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lots of deer in yard

“Preliminary counts of deer registered with the new electronic game checking process indicate West Virginia hunters harvested 138,493 white-tailed deer during the recently completed bucks-only, antlerless, muzzleloader, archery, crossbow and youth/Class Q/Class XS deer seasons, according to Division of Natural Resources Director Bob Fala.” [Full press release via after the jump]  Now imagine what would happen in America’s hunters didn’t harvest the U.S, deer population — and share that opinion with anyone who’s against hunting . . .

West Virginia -( Preliminary counts of deer registered with the new electronic game checking process indicate West Virginia hunters harvested 138,493 white-tailed deer during the recently completed bucks-only, antlerless, muzzleloader, archery, crossbow and youth/Class Q/Class XS deer seasons, according to Division of Natural Resources Director Bob Fala.

This year’s harvest was 32 percent higher than the 2014 deer harvest of 104,707 and 10 percent above the 5-year average of 126,067.

A breakdown of the combined 2015 deer seasons reveals 60,814 bucks harvested during the traditional buck firearm season, 39,853 antlerless deer taken during all antlerless firearm hunting opportunities, 32,540 deer harvested by bows and crossbows, 5,179 deer taken by muzzleloader hunters, and 107 deer taken but with an unknown season assignment.

Antlerless Deer Season
The 2015 antlerless deer season harvest of 39,853, which includes the youth/Class Q/Class XS deer season, was 1 percent more than in 2014 and 8 percent below the 5-year average of 43,188.

“It is important to note that the antlerless harvest is the key component to any deer management strategy, as it controls the future deer population,” said Director Fala.

In 2015, all or portions of 47 of the 55 counties were open to antlerless firearms season for hunters to harvest one to three antlerless deer depending on the county. Next year, antlerless deer hunting opportunity will depend on the need to increase, decrease or stabilize deer populations in each of the 51 counties where firearms deer hunting is permitted.

The top 10 counties are: Lewis (1,753), Ritchie (1,622), Mason (1,593), Jackson (1,521), Roane (1,514), Preston (1,437), Wood (1,436), Upshur (1,271), Hampshire (1,240) and Harrison (1,228).

Muzzleloader Deer Season
The 2015 muzzleloader harvest of 5,179 was 6.5 percent less than the 2014 harvest of 5,543, and 21.5 percent below the 5-year average of 6,603. The top 10 counties are: Nicholas (265), Randolph (203), Braxton (189), Fayette (183), Jackson (183), Preston (182), Ritchie (167), Lewis (165), Lincoln (159) and Upshur (155).

Archery and Crossbow Deer Seasons
The bow and crossbow hunters’ take of 32,540 deer was 46 percent more than the 2014 archery season harvest of 22,281, 28 percent above the 5-year average archery season harvest of 25,481.

Archery harvests are correlated to hard mast crops. The above-average acorn crop in 2014, followed by a below-average acorn crop in 2015, likely contributed to the higher 2015 harvest and played a factor in the low harvest in 2014.

“Although there were no additions to a hunter’s bag limit with the addition of the crossbow season, undoubtingly the rise in harvest reflected the use of crossbows, which probably increased hunter participation and success in some counties,” Fala said.
Crossbows accounted for 37 percent of the total harvest for the archery and crossbow seasons combined. The top 10 counties are: Preston (1,415), Kanawha (1,069), Wyoming (1,039), Raleigh (1,032), Logan (924), Randolph (921), Wood (909), Upshur (906), Mercer (817) and Fayette (801).

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  1. Sheesh. 140,000 just in WV? One of you hunters figure that out for me, how many tons of edible meat is that, in one state, in one year? That’s amazing.

    • 24,000 square miles.

      5 per square mile, if evenly distributed, and they aren’t.

      The woods there are packed full of deer…

    • Roughly? Just to pick a number in the ballpark, say 35 pounds of edible meat for an average doe.

      (138,493 animals * 35 lbs) / 2000 lbs per ton = 2,424 tons

      Or, to put that in perspective, equal to the total curb weight of 950 Chevy Silverados. But much more delicious!

        • That’s what I was asking, I could do the math, but have little clue how much meat is left after bones, skin, etc are removed. But even light, 2400 tons? Wow!

        • 35 pounds is about average if deboned. I have helped the father-in-law do up probably 350 deer in the last 8 years, the most I have seen after completely deboned was 48 pounds. This year a local farmer brought over 2 very mature bucks around 4 or 5 years old and they weighed 82 pounds once bagged and ready to go for jerky.

