White-tailed buck feeds in thicket

2023 NCTC Deer Hunt

We are accepting applications to hunt deer on the NCTC property. This fall season will mark the twenty-first year for this managed hunt.  In order to control the deer population on campus the use of archery (including crossbows), shotguns with single slugs, and muzzleloader rifles will again be allowed during the appropriate seasons.

Thisonline orientation must be taken first and then the application must be completed. Applications are due by August 31, 2023.  Hunters are randomly selected from those who apply for a given date and are assigned a certain location from which to hunt.  Hunters may apply for multiple dates, with hunting taking place on November 11, 18, and 25, and December 2, 9, 16, and 30.

COVID precautions such as social distancing or wearing masks while indoors or in groups will be in place as required in CDC guidelines for Jefferson County and Federal Workplace Safety requirements. Hunts may be canceled if necessary.

The use of non-lead (non-toxic) ammunition is required.  This prevents lead poisoning of birds and animals that might ingest lead particles from deer entrails or carcasses.

Apply for Registration: 

  1. Hunter must first complete the online Deer Hunt Orientation Training.
  2. Complete the Deer Hunt Application form. Only one application may be submitted by each person (duplicates disqualified).

Shooting times are specified in the Deer Hunt Application form.

Applications must be received by Thursday, August 31, 2023. 

If selected, hunters must provide proof at check-in of a WV hunting license (out-of-state applicants with WV license permitted) and a certificate for a hunter safety course.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to providing access to this activity for all participants. Please direct all requests for sign language interpreting services, close captioning, or other accommodation needs to email nctc_deerhunt@fws.gov, or TTY 800-877-8339 by close of business August 31, 2023.

Deer Hunting Requirements | Archery Requirements | COVID-19 Required Precautions | Non-Toxic Ammunition for Deer Hunting | Hunt Date and Times | Contact Information

Deer Hunting Requirements

  1. Measures required by the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) to curb the spread of COVID-19, such as physical distancing and wearing a mask, must be followed.  See the document “COVID-19 Required Precautions” for details, found on the NCTC Covid-19 webpage.
  2. Hunters must comply with all Federal and State hunting laws and regulations. For purposes of WV hunting regulations, NCTC is considered “private land”.  WV hunting regulations can be obtained from local license agents, or online at the WV DNR Hunting website.
  3. All persons hunting on NCTC will be required to obtain the necessary WV State hunting licenses, stamps, permits, and hunter's safety education card, including out-of-state hunters, and present them at check-in.  For information on licenses go to the WV DMR website.
  4. All hunters, and those adults accompanying youth hunters, are required to have completed an approved hunter education course, even if born before 1975.  Out-of-state hunter safety education cards are usually acceptable to WV.  For information about WV DNR sponsored classes in our area, call 1-800-243-9968 or view online at the WV DNR Upcoming Events webpage.
  5. Children must be at least 10 years of age to hunt at NCTC.  Youth hunters 10 to 14 years of age are not required to have a license but must possess a hunter’s education certification and be accompanied by a responsible adult with a WV hunting license and hunters’ education certification card.  Youth hunters 15 to 17 years of age must possess the required WV hunting license and hunters’ safety card but may hunt alone.
  6. Archery hunters will be assigned to a designated zone and within that zone may hunt from a pre-existing stand or blind (if one is present), a stand or blind erected by the hunter, or from the ground near the stand.  See the Archery Hunting Requirements information sheet.
  7. Firearms (shotgun and muzzleloader) hunters will be assigned a location with a two-person ladder stand and must limit shooting to within the zone marked by painted stakes.  No firearms hunter will be allowed to use a personal stand but may choose to hunt from the ground within 10 feet of the NCTC stand.
  8. All persons using any elevated stands are required to use a commercially made safety harness, preferably one certified by the Treestand Manufacturers Association. No homemade harnesses are allowed. 
  9. Only modern shotguns of 20 gauge or larger, loaded with non-toxic slug or sabot rounds, are permitted during shotgun hunts. A muzzleloader rifle cannot be used during shotgun hunt dates.  No handguns are allowed, even if carried for non-hunting purposes with a WV permit. 
  10. Non-toxic ammunition free of lead must be used in all firearms, including muzzleloaders.  Non-toxic ammunition is also known as lead-free or non-lead. See the “Non-Toxic Ammunition Required” information sheet.
  11. A hunter at NCTC must take an antlerless deer first (doe, or male deer with no antler longer than 3-inches), and then may take an antlered deer if on a date when antlered hunting is allowed by WV.  An antlerless deer taken during that season, or a previous season, at NCTC qualifies a hunter to take an antlered buck.  However, once an antlered deer is taken, another antlerless deer must be taken before another antlered buck. The last deer taken must have been antlerless in order to take a buck.
  12. No Special Hunt Program will be offered at NCTC in 2023.  
  13. All hunters are required to check in at the NCTC check station prior to hunting and check out when they are finished hunting, whether they have taken a deer or not.  All deer taken must be checked in electronically and tagged at the check station before they are removed from NCTC property.  Hunters who have obtained a WV DNR ID number (good for your lifetime) should have it with them as well as their login information.
  14. Hunters selected for a hunt who find they cannot attend should contact NCTC at the deer hunt email   nctc_deerhunt@fws.gov at least one month prior to that hunt date so that an alternate can be selected.  Hunters failing to show up for selected hunts may be subject to limitations or sanctions for future hunts.
  15. Hunters selected for a given hunt session must check in by the close of the check-in time for that session.  If not present by that time they are no longer guaranteed a stand and an alternate may be drawn to take their place.
  16. Hunters must park in designated parking spots for their stands, without blocking access trails, and travel to and from stands by the designated trails.
  17. Firearms must be unloaded and have the action open when traveling to and from the stand. Muzzleloaders are considered unloaded when uncapped or when the priming charge is removed from the pan.
  18. In order to prevent accidental intrusion into the shooting zone of other hunters, tracking beyond 100 yards from the hunting site must be done in the presence of an NCTC hunt-affiliated staff member.
  19. Hunters may not track wounded deer with a firearm or bow.  The firearm should be un-loaded, the chamber opened, and left at the stand or cased and put in the hunter’s vehicle.
  20. With the exception of hunting from the designated stand, a firearm is only to be loaded for dispatching a wounded deer if within 100 yards of the hunter’s stand or in the presence of an NCTC hunt staff member. 
  21.  Deer must be field dressed a sensible distance from the stand site or at the designated area near the NCTC Hunt Check Station, not on trails or areas visible from roads or trails.  Archery stands in the main campus area near buildings) must use the Hunt Check Station designated area for field dressing or remove the deer from NCTC property intact.
  22. Any accidents or injuries must be reported to the NCTC Check Station in person or by phone (304-876-7782) [or to Security (304-876-7911)] as soon as possible.

