CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has released the 2020-21 hunting, fishing and trapping regulations and changes which went into effect July 1.
“Great things are happening in the outdoors of West Virginia and these changes to our regulations are going to improve the experience for hunters and trappers,” said DNR Director Stephen McDaniel. “Because there are numerous changes that will take effect during the turkey, bear and deer seasons, I want to encourage folks to carefully review these new regulations as they get ready for their fall hunting adventures.”
The list of changes can be found at http://www.wvdnr.gov/2020News/20news044.shtm but major differences include the implementation of the leashed dog tracking law that was passed this past year by the West Virginia Legislature, Black bear, buck firearms and fall turkey seasons closing on Sunday, season dates and open counties for the antlerless deer and fall turkey seasons, the implementation of a special rule for deer harvested in Hardy County, a new special youth bear hunting season and many season length changes including shorter seasons for ruffed grouse and bobwhite quail.
The Hardy County rule states that any adult deer harvested Nov. 23-24 must be taken to a designated Chronic Wasting Disease sampling station for examination. Currently, according to OnX Maps Hardy, Hampshire, Mineral, Morgan and Berkeley are the only counties in the state that have CWD.
Seasons that have been given a two-day extension include wild boar, deer and bear archery and the last portion of the bear gun season. One-day extensions include buck gun, the second part of the antlerless split season, the fifth part of the bear gun season, all three parts of the fall turkey season and the squirrel and squirrel youth seasons. All other season extensions include the 2021 spring gobbler season (one week) and a five-day bump for the first part of crow season with a loss of one day in the second half for a four-day net gain.
The WVDNR has also curtailed seasons involving upland birds, small game and trapping. The ruffed grouse, cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, raccoon, fox and bobcat hunting seasons have all been shortened by six days, while bobwhite quail and pheasant seasons have been reduced by one week. The raccoon, mink and muskrat, fox, otter and skunk, opossum, coyote and weasel trapping seasons have been cut by six days, while fisher and beaver have been lessened by five days. Further, night hunting with artificial light for fox has been reduced by one day.
All season additions and subtractions are listed as net gains and losses to better represent the changes. To see the new opening and closing dates, be sure to read the new guide published by the WVDNR online or at multiple locations around the state. Currently, DNR district offices, the Elkins Operation Center and South Charleston headquarters are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, printed copies of the 2020-2021 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations are available for pick-up by appointment at these locations. To schedule an appointment, please call the office in your area. Contact information can be found at www.wvdnr.gov/contact.shtm.