West Virginia Small Game Hunting and Trapping Opportunities for 2015-2016

Small Game Hunting
Hunting seasons for fox squirrel and other small game animals are about to open in West Virginia. (Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce)
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

South Charleston, WV -(AmmoLand.com)- Several small game seasons are about to open for West Virginia hunters and trappers.

The statewide squirrel hunting season opens Sept. 12, 2015 and runs through Jan. 31, 2016. The daily bag limit is six squirrels. This fall, hunters should experience good numbers of squirrels due to the excellent hard mast production in 2014 which resulted in an increase in squirrel productivity in 2015 as well as excellent winter survival.

Hunters should focus on areas with beech or hickory early in the season because they are favored food sources. For additional information on mast conditions, hunters should consult the DNR’s 2015 Annual Mast Survey which will be available around the first of October.

Ruffed grouse hunting season opens Oct. 17, 2015 and will run through Feb. 29, 2016. Grouse hunters should seek heavily harvested forested stands which exhibit dense woody growth, preferably with soft mast producing trees like dogwood, hawthorn and sassafras, as well as vines such as wild grape. The daily bag limit is four grouse.

Raccoon hunting season will begin Oct. 17, 2015 and run through Feb. 29, 2016. Hunters with hounds should experience success hunting near favored food sources. The daily bag limit is four raccoon per hunter or group of hunters.

Cottontail rabbit hunting season will run from Nov. 7, 2015, through Feb. 29, 2016, and the daily bag limit is five rabbits. Hunters should concentrate their efforts in agricultural areas where old field habitat dominates the landscape. Rabbit populations are expected to be good as a result of the better than average rainfall this summer and the associated increase in food and cover this year.

Hunting seasons for snowshoe hare, bobwhite quail, bobcat, red fox, and gray fox will open Nov. 7, 2015. Hunters should check the regulations for specific closing dates for each species and associated bag limits. Red and gray fox night hunting will begin Jan. 1, 2016 and will run through Feb. 29, 2016.

Trapping seasons for red fox, gray fox, raccoon, mink, muskrat, coyote, skunk, opossum and weasel will open Nov. 7, 2015 and close Feb. 29, 2016. Furbearer populations are expected to be good this fall. Trappers are reminded that if they are planning to trap on a wildlife management area or state forest, they will need to obtain an area trapping permit from the appropriate DNR district wildlife biologist.

Trapping season for bobcat, fisher, beaver and otter will open Nov. 7, 2015, and will have varying closing dates depending on the species. Keep in mind that you must electronically register these species within 30 days of the close of the season for each species.

For complete information on season dates and bag limits, consult the 2015–2016 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations available at all hunting and fishing license agents, DNR district offices and the DNR website www.wvdnr.gov.

About the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources:

It is the statutory mission of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) to provide and administer a long-range comprehensive program for the exploration, conservation, development, protection, enjoyment and use of the natural resources of the State of West Virginia.

For more information, please visit www.WVDNR.gov.

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