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Hunting

For more information on hunting, fishing and wildlife visit the WV Division of Natural Resources page at http://www.wvdnr.gov/


West Virginia has always been considered the greatest hunting area in the East. In our early history, the Five Nations of American Indian shared this group hunting ground. Today, professional wildlife management has produced tremendous success stories and has positioned West Virginia again as the "great hunting grounds" of the surrounding eastern urban areas.

In West Virginia, you'll have about 1-1/2 million acres of public lands you can hunt from mid-October to late December, including 70 wildlife management areas, nine state forests and over 1 million acres of National Forest lands. West Virginia has detailed information available on all the state's public lands at www.wvdnr.gov. You also can find maps and lists of seasons and bag limits for each of the regions you want to hunt.

Last year, West Virginia deer hunters took 208,225 deer. For the past five years, the harvest has averaged between 200,000 and 230,000 annually. You can hunt deer in West Virginia during four different seasons. A hunter can legally take up to a total of nine deer per season during bow season, buck season, antlerless season and muzzle-loader season. The northern panhandle (District I) and the west-central counties (District VI) of West Virginia home some of the counties with the highest numbers of deer taken per square mile. To make buying a hunting license simple, West Virginia sells its licenses online at www.wvhunt.com. Too, you'll see a list of license agents and a list of game-check stations also online.

If you enjoy bow hunting, take a look at Bluestone WMA in the south-central section of the state. The harvest records for the last few years name this WMA as a hotspot for taking deer with a bow. For the opportunity to bag a big buck with your bow, check out R.D. Bailey State Forest or Panther State Forest, located in two of the four West Virginia counties that don't offer a firearm season for deer. Seventy-five percent of the entries in the statewide big-buck contest each year come from these four counties.

In many states, if you tag your buck early, you may have to return home, but in West Virginia, you can hunt wild boar or bear with archery tackle or a gun. West Virginia also has a small-game hunting season for squirrel, which ends January 31, and a cottontail and a snowshoe rabbit season, which runs through February 28. Too, West Virginia holds a fall turkey season in Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, Preston, Berkeley, Grant, Greenbriar, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Tucker and Webster counties for either-sex turkeys.
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