Anderson may be contacted via e-mail at bill@weekend-sportsman.com


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