LOGAN, W.Va.. — It’s widely known conventional coon hunting happens at night, but what many may not have realized is in West Virginia it’s illegal to kill a raccoon during the day-even when the season is open. For many years, the regulations have limited hunting to the hours of 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Rusty Harsh

For coon hunters, it’s more about the dog and less about the coon.

“A lot of hunters aren’t aware of that and have probably taken raccoons illegally,” said Gary Foster, Assistant Chief for Game Management for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “The last commission meeting or two there has been a push to see if there are things we can do to simplify our hunting, fishing, and trapping regulations.”

The simplification came at the request of several Natural Resources Police officers who brought the idea to Foster and his game management team.  They wondered why the regulations were written to prohibit hunting during daylight hours. Nobody had a good answer and there were no good reasons, according to Foster, to keep it in place after a discussion among biologists.

“We discussed it and ran it by our fur bearer biologist and he said the raccoon take is far less with the price of fur down,” said Foster. “We really didn’t see any negative impacts biologically to making it all day.”

Foster was doubtful the change would cause any significant increase in the number of coons killed by West Virginia coon hunters.

“Raccoons are a nocturnal animal and primarily come out at night,” he said. “It’s really not going to amount to any kind of significant increase in the harvest, but it really will just simplify regulations.”

The commission approved the change which will not take effect until July 1, 2018.

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