By DARLENE J. SWIGER
The Exponent Telegram
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The opening of the state’s archery deer season is Sept. 30, and buck firearms season is Nov. 20 to Dec. 2, with hunters busy making preparations.
Several important changes in the state’s fall hunting seasons for deer, black bear and wild turkey are included in the new 2017–18 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, according to the Division of Natural Resources.
The publication is now available at all West Virginia hunting and fishing license agents and DNR district offices, as well as the DNR Elkins and South Charleston offices. It also is available online at www.wvdnr.gov.
All deer harvested by hunters Nov. 20–21 in Hampshire, Mason and Upshur counties are required to be brought to a designated Biological Game Examination Station. Refer to the 2017–18 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary brochure for the Biological Game Examination Station locations in those counties.
“We do this to collect biological data for management purposes,” DNR Supervisor of Game Management Services Chris Ryan said. “Those are some of the long-term counties we’ve used to monitor population, age structure and antler points. It basically gives us a good picture of the age structure in the counties.”
Changes since the publication was issued are that Boone, Fayette, Kanawha and Raleigh counties are open for concurrent buck deer and bear hunting during the buck firearms season Nov. 20–Dec. 2. No prior application is required, and hunters may participate with the appropriate hunting license and a bear damage stamp.
“One of the main things hunters should be aware of is the mast publication or food conditions report will be out around the first of October. Hunters really need to pay attention to the mast conditions this year,” Ryan said. “It appears from preliminary reports that white oak acorns show a very good crop. Hunters need to scout their locations to be effective in harvesting an animal. When there’s very good white oak conditions, it spreads the animals across the landscape, rather than being more concentrated, making them more difficult to locate.”
The other change deals with deer hunting on McClintic Wildlife Management Area in Mason County. The annual bag limit for antlered deer on the area is one deer, not three. The antlerless season bag limit is three, instead of one.
Meanwhile, local shops are busy preparing for the upcoming seasons.
“But with the season approaching, we are planning to increase the amount of products that we have,” Manager Rusty Nicholson said. “I am working with the company vendors to see what items they will be able to provide for the first hunting season since the store has opened.”
Southern States, Clarksburg, stocks some items year-round for hunters and also carries custom mixes that the DNR recommends annually for attractant.
“We carry a wide variety of boots, deer blocks and feeder corn all the time, along with turnip seeds and cover plots to attract deer,” employee Millie Hudnall-Snider said. “Deer feeders are very popular, along with Whitetail Imperial deer feed. We ramp up flavors and types this time of year for the hunters.”
See more from The Exponent Telegram