Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

Deer-kill statistics are sometimes deceiving

John McCoy photo

The old expression, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” was probably written to describe deer hunters.

No matter where hunters are from, they always seem to believe they’d have better success if they hunted somewhere else.

Case in point: Ask West Virginians if they’d rather hunt deer in the Mountain State or in Missouri, and they’d probably choose Missouri. But would they really have it any better in the Show-Me State? Let’s take a look at the harvest totals from both states’ recently concluded whitetail seasons.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, Show-Me State hunters killed about 239,000 deer. According to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Mountain State hunters killed slightly more than 133,000 deer. Advantage to Missouri, right?

Not necessarily.

Missouri’s land area is 69,704 square miles. Divide 239,000 by 69,704 square miles and you get a productivity average of 3.43 deer killed per square mile.

West Virginia’s land area is 24,229 square miles. Divide 24,229 by 133,000 and you get a productivity average of 5.49 deer per square mile.

Advantage West Virginia.

The devil in all this ciphering, is in the details. If statistics are available, it would be interesting to see which state produces more trophy bucks. Conventional wisdom would say Missouri. But West Virginia’s four bowhunting-only  counties account for about 75 Pope and Young Club bucks each year. That’s a slew of trophies.

The arguments could go back and forth forever, but the bottom line is this. Chances are many hunters in Missouri would jump at the chance to hunt in West Virginia, and vice versa. The grass is always greener….