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West Virginia West Virginia Hunting regulations
Before heading for our forest lands and wildlife areas, know the West Virginia hunting and trapping laws and regulations. Click on the rules you are looking for below.


General Hunting Regulations
General Trapping Regulations
Pistol Laws & Regulations
Bear Hunting Regulations

 

GENERAL HUNTING LAWS & REGULATIONS

It is illegal to:

  • hunt in state parks, in safety zones in state forests or wildlife management areas, and in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
  • shoot, hunt or trap upon the fenced or posted grounds of another person without having in your possession written permission from the landowner.
  • have a loaded firearm or a firearm with an attached magazine from which all shells have not been removed in or on any vehicle or land conveyance or its attachments. You can have a loaded clip or magazine in the vehicle as long as it is not in or attached to the firearm, except for concealed weapons permit holders.
  • carry an uncased or loaded firearm in the woods, except during open firearms hunting seasons. It is legal to hunt unprotected species of wild animals, wild birds and migratory game birds during the open season in fields, waters and marshes.
  • hunt with a fully automatic firearm.
  • Hunt anything except deer in all counties having an antlered deer season during the first 3 days of this season. It is legal to hunt waterfowl during this period on lakes, rivers, and waterways during the open waterfowl season and to hunt bear in specified counties.
  • Hunt deer, bear or boar between ½ hour after sunset and ½ hour before sunrise.
  • Shoot at a deer or boar while it is in water.
  • be afield with a gun and bow, or with a gun and any arrows, except for concealed weapons permit holders.
  • Carry an uncased gun in or on a vehicle between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. E.S.T. from October 1 to June 30; and between 8:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. EST from July 1 to September 30.
  • Carry an uncased or loaded gun after 5 a.m. on Sunday in counties which prohibit Sunday hunting, except at a regularly used firearm range, or except as provided in the trapping regulations.
  • Shoot a firearm within 400 feet of a school or church, or within 500 feet of a dwelling, or on or near a park or other place where persons are gathered for pleasure.
  • Hunt while under the influence of alcohol.
  • It is illegal for anyone under the age of 15 to hunt on public land or the lands of another unless accompanied by a licensed adult who remains near enough to render advice and assistance.
  • Shoot an animal unless it is plainly visible
  • use or take advantage of artificial light in hunting, locating, attracting, or trapping wild birds or wild animals while in possession or control of any firearm, whether cased or uncased, bow, arrow, or other implement suitable for taking, killing or trapping a wild bird or animal. However, lights ordinarily carried on the person may be used for taking raccoon, skunk and opossum. No person shall be guilty merely because he uses an artificial light to look for, at, or attract a wild bird or animal, unless he has in his possession a firearm, whether cased or uncased, bow, arrow, or other implement suitable for taking, killing or trapping a wild bird or animal, or unless the artificial light (other than the headlamps of a vehicle or other land conveyance) is attached to, a part of, or used from a vehicle or other land conveyance.
  • Hunt or fish with a modified bow without a special permit issued by the Director.
  • get out of a motor vehicle along a public road and shoot a bow or firearm unless you are at least 25 yards from the vehicle.
  • smoke wildlife from its den or place of refuge except as provided by law or regulation.
  • Hunt with a crossbow or have a crossbow afield.
  • catch or kill, or attempt to do so by seine, net, bait, trap, deadfall, snare, or like device, any bear, game bird, protected bird, protected mammal, or wild boar.
  • bait or feed bear.
  • Hunt or shoot at wild animals or birds from an airborne conveyance, from a vehicle or other land conveyance, from a motor-driven water conveyance, or from or across a public road, unless specifically authorized to do so by law or regulation. You may shoot from a motorized watercraft if the motor has been completely shut off and its progress from the motor has ceased.
  • use any poisons, chemicals or explosives in taking any furbearing animal, game animal, game bird or protected song and insectivorous bird, provided that groundhogs may be controlled on private land by landowners, their resident children or resident parents, or a resident tenant from April 1 through September 30.
  • Use solid ball ammunition during the bucks-only deer season in the 4 counties closed to bucks-only hunting.
  • Hunt between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise with any firearm larger than .22 caliber rimfire, a shotgun using solid ball ammunition or shot shells larger than #4 shot.

