The beginning of this year threw us a curveball. With the emphasis on social distancing due to the novel coronavirus, people are itching to get outside, and now that the weather is becoming warmer, it is no surprise that many will begin taking advantage of the wonderful outdoor activities our beautiful state has to offer.
From the Ohio River to the highlands of Tucker County, there are boundless opportunities for outdoor activities. Hunting and fishing are high on the list for popular activities. However, both require licenses to do so legally. For some veterans and active duty service members in West Virginia, these licenses are free or not even needed.
The state has granted access to free hunting and fishing licenses to veterans who qualify for federal VA auto grant benefits or who have 100% permanent and total service-connected disability through the federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Active Duty members who are on leave or furlough are able to take advantage of hunting and fishing activities without licenses. The state allows these service members to use their leave or furlough papers in lieu of the necessary licenses. This will allow them to enjoying the great outdoors without having to apply, pay for, and wait for approval on anything additional during their short time of leave.
The benefits of outdoor activities, such as hunting and fishing, are well-known and documented. Not only do these activities help with your physical wellbeing, but they are also good for mental health. Outdoor activities are shown to reduce mental fatigue and stress and help fight depression and anxiety.
The West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance can help you with determining your eligibility for free hunting and fishing licenses as well as many other types of benefits. Reach out to your West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance Benefits Office to speak with someone who can evaluate your eligibility for the numerous benefits provided by the federal and state government. Our staff will work with you to make sure you receive every benefit you qualify for.