New hunting regulations available

The 2019-2020 hunting and trapping regulations, which includes the various seasons, dates and bag limits, are now available at the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Operations Center and Ward Road and at the old railroad depot in downtown Elkins. There are some changes from last year and hunters need to study the summary of these changes that is on the first page, just under the, “Table of Contents.”

The Oct. 24-27 segment of the antlerless deer gun season will be open on public land as well as private land. The season dates and counties that are open for antlerless deer, fall wild Turkey and black bear have changed. Hunters need to study the appropriate sections of the new regulations to where all of the details are fully understood.

The youth antlerless deer season has been extended to include the following Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019; and the youth spring gobbler season has been extended to include the following Sunday, April 19, 2019. This is an excellent idea because the youth seasons are important for the future of all sport hunting nationwide.

Another change hunters need to be aware of is that it is now unlawful for any person to cause due to carelessness, neglect or purposefully let any edible portion of any big game animal to go to waste needlessly. Hunters need to study the, “Definition of Terms Used,” on page 9 of the new regulations to understand the details about this new regulation.

The new Little Kanawha Wildlife Management Area in Calhoun and Wirt Counties will be under the special regulations as an older-aged deer management areas. I just wish the DNR would turn Kanawha and Kumbrabow State Forests into older-aged deer management areas. I have had more than one retired wild game biologist tell me that both of these locations would be ideal to implement this program.

During the Mountaineer Heritage Season, side-lock precussion and flint lock muzzleloading pistols are now legal. However, in-line pistols and telescopic sights are prohibited. Caliber requirements are the same as the muzzleloading season.

The WVDNR is now accepting applications for the 2019 Antlerless Deer Season in the limited permit areas in the state. Hunters who apply for one of these limited antlerless permits must use the DNR Electronic Licensing System at www.wvhunt.com. Applications will be accepted until midnight; August 14, 2019. Successful applicants will be notified by mail during the first week of October.

In this area, the DNR will issue 300 permits each for Pocahontas and Webster Counties. For the Wildlife Management areas, the DNR will issue 100 permits for the Blackwater WMA in Preston and Tucker counties. They will issue 50 permits each for the following WMA and state forests: Calvin Price State Forest in Pocahontas County, Kumbrabow State Forest in Randolph County, Little Canaan WMA in Tucker County and Seneca State Forest in Pocahontas County.

Hunters who want to enter as a group must know the others DNR ID numbers to enter the lottery. Hunters may call their local DNR district office for help with the application process.

Access to hunting areas and land has been a national problem for several years. I realize that more private land is now posted in West Virginia than ever before. In Randolph County, hunters are indeed fortunate not to have a lot of this problem. Randolph County alone has more than 200,000 acres of land that is open to public hunting. Pocahontas County has more than 300,000 acres of land open for public hunting.

In the past year, the WVDNR officials have partnered with the Conservation Fund to acquire an additional 31,000 plus acres of the new land for public hunting. This is resulted in seven new Wildlife management areas in the West-Central region of the state. I wish that I was young enough to be able to try out a few of these new locations.

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