SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — The first firearm deer season of the year is starting in 51 West Virginia counties on Thursday.

A reminder sent by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) said that the first half of the split season will be open on public and private land Oct. 26-29. Keep in mind that this season is only for antlerless deer.

According to the release, the early season allows the DNR to regulate the state deer population and also gives hunters additional time in counties where they are required to harvest an antlerless deer before a buck—Berkeley, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Monroe, Morgan and Wood and parts of Greenbrier and Mineral.

“As much as everyone dreams of a big buck, harvesting antlerless deer is integral to a healthy population and can be just as rewarding,” said James Bailey, Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce, which oversees the DNR.

The next three splits of antlerless firearm season will be Nov. 20 to Dec. 3, Dec. 7-10 and Dec. 28-31, and buck firearm season in West Virginia will start the week of Thanksgiving on Nov. 20 and run until Dec. 3.

For a full list of seasons as well as hunting regulations for the state, click here.