White-tailed deer are the most sought after, big game species in West Virginia. Every year, more than 200,000 resident and non-resident hunters take to the woods to hunt whitetails. White-tailed deer are found in every county and in every habitat in the Mountain State. The opportunities to hunt whitetails in West Virginia are as diverse as the habitats in which they live. Hunters can pick the type of hunting experience they are looking for and cater their hunt to meet their needs.
Deer seasons in West Virginia span more than four months. The intensity of the hunt can range from urban, backyard hunts in some of our cities and homeowners associations to a true wilderness experience on one of our two national forests. Hunters can also explore one of 96 state-owned or leased wildlife management areas that encompass over 493,000 acres.
For hunters looking for an opportunity to harvest an older buck, West Virginia has seven wildlife management areas designated as “older-age deer management areas.” Bucks on these areas need to have a 14-inch outside antler spread to be legal for harvest. In addition, West Virginia has four counties that are designated “archery-only” for deer hunting, where large-antlered bucks are harvested each year.
For specific hunting season dates, bag limits other information, go the current Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.
The growth and expansion of the black bear population in West Virginia is one of the state’s greatest conservation success stories. In the early 1970s, black bears were limited to parts of ten of the eastern mountain counties and believed to number fewer than 500 individuals. Changes to hunting seasons based on field research coupled with maturing forests have allowed the black bear population to expand across the mountain state. Current population estimates put West Virginia’s bear population near 15,000 animals, and bears have been harvested in 53 of 55 counties in recent years.
West Virginia offers some of the most liberal bear hunting opportunities in the lower 48 states. Bear seasons begin in late August and continue until early January the following year. For specific hunting season dates, bag limits other information, go the current Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.
The growth of West Virginia’s wild turkey population is another conservation success story. Wild turkeys had become restricted to the most remote regions of the eastern mountain counties, following the wide-scale logging and subsequent fires that were common in the state during the first two decades of the 1900s. Early wild turkey research revealed wild-trapped birds were far superior to pen-raised stock for establishing wild turkey populations. The first trapped wild birds were released on Coopers Rock State Forest in 1950 and helped establish turkey population.
Trapping methods improved over time and became highly efficient with the use of mortar and rocket-propelled nets. Wildlife biologists and managers trapped and released hundreds of wild turkeys in suitable habitats around the state. By 1989, West Virginia had finished its trap-and-transfer program with turkeys successfully established in all 55 counties.
Turkey hunting opportunities are plentiful in the Mountain State. For specific hunting season dates, bag limits other information, go the current Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.
European wild boar were released in the Spruce-Laurel drainage of Boone County in the spring of 1971. The animals were originally released to provide the people of southern West Virginia with a big game species to hunt when deer, bear and turkey were scarce. Although it was believed that the animals would spread wildly like feral swine around the country, these animals never strayed far from their original release area.
A hunting season for wild boar occurs in Boone, Logan, Raleigh and Wyoming counties. Hunting is limited to West Virginia residents. For specific hunting season dates, bag limits other information, go the current Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.
Why you need to buy RB/RRB stamps before the deer archery season
The start of West Virginia’s 2021 deer archery season is Sept. 25, which means time is running out to purchase your hunting license and RB/RRB stamps if you want to harvest additional deer. Hunting licenses and stamps can be purchased…
West Virginia’s archery/crossbow seasons start Sept. 25. Get ready with this preseason checklist.
If you’ve spent the last few weeks anxiously waiting for the fall hunting seasons to start, your patience is about to be rewarded because West Virginia’s archery/crossbow seasons for deer, bear and wild boar open on Saturday, Sept. 25. If…
WV State Parks reconstructing original gateway entrance at Coopers Rock
An iconic wooden gateway that welcomed visitors to Coopers Rock State Forest in the 40s and 50s is being reconstructed as part of a series of improvements at the popular state forest. The project is a collaboration between the West…
WVDNR encourages private landowners to apply for Wild Yard certification
In an effort to create more natural habitat for wildlife around the state, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is encouraging landowners to join its Wild Yards program. The program, which has 300 members around the state, recognizes the…
WV State Parks announces return of guided elk viewing tours at Tomblin WMA
Wildlife enthusiasts and outdoor lovers who want a chance to see the Mountain State’s growing elk herd up close and in a natural setting can now book a seat on a guided elk viewing tour organized by West Virginia State…
WVDNR installs migratory animal tracking system at Hanging Rock
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources biologists have installed a radio telemetry station at the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory in Monroe County to study the movement of birds, butterflies and other migratory animal species. The station is part of an…
WVDNR surveys Gandy Creek to assess weekly trout numbers
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources recently surveyed Gandy Creek to assess trout numbers in one of the state’s most popular fishing streams and biologists for the agency say their findings show there are still plenty of trout to catch in between stockings.
New West Virginia Wildlife Center biologist ready for busy summer
The West Virginia State Wildlife Center has a new resident biologist and while he’s only been on the job for a few months he already has some advice for people planning a visit in the coming months.
WVDNR partners with Toyota to promote pollinator conservation
Private landowners in the Kanawha Valley had a hands-on opportunity to learn how to create a pollinator habitat on their property through a recent workshop hosted by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, Inc.
WVDNR studying deer population around state
Thanks to a new West Virginia Division of Natural Resources study, hunters, conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts will soon know more about the state’s white-tailed deer population, their survival raises, behavior and movement patterns.
New law prohibiting possession of most native reptiles, amphibians now in effect
New regulations making it unlawful to take or possess most native reptiles and amphibians for any reason are now in effect in West Virginia.