Everything in Elkins appears to be getting back to normal this week. The 2013 Mountain State Forest Festival is history. The leaves are beginning to change colors. So far, this fall has to be one of the warmest on record.
It's hard to believe, but the squirrel season has been in for more than a month; and I have not been in the woods yet. When people ask me why, the only thing I can say is that it is just too warm to really enjoy the woods.
The fall wild turkey season comes in today. For some nimrods, this is a big day. Several of the turkey enthusiasts I know will be in the woods at least an hour before sunrise in an effort to bag this smart and elusive bird. I do recommend that all fall turkey hunters get a copy of the 2013-2014 hunting regulations and study them because there are some changes this year with the various counties open for the fall season.
Randolph County will be open for fall turkey hunting from today through next Saturday, then from Oct. 28 through Nov. 16.
Like always, the season limit for the fall is one wild turkey of either sex. The same dates apply for the neighboring counties of Grant, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Tucker and Webster. Upshur County will be open today through next Saturday, along with Lewis and Taylor counties .
All of Barbour County is closed to fall turkey hunting this year.
Wild turkeys may be hunted with rifles, handguns, muzzleloaders, shotguns, and bows this year. I have only taken one wild turkey in all my years of hunting. I got it almost 30 years ago with a .22 rimfire rifle while squirrel hunting in early November in Randolph County.
Some of the most common violations observed by the Division of Natural Resources Police Officers during the fall turkey season are as follows:
n Hunting over bait.
n Hunting without a license or an improper license.
n Exceeding the limit.
n Hunting on private land without the written permission from he land owner.
After killing a legal turkey, the successful hunter must either attach a completed field tag to the turkey or remain with the turkey and have upon their person a completed field tag before removing the carcass from the location where it was killed. A person who does not possess a field tag must make one. The tag must bear the hunter's name, address, hunting license number (if required), along with the date, time, and county of kill.
The carcass of each turkey shall be delivered to an official game checking station or a DNR Police Officer for checking and re-tagging before it is skinned or dressed out for consumption. The bird must be checked in within 72 hours after the time of kill or within 24 hours from the close of the respective season.
It also must be checked in before it is transported beyond the boundaries of the county adjacent to that in which the kill was made.
The West Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will be sponsoring rewards for anyone who provides information that leads to arrest and conviction for a person found guilty of the following violations: Illegally killing a wild turkey - $200; illegally hunting wild turkey over bait - $100; willfully destroying a turkey nest or eggs - $100.
Wild turkey hunters also need to remember that it is illegal to hunt turkeys using an electronic call at any time (spring or fall).
Some people would like for the WVDNR to implement a fall youth wild turkey season.
I really don't think this would have any negative effects on the state's wild turkey population. However, I would like to have the opinions of other turkey hunters about this idea. As I have stated many times, the youth hunts are important for the future of sport hunting nationwide.