 

GENERAL TRAPPING REGULATIONS

No traps shall be set before 8 a.m. on the first day of the season or either set or left set after 12 noon on the last day of the season.

All traps MUST be checked and tended daily.

Traps previously and legally set may be tended after 5 a.m. on Sunday, if the person so doing shall have no firearm greater than .22 caliber or a bow in his possession.

Nonresidents must possess valid Class E and Class CS/LE licenses to trap.

Traps used for taking wildlife shall be marked with a durable plate or tag attached to the trap, trap chain or set bearing the owner's name and address.

A person who unintentionally traps and kills more than the season bag limit shall deliver excess animals to a conservation officer within 24 hours.

Trappers shall present beaver, bobcat and fisher pelts to a game checking station or DNR representative within 30 days after the close of the respective trapping season. A tag provided by the DNR shall be attached and remain attached to each beaver, bobcat and fisher pelt until it has been sold, tanned or mounted.

Foot snares are legal when (a) the snare loop does not exceed 6 ½ inches in diameter and (b) the snare loop is at ground level and (c) horizontal to ground level. Terrestrial body-gripping snares must have a relaxing-type lock system with a breaking point of 350 pounds or less or a stop with a minimum loop diameter of at least 2-1/2 inches. Set snares shall not have a loop diameter average greater than 15 inches. All terrestrial body-gripping snares must be anchored at the trap site.

A person may not ship or transport any raw furs, pelts, or skins of wild furbearers outside of the state unless such shipment has a special shipping tag visibly attached. Shipping tags must be obtained from the DNR. One part shall be attached to the outside of the package or container and the other part completed and returned to the DNR within 24 hours of shipping furs out of state.

The dealer or buyer of raw furs, pelts, or skins of furbearers in this state shall submit to the Director a completed fur dealer transaction report as provided by the Director.

IT IS ILLEGAL TO:

  • set traps other than water sets in March.
  • have in possession an untagged beaver, bobcat, or fisher pelt or parts thereof, after 30 days following the close of respective season.
  • set deadfalls for taking wildlife.
  • Set traps with an open jaw spread of more than 6 ½ inches except as underwater sets for beaver.
  • Set traps or trapping devices in human foot trails or livestock paths.
  • Set conibear or mohawk type traps for terrestrial trapping, but they may be used in water sets.
  • Set spring pole snares.
  • trap in state parks, in safety zones in state forests and WMAs, in Harpers Ferry NHP and on National Park Service land within New River Gorge NR.
  • use exposed animal or bird carcasses or parts thereof to bait an animal to a trap set that is within 50 feet of the carcass. Animal or bird carcasses or parts thereof that are completely covered and concealed from sight may be used as a lure at the immediate trap site.
  • Trap without written permission of a landowner.
  • Trap within 15 feet of the waterline on the structure of any beaver house or burrow.
  • disturb or destroy dams, houses or burrows of beavers while beaver trapping.
  • take beaver, fisher, mink, or muskrat by any means other than by trap.
  • use steel jaw traps with any teeth on or attached to them.
  • Set a trap, trapset or snare upon a tree, post or other natural or man-made object at any point more than 3 linear feet from the surface of the earth (whether such surface is water, soil or rock) measured at right angle from the surface to the trap or trapset. Traps may be set on natural earthen mounds, such as ant hills or muskrat houses, constructed without human assistance.

