Hunting Season Opening Dates
Hunter specific Laws and Reglations
Special Area Regulations: Fishing
- Hunting is prohibited in State parks and wildlife refuges, in safety zones in State forests or wildlife management areas, and in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
- No person may hunt deer or bear with a shotgun using ammunition loaded with more than one solid ball, or with a rifle using rimfire ammunition of less than .25 caliber.
- All hunting, except for deer, shall be prohibited during the first 3 days of antlered deer season in all territories having an antlered deer season: Provided, that hunting for water- fowl shall be permitted on lakes, rivers and waterways during the open waterfowl season.
- No person shall hunt deer or boar between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise or kill or wound said animal while it is in any stream, lake or pond.
- It is illegal to make use of, or take advantage of any artificial light in hunting, locating, attracting, taking, trapping or killing any wild bird or wild animal, or attempt to do so, while having in his possession or subject to his control, or any person accompanying him to have in his possession or subject to his control, any firearm, whether cased or uncased, bow, arrow, or both or other implement or device suitable for taking, killing or trapping a wild bird or wild animal: Provided that lights ordinarily carried in the hand or on the person may be used for taking raccoon, skunk and opossum. No person shall be guilty of a violation of this subdivision merely because he uses an artificial light to look for, at, or attract a wild bird or wild animal, unless at such time he shall have in his possession a firearm, whether cased or uncased, bow, arrow, or both, or other implement or device suitable for taking, killing or trapping a wild bird or wild animal, or unless such artificial light (other than the headlamps to an automobile or other land conveyance) is attached to, a part of, or used from within or upon an automobile or other land conveyance.
- Each person killing a bear, deer, wild boar or wild turkey found in a wild state must immediately after removing its entrails, but in any event within one hour and before transporting or removing the carcass in any manner from where it was killed, complete and attach a game tag. The tag must be legible and bear, in English, the name and address of the hunter, the date and county where the game was killed, and the license number of the hunter.
- No person may transport or possess wildlife or parts thereof, which was killed by another hunter, unless said wildlife is accompanied by a paper or tag filled out legibly in English bearing the signature, address, date of kill, hunting license number (if required) and the official game checking tag number (if required) of the hunter who killed the wildlife. The tag shall also specify the species, number and/or quantity of wildlife.
- The carcass of each wild turkey shall be delivered to a conservation officer or an official game checking station for checking and retagging before it is either skinned or transported beyond the boundaries of the county adjacent to that in which the kill was made and within 24 hours of the close of the respective season. The checking tag shall remain on the skin until it is dressed for consumption.
- A person killing a bear must, within 24 hours of the kill transport the bear or its fresh skin to a conservation officer or an official game checking station for retagging. A DNR tag must be affixed to the bear before any part of it may be transported more than 75 miles from the point of kill. The checking tag shall remain on the skin until it is tanned or mounted.
- After a bear is spotted and the chase begun, it is illegal to pursue the bear with dogs not in use at the beginning of the hunt.
- No person shall hunt bear between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise.
- It is illegal for any person to shoot, hunt, or trap upon the fenced, enclosed or posted grounds of another person or to peel trees or timber, build fires, or do any other act or thing thereon in connection with or auxiliary to shooting, hunting, or trapping on such lands without permission in writing from the landowner. Every person shooting, hunting, or trapping upon such lands of another must have in his possession such written permission.
- It is illegal to use any poisons, chemicals or explosives in taking any furbearing animal, game animal, game bird or protected song and insectivorous bird, provided that wood chucks or groundhogs may be controlled on private land by the landowner, his or her resident children or resident parent or a bona fide resident tenant during the period of April 1 through September 30.
- It is illegal for any person to have in his possession a loaded firearm or a firearm with an attached magazine from which all shells have not been removed in or on any vehicle or conveyance, or its attachment, within the state, except as may be otherwise provided by law or regulations.
- Except as authorized by the director, it is unlawful at any time for any person to permit any dog owned by him or under his control to chase, pursue or follow upon the track of any wild animal or wild bird, either day or night between May 1 and August 15: Provided, that dogs may be trained on wild animals and wild birds, except deer and wild turkeys, and field trials may be held or conducted on the grounds or lands of the owner or by his bona fide tenant or tenants or upon the grounds or lands of another person with his written permission or on public lands, at any time. Non-residents shall not train dogs in this state at any time except during the legal small game hunting season; however, in order to reciprocate with the State of Ohio, residents of Ohio may train their dogs between August 16 and April 30 in accordance with laws and regulations governing residents of the State of West Virginia; except, however, that residents of Ohio shall not train a dog except during the legal small game hunting season in any county or portion thereof, in which there is a legal bear hunting season. Any person training dogs shall not have firearms or any other implements in his possession during the closed seasons on such wild animals and wild birds, whereby wild animals or wild birds could be taken or killed.
- It is illegal to hunt for, take, kill, wound, or shoot at wild animals or wild birds from an airplane or other airborne conveyance, from a motor vehicle or other conveyance, from a motor-driven water conveyance, or from or across a public road, unless specifically authorized to do so by law or regulation. Provided that it shall not be unlawful to hunt from, or by means of, a motorized watercraft if the motor has been completely shut off and its progress from the motor has ceased.
