2023 WV Bow Season – Archery Hunting Checklist

2023 WV Bow Season

The 2023 – 2024 West Virginia Hunting Season dates have been announced and the 2023 WV bow season is approaching quickly. As announced by the WV DNR, the West Virginia bow season begins on September 30, 2023. Don’t go in unprepared.

In no particular order is our 2023 archery season checklist. Follow along for helpful tips to make sure you are ready to make this your best bow season yet.

2023 WV Bow Season

Summer Scouting For the 2023 WV Bow Season

While I like to do the bulk of my scouting at the end of winter when I am shed hunting, August is not too late to get started.

Unfortunately, you have some added difficulties to contend with. When you are scouting shortly before the start of WV bow season you will be battling the heat, thick vegetation of the warm summer months, and ticks. Don’t let these obstacles get in the way of finding your perfect hunting spot.

Choose early mornings for your preseason scouting adventures to beat the heat. You can cover a lot of ground before noon and get home before the day really heats up.

Pre-treat your clothes with Sawyers permethrin spray to keep ticks away and prevent Lyme Disease. It’s a very safe and effective way to keep yourself free from unwanted ticks.

WV Deer Hunting

Thoroughly Inspect Your Bow

Has your hunting bow been carefully stored in the case since the end of last years archery season? If so, now is a good time to get it out and give it a thorough look over.

During the three month West Virginia bow season, your hunting bow is subjected to wear and tear. I know that my bow routinely gets hung up in tree branches walking to my tree stand. Additionally, your bow could get set down on rocky terrain or even tip over when leaned up against a tree.

These minor offenses could have a major impact on your bow’s functionality. That’s why it is important to thoroughly inspect it at the start of every season, and now is the time.

2023 WV Archery Season
This bowstring is damaged and due for replacement. Plan ahead. Don’t find out days before the archery season opener.

Here’s what I like to look for when inspecting my hunting bow. After removing it from the case, I start by going over every inch of the string and cables of my compound bow. It’s not uncommon to see some slight fraying of the string.

You can solve this with a fresh coat of bowstring wax. However, what you are looking for are major nicks in the strands like pictured above. These cuts can occur many ways but probably the most common is accidental contact with a broadhead.

You may have bumped your bow string or cable with a broadhead while nocking an arrow in the dark last season and not even realized. This is an accident waiting to happen.

After following along the length of the strings and cables, I move on to all the bolts and make sure everything is tightened to spec. Once this visual once over is complete, it’s time to get on target.

Not sure how to do this on your own? Just stop by your local archery shop. The bow technicians there will be more than willing to inspect the bow for you and make recommendations on what might need adjusted before the 2023 WV bow season.

Bonus Tip

If your bowstring or cable is damaged, it’s a good idea to replace them together. Replacing them as a set will make tuning your bow easier and ensures maximum life before having to replace them again. The cost savings isn’t worth the potential headache of your hunting bow being out of spec.

Get On Target

This bowhunting tip is twofold. Make sure your bow sight is accurate, and ensure that you as an archer are accurate.

Much like your hunting bow’s string and cables, your bow sight is subject to abuse during the rigors of hunting season.

Hunting sights built much better today than ever before. They can withstand a lot of punishment before breaking. However, if your bow accidentally took a major hit during last years archery season your sight could be way off target.

Contact to your bow sight probably won’t break the sight, but it could change your windage and elevation settings. These miniscule changes aren’t detectable when inspecting your bow. Suddenly, every arrow you shoot is going way off target.

Re-sighting your bow is an easy fix, but one you want to make before the 2023 WV bow season starts and not after an arrow goes sailing over a deer’s back.

Additionally, you need to be ready when the time comes to draw back on your target buck. If you haven’t been practicing, how can you reasonably expect to be successful?

Don’t let all the preseason preparation go to waste when that buck is broadside at 20 yards. Get your reps in so you don’t miss an easy shot on the buck of a lifetime.

