West Virginia’s 2009-10 waterfowl seasons will begin statewide on Sept. 1 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 Sept. 19.

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 registration is free and available from DNR offices and all hunting license outlets.

“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 place to hunt, but hunters should not overlook those out-of-the-way spots such as an isolated pasture or strip bench with a small pond.”

Regular scouting is important because geese are very mobile and will move to such isolated areas to avoid hunting pressure.

Most goose hunting is found on private lands, so it is important for hunters to maintain good relationships with landowners. Hunting is also available on some wildlife management areas, and hunters should contact the appropriate district office with questions about specific areas.

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.

Also, mourning dove season opens Sept. 1, marking the much-anticipated beginning of the fall hunting seasons for many West Virginians, according to Taylor. The 2009 season will again be split into three segments: Sept. 1 through Oct. 10; Oct. 26 through Nov. 11; and Dec. 21 through Jan. 2. Shooting hours are from noon to sunset on Sept. 1 and one-half hour before sunrise until sunset for all other days. The daily bag limit is 15 with a possession limit of 30.

“Mourning dove seasons are set to maximize hunting opportunity in relation to other hunting seasons,” Taylor said. “The bulk of the season falls in September when few other hunting seasons are open, and the second and third segments target late crop harvests and the Christmas/New Year holiday period, respectively.

“Doves are found throughout the state, but the greatest concentrations will be associated with farming areas. A recently-harvested grain field with water nearby is almost sure to be a hotspot for dove hunting.”

Hunters should be contacting landowners now for permission to hunt on private land. Scouting areas immediately prior to when you plan to hunt is very important.

Federal regulations require all licensed dove hunters (including lifetime and senior citizens) to register with HIP and carry proof of registration while hunting. Hunters may not hunt migratory birds with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells unless the shotgun is “plugged” with a one-piece filler that cannot be removed without disassembling the gun.

Several hundred doves are banded with leg bands each year in West Virginia for monitoring and research purposes. If you harvest a banded bird, you can report it by calling 1-800-327-2263 or online at www.reportband.gov. Hunters may keep the band and will receive a certificate of appreciation that includes the banding information for the bird.

More information on mourning dove season can be found in the 2009-2010 West Virginia Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations which should be available from DNR offices, license agents and the DNR Web site (www.wvdnr.gov) in late August.

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The state’s 2009 hunting season dates and bag limits for mourning dove, woodcock, common snipe and sora and Virginia rails have been set. These seasons are set within guidelines established annually by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Seasons are as follows: Sept. 1–Oct. 10; Oct. 26–Nov. 11; and Dec. 21–Jan. 2.

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Applications for the 2009 doe season are now available at all West Virginia hunting and fishing license agents, DNR district offices, the Elkins Operations Center and South Charleston headquarters. These applications also may be downloaded at www.wvdnr.gov. The limited permit areas provide antlerless deer hunting opportunities in counties or portions thereof, and select wildlife management areas where wildlife biologists have determined that limited numbers of antlerless deer permits are necessary to meet deer harvest management objectives.

Six WMAs will have a limited number of Class N licenses for resident antlerless deer hunting from Nov. 25 through Dec. 12 and Dec. 29 through Dec. 31. In addition, portions of three counties also will have limited permits available for resident hunters. The antlerless deer season in these counties will run from Nov. 23 through Dec. 12 and Dec. 29 through Dec. 31. Applications must be received by the DNR before the close of business on Aug. 21.

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