The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) is accepting applications for persons to hunt deer on the property. This fall season will mark the eleventh year this managed hunt has been held. In order to control the deer population on campus the use of archery, muzzleloader rifles, and shotguns with single slugs will again be allowed during the appropriate West Virginia seasons. Hunters are randomly selected from those who apply for a given date and are assigned to a certain location from which to hunt. Hunters may apply for multiple dates.
A few changes are being implemented this year to keep pace with current technology, allow Training Center personnel to more efficiently administer the process, keep up with changes in West Virginia hunting regulations, and reduce the likelihood of harm to other wildlife. As part of the process of applying, every hunter will take an on-line orientation (a hard-copy version is available). On-site orientation sessions and archery proficiency tests are no longer required. One significant change is the use of lead-free ammunition, which prevents lead poisoning of birds and animals that might ingest lead particles or fragments from deer entrails or carcasses.
The dates are as follows: Oct. 12 - archery; October 19 Youth 10 to 17 years old, Disabled Hunters with Class Q or QQ permits, and senior Hunters with a Class XS license - shotgun; Oct. 26 shotgun; Nov. 9 archery; Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 shotgun & archery; Dec. 14 muzzleloader and archery; Dec. 21 shotgun and archery; Dec. 28 shotgun amd archery. This managed hunt is open to West Virginia residents and also to out-of state applicants. All hunters must be licensed in West Virginia and have received a hunter safety education certification. Hunters with disabilities are welcome to participate, and accommodations will be made as needed.
For further information or to apply, visit the NCTC website at nctc.fws.gov/deerhunt.html. Inquiries may be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 304-876-7272. Applications for the hunt must be received by Friday, Aug. 30.
NCTC's director Jay Slack described the hunt as an opportunity to build partnerships and better manage habitat. "As stewards of the land and wildlife on NCTC's 532 acres, we welcome the opportunity to work with our conservation partners in the hunting community, and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), every year on the NCTC Deer Hunt," said Slack. The Training Center is looking forward to hosting around 130 hunters over the course of the hunt. Slack remarked, "With the assistance of the hunting community, NCTC is better able to successfully manage local wildlife and land in the interest of posterity."
Rich Rogers, a District Wildlife Biologist with the West Virginia DNR, advises NCTC on establishing population management goals for the hunt. Rogers said, "When deer densities get too high, the deer can damage our plant communities, effectively destroying the habitat which they and other wild animals depend on for survival. To keep the herd and habitat healthy at a place like NCTC, the deer population must be managed." Rogers also acknowledged the benefits to people. "Managing the deer helps control the tick population and reduce the number of deer-car collisions, both of which are significant issues in the Panhandle area," Rogers stated.