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Hunting & Trapping

Hunting & Trapping

West Virginia’s first Mountaineer Heritage Season is January 10-13

The Free Press WV

Big game hunters in West Virginia will have the opportunity to take part in the state’s first Mountaineer Heritage Season this week, which runs Thursday through Sunday, January 10-13.

During the four-day season, hunters may take a deer or a bear using only primitive weapons.

“This new season is a great opportunity to hunt in January and test your hunting skills,” said Division of Natural Resources Director Stephen McDaniel. “We’re calling it the Mountaineer Heritage Season because hunters may use only the types of rifles and bows that the original mountaineer settlers had available. At a time of year when hunting activity is usually slow, we hope this will encourage people to get outside and enjoy a hunting adventure without the aid of modern technology and that it will give them an understanding and appreciation for the historical significance of hunting in West Virginia.”

Because it is a new year, hunters are required to purchase a 2019 hunting license and stamps to participate in the Mountaineer Heritage Season. Bear hunters must buy a Bear Damage stamp, unless they hold a senior lifetime license or qualify for a free license. Hunting licenses and stamps can be purchased online at www.wvhunt.com, and at license agents or DNR district offices around the state.

During this season, hunters are restricted to using only long or recurve bows, or single-shot side lock or flintlock muzzle-loading rifles of .38 caliber or larger. Only long and recurve bows are legal in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties. Telescopic sights, in-line muzzleloaders, firearms that have been converted into a muzzleloader by use of a plug and double-barreled or swivel-barreled muzzleloaders are illegal during this season.

“This season was created because a large number of hunters have been requesting additional hunting opportunities in the new year, following the end of the traditional big game seasons in December,” said Paul Johansen, chief of the DNR Wildlife Resources Section.

During the season, hunters may take a bear or a deer of either sex. Hunters who took their limit of three bucks in the 2018 fall seasons may only take an antlerless deer. Hunters also are not permitted to hunt with a crossbow or compound bow, or to hunt bear with dogs. Hunters must wear a blaze orange outer garment of at least 400 square inches, except for those hunting in the bow-only counties. Hunters also are required to use their permanent DNR ID number to check their game at www.wvhunt.com, by calling 1.844.WVCHECK or at a hunting and fishing license agent. More details about this new season are available on page 33 in the 2018-19 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

Trappers and hunters must tag furbearers

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources would like to remind beaver, bobcat, fisher and otter trappers that they are required to electronically register their catches within 30 days after the close of the respective season.

The furbearer trapping seasons in West Virginia opened November 03.

A game check confirmation number issued by the DNR must be recorded in writing with the trapper’s name and address, or written on a field tag, and must be attached and remain attached to each pelt or whole animal until it is sold, tanned or processed into commercial fur, or is mounted.

Information provided by hunters or trappers when checking game is used to monitor the harvest and assist in future management of these species in West Virginia. Decisions regarding season length, opening and closing dates, and bag limits rely on accurate data obtained from electronic registration of the harvest.

Trappers are asked to deliver skinned river otter carcasses to DNR district offices. Call a district office to arrange a pick up if you are unable to deliver the carcass. Biological samples collected will assist biologists in making decisions regarding future trapping seasons. A $20 gift certificate will be issued for each useable otter carcass turned in.

DNR personnel advise trappers to obtain a Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) seal for each bobcat and otter pelt from animals harvested in West Virginia. The plastic seal is necessary only if the pelts will be shipped out of the state. Federal law requires the seal on all bobcat and otter pelts if they will eventually be shipped to international markets including Canada. The seals must be obtained from the state where the animals were harvested.

Bobcats and river otters are not endangered species but may be confused with similar-looking species that may be found on the international market. These CITES seals may be obtained from the DNR Elkins office and any DNR district office. Calling ahead is advised to ensure that personnel authorized to seal pelts will be available.

Bobcat trappers needed for home range study

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is asking bobcat trappers to assist with a new study in Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph and Tucker counties.

“We’re asking trappers in those counties who catch bobcats to call wildlife biologists so a research crew can place a radio collar on their animal and release it,” said Gary Foster, assistant chief for Wildlife Management. “A $100 gift card, useable at several locations, will be awarded to all trappers contributing an animal for the study.”

Animals caught and released will not count toward the trapper’s seasonal bag limit, and trappers may contribute multiple animals to the study. Researchers retain the right to refuse animals based on research needs or condition of the bobcat.

The study will help DNR refine the population model used to manage bobcats in the state and guide harvest recommendations in the future. Radio-collared bobcats will yield important data regarding home range size, habitat use and mortality factors. The study will take two trapping seasons to complete and biologists are hoping to collar 30 bobcats each season.

Upon trapping a bobcat in the targeted counties, trappers should leave the animal on site and call one of the numbers listed below during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. A research crew will be dispatched to process and release the animal. Trappers should not keep animals through the weekend or holidays, as research crews will not be available to respond.