 

GENERAL BEAR WEST VIRGINIA HUNTING REGULATIONS

LICENSE REQUIREMENTS

RESIDENT BEAR HUNTING LICENSE PRIVILEGES

To hunt black bear in West Virginia, residents must have a valid Class A, AB, X, XJ, Q, Lifetime Class A-L or AB-L License accompanied by a bear damage stamp (Class DS). A Bear Damage Stamp (Class DS) is not required of landowners, senior citizens, underage, military, disabled veterans and former POWs.

A Conservation Stamp (Class CS) is required of all licensed hunters holding Class A, AB or Q licenses.

ADDITIONAL LICENSES MUST BE PURCHASED:
  • To hunt on national forest lands--Class I (only for Class A, AB and Q).
  • To hunt with a handgun--Class A1.

NONRESIDENT BEAR HUNTING LICENSE PRIVILEGES

To hunt black bear in West Virginia, nonresidents must hold a valid Nonresident Bear Hunting License (Class EE) and a Bear Damage Stamp (Class DS).

A Conservation Stamp (Class CS) and Law Enforcement Stamp (Class LE) is required of all holders of a Class EE license.

It is illegal to:
  • hunt bears with the use of bait.
  • feed bears.
  • hunt a bear with (a) a shotgun using ammunition loaded with more than one solid ball, or (b) a rifle of less than .25 caliber using rimfire ammunition or (c) a pistol or revolver using a straight-walled case of less than .357 magnum cartridge or a bottle-necked case of less than .24 caliber or (d) a muzzleloading pistol of less than .38 caliber.
  • hunt bear between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise.
  • kill or attempt to kill any bear through the use of poison, explosives, snares, steel traps or deadfalls.
  • shoot at or kill a cub bear weighing less than 100 pounds or to kill any bear accompanied by such cub.
  • pursue a bear, after the chase has begun, with dogs not in use at the beginning of the hunt.
  • kill more than one bear per year.
  • organize for commercial purposes, or to professionally outfit a bear hunt, or to give or receive any consideration whatsoever or any donation in money, goods or services in connection with a bear hunt.
  • (for nonresidents) to hunt bear with dogs, except in certain designated counties during the bear gun season (see Dog Training Regulations).

FIELD TAGGING AND TRANSPORTING

Each person killing a bear must, within one hour and before moving the carcass from where it was killed, complete and attach a game field tag. This tag must bear the hunter's name, address, hunting license number (if required) and the date, time and county of kill. The field tag must remain on the carcass until it is dressed for consumption.

A person killing a bear must, within 24 hours after the kill, transport the bear or its fresh skin to a conservation officer or an official game checking station for retagging. A checking tag must be affixed to the bear before any part of it may be transported more than 75 miles from the point of kill, and shall remain on the skin until it is tanned or mounted.

BEAR ARCHERY HUNTING

Bear Archery season is open statewide from October 12 through November 23 except in the Cranberry Closed Area.

The Cranberry Closed Area is bounded as follows: Starting at Dyer on Forest Service Route 86, the boundary proceeds along Forest Service Route 86 east to Forest Service Route 76 (The Black Mountain Road); the boundary follows Forest Service Route 76 (The Black Mountain Road) south to the intersection with the Highland Scenic Highway (State Route 150); the line then follows State Route 150 to State Route 39. The southern boundary of the Closed Area follows State Route 39 to the Nicholas County line; then proceeds north following the Nicholas County line to Forest Service Route 76, it then follows Forest Service Route 76 north to Forest Service Route 101. The boundary then follows Forest Service Route 101 north to Dyer.

The use of dogs while bow hunting for black bear is illegal during the bear archery season.

BEAR GUN SEASON

A bow may be substituted for a firearm during bear firearms seasons.

Bear hunting not permitted in Cranberry Closed Area.

