DNR official shares safety tips, season expectations on first day of buck firearms season

WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – Monday marked the first day of buck firearms season in West Virginia.

West Virginia DNR Wildlife Resources Section Chief Paul Johansen says that this is the most popular time of year for area hunters and expects this year to surpass all others.

“There’s no question,” he said. “The two-week buck season, I call it the ‘Big Kahuna.’ It’s where most of our hunters are. It’s what they get excited about. It’s what they look forward to every year.”

As the state anticipates a record number of hunters flocking to the woods over the next two weeks, DNR officials say safety must be a priority.

Johansen says that not only should all hunters familiarize themselves with the DNR’s annual regulations but also hunters should wear their blaze orange vests and hats, so they can be spotted easily by other hunters.

For those who hunt in elevated tree stands, Johansen says it is also important for hunters to be harnessed in.

“So many of our hunting incidents we see any more are related to folks that fall out of their tree stand, and if they have that harness on, it would save them from some serious injury,” Johansen said. “Those seem to be two of the big things: wear the blaze orange, and if you’re up in an elevated stand make sure you’re wearing the appropriate harness for that tree stand and make sure you’re tied in appropriately.”

With an extra day of buck season on that last Sunday plus an antlerless deer season running concurrent, DNR officials are expecting a large turnout this year. And they say with more people getting out in nature during the pandemic in general, they expect the same trends with hunters.

“Hunting’s just a huge tradition here in West Virginia, and so I expect this year to be much of the same except probably participation we expect to be up somewhat this year,” he said.

The season will last until December 6.

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Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.