West Virginia Muzzleloader Season Opens Dec 11

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West Virginia's six-day muzzleloader deer season opens December 11 and continues through December 16, 2006, in all counties open to firearm hunting for deer, according to Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section of the Division of Natural Resources.

"We anticipate this year's muzzleloader harvest will be slightly lower than the 2005 harvest," said Taylor. "We are following our statewide deer management plan, with fewer counties being open for Class N antlerless deer hunting this fall. That means fewer counties will be open to either-sex muzzleloader deer hunting during the 2006 muzzleloader deer season. Since antlerless deer make up a major portion of the muzzleloader harvest, a lower muzzleloader harvest is expected this year."

Hunters are reminded that muzzleloader hunting for antlered deer is legal in all counties open to muzzleloader season. However, a hunter may take no more than three antlered deer per calendar year in all deer seasons combined. A deer of either sex may be taken with muzzleloaders in all counties or parts thereof and state wildlife management areas open to the Class N season. A second deer may be taken on a Class RM or RRM stamp or by a resident landowner using that privilege on their own property in all counties having a muzzleloader season. In 30 of these counties, antlered deer only may be taken. In the remaining 21 counties or parts thereof open for the use of the RM and RRM stamps, one of either sex deer may be harvested. It should also be noted that with the initiation of the RM and RRM stamps, the RG and RRG additional buck stamps may no longer be used for a second muzzleloader deer.

During the muzzleloader deer season, only single shot muzzleloaders (including "in-lines") of .38 caliber or larger may be used. Both open and telescopic sights are legal to use during this 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 that 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. For complete information, hunters should consult the 2006-2007 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary available at any DNR office or license agent or by visiting the DNR web site at www.wvdnr.gov.