The 2013-2014 hunting regulations can be brought up online at www.wvdnr.gov.
Black bear, deer and fall wild turkey hunters need to be aware of certain changes the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has implemented for this year.
The youth small game season has been abolished, but the youth squirrel season has been reinstated and will be Saturday, Sept. 7. This is just nine weeks from today. The statewide squirrel hunting season will come in the following Saturday or the second Saturday in September.
The daily bag limit for deer has been increased to two deer, but only one antlered buck may be taken in a day. The first deer does not have to be legally checked at an official game checking station prior to taking a second deer in the same day.
It is also good to know that antlerless deer gun hunting in Randolph County will be open on private and public land this year. Only the Huttonsville State Farm Wildlife Management Area and Kumbrabow State Forest will have limited antlerless deer firearm hunting in Randolph County for this year.
This was emphasized in last week's column. Only one antlerless deer can be taken with a modern or cartridge-type firearm in Randolph County for 2013.
An additional muzzleloader deer of either sex may be taken only on a Class RM or RRM stamp (purchased prior to the buck season), a Class DT license or a resident landowner hunting on their own land.
The muzzleloader season runs Dec. 9-14. Bag limits vary among several counties, but will be either one or three antlerless deer.
The fall wild turkey season has been increased to include 15 counties, opening Oct. 12 and running through Oct. 19. Included in this list are Gilmer, Lewis and Taylor counties. Thirteen counties will be open from Oct. 12-19, and from Oct. 28-Nov. 2
Preston and Upshur are on this list. The counties of Grant, Hardy, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Tucker and Webster will be open for fall turkey hunting from Oct. 12-19, and from Oct. 28-Nov. 16.
Barbour County is closed for all fall wild turkey hunting this year. The bag limit is one wild turkey of either sex.
There are so many variables in the way the WVDNR is implementing the black bear hunting seasons this fall to where I am having trouble figuring all of them out.
First, two black bears may be taken this fall with bow or gun provided that at least one has been taken in Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mingo, Raleigh or Wyoming Counties.
This year, 16 counties, or parts thereof, will be open to black bear firearms hunting from Sept. 21- 27.
During these six days of hunting, bears may be hunted with or without dogs. The counties of local interest in this early season will include: Barbour (East of Rt. 92), Grant, Hardy, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Randolph, Tucker, Upshur (East of Rt. 20) and Webster. During the December bear firearms season (Dec. 9-31), bears may be hunted with or without dogs in all the above-mentioned counties.
Bear hunters will be required to wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange as an outer garment while hunting in a county or part thereof during any deer firearms season.
For example: if a person chooses to bear hunt in Randolph County on Dec. 31, they will have to wear blaze orange because this is during the late antlerless season that runs from Dec. 28-31. A bow, but not a crossbow, may be substituted for a firearm during the bear firearms season.
I just don't have enough space to include all the variables in the bear seasons for this year.
Therefore, I recommend that all bear hunters study the bear regulations for this year.
If you have any questions, call either law enforcement or a game biologist at the Elkins Operations Center (304-637-0245) or French Creek (304-924-6211).