December deer, bear hunting seasons in W.Va. to begin

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December deer, bear hunting seasons in W.Va. to begin
Hunters are reminded to wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange when hunting. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Dept. of Commerce)

SUTTON, W.Va. — Beginning this week, hunters will have several opportunities to target deer and bear in December 2022. The next segments of West Virginia’s antlerless deer and bear firearms seasons are set to open early in the month.

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The next segment of West Virginia’s antlerless deer firearms season will be open Dec. 8–11 in the state’s 51 counties open to deer firearms season. The next segment of the bear firearms season will open on Dec. 5 and run through the end of the year.

Director Brett McMillion says hunters still have plenty of chance to harvest game, though the year is nearly over.

“The year may be coming to a close, but there’s still plenty of chances for folks to enjoy a hunting adventure and fill their freezer with nutritious wild game,” Brett said.

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Hunters are reminded to wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange when hunting in a county with an open deer firearms season. Hunters must also check big game at a license agent, by calling 844-WVcheck or online at WVhunt.com. For more information about these hunting seasons, open counties and regulations, hunters should consult the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, available to download at WVdnr.gov/hunting-regulations.

Antlerless Deer Season
All antlerless deer taken during the season must be taken on a Class N or NN stamp or with a Class DT license. Landowners hunting on their own property do not have to purchase a Class N or NN stamp. Only one antlerless deer may be taken on each stamp. For bag limits by county, hunters should consult the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

A final segment of the antlerless deer season will be open Dec. 28–31.


Bear Firearms Season

Starting Dec. 5 and running through Dec. 31, all or parts of 26 counties will be open for bear hunting with or without dogs and all or parts of 35 counties will be open for bear hunting without dogs. For a complete list of these counties and portions thereof, check page 39-40 of the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

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All bear hunters are required to have a Class DS stamp. Hunters also are reminded that they are required to send a first premolar tooth from each harvested bear to the WVDNR Elkins Operations Center or their local district office by Jan. 31. Hunters who harvest a female black bear are encouraged to save the reproductive tract and entrails.

Hunters who harvest a female black bear should save the reproductive tracts or entrails by keeping them cool or freezing them and contact the closest WVDNR district office to arrange a pickup. Hunters who submit a complete reproductive tract will be eligible for a $20 gift card.

Hunters can get a bear tooth envelope at all district offices and the Elkins Operations Center. For instructions on submitting a bear tooth, check page 37 in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, available to download at .


Other December Hunting Opportunities in West Virginia

West Virginia’s week-long deer muzzleloader season is also set to open on Dec. 12 in the 51 counties open to the buck firearms season. Two deer may be taken during the season and hunters who purchase a Class RM or RRM stamp or a Class DR license may take one additional deer. For more information about the deer muzzleloader season, hunters should consult page 30 in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

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To participate in these seasons, hunters are reminded to purchase their stamps to go along with an appropriate hunting license. Hunting licenses and stamps may be purchased at license agents around the state or online at .

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