Bucks-Only Deer Firearm Season

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West Virginia’s 2004 bucks-only firearms season opens on November 22 and closes December 4, according to Ed Hamrick, Director of the Division of Natural Resources. "The opening of West Virginia’s buck season is the highlight of the year for many hunters," said Hamrick. "Ninety percent of the state’s hunters participate in buck hunting, and we expect more than 350,000 hunters will be afield during the two-week season."

Legal antlered bucks are defined as having one or both antlers 3 inches or more in length above the hairline. The entire state, except Wyoming, McDowell, Logan and Mingo counties, is open to bucks-only deer hunting. All persons hunting during a deer firearms season, except those engaged in farming activities on their own land and waterfowl hunters, must wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange as an outer garment.

Hunters are reminded that all deer must be checked at an official game checking station within 72 hours of the time of kill or within 24 hours of the close of the respective hunting season, whichever comes first. Hunters may not legally hunt for an additional deer unless all previously taken deer have been checked. Hunters are also reminded that all hunting, except for deer, is prohibited during the first 3 days of bucks-only season in counties having a firearms season. Waterfowl hunting is legal on lakes, rivers and waterways during the open waterfowl season. Properly licensed bear hunters may hunt for bears without dogs in Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, and Raleigh counties during the first week of the buck season (November 22-27).

“Buck hunting has a very strong tradition in West Virginia, and hunters contribute significantly to the state’s economy," said Hamrick. “Much of the spending by deer hunters takes place in the rural areas of West Virginia, and this provides a substantial economic boost to small businesses and local communities throughout the state. Deer hunting alone in West Virginia generates a total annual economic impact of $248 million."

Hunters should consult the 2004-2005 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary for additional information regarding the various deer seasons. The summary is available from all DNR district offices, license agents and on the DNR website www.wvdnr.gov.