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West Virginia’s Archery and Crossbow Seasons Open September 30

West Virginia’s 2017 archery and crossbow seasons for white-tailed deer, black bear and wild boar will open Saturday, September 30.

The archery and crossbow deer and boar seasons run through December 31.

The bear archery and crossbow season is a split season (September 30 – November 18 and December 04 – December 31) with the exception of Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties, in which the season will be open September 30 – December 31.

The Free Press WV


Black bear

Bear hunters must buy a Bear Damage Stamp (Class DS) in addition to a base license (nonresidents need a Class EE Bear Hunting License).

Two bear may be taken per year, provided at least one bear is taken in Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mingo, Nicholas, Raleigh or Wyoming counties.

Other than the Class DS stamp, no additional stamps are needed to harvest bears during the archery and crossbow season, except for nonresidents hunting on the National Forest (Class I).

The daily bag limit for bear remains one bear per day.


Deer

Hunters must purchase stamps if they wish to harvest additional deer during the archery season.

One or two additional archery deer, depending on the county, may be taken with Class RB (resident) or Class RRB (nonresident) stamps (one per stamp).

Underage residents are required to purchase a Class RB stamp to take additional archery deer, but resident landowners hunting on their own property and Class DT (Life-threatening Conditions) license holders are not required to purchase any additional archery stamps.

Hunters should take note that in 23 counties or portions thereof, they must take an antlerless archery deer before harvesting a second antlered deer.

Additional archery stamps must be purchased before the start of the deer archery season.

Individuals may take up to two deer in one day during the archery or crossbow season.

The first deer does not have to be electronically checked before harvesting the second deer in the same day.

However, only one antlered deer may be taken in the same day during any season.

Special regulations exist for the four archery-only counties (Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming).

In these counties, only two archery deer may be taken, one of which must be antlerless.

In these counties, crossbows can only be used by holders of Class Y/YY permits.


Wild boar

The wild boar archery and crossbow seasons are open in Boone, Logan, Raleigh and Wyoming counties.

The season bag limit is one boar.

For more information on hunting regulations, hunters should consult the 2017-2018 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary available at any WVDNR office, license agent or at the WVDNR website, www.wvdnr.gov.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Found in West Virginia Deer

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has found deer in eight counties that have died from a hemorrhagic disease that causes extensive bleeding.

This year, deer in Boone, Brooke, Hancock, Lincoln, Marshall, Ohio, Tucker and Wayne counties have died from a disease caused by the Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (EHDV). The disease has also been confirmed in deer herds in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia this year. Hemorrhagic diseases can also be caused by the Blue Tongue Virus, but no BTV-infected deer have been detected in West Virginia.

This disease is not contagious to humans and EHDV is not related to chronic wasting disease, which has only been detected in Hampshire and Hardy counties.

“The disease disappears with the first frost because the spread of the virus is dependent on small midges called culicoides, which are killed by cold temperatures,” said Gary Foster, DNR’s assistant chief in charge of game management.

Samples from West Virginia were sent to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia’s School of Veterinary Medicine, where the virus was isolated and identified. Although this disease usually does not have a major impact on the deer population, DNR is surveying the extent of the outbreak. EHDV may cause local reductions in the deer population by usually 20 percent or less.

Outbreaks of this disease do not affect West Virginia deer every year. The last large outbreaks occurred in 1996, 2002, 2007 and 2012. EHDV does not persist in deer that survive infection. Although hunters should never consume meat from an obviously sick animal, deer affected by EHDV are usually safe to eat. Landowners and hunters are urged to report sick or dead deer to their nearest DNR district office.

National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration to be held at Stonewall Resort State Park

Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to Stonewall Resort State Park in Lewis County for West Virginia’s Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day, September 23-24.

The event is the state’s largest outdoor hunting and fishing show, with more than 50 vendors exhibiting hunting, fishing and conservation-related merchandise and information.

Staff from the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources, Law Enforcement and State Parks sections will be available throughout the weekend to assist visitors in learning skills and to answer any questions.