Can Use Dogs
Dec. 9 - 31
Nov. 4 - 6 and Dec. 9 - 31
Barbour (east of 92)
Grant
Greenbrier
Hardy
Mineral (west of New Creek)
Monroe (east of Rt. 219)
Pendleton
Pocahontas
Preston
Randolph
Tucker
Webster
Boone
Fayette
Kanawha
Nicholas
Raleigh (west of I-77)

 

Can not use Dogs
Nov. 25 - 30
Dec. 9 - 11
Boone
Fayette
Kanawha
Nicholas
Raleigh (west of I-77)
Braxton
Clay
Hampshire (south of Rt. 50)
Logan
McDowell
Mineral (east of New Creek)
Upshur
Wyoming

 

DOG TRAINING REGULATIONS

The same licenses required for bear hunting are required for the training of dogs on bear.

Training for nonresidents may begin October 5, 2001 and continue throughout small game season, ending February 28, 2002.

It is unlawful for a person to permit a dog owned by him or under his control to chase, pursue or follow upon the track of any deer or wild turkey.

Dogs may be trained on bears on private land with the landowner's written permission, or on public lands, at any time.

Persons training dogs may not have firearms or other implements for the taking of wildlife in their possession during closed seasons on wild animals and birds.

ATTENTION BEAR HUNTERS

The Division of Natural Resources (DNR) is currently studying factors related to the productivity and mortality of black bears in West Virginia. As part of this research effort, radio collars, ear tags and lip tattoos have been placed on a number of bears. Anyone observing a bear wearing a radio collar or ear tag is asked to report the number of the tag (if obtainable) to the DNR. Hunters that harvest a bear with a radio collar and/or ear tag should return this equipment to the DNR.

Successful bear hunters can contribute to this research effort by allowing a tooth, the size of a kitchen match, to be pulled and submitted to the bear project. This will enable wildlife biologists to determine the bear's age. After processing the tooth, the DNR will provide you with the age of the animal.

A tagged bear may have been tranquilized. Please contact the District Wildlife Biologist prior to consumption of meat.

BEAR REPRODUCTIVE TRACT COLLECTION

WV Wildlife biologists are continuing to collect female bear reproductive tracts. Information from these tracts, as well as a premolar tooth from each bear will reveal such data as breeding ages of females, number of cubs produced, age structure of female population and reproductive success. Please help us obtain as much information as possible by following the outlined procedures. You may call any District DNR office or the Elkins Operations Center for assistance.

Beckley: 256-6947
Fairmont: 367-2720
French Creek: 924-6211
Parkersburg: 420-4550
Pt. Pleasant: 675-0871
Romney: 822-3551
Elkins Operations Center: 637-0245

PROCEDURES

  1. Open bear abdominal cavity.
  2. Move intestines aside.
  3. Locate bladder.
  4. Note uterus under bladder, over large intestine.
  5. Remove uterus and ovaries by cutting as close to vulva as possible and above ovaries. Be certain to get both ovaries which are each about the size of an acorn. They may be buried in large amounts of fat.
  6. Put in plastic bag and place in cool location (in refrigerator if available), and notify DNR personnel.
  7. If scales are available, weigh the bear.

 

PISTOL LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Individuals who possess a valid concealed weapon permit, may carry a concealed handgun while afield hunting, hiking, camping, fishing, or in a motor vehicle for self defense only.

Only persons 21 years old or older are eligible for a Class A-1 license.

A Class A-1 license entitles the licensee to hunt with a pistol having a barrel at least 4 inches in length. While hunting, the licensee shall carry the pistol outside his outer clothing, in an unconcealed and easily visible place.

A pistol may be used only during established hunting seasons. If you use a pistol to hunt deer, you can only use a single shot muzzleloading pistol during the muzzleloading season.

It is legal to hunt groundhogs in open fields with a pistol.

It is illegal to:

  • take migratory game birds with a pistol.
  • hunt between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise with a pistol larger than .22 caliber.
  • Hunt bear, deer, or wild boar with a pistol using a straight-walled case of less than .357 magnum cartridge or a bottle-necked case of less than .24 caliber.
  • Hunt bear, deer, or wild boar with a muzzleloading pistol of less than .38 caliber.


