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W.Va. deer season off to rousing start

November 24, 2008|By DAVE MCMILLION and MATTHEW UMSTEAD

EASTERN PANHANDLE, W.Va. -- Deer kill on the first day of West Virginia's two-week gun season for bucks was off to a rousing start in the Eastern Panhandle, with dozens of the animals taken to game-checking stations Monday.

When Jean Gilbert was asked how many deer were checked into the Country Roads General Store along W.Va. 51 in Middleway by early afternoon, she responded, "Oh, my goodness."

"I would say at least 25. I had three books going at one time here today," Gilbert said.

The largest deer checked in at the store was a 12-point, she said.

A worker at the Handi-Stop convenience store at the entrance to Tuscawilla Hills in Jefferson County said she was also kept busy with deer check-ins, although she did not have a number.

In Berkeley County, 85 deer were checked in at Shanghai Grocery store by about 4 p.m., owner Dorothy Snow said. Among the harvested were a 12-point and three or four 8-point bucks, Snow said. A number of the bucks had small racks but large bodies, Snow said.

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Butch Murphy, owner of Murphy's Shell in Hedgesville, said 60 deer were checked in at his business off W.Va. 9 by late Monday afternoon.

"Normally, it's over 100," Murphy said.

The largest buck checked in was a 13-point, Murphy said.

State officials and local farmers said deer in the two-county area have been large and plentiful, due mainly to the abundance of farm crops on which they feast.

The first day of deer season also brought tragedy across the state.

A 37-year-old man from San Antonio died after being overcome by carbon monoxide from a lantern inside a trailer he and another hunter were using.

Wetzel County Sheriff James Hoskins said the man's 38-year-old hunting partner from Pennsylvania was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment. The men, whose names were being withheld pending family notifications, were hunting in the area of Four Mile near Pine Grove, W.Va.

A 70-year-old man was killed after flipping his all-terrain vehicle, which rolled on top of him, according to state Division of Natural Resources spokesman Hoy Murphy.

In Marshall County, a hunter died in the woods, likely of natural causes, Sheriff John Gruzinskas said.

Four people were injured. Three hunters were overcome by fumes inside a camper and were treated at a hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, a 13-year-old hunter accidentally shot himself in the arm while hunting in Clay County, Murphy said.

The season runs through Dec. 6. State officials are expecting more than 300,000 hunters to participate during the two-week season.

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