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Historic Game Harvests in Canaan Valley and Tucker County, West Virginia

Michael, Edwin D., Brown, Sandra L., Brown, Walter S.
Southeastern naturalist 2015 v.14 no.sp7 pp. 382-404
Castor canadensis, Lynx rufus, Martes, Meleagris gallopavo, Odocoileus virginianus, Ursus americanus, correlation, game animals, population density, trapping, turkeys, West Virginia
In this paper, we present tabulations of annual game-animal harvests in Canaan Valley and Tucker County, WV, from several time periods. We present countywide harvestdata for 1923–2001 for Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer), 1969–2001 for Castor canadensis (Beaver), 1976–2001 for Lynx rufus (Bobcat), 1950–2001 for Ursus americanus (Black Bear), 1975–2001 for Martes pennanti (Fisher), and 1940–2001 for Meleagris gallopavo (Wild Turkey). Annual numbers of animals harvested in Canaan Valley have increased steadily during the past 75 years since the establishment of modern regulations. Interpretations of reported harvest data are difficult because of changes in extrinsic factors that affect hunting and trapping pressure and success. The only game animal for which harvest levels are positively correlated with population density is White-tailed Deer. It is difficult, if not impossible, to determine by examining the harvest numbers whether populations of game animals have increased, decreased, or remained stable.