Before heading for our forest lands and wildlife areas, know the West Virginia hunting and trapping laws and regulations. Click on the rules you are looking for below.


GENERAL HUNTING LAWS & REGULATIONS

It is illegal to:

  • hunt in state parks, in safety zones in state forests or wildlife management areas, and in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
  • shoot, hunt or trap upon the fenced or posted grounds of another person without having in your possession written permission from the landowner.
  • have a loaded firearm or a firearm with an attached magazine from which all shells have not been removed in or on any vehicle or land conveyance or its attachments. You can have a loaded clip or magazine in the vehicle as long as it is not in or attached to the firearm, except for concealed weapons permit holders.
  • carry an uncased or loaded firearm in the woods, except during open firearms hunting seasons. It is legal to hunt unprotected species of wild animals, wild birds and migratory game birds during the open season in fields, waters and marshes.
  • hunt with a fully automatic firearm.
  • Hunt anything except deer in all counties having an antlered deer season during the first 3 days of this season. It is legal to hunt waterfowl during this period on lakes, rivers, and waterways during the open waterfowl season and to hunt bear in specified counties.
  • Hunt deer, bear or boar between ½ hour after sunset and ½ hour before sunrise.
  • Shoot at a deer or boar while it is in water.
  • be afield with a gun and bow, or with a gun and any arrows, except for concealed weapons permit holders.
  • Carry an uncased gun in or on a vehicle between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. E.S.T. from October 1 to June 30; and between 8:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. EST from July 1 to September 30.
  • Carry an uncased or loaded gun after 5 a.m. on Sunday in counties which prohibit Sunday hunting, except at a regularly used firearm range, or except as provided in the trapping regulations.
  • Shoot a firearm within 400 feet of a school or church, or within 500 feet of a dwelling, or on or near a park or other place where persons are gathered for pleasure.
  • Hunt while under the influence of alcohol.
  • It is illegal for anyone under the age of 15 to hunt on public land or the lands of another unless accompanied by a licensed adult who remains near enough to render advice and assistance.
  • Shoot an animal unless it is plainly visible
  • use or take advantage of artificial light in hunting, locating, attracting, or trapping wild birds or wild animals while in possession or control of any firearm, whether cased or uncased, bow, arrow, or other implement suitable for taking, killing or trapping a wild bird or animal. However, lights ordinarily carried on the person may be used for taking raccoon, skunk and opossum. No person shall be guilty merely because he uses an artificial light to look for, at, or attract a wild bird or animal, unless he has in his possession a firearm, whether cased or uncased, bow, arrow, or other implement suitable for taking, killing or trapping a wild bird or animal, or unless the artificial light (other than the headlamps of a vehicle or other land conveyance) is attached to, a part of, or used from a vehicle or other land conveyance.
  • Hunt or fish with a modified bow without a special permit issued by the Director.
  • get out of a motor vehicle along a public road and shoot a bow or firearm unless you are at least 25 yards from the vehicle.
  • smoke wildlife from its den or place of refuge except as provided by law or regulation.
  • Hunt with a crossbow or have a crossbow afield.
  • catch or kill, or attempt to do so by seine, net, bait, trap, deadfall, snare, or like device, any bear, game bird, protected bird, protected mammal, or wild boar.
  • bait or feed bear.
  • Hunt or shoot at wild animals or birds from an airborne conveyance, from a vehicle or other land conveyance, from a motor-driven water conveyance, or from or across a public road, unless specifically authorized to do so by law or regulation. You may shoot from a motorized watercraft if the motor has been completely shut off and its progress from the motor has ceased.
  • use any poisons, chemicals or explosives in taking any furbearing animal, game animal, game bird or protected song and insectivorous bird, provided that groundhogs may be controlled on private land by landowners, their resident children or resident parents, or a resident tenant from April 1 through September 30.
  • Use solid ball ammunition during the bucks-only deer season in the 4 counties closed to bucks-only hunting.
  • Hunt between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise with any firearm larger than .22 caliber rimfire, a shotgun using solid ball ammunition or shot shells larger than #4 shot.

