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Deer season for youth, senior, class Q hunters opens Dec. 26

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. —  The final segment of West Virginia’s antlerless deer hunting season for youth and senior citizen hunters and Class Q permit holders opens Tuesday, Dec. 26. 

During the special two-day season, hunting is permitted on private and public lands in the 51 counties with a firearms deer hunting season. Deer hunting with a firearm is prohibited in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties. 

“Passing down hunting traditions to the next generation is not just about teaching them how to hunt; it’s about instilling a deep respect for nature and a love for the great outdoors. This special antlerless deer season is the perfect time to share these traditions,” said Brett McMillion, director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR). “This season also provides a fantastic opportunity for seniors and hunters with a Class Q permit to enjoy a hunting experience when fewer people are in the woods.” 

Youth hunters ages eight to 17 may participate in this special season. Senior citizens 65 years of age and older who have a resident Class XS lifetime hunting, trapping and fishing license may also participate.

License Requirements and Hunting Regulations

Resident youth hunters ages eight to 14 don’t need a hunting license, stamps or hunter safety education card, but must be accompanied by an unarmed, licensed adult who may not hunt. Resident youth hunters 15-17 years of age must comply with all licensing requirements but don’t need a Class N Stamp. 

Nonresident youth hunters need a Class XXJ/Class AAHJ license and a CS/LW Stamp or a Class DT license. All accompanying nonresident adults must have a Class E License with a CS/LE Stamp. Resident and nonresident hunting licenses and stamps can be purchased online at WVhunt.com.

All hunters participating in this season, including adults accompanying a child, must wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange.

The daily bag limit for this special season is one antlerless deer per day. Deer harvested during this special season do not count toward a hunter’s annual deer season bag limit. Class N/NN stamps are not required for this special season. 

Each deer must be field tagged and electronically registered within 24 hours of the close of each segment of the split season and before pursuit of any additional deer. Deer can be checked online at WVhunt.com, at a license agent or by calling 1-844-WVCHECK.

For more information about the season, hunters should check the 2023-2024 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, available at DNR district offices, DNR license agents and online at WVdnr.gov/hunting-regulations.

Big Buck Photo Contest

Hunters are also reminded that the deadline to submit a photo into the WVDNR’s Big Buck Photo Contest is Dec. 22 at 11:59 p.m. The contest is open to West Virginia residents and nonresidents and includes youth divisions for hunters 17 years of age and younger. Five resident youth participants will win a lifetime hunting and fishing license and five nonresident youth participants will win a Cabela’s prize package. The contest also includes resident and nonresident adult divisions for hunters ages 18 and older. One resident adult will win a lifetime hunting license or a state park cabin stay. Five lucky nonresident adults will win a state park cabin stay.

To enter the contest, hunters must submit a photo with a buck they harvested during a 2023 hunting season and a short account of their hunt. Submissions may be uploaded using the Big Buck Photo Contest entry form at WVdnr.gov/photocontest. Those entering must have a valid 2023 West Virginia Hunting License and will need to enter the 13-digit DNR-issued game check number for their bucks.

2024 Licenses Now Available 

Annual hunting, trapping and fishing licenses and stamps for the 2024 seasons are now on sale. This is the first year that lifetime licenses and gift certificates are available to purchase online, providing outdoor enthusiasts even more flexibility when buying licenses, stamps and other hunting and fishing privileges in West Virginia. To purchase a 2024 license, visit WVdnr.gov.

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