Muzzleloader Deer Season Opens December 13

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West Virginia's six-day muzzleloader deer season opens December 13 and continues through December 18, 2004 in all counties open to firearm hunting for deer, according to Paul Johansen, Assistant Chief of Game Management of the Division of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Section.

“We anticipate this year's muzzleloader harvest to be similar to the 2003 harvest,” Johansen said. The 2003 muzzleloader harvest in the Mountain State was 16,272 deer, which represents a 7 percent decrease compared to the 2002 harvest of 17,458 deer.

Hunters are reminded that only antlered deer may be taken in those counties or portions thereof that are closed to antlerless (Class N) deer hunting. One either-sex deer may be taken in counties or portions thereof and State Wildlife Management Areas open to antlerless deer hunting. A second either-sex deer may be taken using an unfilled Class RG or Class RRG additional deer license or by a resident landowner hunting on his/her own property in 43 specified counties. Hunters should consult the 2004-05 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary available at all license agents and Wildlife Resources Section District Offices or online at for daily and season bag limits for specified counties.

Only single shot muzzleloaders, including “in-lines”, at least .38 caliber or larger may be used. Muzzleloaders with open or telescopic sights are legal to use during the muzzleloader season. Firearms that have been converted into a muzzleloader by the use of a plug, or double-barreled or swivel-barreled muzzleloaders may not be used during the muzzleloader season. When being transported in or on a vehicle, muzzleloaders are considered unloaded when uncapped or when the priming charge is removed from the pan. A bow may not be substituted for a muzzleloader.

Concurrent archery and small game hunting is legal during the muzzleloader season subject to all archery and small game hunting regulations, except all hunters must wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange as an outer garment. Sunday hunting is legal on private land with written permission in counties where not prohibited by local election. Please check with you county DNR officer or Wildlife Resources Section District Offices to see if Sunday hunting is legal in your county.