Ordinarily the printing of West Virginia's hunting and trapping regulations brochure is no big deal.This year it's a big deal indeed."I think it's essential for sportsmen, and especially hunters, to get a copy of the regulations this year," said Paul Johansen, assistant wildlife chief for the state Division of Natural Resources. "We've had major changes to several hunting regulations this year, and hunters need to familiarize themselves with them."Johansen singled out several changes he called "very significant.""I think the most significant change is the early antlerless-deer firearm season we inserted into late October. That, in turn, caused us to make changes to the fall turkey season so the seasons wouldn't overlap. We also have a new requirement that deer hunters in 10 counties must kill an antlerless deer before they're allowed to kill a second antlered buck," he said."In addition, the deer and bear archery seasons will open sooner than hunters are used to. I think most hunters are aware of that, but it helps to have the regulations in hand just to be sure."Following are details on some of the more significant hunting-regulation changes:
A three-day firearms season for antlerless deer will open on Oct. 25 and run through Oct. 27. The statewide archery deer season will open on Sept. 29 and run through Dec. 31. The statewide archery bear season will open earlier this year and be a split season that includes the following days: Sept. 29 to Nov. 17 and Dec. 3-31. Ten counties or portions thereof will have special antlerless deer regulations in place this fall. 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 the archery deer 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 firearms season. Black bear firearms hunting seasons will include nine counties open from Sept. 24-26; 12 counties open from Sept. 24-29; eight counties open from Nov. 19 to Dec. 1 during the buck firearms season; and all 55 counties open from Dec. 3-31. The fall wild turkey hunting season will be expanded this year, with 15 counties open from Oct. 13-20; seven counties open from Oct. 13-20 and Oct. 29 to Nov. 3; 14 counties open from Oct. 13-20 and Oct. 29 to Nov. 17.The regulations brochures are available now at all West Virginia hunting- and fishing-license agents, DNR district offices, the DNR Elkins Operations Center and the DNR's South Charleston headquarters.Reach John McCoy at email@example.com or 304-348-1231.