With West Virginia archery season already in full swing and firearm season approaching, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is reminding hunters of safety regulations and the importance of planning.

“You can greatly improve your odds of having a successful hunt by scouting the area you want to hunt and checking your hunting equipment in advance,” said Vinnie Johnson, assistant district wildlife biologist for the WVDNR’s District 3 office at French Creek.

Before heading to the woods, hunters should do the following to ensure safe equipment use:

  • Shoot their weapon with the same arrows or ammunition they plan to use while hunting.
  • Check gun sights to make sure they weren’t bumped or shifted while in storage.
  • Check bow strings for fraying and bow arms for cracks.
  • Make sure broadheads are sharp for a quick, ethical kill.
  • Check all tree stand straps and the safety harness for wear and replace anything that shows signs of fraying.

Johnson said understanding the topography and habitat of the areas you are hunting can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful hunt. Hunters should also identify where there are acorns, hickory, beech and other hard mast-producing trees because these food sources are highly sought after by game species, such as deer, bear and squirrel during the autumn season.

“As a sportsman, you want to make sure you are safe and that you have the equipment to make a good, clean kill if you get the opportunity,” Johnson said.
All hunters should also know the West Virginia hunting regulations such as where hunting is permitted. Hunting in state parks, safety zones in national forests, wildlife management areas or on posted land is against hunting regulations. Hunters can download a copy of the regulations here or get a free copy at local WVDNR district offices and license vendors around the state. Local WVDNR district offices are available Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m if hunters have any questions.

You can contact the Elkins WVDNR office in Randolph County at 304-637-0245, the Farmington office in Marion County at 304-825-6787 or the French Creek office in Upshur County at 304-924-6211.

Archery season for deer began Sept. 25, and firearm season begins on Nov. 22. Click here for the full timeline of hunting and trapping seasons.