The Influence Of Weather On Hunter-Deer Contacts In Western Virginia

The influence of weather factors on the number of hunter-deer contacts was investigated. Findings indicate that moderate rainfall contributes to an increase in deer sightings per hunter hour. An important aspect of modern deer herd management is the identification of and, ultimately, an expression of the relative importance of the many factors which influence the annual deer harvest. The influence of weather on deer harvest has been a subject of controversy for many years. Numerous investigators have recognized the importancc of weather as it affects deer activity (Hahn 1949; Barick 1952; Severinghaus and Cheatum 1956; Banasiak 1961; Tester and Heezen 1965; Behrend 1966), hunter activity (Swift 1937; Yeager and Denney 1959; White 1968), and the total season's kill (Fobes 1945; Schultz 1957; and Gwynn 1964). Surveys conducted in western Virginia during the 1970 season indicated that 71% of all hunters interviewed felt weather had a large influence on hunter behavior and a decided effect on total season's harvest (Curtis 1971). Although it has been assumed that weather conditions influencc hunter-deer contacts and the resultant harvest, the quantitative relationships involved have not been well investigated. While most findings have been inconclusive, many have indicated that a relationship does exist. In this study we examined the overall influence of weather conditions, as they occurred in western Virginia, upon the number of hunter sightings of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

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