The Free Press WV


Byron Ferguson, longbow exhibition shooter, will perform hourling shows at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. both days.

Returning this year is Neal James of Animal Planet’s “Call of the Wildman” show. He will be on-site to meet visitors and play his banjo. Additionally, James will be visiting local schools, retailers and th Veterans Affairs Hospital in Clarksburg before performing at the National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration.

The Outdoor Youth Challenge will take place both Saturday and Sunday.

Youth ages 6-18 may participate and will be eligible to win prizes, such as a lifetime hunting and fishing license and other hunting- and fishing-related items.

Youth who compete in the five scored events also can win a scholarship to Conservation Camp.

Seminars on wild game cooking, snakes, coyote calling and hunting, waterfowl hunting with dogs and recording your own hunts will be presented each day.

The event is open Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission is $6 for adults and free for children 15 and younger.

Complete schedules are available at www.wvdnr.gov under the “Special Opportunities” heading. The event is cosponsored by the WVDNR and the West Virginia Wildlife Federation.

Hunters Encouraged to Perform Pre-Season Scouting and Equipment Inspections

The Free Press WV

With small- and big-game hunting seasons set to begin, West Virginia hunters should start scouting, inspecting equipment and honing their skills before heading out to their favorite hunting spots.


Scout for mast production

“Most experienced hunters spend considerable time scouting for game before they step into the woods on opening day,” said Ethan Barton, Division of Natural Resources assistant wildlife biologist. “By early September, you should be able to gauge mast conditions thoroughly in the areas you hunt.”

According to Barton, mast crop quality and quantity are good indicators of the possible productivity of hunting areas. DNR wildlife biologists and wildlife managers conduct mast surveys statewide every year, and early indicators this year point toward an above-average mast crop. Abundant mast can make hunting a challenge because animals do not have to leave dense cover as often to meet their nutritional needs.

“Scouting areas where game animals are spending time feeding is just as important during abundant mast years as during poor mast years,” Barton said. “Look for producing white oaks or other desirable food close to dense bedding cover or transitional edges, and find a way to slip into position unobtrusively. Put in your time and chances are good your effort will pay off.”

The Free Press WV
Hunters are encouraged to do pre-season scouting and equipment checks before heading afield during the upcoming hunting seasons.


Check hunting equipment

Archery hunters should be well into practice by this time of year.

“If you have any doubts about your archery equipment, take it to an archery shop and have it checked by a qualified professional. Improper tuning of compound bows and crossbows can hamper accuracy, and frayed bow strings can be dangerous to hunters,” Barton said. “It’s also important to check arrows and broadheads, whether hunting with modern carbon arrows and expandable broadheads or traditional wooden arrows and glue-on heads.”

Tree-stand hunters should practice from various stand heights and angles. They also should check the safety harness for damage or wear before going hunting.

“Replacing a worn or damaged tree stand safety harness could save your life in the event of a slip or fall,” Barton said.

Rifle hunters should “zero” their firearms and practice shooting from various distances and positions before seasons open to ensure ethically proficient accuracy.

“When sighting in a rifle, shoot from a solid rest and be sure your rifle’s bore is clean before your shooting session,” Barton said. “It’s also important to check your ammunition for corrosion, uniformity and quality, particularly if you have old ammunition.

“If you’re trying a new load, remember that bullets of the same weight but different profiles — for example, a pointed bullet versus a round-nose bullet — often don’t shoot to the same point of aim, and impact points of similar loads from different manufacturers can differ substantially.

“Even if you’re confident your rifle is still ‘on’ after last season, take a few shots at a target to make sure,” Barton said. “You owe it to yourself and to the game animals you hunt to be as accurate as possible.”

For more information on hunting season dates and bag limits, consult the 2017-2018 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations, available at all license retailers, DNR district offices and from the DNR website, www.wvdnr.gov.

If you have additional questions about regulations or seasons, call your local DNR district office. Personnel are available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to answer questions and offer guidance.

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