Kirsten Belcher (West Virginia University)      304.293.0050 or 304.216.8482

Rich Rogers (WVDNR)      304.822.3551

Hunters in West Virginia harvested 44,572 bucks during the traditional buck firearms season

The Free Press WV

Preliminary data collected from the electronic game checking system indicates that deer hunters in West Virginia harvested 44,572 antlered deer during the two-week buck firearms season which ran from November 19 through December 01, 2018, according to Gary Foster, assistant chief of Game Management with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section.

The 2018 harvest was 1 percent higher than the 2017 harvest.

The top 10 counties for buck harvest in 2018 were: Randolph (1,685), Preston (1,607), Greenbrier (1,479), Hampshire (1,471), Jackson (1,379), Pendleton (1,274), Grant (1,217), Hardy (1,212), Kanawha (1,212) and Mason (1,206).

The buck harvest increased in the eastern panhandle (DNR District 2) and in southwestern West Virginia (DNR District 5) and was similar to or slightly down in the remainder of the state.

Deer hunters have several days of opportunity left this year, including the remainder of the archery and crossbow seasons, which run through December 31.

Muzzleloader deer season will open December 10 and remain open through December 16.

The Youth, Class Q/QQ and Class XS deer season for antlerless deer will be open December 26-27 in any county with a firearms deer season.

This will be followed by the reopening of Class N/NN antlerless deer season on December 28-31 in specified counties or portions of counties.

In addition, the new primitive weapons “Mountaineer Heritage Season” will be open during the period from January 10-13, 2019.

Refer to the 2018–2019 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary or visit the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov for additional details as well as county and area listings.


West Virginia Buck Firearms Season Harvest, 2014-2018

County

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Barbour

886

1,281

1,098

984

958

Brooke

251

286

268

175

188

Hancock

200

208

209

157

139

Harrison

930

1,418

1,138

1,017

887

Marion

702

1,190

765

735

677

Marshall

707

818

727

624

637

Monongalia

689

1,023

827

825

750

Ohio

232

290

270

180

197

Preston

1,526

2,046

1,774

1,947

1,607

Taylor

453

732

581

485

491

Tucker

494

783

730

817

754

Wetzel

891

1,144

899

823

676

District 1 Subtotal

7,961

11,219

9,286

8,769

7,961

Berkeley

522

908

737

753

757

Grant

783

1,304

954

1,194

1,217

Hampshire

1,094

1,947

1,197

1,386

1,471

Hardy

920

1,709

1,076

1,198

1,212

Jefferson

385

499

422

419

463

Mineral

835

1,335

922

1,011

1,051

Morgan

412

678

437

503

621

Pendleton

861

1,297

1,088

1,018

1,274

District 2 Subtotal

5,812

9,677

6,833

7,482

8,066

Braxton

921

1,660

1,102

1,233

1,017

Clay

329

618

390

481

438

Lewis

1,166

1,875

1,246

1,216

999

Nicholas

871

1,274

1,044

987

1,060

Pocahontas

831

1,008

921

1,040

988

Randolph

1,291

1,659

1,617

1,633

1,685

Upshur

1,009

1,704

1,399

1,025

1,155

Webster

632

1,080

941

777

937

District 3 Subtotal

7,050

10,878

8,660

8,392

8,279

Fayette

725

1,214

889

927

997

Greenbrier

1,372

1,816

1,447

1,628

1,479

McDowell

0

0

0

 

0

Mercer

402

843

636

593

617

Monroe

1,004

1,462

1,099

1,295

1,189

Raleigh

506

895

648

592

623

Summers

657

999

657

809

701

Wyoming

0

0

0

 

0

District 4 Subtotal

4,666

7,229

5,376

5,844

5,606

Boone

519

868

573

658

672

Cabell

421

641

677

404

642

Kanawha

730

1,547

1,058

1,046

1,212

Lincoln

720

1,312

846

569

957

Logan

0

0

0

 

0

Mason

1,002

1,488

1,267

867

1,206

Mingo

0

0

0

 

0

Putnam

565

1,114

992

624

942

Wayne

528

963

815

448

736

District 5 Subtotal

4,485

7,933

6,228

4,616

6,367

Calhoun

504

1,063

705

740

698

Doddridge

615

1,376

946

947

659

Gilmer

669

1,435

791

875

800

Jackson

1,107

1,870

1,487

1,096

1,379

Pleasants

273

492

334

317

280

Ritchie

1,123

2,024

1,422

1,338

1,065

Roane

927

1,846

1,178

1,186

1,177

Tyler

566

1,064

855

817

566

Wirt

681

1,152

777

734

668

Wood

1,011

1,556

1,193

974

1,001

District 6 Subtotal

7,476

13,878

9,688

9,024

8,293

State Total

37,450

60,814

46,071

44,127

44,572

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