The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) recently published the 2012-2013 hunting regulations. For some folks it might be hard to think about hunting right now with the 100-degree temperatures but it’s only 2 1/2 months away. There have been some changes in the regulations this year worth mentioning.
Archery season starts on Sept. 29 and will run through Dec. 31 this year. The early September antlerless archery and muzzleloader seasons that took place in 2011 have been eliminated for 2012. Also new for this year, the statewide archery bear season has been expanded and will be a split season open Sept. 29-Nov. 17 and re-open again on Dec. 3 and run through Dec. 31.
One of the most notable changes takes place in Hampshire, Brooke, Hancock, Hardy, Marshall, Mineral (east portion), Monongalia, Ohio, Tyler and Wood counties. “Within these 10 counties, archery deer hunters will be required to take an antlerless deer during the archery deer season prior to harvesting a second antlered deer during archery season. In addition, buck firearms season hunters will be required to take an antlerless deer during the antlerless firearms season prior to harvesting a second antlered deer during the buck firearm season.”
So if you plan on deer hunting in the 10 counties listed above, you’re now required to kill a doe before you can take a second buck during both bow and gun seasons. The order of deer seasons has also been rearranged for the upcoming 2012 season. Traditionally, West Virginia deer hunters look forward to archery season, followed by the much anticipated two-weeklong buck season, then the weeklong antlerless season, trailed by the weeklong muzzleloader season.
This year the muzzleloader and antlerless seasons have been flip flopped. For 2012, deer muzzleloader season will follow buck season and run from Dec. 3-8. The Antlerless season will take place the week after and has been shortened to 3 days (Thursday to Saturday) beginning on Dec. 13 and ending on Dec. 15.
There will still be the late antlerless season on Dec. 28-31. Also, there will be an early antlerless season on private land only on Oct. 25-27 (check regulations for counties open). Deer hunters should definitely check the regulations this year before venturing out.
“The fall wild turkey hunting season will be expanded this year with 15 counties open from Oct. 13-20, 2012; seven (7) counties open from Oct. 13-20, 2012 and Oct. 29 – Nov. 3; 14 counties open from Oct. 13-20, 2012 and Oct. 29 – Nov. 17, 2012.” See page 33 in hunting regulations for counties open to fall turkey hunting.
For predator hunters venturing out after dark, any color artificial light is legal for hunting coyote at night from Jan. 1 – July 31, 2013, and for fox from Jan. 1, 2013 – Feb. 28, 2013. It is also now legal to hunt between one-half hour after sunset and one half hour before sunrise (at night) with a .22 caliber centerfire firearm or smaller or a shotgun using #2 shot or smaller.
The WVDNR wanted to remind hunters that, “The Senior Hunting/Trapping/Fishing License (Class XS), which was available beginning Jan. 1, 2012, is required for resident hunters and anglers who reach the age of 65 on or after Jan. 1, 2012. Seniors holding a valid Class XS license may participate in the Special Split Youth, Class Q/QQ and Class XS antlerless deer season which will be held on Oct. 20, 2012 and Dec. 26 – 27, 2012.”
As you can see there have been some changes this year so make sure to pick up the new regulations before heading out. The 2012-2013 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations brochure is available at all West Virginia hunting and fishing license agents as well as all WVDNR district offices. They also can be viewed online at the WVDNR website by clicking on regulations tab under the hunting section. I’ve provided a link to WVDNR website: www.wvdnr.gov