Rules and Regulations for Coyote Hunting in West Virginia

Thinking about coyote hunting in West Virginia? Since the first record of a coyote in West Virginia in the 1970s, their numbers have grown. With no natural predators, coyotes have also come to call West Virginia “Almost Heaven.” If you follow the rules below and check for updates, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to bag a big healthy coyote.

Hunting coyotes in West Virginia
Stay safe and stay legal when hunting coyotes in West Virginia.

Coyote hunting in West Virginia is permitted all year. A license is required. You may use artificial light may be used Jan1-Aug 31. Electronic callers are allowed, and there are no bag limits.

Laws change, sometimes frequently. Check for updates before you head out.

Buy a West Virginia hunting license here.

Check out all the new West Virginia hunting seasons.

Related: Learn the rules for hunting fox in West Virginia.

Related: Learn the rules for hunting bobcat in West Virginia.

If you are a property owner with a predator problem, please visit Coyote Cowboys Predator Control for tips or services.

Coyote hunting in West Virginia.

Coyote hunting with any artificial color light is permitted from Jan.1 – August 31, 2021. Firearms are restricted to rifles and pistols of .22 centerfire caliber or smaller and shotguns with No. 2 or smaller shot.

Check current prices for thermal scopes on Amazon:

Fox hunting in West Virginia with artificial light.

 In addition, foxes are permitted to be hunted with artificial lights from January 1 – February 28, 2021.

Furbearing animals in West Virginia include mink, weasels, muskrat, beaver, opossum, skunk, otter, gray fox, red fox, bobcat, raccoon, fisher, and fisher coyote.

All these species may be trapped during their respective open seasons in West Virginia. 

Only opossum, skunk, gray fox, red fox, bobcat, raccoon and coyote may be hunted with firearms or archery equipment. 

Night hunting with appropriate lights is allowed except for hunting bobcats, which is limited to daytime hunting only.

Related: Want to learn how to hunt foxes? Check out this article here.

Specific laws for coyote hunting in West Virginia.

Coyotes may be hunted year-round.

Hunting coyotes at night using any color artificial light or night vision technology, including image intensification, thermal imaging, or active illumination, is legal from January 1 through August 31, 2021.

Coyote hunting at night with artificial lights is legal on private property in West Virginia from September 1 through December 31, 2021, with the condition that the hunter must notify the local Natural Resources Police Officer or District Office and provide the hunter’s name, landowner’s name, and hunting location during working hours for approval.

Firearms legal for night coyote hunting are shotguns with No. 2 or smaller shot and rifles and handguns of .22 caliber centerfire or smaller and .22 caliber rimfire or smaller.
During closed small game seasons, coyotes may only be hunted in open fields. Guns must be cased while being transported to and from the open field.

Electronic callers. Legal for fox hunting. Electronic calls may be used to hunt bobcats, coyotes, crows, foxes and raccoons, but not other species. With the exception of crows, written permission of the landowner is required to hunt with electronic calls on private lands. Electronic calls may also be used on public lands (except where specifically prohibited) during periods when the use of firearms is allowed.

While electronic callers are expensive, mouth and hand callers are cheaper but harder to use.

Read this article and watch the video to learn how to use a closed reed rabbit squealer.

You can check the price for an electronic caller on Amazon.

Related: You can read about some highly effective but inexpensive ($20) decoys here.

There is no daily or annual bag limit.

Related: What time of the day is the best time to call coyotes?

Can you hunt coyotes in West Virginia on Sunday?

Sunday hunting is legal statewide on private land with written permission from the landowner, and it is lawful to hunt throughout the State of West Virginia on federal land where hunting is permitted, in a state forest, on land owned or leased by the state for wildlife purposes, and on land managed by the state for wildlife purposes pursuant to a cooperative agreement

West Virginia coyote hunting on Wild Life Areas and State Forests.

Rules and regulations governing hunting and trapping on state-owned and leased lands are the same as on adjacent private lands except as follows: 

  1. A trapping permit, available from District Wildlife Biologist, is required in all areas.
  1. It is illegal to bait or feed any wildlife on public land at any time.
  2. Beech Fork Lake, Bluestone Lake, Bright McCausland Homestead, Burnsville Lake, Green Bottom, Fox Forest, Hillcrest, Little Kanawha River, and McClintic WAs and Calvin Price and Coopers Rock State Forests – Hunting only in accordance with special rules established for the area.
  3. WAs and state forests with camping areas require a permit and fee (see regulations posted at each area).
  4. Camping is lawful ONLY in designated areas.

6. Use of ATVs and snowmobiles is prohibited. 

Related: How can you find the perfect coyote stand? Check out how to find one here.

Illegal activities while hunting coyotes in West Virginia.


