Significant Changes to 2011 Hunting Regs


Trappers in West Virginia will enjoy the first otter trapping season which opens November 5.

Hunters will notice several significant changes in the 2011 hunting regulations in West Virginia.   The most noticeable include a pair of long held opening dates. 

The statewide squirrel hunting season opener is moved up to September 10th for this year.    The other season affected by the change is the statewide archery hunting season.   Traditionally the archery season opened on the Saturday nearest October 15th.  However, the Natural Resources Commission suggested and approved moving up the opening date to the first Saturday in October, which this year will be October 1.

"I think the primary reason it was proposed was to provide additional recreational opportunity," said DNR Game Management Supervisor Gary Foster of the new opening days. "It’s biologically sound and is not going to have any negative impact."

Another significant change to the 2011 hunting regulations will be the first otter trapping season in many years in West Virginia

"We introduced otters back into West Virginia years ago and they’ve done quite well," Foster said. "We’ve got a good otter population in areas throughout the state and we feel we can safely implement a season now and provide some additional opportunities for trappers."

The otter trapping season will open November 5 and run through February 29, 2012.   The bag limit for the season will be one otter.

Continued prevalence of Chronic Wasting Disease will impact deer hunting in West Virginia‘s eastern panhandle even more for 2011.   The discovery of CWD positive deer in Hardy County as well as in neighboring Maryland and Virginia in the past year prompted an increase in the size of West Virginia‘s CWD Containment Zone.

"It includes all of Hampshire County, the northern part of Hardy County (north of WV 55 and Corridor H) and the western portion of Morgan County, lying west of US Route 522," explained Foster. "We have not had any positive CWD samples from Morgan County, but the Maryland positive was not too far from us."

The containment zone includes increased restrictions on the handling of deer to include deboning of the meat before it is removed from the zone.   The containment area also includes significantly higher bag limits for hunting and a no baiting rule.

The no-baiting rule has also been expanded to all public hunting areas statewide.   Baiting and feeding of all wildlife will be forbidden between September 1st and December 31st as well as during the spring gobbler season on Wildlife Management Areas.  Although it applies to public land only, Foster says it’s a move that makes complete sense.

"If you poll fish and game agencies across the country, the vast majority are opposed to any feeding and baiting of any wildlife and deer," Foster said. "From a disease standpoint, it’s not a good practice."

One final change will be the availability of the new senior citizen lifetime hunting-fishing-trapping license.  Those wont’ be required until January 1, 2012.  The new license is only required for those who turn 65 AFTER the first of the year.   Those who’ll be 65 before the year ends are grandfathered into the current system and won’t be required to buy any license. The legislature approved the rule change earlier this year.  The lifetime senior license cost $25 and only needs to be purchased one time


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