Many municipalities throughout West Virginia are experiencing problems with having too many deer living within or near their city limits.
Deer vehicle collisions, along with damage to ornamental shrubs and gardens, are on the rise due to increasing deer populations.
Any incorporated city, town, or village is eligible to participate in special urban deer archery hunts by following certain state legislative rules.
Wildlife biologists and Natural Resources Police Officers within the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources are available to help any municipality through the process of implementing such a hunt.
Most cities that have chosen to implement an archery hunt do so by special ordinances and rules. Some examples cities have chose to have are as follows:
n Removal of ordinances regarding illegal projectiles.
n Require special permission from landowners.
n Establish certain hunting zones.
n Require bowhunter education class attendance.
n Issue permits to participate in the hunt.
n Charge administrative fees.
Naturally, all DNR hunting regulations governing hunting will apply to those special hunts.
Last year, 12 cities (Barboursville, Bethlehem, Bridgeport, Charleston, Harper Ferry, Harrisville, Morgantown, North Hills, Parkersburg, Ronceverte, Weirton and Wheeling) had an urban deer archery season. The total harvest from these special hunts was 713 deer.
This past week, I had the opportunity to talk with the liaison for the Morgantown Urban Archery Deer Hunt. This hunt ran from Sept. 8 to Dec. 3.
Approximately 65 hunters participated on 14 tracks of land within the city limits. These were city parks, private parcels, and West Virginia University properties.
A total of 118 deer were harvested: 62 of these deer were donated to a local meat processor and paid for by the city. These 62 deer yielded over 1,600 pounds of fresh ground venison that was distributed to local food shelters, soup kitchens and other charitable agencies within the city.
I wonder if any of this venison went to a homeless shelter.
It was about 15 years ago when I tried to donate some venison to the homeless shelter in Elkins, and the manager refused to accept it because it was not government-inspected meat.
During the Morgantown Urban Deer Hunt last year, there were no hunting accidents or incidents that created any problems.
The 2013 Morgantown deer hunt is scheduled for Sept. 7 through Dec. 31.
Archery deer hunters need to keep in mind that up to seven deer may be taken during these special hunts, and these are all bonus deer. They do not count toward the regular archery deer season bag limit.
I know for the past two or three years, Buckhannon has considered having an urban deer hunt; but the city council has not approved it. The city of South Charleston is moving toward establishing an urban deer hunt that will be similar to the hunt that has been held for several years in Charleston.
Several people in this area have told me that Elkins needs to have an urban deer hunt.
It was about two years ago I talked with some of the city council members who were in favor of this idea.
If enough people, who are residents of the city, would like to have an urban deer hunt, they need to start talking to their city council representatives and attend the regularly scheduled council meetings.