Hunt in state parks (except as otherwise designated), in safety zones in state forests or wildlife management areas, and in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

Shoot, hunt or trap upon the fenced, enclosed, purple paint marked or posted lands of another person without having written permission from the landowner in possession.

Have a bow with a nocked arrow, or a crossbow with a nocked 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/UT Vs) or its attachments. You can have a loaded clip or magazine in the vehicle as long as it is not in or attached to the firearm. 

Exception for legally carried concealed weapons.

Carry an uncased or loaded firearm in the woods of this state or in state parks, state forests, state wildlife management areas, or state rail trails, except during open firearms hunting seasons where hunting is lawful. 

It is legal to hunt unprotected species of wild animals, wild birds, and migratory game birds during

the open season in fields, waters and marshes of the state where hunting is lawful.

Hunt with a fully automatic firearm.

Hunt small game in counties having a buck firearms season during the first three days of this season. 

It is legal to hunt waterfowl during this period on lakes, rivers, and waterways

during the open waterfowl season, to hunt bear in specified counties, and to hunt coyotes.

Hunt deer, bear or boar between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise or with an electronic call.

Be afield with a gun and bow, or with a gun and any arrow, except that a handgun, rifle or shotgun may be carried, by whom is not prohibited from possessing firearms under state or federal law, for self-defense purposes only. The exception does not apply to an uncased rifle or shotgun carried specifically in state park or state forest recreational facilities and marked trails within state park orstate forest borders.

Carry 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 between 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise provided, time periods can be extended for one hour before sunrise or one hour after sunset if transporting uncased and unloaded firearms or crossbow to or from a hunting site, campsite, home or other abode. 

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.

Hunt while under the influence of alcohol, controlled substance or any other drug.

For anyone under the age of 15 to hunt on public land or the lands of another unless accompanied by a licensed adult, at least 18 years of age, who remains near enough to render advice and assistance.

Hunt or fish with a modified bow without a special permit issued by the Director.

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.

Shoot at any wild bird or animal unless it is plainly visible.

Shoot at a deer or boar while it is in water.

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.

Use or attempt to use any artificial light or any night vision technology, including image intensification, thermal imaging or active illumination while hunting, locating, attracting, taking, killing or trapping wild birds or wild animals. 

However, artificial lights or night vision technology, including image intensification, thermal imaging, or active illumination, may be used for taking coyote, fox, raccoon, skunk and opossum.

Coyotes and fox may be hunted using any color artificial light in open season.

Smoke wildlife from its den or place of refuge except as provided by law or regulation.

Catch, kill, or attempt to do so by seine, net, bait, trap, deadfall, snare, or like device, any bear, game bird, protected bird or mammal, or wild boar.

Bait or feed bear at any time.

Hunt, harass, or shoot at wild animals or wild birds from an airborne conveyance, a drone or other unmanned aircraft (including the use of a drone or unmanned aircraft to drive or herd any wild bird or wild animal for the purpose of hunting, trapping , wounding, harassing, transporting, or killing), from a vehicle or other land conveyance, from a motor-driven water conveyance, or from or across a public road, unless specifically authorized to do so by law or regulation. 

You may shoot from a motorized watercraft if the motor has been completely shut off and progress from the motor has ceased.

Use poisons, chemicals or explosives in taking any furbearing animal, game animal, game bird or protected song and insectivorous bird, provided that groundhogs may be controlled on private land by landowners, their resident children or resident parents, or a resident tenant from April 1-September 30.

Use shot larger than No. 4 or solid ball ammunition, except for .22 caliber or smaller centerfire during the buck firearms season in the four counties closed to the buck firearms season.

Hunt between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise with any firearm larger than .22 caliber centerfire, a shotgun using solid ball ammunition or shot shells larger than No. 2 shot.

dispose of animal carcasses by dumping them along any public road or highway or on public or private property.

Pistol regulations when coyote hunting in West Virginia.

Handgun Laws and Regulations.

A person who is not prohibited from possessing firearms by state or federal law may carry a firearm for self-defense.

Only persons 21 years old or older are eligible for a Class Al stamp.

Only revolvers or pistols having a barrel at least 4 inches in length

are legal for hunting.

While hunting, the licensee shall carry the revolver or pistol outside his/her outer clothing, in an unconcealed and easily visible place.

A revolver or pistol may be used only during established hunting seasons. Only single-shot muzzleloading pistols of .38 caliber or larger are legal for hunting deer during the muzzleloader season

It is legal to hunt groundhogs in open fields with a revolver or pistol.


Take migratory game birds with a pistol.

Hunt between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise with a revolver or pistol larger than .22 caliber centerfire.

Hunt bear, deer, or wild boar with a revolver or pistol using a straight-walled case of less than .357 magnum cartridge or a bottle-necked case of less than .24 caliber.

Hunt bear, deer or wild boar with a muzzleloading pistol of less

than .38 caliber.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for

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