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Buck gun hunting season underway

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 1:46 PM EST
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CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ/AP) -- A date circled in red by several hundred thousand West Virginians is finally here.

Gun buck season opened Monday and lasts through Dec. 5.

The season traditionally opens on the Monday before Thanksgiving.

Hunters can harvest two deer on the same day, but only one can be an antlered buck. Anyone who wants an extra buck must buy a stamp from the state and have additional licensing.

Paul Johansen of the Division of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Section said the state’s deer seasons help bring in millions of dollars to the state’s economy.

The DNR encourages donations to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program. Last year, 500 deer were donated, the DNR said.

Trucks were one after another Monday at Nelson’s Meat Processing.

“That’s all we’re doing,” said manager Richard Stepp. “We shut down. We don’t do any kind of other animals this week. We just take deer all week.”

Hunting is a family tradition in West Virginia.

David Chapman says he first went hunting 12 years ago when he was 6 years old.

“My grandfather took me out when I was about six years old or so,” Chapman said.

While the sport is all fun and games, the opportunity to help the community is front and center as many donate their deer.

“[We grind] all the donated deer, and we send it to the food banks,” Stepp said.

Stepp tells WSAZ he expects anywhere from 700 to 1,100 deer during the next two weeks, with around 200 of those being donated.

“A lot of people just go out, they like to hunt, and then they donate the meat,” Stepp said.

The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources says it’s expecting a harvest between 35,000 to 40,000 bucks during the next two weeks.

They also want to take the time to remind folks about safety. They want to make sure everyone is wearing their blaze orange vests, treating any firearm as if they’re loaded, and always pointing the muzzle in a safe direction when it isn’t being used.

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