W.Va. hunters harvest over 99,000 deer during 2019-20 seasons

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SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDTV)-- Hunters harvested 99,437 white-tailed deer in West Virginia during the 2019-20 seasons, preliminary counts indicate.

According to a news release from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, the harvest was 9 percent below the 2018 harvest of 108,856 deer, and 13 percent below the five-year average of 114,520 deer.

DNR officials say a breakdown of the seasons reveals 36,472 bucks were harvested during buck firearm season, 28,336 antlerless deer were killed during all antlerless firearm season, 29,508 deer were killed by bows and crossbows, 4,522 deer were taken by muzzleloader hunters and 599 deer were taken with primitive bow and muzzleloader weapons during Mountaineer Heritage season in January.

The 2019 antlerless deer harvest was 13 percent less than the 2018 season of 32,571, DNR officials said. It was also 21 percent below the five-year average of just over 36,000.

“It is important to note that the antlerless harvest is the key component to any deer management strategy, as it controls the future deer population,” said Paul Johansen, chief of the Wildlife Resources Section.

The top 10 counties were for antlerless season were:

Preston (1,663)
Upshur (1,196)
Ritchie (1,108)
Lewis (1,075)
Hampshire (966)
Roane (940)
Monroe (938)
Jackson (907)
Barbour (873)
Wood (866)

The 2019 muzzleloader season, which does not include 570 deer taken with side-lock and flintlock muzzleloaders in the Mountaineer Heritage season, was 7 percent more than the 2018 harvest of 4,234 deer, but 7 percent below the five-year average of 4,839, DNR officials said.

The top 10 counties were for muzzleloader season:

Preston (235)
Randolph (234)
Nicholas (173)
Braxton (165)
Upshur (150)
Jackson (146)
Fayette (145)
Greenbrier (139)
Webster (137)
Lewis (120)

The bow and crossbow harvest, which doesn't include 29 recurve and longbow deer harvested in the Mountaineer Heritage season, was 11 percent more than the 2018 harvest season of over 26,613 and 10 percent above the five-year average of 26,833, DNR officials said.

The top 10 counties for bow and crossbow were:

Preston (1,680)
Randolph (1,139)
Kanawha (998)
Raleigh (979)
Wyoming (969)
Upshur (947)
Fayette (897)
Mercer (763)
Nicholas (743)
Wood (714)

DNR will hold 12 public across the state on March 16 and 17 to gather comments on fall 2020 antlerless deer hunting seasons in each of the 51 counties where firearms deer hunting is permitted. You can find locations for the meetings in related documents (right on desktop, below on mobile)