 

GENERAL TRAPPING REGULATIONS

No traps shall be set before 8 a.m. on the first day of the season or either set or left set after 12 noon on the last day of the season.

All traps MUST be checked and tended daily.

Traps previously and legally set may be tended after 5 a.m. on Sunday, if the person so doing shall have no firearm greater than .22 caliber or a bow in his possession.

Nonresidents must possess valid Class E and Class CS/LE licenses to trap.

Traps used for taking wildlife shall be marked with a durable plate or tag attached to the trap, trap chain or set bearing the owner's name and address.

A person who unintentionally traps and kills more than the season bag limit shall deliver excess animals to a conservation officer within 24 hours.

Trappers shall present beaver, bobcat and fisher pelts to a game checking station or DNR representative within 30 days after the close of the respective trapping season. A tag provided by the DNR shall be attached and remain attached to each beaver, bobcat and fisher pelt until it has been sold, tanned or mounted.

Foot snares are legal when (a) the snare loop does not exceed 6 ½ inches in diameter and (b) the snare loop is at ground level and (c) horizontal to ground level. Terrestrial body-gripping snares must have a relaxing-type lock system with a breaking point of 350 pounds or less or a stop with a minimum loop diameter of at least 2-1/2 inches. Set snares shall not have a loop diameter average greater than 15 inches. All terrestrial body-gripping snares must be anchored at the trap site.

A person may not ship or transport any raw furs, pelts, or skins of wild furbearers outside of the state unless such shipment has a special shipping tag visibly attached. Shipping tags must be obtained from the DNR. One part shall be attached to the outside of the package or container and the other part completed and returned to the DNR within 24 hours of shipping furs out of state.

The dealer or buyer of raw furs, pelts, or skins of furbearers in this state shall submit to the Director a completed fur dealer transaction report as provided by the Director.

IT IS ILLEGAL TO:

  • set traps other than water sets in March.
  • have in possession an untagged beaver, bobcat, or fisher pelt or parts thereof, after 30 days following the close of respective season.
  • set deadfalls for taking wildlife.
  • Set traps with an open jaw spread of more than 6 ½ inches except as underwater sets for beaver.
  • Set traps or trapping devices in human foot trails or livestock paths.
  • Set conibear or mohawk type traps for terrestrial trapping, but they may be used in water sets.
  • Set spring pole snares.
  • trap in state parks, in safety zones in state forests and WMAs, in Harpers Ferry NHP and on National Park Service land within New River Gorge NR.
  • use exposed animal or bird carcasses or parts thereof to bait an animal to a trap set that is within 50 feet of the carcass. Animal or bird carcasses or parts thereof that are completely covered and concealed from sight may be used as a lure at the immediate trap site.
  • Trap without written permission of a landowner.
  • Trap within 15 feet of the waterline on the structure of any beaver house or burrow.
  • disturb or destroy dams, houses or burrows of beavers while beaver trapping.
  • take beaver, fisher, mink, or muskrat by any means other than by trap.
  • use steel jaw traps with any teeth on or attached to them.
  • Set a trap, trapset or snare upon a tree, post or other natural or man-made object at any point more than 3 linear feet from the surface of the earth (whether such surface is water, soil or rock) measured at right angle from the surface to the trap or trapset. Traps may be set on natural earthen mounds, such as ant hills or muskrat houses, constructed without human assistance.

 

GENERAL BEAR WEST VIRGINIA HUNTING REGULATIONS

LICENSE REQUIREMENTS

RESIDENT BEAR HUNTING LICENSE PRIVILEGES

To hunt black bear in West Virginia, residents must have a valid Class A, AB, X, XJ, Q, Lifetime Class A-L or AB-L License accompanied by a bear damage stamp (Class DS). A Bear Damage Stamp (Class DS) is not required of landowners, senior citizens, underage, military, disabled veterans and former POWs.

