SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is now accepting applications to participate in controlled deer hunts at six state parks.
According to a press release, controlled hunts are scheduled for the fall at Beech Fork, Cacapon Resort, Canaan Valley Resort, North Bend, Pipestem Resort and Twin Falls Resort state parks. Hunters have until Aug. 30 to apply. Drawings for the hunts will start on Aug. 31, and successful applicants will be notified in early September.
“Previous controlled hunts are one of the ways we manage deer populations at our parks,” said West Virginia State Parks Chief Brad Reed. “Past hunts have proven that this is an effective and efficient way to maintain a biologically and socially balanced deer herd in areas experiencing overpopulation.”
Applications for the hunt must be submitted online. Hunters must use their existing Electronic Licensing and Game Checking System account or create one in order to apply, the release explains. Once logged in, applicants must select “State Park Lottery Hunts” and choose one of the hunting options. There is a $15 application fee, and each application can be for one or two people.
Each application is for a three-day harvest opportunity using a compound bow or crossbow or muzzleloader rifle, depending on the selected date, hunt type and designated area, according to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Rather than specified hunting stands for each hunter, as used in past controlled hunts, all hunters will be given a map and will be able to hunt within the designated hunting zones. Deer harvested during a controlled hunt do not count against a hunter’s annual deer season bag limit.
The DNR said hunters chosen will be required to confirm their intent to participate in the hunt. They must also possess a valid West Virginia Hunting License—or be legally exempt from purchasing a license—within one week of being contacted. Successful applicants will be contacted with more detailed information regarding the controlled hunt. West Virginia hunting regulations apply to all controlled hunts.
Specific rules, hunting dates and hunting methods are available on the electronic licensing system. For additional information about a specific park hunt, call the state park of interest and indicate the call is regarding controlled hunt information, the release states.
According to the DNR, when deer populations reach levels that become detrimental to the landscape, over-browsing can lead to loss of native vegetation, prevent forest regeneration and alter habitat for all wildlife species living in the park. Controlled hunts help reduce deer numbers to levels that prevent habitat loss, property damage, vehicle collisions and potential human injuries.
Controlled hunts help the DNR maintain a healthy deer herd population while still allowing visitors the opportunity to view deer and other wildlife throughout the state park, the release states.