The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources’ new electronic game check system shows a preliminary report that hunters harvested 20,105 bucks during the first day of the buck deer firearms season that began Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. That’s a 77 percent increase over the 11,330 bucks taken during opening day in 2014.
In addition, hunters took 3,541 antlerless deer in the counties open to a concurrent season for a total of 23,646 deer harvested on opening day. Hunters have 72 hours to check in their animals taken Monday, so the final number is expected to go up slightly.
These preliminary numbers are available this early into the two-week season because hunters, for the first time in West Virginia, are able to quickly check in their kills by phone, online or at a license agent.
“It’s really exciting to watch the numbers come in as hunters take advantage of this new system,” said DNR Director Bob Fala. “Until this year, we had to wait until the end of the season and then send staff out to the checking stations to collect game tags. Then they had to hand-count the tags and key them into a database before we could get the totals. Now we can get numbers almost instantly.”
Fala says this new system will provide DNR’s wildlife managers with better and timelier information to assist them with their game management efforts. It also provides DNR’s Natural Resources Police Officers with more accurate information as they check game tags and licenses during this busy time of year.
Hunters are required to get a permanent WVDNR identification number which allows them to check in their game from their phones at 1-844-WVCHECK (1-844-982-4325), their computers at wvhunt.com, or at a hunting and fishing license agent. ID numbers are printed on the annual hunting license or may be obtained at wvhunt.com, a DNR district office or by calling 304-558-2758. All field tagging, transporting and possession requirements still apply.
The 2015 West Virginia buck deer firearms season began Nov. 23 and continues through Saturday, Dec. 5. More information about the season is available online at www.wvdnr.gov