We are now well into the month of April, and the weather has changed radically in the past two weeks.
On March 30, there was snow on the ground throughout Elkins. Last week, I could see plenty of snow on Rich Mountain West from the top of Wilson Hill.
Spring is also the time of the year when the fields and woods will be full of new and/or young wildlife.
This is a great time for everyone to view and enjoy these young critters. It is also important for everyone to realize and understand this is something people should only look at, but don't touch.
In addition to being harmful to the young animals, there is also the possibility of a person being exposed to various wildlife-associated diseases like rabies, skin parasites (lice or ticks) and intestinal parasites like flat and round worms.
People make poor substitute parents for wild animals. Yet each year the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources receives numerous calls from well-meaning residents that they have picked up an abandoned fawn or cub and what should they do to properly take care of it. Everyone needs to know that state laws prohibit the possession of wildlife during the closed seasons without a special permit.
The fines for illegal possession of a fawn, bear cub, baby raccoon, squirrel, or any other species range from $20 to $1000, plus court costs and/or up to 100 days in jail.
The DNR would like for everyone to enjoy watching young wildlife.
This might be a good time to take the kids out for a camera safari. They could enjoy the woods and see wildlife while having a good time.
For the health and welfare of the young animals, and people as well, wild animals should be left alone and kept in the wild.
With this good weather we are now having, all of you outdoor enthusiasts need to be thinking of other things, like trout fishing, digging ramps and possibly sighting in your varmint rifle.
I would consider any of these activities time well spent. I have not done any serious groundhog hunting in at least 10 years.
Hopefully, I can get out this spring or summer and do some groundhog hunting if I can find a place to hunt.
My youngest daughter, who is attending Davis & Elkins College, has told us she would like to try tasting ramps.
We have invited her to attend the monthly dinner meeting at the Izaak Walton League this month. This is when we have our ramp dinner prior to the monthly meeting.
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In last week's column, there was a serious error in describing the new West Virginia Apprentice Hunting & Trapping license (Class AH). I would like to use the end of this week's column to correct that error.
West Virginia residents, who are 18 years old or older, can purchase a Class AH license only online (www.wvhunt.com) for $19 without completing the required hunter safety course.
This license includes the same privileges as a Class A (resident hunting and trapping) license. Therefore, they will have to purchase a Class CS (Conservation Stamp) for an additional $5. Nonresidents, who are 18 years of age or older, can purchase a Class AAH license for $119. This license will include the same privileges as a Class E (nonresident hunting and trapping) license. Holders of the Class AAH license will also have to purchase a Class CS/LE (Conservation/Law Enforcement) stamp for $13. Resident and nonresident youths aged 15-17 may buy a Junior Apprentice Hunting and Trapping license for $16.
The Class AHJ license for nonresidents includes the same privileges as a Class XJ (junior sportsman hunting/trapping/fishing license. The Class AAHJ license for nonresidents, combined with a Class CS/LE stamp, includes the same privileges as a Class XXJ license.
The new apprentice hunting licenses can only be purchased online and only by individuals who have never held a hunting license. Up to three apprentice licenses can be purchased within five consecutive years.
All apprentice-licensed hunters must be supervised by a licensed hunter at least 18 years or age.
Information about the Apprentice Hunting license may be obtained at the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov.