Preparing for buck firearms season

Staff Report

SOUTH CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s traditional buck firearms season will start Monday, Nov. 20, and run through Dec. 2.

Hunters should see plenty of deer this year due to the season opening close to the “rut,” or, mating season. November firearms deer season traditionally opens the Monday before Thanksgiving, so the season can start as early as Nov. 19 and as late as Nov. 25. The timing of firearms season is a balance between hunting part of the “rut” while still allowing for the annual renewal of the deer herd.

“Hunters should enjoy a great deer season in 2017,” said Gary Foster, assistant chief in charge of game management for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “West Virginia’s deer seasons provide quality outdoor recreation for hunters and at the same time boosts the state’s economy by millions of dollars.”

Harvesting an additional buck

Resident hunters wanting the opportunity to harvest an additional buck must purchase the Class RG stamp before the beginning of the season. The cost is $21. The RG stamp must be accompanied by a Class A and CS, A-L, AB-L, X, XS, XJ, AH, AHJ or free license. Resident landowners have the privilege of harvesting an extra buck without purchasing the RG stamp, if they are hunting on their own property.

Nonresident hunters wanting the extra buck must purchase a RRG stamp before the beginning of the season for $43. The RRG stamp must be accompanied by the Class E, AAH, AAHJ or XXJ license. Nonresident hunters who own land in West Virginia are not exempt from purchasing a license or the extra buck stamp, even if hunting on their own property.

Hunters in 23 counties are required to take an antlerless deer with a firearm (required Class N permit for residents or Class NN permit for nonresidents) before harvesting a second antlered deer during the buck firearms season.

Concurrent hunting seasons

Most counties are open to concurrent antlerless deer season hunting during the traditional buck gun season. Class N or Class NN permits, which are required to hunt during the antlerless deer season, can be purchased at any time. Antlerless deer firearms season opens Nov. 20 on private land and selected public lands. Hunters should consult the 2017–2018 Hunting and Trapping Regulations available at license agents and at for specific antlerless deer regulations in each county and wildlife management area.

Small game hunting, including bobcats, is prohibited during the first three days of buck firearms season in all counties having a buck firearms season. Archery and crossbow hunting for antlered and antlerless deer is legal during the buck firearms season subject to all archery and crossbow deer hunting regulations.

Hunters may harvest two deer on the same day, but only one of those can be an antlered buck. The first deer does not have to be legally checked before harvesting the second deer in the same day. However, all deer must be checked and the checking confirmation number recorded by the hunter before hunting during any subsequent day.

Hunters are required to use their permanent DNR identification number when checking their game. This may be done from a phone at 1-844-WVCHECK, a computer at or at a hunting and fishing license agent. For a list of license agents visit

Important changes

Also, several important changes in the state’s fall hunting seasons for deer, black bear and wild turkey are included in the new 2017-18 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

All deer harvested by hunters on November 20 and 21, 2017, in Mason, Hampshire and Upshur counties are required to be brought to a designated Biological Game Examination Station. Hunters are still required to check their deer via telephone, Internet or at a license agent. This action will maximize the cost effectiveness of placing DNR personnel at sampling locations to monitor deer herd physical characteristics and age structure. A tentative list of Biological Game Examination Station locations in Mason County was released earlier this year and were New Haven Marathon, 5th Street and Lewis, New Haven; Leon General Store, Arbuckle-Tribble Road, Leon; Apple Grove Market, 2699 Huntington Road, Apple Grove; Sandhill Food Mart, 4107 Sandhill Road, Point Pleasant; Camp Conley Mart, 3369 Ohio River Road, Point Pleasant. Prior to arriving at these stations, call ahead to confirm they are still a designated examination location or ask any WV DNR official.

The 2017-18 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary brochure is now available at all West Virginia hunting and fishing license agents and Division of Natural Resources district offices, as well as the DNR Elkins and South Charleston offices. It also is available online at

Hunters and trappers are encouraged to carefully review these regulations and the changes in hunting seasons. Important changes for 2017–18 include:

Sunday hunting on private land is now legal in all 55 counties only with written permission from the landowner.

Since the regulations were distributed, two corrections have been made and are now available online.

The first change is that Boone, Fayette, Kanawha and Raleigh counties are open for concurrent buck deer and bear hunting during the buck firearms season Nov. 20 – Dec. 2. No prior application is required and hunters may participate with the appropriate hunting license and a bear damage stamp.

The other change deals with deer hunting on McClintic Wildlife Management Area in Mason County. The annual bag limit for antlered deer on the area is one deer, not three. The Antlerless Season bag limit is three, instead of one.

Mason County falls into WVDNR’s District 5, with an office at 1163 Wildlife Road in Point Pleasant. Phone 304-675-0871 or go to for more information.

Information provided by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Staff Report