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Beech Fork in Wayne County hosting deer hunts this fall – West Virginia

Category: article

 May 21st, 2019 by Keith Worrall  216

Modified May 21st, 2019 at 3:29 PM

Natural Resources Committee members voted unanimously at their May 5 meeting to approve this year’s slate of hunts. The three-day events will follow a format similar to the one used last year. Hunters who wish to participate will be required to pay $10 to register in a lottery, from which limited numbers of hunters will be issued permits. The number of available permits varies from park to park.

Participating parks include Beech Fork in Wayne County, Canaan Valley in Tucker County, Cacapon in Morgan County, North Bend in Ritchie County, Pipestem in Summers County, and Twin Falls in Wyoming County.

Sam England, the state’s parks chief, said the hunts have one overriding goal, to bring deer populations under control.

“Our park superintendents work with the Wildlife Section’s district biologists to decide which parks are going to have hunts,” he said. “The process involves a little bit of science and a little bit of art. We want to maximize success for hunters, but at the same time we don’t want to have hunts in parks where there is no biological need for them.”

England said a lack of biological need has caused two parks that hosted hunts last year to be dropped from this year’s schedule.

“At Blennerhassett Island and at Stonewall Jackson, there’s no need for us to conduct hunts because last year’s hunts brought the deer population down to acceptable levels,” he said. “That points to how successful last year’s hunts were.”

Last year marked the first year in which hunters were allowed to use muzzleloading firearms as well as bows and crossbows. England said parks officials try to time the muzzleloader hunts so they occur during the peak of the “rut,” or whitetail mating season, when deer become preoccupied with sex and are less wary toward hunters.

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