West Virginia's Small Game Hunting and Trapping


Mar 11, 2001
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West Virginia's Small Game Hunting and Trapping Seasons Open in October and November


Hunting for small game in West Virginia will begin October 11, 2008, with the opening of squirrel season. "Squirrel season is very popular with many West Virginia sportsmen. It is a time when hunters can participate in one of their favorite sports and also enjoy the fall beauty of theMountain State," said Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the Division of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Section.

Last year's hard mast production was down slightly from the previous year but was still good enough to reduce overwinter squirrel mortality and sustain adequate reproduction. A recent mast survey conducted by the Division of Natural Resources (DNR) indicates that statewide hickory and walnut production this summer was better than last year. These factors should provide good hunting opportunities for gray and fox squirrels this fall. Some pre-season scouting to locate areas containing favored foods of squirrels will ensure successful hunting. The daily bag limit for squirrels is six.

The ruffed grouse season opens on October 18 and closes on February 28, 2009. Brood counts for ruffed grouse were considerably lower this summer than in recent years. Grouse hunters should look for areas that provide ample cover and soft mast species such as grape, hawthorn, dogwood, and greenbrier. Mast survey results indicate that all of these species produced well this summer. The daily bag limit for grouse is four.

Hunting season for raccoons will open October 18, 2008, at 6 p.m. and continues through February 28, 2009. Favorable mast conditions in recent years have allowed raccoon populations to increase. Food is again plentiful this year. Hunters, and their hounds, should have a very successful season. Raccoon hunters are reminded that the daily bag limit is four.

Opening day of cottontail rabbit season is November 1, 2008. Rabbit populations should be similar to last year. Old fields and brushy pastures are the best habitat types in which to rabbit hunt. Snowshoe hare, bobwhite quail, bobcat, red fox, and gray fox hunting seasons also open November 1, 2008. Hunters should be aware of daily bag limits and season possession limits for each species.

November 1, 2008, marks the opening of trapping season for furbearing animals in West Virginia. Populations of beaver, bobcat, fox, mink, and raccoon are high, and trappers should be very successful. Trappers are reminded that season closing dates vary for the various species.

For more complete information on season dates and bag limits, consult the 2008-2009 Hunting and Trapping Regulations available at all hunting and fishing license agents, DNR District Offices and the DNR Web site, http://www.wvdnr.gov.

Media Contact:
Curtis Taylor, Wildlife Resources Section Chief (304) 558-2771 wildlife@wvdnr.gov

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