SOUTH CHARLESTON — Hunters have harvested almost 900 black bears and more than 5,000 white-tailed deer during the early archery and crossbow seasons that began Sept. 26 and will end Nov. 21, according to Chris Ryan, supervisor of game management services for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR).
These numbers are available this early in the season thanks to DNR’s new electronic game checking system that went into effect this year. In the past, game tags had to be collected at the end of the hunting season and counted by hand, a lengthy and labor-intensive process. With electronic game checking that information is available almost instantly.
Beginning this year, hunters are required to get a permanent DNR identification number which allows them to check in their game from their phones, computers or at one of more than 170 official license agent/checking stations across the state.
“We are very pleased with how hunters are using the system,” Ryan said. “The one thing we continue to remind hunters is to get their DNR ID number before they go hunting. This includes youth below the age of 15 who don’t need a license. With the youth antlerless deer seasons coming up Oct. 17 and Dec. 26 and 28, all youth hunters must have their own DNR ID number before checking the animal.”
To check game electronically before using the phone option, hunters will have to know their unique DNR ID number, which is valid for their lifetime. That number will be printed on the top of the license for those who buy a license each year. Lifetime license holders should call a DNR district office or Elkins or South Charleston office between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to obtain their DNR ID number, which has already been assigned to them.
Landowners and those who don’t need a license (such as residents under the age of 15, resident hunters who turned 65 before Jan. 1, 2012, and former prisoners of war) can log on to the system and obtain their number. They also can call or visit a license agent or DNR district office to obtain their number.
“Although hunters no longer have to bring the animal in with them to be checked, what doesn’t change is that hunters and trappers still have to follow the time, field tagging and transportation restrictions as listed in the regulations,” according to Ryan.
Information about the electronic game checking system and about how to obtain an official DNR ID number can be found in the 2015-2016 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary available at and DNR office, license agent or by visiting www.wvhunt.com