SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia’s 2013–2014 waterfowl seasons will begin statewide on September 2, 2013, with the opening of the early Canada goose season, according to Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the Division of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Section. The early season will end on September 14. The season will also be open Oct. 1 – 26, Nov. 11 – 16, and Dec. 16 – Jan. 31.
Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. All other general waterfowl hunting regulations apply to the September season. Hunters must possess a federal waterfowl stamp and a free Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration card in addition to their regular hunting license. HIP cards are free and available from DNR offices and all hunting license agents.
“Canada geese are found throughout West Virginia, but the largest concentrations are in the major river valleys where agriculture and suburban landscapes provide an abundance of open land,” Taylor said. “A recently-harvested crop field near water would be an ideal and obvious place to hunt. However, hunters should not overlook those out-of-the-way spots such as an isolated pasture or strip bench with a small pond.”
Hunters should also seek out hunting opportunities near towns, golf courses and similar areas that may wish to have local goose populations reduced. Regular scouting, not only before the season but also during the season, is important because geese are very mobile and will move to isolated areas to avoid hunting pressure.
Because most goose hunting is found on private lands, it is important for hunters to maintain a good relationship with landowners. Some wildlife management areas also offer goose hunting, and hunters should contact the appropriate DNR District Office with questions about specific areas.
Waterfowl hunters are reminded of two important toll free numbers. Federal waterfowl stamps may be purchased with a credit card by calling 1-800-782-6724. Also, hunters who harvest a banded bird may call 1-800-327-2263 to report the bird and find out when and where it was banded. Banded birds may also be reported online at www.reportband.gov
West Virginia’s 2013-2014 Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations brochure will be available at license agents, game check stations and DNR offices in late August, and are available online now at www.wvdnr.gov
Curtis Taylor, Wildlife Resources Section Chief