Many hunters in the Mountain State got their start when they were a kid and that’s why everyone here at the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources encourages adult hunters to continue introducing their children and families to the sport.
“The whole idea behind youth hunting seasons is to provide an opportunity for hunters to take their kids out before a regular season starts when everyone else is pursuing game,” said Todd Dowdy, a WVDNR wildlife biologist.
Special youth hunting opportunities include a two-day turkey season in April, a two-day squirrel season in September, a two-day bear and dear season in October and a two-day deer season in December.
“Speaking as a father of two children that I’ve introduced to hunting, the experience of hunting with them is more rewarding than harvesting an animal on my own,” Dowdy said. “If you want to spend quality time with your kids or a family member, you won’t find a better opportunity than you will hunting.”
Youth hunters, according to West Virginia’s Hunting Regulations, are those who are at least 8 years old and less than 18. Youth hunters 15-17 must comply with all licensing requirements, but Class N or NN stamps are not required. Youth hunters 8-14 do not need a license, but must be accompanied by a licensed adult.
For hunters who want to introduce their kids or relatives to hunting this fall, Dowdy says taking time to teach them the basics is key.
“If you are teaching a new hunter, you need to take them to a shooting range and help them get familiar with the firearm they’ll be using before you go out to participate in a hunting season,” he said.