Archery Requirements

The basic rules described in the Hunter Orientation Course and on the “Deer Hunting Requirements” sheet apply to all hunters. Information specific to archery hunting is outlined below.

  1. All archery weapons legal for hunting deer in West Virginia are allowed, including crossbows.  
  2. Archery hunters will be assigned to a “Deer Stand”, which might be an existing NCTC elevated stand or ground blind.  The zone 150 feet [50 yards] around the stand or marked tree in every safe direction is the area allowable for the assigned archery hunter. 
  3. Archery hunters may use an existing NCTC stand if one is present at that site.  Hunters assigned to those locations may instead choose to use their own tree stand or ground blind, or hunt from the ground. Only free-standing, climbing, hang-on, or ladder-type stands will be permitted.
  4. Hunters may not wire, screw, bolt, or nail steps or stands to trees or other objects, or drive any objects into a tree, or cut any tree.  Minor pruning and brush cutting are allowed. 
  5. Archery hunters are allowed a full 360-degree zone of fire, if safe.
  6. Hunter-owned stands may be placed the day prior to the hunt (with prior approval of the Land Manager) or placed and removed at the beginning and end of each hunt session. 
  7. Archery hunting is not allowed from firearms stands during firearms hunt days.
  8. Hunters using elevated stands are required to use a commercially made safety harness, preferably one certified by the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA) website   No homemade safety harnesses are allowed.
  9. Archery hunters are required by WV regulations to wear 400 sq. inches of hunter blaze orange while hunting during days that are included in a deer firearms season.  This includes all hunt days in 2023 at NCTC except November 11th and November 18th, when orange may be omitted.

COVID-19 Required Precautions

The NCTC is following guidance in accordance with the DOI Workplace Safety Plan and CDC recommendations.  

Non-Toxic Ammunition for Deer Hunting

The use of non-toxic ammunition, also known as non-lead or lead-free ammunition (though some acceptable ammunition may contain trace amounts of lead), has increased primarily due to the toxicity of lead when ingested by wildlife. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requires the use of non-lead ammunition for waterfowl hunting throughout the U.S., and it encourages its use in all hunting. One problem that can occur in deer hunting is that lead bullet or slug fragments, even tiny particles, can be ingested by scavenging birds and animals (including bald eagles), which are then poisoned. For this reason, NCTC has required the use of non-toxic ammunition for all firearms hunting since 2013.

