§20-2-3. State ownership of wildlife.
The ownership of and title to all wild animals, wild birds, both migratory and resident, and all fish, amphibians, and all forms of aquatic life in the state of West Virginia is hereby declared to be in the state, as trustee for the people. No such wildlife shall be taken or hunted in any manner, or at any time, unless the person so taking or hunting the same shall consent that the title thereto shall be and remain in the state of West Virginia for the purpose of regulating the taking, hunting, using and disposing of the same. The taking or hunting of wildlife at any time or in any manner by any person shall be deemed such consent: Provided, however, That all fish, frogs and other aquatic life in privately-owned ponds are, and shall remain, the private property of the owner or owners of such privately-owned ponds, and that such fish, frogs and other aquatic life in such privately-owned ponds may be caught, taken or killed by such owner or owners at any time.