Woodcock season on webless slate

August 08, 2004

The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources has released the season dates and bag limits for the migratory birds seasons sometimes referred to as webless (not a duck or goose) migratory birds seasons. Birds that are in the category include doves, woodcock, common snipe and rails.

The season dates for the migratory bird species are established within a framework provided to the states by the feds - the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The dates and limits that will be of great interest to many hunters is the woodcock season which is relatively short - Oct. 22-Nov. 20 - and the bag limit which will be three birds per day this season. This is very direct evidence that woodcock numbers are still relatively low by historical trending.

The following are the season dates for West Virginia for the 2004-2005 season:

Doves - This will once gain be a split season. The first segment is Sept. 1-Oct. 9; the second segment is the final segment will be Dec. 15-Jan. 1. The bag limit is 12 birds per day.


Dove hunters should note that the shooting hours for the first day (Sept. 1) are from noon until sunset. After the first day, the shooting hours for dove hunting and the other migratory birds are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.

Woodcock - Oct. 22-Nov. 20. Bag limit is three birds per day.

Common Snipe - Sept. 1-Dec. 11. Bag limit is 8 birds per day.

Sora and Virginia Rails - Sept. 1-Nov. 6. Bag limit is 25 birds per day.

When hunting migratory birds in West Virginia, you are required to the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program registration card. The HIP registration in available free at all license agents.

The West Virginia DNR is also requesting hunter assistance in a 25-state state program. This is the second year for the survey which is gathering data on dove harvest rates, estimated annual survival of doves, and the geographical distribution of dove harvest.

The key element of this survey is banded birds. The DNR reports that 85,000 doves will be banded by capturing the birds in traps baited with grain. The key is to get hunter feedback by reporting banded doves that are bagged.

Hunters are asked to report any banded doves by calling 800-327-BAND (800-327-2263). You can also reported banded birds online at Hunters that report banded birds taken will receive a certificate with the age, of the bird, and the date and location where it was banded.

Bill Anderson writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at

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