One unusual aspect of the observatory hunt is that participants are not allowed to use two-way radios. The observatory is located at the center of a federally designated "radio quiet" zone.
All hunters at Blennerhassett must hunt from tree stands elevated at least 8 feet off the ground. Hunters at Stonewall must choose to hunt from tree stands or ground blinds, or be assigned to the park's "free roaming" area. Hunters at the observatory will be sent to zones designated for archery equipment, muzzleloaders or shotguns.
As is the case with all controlled hunts, the focus will be on killing antlerless deer. On each morning of all the hunts, however, DNR officials will conduct on-site lotteries that will allow a few hunters (four at Stonewall and five at Blennerhassett and the observatory) to take either bucks or does.
All of the deer killed in the controlled hunts are considered "bonus deer," and will not count against hunters' yearly bag limits.
Permits to participate in the controlled hunts are free, but all applicants must have valid West Virginia hunting licenses or must be legally exempt.
Applications are available online at www.wvdnr.gov under the "Hunting" heading and the "Controlled Hunts" subheading; or at DNR district offices, the DNR Elkins Operations Center, the DNR main headquarters in South Charleston, West Virginia state park and state forest offices; and at the West Virginia Wildlife Center in French Creek.
Completed applications for the observatory hunt should be mailed to the NRAO, P.O. Box 2, Green Bank WV, 24944; and must be received on or before Aug. 2.
Applications for the state park hunts should be mailed to the DNR, P.O. Box 67, Elkins WV, 26241, and must be received on or before Aug. 19.