Regulated hunting is the most important tool for managing game mammals and birds. Hunting seasons are established, (i.e., season lengths, bag limits, sex of bird/mammal legal for harvest) based on sound scientific research and biology of the game species and to maximize recreational opportunities for hunters. Additionally, sociological parameters like nuisance bear complaints, deer damage and other issues are evaluated for managing many game species as they relate to establishing hunting seasons.

In West Virginia, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) is responsible for setting open seasons, season lengths, sex and bag limits, which are called exempt rules because they do not require passage by the West Virginia Legislature. Season changes and recommendations from the wildlife biologists and wildlife managers are presented to the WVDNR director annually for approval and are presented to the public for comments during the regulations public meetings held across the state. The annual season frameworks, bag limits, the public’s input from the regulations public meetings and other issues are presented to the NRC at their spring meeting (big-game seasons) and summer meeting (small-game seasons for the next year) to be approved or rejected. 

For specific hunting season dates, bag limits other information, go the current Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.