The following are some examples of nontoxic ammunition that could be used at NCTC as part of our managed deer hunt. Listing of a company or product does not constitute an endorsement, nor does it imply suitability to the exclusion of other products that may also be suitable. Hunters are encouraged to investigate to determine the non-toxic ammunition that will best suit their needs.

  • Shotgun Slugs – for smoothbore shotguns
    • Brenneke - TKO Non-toxic tin slugs in sabot – may also be used in rifled barrels.
    • DDupleks – Steelhead/Monolit - steel & polymer slug – may also be used in rifled barrels.
    • DDupleks – Broadhead/Dupo and Hexolit - expanding steel & polymer slugs - may also be used in rifled barrels.
    • Winchester - Super X Zinc Slugs.
  • Sabot Slugs – for shotguns with rifled barrels or rifled choke tubes – also see smoothbore slugs, above
    • Barnes – VOR-TX Expander.
    • Brenneke - SuperSabot Lead Free.
    • Federal - Premium Trophy Copper Sabot Slug.
    • Remington - Premier Copper Solid Sabot Slug.
    • Winchester - Copper Impact Extreme Copper Sabot Slug.
  • Muzzleloader Bullets
    • Round Balls:
      • TomBob ITX Muzzleloader Roundballs.
    • Full-Bore Conical Bullets:
      • Federal Premium Trophy Copper, with polymer base
      • Thor Bullets Full Bore Muzzleloader Copper Bullet
    • Sabot Bullets:
      • Barnes - Expander MZ, Spit-Fire TMZ, and Magnum MZ Bullets
      • EcoSlug ML expanding slug
      • TomBob ITX Sabot Bullets

Companies referenced above:

Deer Hunt Date and Time

                                                        *Scouting Day will be on October 7 from 9 AM to 12 NOON Eastern Daylight Time.

                                                                                            Report to the Check Station at Support Service

 Morning Hunts

DateCheck-InHunt StartsSunriseHunt EndsCheck-Out By
11/11/2023 Archery Only - (Buck or Antlerless)5:45-6:156:206:5011:30Noon
11/18/2023 Archery Only - (Buck or Antlerless)5:45-6:156:286:5811:30Noon
11/25/2023 Shotgun & Archery - (Buck or Antlerless)5:45-6:156:357:0511:30Noon
12/2/2023 Shotgun & Archery - (Buck or Antlerless)5:45-6:156:437:1311:30Noon
12/9/2023 Shotgun (Antlerless only) & Archery (Buck or Antlerless)5:45-6:156:497:1911:30Noon
12/16/2023 Muzzleloader & Archery (Buck or Antlerless)5:45-6:156:547:2411:30Noon
12/30/2023 Shotgun (Antlerless only) and Archery (Buck or Antlerless)5:45-6:157:017:3111:30Noon

Afternoon Hunts

DateCheck-InHunt StartsSunsetHunt EndsCheck-Out By
11/11/2023 Archery Only - (Buck or Antlerless)12:30-1:001:305:015:316:00
11/18/2023 Archery Only - (Buck or Antlerless)12:30-1:001:304:555:256:00
11/25/2023 Shotgun & Archery - (Buck or Antlerless)12:30-1:001:304:515:216:00
12/2/2023 Shotgun & Archery - (Buck or Antlerless)12:30-1:001:304:485:186:00
12/9/2023 Shotgun (Antlerless only) & Archery (Buck or Antlerless)12:30-1:001:304:475:176:00
12/16/2023 Muzzleloader & Archery (Buck or Antlerless)12:30-1:001:304:495:196:00
12/30/2023 Shotgun (Antlerless only) and Archery (Buck or Antlerless)12:30-1:001:304:565:266:00

Contact Information:

  • Email: nctc_deerhunt@fws.gov
  • Phone: 304-876-7782 – only answered on hunt days
  • Mailing Address: Land Manager, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 698 Conservation Way Shepherdstown, WV 25443
  • Report Accidents:  NCTC Check Station in person or to Security (304-876-7911) as soon as possible.  

The Laws, rules, and regulations below do not pertain to NCTC.  These refer to the FWS Refuges only.

Related Documents
2023 NCTC Deer Hunt Printable Webpage

Print for reference.