Applications for the 2012 limited antlerless deer season are now available. This year, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will have limited antlerless deer hunting on three wildlife management areas, the national forest in Tucker County, and five counties or portions thereof.
The three WMAs and the number of permits to be given out for each area are as follows: Calvin Price State Forest in Pocahontas County - 100 permits; Elk River in Braxton County - 200 permits; and Upper Mud River in Lincoln County - 50 permits. The DNR will also issue 300 permits for the national forest in Tucker County.
The individual counties, along with the number of permits the DNR will give out, include: Clay (North of Elk River) - 300 permits; Fayette (Eastern portion) - 200 permits; Nicholas (East of U.S. Route 19) - 200 permits; Pocahontas (private land) - 400 permits; and all of Webster County - 400 permits.
Curtis I. Taylor, WVDNR chief of the Wildlife Resources Section, said, "These limited permit areas provide antlerless deer hunting opportunities in counties or areas of the state where wildlife biologists have determined that limited numbers of antlerless deer permits are necessary to meet management objectives."
This year, the state antlerless deer gun season will be in four segments: Oct. 25 through 27, on private land only; Nov. 19 through Dec. 1, Dec. 13 through 15, and Dec. 28 through 31, on private and public land. I have already talked to a few deer hunters who are expressing disapproval of this setup. Right now, I will hold back any criticism I might have because it's like what I have said in past columns, the game biologists appear to know what they are doing.
Hunters need to remember, if they take an antlerless deer in Randolph County on a Class N license in the October season, they will have to go to another county to continue antlerless deer gun hunting using a modern or cartridge-type firearm. The season bag limit for Randolph County is one antlerless deer. They also need to remember that all public land in Randolph County is closed to antlerless gun hunting. I emphasized this in last week's column.
The muzzleloader deer season will run from Dec. 3 through Dec. 8. In Randolph County, public land will be restricted to antlered deer (bucks) only. However, on private land, a deer of either sex may be taken on a valid base license, license combination, free license, or by a resident landowner hunting on their own land. One additional deer of either sex may be taken on a Class RM or RRM stamp, or by a resident landowner using that privilege. The Class RM or RMM stamps must be purchased prior to the muzzleloading. I cannot argue that the way the DNR conducts some of these various antlerless seasons statewide can be confusing, which is good reason to study the latest regulations.
Last week, I stated that the 2012 Hunting and Trapping Regulations are now out. All hunters in this area need to study the changes the DNR is implementing to where they are fully understood.
I have to openly admit that I will not be hunting during the muzzleloader season, mainly because I don't have a muzzleloading rifle. I have never had any interest in this type of firearm.
I remember a few years ago, on a Thanksgiving morning, when I ran into a well-known game biologist in the national forest who was hunting with a muzzleloading cap and ball type rifle. As far as this person was concerned, muzzleloading rifles were the only way to deer hunt.
Chances are, I will most likely be putting in my application for the national forest in Tucker County as my first choice. If I make a second choice, it will most likely be Cal Price State Forest. I have never hunted in this area, but I always enjoy seeing new country.