The West Virginia firearm buck gun season is Nov. 21 – Dec. 3. It is open in all counties except Logan, Mingo, McDowell and Wyoming.
Approximately 330,000 licensed hunters will be in West Virginia’s woods during this season.
Hunters should review the 2011 - 2012 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 .
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 buck deer gun tag (Class RG/RRG Stamp) is Nov. 20, 2011. 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. 21 – Dec. 10 and Dec. 28 – 31. All public lands having an antlerless deer season will be open Nov. 23 – Dec. 10 and Dec. 28 – 31. Bag limits vary among counties and will be one, two or four antlerless deer. Only one deer may be taken per day, except that two antlerless deer may be taken on the same day during Dec. 5–10, 2011, on private land only, provided the first deer is legally checked prior to hunting a second deer.
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.
Black bear gun season will be open in Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Monongalia, Morgan, Nicholas (private land) and Raleigh counties Nov. 21 – Dec. 3 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. In addition, the season bag limit for bears is two, provided that at least one bear must be taken in Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Raleigh, or Wyoming counties. See the 2011-2012 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary for details.
The traditional muzzleloader season will be Dec. 12 – 17. Muzzleloader hunting for antlered deer is open in all counties open to buck season. A deer of either sex may be taken with muzzleloaders in all counties open to the antlerless deer season.
Hunters spend an estimated $285 million in West Virginia, 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 2010, deer hunters in West Virginia harvested 43,461 bucks during the two-week buck season, a decrease of 31 percent from the 2009 harvest. The 2010 antlerless season deer harvest decreased by 36.5 percent from 2009 for a total of 34,600.
WVDNR forecasts that the buck harvest will be higher for 2011. All regions should see a higher total harvest this year. The lower harvest and abundant mast conditions in 2010 should mean that there are plenty of mature, larger-racked bucks available in 2011.
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 27. 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.
Just about every hunter who has hunted big game animals has used a rope to drag his game. Over the years I have seen many kinds and sizes used for this purpose. One of my friends brought a deer to my house to hang in my garage for butchering, and he had a 1” hemp rope that was at least 12 feet long on it. It was large enough to tow a truck! Another time I saw a guy stuffing an entire 50-foot coil of that stiff, plastic rope into his pocket to use as a dragging rope.I have found that the ideal...