Down country roads, mountain ridges and river valleys you’ll find people bird hunting in West Virginia.
Home to the legendary Canaan Valley, mountains and marshes, West Virginia no doubt offers plenty of environments for many kinds of upland birds to thrive. Currently more than one million acres are open for public wildlife recreations — that means hunting across more than 8 percent of the state’s total land area in forests and streams. Many hunting preserves offer great opportunities for bird hunting in West Virginia, as well.
Residents pay $19 for the annual license, while nonresidents pay $119. If that seems like too much for you, a 6-day license costs $27.
The ruffed grouse population has declined in recent years. Some say the West Nile virus is to blame, but the ruffed grouse season is still open for bird hunting in West Virginia. Head for the mountains of Randolph, Greenbrier, and Pocahontas counties for potential ruffed grouse habitat.
The season runs from October 14 to February 28 with a daily bag limit of 4.
The areas in West Virginia with loose soil and swampy ground are perfect for American woodcock. These birds like shorelines and wet ground where they can probe for worms and insects. The best places to look for American woodcock are marshes. Check out McClintic Wildlife Management Area in Mason County, or Canaan Valley in Tucker County for areas likely to contain American woodcock.
The season dates are October 15 to November 19 and November 28 to December 6. There is a daily bag limit of 3.
(governed by federal migratory laws. HIP survey required)
There are a number of hunting preserves open for bird hunting in West Virginia. You should be able to find good ring-necked pheasant hunting at places like the Stoney Brook Plantation or the Greenbrier Hunting Preserve.
The season starts November 4 and ends January 6. There is a daily bag limit of 2. The season dates for the Hillcrest Wildlife Management Area are November 11 and December 2 with a daily bag limit of 1.
Other Species for Bird Hunting in West Virginia
There are plenty of other great species for bird hunting in West Virginia. The season dates for dove are September 1 to October 14, October 30 to November 18, and December 18 to January 12. There is a daily bag limit of 15. The season for Virginia and sora rails runs from September 1 to November 9. The daily bag limit is 25 for each. Common snipe have a season that runs from September 1 to December 16 with a daily bag limit of 8. For all migratory birds, an HIP survey is required. Finally, the bobwhite quail season runs from November 4 to January 6 with a daily bag limit of 3.
Related Conservation and Non-Profit Organizations for Bird Hunting in West Virginia
The Hunter Safety Course and Dog Training for Bird Hunting in West Virginia
Anyone born after 1974 must complete the appropriate hunter education courses. West Virginia requires you to possess a hunter education certificate before purchasing a hunting license. The course is free. But if you’d like to take the online course instead—and you are over 10 years old—you will need to pay a fee. Check out the online hunter course.
You may train your dog for bird hunting in West Virginia once you have obtained a permit. The permit allows you to train your dog on pigeons or commercially pen-raised quail on private land. This is if you are training during a closed season and if the birds are being killed. Residents may train dogs on wild birds on public lands or on private land with the landowner’s written permission at any time. Nonresidents may train dogs during any open small game hunting season.
The bird hunting season dates, game bird species available, and other information is subject to change. The article may not reflect this. Please visit the website for the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources for the most up to date information on bird hunting in West Virginia.
Project Upland is an editorial initiative to capture the cultures and traditions of upland bird hunting. We seek to inspire a future generation of upland bird hunters to understand the essence of hunting traditions and the critical cause for conservation.