A Conservation Stamp (Class CS) is required of all licensed hunters holding Class A, AB or Q licenses.

ADDITIONAL LICENSES MUST BE PURCHASED:
  • To hunt on national forest lands--Class I (only for Class A, AB and Q).
  • To hunt with a handgun--Class A1.

NONRESIDENT BEAR HUNTING LICENSE PRIVILEGES

To hunt black bear in West Virginia, nonresidents must hold a valid Nonresident Bear Hunting License (Class EE) and a Bear Damage Stamp (Class DS).

A Conservation Stamp (Class CS) and Law Enforcement Stamp (Class LE) is required of all holders of a Class EE license.

It is illegal to:
  • hunt bears with the use of bait.
  • feed bears.
  • hunt a bear with (a) a shotgun using ammunition loaded with more than one solid ball, or (b) a rifle of less than .25 caliber using rimfire ammunition or (c) a pistol or revolver using a straight-walled case of less than .357 magnum cartridge or a bottle-necked case of less than .24 caliber or (d) a muzzleloading pistol of less than .38 caliber.
  • hunt bear between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise.
  • kill or attempt to kill any bear through the use of poison, explosives, snares, steel traps or deadfalls.
  • shoot at or kill a cub bear weighing less than 100 pounds or to kill any bear accompanied by such cub.
  • pursue a bear, after the chase has begun, with dogs not in use at the beginning of the hunt.
  • kill more than one bear per year.
  • organize for commercial purposes, or to professionally outfit a bear hunt, or to give or receive any consideration whatsoever or any donation in money, goods or services in connection with a bear hunt.
  • (for nonresidents) to hunt bear with dogs, except in certain designated counties during the bear gun season (see Dog Training Regulations).

FIELD TAGGING AND TRANSPORTING

Each person killing a bear must, within one hour and before moving the carcass from where it was killed, complete and attach a game field tag. This tag must bear the hunter's name, address, hunting license number (if required) and the date, time and county of kill. The field tag must remain on the carcass until it is dressed for consumption.

A person killing a bear must, within 24 hours after the kill, transport the bear or its fresh skin to a conservation officer or an official game checking station for retagging. A checking tag must be affixed to the bear before any part of it may be transported more than 75 miles from the point of kill, and shall remain on the skin until it is tanned or mounted.

BEAR ARCHERY HUNTING

Bear Archery season is open statewide from October 12 through November 23 except in the Cranberry Closed Area.

The Cranberry Closed Area is bounded as follows: Starting at Dyer on Forest Service Route 86, the boundary proceeds along Forest Service Route 86 east to Forest Service Route 76 (The Black Mountain Road); the boundary follows Forest Service Route 76 (The Black Mountain Road) south to the intersection with the Highland Scenic Highway (State Route 150); the line then follows State Route 150 to State Route 39. The southern boundary of the Closed Area follows State Route 39 to the Nicholas County line; then proceeds north following the Nicholas County line to Forest Service Route 76, it then follows Forest Service Route 76 north to Forest Service Route 101. The boundary then follows Forest Service Route 101 north to Dyer.

The use of dogs while bow hunting for black bear is illegal during the bear archery season.

BEAR GUN SEASON

A bow may be substituted for a firearm during bear firearms seasons.

Bear hunting not permitted in Cranberry Closed Area.

