You don't see much in the deer magazines about West Virginia, but this mountainous state has one of the densest whitetail populations in the East, according to our correspondent up that way, Gerald Almy. And the good news there is a new archery and muzzleloader pay-to-hunt operation there that is worth considering. Almy writes: "West Virginia has almost 1 million whitetails, close to a quarter of which (235,000) are harvested each year. More than 100,000 of those animals taken each year are bucks. Problem is, there aren't a lot of organized deer hunting opportunities in this state, which is what it would take for a certain kind of hunter to ever come here. Enter Stoney Brook Plantation, one of the largest farms in the state. It's located in lightly populated Monroe County in the southeastern part of the state where broken farmland and wooded knolls produce a rich supply of food that grows above-average whitetails in both body size and antler mass. The place has never been commercially hunted, and has been only lightly hunted for 20 years by owner Jim Justice and a few of his friends, though his farm hands have shot as many as 200 does a year recently on crop-damage permits. As for bucks, some years none at all have been taken, apparently. Other years, a few spikes and maybe one or two mature bucks have been taken during the first day or two of the season. That kind of light harvest, mind you, has been on a farm that measures 4,600 acres. That's a huge spread in this part of the country. The property includes lots of crop land - with 1,200 acres planted in corn, wheat and sorghum - as well as gently rolling, forested hills and knolls.
Hunt manager Greg Byers has set up both tree stands and ground blinds around the property, and portable blinds are available on request. Baited stands with feeders along trails (legal in West Virginia) and stands overlooking deer core zones with lots of rutting sign are available. To keep from overharvesting the deer or taking too many trophy bucks, Byers has........(continued)