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Rain dampens early days of buck season

November 26, 2011
By Kenneth Cobb , The Inter-Mountain

In last week's column, I stated that approximately 275,000 hunters would be going after that "big buck" during the first week of the bucks-only gun season.

While there have been some deer checked in for the first three days, I really think the only thing most hunters got during this period was wet.

On Tuesday, I talked with the store clerk of the Chenoweth store in Gilman. The lady told me they checked in about 50 deer on Monday. Several of these deer were taken in the Kerens, Leading Creek and Stalnaker Run Road areas.

At the Par Mar store located at the intersection of U.S. Route 33 and U.S. Route 219 in Elkins, 62 deer were checked in on Monday. On Tuesday, 26 deer had been checked in by about 2:30 p.m. Several of these deer were taken in the Bickle Knob, Chenoweth Creek Road and the Sinks of Gandy areas.

I went out Monday morning for about six hours and did not even see a deer. The only thing I did see was three other hunters.

A good friend of mine saw a large doe and a beautiful 10-point buck driving along the road in the Kerens area at about noon Monday. For the most part, I stayed indoors on Tuesday and Wednesday with the weather being what it was.

According to Assistant Wildlife Chief Paul Johansen for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, "this is not conductive to a good kill."

During this kind of weather, hunters get wet, cold and very uncomfortable. Most will go home or back to their camp and just sit.

Naturally when the hunters are indoors, they will not be shooting any deer.

The DNR has been hoping that hunters would take at least 50,000 bucks during the 12-day bucks season for 2011. This would be a good increase over the 43,461 taken in 2010.

On Tuesday morning, the national weather service issued a 24-hour flash flood watch for several counties in this area, which included Randolph, Barbour, Lewis, Pocahontas, Upshur, and Webster Counties. Flash flooding is a dangerous situation.

The ground is already saturated, and additional rain will increase the possibility of creeks or small streams overflowing their banks. I would recommend that anyone camped near a stream of any kind or in a low-lying area be ready to move out quickly if hard rain prevails.

Many hunters are also complaining about the early morning fog. This is one weather condition that I flatly refuse to hunt in because it is just too darn dangerous. I like to be able to see beyond my target. I have often heard it said that the worst day hunting is better than the best day or any day working.

That may be true. However, a bad day hunting could end up being the worst day of your life, especially if you are the cause of a hunting accident or fatality.

Speaking of hunting accidents, the first accident in our area from the 2011 West Virginia deer hunting season has been reported by authorities.

Lieutenant Stan Hickman of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources says a 34-year-old Massilon, Ohio man was injured Tuesday, when he fell from a tree stand while hunting near Big Root Road in Calhoun County.

He was hospitalized in Calhoun County, but was expected to be transferred to a hospital in his home town.

Lieutenant Hickman says the victim, whose name is not being released, suffered a collapsed lung and broken ribs in the mishap.

The Division of Natural Resources says at least one hunter has died as the result of an apparently heart attack while dragging out his deer.

While these incidents are undoubtedly tragic, they are not firearm-related mishaps.

Favorable weather conditions appear to be in the forecast for the weekend.



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