        • You get roughly 40% meat from carcass weight(no hide, head or guts). Average harvestable deer weight 95lbs dressed gives you 38lbs of meat.

          Good “guess”, Tim.

      • I am also going to confirm that you get somewhere around 35 pounds of pure meat (no fat nor bones) from an average doe and probably about 50 pounds of pure meat (again, no fat nor bones) from an average buck. Since the harvest ratio is about 2 to 1 in favor of bucks, I think it is safe to assume about 45 pounds of pure meat per deer on average.

        Note: while that sounds like a lot, if you had a family of four and each person ate four ounces of venison at a meal (1 pound total per meal), that only covers 45 meals. And if you only ate that venison for dinner, that would mean that you could have venison for dinner about once every 8 days.

      • Just to put that in perspective. A small jerky plant (not Jack Links or Oberto’s) will make between 750-1000 tons annually.

    • Imagine if they started letting us shoot people!? No more overpopulation. No more starving 3rd world.

  2. It is interesting for me to see these harvest number, since California has so many fewer deer. I have never seen a herd as large as the one in the photo.

    • I’m from WV originally. White tail are just a bigger deer than what we have in CA. Went hunting for yotes sunday and nearly ran over 2 deer on the way in to our spot. It’s not uncommon where I frequent to see small herds, less than 10 animals. But those small herds are encountered everywhere I go.

      Except, of course, when I’m actually hunting deer. Then they all seemed to have moved to Miami for the season.

  3. Now, I know where all the Alabama deer went. Been a thin, odd season here. Sucks. See you can use a .50 BMG for hunting, with enough time you could line up a one shot, 12 kill.

  4. Kaibab plateau in the 20s is a good lesson on deer herd management. When hunting was banned and predators reduced, deer population rapidly increased and even after limited hunting was introduced the range’s vegetation was in very poor condition and 60,000 deer starved to death over a couple of winters.

  5. I bet there are insurance industry statistics on the cost, in lives and dollars, each year from car vs. deer collisions.

    Those who think it’s cruel to kill such an animal tend to change their minds after one comes crashing through their windshield.

  6. Imagine what would happen if America’s hunters with the cooperation of the DNR, didn’t deliberately decimate to near extinction levels all of the deer’s natural predators? Gee, the deer overpopulation “problem” would nearly if not completely take care of itself in most areas. The deer overpopulation problem is one deliberately created for the sake of deer hunting season and the revenue it brings to the DNR and others. The DNR makes sure there’s a overpopulation “problem” every single year and the last thing they want is for there not to be an overpopulation of deer. Look at how deer hunter lose their minds any time anyone tries to reintroduce natural deer predators anywhere, ever. Those predators are usually poached out of existence in no time by hunters who won’t allow anything to get in the way of deer season. Stop patting yourself on the back. Deer hunters in most areas are the equivalent of an arsonist on the fire department, wanting to be lauded for showing up 1st to the scene of the fire. Deer hunters/DNR are entirely responsible for the “problem” (they created) in 90% of the areas. Share that fact with anyone who’s for hunting and prepare to be told to “SHUT UP”.

    • You seem to miss the fact that “reintroduced natural predators” often don’t prey on enough deer to make a dent in the population and instead, end up gorging themselves on livestock and pets which are much easier meals than deer and end up turning local communities, who would otherwise have been tolerant of them, against them.

    • Yes.
      We should reintroduce natural predators. Wolves, mountain lions, all the rest.

      We’ll release them in your back yard and see where they go from there.

    • If we are not natural predators, we must have been planted here by Aliens !!!! I knew there was truth behind that movie, “Stargate” . By the power of Ra ! Now when can I teleport off this s$#t hole ??

    • Speaking as someone who lives in a state where the natural predators have been re-introduced, you couldn’t handle it.

      You easterners would all talk a big game, until a wolf pack snatched a kid at a bus stop on a winter morning, and then you’d all be howling for blood.

      • The eastern ‘City-Slickers’ would likely run out and try conflict de-escaltion techniques they read in their ‘Co-Exist’ pamphlet with the wolves as their ‘special snowflake’ is dragged out into the woods for a wolf snack.

        Hell, they may even circle back and go after the shrieking demanding mom so they can eat their meal that they hunted for fair and square in peace and quiet…

      • Whenever I hear “back to nature” talk, my thought immediate is, “who chooses which 6.5 billion people die?”

