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Road hunting is illegal in West Virginia

October 29, 2011
By Kenneth Cobb , The Inter-Mountain

A few days ago, I ran into one of my readers on the street who suggested that I write an article about road hunting. At first, I did not give this idea much thought. Later on in the day, when I had time to think about it, I thought this just might be a good subject to discuss.

The idea of road hunting during any of the deer firearms seasons would have been something that both of my parents would have frowned upon. If either of them were living today, they would have turned 100 years-old last month.

If they knew I had been deer hunting in this manner, I would have received a sharp scolding from one or both of them even at my age.

Today, when I go hunting, that is exactly what I want to do, hunt. I like the enjoyment of being in the woods at daybreak in the cool air along with everything that goes along with it.

I also like seeing new country for the first time. For example, it was about two years ago on Thanksgiving morning when a friend and I went hunting on the Stonecoal Wildlife Management Area near the Lewis, Upshur County line. Both of us had antlerless permits for that location. While neither one of us fired a shot and I did not even see a deer, just seeing this new country was about as pleasing as getting a deer.

I know several people like to road hunt for deer, which includes some of my friends. I personally consider this their business. These people are taking a big chance. It is illegal to shoot a firearm from a motor vehicle or get out of a motor vehicle along a public road and shoot a bow or firearm unless you are at least 25 yards from the vehicle.

Having a loaded gun in a vehicle is one of the most common violations. This week, I was talking to one of the Randolph County magistrates about this violation.

He informed me that the fine could range from $20 to $300, depending on the situation that led to the citation.

People need to remember when they get a game law ticket they will also be paying the court costs.

Hunting from a motor vehicle is also six points on an individual's hunting license. When a person gets ten points within a two-year period, they will have their license revoked for a two-year period. Another reason why I do not choose to road hunt. I do not like the idea of shelling out hard-earned money for violating a game law that is clear and simple to understand.

Nimrods also need to remember that it is unlawful to carry an uncased gun or crossbow in or on a vehicle between 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. from Oct. 1 to June 30, and between 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. from July 1 to Sept. 30. They also need to remember that it is illegal to shoot a firearm within 400 feet of a school or church. It is also unlawful to shoot a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, or on or near a park or place where people are gathered for pleasure.

Personally, I will not hold any grudge against anyone who chooses to road hunt during the firearms season. I just simply consider this unethical hunting and not complying with what are the rules of fair chase.

What I haven't yet mentioned is that for disabled citizens, veterans or people who are blind, it is not illegal to road hunt. This is a worthy exception to a good regulation.



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