SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Big game hunters in West Virginia will have the opportunity to take part in the state’s first Mountaineer Heritage Season this week, which runs Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 10-13. During the four-day season, hunters may take a deer or a bear using only primitive weapons.
“This new season is a great opportunity to hunt in January and test your hunting skills,” said Division of Natural Resources Director Stephen McDaniel. “We’re calling it the Mountaineer Heritage Season because hunters may use only the types of rifles and bows that the original mountaineer settlers had available. At a time of year when hunting activity is usually slow, we hope this will encourage people to get outside and enjoy a hunting adventure without the aid of modern technology and that it will give them an understanding and appreciation for the historical significance of hunting in West Virginia.”
Because it is a new year, hunters are required to purchase a 2019 hunting license and stamps to participate in the Mountaineer Heritage Season. Bear hunters must buy a Bear Damage stamp, unless they hold a senior lifetime license or qualify for a free license. Hunting licenses and stamps can be purchased online at www.wvhunt.com, and at license agents or DNR district offices around the state.
During this season, hunters are restricted to using only long or recurve bows, or single-shot side lock or flintlock muzzle-loading rifles of .38 caliber or larger. Only long and recurve bows are legal in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties. Telescopic sights, in-line muzzleloaders, firearms that have been converted into a muzzleloader by use of a plug and double-barreled or swivel-barreled muzzleloaders are illegal during this season.
“This season was created because a large number of hunters have been requesting additional hunting opportunities in the new year, following the end of the traditional big game seasons in December,” said Paul Johansen, chief of the DNR Wildlife Resources Section.
During the season, hunters may take a bear or a deer of either sex. Hunters who took their limit of three bucks in the 2018 fall seasons may only take an antlerless deer. Hunters also are not permitted to hunt with a crossbow or compound bow, or to hunt bear with dogs. Hunters must wear a blaze orange outer garment of at least 400 square inches, except for those hunting in the bow-only counties.
Hunters also are required to use their permanent DNR ID number to check their game at www.wvhunt.com, by calling 1-844-WVCHECK or at a hunting and fishing license agent.
More details about this new season are available on page 33 in the 2018-19 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.