- It is illegal for a person to carry an uncased or loaded firearm in any of the woods of this State, except during open firearms hunting seasons. This provision does not prohibit the hunting or taking of unprotected species of wild animals and wild birds and the hunting or taking of migratory game birds, during the open season in open fields, open waters, and open marshes of the State.
- It is illegal to have a bow and gun, or have a gun and any arrows, in the fields or woods at the same time.
- No Sunday hunting, except that raccoon hunting may be continued until 5:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.
- It is illegal to carry an uncased gun in or on a vehicle between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. from October 1 to June 30; and from July 1 to September 30 it is illegal between 8:30 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. E.S.T.
- Except as otherwise provided in the general trapping regulations, it shall be illegal to carry an uncased or loaded gun after 5:00 a.m. on Sunday in any woods or on any highway, public road, field or stream, except at regularly-used rifle, pistol, skeet, target or trapshooting ground or range.
- It is illegal to smoke any wildlife from dens, trees, rocks, or any other cover except as otherwise provided by law or regulation.
- It is illegal to hunt with a crossbow and/or have a crossbow afield.
- It is illegal to catch, capture, take, or kill, or attempt to do so, by seine, net, bait, trap, deadfall, snare, or like device of any kind any bear, grouse, migratory bird, pheasant, protected bird, protected mammal, quail, wild boar, or wild turkey. It is illegal to bait or to feed bear.
- No person under the age of 15 may hunt or chase wild animals or wild birds on public lands or the land of another unless he is accompanied by a licensed adult who remains in position near enough to him to render advice and assistance.
- The use or possession of a fully automatic firearm is prohibited while hunting or pursuing wildlife at any time.
Mandatory Hunter Education Requirement
"No hunting license may be issued to any person who was born on or after January I, 1975 unless the person presents to the license agent a certificate of satisfactory completion of a Hunter Education Course approved by the Hunter Education Association or the Director."
When Licenses or Permits are not Required
(a) Bona fide resident landowners or their resident children or bona fide resident tenants of such land, may hunt, trap, or fish on their own land without a license during open season.
(b) Resident parents may hunt, trap, or fish without a license on their resident children's land in West Virginia during regular open season. (This does not apply to hunting during the special antlerless deer season in which case a special Class N Antlerless Deer Hunting License is required.)
(c) Residents of West Virginia honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States receiving total permanent service connected disability benefits or former prisoners of war as determined by the Veterans Administration or resident disabled veterans who qualify under West Virginia Code 17A-10-8 and are exempted from payment of any motor vehicle registration fee by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, may hunt, trap, or fish without a license during regular open seasons. Such individual will be required to carry on their person an identification card issued by the Director of Natural Resources.
(Additional licenses required to hunt: wild boar which requires a Class P license; deer during the antlerless season which requires a Class N license; an additional deer which requires a Class R license, with a handgun which requires a Class A-1 license.)
(d) Residents of the state of Ohio who carry hunting or fishing licenses valid in that state may hunt waterfowl or fish on the Ohio River and its embayments or from the West Virginia banks of said river and embayments without obtaining West Virginia licenses to do so, and residents of the state of West Virginia who carry hunting or fishing licenses valid in that state may hunt waterfowl or fish on Ohio River embayments without obtaining an Ohio license to do so.
Current Ohio hunting and fishing laws apply to residents of Ohio and West Virginia while hunting or fishing from Ohio banks or in Ohio embayment areas. Current West Virginia hunting and fishing laws apply to residents of Ohio and West Virginia while hunting or fishing on the Ohio River proper or from West Virginia banks or in West Virginia embayment areas.
The tributaries of the Ohio River, above embayments, in both states are not included as a part of this agreement.
(e) Any resident 65 years of age or older shall not be required to have a license to hunt, trap or fish during the legal seasons in West Virginia, but in lieu of such license any such person shall at all times while hunting, trapping or fishing, carry on his person a card issued by the director stating his name and date of birth. Any resident person who has not reached his 15th birthday may hunt without a license, provided however, they are accompanied by a licensed adult.
(f) All residents of West Virginia on active duty in, the armed forces of the United States of America while on leave or furlough, shall have the right and privilege to hunt, trap or fish in season in West Virginia without obtaining a license. Leave or furlough papers shall serve in lieu of such license and shall be carried on the person at all times while trapping, hunting, or fishing.
(g) The director may issue a permit to any person, group of persons. club or organization to hold or conduct a field trial, shoot to retrieve field trial, water race or wild hunt upon receipt of a written application as required in Chapter 20 Code of West Virginia. No person participating in a field trial, shoot to retrieve field trial, water race or wild hunt being held under this permit shall be required to have a state hunting license.
(h) A state or federal migratory waterfowl stamp is not required for any person under 16 years of age to hunt waterfowl.
Hunting Season Opening Dates
Hunter specific Laws and Reglations
Special Area Regulations: Fishing