Can Use Dogs
Dec. 9 - 31
Nov. 4 - 6 and Dec. 9 - 31
Barbour (east of 92)
Grant
Greenbrier
Hardy
Mineral (west of New Creek)
Monroe (east of Rt. 219)
Pendleton
Pocahontas
Preston
Randolph
Tucker
Webster
Boone
Fayette
Kanawha
Nicholas
Raleigh (west of I-77)

 

Can not use Dogs
Nov. 25 - 30
Dec. 9 - 11
Boone
Fayette
Kanawha
Nicholas
Raleigh (west of I-77)
Braxton
Clay
Hampshire (south of Rt. 50)
Logan
McDowell
Mineral (east of New Creek)
Upshur
Wyoming

 

DOG TRAINING REGULATIONS

The same licenses required for bear hunting are required for the training of dogs on bear.

Training for nonresidents may begin October 5, 2001 and continue throughout small game season, ending February 28, 2002.

It is unlawful for a person to permit a dog owned by him or under his control to chase, pursue or follow upon the track of any deer or wild turkey.

Dogs may be trained on bears on private land with the landowner's written permission, or on public lands, at any time.

Persons training dogs may not have firearms or other implements for the taking of wildlife in their possession during closed seasons on wild animals and birds.

ATTENTION BEAR HUNTERS

The Division of Natural Resources (DNR) is currently studying factors related to the productivity and mortality of black bears in West Virginia. As part of this research effort, radio collars, ear tags and lip tattoos have been placed on a number of bears. Anyone observing a bear wearing a radio collar or ear tag is asked to report the number of the tag (if obtainable) to the DNR. Hunters that harvest a bear with a radio collar and/or ear tag should return this equipment to the DNR.

Successful bear hunters can contribute to this research effort by allowing a tooth, the size of a kitchen match, to be pulled and submitted to the bear project. This will enable wildlife biologists to determine the bear's age. After processing the tooth, the DNR will provide you with the age of the animal.

A tagged bear may have been tranquilized. Please contact the District Wildlife Biologist prior to consumption of meat.

BEAR REPRODUCTIVE TRACT COLLECTION

WV Wildlife biologists are continuing to collect female bear reproductive tracts. Information from these tracts, as well as a premolar tooth from each bear will reveal such data as breeding ages of females, number of cubs produced, age structure of female population and reproductive success. Please help us obtain as much information as possible by following the outlined procedures. You may call any District DNR office or the Elkins Operations Center for assistance.

Beckley: 256-6947
Fairmont: 367-2720
French Creek: 924-6211
Parkersburg: 420-4550
Pt. Pleasant: 675-0871
Romney: 822-3551
Elkins Operations Center: 637-0245

PROCEDURES

  1. Open bear abdominal cavity.
  2. Move intestines aside.
  3. Locate bladder.
  4. Note uterus under bladder, over large intestine.
  5. Remove uterus and ovaries by cutting as close to vulva as possible and above ovaries. Be certain to get both ovaries which are each about the size of an acorn. They may be buried in large amounts of fat.
  6. Put in plastic bag and place in cool location (in refrigerator if available), and notify DNR personnel.
  7. If scales are available, weigh the bear.

 

PISTOL LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Individuals who possess a valid concealed weapon permit, may carry a concealed handgun while afield hunting, hiking, camping, fishing, or in a motor vehicle for self defense only.

Only persons 21 years old or older are eligible for a Class A-1 license.

A Class A-1 license entitles the licensee to hunt with a pistol having a barrel at least 4 inches in length. While hunting, the licensee shall carry the pistol outside his outer clothing, in an unconcealed and easily visible place.

A pistol may be used only during established hunting seasons. If you use a pistol to hunt deer, you can only use a single shot muzzleloading pistol during the muzzleloading season.

It is legal to hunt groundhogs in open fields with a pistol.

It is illegal to:

  • take migratory game birds with a pistol.
  • hunt between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise with a pistol larger than .22 caliber.
  • Hunt bear, deer, or wild boar with a pistol using a straight-walled case of less than .357 magnum cartridge or a bottle-necked case of less than .24 caliber.
  • Hunt bear, deer, or wild boar with a muzzleloading pistol of less than .38 caliber.

 
 
 

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