West Virginia’s Small Game Seasons Open

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Hunting for small game in West Virginia will begin October 7th with the opening of squirrel season. "Squirrel hunting is very popular with many West Virginia sportsmen. It is a time when hunters can participate in one of their favorite sports and also enjoy the fall beauty of the Mountain State," said Curt is Taylor. Chief of the Division of Natural Resources. Wildlife Resources Section.

Last year's mast production was good, which should have reduced overwinter mortality and improved reproduction. A recent mast survey, conducted by the Division of Natural Resources (DNR) indicates that statewide oak, hickory, and walnut production this summer was better than the 36 year average. These factors should provide good hunting opportunities for gray and fox squirrels this fall. Some pre-season scouting to locate areas containing favored foods of squirrels will ensure successful hunting. The daily bag limit for squirrels is six.

The ruffed grouse season opens on October 14 and closes on February 28, 2007. Brood counts for ruffed grouse are near the five-year average but are considerably lower than last year. The majority of the brood counts were from the mountain counties. Soft mast crops are abundant statewide. Grouse hunters should look for areas that provide ample cover and soft mast species such as grape, hawthorn, dogwood, and greenbrier. The daily bag limit for grouse is four.

The hunting season for raccoons will open October 14 at 6:00 p.m. and continues through February 28, 2007. Favorable mast conditions during the last two years have allowed raccoon populations to increase. Mast surveys indicate that food is again plentiful. Hunters, and their hounds, should have a very successful season. Raccoon hunters are reminded that the daily bag limit is four.

Opening day of cottontail rabbit season is November 4. Rabbit populations should be similar to last year. Old fields and brushy pastures are the best habitat types in which to rabbit hunt. Snowshoe hare, bobwhite quail, ring-necked pheasant, bobcat, red fox, and gray fox hunting seasons also open November 4. Hunters should be aware of daily bag limits and season possession limits for each species.

November 4 marks the opening of trapping season for fur bearing animals in West Virginia . Populations of beaver, bobcat, fox, mink, muskrat, and raccoon are high, and trappers should be very successful. Trappers should be aware of season closing dates for each species.

For more complete information on season dates and bag limits consult the 2006-2007 Hunting and Trapping Regulations available at all hunting and fishing license agents, DNR District Offices and the DNR website www.wvdnr.gov.