Coyote Hunting in West Virginia [Rules & Regulations 2023-2024]

If you want to learn about the regulations regarding coyote hunting in West Virginia, you’ve come to the right place. WV offers some of the most liberal seasons and bag limits in the nation when it comes to hunting coyotes. Many hunters consider West Virginia a coyote hunting paradise thanks to millions of acres of public hunting land. This article goes into an in-depth analysis of laws and regulations regarding coyote hunting in the Mountain State of WV. Along the way, I will also try to answer a few FAQs related to coyote hunting in West Virginia.

Coyote Hunting in West Virginia

The Division of Natural Resources regulates all the coyote hunting activities in the state of West Virginia. Alongside, the department is also responsible for providing and administering a long-range comprehensive program for the exploration, conservation, development, protection, enjoyment, and use of the natural resources of the State of West Virginia. The state of West Virginia has designated coyotes as Nuisance Predators. This means there are neither closed seasons nor bag limits for hunting coyotes in West Virginia.

Related: Coyote Hunting in Oklahoma: Rules and Regulations 2022

Do you need a license to hunt coyotes in West Virginia?

Both Residents and Non-residents need a hunting license for hunting coyotes in public lands of West Virgina. This means resident landowners or tenants may hunt or trap coyotes on their own land without a license.

Residents 65 years or older, who have attained that age prior to January-1-2012, don’t need a license to hunt coyotes. However, they must carry a WV driver’s license or WV photo ID card issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles.

Residents who have not reached their 15th birthday may hunt coyotes without a license. However, they must be accompanied by a licensed adult who remains near enough to render advice and assistance.

You can buy all the hunting licenses and necessary permits online through WVHunt.

Coyote Hunting seasons in West Virginia

There is no closed season for hunting coyotes in West Virginia. You may hunt coyotes year-round but during closed small game seasons, hunting coyotes is only legal on open fields. You must case the guns while transporting them to and from the open field.

The Coyote trapping season, however, starts from November 6 and ends on February 28.

Can you hunt coyotes at night in West Virginia?

You may hunt coyotes at night in West Virginia on private properties from September 1 through December 30, 2021. However, you need to notify the local Natural Resources Police Officer or District Office and provide your name, landowner’s name, and hunting location during working hours for approval.

While hunting coyotes at night in West Virginia, you may use any color artificial lights or night vision technology, including image intensification, thermal imaging, or active illumination.

The firearms that are legal for hunting coyotes at night in West Virginia are shotguns with #2 or smaller shots and rifles and handguns of .22 caliber centerfire or smaller and .22 caliber rimfire or smaller.

Bag limits for coyote hunting in West Virginia

Since coyotes are classified as Nuisance Predators, there are no daily, annual, or season bag limits on hunting coyotes in West Virginia. Additionally, there are also no bag limits for trapping coyotes in West Virginia. But keep in mind, there is a season for trapping coyotes. The season for trapping coyotes starts from November 6 and runs through February 28. You can hunt coyotes in West Virginia all year round without having to worry about the season or bag limits.

Where to hunt Coyotes in West Virginia?

West Virginia offers excellent habitat for coyotes across its rugged wilderness areas and rolling hills. This allows for plentiful hunting opportunities across both public and private lands. Some of the top public land options for coyote hunting include national forests, wildlife management areas, and state parks.

The Monongahela National Forest is one of the most popular areas, spanning nearly 1 million acres across the eastern side of the state. It offers a mix of dense forests, open fields, and brushy clearcuts that coyotes thrive in while allowing hunters to spot them. Another top destination is theRawData Elk River Wildlife Management Area spanning over 25,000 acres. Other notable WMAs to target include Amherst-Plymouth, Burnsville Lake, and Chief Cornstalk.

In the southern coal regions, Coopers Rock State Forest and Calvin Price State Forest offer 16,000 acres and 8,000 acres respectively for hunting coyotes. Bluestone Wildlife Management Area and Bluestone State Park also see high coyote populations. Across all these areas, looking for scratch piles, scat, and paw prints can help pinpoint the active spots coyotes are using.

The use of electronic calls is legal while hunting coyotes in West Virginia. You can also hunt coyotes with a revolver or a pistol larger than .22 caliber centerfire, a shotgun using solid ball ammunition, or shotshells larger than #2 shot but only between one-half hour after sunrise and one-half hour before sunset. Hunting coyotes with a fully automatic firearm is not legal in West Virginia. Moreover, hunting coyotes using bait is only legal in private lands and strictly prohibited in public land at any time.

You may not hunt coyotes under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, or any other drug. The use of poisons, chemicals, or explosives in taking any coyotes is not legal in WV. Furthermore, hunting coyotes with a modified bow without a special permit issued by the Director is strictly not legal.

You may not shoot coyotes unless it is plainly visible. Additionally, you may not hunt or conduct hunts for a fee when the person is not physically present in the same location as the wildlife being hunted within West Virginia.

It is also unlawful to shoot a firearm within 500 feet of a school, church, or dwelling, or on or near a park; provided, a resident or guest of a dwelling may shoot a firearm within 500 feet of the dwelling where the person lives if all residents of the dwelling consent and no other dwellings are within 500 feet.

Can you use dogs to hunt coyotes in West Virginia?

Residents may train dogs and hold field trials on coyotes on public lands or on private land with the landowner’s written permission at any time. On the other hand, non-residents may train dogs during any open small game hunting season. Hunters participating in dog training must have a hunting license in West Virginia.

Can you hunt coyotes from a vehicle in West Virginia?

You may not hunt coyotes from a vehicle or other land conveyance in West Virginia. Furthermore, hunting coyotes from an airborne conveyance, a drone, or other unmanned aircraft is also illegal in West Virginia. Hunting a coyote in West Virginia from a motor-driven water conveyance, or from or across a public road is illegal unless specifically authorized to do so by law or regulation. Bear in mind, you may shoot a coyote from a motorized watercraft if the motor has been completely shut off and progress from the motor has ceased.

You may not get out of a motor vehicle along a public road and shoot a bow, crossbow, or firearm unless you are at least 25-yards from the vehicle. Furthermore, you must not have a bow with a nocked arrow or a crossbow with a knocked bolt, or a rifle or shotgun with cartridges that have not been removed or a magazine that has not been detached, in or on any vehicle or conveyance (including ATVs/UTVs) or its attachments. You can have a loaded clip or magazine in the vehicle as long as it’s not attached to the firearm.

And lastly, carrying any firearm, bow, or crossbow in or on any vehicle or conveyance, or its attachments, that is not in a case or taken apart and securely wrapped is illegal between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise. There is a provision for extension of time periods for one hour before sunrise or one hour after sunset. But this extension can only be given if transporting uncased and unloaded firearms or crossbows to or from a hunting site, campsite, or home.

Are there any bounty programs for hunting coyotes in West Virginia?

There aren’t any bounty programs for coyote hunting in West Virginia as of now. If any news pops up, I will update this section accordingly.

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