Small game hunting begins in September and runs into the following year. Squirrel season starts in September, ruffed grouse in October and bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbit, and snowshoe or varying hare in November. 

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

The forest diversity of West Virginia provides great potential food resources and contributes to our small game hunting opportunities. Focusing on oak and hickory forests is a must for the best chances to harvest squirrels. Snowshoe hares and grouse favor the younger, thicker timber stands and old orchard or hawthorn grown pastures of the higher elevations. But as a grouse hunter will tell you, “Grouse are where you find them!” Cottontails are most common along fence lines, lowlands and old fields, pastures or orchards.  

Fall in West Virginia is a great time to be outdoors, and small game hunting can add to that experience. Small game hunting seasons continue through the end of February, making them among the longest hunting opportunities in the state.

Small game seasons are also a great opportunity to introduce someone of any age to hunting. If you are an experienced hunter, take a new hunter with you and share your knowledge of the outdoors. Small game hunting can be enjoyed with or without a dog but bringing a dog with you can make your time in the woods more enjoyable and adventurous.

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