Hunting: the Unofficial State Pastime

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Hunting is West Virginia's unofficial state pastime, and with more than 80 percent of the state covered by forest, West Virginia boasts vast hunting opportunities, including millions of acres of public land found throughout the state.

Certainly no other activity, with a possible exception of breathing, is so universally enjoyed in the state. Nor has any other pastime been enjoyed for so long.

West Virginians have been hunting since the days ancient folks learned to fashion flint into spear points. From the stone-age times through the Great Depression most state residents relied on hunting as a major source of meat. While game still provides significant nutrition for modern residents, hunting has become a sport and a tradition enjoyed by hundreds of thousands. During the fall deer season, more than a quarter of the state's male population is afield as well as a significant number of female residents.

Each year, more than 350,000 hunters take to the forests and fields in search of game. Officials estimate the hunting industry creates more than 5,000 jobs and generate $270 million in economic benefit and much of that money is spent in rural areas.

At West Virginia Explorer, we strive to bring you the information you need to hunt West Virginia in an easy-to-use format where you can quickly access the information you need, such as schedules, regulations, details on the millions of acres available for public-access hunting and common mistakes honest hunters make that earn them citations from conservation officers.

However, we also strive to bring you the stories you will hear nowhere else – of days when deer and turkey joined a long list of animals that had been extirpated from our great state and the story of the decades of revolutionary vision and hard work required to bring those game populations back.

We also strive to give you an idea of what the future may hold, such as what is happening currently with game and how to adjust your hunting strategies next season to maximize your time field and when we may see an elk season in the Mountain State.