West Virginia’s muzzleloader deer season to open Dec. 12

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s muzzleloader deer hunting season will be open Dec. 12–18 and hunters who want a chance to harvest an extra deer must purchase their RM or RRM stamp before the season starts.

“The muzzleloader season offers an opportunity to pursue deer with a firearm when fewer hunters are hitting the woods compared to the traditional buck firearms season,” said Holly Morris, a WVDNR assistant district wildlife biologist. “Also, there is an increased possibility of hunting in the snow during muzzleloader season, which offers a unique deer hunting experience.”

Resident hunters may harvest one deer on their base license. Nonresident hunters must purchase a Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Stamp (Class VV) in addition to their statewide hunting license.

During the muzzleloader season, antlered deer are legal in all counties that have a buck firearms season and deer of either sex are legal in all counties or parts thereof that have a Class N or NN antlerless season. Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties are closed to all firearms deer hunting, including the muzzleloader deer season.

There are 10 counties or parts thereof that require hunters to take an antlerless deer within the county during any regular deer season open to antlerless deer hunting before killing a second antlered deer within the county. No more than three antlered bucks can be harvested during the regular deer seasons and the 2023 Mountaineer Heritage Season combined. All hunters participating in the season are required to wear a minimum of 400 square inches of blaze orange.

A bow, crossbow or air rifle cannot be substituted for a muzzleloader during the muzzleloader deer season. Concurrent archery/crossbow hunting is legal during the muzzleloader season and is subject to all archery/crossbow season deer hunting regulations. Concurrent waterfowl hunting is also legal.

For more information about the muzzleloader deer season and other hunting opportunities in West Virginia, hunters should consult the 2022-23 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, available to download at WVdnr.gov/hunting-regulations. Hunters who need to register their DNR ID number, buy a license or electronically check game, should visit WVhunt.gov.

Big Buck Photo Contest
Hunters are also reminded that the deadline to submit a photo into the WVDNR’s Big Buck Photo Contest is is Dec. 27 at 11:59 p.m.

The contest is open to West Virginia residents and nonresidents and includes a youth division for hunters 17 and younger and an adult division for hunters 18 and older. Five youth participants will win a lifetime hunting and fishing license and five adults will win a lifetime hunting license or state park cabin stay.

To enter the contest, hunters must submit a photo with a buck they harvested during a 2022 hunting season along with a short account of their hunt. Submissions may be uploaded using the Big Buck Photo Contest entry form at WVdnr.gov/photocontest. Those entering must have a valid 2022 West Virginia Hunting License and will need to enter the 13-digit DNR-issued game check number for their bucks.

Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License Giveaway Returns
West Virginia’s lifetime license giveaway is back for a fourth year and hunters and anglers who purchase an annual 2023 hunting, trapping or fishing license in the month of December will automatically be entered into a drawing for a lifetime license and other prizes.

The giveaway is open to residents and non-residents. One resident will win a lifetime hunting, trapping and fishing license, and one non-resident will win a three-night lodge stay at Pipestem Resort State Park with two zipline tour tickets. Other prizes include state park gift cards, cabin stays and gift bags. The prize drawing is sponsored by the WVDNR and the West Virginia Department of Tourism. Winners will be announced in January 2023.

For more information about the giveaway, rules and prize descriptions, visit WVdnr.gov/licensegiveaway.