Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In West Virginia [Check Laws Here]

Spread the love

City life provides pigeons with plenty of free shelters. Many places in your house make a perfect home. They can build a nest on rooftops, window ledges, and vents. It is essential to remove them. But is it illegal to kill pigeons in West Virginia? 

No. It is not illegal to kill pigeons in West Virginia. You can take down the nuisance pigeons from your house. But it is unlawful to harm any migratory pigeons without a permit. So, look for an alternative option to remove such birds.  

Shooting them is the easiest way to eliminate the nuisance pest. So, continue reading to learn more about the laws. 

Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In West Virginia? 

In West Virginia, it is not illegal to hunt and eat any pigeon species. But, it is not legal to harm migratory or protected pigeon species. The Migratory pigeon in the state is the Mourning dove. To hunt this dove in West Virginia, you will have to wait for hunting season.  

It begins in September and ends in October. There is also a bag limit on the doves. So, no one can hunt more than 15 Mourning doves per day during hunting season. However, Feral pigeons are unprotected pigeon species. You can take them down at any time. There is also no bag or possession limit on them. 

Mourning doves are small head and slender. They have a long pointed tails with white tips. The overall color of the Mourning doves is tan or greyish brown. Their size instantly increases from 9-13 inches to 15-18 inches as soon as they spread their wings. You can also identify them with black spots on the wings and a black spot under the eye. 

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In West Virginia?  

It is not legal to hunt Mourning doves off-season. Mourning doves are migratory birds. According to the law, you cannot capture, harm, catch, kill, bait, or trap any migratory or protected bird species. Migratory birds are those that travel according to the climate and food source.  

The USA law has a defined list of migratory bird species. The Mourning doves are part of that list and are included in MBTA or Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This Treaty was signed in 1918 by the USA and another foreign country.  

So, in West Virginia, you cannot hunt them unless it is the hunting season. Not only you have limited hunting days, but also a limited harvest count. Hunters have a daily bag count of 15 birds, and the possession limit is 45. 

It is legal to eat pigeons. But it is better to avoid the meat of Feral pigeons as they carry many pathogens that can cause disease. 

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In West Virginia State 

Shooting pigeon is legal but not safe. West Virginia has defined laws to ensure safe pigeon shooting. These laws can help you in pigeon shooting, even if you are a beginner. So, wildlife authorities encourage studying and learning about pigeon hunting before participating in actual shooting. A few of these laws are discussed below for your guidance and help.  

Hunting Education Course 

Anyone born on or after January 1st, 1975, must complete Hunting Education Course before purchasing a hunting license. It is an average 12-hour long program and is free of cost. The program teaches wildlife management, ethics, gun safety, and first aid.  

The course is available to everyone, resident or non-resident. But the participant must be at least ten to receive a certificate. So, young people below ten can take classes but will receive the certificate once they turn ten.  

Extra help is available to those who need it. During the online course, a quiz is taken after every unit. Hunters must pass the test with at least 80 percent marks to receive the certificate. 

Hunting License  

All hunters, residents, or non-residents are required to purchase a hunting license. The license is available online, or you can contact a wildlife agent. There are several types of hunting licenses according to age, residence, background, and other special requirements.  

The state offers lifetime hunting licenses to people above 65. There is also a separate license for retired veterans. People with physical disabilities can also take down pigeons.  

A youth hunting license is for people 10 to 17. But these hunters must be under the supervision of an adult licensed hunter above 21. 


The hunting time begins a half hour before sunrise and ends a half hour after sunset. Hunters can hunt as much as they want to during this time. Using weapons late at night and on Sunday is not safe and is a crime. 

Private Property 

People can hunt on their property without any permit. However, the state requires hunters to carry a permit when hunting on property they do not own. So, it is illegal to enter the property without permission. Hunters who are without a permit can be charged with trespassing. This rule exempts the landowner’s spouse, children, and tenants. 

Daily Bag And Possession Limit.  

The daily bag limit means the number of pigeons one can hunt in a day. It is specific for each geographic location. The daily bag limit can be separate for each specie or combined for all. In West Virginia, the daily bag limit of the Mourning dove is 15. Hunters cannot hunt more than 15 doves per day. But, the daily possession limit is 45. 

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In West Virginia State? 

Hunting pigeons is easy when you follow the law. Before going on the hunt, read all the rules and plan accordingly. Following are some pointers to assist you on the next hunting trip.   

  • Carry your hunting license and permit on the field. The hunting license can be in print or on an e-device.   
  • To hunt Mourning doves, register online to get a permit for hunting season.   
  • Purchase a permit when you are planning to hunt private land.   
  • The legal weapon to shoot pigeons is a Shotgun. The shotgun must be no longer than ten gauges. It must not hold more than three pallets.   
  • Hunters cannot use decoys, electronic calls, or food to attract Mourning doves. However, you can use these tricks for Feral pigeons. 
  • Hunters must have first aid boxes with them on the field. 
  • Wear a blaze pink or orange vest, cap, and backpack on the field.   
  • After harvesting, separate pigeons in each bag according to the species.   
  • Submit each specie count to the wildlife authorities. 

Summing Up

It is legal to take down nuisance pigeons in West Virginia. However, the federal authorities protect Mourning doves as they as migratory birds. Migratory birds are protected wildlife species. So, according to the law, it is forbidden to kill or shoot migratory birds without a state permit. Therefore, you can hunt Mourning doves only during the hunting season.  

The hunting days for Mourning doves can change yearly according to the breeding season. It usually begins in September and ends in October. It is better to check through the website of newspapers. Other than doves, you can shoot as many Feral pigeons as you want.