Applications to participate in controlled deer hunts at six state parks this fall are now available. If you enjoy hunting in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia or want to fill your freezer with extra meat, you don’t want to miss your chance to be part of these hunts. You have until Aug. 30 to apply.

Participating in a controlled hunt is a rare opportunity. Not everyone who applies gets selected, but the good thing is that you can improve your odds of getting picked by applying for more than one hunt. Drawings for the hunts will start on Aug. 31 and successful applicants will be notified in early-September.

Controlled hunts are scheduled at the following state parks:

  • Beech Fork
  • Cacapon Resort
  • Canaan Valley Resort
  • North Bend
  • Pipestem Resort
  • Twin Falls Resort

How to apply

Applications for the hunt must be submitted online at Hunters must use their existing Electronic Licensing and Game Checking System account or create one in order to apply. Once logged in, applicants must select “State Park Lottery Hunts” and choose one of the hunting options. There is a $15 application fee. Each application can be for one or two people.

Each application is for a three-day harvest opportunity using a compound bow or crossbow or muzzleloader rifle, depending on the selected date, hunt type and designated area. Rather than specified hunting stands for each hunter, as used in past controlled hunts, all hunters will be given a map and will be able to hunt within the designated hunting zones. Deer harvested during a controlled hunt do not count against a hunter’s annual deer season bag limit.

Hunter requirements

If chosen, each hunter will be required to confirm their intent to participate 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 hunting regulations apply to all controlled hunts.

Specific hunting dates and methods

Specific rules, hunting dates and hunting methods are available on the electronic licensing system, at For additional information about a specific park hunt, call the state park of interest and indicate the call is regarding controlled hunt information.

Controlled hunt benefits

When deer populations reach levels that become detrimental to the landscape, over-browsing 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.

Controlled hunts help the DNR maintain a healthy deer herd population while still allowing visitors the opportunity to view deer and other wildlife throughout the state park.