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Members of the state Natural Resources Commission have approved a slate of 12 limited-participation deer hunts on seven West Virginia parks.

The hunts will be held in late October and early November at Beech Fork, Blennerhassett, Canaan Valley, Cacapon, North Bend, Stonewall and Twin Falls state parks. Deer killed during the hunts will not count against hunters’ season bag limits.

Participants will be chosen by lottery, and each must pay a $15 non-refundable fee to be included in the drawing.

The deadline for application is Aug. 30. Drawings will be held on Aug. 31, and successful applicants will be notified between Sept. 6 and Sept. 17. Hunters may apply via the Division of Natural Resources’ online license outlet, www.wvhunt.com.

The mechanics of the hunts differ from park to park:

Beech Fork

Two hunts will be held. Hunters may use muzzleloaders or archery equipment in both. Fifteen permits will be issued for each hunt. The first is scheduled for Nov. 1-3, the second for Nov. 8-10. Participants in both hunts must take an antlerless deer first, and may take a second deer of either sex thereafter.

Blennerhassett

One archery-only hunt will be held Nov 8-10. Twenty permits will be issued. Hunters will be allowed to take two does. Drawings will be held for five buck tags each day.

Canaan Valley

Two hunts will be held. The first hunt, scheduled for Oct. 25-27, will be archery-only. The second, Nov. 1-3, will be archery or muzzleloader. Fifteen permits will be issued for each hunt. Hunters in either hunt may take an antlerless deer, and then will be eligible for one of three buck tags available each day.

Cacapon

Two hunts will be held. Thirty permits will be issued for each. The first, archery-only, will be held Nov. 1-3. Hunters must take an antlerless deer first, then may take another deer of either sex. The second hunt, Nov. 8-10, will be for archery or muzzleloaders. Hunters are allowed to take two does. Drawings will be held for five buck tags each day.

North Bend

Two hunts will be held. Hunters may use muzzleloaders or archery equipment in both. Fifteen permits will be issued for each hunt. Participants in both hunts must take an antlerless deer first, and may take a deer of either sex thereafter.

Stonewall

Two hunts will be held. Thirty permits will be issued for each. The first, Nov. 8-10, will be archery-only. The second, Nov. 15-17, will be muzzleloader-only. Participants in both hunts must take an antlerless deer first, and may take a deer of either sex thereafter.

Twin Falls

One archery-only hunt will be held Nov. 1-3. Fifteen permits will be issued, and crossbows may not be used. Hunters must take an antlerless deer first, and then may take a deer of either sex thereafter.

The idea behind the hunts is to reduce deer populations in the participating parks. When a park’s whitetail herd is brought back within acceptable limits, parks officials drop it from the special-hunt calendar.

Parks chief Brad Reed said that’s what happened at Pipestem, which had hosted hunts each of the past two years. Reed said Pipestem’s superintendent and the DNR’s district biologist concluded that the previous two hunts reduced the deer herd enough to restore the park’s desired natural balance.

Reach John McCoy at johnmccoy@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1231, or follow

@GazMailOutdoors on Twitter.

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