Mountaineer Heritage hunting season in W.Va. returns Jan. 12

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Mountaineer Heritage hunting season in W.Va. returns Jan. 12
A white-tail buck peers out from a thicket in a West Virginia woodland. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Dept. of Natural Resources)

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s four-day Mountaineer Heritage season for hunting deer, bear, and turkey is set to open on Jan. 12, 2023, according to state wildlife officials.

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Hunters may only use primitive-style weapons, including longbows and recurve bows, muzzleloading black powder rifles, and pistols with a flint-lock or percussion cap action.

The specialized season, which runs through Jan. 15, gives hunters an additional opportunity to target big game and is designed to reconnect West Virginians to hunting and outdoor traditions.

Brett McMillion, director of the W.Va. Department of Natural Resources, said mid-winter is an ideal time to hunt, as has been a tradition in West Virginia.

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“The Mountaineer Heritage season is a perfect time for hunters to challenge their skills in the field, explore our state's rich hunting traditions and experience the beauty of the West Virginia wilderness in winter,” McMillion said.

“With fewer chances to hunt and colder temperatures, folks might not think now is a good time to go hunting, but there's nothing quite like being in the woods on a snowy morning and targeting a deer, bear, or turkey like our ancestors would have done many years ago.”

The season is open in all West Virginia counties. However, only long and recurve bows are legal in Logan, McDowell, Mingo, and Wyoming counties. Modern muzzleloaders with a scope are not permitted anywhere for this season.

Hunters may harvest one deer, one bear, and one turkey during the season. A hunter may take no more than three antlered deer during the regular deer seasons and the following Mountaineer Heritage Season combined.

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Only one antlered deer may be taken during the archery and Mountaineer Heritage seasons combined in Logan, McDowell, Mingo, and Wyoming counties. A bear or turkey harvested during this season does not count toward a hunter’s annual bear season bag limit or spring or fall turkey season bag limits.

All hunters 15 and older are required to have a valid 2023 West Virginia hunting license to hunt in the Mountain State. During the Mountaineer Heritage Season, all hunting regulations still apply, including the requirement to wear at least 400-square inches of blaze orange.

Hunters who are hunting in West Virginia’s four bow-hunting-only counties (Logan, McDowell, Mingo, and Wyoming) do not have to wear blaze orange.

For more information about the Mountaineer Heritage Season and other hunting opportunities in West Virginia, hunters should consult the 2022-2023 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, available to download at .

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Hunters who need to register their DNR ID number, buy a license, or electronically check game, should visit .

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