Fall hunting adds millions of dollars to economy

The Mountain State has become a popular destination for hunters across the country when it comes to wildlife recreation, adding more than $750 million to our economy, according to the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources.

Because West Virginia is mostly rural, with mixed hardwood forests and small farms, it is nearly 100 percent ideal habitat for white-tailed deer, according to DNR wildlife biologists in Beckley.

Deep populations abound in every county, and liberal hunting seasons and bag limits increase the chances of a successful hunting adventure, the biologist explained.

In fact, some parts of the state are teeming with deer, causing conflicts with farmers and backyard gardeners. Increased construction and land development have placed deer and humans in the same areas, making life more difficult for both humans and animals.

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Some of the same conflicts arise from black bear populations, which are also on the rise in the Mountain State. The best advice for homeowners is to keep trash and other food away from omnivorous animals, including pet food and other edible sources.

Actions have been taken to reduce the population in areas where deer and bear numbers are above the DNR’s management goals, while providing additional opportunities for the thousands of people who enjoy hunting in the state, the biologist explained.

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Those who enjoy hunting can also help these efforts by inviting a friend who has never hunted before and teach him/her the fun and excitement of a day in the wilderness.

Many youngsters have parents who are too busy or unsure of themselves when it comes to hunting, so experienced hunters can offer to show newcomers how to enjoy an adventure in the woods.

It is a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends. Over 300,000 people in our state are hunters and likely have out-of-state friends and relatives who would love to try it during the holidays or a family reunion.

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Safety, meanwhile, is paramount in our state’s great hunting tradition.

In most cases, hunters must pass a hunter safety education course before they can purchase hunting licenses. These classes have been successful in reducing the number of hunting injuries and fatalities during the hunting season, and it makes sense to ensure that your hunting adventure is a safe one.

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