Last year, I emphasized that the publication of West Virginia Big Game Bulletin was possible from revenues from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. This is a service from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources that has not been appreciated by the sportsmen and sportswomen in this state.
This past hunting season, there are some interesting figures and news about the various big-game hunting seasons from 2007.
The total black bear harvest for 2007 was 1,804, which is a record high. In Randolph County, 74 bears were taken by bow hunters and 141 by gun hunters, for 215. Randolph was the leading county in both categories for 2007.
The total spring gobblers harvested in 2007 was 9,965. This is down about 15 percent from the 2006 harvest of 11,735. The kill in Randolph was 170. This was close to the kill in 2006, which was 176. The leading county in West Virginia was Mason with 407. Other counties that might be of local interest were as follows: Barbour ,177; Tucker, 83; Grant, 144; Pendleton, 140; Pocahontas, 127; Lewis, 245; and Upshur, 212.
The total fall harvest was 1,515, which was 27 percent higher than the 2006 fall kill of 1,186. With the mild winter we had this year, I think that the 2008 spring gobbler and fall seasons should be favorable providing we get a good fall mast crop.
The state seems to be having some problems with the yearly wild boar season. The wild pig harvest this year was the fourth consecutive yearly increase over the past season. Hunters took 22 wild hogs in 2007, with bow hunters taking 15 and gun hunters 7. This is nowhere near the record harvest at 158 set in 1995. I do have to agree with the wildlife biologists the reason for the decline is because of the large scale logging and surface mining operations currently going on in that part of the state.
The 2008 deer-hunting season looks favorable despite what some outspoken critics may think. We all know the number of deer is down from what it was 10-15 years ago. I don’t think the reason for the decline is because the animals have been over-hunted. There are other factors to be taken into consideration such as coyotes, diseases, and mast distribution. I don’t think Randolph County has had an outstanding mast crop for deer in the past five years.
Go to www.wvdnr.gov to take a look at the annual Big Game Bulletin, showing the deer harvest from each type of season in 2007 for each county and biological district.
Copies of the Big Game Bulletin are also available at the Elkins Operations Center on Ward Road.