SOUTH CHARLESTON — Hunters in West Virginia harvested 38,776 antlered deer during the two-week buck firearms season, according to preliminary data collected through the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources’ (WVDNR) electronic game checking system.
The 2020 buck harvest was six percent higher than the harvest in 2019, when hunters took 36,796 bucks. The top 10 counties by harvest are Preston (1,469), Randolph (1,428), Hampshire (1,380), Greenbrier (1,317), Pendleton (1,296), Hardy (1,169), Braxton (1,089), Grant (1,088), Pocahontas (1,082), and Jackson (1,063).
In Mason County, 1,002 bucks were harvested in the 2020 firearm season, which ran from Nov. 23 through Dec. 6. The 2020 total was up from the 742 bucks harvested in the county in 2019.
“It’s been a good year for deer hunting in West Virginia and these preliminary numbers for the buck season harvest are really encouraging,” said Gary Foster, assistant chief of game management for the WVDNR.
Buck harvests in West Virginia’s north central region, eastern panhandle and in southwestern counties saw increases of nine percent, 17 percent and 43 percent, respectively. Excellent harvests in these regions offset declines in the state’s central mountain region and western and southeastern counties, where the harvest decreased by two percent, five percent and seven percent, respectively.
Deer hunters still have a few days to hunt this year. The deer archery and crossbow seasons run through Dec. 31. The Class N/NN antlerless deer season will then reopen on Dec. 28-31 in select counties or portions thereof. The Mountaineer Heritage season will be open from Jan. 14-17, 2021.
In the Mountaineer Heritage season, hunters can harvest deer or bear. WVDRN says one either sex deer and one black bear “may be taken with a percussion side lock rifle or pistol, flintlock rifle or pistol, long bow or recurve bow.”
“The Mountaineer Heritage Season is open statewide, but only long and recurve bows are legal in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties during this season,” WVDRN states in the hunting regulations.
Hunters must have a 2021 hunting license to hunt during the Moutaineer Season.
To learn more about hunting opportunities in West Virginia, check the 2020-21 West Virginia Hunting Regulations or visit wvdnr.gov.
Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham contributed to this report.