CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Time is short to put venison in the freezer.
With two weeks remaining in the calendar year, West Virginia's deer hunters are left with only a handful of opportunities to fill their tags and end the 2013 hunting season on a high note.
And, except for the remaining days of the archery season, all of those opportunities revolve around antlerless deer.
They are, in order: The archery season, which began Sept. 28 and ends on Dec. 31; the Dec. 19-21 "traditional" antlerless-deer season; the Dec. 26-27 antlerless-deer season for youth and the handicapped; and the Dec. 28-31 "family" antlerless-deer season.
Paul Johansen, assistant wildlife chief for the state Division of Natural Resources, believes hunters' weather-driven lack of success during earlier whitetail seasons will have them raring to go during the season's final weeks.
"Assuming the weather cooperates, I think there's going to be an interest in getting back out there," Johansen said. "They've endured some miserable weather conditions so far, and if they've failed to connect thus far, they'll be interested in putting venison in the freezer."
DNR officials haven't yet counted all the tags from earlier seasons, so they don't yet know how many deer have been killed. Johansen acknowledged, however, that biologists anticipate a lower-than-expected harvest.
"If [the numbers] come in much lower than anticipated, it won't surprise me because of the weather," he said.