Last week, I had a birthday, which simply means that I am another year older. For the past six months, I have stated more than once that I was really feeling my years when I was dragging a deer out of the woods last year.
It is not only hunters, but anglers, backpackers, bicyclists, climbers, and hikers who are having too many heart attacks due to overexertion because they were not in shape for these outdoor activities.
We're now in August. The youth squirrel season will be held on Sept. 7.
The statewide squirrel season comes in a week later. This is just a measly five and six weeks away, respectively. I'm just as guilty as anyone for the past year for consuming too many heavy carbohydrates, along with fried foods and not getting enough exercise. However, if middle-aged and senior adults expect to be able to keep up with their kids and grandkids, they had better think about getting into shape now.
The early black bear gun season comes in on Sept. 21 in select counties. This includes Randolph and Tucker. While I've never been faced with the task of dragging a bear out of the woods, I have had bear hunters to quickly tell me that this is a lot of "hard labor".
The statewide archery deer season comes in on Sept. 28 and runs through Dec. 31. All serious bow hunters should already be practicing and getting their equipment ready for action. Deer bow hunters over 40 also need to think about getting themselves ready for this activity.
With three of the hunting seasons coming in next month, it's time for older hunters to start getting themselves in shape. I have said many times that simple walking is one of the best exercises a mature adult can do to firm up those flabby muscles and perhaps remove a few of these excess inches. Anyone who looks forward for the upcoming hunting, like I do, should be able to walk a mile on level ground in 20 minutes without working up any sweat at all.
Eating right and getting an adequate amount of rest or sleep are also important. I realize some of this can be difficult this time of year when we go on large social picnics. It's hard to resist all of the goodies when everyone brings a covered dish. If you are going to eat some of these heavy carbohydrates, do so in moderation by using good judgment.
Hunters who hunt with dogs also need to think about having their animals in shape. They should have all of the necessary vaccinations brought up to date, along with an annual veterinary checkup.
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On Wednesday, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources announced it will be conducting deer spotlight surveys in August and September. According to Game Management Supervisor Gary Foster, this survey will be conducted in 36 counties to determine or evaluate deer population densities. Foster went on to say "the monitoring of deer population levels throughout the state continues to be an important component of the 2011-2015 West Virginia White-tailed Deer Operational Plan."
Surveys will involve observation of deer along primary and secondary roads selected at random using spotlights. This study will not involve the collection of live or dead animals, and it will not involve DNR personnel entering private property. The DNR hopes to have this survey completed by mid-September.
There are some critics who are quick to say "the DNR is violating the law about using artificial light for observing wildlife. However, when you look at page 3 of the 2013-2014 hunting regulations, it clearly says in so many words - No person shall be guilty of using artificial light to look at a wild animal or bird, unless in possession of a firearm or other implement suitable for taking, killing, or trapping a wild animal or bird. Here is another reason why all hunters need to study the hunting regulations to where they are fully understood.