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Experiencing
the Outdoors

by Cory Boothe

     

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West Virginia’s big game season is drawing to a close. The numbers are in for Calhoun County’s firearm buck kill. Hunters harvested 1,264 antlered deer during the two-week firearm season in our 281 square miles. This averages out to 4.5 bucks harvested per square mile or a buck per 147 acres.

West Virginia Dept. of Natural Resources claims that 55% of the firearms harvest is during the first two days of season. Opening day of gun season brought downpours from around 10 a.m. on through the rest of the day. Undoubtedly, this saved the life of many a buck deer. If these deer made it through the season, we will have many two and a half year old bucks next year. It is at this age that they can start to produce better headgear.

Overall, hunters in the state harvested 66,851 bucks this year, down 362 from the 2007 harvest. I look for the deer harvest to remain near this number in upcoming years. Rightfully so, I believe, the DNR is trying to get away from the high deer numbers of the late 1990’s. With less deer, whitetails have less competition for available nutrition. This equates to larger body weights and increased antler size.

One positive contribution of less deer is a more defined rutting period. With less does, bucks have to actively search for a mate. This increases the odds of being spotted by the awaiting hunter, and also increases the amount of rubs and scrapes in the woods, along with fighting for rights of dominance.

That brings me to my point. Please contribute to the antlerless harvest. Hunters in Calhoun still have from Dec. 24-27 to harvest a doe. Remember, the antlerless limit in Calhoun is one doe. Don’t forget your Class N stamp. They can be purchased at any license agent for $10.

At one time it was believed to be a sin to harvest a doe. I hope this misconception falls away. It might have applied back in the early years of deer hunting when populations were low; however, it is no longer the case. I believe if hunters in West Virginia would harvest more does and less small bucks, we would see a great difference in our antlered population.

Do you agree? Disagree? Feel free to contact me at Coryboothe@verizon.net. Be safe and hunt hard.

(Editor’s Note: Cory is the son of Ronzel and Karen Boothe of Russett. He is a 1996 graduate of Calhoun County High School and is a teacher at Meadow Bridge Elementary, Fayette County. He resides near Summersville.)

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