The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources released the preliminary figures from the deer check-in tags through Jan. 23.
According to the DNR, a total of 150,268 white-tailed deer were harvested during the combined bucks-only, antlerless, muzzle-loader, archery and youth/class Q/Class XS deer seasons in 2013. This is above the official 2012 deer harvest of 132,261 or 14 percent.
The top five counties for the total deer harvest are as follows: Preston (5,381), Jackson (5,328), Mason (4,987), Wood (4,898) and Roane (4,880). All of these figures are a preliminary total.
When the figures become official in March, I will give a more comprehensive report on all of the big game hunting seasons for 2013.
The total deer kill for Randolph County was 3,574. This is down from the official 4,169 harvest in 2012 or 14 percent. When I was attending the monthly Izaak Walton League dinner/meeting last Tuesday, I found out that I was not the only hunter in this county who finished this past deer season with nothing.
One of my readers was quick to tell me, "I thought The Inter-Mountain had a real hunter writing the outdoors column, until I read where he got skunked last year."
The only excuse I could come up with was, I was just not at the right place at the right time.
In the location where I did a good bit of hunting last year, most of the deer activity was at night. I would always see new rubs, plenty of tracks in the snow along with an abundance of droppings.
These sightings clearly indicate the deer have to be in this location.
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Good weather is in the forecast for the next few days. Last week, I said when this bad weather breaks, the trout stocking trucks will be rolling again. The various fish hatcheries should have an abundance of trout for stocking.
For the past two or three years, a few of my readers have asked me to say something about the people who follow the stock truck. The fish biologists at the DNR have always told me this is really not a problem. Other anglers have told me the opposite.
The day before yesterday, a person who doesn't fish or hunt, told me that he has seen dozens of people fishing when the DNR stock truck was putting the trout in the river at Bowden. He thought the entire setup was "pathetic."
While I have never followed the stock truck, I really don't have any grudge or rancor towards someone who has.
Each year when I would go to the DNR annual regulations meetings, there would usually be a few individuals who would speak out bitterly against people who appear to make it a habit of following the stock truck.
A fish biologist, whom I have known for several years, once replied to this statement by saying "this is just a lot of bunk."
I believe a true sporting angler should be able to find a better way to catch trout.
I know in some states when a lake or stream is stocked, the location is closed for a period of time. If such a law or regulation was ever implemented in this state, it would be extremely difficult for the Natural Resources Police Officers to enforce.
I would like to have some opinions or thoughts from other people who like to fish on stock truck followers. Feel free to let me know how you feel on this subject by sending a short letter to me through the The Inter-Mountain or write an editorial letter to the newspaper editor.