Two-week deer season quickly approaching

The traditional West Virginia two-week deer buck gun season will come in on Monday, Nov. 19 and will run until Dec. 1.

Running concurrently with this deer season will be the antlerless firearms season in all counties or parts of counties having an antlerless season. This includes all of Randolph County.

Hunters need to keep in mind that all antlerless deer hunters must have a Class N or NN stamp along with a base hunting license unless the resident hunter is hunting on their own land. Non-resident hunters must have a non-resident license even if they are hunting on their own land.

In Randolph County, only one antlerless deer can be taken with a firearm on a Class N or NN stamp. I reported in my last column that I got a Division of Natural Resources permit to participate in the limited antlerless deer hunt in Kumbrabow State Forest in 2018. I just hope that I will be able to use that permit to hunt in that location.

Most people will agree that this region of West Virginia has received a considerable amount of rain for this year. I was in the National forest on Files Creek last month. In the low areas of an old logging road, water was standing anywhere from four to six inches deep. Wading through this made me feel like I was back in the bogs and swamps of Mississippi when I was going through Naval Seabee Field training. This bit of military training was being conducted by non-commissioned officers of the United States Marine Corps. That was in the fall of 1968, or 50 years ago.

During the two weeks of the buck gun season, the DNR estimates that 200,000 to 225,000 hunters will be going after that great deer with antlers. I hope to be among these numbers. Other hunters are telling me that they have not seen the number of deer like they are seeing this year for several years. If this is the case, there should be several happy hunters dragging venison out of the woods this fall.

The seasoned whitetail hunter knows they cannot consistently take a big buck each year. The last high quality buck I got was back in 2010. That rack scored 108 Boone & Crockett points. I have another buck that is on the wall of Beanders Due North that scored 123 Boone & Crockett points. That deer was taken in 2001 on Thanksgiving day at about 3:00 in the afternoon. The outdoor temperature was in the mid-sixties. When I downed that deer the only thing I had on my mind was getting all of the venison some place where it was cold, and quickly.

There are still many hunters throughout the state who are totally opposed to harvesting antlerless (doe) deer. They often say “shooting a doe is absolutely nothing to brag about”. From my own experience, I have found that the venison from a doe is better tasting than the venison from a buck. A doe will usually have more fatty tissue on the flesh than a buck. Like most Herefords here is where the flavor comes from.

West Virginia appears to have an abundance of whitetails this year. To have a good number of trophy bucks, a large number of antlerless deer will have to be harvested this year and maybe next year. While getting a big buck is all right, I don’t feel one bit ashamed in harvesting a large doe.

It was back in 1994 when I went antlerless hunting in the McClintic Wildlife Management area in Mason County. I had an aunt who lived in Point Pleasant and she enjoyed having me come down during this season. On the opening day of the antlerless season I got a large doe that weighed around 140 pounds after being field dressed.

The McClintic WMA is now among the DNR’s older-aged deer management areas. When a hunter takes a buck out of this location, it must have a minimum outside antler spread of at least 14 inches (ear tip to ear tip). I would like for the DNR to make Kanawha and Kumbrabow into older-aged deer management areas. Other people who are wildlife biologists also think this is a good idea.

The attitude about taking a doe is not as good as taking a buck is plain nonsense. I, for one, am not bothered by that macho belief. To have more trophy bucks, more antlerless deer are going to have to be removed on a percentage basis.

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