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Like many new things in life, it simply takes some getting used to. And as far hunters go, sometimes new things take us longer to accept. There is a relevantly new hunt for 2021, the “Mountaineer Heritage” season. The season was introduced in 2019 after the DNR asked sportsmen and women about opening a primitive season and they answered yes in a landslide majority in favor of a new season.

The four-day hunt, the Mountaineer Heritage Season, will allow primitive-weapons enthusiasts to continue big-game hunting into 2021. The season will be open to hunters who use flintlock or caplock rifles, recurve bows, or longbows. The season runs Jan. 14-17.

I find the new season brilliant in a couple of ways. One, the fact that our WVDNR found a time in the calendar year to open an opportunity for hunters is commendable. Two, dedicating a season to a sport that requires old-school skill and dedication is a great way to celebrate our state’s history and hunting culture.

If you want to pick up your old musket rifle or dust off your stick bow, this season is custom-built for you. Here are some quick facts about the Mountaineer Heritage Season from to get you started in your planning.

You must have a 2021 hunting license to hunt during the Mountaineer Heritage Season in 2021. To purchase your license, go to a local license agent, area DNR office or

One deer of either sex and one black bear may be taken with a percussion side lock rifle or pistol, flintlock rifle or pistol, long bow or recurve bow during the Mountaineer Heritage Season.

The bag limit of one bear will not count toward the hunter’s annual bear season bag limit.

A hunter may take no more than three antlered deer during the regular deer seasons and the following Mountaineer Heritage Season combined. Only one antlered deer may be taken during the archery and Mountaineer Heritage Seasons combined in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties.

The Mountaineer Heritage Season is open statewide, but only long and recurve bows are legal in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties during this season.

Only single-shot side lock or flintlock muzzleloading rifles of .38 caliber or larger, single-shot side lock or flintlock muzzleloading pistols of .38 caliber or larger, long bows and recurve bows are legal during the Mountaineer Heritage season. Telescopic sights are not permitted. In-line muzzleloaders and a firearm that has been converted into a muzzleloader by use of a plug, or a double-barreled or swivel-barreled muzzleloader is illegal for hunting deer and bear during this season.

Persons hunting during the Mountaineer Heritage Season shall wear a blaze orange outer garment of at least 400 square inches, with the exception of Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties. This does not apply to waterfowl hunters and persons engaged in farming activities on their own land.

A total of 599 deer were taken with a primitive bow and muzzleloader weapons during Mountaineer Heritage Season in January 2020. No bears were harvested during last year’s Mountaineer Heritage Season.

As always, please refer to the West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary for more information on the season’s rules and regulations.

Chris Ellis is a veteran of the outdoors industry. His new book, “Hunting, Fishing and Family from The Hills of West Virginia,” is available at Contact him at

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