Hunting & Trapping

Hunting & Trapping

National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration at Stonewall Resort State Park, September 22-23, 2018

The Free Press WV

Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to Stonewall Resort State Park in Lewis County for West Virginia’s Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day September 22-23, 2018. The event is the largest outdoor hunting and fishing show in the state, with approximately 100 vendors exhibiting hunting, fishing and conservation-related merchandise and information.

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

West Virginia native Frank Addington Jr. will perform hour-long shows at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday. Addington’s “bow and arrow razzle-dazzle” will feature shooting aspirin-sized objects out of the air. The entirety of the show is shot with a recurve bow behind his back.

For the first time, the Mountain State Kayak Anglers are hosting a bass fishing tournament. Up to 200 anglers will be competing Saturday on Stonewall, Stonecoal and Burnsville lakes. A cash prize of $10,000 will go to the top angler during the awards ceremony at noon Sunday.

The Outdoor Youth Challenge will take place 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 hunting- and fishing-related items. Youth who compete in the five scored events can win a scholarship to Conservation Camp and Jr. 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 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $10 for adults and free for children 14 and younger. Complete schedules are available at under the Special Opportunities heading. The event is co-sponsored by the DNR and the West Virginia Wildlife Federation.

DNR seeks big bucks and trophy fish for National Hunting and Fishing Day display

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is asking hunters and anglers to enter showcase pieces for the big buck and trophy fish display at the National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration at Stonewall Resort State Park on September 22-23.

Mounted trophy white-tailed bucks with a Pope and Young or Boone and Crockett score of 140 or greater that were legally harvested with a bow or gun may be entered in the display. The DNR also is seeking fish that meet the DNR’s trophy citation guidelines.

“This display is a tremendous draw at West Virginia’s Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day and attracts thousands of visitors each year,” said display organizers James Walker and Tyler Evans, DNR wildlife biologists. “This is a great opportunity to show off your big buck or trophy fish.”

The display is limited to the first 30 qualifying trophy bucks, and only 25 qualifying trophy fish, chosen by a selection committee, will be displayed. No more than five fish of any species will be accepted for the display. Each hunter and angler who displays their trophy deer or fish at the two-day event will be entered in a drawing for several valuable prizes.

For more information about entering a qualifying buck, email Tyler Evans at ‘’. For fish, email James Walker at ‘’. Hunters and anglers also may call 304.924.6211 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

In addition to the DNR, event sponsors include the West Virginia Wildlife Federation and Toyota.

Hunters encouraged to perform preseason scouting and equipment checks

The Free Press WV

September marks the beginning of many hunting seasons and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources would like to remind hunters to prepare by scouting, inspecting equipment and sharpening their skills.

“By late August, you should be able to gauge fall mast conditions in the areas you hunt,” said Ethan Barton, a DNR wildlife biologist stationed in Romney. “Mast crop quantity is a good indicator of whether or not a hunting area will be productive.“

DNR wildlife biologists and managers conduct mast surveys statewide every year, and early indicators this year point toward a mixed mast crop. Deer, bear, and boar hunters should look for producing oaks or other desirable food close to bedding cover or habitat edges, and squirrel hunters should seek out producing oaks and hickories.

According to Barton, squirrels should be more abundant this year than during last hunting season. “Hard mast production has a time-lagged effect on squirrel populations. More mast during the previous autumn means higher overwinter survival and more reproduction for squirrels the following year,” he said.

Preseason scouting will help hunters locate the food and cover which game animals require, and that effort should translate into better success and recreational experiences during hunting seasons.

Another important preseason activity for hunters is practicing their craft and inspecting their equipment well before seasons begin. Archery and crossbow hunters should practice from various ranges, heights, and angles they expect to encounter while hunting. Bows, arrows and bolts, broadheads, and safety equipment should also be inspected before being used.

Improper tuning of compound bows and crossbows can hamper accuracy, and frayed strings can be dangerous. Broadheads that have been previously used should be sharpened or the blades should be replaced to ensure a humane, ethical harvest.

Hunters who use tree stands should check their safety harnesses for damage or wear before they go hunting, and should follow manufacturer recommendations for time of replacement. Replacing a worn or damaged tree stand safety harness could save your life in the event of a slip or fall.

Rifle hunters should check their firearms for accuracy, and practice shooting from various distances and positions they expect to encounter while hunting before seasons open to ensure proficiency. When sighting-in a rifle, shoot from a solid rest and be sure the rifle’s bore is clean before the shooting session.

It’s also important to check ammunition for corrosion, uniformity and quality, particularly if you have old ammunition that has seen a few years at hunting camp. If you’re trying a different load, remember that bullets of the same weight but different ballistic profiles (a pointed bullet versus a round-nosed bullet) often don’t shoot to the same point of aim. Also, impact points of similar loads from different manufacturers can differ substantially.

“Even if you’re confident your rifle is dead-on, take a few shots at the range to make sure you’re in the black,” Barton said. “You owe it to yourself and to the game animals you hunt to be as accurate and ethical as possible.”

Another preseason tip is to read through the 2018-19 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations summary, available for free at license agents, DNR offices, and online at If you have additional questions about regulations or seasons, call your local DNR district office between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Applications for controlled deer hunts at nine West Virginia state parks available

The Free Press WV

Applications to participate in controlled deer hunts at nine West Virginia state parks are being accepted through September 09. These hunts are scheduled throughout the fall at Beech Fork, Cacapon Resort, Canaan Valley Resort, Lost River, North Bend, Pipestem Resort, Stonewall Resort, Twin Falls and Watoga.

“Previous controlled hunts have been successful in helping us manage deer populations at our parks,” said West Virginia State Parks Chief Sam England. “It is an effective and efficient way to maintain a biologically and socially balanced deer herd in areas with overpopulation.”

Applications for the hunt must be submitted online at Applicants must use their existing Electronic Licensing and Game Checking System account, or create one. Once logged in, applicants must select “State Park Lottery Hunts”and then choose one of the hunting options for each $15 application fee. Each application can be for one or two people. Drawings for the hunts will start on Sept. 10. Successful applicants will be notified between September 14 and 21.

Each application is for a three-day harvest opportunity using archery/crossbow or muzzleloader rifles, depending upon the dates, hunt typesand designated areas. Rather than specified hunting stands for each hunter, as used in past controlled hunts, all hunters will be provided a map and will be able to roam and hunt within the designated hunting zones. Deer harvested do not count against a hunter’s annual deer season bag limit.

Controlled Hunts Benefits

Controlled hunts are a successful tool for deer management, when populations reach levels that become detrimental to the landscape. Over-browsing by deer can lead to loss of native vegetation, prevent forest regeneration and alter habitat for all wildlife species living in the park. Controlled hunts help reduce deer numbers to levels that prevent habitat loss, property damage, vehicle collisions and potential human injuries, while still allowing visitors the opportunity to view deer and other wildlife throughout the state park. Hunting contributes to wildlife conservation while maintaining a healthy deer herd population.

Hunter Requirements

If chosen, each hunter will be required to confirm participation in the hunt. They must also possess a valid West Virginia Hunting License (or be legally exempt from purchasing a license) within one week of being contacted. Successful applicants will be contacted with more detailed information regarding the controlled hunt.

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources hunting regulations will apply to all managed hunts. To learn more about hunting in West Virginia and the Division of Natural Resources, visit

Specific Hunting Dates and Methods

Specific rules, hunting dates and hunting methods are available on the electronic licensing system. For additional information about a specific park hunt, call the park at the below numbers and indicate the call is regarding controlled hunt information. The superintendent or representative responding to controlled hunt calls, if unavailable, will return calls.

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