This past Monday, I was at the Elkins Operations Center for the first time in about six months. I was able to get a handful of the questionnaires for 2013.
For all practical purposes, the antlerless gun season in Randolph County will be like last year with the exception of three, possibly four, minor changes. Last year, all public land in Randolph County was closed to antlerless deer gun hunting. This year, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is recommending that three public hunting areas be open to limited antlerless hunting.
These will include: Huttonsville State Farm WMA, Kumbrabow State Forest, and Beaver Dam WMA. A fourth location also being recommended is Potomac WMA located in Grant, Pendleton, Randolph and Tucker Counties.
The Huttonsville State Farm WMA is a 2,720-acre tract that completely surrounds the Huttonsville Correctional Facility
When one hunts on this acreage, it is absolutely necessary to watch for the safety zones.
This boundary is strictly enforced by a security force from the prison area.
Kumbrabow State Forest takes in 9,474 acres. This area is located in an extremely remote part of Randolph County, or for that matter, West Virginia. Ever since I have lived in Randolph County, I have always wanted to hunt this location, but could never find the time to make the drive when the weather was fit to be outdoors. For several years, I have felt like the DNR could make this SF into an older-aged deer management area, along with Kanawha State Forest in Kanawha County.
The third location is Beaver Dam WMA of Monongahela National Forest. Here is 37,674 acres of public land located in the Bemis/Glady area. Here is another location I have never hunted.
A possible fourth location is the Potomac WMA of the Monongahela National Forest. This location takes in 39,786 acres. This area contains the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, which encompasses 10,218 acres. As of this writing, I don't have a clue of how many permits the DNR will be giving out for these locations, but I could know as early as next week.
All of these locations will have to be approved by the DNR commissioners when they have their next scheduled meeting. This will be in Morgantown on April 28.
In other counties of local interest, Barbour, Gilmer, and Grant will be moved from one antlerless deer limit to three antlerless deer limit.
The area counties in the most liberal category are Harrison and Lewis. In these two counties, hunters will be required to take an antlerless deer, no matter what season may be in (bow or gun) before they take a second antlered deer.
It is interesting to know the DNR did not move any counties into a more restrictive category. This year, they seem to want hunters to harvest more antlerless deer than in years past.
In many respects, this is good. This is something many sportsmen have wanted for many years. To have quality deer, (bucks with large racks), there must be an adequate supply of food for all these animals.
In 2013, the antlerless season will most likely be in four segments. This first will be Oct. 24-26 on private land. The second will be Nov. 25-Dec. 7.
This will be run concurrently with the two-week buck gun season. There will be two short antlerless gun seasons in December. The first will be Dec. 19-21. The second will be the family hunt from Dec. 28 -Dec. 31.
All area sportsmen and women need to remember the DNR will host their mandated regulations meetings at 12 different locations throughout the state this coming Monday and Tuesday.
The meeting for the Elkins area will be at the Operations Center from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.
This is the time to make yourself heard as to whether you approve or disapprove of the hunting and fishing regulations for this year and/or the small game seasons for 2014-2015.
If you can't make this meeting, try to get one of the questionnaires filled out and get it to the Elkins Operations Center personnel before the deadline of April 5.
Don't forget to sign the submitted questionnaire. Unsigned questionnaires will not be counted.