West Virginia Deer Hunt Early This Year

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Deer hunting comes early to the West Virginia hills this fall. "The special antlerless deer seasons for archery and muzzleloader hunters will open on private land in certain counties in September," said West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Frank Jezioro, who wants hunters to be well armed with the facts before entering the woods.

  • * The early archery season opens September 14 and closes September 19. Hunters wishing to participate in this season must buy a Class RB or Class RRB stamp before going afield. The stamp allows a hunter to take one antlerless deer during this archery season.
  • * The early muzzleloader season opens September 21 and closes September 26. Hunters must buy a Class RM or RRM stamp before hunting. This stamp allows a hunter to take one antlerless deer during this muzzleloader season.
  • * If a hunter does not fill a tag during either season, the appropriate stamp can be used during the regular archery or muzzleloader season.
  • * Landowners hunting on their own land or holders of the new DT license do not have to buy a stamp.

Prepare for Early Warm Weather Deer Hunting

"With these early seasons, you need to know before you hunt how you'll take care of it in the field and how you'll get your deer processed," said Jezioro. "If you don't plan to process the deer yourself, make sure beforehand that your deer processor will be open to process the deer." If your regular processor is not open, Jezioro suggests processing the deer yourself. This is a relatively simple process and numerous guides exist explaining how to do it.

"Cooling the deer meat will be a prime concern," say Jezioro. He encourages hunters to keep a bag of ice in a cooler at camp or in the car. "After you have field dressed the deer, throw the bag of ice into the chest cavity. Get the hide off the deer as soon as you can. This will let the meat cool quicker."

Hunters planning on participating in the early seasons need to remember to check their equipment earlier than normal to increase their chances for a safe and successful hunt.

"The opening dates are fast approaching and these seasons will provide an excellent opportunity to hunt deer earlier in the year when weather conditions are generally milder. A little preplanning can greatly enhance your outdoor experience," Jezioro said.