Deer season for youth, senior, class Q/QQ hunters opens Dec. 26

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Deer season for youth, senior, class Q/QQ hunters opens Dec. 26
Deer hunting is a tradition in West Virginia passed down through generations. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Dept. of Commerce)

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The final segment of West Virginia’s special antlerless deer hunting season for youth and senior hunters and Class Q/QQ permit holders will open Monday, Dec. 26.

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During the two-day season, hunting is permitted on private and public lands in the 51 counties with a firearms deer hunting season, according to Brett McMillion, director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Deer hunting with a firearm is prohibited in Logan, McDowell, Mingo, and Wyoming counties.

“This special antlerless season provides an excellent opportunity to pass on hunting traditions to youth hunters,”  McMillion said.

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“This season also provides a tremendous opportunity for seniors and hunters with a Class Q/QQ permit to enjoy this unique hunting experience at a time when there are fewer people in the woods.”

Youth hunters ages eight to 17 may participate in this special season. Senior citizens 65 years old and older who have a resident Class XS lifetime hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses may also participate.


License Requirements and Hunting Regulations

Resident youth hunters 8-14 don’t need a hunting license, stamps, or hunter safety education card, but must be accompanied by an unarmed, licensed adult who may not hunt. Resident youth hunters 15-17 must comply with all licensing requirements, but don’t need a Class-N Stamp.

Nonresident youth hunters need a Class-XXJ/Class-AAHJ license and a CS/LW Stamp or a Class DT license. All accompanying non-resident adults must have a Class-E License with a CS/LE Stamp. Resident and non-resident hunting licenses and stamps can be purchased online at .

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All hunters participating this season, including adults accompanying a child, must wear at least 400-square inches of blaze orange.

The daily bag limit for this special season is one antlerless deer per day. A total of four antlerless deer may be harvested during this season. Deer harvested during this special season do not count toward a hunter’s annual deer season bag limit. Class N/NN stamps are not required for this special season.

Each deer must be field tagged and electronically registered within 24 hours of the close of each segment of the split season and before the pursuit of any additional deer. Deer can be checked online at WVhunt.com, at a licensed agent, or by calling 1-844-WVCHECK.

For more information about the season, hunters should check the 2022-2023 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, available at DNR district offices, DNR license agents, and online at .

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Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License Giveaway returns

Hunters and anglers who purchase an annual 2023 hunting, trapping or fishing license in the month of December will automatically be entered into a drawing for a lifetime license and other prizes. The giveaway is open to residents and non-residents.

One resident will win a lifetime hunting, trapping, and fishing license, and one non-resident will win a three-night lodge stay at Pipestem Resort State Park with two zipline tour tickets. Other prizes include state park gift cards, cabin stays, and gift bags. The WVDNR and the West Virginia Department of Tourism sponsor the prize draw. Winners will be announced in January 2023. For more information about the giveaway, rules, and prize descriptions, visit .


Big Buck Photo Contest

Hunters are also reminded that the deadline to submit a photo to the WVDNR’s Big Buck Photo Contest is Dec. 27 at 11:59 p.m. The contest is open to West Virginia residents and nonresidents and includes a youth division for hunters 17 and younger. Five youth participants will win a lifetime hunting and fishing license. The contest also includes an adult division for hunters 18 and older. Five adults will win a lifetime hunting license or state park cabin stay.

To enter the contest, hunters must submit a photo of a buck they harvested during the 2022 hunting season and a short account of their hunt. Submissions may be uploaded using the Big Buck Photo Contest entry form at WVdnr.gov/photocontest. Those entering must have a valid 2022 West Virginia Hunting License and enter the 13-digit DNR-issued game check number for their bucks.

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