CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – It’s officially deer archery and crossbow season in West Virginia.
The season opens Saturday, Sept. 24 and runs through Saturday, Dec. 31. According to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, there are some restrictions when it comes to archery and crossbow hunting.
The DNR says hunters must have a valid base hunting license for archery and crossbow hunting, and only one or a combination of the following are valid:
- Resident License:
- Class X, Class X3, Class XP, Class XJ, Class AHJ, class AB-L, Class A-L, Class XS, classes A+CS+BG or Classes AH+CS+BG
- Free License:
- Military, Disabled Veteran, Former POW, Senior Citizen or Class DT
- Nonresident License:
- Classes E+CS/LE+UU, Classes AAH+CS/LE+UU, Classes XXJ+CS/LE, Classes AAJH+CS/LE or Class DT
- Only hunters who hold a Class Y/YY permit are allowed to use a crossbow in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming Counties. Crossbows are not permitted for any other hunters in these counties.
- Underage residents and resident land owners who are hunting on their own property do not need a license to take a deer by archery or crossbow, according to the DNR.
To learn more about getting a hunting license, visit the DNR website.
Hunters may only harvest two deer per day, according to the DNR. Officials say the first deer of the day does not need to be electronically registered before the second deer of the day is harvested. However, deer harvested must be electronically registered and legally tagged before the hunter goes out to hunt again.
While hunters can harvest two deer per day, they are only allowed one antlered deer per day. The DNR says hunters can only take three antlered deer during regular deer seasons and after the Mountaineer Heritage Season combined. In Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming Counties, only one antlered deer can be taken during the Archery and Mountaineer Heritage seasons.
The DNR says hunters who take an antlered deer in the areas of Beech Fork Lake, Bluestone Lake, Burnsville Lake, Little Kanawha River and McClintic Wildlife Management Areas, and Coopers Rock and Calvin Price State Forests must only take an antlered deer that has a minimum outside antler spread of 14 inches from ear tip to ear tip. The DNR says hunters are only permitted to take one antlered deer from each of these areas throughout all hunting seasons combined.
Class RB Resident and Class RR nonresident archery deer hunting stamps allow the hunter to take an additional deer as designated by the DNR director. The stamps must have been purchased prior to the opening of the statewide archery and crossbow season.
According to the DNR, a resident can purchase only two Class RB stamps and a nonresident can purchase
The DNR also says a bow and crossbow can be substituted for a firearm during any of the deer firearm seasons except during the muzzleloader season.
What is illegal?
The DNR says there are some restrictions to archery and crossbow hunting.
Crossbows are required to have a draw weight of at least 125 pounds, a working safety, bolts and arrows that are at least 16 inches long – including the insert and nock, broadheads with at least two sharp-cutting edges at least 3/4 inch in width.
Here are some of the “don’ts” of archery and crossbow hunting that the DNR says are considered illegal:
- Do not hunt with a crossbow that does not meet the requirements above.
- Do not hunt with a crossbow with more than one string.
- Do not hunt deer with arrows with broadheads that have less than two sharp-cutting edges measuring less than 3/4 inches in width.
- Do not use a bow-locking device unless you have a modified bow permit that has been issued by the DNR director.
- Do not use an arrow that has been drug-laced, has a poisoned head or shaft, or has an attached explosive.
- Do not lure in deer by using an electronic call.
- Bows and crossbows cannot be used on the Bright McCausland Homestead Wildlife Management Area.
- Do not carry an air rifle and bow and/or arrow at the same time.
- Do not carry a gun and bow and/or arrow at the same time. The DNR says an exception to this is persons not prohibited from possessing a firearm may carry a firearm with them for self-defense.
- Do not hunt with an air bow at any time.
- Do not bait or feed wildlife on public lands.
For more details on deer archery and crossbow season regulations, visit the DNR website.