By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian
Even with temperatures in the teens Monday, hunters across the state bundled up and headed into the woods for the start of West Virginia’s two-week deer firearms season.
One hunter didn’t have to wait too long before a buck came his way.
After waiting about an hour, 16-year-old Justin Efaw got an opportunity for his first buck of the season.
“I let a doe and two baby deer walk,” he said. “Then five minutes later the buck came walking out.”
When Efaw fired, he hit the buck but it took off running.
“I found it in a ravine,” he said. “It took us longer to get it out than it did shooting it.”
Efaw, who has been hunting for about six years, said it’s been a family tradition to go hunting the first week of the season. Most of the time his family hunts on his grandfather’s property in Metz.
“I got into hunting from my dad,” Efaw said. “I got this one today at my pap’s house. We go hunting every year around this time.”
The cold temperatures didn’t keep Efaw away from spending his morning in the woods. He said one of his favorite things about hunting is simply being in the woods.
“I wore enough clothes that I didn’t get too cold,” he said. “I just like being out in the woods.”
Efaw said when he does hunt, the deer meat doesn’t go to waste.
“We’ll probably make deer jerky and burgers from the deer we hunt,” he said. “Maybe steak. I don’t know yet.”
Like most hunters, Efaw will head to the woods again later this week. New hunting regulations from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) allow hunters to go to the woods often.
With gun season running until Dec. 7, Mike Peters, a biologist with the DNR, said new regulations allow hunters to harvest two deer per day, but only one antlered deer may be harvested per day. He said the first deer does not have to be legally checked in prior to harvesting the second deer on the same day.
“The biggest change for this year in hunting regulations is you can harvest two deer in one day,” Peters said. “Those two deer have to be checked in before the third kill the next day.”
Hunters may take no more than three antlered deer per calendar year.
Peters spent Monday morning checking in deer and collecting biological data at Main Street Trader in Mannington. They will be collecting data on deer, including sex, age, antler spread and beam diameter.
“We’re running a biological aging station on whitetail deer this week,” he said. “If it’s a 1 1/2-year-old buck, we’re weighing them.”
Peters said the DNR will be stationed at Main Street Trader until noon today and Wednesday.
“Weather dependent, we’re going to try and stick it out to noon or 1 p.m. Wednesday,” he said.
The DNR estimated 330,000 deer hunters will be in the woods this hunting season.
For a complete list of game-checking stations in Marion County and other counties, visit www.wvdnr.gov.
Email Emily Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.