CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) – The first segment of antlerless deer firearms season opened on Oct. 20 for the 51 counties in West Virginia that participate.

While the seasons give hunters more opportunity to take a deer, officials say it’s designed to control the deer population and promote healthier and more productive deer herds.

“The antlerless season, especially this earlier season in October, is extremely important because the main way we control deer population in West Virginia and throughout North America is by harvesting antlerless deer, which are the female deer, so you control those populations by harvesting the appropriate number of females to keep that population in check with what the habitat will support,” said Chris Ryan WVDNR Supervisor of Game Management Services.

For every antlerless deer harvested in October, there will be more food for the remaining deer during the winter months.

A free license, or a class N or NN stamp, accompanied by a base license is required to take an antlerless deer, and only one may be taken with each stamp. Landowners hunting on their own property do not have to purchase a class N or NN stamp. For bag limits by county, hunters should consult the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

The first segment of the antlerless deer firearms season will close on Oct. 23. Hunters who don’t make it out in the next three days can participate in the next three segments.

“By having a lot of different segments, you tend to make the enthusiasm higher, so you have more opening days, which get people more excited that way. You also take out the influence for a bad weather situation, so you have essentially four opening days, that would help reduce or minimize, you know, really bad weather during one day. Of course, the weather is supposed to be gorgeous this week for deer hunting so I expect a lot of guys to get out… a lot of people to go out,” said Ryan.

Final three antlerless deer firearms season segments:

  • Nov. 21-Dec. 4
  • Dec. 8-11
  • Dec. 28-31