        “Nature” doesn’t support a large population of humans. “Civilization” as in agriculture, industry, commerce, all those “evils” that are fashionable to rail against are what allow as many people to be alive at the same time today. And okay, if you think there’s overpopulation, fine, but who lives and who dies, and what’s the basis of that decision? Because the fact is there are people living today, most of whom would prefer to continue living, and if you take away “evil civilization”, then that’s not possible for a great many of them.

    • I’m not a hunter and a simple observation debunks your logic presented. Natural predators couldn’t control Buffalo herds 150 years ago. Crocodiles & lions have little impact on wilderbeast.

      Predators for the most part cull weak animals and only sucessfull against healthy animals about 15% per hunt.

    • D-fens,

      Your comment is borderline retarded for at least two reasons. First, the coyote, one of the most significant natural predators to deer populations, is doing just fine. So well, in fact, that coyotes also kill chickens, small livestock, pets, and even small children on occasion. So if I see a coyote by my deer stand I’m probably going to terminate it. Secondly, grey wolves, another natural predator to deer, have been successfully re-introduced into states like Wisconsin.

      Legitimate hunting saves habitat, game, and the environment. A lack of predation, whether by natural predators or human hunters, leads to overpopulation, environmental destruction, and disease.

    • It has nothing to do with DNR’s creating a deer season. Modern game management protocols and regulation are always introduced and modified in response to circumstances, not in order to create circumstances. The facile silliness of your proposition is evident on the face of it by the simple fact that humans are incapable of predicting the future and any plan we actually make always (and usually almost immediately) fails to turns out as we intend and produces a result which is completely and utterly unforeseen.

      Predators have historically been removed from environments where man likes to congregate. We don’t like other predators around. They’re loaded with pointy things and are prone to killing things we didn’t want killed right then. That’s why we kill coyotes and wolves and mountain lions and bears. It’s simple one step thinking.

      The side effect of predator removal is in fact an explosion in the population of the prey species for that predator and the subsequent environmental changes that come from newly huge population’s need for food. That need in turn is liable to exert new pressures on specific plant species (since most prey species don’t eat meat) and cause changes in the flora which will have rebounding consequences. Where both natural predators and human predators exerted pressure you had not a balance but a dynamic disequilibrium that looks like a balance from outside but very measurably is not in any sort of balance. When predators are removed the whole ecology changes and the way the environment is used by humans is going to being changed further such that simple predator reintroduction may not even be possible without significant conflicts of interest.

      Humans are historically horribly bad at managing ecosystems. Particularly, when there are lots of humans in those ecosystems. Blaming things on deer hunters and game and environmental management agencies being in some sort of secret collusion is irresponsible polemics and seeks only to assign some sort of blame while claiming individual moral superiority without making a single damned contribution toward solving or even basically understanding the actual problem.

      Don’t you think if people were the least bit good at managing ecosystems that we’d have done a much better job and if conspiracies were afoot that hunting wouldn’t be the shield for 2A that even liberals hold it up to be? Anti-hunting trolls are funny because they don’t even know why they believe the idiotic rhetoric that they do.

  7. Upshur county here. Hitting deer in a car is a big concern. Take this into account. Also take into consideration the revenue allegedly put back into the DNR for game growth/preservation. and preservation.

    P.S. elk are going to be reintroduced, from what I hear.

    There are tons of deer processing businesses that offer to hold portions of meat to provide to needy families (with proof of need). This is one of the best things I’ve seen in ages.

      • Basic processing, including skinning, runs about 50.00 in my neck of the woods. If you take it in quartered, it drops considerably.

  8. Around here (central maryland) the deer are so overpopulated that everything edible below human eye level is gone. Die hard liberal democrats will run out and offer you hot chocolate and ask you to kill specific deer that were caught eating their garden (yes, I have had that).

    The reality is that in the “wild,” deer populations are only culled by predation. And, unless we want to introduce big wild cats and canines that will eat the deer (but will also eat little Suzy or your pet), humans are the only predator around.

    Besides, they taste great, are free range, fed no hormones or antibiotics, are all organic and are browser fed.

  9. I live in Cook co,IL where ya’ can’t shoot(or kill) Bambi. And I’ve come perilously close to hitting more than one. My ex-wife DID hit one(with my kid next to her) down in Kankakee,IL. Not a lot of anti-hunting even around Cook. Giant rats to me…”you strike me as a meat eater-can I fix you up with a haunch of venison”?>Starman/1983. I’m not a hunter but support it. I try not to debate ignorant losers(except the interwebs). “Vegetarian!”> Gerard Depardeiu form Greencard LOL

  10. We have lived mostly in the mid-Atlantic (MD, VA, NC) and they forage everywhere. If it were not for the hunters (and I do not hunt) I think they would take over every green space available. I would rather see them hunted than run over on the side of the road, just as dead but being of no use to anything except the turkey vultures and crows.

