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Photo: Deer hunting is a time-honored ritual in West Virginia

Deer hunting is a time-honored ritual in West Virginia.

Chances are, you, someone in your family or someone in your circle of friends is a deer hunter.

For many West Virginians, the tradition of deer hunting is part of their heritage and culture. It’s simply a way of life.

And there is no bigger hunting season in our state than the traditional buck season. From traditional buck camps scattered throughout our hills and hollers, to family coming home for Thanksgiving, to taking a few days to hunt at a friend’s farm — for the sportsmen and women of our state, deer hunting is a time-honored ritual.

To assist you with some of the facts, I turned to our WVDNR for some information on the season.

West Virginia’s traditional buck firearms season opened Monday, Nov. 22, and runs through Sunday, Dec. 5.

“Hunters should enjoy a great 2021 buck season this year,” said Paul Johansen, chief of WVDNR’s Wildlife Resources Section. “West Virginia’s deer seasons provide quality outdoor recreation for hunters and at the same time boosts the state’s economy by millions of dollars.”

Resident hunters wanting the opportunity to harvest an additional buck must purchase the Class RG stamp for $21 before the beginning of the season. The RG stamp must be accompanied by a Class A and CS, A-L, AB-L, X, XS, XJ, AH, AHJ or free license. Resident landowners have the privilege of harvesting an extra buck without purchasing the RG stamp if they are hunting on their own property.

Nonresident hunters who would like to bag an extra buck must purchase an RRG stamp for $43 before the beginning of the season. The RRG stamp must be accompanied by the Class E, AAH, AAHJ or XXJ license. Nonresident hunters who own land in West Virginia are not exempt from purchasing a license or the extra buck stamp, even if hunting on their own property.

Buck firearm hunters in eight counties and portions of two counties (see 2021-22 Hunting and Trapping Regulations) are required to take an antlerless deer before harvesting a second antlered deer within these counties or portions thereof. This requirement can be met by harvesting an antlerless deer with a firearm (Class N or Class NN permit required) or harvesting an antlerless deer with a bow or crossbow.

Most counties are open to concurrent antlerless deer hunting during the traditional buck gun season. Class N or Class NN permits to hunt during the antlerless deer season can be purchased at any time. Antlerless deer firearms season also opened Monday and will run through Dec. 5 on private land and selected public lands. Hunters should consult the 2021-22 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary available at license agents and at wvdnr.gov for specific antlerless deer regulations in each county and wildlife management area.

Small-game hunting, including bobcats, is prohibited during the first three days of buck firearms season in all counties having a buck firearms season. Archery and crossbow hunting for antlered and antlerless deer is legal during the buck firearms season subject to all archery and crossbow deer hunting regulations.

Hunters may harvest two deer on the same day, but only one can be an antlered buck. The first deer does not have to be legally checked before harvesting the second deer on the same day. However, all deer must be checked and the confirmation number recorded before hunting during any subsequent day. Hunters are reminded that game checking is important for good deer management.

Hunters are required to use their permanent DNR identification number to check in their game by phone at 844-WVCHECK (844-982-4325), by computer at wvhunt.com, or at a hunting and fishing license agent. For a list of license agents, visit wvdnr.gov. Hunters should make sure their game check account is up to date before going afield to make checking game faster and easier.

Good luck this season, and rejoice in Mother Nature’s wonderful bounties.

Chris Ellis is a veteran of the outdoors industry. His book “Hunting, Fishing and Family from The Hills of West Virginia” is available at www.wvbookco.com. Contact him at chris@elliscom.net.

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