Next week, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will be hosting its annual open house meetings with sportsmen and sportswomen at various locations throughout the state. The Elkins area meeting is to be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.
This year, the DNR is recommending major changes in the bear gun and the deer (anterless) gun seasons in this area. I really have not paid much attention to the bear season because I have never had any desire to shoot a bear. This year, however, the DNR is recommending a six-day gun season with or without dogs in Randolph, Pocahontas, Pendleton, Tucker and Webster counties from Sept. 22-27.
The anterless deer season in this area should be of major concern to all deer hunters. There will not be any anterless gun season in Randolph, Pocahontas or Webster counties in 2008, which I think is good. The DNR is recommending that Tucker and Upshur counties be open to anterless gun season starting Nov. 24 on private land, and from Nov. 26 through Dec. 13 on public land. The anterless season will open again in these counties on private and public land from Dec. 24 through Dec. 27. The season limit in these counties will be only one deer.
In Lewis and Pendleton counties, these same dates and land conditions apply with the season limit of two deer.
In Barbour County, the same dates and land conditions apply with a season limit of four deer. Nimrods should remember to carry a Class N stamp for residents and a Class NN stamp for non-residents for each deer harvested.
Every year, I try to get all outdoor enthusiasts to fill out the DNR questionnaire. This questionnaire gives everyone a chance to speak out.
Last year, I emphasized that it should receive the same consideration as a voting ballot when a level of government is holding an election.
The questionnaire must be in the hands of the personnel at the Elkins Operations Center by April 11 for your vote to be counted or your recommendation to be documented.
I remember the last open-house meeting in Elkins in 2005.
I told some of the DNR personnel at the operations center that next year we would like to have shrimp cocktails, rib eye steaks and the trimmings for refreshments instead of cookies and coffee.
The next year they moved the annual meeting to Buckhannon and told me that they could not afford my menu.
I was only kidding, of course, but I think that the DNR would be wise to return the annual meeting back to Elkins using the old format and forget entirely about having any refreshment.
The open house format is definitely a more relaxed atmosphere than the old captive-audience type format.
Remember though, more people attended these meetings with the old format than the new.