From Rifle to Bow: Whitetail Hunting in West Virginia
If you love hunting whitetails, you should definitely check out West Virginia. It’s one of the best places to hunt these amazing animals, and you’ll have a blast doing it. Whitetails are gorgeous and smart creatures, with a white tail that flashes when they run and a nose and ears that can detect the slightest sound or smell. You’ll need to be patient, strategic and respectful to hunt them successfully.
How Many Deer Can You Shoot?
West Virginia has a lot of deer hunters, and a lot of deer to hunt. Every year, more than 200,000 people come to the state to hunt whitetails, and they shoot almost 100,000 deer. That’s a lot of venison! The state keeps track of how many deer are shot with rifles and bows, and how many are shot by residents and non-residents.
In 2021, rifle hunters shot 0.22 deer per hunter on average, while bow hunters shot 0.12 deer per hunter on average. Residents shot 0.23 deer per hunter on average, while non-residents shot 0.16 deer per hunter on average. You can shoot up to three deer in some areas, depending on the season and the type of deer (bucks or does).
How Big Are the Deer?
The size of the deer in West Virginia depends on how old, healthy and horny they are. Usually, bucks are bigger than does, and older deer are bigger than younger deer. A typical adult buck weighs about 150 pounds, while a typical adult doe weighs about 100 pounds.
But sometimes you can find some really big deer in West Virginia. The biggest deer ever shot in the state weighed 314 pounds and had antlers that measured 173 inches. That’s a monster buck! It was shot by John Gibson in Pocahontas County in November 2019.
The highest scoring deer ever shot in the state had antlers that scored 191 2/8 inches. That’s a trophy buck! It was shot by Tony Winters in Hampshire County in November 2016. It had a weird antler shape with 16 points on one side and 11 points on the other side.
How Do You Hunt Them?
The most common way to hunt whitetails in West Virginia is with a rifle. You can use any centerfire rifle or handgun that shoots expanding bullets. You can hunt with a rifle during different seasons throughout the year, depending on where you are and what kind of deer you want to shoot (bucks or does).
Another popular way to hunt whitetails in West Virginia is with a bow or a crossbow. You can use any bow that pulls at least 35 pounds or any crossbow that pulls at least 125 pounds. You can hunt with a bow or a crossbow during different seasons throughout the year, depending on where you are and what kind of deer you want to shoot (bucks or does).
A less popular but still fun way to hunt whitetails in West Virginia is with a muzzleloader. That’s a gun that loads from the front end. You can use any muzzleloader that shoots a single bullet that is at least .38 inches wide. You can only hunt with a muzzleloader during one season in December for bucks or does.
What Are You Waiting For?
Whitetail hunting in West Virginia is awesome and fun. The state has lots of different places and ways to hunt these beautiful animals. You’ll have a great time hunting whitetails in West Virginia, whether you use a rifle, a bow or a muzzleloader. Just make sure you follow the rules and respect the wildlife and the environment.
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