Buck season starts Monday in West Virginia and 2020 promises to be bigger and better than 2019.

The bigger part is the season being extended to 14 days, with 1 more Sunday added to the schedule.

The better? Well, the Division of Natural Resources says this year’s mast production — the worst in the 49-year history of the index — means more deer will be on the move and in the sights of hunters.

In addition, wildlife biologist Rich Rogers of the Romney DNR office, has this insight.

“The rut seems to be coming on a little late this year and it’s been slow up to this point,” he said. “There might be some rutting bucks next week, which will be interesting.

Hunters in Hampshire County nabbed 1,239 bucks in 2019. That total was easily in the bottom half of the 10-year trend.

The buck firearms season has concurrent antlerless deer and bear firearms seasons, provided hunters purchase the right stamps.

“You can take a buck, doe and bear on the same day,” said Brett Skelly, DNR’s assistant deer project leader. “I don’t know of any other state that has anything like that.”

Rogers said bears are still on the prowl for the hunters who want to find one.

Hunters can also take a 2nd buck, provided they purchase the stamp for it by Sunday, the day before the season starts. Licenses and stamps are available to purchase at www.wvhunt.com.

Other reminders:

• Hampshire and surrounding counties remain in a containment area for Chronic Wasting Disease, 1st encountered here 15 years ago.

• There’s no mandatory in-person checking during the 1st 2 days of the season any more.

• Carcasses can’t be removed from the containment area. Dumpsters are available here in Romney, Springfield and Capon Bridge. They’ll be in place until late December to help bow hunters and muzzleloaders too.

• Hunters must wear 400 square inches of blaze orange.

• Kills can be reported by calling 844-wvcheck or online at www.wvhunt.com.

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