Once you’ve dusted off your bow and determined it is safe and ready to shoot, get to practicing. As the summer heat cools, off shooting your bow is a great way to enjoy an evening.

My typical bowhunting range is inside of 25 yards. I like to shoot enough at 40 to 50 yards that a 20 yard shot becomes automatic before the archery season opener.

Bonus Tip

3D archery is a great way to stay ready year round for the West Virginia bow season. Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never participated in 3D archery before. I was at one time, but found it to be an inviting and friendly atmosphere. Find an archery range in West Virginia near you, most have regularly scheduled 3D archery events leading up to hunting season.

Hang Your Trail Cameras

2023 WV Bow Season

Lots of bowhunters keep trail cameras up year round but I am not one of them. Shortly after the West Virginia bow season ends, I begin scouting for next year.

As I make my way through familiar hunting areas looking for shed antlers and last year’s deer sign, I round up my cameras and store them for the year. In my opinion, you won’t gain much intel from trail camera pictures in winter and spring.

Before you box up your trail cameras until next fall, be sure to remove the batteries. Batteries left in unused devices will eventually leak as hydrogen builds up inside them. I’ve ruined a few trail cameras over the years by putting them away after hunting season with the batteries still in them. It ends up ruining the camera and would have been easy to prevent.

As the WV bow hunting season approaches, however, I begin to roll them back out into the woods. I typically wait until the beginning of August to put cameras out, anticipating about six weeks worth of pictures to help in my hunt.

Lots of changes are happening as bucks transition from their summer to fall movement patterns. Putting out cameras in August will help me figure out where bucks will be spending the most time in September.

There’s another reason I feel it’s important to wait to hang your trail cameras until August. Placing too much importance on summer trail camera pictures can potentially set you up for major disappointment.

It’s really easy to get excited too early, and then suddenly that buck showing up for pictures every day disappears before the 2023 WV bow season ever starts. Hunt the deer that are in the area during hunting season, not a huge buck that passes through during the summer and never returns.

Bonus Tip

When I hang trail cameras on public land in WV, I bring a climbing stick with me. I can hang my trail camera about 8-10 feet off the ground and out of the line of sight. This helps prevent theft, which can happen when you leave things on public land.

Glass Fields For 2023 WV Bow Season Target Bucks

WV Deer Hunting

This tip is purely situational. I understand not everyone in West Virginia has big fields to bowhunt. I’m typically more of a wooded hillside hunter myself. Hunting on sloping hills is the epitome of West Virginia bowhunting to me.

However, on one public property that I hunt there is a field loaded with fresh clover. Towards the end of summer, I will head out and set up a chair on the hillside overlooking the field.

From a few hundred yards away, I can watch with binoculars as deer enter the clearing. I take note of which direction they are coming from and the time they arrive.

I do this as darkness sets in, hoping to locate a good buck to hunt during the upcoming 2023 WV bow season. If a few glassing trips prove unsuccessful, I cross off the area and focus on other spots. No sense hunting something that doesn’t exist.

Bonus Tip

Big buck serial killer Dan Infalt talks often about shining for bucks in fields. In his home state of Wisconsin, you can use a flashlight at night to see (but not hunt) deer in the fields. He uses this tactic to locate big bucks that spend the majority of daylight hours safely hidden out of sight.

Final Thoughts

The 2023 WV bow season is nocking. Are you ready?

Set aside some time in the upcoming weeks for some last minute archery season preparation. This is the fun part, before the real work begins and we enter the three month grind of archery season. Put these expert tips to good use and make sure you’re more ready than ever.

What are your goals for the 2023 WV bow season? Share them with us below. We hope you accomplish all that you set out for this hunting season.

2 thoughts on “2023 WV Bow Season – Archery Hunting Checklist”

  1. Wv hunting license are getting very complicated. Can we just keep it simple. We wv hill people love the simple things in life don’t f this up to

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