The traditional two-week buck gun season will start on Monday and run through Dec. 7.
In addition to this, the second antlerless deer and third black bear gun seasons will also come in and go out on these same dates.
Hunters need to remember that an antlerless deer must be taken on a deer Class N or NN stamp, unless the resident hunter is hunting on their own land. Only one antlerless deer may be taken on each Class N or NN stamp. The annual buck gun season is open statewide, except for the counties of Logan, Mingo, McDowell and Wyoming.
Like every other year, there will be over 300,000 licensed hunters in West Virginia's forests and fields trying to bag "that big buck."
All hunters should review the 2013-2014 Hunting and Trapping Regulations, if they haven't already. There are a few changes from last year.
In 23 counties, buck gun hunters will be required to take an antlerless deer during the antlerless firearms deer seasons, prior to harvesting a second antlered deer during the buck firearms season. These counties include, Harrison, Lewis, Marion and Monongalia.
Another change deer hunters need to be aware of is the first deer does not have to be legally checked in prior to harvesting the second deer on the same day. A hunter may harvest two deer on the same day, but only one antlered buck may be harvested on the same day. A list of the wildlife checking stations in West Virginia can be found online at www.wvdnr.gov/hunting/check-stations.asp.
I have talked with a few people who agree with me, "There are too many variables" in all of the deer seasons statewide. A few disgruntled hunters will be quick to scream all these variables are confusing and only makes it easy for the Natural Resources Police Officers to write a citation or ticket. I don't fully agree with this statement. Here is the leading reason why all hunters need to study the hunting regulations so they are fully understood.
In this state, deer hunters alone spend more than $200 million dollars. A large percentage of this revenue goes to rural areas of the state that depend on the deer seasons for their annual income. For some people, this additional money comes in handy for the holiday season.
Last Saturday, I did some more deer scouting while squirrel hunting out on Files Creek. I know one thing, I will not be going as far back in the woods like I did when I was younger. Just thinking about that deer drag I had last year simply wears me out.
In last week's hunt, I was able to bag two more squirrels with my .22 rifle. I took one off a beech tree that was bearing fruit. I think this is the first beech tree I have seen this year with some mast on it.
At the end of the year, most of the hunting seasons are over in many of the 50 states. Sportsmen and women should appreciate the rich bounty we have in this country. All of us need to realize that we live in a nation where hunting and firearms traditions are not only celebrated, but are sacred. These are traditions that make up true American character. They speak to who we are as citizens, what we stand for, and the freedoms that bind us together as real Americans.
In closing, I would like to wish the best of luck to everyone going after "that big buck"; but above all else, "have a good safe hunt."