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West Virginia’s 2020 deer seasons can best be summed up as a “glass half full/glass half empty” proposition. On the glass-half-full side, hunters can celebrate that they killed 7.5% more whitetails than they did in 2019. On the glass-half-empty side, they can lament that they killed 6% fewer deer than they’ve averaged over the past five years. The numbers tell the story. During the state’s buck firearm, antlerless-deer, archery, muzzleloader, youth and primitive-weapon seasons combined, hunters killed 106,861 whitetails. That’s 7,424 more deer than they killed during the same seasons in 2019, and the gains came across the board. The buck harvest rose 6.3%, the antlerless-deer harvest rose 10%, the archery harvest rose 7%, and the muzzleloader harvest rose 2%. The raw numbers came in as follows: buck firearm, 38,785; antlerless-deer, 31,255; archery, 31,564; muzzleloader, 4,615; primitive-weapons, 642. On the glass-half-empty side, the two firearm seasons came in below the state’s five-year averages. The firearm buck harvest was 7.7% below average, and the antlerless-deer harvest was down 8%. On the half-full side, the archery kill was 12% above the five-year average. Crossbow enthusiasts played a major role in that performance; for the fourth straight year, the number of crossbow kills increased. Also, for the fourth straight year, crossbow kills outnumbered upright-bow kills. The muzzleloader kill was pretty much a wash. It came in a statistically insignificant 0.4% below its five-year average. That number is a bit misleading, however, because it doesn’t include the 612 deer taken by black-powder hunters during the Mountaineer Heritage primitive-weapons season. Throw those into the mix and the muzzleloader total jumps to the glass-half-full side. All the successful hunters in those top 10 counties would argue that their glass ended up quite full for the 2020 season. Those who came up empty would argue the opposite. The bottom line is that West Virginia’s deer hunters enjoyed a slight upward trend, but still have a way to go before they get back to what, for them, would be an average whitetail season.

West Virginia’s 2020 deer seasons can best be summed up as a “glass half full/glass half empty” proposition. On the glass-half-full side, hunters can celebrate that they killed 7.5% more whitetails than they did in 2019. On the glass-half-empty side, they can lament that they killed 6% fewer deer than they’ve averaged over the past five years. The numbers tell the story. During the state’s buck firearm, antlerless-deer, archery, muzzleloader, youth and primitive-weapon seasons combined, hunters killed 106,861 whitetails. That’s 7,424 more deer than they killed during the same seasons in 2019, and the gains came across the board. The buck harvest rose 6.3%, the antlerless-deer harvest rose 10%, the archery harvest rose 7%, and the muzzleloader harvest rose 2%. The raw numbers came in as follows: buck firearm, 38,785; antlerless-deer, 31,255; archery, 31,564; muzzleloader, 4,615; primitive-weapons, 642. On the glass-half-empty side, the two firearm seasons came in below the state’s five-year averages. The firearm buck harvest was 7.7% below average, and the antlerless-deer harvest was down 8%. On the half-full side, the archery kill was 12% above the five-year average. Crossbow enthusiasts played a major role in that performance; for the fourth straight year, the number of crossbow kills increased. Also, for the fourth straight year, crossbow kills outnumbered upright-bow kills. The muzzleloader kill was pretty much a wash. It came in a statistically insignificant 0.4% below its five-year average. That number is a bit misleading, however, because it doesn’t include the 612 deer taken by black-powder hunters during the Mountaineer Heritage primitive-weapons season. Throw those into the mix and the muzzleloader total jumps to the glass-half-full side. All the successful hunters in those top 10 counties would argue that their glass ended up quite full for the 2020 season. Those who came up empty would argue the opposite. The bottom line is that West Virginia’s deer hunters enjoyed a slight upward trend, but still have a way to go before they get back to what, for them, would be an average whitetail season.

West Virginia’s 2020 deer seasons can best be summed up as a “glass half full/glass half empty” proposition.

On the glass-half-full side, hunters can celebrate that they killed 7.5% more whitetails than they did in 2019. On the glass-half-empty side, they can lament that they killed 6% fewer deer than they’ve averaged over the past five years.

The numbers tell the story. During the state’s buck firearm, antlerless-deer, archery, muzzleloader, youth and primitive-weapon seasons combined, hunters killed 106,861 whitetails. That’s 7,424 more deer than they killed during the same seasons in 2019, and the gains came across the board.

The buck harvest rose 6.3%, the antlerless-deer harvest rose 10%, the archery harvest rose 7%, and the muzzleloader harvest rose 2%.

The raw numbers came in as follows: buck firearm, 38,785; antlerless-deer, 31,255; archery, 31,564; muzzleloader, 4,615; primitive-weapons, 642.

On the glass-half-empty side, the two firearm seasons came in below the state’s five-year averages. The firearm buck harvest was 7.7% below average, and the antlerless-deer harvest was down 8%.

On the half-full side, the archery kill was 12% above the five-year average.

Crossbow enthusiasts played a major role in that performance; for the fourth straight year, the number of crossbow kills increased. Also, for the fourth straight year, crossbow kills outnumbered upright-bow kills.

The muzzleloader kill was pretty much a wash. It came in a statistically insignificant 0.4% below its five-year average.

That number is a bit misleading, however, because it doesn’t include the 612 deer taken by black-powder hunters during the Mountaineer Heritage primitive-weapons season. Throw those into the mix and the muzzleloader total jumps to the glass-half-full side.

All the successful hunters in those top 10 counties would argue that their glass ended up quite full for the 2020 season. Those who came up empty would argue the opposite.

The bottom line is that West Virginia’s deer hunters enjoyed a slight upward trend, but still have a way to go before they get back to what, for them, would be an average whitetail season.

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

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

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

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