Deer

PRINCETON — Good weather Monday helped to get this year’s firearm buck season off to a good start, an official with the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources said.

West Virginia’s buck fire season, which kicked off Monday, continues until Dec. 2. The season’s first day gave hunters heading into the woods sunny skies and good temperatures. The forecast of the Bluefield area had a high temperature of 61 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va.

“Well, weather wise, it looks like it was definitely a good day,” Assistant Chief of Game Management Gary Foster said. “It looks like it’s going to be another good day as well. That’s pretty important on the first days of the buck season because that affects hunter participation.”

State DNR officials did not have preliminary estimates of the deer harvested Monday, but no injuries were reported.

“I would anticipate a good harvest the first couple of days of the season,” Foster said. “It’s a little early for the numbers to be coming in. A lot of the animals that have been harvested haven’t been checked today.”

Many hunters now check in their bucks over the telephone or the internet.

“We went to an electronic game-checking system in 2015,” Foster stated. “So they can check them by telephone, they can check-in by internet, go to our website or they can go to a license agent – a physical business – and check in their game there as well. Right now there’s still a lot of hunters out in the woods that have not made it back to their vehicles. They’ll go home, eat a little dinner, and check-in their animals for the day.”

Harvested deer can be checked in through a fishing and hunting license agent, online at wvhunt.com or call 1-844-wvcheck.

In 2016, 46,071 antlered bucks were harvested during the traditional bucks-only firearm season. Foster said after consulting DNR records that about 45,000 were harvested last year.

Foster said firearm deer season does not take place in the southern West Virginia counties of McDowell, Mingo, Logan and Wyoming. Hunters who want to donate deer meat or money to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program, which distributes deer meat through the Mountaineer Food Bank and the Facing Hunger Food Bank, should call 304-924-6211 or visit the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov to find a participating meat processor.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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