West Virginia is for Deer-Hunting Lovers!
As shafts of light knifed through the canopy of the early October light, I could hear squirrels rustling in the leaves, a blue jay picking acorns out of a water oak tree and song birds singing a melody that would challenge the melodious sounds of a church choir. I'd finally found a place to get away from the crowd and hunt deer.
From behind my tree stand, I heard the steady crunch, crunch, crunch of the deer's hooves as he walked through a thicket less than 50 yards from me. I stood on my tree stand and readied for the shot. I spotted ivory-colored antlers above the thicket, reflecting the shimmering light of the new day. I wanted the buck to step out of the thicket and quarter my way. Then I could draw and wait for the buck to step into the clearing. But the buck never showed himself. Once again I sat back down on my tree stand and waited anxiously for another deer to appear.
I'd already seen three deer that morning out of bow range or in light too dim to get off a shot. I wondered why no one else had discovered this deer-hunting Mecca - the state of West Virginia.
Why Hunt West Virginia?
Hunt WV if you ...
... don't want to bump shoulders with other hunters every time you go into the woods,
... get aggravated when you identify a good place to take a nice buck because other hunters have picked that same area,
... have a difficult time arranging your vacation to hunt during deer season if it's very short in your home state and
... want to take more than one deer a year, then choose West Virginia as your deer-hunting destination this year.
A Deer-Hunter's Heaven in the States!
In West Virginia, you'll have about 1-1/2 million acres of public lands you can hunt from mid-October to late December, including 70 wildlife management areas, nine state forests and over 1 million acres of National Forest lands. West Virginia has detailed information available on all the state's public lands at www.wvdnr.gov. You also can find maps and lists of seasons and bag limits for each of the regions you want to hunt.
Last year, West Virginia deer hunters took 208,225 deer. For the past five years, the harvest has averaged between 200,000 and 230,000 annually. You can hunt deer in West Virginia during four different seasons. A hunter can legally take up to a total of nine deer per season during bow season, buck season, antlerless season and muzzle-loader season. The northern panhandle (District I) and the west-central counties (District VI) of West Virginia home some of the counties with the highest numbers of deer taken per square mile. To make buying a hunting license simple, West Virginia sells its licenses online at www.wvhunt.com. Too, you'll see a list of license agents and a list of game-check stations also online.
Why Bowhunters Are Welcome
If you enjoy bow hunting, take a look at Bluestone WMA in the south-central section of the state. The harvest records for the last few years name this WMA as a hotspot for taking deer with a bow. For the opportunity to bag a big buck with your bow, check out R.D. Bailey State Forest or Panther State Forest, located in two of the four West Virginia counties that don't offer a firearm season for deer. Seventy-five percent of the entries in the statewide big-buck contest each year come from these four counties.
Make WV a Family Affair
Last year West Virginia initiated a non-resident-youth license, which allows youngsters from the ages of 8 to 14, to hunt deer during the buck, archery and muzzle-loader seasons for $15, plus the cost of a $10 conservation stamp that also lets them hunt turkeys during the fall. Too, your children can take part in West Virginia's youth-deer season on November 6, December 27 and 28.
There's More To WV Than You Think
In many states, if you tag your buck early, you may have to return home, but in West Virginia, you can hunt wild boar or bear with archery tackle or a gun. West Virginia also has a small-game hunting season for squirrel, which ends January 31, and a cottontail and a snowshoe rabbit season, which runs through February 28. Too, West Virginia holds a fall turkey season in Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, Preston, Berkeley, Grant, Greenbriar, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Tucker and Webster counties for either-sex turkeys.
You also can dip your line in West Virginia's 20,000 miles of streams and over 100 public-fishing lakes. You'll enjoy the state's year-round trout season and abundance of bass, muskie, catfish, bluegill and walleye. For a fishing license (needed only for anglers 15-years old and older), go to www.wvfish.com.
If you haven't discovered the hunting and fishing possibilities in West Virginia, come and see what you've missed. You can participate in great deer, boar, turkey and bear hunting in West Virginia and also meet some of the friendliest people, enjoy delicious food and see breathtaking views in the picturesque countryside. If you're tired of fighting the crowd for an opportunity to see a whitetail, you may find a West Virginia deer-hunting vacation just what the doctor's ordered. For help planning your West Virginia deer hunt this fall, go to www.wvdnr.gov or www.callwva.com, or call 1-800-CALL-WVA.
Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife...An Outdoorsman's Mixed Bag
Nearly 1.5 million acres of public land with deer, waterfowl and small game are open to hunting in the fall, when visitors swell the number of hunters to about 400,000. In addition, more than 180 West Virginia streams are stocked with trout. A number of catch-and-release and fly-fishing-only areas provide some of the best fly-fishing in the east. Float trips offer a great way to fish for smallmouth bass.
But even if you're not a hunter, West Virginia's 80,000 acres of state parks and 100,000 acres of forests provide a natural, peaceful setting for watching its native wildlife. Rabbits, squirrels, deer -- even an occassional fox or bear -- are common sights throughout the Mountain State.
"West Virginia's hunting-related expenditures for food, lodging, transportation, and equipment brought in nearly $270 million to the state's economy."
From the Potomac Highlands in the northeast to the New River Valley in the south, West Virginia is also home to hundreds of species of birds that find sanctuary amid its breathtaking mountains, valleys, forests, lakes and streams. A variety of community groups, as well as educational programs at most state parks, are available to help both the casual observer or serious watcher plan an adventure to remember.
HUNTING BY THE NUMBERS IN WEST VIRGINIA
Hunting in West Virginia is a time-honored tradition in which the majority of families have at least one member who participates on a regular basis. Each year more than 350,000 hunters take to West Virginia's woods in search of some sort of quarry. With this pursuit millions of dollars are directed toward the state's economy, creating more than 5,000 jobs. West Virginia's hunting-related expenditures for food, lodging, transportation, and equipment brought in nearly $270 million to the state's economy. The economic benefit of hunting in West Virginia is especially valuable because of the amount of revenue generated in our most rural areas.--Source WVDNR.gov
For more information on hunting, fishing and wildlife visit the WV Division of Natural Resources page at http://www.wvdnr.gov/