It’s expected many a young hunter may take their first deer this weekend in West Virginia. Saturday will be the first day of the annual youth deer hunting seasons in West Virginia.
"It’s been extremely well received," said DNR Biologist Dick Hall. "Adults are able to take young people out and introduce them to the hunting opportunities that are available."
Those opportunities include Saturday, Oct. 27, and then two more youth hunting days on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The selection of the dates is strategic. This Saturday, only bow hunters will be after deer and the pressure will be lax for youngsters just learning the ropes.
"The whole idea is to give the youth an opportunity to go out there and hunt where he’s not really competing against the adults. You know everybody’s first day of deer season is anxious and everybody wants to kill a deer and be out there in the woods. Sometimes the youth is left behind," Hall said.
That isn’t the case on Saturday. Only those between the ages of 10 and 14 are allowed to carry a firearm. They must have a licensed adult hunter along and close enough to render advice or assistance. Many West Virginia youngsters are already well versed in their woodsmanship skills, but for others, this will be a first time opportunity. The bag limit is one antlerless deer, but that will not count against a young hunters bag limit for the season if they choose to hunt with the regular firearms season opens in November.
Unlike previous years, the DNR has opened the season to every county that has a firearms season. Previously, the season has been confined only to those counties that have an antlerless season. This will open up a lot more land for young hunters to enjoy. The hunt is confined to private land in those counties and 43 selected wildlife management areas.
"The whole idea is to have an adult there to mentor that boy or girl," Hall said.
Teaching youngsters the skill of hunting and the enjoyment of a day in the field at a young age can lay the groundwork for life long hunting participation.