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DNR seeks to expand West Virginia’s big-game hunting calendar past Dec. 31


Charleston Gazette-Mail

(Gazette-Mail photo by John McCoy)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s big-game hunters will probably see substantial changes in their deer, bear and wild boar seasons this fall.

State wildlife officials have proposed new season structures for bowhunters and muzzleloader hunters, both of which would allow hunting to continue after the traditional closing day on Dec. 31. They also would like to split the seasons for wild boar and urban deer so they, too, continue into the following year.

Division of Natural Resources biologists made the proposals at Sunday’s quarterly meeting of the West Virginia Natural Resources Commission, the seven-member panel of political appointees who set the state’s hunting and fishing seasons and bag limits. Commissioners took the proposals under advisement and will approve or disapprove them at their next meeting on April 22.

The most substantial proposed change is the creation of a new combined deer-and-bear hunt, dubbed the “Mountaineer Heritage Season.” The three-day season, scheduled for Jan. 10-13, 2019, would be open only to hunters willing to use primitive weapons, such as longbows, recurve bows, flintlock firearms and sidelock firearms. Modern compound bows, crossbows and in-line muzzleloaders would not be allowed.

Paul Johansen, the DNR’s wildlife chief, said there are three primary benefits to holding the heritage season and parts of other big-game seasons in January and February.

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