West Virginia – From a Deer Hunter’s POV

Posted: 09/01/2012 in Archery, Hunting, Legal, News, Regulations, Whitetail Deer
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This is an ongoing series looking at each state from the point of view of a nonresident hunter trying to find information about deer hunting, the basic explanation is HERE.

West Virginia

Is the information easy to find?

The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources 2012-2013 hunting regulations web page is at the top of the search results.  This page is entirely broken, the correct page to start from is the ‘Hunting Home‘ page.

Grade: D

Website: is it easy to use and understand?

First, there is something seriously wrong with this web site. Over the course of twenty four hours on two computers, one Mac, one Windows, with three different browsers, Google Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer, the results are the same:

Multiple images that will not load,and every link on the page is circular or broken, that is they appear to take the user to a different location when they are in fact linked to the page they are on, such as the large image block in the center under ‘2012-2013 Hunting Regulations’ and blow that ‘New Digital e-Book Version,’ both of which lead right back to this page.  Only by starting from a different page from the Google results, Deer – Buck Season 2012-2013 Hunting Regulations, can any information be obtained.  From that link, clicking on the ‘Hunting Home‘ link will take users to the page that would best serve as a starting point.

From the ‘Hunting Home’ page, which appears to be a similar page to the one above without broken links, finding the license cost, hunting seasons and public hunting areas is easily done.

Grade: D

Does the state hold a lottery system for non-residents or are over the counter licenses available?

Over the counter licenses are the norm in West Virginia, however there may be some quota or limited access hunts that are selected via a lottery system.

Grade: A

How much does it cost to hunt, and is there a short term license available?

There is no short-term license available for deer hunting in West Virginia.  In fact, the licensing system is somewhat odd, using code-letters for each license, which works out nicely when matching what licenses are required when making a purchase.  As an example, the nonresident Hunting and Trapping license is considered ‘Class E,’ if a nonresident intends to purchase an Archery Deer Stamp (Class UU), it states in the license table ‘must be accompanied by a Class E license.’  Why it didn’t occur to anyone that ‘requires an annual hunting license’ is 28 characters, and ‘must be accompanied by a class E license’ is 33 is a mystery.

Resident hunting licenses are priced at $19.00, with an additional deer stamp priced at $10.00 and a required conservation stamp that costs $5.00.  Nonresident annual hunting licenses are priced at $119.00, which includes a tag for one antlered deer during rifle season, this license also requires a $13.00 conservation and law enforcement stamp.  There are additional deer tags available for various prices, as well as a $13.00 archery stamp and a $32.00 muzzleloader stamp and a $2.00 national forest stamp.

$119.00 isn’t bad for an annual license plus a deer tag, even with the $13.00 required conservation stamp, totaling $132.00, but it could be better.

Grade: C

Are the hunting seasons easy to find and laid out in a logical manner?

Hunting seasons are presented in an easy to read, easy to print one page PDF file titled’2012-2013 Seasons, Dates and Limits.’

Grade: A

Is public hunting available, if so, are the rules different? If the rules are different, are they easy to understand?

Starting from the Hunting page, the third link down leads to information regarding Wildlife Management Areas in West Virginia. Near the bottom of the page, there is a link to ‘Select a Wildlife Management Area by map and district‘ with an interactive, color coded map as well as charts listing each WMA.  There is no indication that there are major regulatory changes between the general regulations and WMA rules.

Grade: A

Are there major issues in hunting this state as a non-resident?

Chronic Wasting Disease is active in West Virginia: the WVDNR has published a single page PDF file with details in addition to publishing a web page dedicated to ‘Diseases.’   There are no other known issues at this time.

Grade: B

Summary: Final Grade B-

License prices are somewhat reasonable in West Virginia, with bonus tags available, however the initial page full of errors is troubling: if errors that large exist in the web publishing, what else is in error? Over the counter licenses, widespread public hunting and easy to understand hunting seasons are user friendly though, and West Virginia is an amazingly beautiful state to hunt in.

States CompletedAlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelaware,

FloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndiana, IowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMaryland

MassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew Hampshire

New JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvania,

Rhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeUtahVermontVirginia, Washington


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