December deer, bear hunting seasons underway in West Virginia

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December deer, bear hunting seasons underway in West Virginia
A hunter wearing blaze orange roams a West Virginia forest. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Dept. of Commerce)

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — December hunting season for deer and bear in West Virginia is underway, according to officials at the W.Va. Division of Natural Resources.

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Hikers, bikers, hunters, and other explorers of the outdoors in West Virginia are reminded to wear blaze orange when wandering forests through the remainder of 2023.

Hunters are required by law to wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange when hunting in a West Virginia county with an open deer firearms season.

According to division director Brett McMillion, hunters will have several opportunities to hunt deer and bear in December, with segments of West Virginia’s antlerless deer and bear firearms seasons 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. 7-10 in the state’s 51 counties open to deer firearms season. The next segment of the bear firearms season will open on December 4 and run through the end of the year.

“December brings the thrilling opportunities of bear and deer hunting. Make the most of this time to connect with nature, challenge yourself, and create lasting memories in the heart of the great outdoors," McMillion said..

Hunters must also check big game at a licensing agent, by calling 1-844-WVcheck or online at .

For more information about these hunting seasons, open counties, and regulations, hunters should consult the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, available at .

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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 properties 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

All or a portion of 26 counties will be open for bear hunting with or without dogs, and all or parts of 35 counties will be available for bear hunting without dogs from December 4-31. Check pages 39 and 40 of the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary for a complete list of these counties and portions thereof.

All bear hunters are required to have a Class DS stamp. Hunters who harvest a bear must submit a premolar tooth from each bear. Hunters who harvest a female black bear are encouraged to save and submit the complete reproductive tract to the division for a $20 gift card. The state uses data from tooth samples and reproductive tracts to monitor the black bear population.

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For instructions on submitting a bear tooth, check page 37 in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, which is 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. 11 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.

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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