It’s the lottery season.
We’re not talking about Powerball, Mega Millions or any of the myriad scratch-off lotteries that can be played in West Virginia.
We’re talking about important stuff: hunting lotteries.
From now through mid-August, hunters in the Mountain State have the opportunity to apply for lottery-drawn permits that allow them to hunt antlerless deer in several selected counties, participate in limited whitetail hunts held in six state parks, and to occupy a blind during a controlled waterfowl hunt at a state-run wildlife management area in Mason County.
The deadline for the waterfowl-hunt permit is midnight on Aug. 11; the deadline for the antlerless-deer and state-park permits is midnight on Aug. 14.
This fall, antlerless-deer hunting in nine counties and 10 wildlife management areas will be restricted to hunters who draw permits.
The lottery-only counties are Boone (400 available permits), northern Greenbrier (200), southern Lincoln (200), western Mineral (200), Nicholas (400), Pocahontas (300), eastern Raleigh (250), northern Wayne (300) and Webster (300).
The lottery-only WMAs are Beech Fork (50 permits), Blackwater (100), Bluestone (100), McCausland (25), Calvin Price State Forest (50), Greenbrier State Forest (50), Hillcrest (25), Kumbrabow State Forest (50), Little Canaan (50) and Seneca State Forest (50).
Hunters interested in applying for permits must use the state’s Electronic Licensing System at wvhunt.com.
Applicants must log on, select “Enter Lottery” on the home screen, select “2019 Antlerless Hunt,” then choose the county or WMA for which they wish to apply. Applicants may also select a secondary choice. Hunters who do not currently have accounts can use the website to create one.
Beginning on Sept. 1, applicants can see if they received permits by logging onto their account at www.wvhunt.com.
Applicants for the six state-park hunts should also use www.wvhunt.com, but the procedure is a bit different. To enter a state-park lottery, hunters must first pay a $10 registration fee. DNR officials require the fee to help ensure that successful applicants show up for the hunts.
This year’s slate of participating parks includes Beech Fork in Wayne County, Canaan Valley in Tucker County, Cacapon in Morgan County, North Bend in Ritchie County, Pipestem in Summers County, and Twin Falls in Wyoming County.
Most of the parks will host two two-day hunts, some only one. Each hunt will accommodate 15 or 30 hunters, depending on the park’s area and the DNR’s desired deer kill.
Hunters in five of the six parks will be allowed to use archery equipment or muzzleloading firearms. The Twin Falls hunt will be archery-only. Several of the hunts will be timed to coincide with the peak of the whitetail rut.
The controlled waterfowl hunt will be held during the October split of the waterfowl season at the McClintic Wildlife Management Area in Mason County.
Hunters who draw permits, also through www.wvhunt.com, will be assigned to designated shooting stations and will be permitted to bring one guest. There is no charge for the permit, but hunters must possess valid West Virginia hunting licenses, federal waterfowl stamps and federal Harvest Information Program permits.
Hunters successful in the draw will be randomly assigned a day to hunt. They must report to the McClintic WMA office before 6 a.m. on that day.