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West Virginia provides great youth hunting opportunities

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.VA. — Many hunters in West Virginia got their start when they were kids and the state Division of Natural Resources is encouraging adult hunters to continue introducing their children and families to the sport this fall.

“The whole idea behind youth hunting seasons is to provide an opportunity for hunters to take a kid out before a regular season starts when everyone else is pursuing game,” said Todd Dowdy, a WVDNR wildlife biologist.

Special youth hunting opportunities include a two-day spring turkey season in April, a two-day squirrel season in September, a two-day bear and deer season in October and two-day deer seasons in December.

“Speaking as a father of two children that I’ve introduced to hunting, the experience of hunting with them is more rewarding than harvesting an animal on my own,” Dowdy said. “If you want to spend quality time with your kids or a family member, you won’t find a better opportunity than you will hunting.”

Youth hunters, according to West Virginia’s Hunting Regulations, are those who are at least 8 years old and less than 18. Youth hunters ages 15-17 must comply with all licensing requirements, but Class N or NN stamps are not required. Youth hunters ages 8-14 do not need a license, but must be accompanied by a licensed adult.

For hunters who want to introduce their kids or relatives to hunting this fall, Dowdy says taking time to teach them the basics is key.

“If you have a new hunter, you need to take them to a shooting range and help them get familiar with the firearm they’ll be using before you go out to participate in a hunting season,” he said.

To learn more about West Virginia’s hunting seasons, rules and regulations for youth hunters, visit wvdnr.gov.