Bear and deer bow seasons open today in the Mountain State. I know several bow hunters who are looking forward to this day, similar to the way I look for the opening day of squirrel season.
While I am not a bow hunter, I have asked some of my bow hunting friends where they are going to hunt for the first week. The answers I got were somewhat like this: Becky's Creek, Files Creek, Clifton Run, Clover Run, Cherry Fork, Dry Fork, Laurel Mountain, Middle Mountain, Bickel's Knob, and Gaudineer Knob. The good places to go are almost endless.
I stated in a column nearly two years ago there are no bad places to deer hunt in Randolph County. The locations mentioned above are great places to take a deer with a bow. There are also hundreds of other good places in Randolph County.
Some of the best hunting in Randolph County is also on public land. Monongahela National Forest takes in over 200,000 acres in this county, along with Kumbrabow State Forest having nearly 9,500 acres, Becky's Creek Wildlife Management Area with 1,930 acres, and Huttonsville Wildlife Management Area with 2,720 acres. Finding a place to deer hunt is no problem in Randolph County.
In West Virginia, there are nearly 1.5 million acres of open public land for deer, waterfowl, and small game hunting this fall. For the fall anglers, several of the streams in the National Forests are stocked with trout.
Hunting in West Virginia is a tradition in which the majority of families have at least one member who participates on a regular basis. Each year, more than 350,000 hunters take to the forests in our Mountain State in search of some sort of quarry.
West Virginia's hunting-related expenditures for food, lodging, transportation, and equipment bring in over $250 million to the state's economy, creating thousands of various jobs.
I know there are people who are resentful of out of state hunters coming to West Virginia. Remember, they are paying non-resident license fees to hunt in this state. The non-resident hunting and trapping license (Class E) costs $110, compared to the resident hunting and trapping license (Class A) of $18. The non-resident Conservation Stamp costs $12, compared to the resident cost $5. There are additional fees that a non-resident has to pay. All this is good revenue going into the coffers of the Division of Natural Resources, which means more money to purchase additional acreage for public hunting or to build more public-shooting ranges. If these people are willing to pay our non-resident fees and comply with our laws of fish and game, then they deserve to be treated respectfully by resident hunters.
To find out more about our state's hunting and fishing seasons and good places to hunt call 1-800-CALL-WVA.