West Virginia buck season opens Monday
The West Virginia firearm buck gun season is Nov. 22 Dec. 4. It is open in all counties except Logan, Mingo, McDowell and Wyoming.
Approximately 280,000 licensed hunters will be in West Virginia’s woods during this season.
Hunters should review the 2010-2011 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary for detailed instructions concerning bag limits and season dates. The regulations are available at license agents, DNR district offices, or online at www.wvdnr.gov .
A list of wildlife checking stations in West Virginia can be found online at www.wvdnr.gov/hunting/check_stations.asp
The firearm antlered deer bag limit during the two week buck season is two (one on the base license and one on an RG [resident] or RRG [nonresident] stamp). A hunter may take no more than three antlered deer per calendar year in all archery and firearms seasons combined.
The last day to purchase an additional deer gun tag (Class RG/RRG Stamp) is November 21. Class RG and Class RRG additional buck stamps can only be used to take an additional antlered deer in firearm buck season. Unused Class RG and Class RRG stamps may not be used in antlerless or muzzleloader seasons.
All private land in counties having a firearms antlerless deer gun season (Class N for residents and Class NN for nonresidents) will be open Nov. 22 Dec. 11 and Dec. 29 – 31. All public lands having an antlerless deer season will be open Nov. 24 Dec. 11 and Dec. 29 31. Bag limits vary among counties and will be one, two or four antlerless deer. Hunters may take only one deer per day; therefore, a buck and an antlerless deer may not be taken on the same day.
Black bear seasons have been expanded with 10 counties open Nov. 22 Dec. 4 during the buck season and concurrent antlerless deer season. A hunter may bag one bear and one deer on the same day during the concurrent seasons in those counties. See the 2010-2011 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary for details.
All deer must be field tagged and checked in within 72 hours of the time of kill or within 24 hours of the close of the season, whichever comes first. Additional deer may not be taken until all previously taken deer have been checked. Only one deer may be taken per day during the buck season.
Deer hunting in West Virginia generates a total annual economic impact of $233 million, much of it in the rural areas of the state that depend upon the deer seasons for a large portion of their annual income.
In 2009, deer hunters in West Virginia harvested 62,986 bucks during the two-week buck season, a decrease of 6.5 percent from the 2008 harvest. The 2009 antlerless season deer harvest decreased by three percent from 2008 for a total of 54,414.
WVDNR forecasts that buck hunters should experience a similar harvest in 2010. Some slight overwinter mortality may have localized impacts on populations but will not have a tremendous effect on the overall buck harvest. Buck seasons are less affected by hard mast conditions compared to other seasons due to the total number of hunters afield during that time. Therefore, the abundant mast crop of 2010 will have less of an overall impact on the harvest. However, hunters should scout and notice the acorn crop prior to hunting. Available mast during the gun season should still have deer feeding on these food sources.
Sunday hunting is legal in the following 14 counties on private land only: Boone, Brooke, Clay, Hancock, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Marshall, Mingo, Ohio, Wayne, Wetzel and Wyoming. The only Sunday that is open in these counties during the buck season is November 28. Hunters are reminded that deer gun seasons are closed in Logan, Mingo, McDowell and Wyoming counties.
Hunters are required to wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange (about the size of a vest) as an outer garment for visibility and safety. Blaze orange camouflage patterns are legal as long as 400 square inches of blaze orange are displayed on the garment. A blaze orange hat is not required, but the hunter must have blaze orange visible from both the front and the back.
Hunting licenses may be purchased online at any time and printed out on a home computer printer. Go to the goWILD! Web site at www.wvhunt.com, fill out the application, and purchase it over a secure server with a credit card.
Hunters who wish to donate deer meat or dollars to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program, which distributes deer meat through the Mountaineer Food Bank and the Huntington Food Bank, should call 304-558-2771 or visit the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov to find a participating meat processor.