Small Game Hunting and Trapping Seasons Open
The traditional small game season opened in West Virginia with squirrel season on October 8. Gray and fox squirrels are the most popular small game animals in West Virginia. Many families and friends enjoy the outdoor experience they share during this beautiful fall season. Scouting, even for squirrel hunting, is necessary to locate the bushytails favorite foods.
“This year red and scarlet oak can be found in most areas. Hickory and white oak may be scattered in some counties of the mountain state,” said Paul Johansen , Assistant Chief in charge of game management.
Ruffed grouse brood counts are above the five year average with the most reports in the mountain counties. Grouse hunters should look for favorite areas which have grape. Most soft mast species hit this year making hawthorn, crabapple and dogwood shrub coverts a good places to look for this illusive species. This year grouse season runs from October 16 through February 28, 2006.
Beginning October 15 at 6 p.m., raccoon hunters were able to pursue their sport. “Raccoon populations have grown over the past few years, and hunters should have good hunting with their favorite hound,” said Johansen. There are many areas to hunt raccoons on public and private land throughout the state.
November 5 th brings the opening of cottontail rabbit season. “Rabbit numbers should be similar to last year for hunters who like to listen to a beagle chase or just walk through the brush,” Johansen said. Rabbit hunting is best in old field habitats. Snowshoe hare , bobwhite quail , ring-necked pheasant , bobcat , red fox and gray fox hunting seasons also begin November 5.
Trapping season for all fur bearing animals will also begin November 5. Coyote, bobcat, fox, beaver, raccoon, mink and muskrat populations are at an all time high. Fur prices have increased for some of these furbearers.
For additional information, hunters and trappers are urged to pick up a copy of the 2005-2006 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary available at all licensing agents, DNR Offices or by visiting the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov.