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Cold weather leads to good harvest on first day of firearms sea

by Shawn Gainer

STAFF WRITER

Cold weather during the first day of firearms season for bucks was a boon to hunters, wildlife officials said.

Preliminary indications from the state Division of Natural Resources' four districts Monday evening were that hunters were doing well, said Tom Allen, a biologist with the DNR wildlife section in Charleston.

"We're running check stations and overall, everything appears to be at least as good as it was last year," Allen said. "It was a good day for hunters. With the cold, they can keep deer in camps without worrying about spoilage."

While county-by-county deer kill totals were not available Monday evening, wildlife officials were monitoring the most heavily used game checking stations in each district. District One covers the northern and northwestern portions of the state, while District Two covers central West Virginia, Allen said.

"In District One, our people saw some really nice bucks coming in this morning. In District Two, the harvest is apparently really good -- as good as it was last year," he said. "The only place where the deer kill looks like it may be down a little is in District Four in the southern part of the state."

As of Monday evening, the only hunting-related injury reported by DNR officers occurred in Wayne County, according to DNR spokesman Hoy Murphy.

William Preece, 20, of Kermit, was hunting with a partner near the border of Wayne and Mingo counties. Preece had bent over, possibly to tie a shoe and had shed his orange vest, when a bullet fired by his partner either grazed or entered his back, Murphy said.

Murphy added that Preece was transported to a local hospital where he was listed in stable condition Monday evening. No arrest had been made in connection with the incident, he said.

"We hoping there won't be any more injury reports but some might come in tomorrow (Tuesday)," he said.

Murphy added that during the fall 1999 hunting seasons, the most frequent sources of injuries and fatalities were heart attacks among elderly hunters and injuries among bow hunters who fell out of tree stands.

Staff writer Shawn Gainer can be reached at 626-1442 or by e-mail at sgainer@exponent-telegram.com.

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