WV Wildlife: Buck Firearms Season

Hunters must wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange in the woods. (WCHS/WVAH)

It's back.

The most popular hunt in our state--Buck Firearms Season.

And we should be thankful that we can enjoy this outdoor event, because that wasn’t always the case.

"The fact that we can have a statewide white-tailed deer hunting season is one of our biggest, not just in West Virginia--but everywhere--one of the biggest wildlife management success stories that we have", said Colin Carpenter, Black Bear Project Leader and a Wildlife Biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

50 years ago, white-tailed deer populations were greatly diminished due to overhunting and habitat loss.

Now, the West Virginia deer herd is thriving—and a good amount of thanks can actually go to the hunters.

“Hunters play a vital role for a lot of things. For conservation, especially because they do provide the funding mechanism that allows us to do our jobs to conserve all wildlife—not just deer. At the same time, they play a pivotal role in managing that deer herd to keep deer healthy”, said Carpenter.

An overpopulated deer herd would actually be more harmful than good.

Carpenter says that this year’s harvest should be pretty good due to a high amount of white oak acorns and the timing of the breeding season.

"Seems like our rut is a little bit delayed this year, and the fact that we have an early open this year-- hunters could see some good rutting activity that first week of buck firearms season".

The best advice before you try your luck out? Just be prepared, and if you succeed--make sure the harvest helps you or someone else out.

"I would encourage hunters to pick up a copy of our 2018 and 2019 hunting and trapping regulations summary. In the very front of it, we have a summary of all the changes that happened from last year. If folks have deer meat, or have a deer that they don't need for themselves--we encourage them to check out our website and look at our hunters helping the hungry processors and donate that animal", said Carpenter.

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