  11. According to the QDMA report, Texas harvested over 325,000 antlered bucks in 2014, which was down a little bit from the year before. I’m reading it now (the 2016 report) to see if it has newer data in it.

    They are definitely out there. I haven’t hunted in years, maybe I should get back into it next year. I don’t care for venison too much by itself, but sausage and jerky are both good. But, I think I’d rather go pig-hunting.

  12. The whitetail deer is the most deadly animal in North America. Not the mountain lion, not the grizzly bear, not the black bear… No other animal kills more people than the whitetail deer.

    If gun grabbers ever get their way, the deer population would skyrocket and automobile fatalities would likewise sky rocket.

    Guns save lives!

  13. The cause of these exploding numbers is the bucks-only policy of many DNR’s.

    Here in Wyoming, we’re at the interface between the whitetails and the mulies. The whitetails are the biggest threat to the mule deer’s future that there is, other than habitat loss of developers building on nice alfalfa meadows.

    In this state, they should remove all limits on whitetail deer harvests. You should be able to kill them year round, no bag limits, just to take the pressure off the mule deer.

    • I never did understand “bucks only” deer hunting laws.
      It shouldn’t take a PhD in mammalian reproduction to realize that killing some of the males won’t control a population.

      • Explained that to far too many people and am graced with a ‘wut?’ look more often than not. Take out the breeders, the population drops.

      • Ain’t that a kick in the head. Unless you’re lucky enough to get one of the on-base antlerless hunts at say, Camp Roberts or Camp Pendleton, it’s bucks only. Which is a shame. Last year, 7 does on my hunting trip, some at pistol range, couldn’t do a damned thing.

        And after 4700 of repairs thanks to a stupid young fawn, I don’t see the need to keep as many of those pests alive as CA DFW thinks there should be. Especially when herds of a dozen show up within 25 yards of my bedroom window. I also happen to know our vintners around here aren’t best fond of ’em either.

        • In my patch it’s Hunter-Ligget and I’m not sure all the paperwork and process is worth the small chance of a hunt there.

        • Nice country up that way, used to drive through on G14 when there was a little restaurant in Lockwood, and a damned sight easier on the body than my usual B-zone stomping grounds.

          But I can only think with what it takes anyone to get on to Camp Roberts (sans shooting iron), getting permission to be on the range at Hunter-Liggett with boomstick is not worth it for the possibility of getting to hunt there.

    • Have you contacted anyone in the Wyoming DNR to express your concerns? You’d think that a few game surveys would be sufficient to confirm your observations. Unfortunately I’ve worked for the government at various levels for a long time and the ability to overlook the obvious is a theme I’ve encountered more often than not.

    • Funny, no one ever seems to remember that non-predatory species can out compete each other if given the opportunity.

      And how does whitetail taste relative to mule deer? I’ve only ever had the latter, and am quite curious if there’s any noticeable difference.

  14. Consider the reign of Duke Loepold of Luxemburg. Shortly after becoming Grand Duke, he forbade all hunting, as he considered it inhumane. Soon the duchy was overrun by game animals, much to the nuisance of the population. The people rebelled and deposed him. Thus ended the reign of Duke Leopold.

    It was the only time in history that a reign was called on account of the game.

  15. That picture could’ve come straight out of Valley Forge Park.

    Rats with antlers. They will eff your car up. With a quickness.

    God bless everyone who hunts these guys. And gals.

  16. Another angle is the crop damage farmers (such as myself) face every year from the whitetail vermin. It costs me thousands of dollars in lost revenue to feed the whitetail population. Thankfully the IDNR works with farmers in high population areas by issuing nuisance permits, but they don’t even make a dent. In addition to the treehuggers, we have to fight some of the hunters (mostly bow hunters) who think the population is dwindling. Surprise! Harvest numbers were up this year.

  17. There are two problems with having too many deer, apart from the mentalist “environmentalists” who bleed for Bambi and protest any practical measures to solve the problem.

    One: pressure from deer feeding on flora will create stress and leave deer vulnerable to cross infection from other distressed and diseased critters in the wild, and who knows what mutant plague might result;

    Two: predators will follow large deer herds into previously unknown territories, and come into contact with human settlements, livestock, pets, and eventually large cities. This has already happened out West. So if you don’t like evil hunters out there in the woods culling deer, be prepared for cougars and wolves to emerge from the forests and start eating your children.

    Happy hunting.

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