The year 2014 is moving faster than most people realize, particularly for those who are at or near my age.
The first West Virginia Division Resources Regulations Open House Meetings is only nine days away. The annual Randolph County Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs Expo will be on Saturday and Sunday, March 29 and 30, at Elkins High School. This will be the 20th year for this event.
How well I remember when the first one was held at the Izaak Walton League Clubhouse on Files Creek. The whole thing was a wild idea by three of the state's game biologists and a conservation officer who worked out of the Elkins Operations Center. I took my oldest daughter, who is now married and working on her master's degree at West Virginia University. I only wish I could come up with ideas like this.
n n n
Last Wednesday, I managed to find a copy of the 2014 questionnaire. I found the questionnaire on the www.wvdnr.gov website and printed it out. These should be readily available for all sportsmen and women by March 18, which is the day for the Elkins Regulations Meeting at the Operations Center.
The proposed 2014 antlerless deer firearms season could be a disappointment for some hunters in Randolph County. Several hunters expected the DNR to close Randolph County to antlerless gun hunting, knowing that the buck harvest was down more than 25 percent last year from what it was in 2012. This year, the DNR is proposing that Randolph County by open to unlimited antlerless gun hunting permits (Class N) on private land for residents and non-residents (Class NN) with a season limit of one. The Cheat and Otter Creek areas of Monongahela National Forest will be closed for antlerless deer gun hunting in 2014. The Beaver Dam area of Monongahela National Forest will be open to limited antlerless gun hunting, along with Kumbrabow State Forest. This is close to what it was in 2013 for Randolph County.
In other counties of local interest, Barbour and Upshur will have unlimited antlerless deer hunting permits for residents and nonresidents with a season bag limit of three. Tucker County, like Randolph, will be open to unlimited antlerless hunting permits on private land with a season limit of one. Pocahontas County will be open to limited hunting, and all of Webster County will be closed to antlerless firearms hunting.
Lewis, Harrison, Marion, and Monongalia counties will have unlimited antlerless deer firearms hunting with a season bag limit of three. However, buck firearms hunters in the above counties will be required to take an antlerless deer during the antlerless deer season prior to taking a second antlered deer during the buck firearms season.
I have said several times the game biologists know what they are doing when it comes to managing the deer herd. I think that it would be wise for all hunters to cooperate with the game biologists on this issue.
In other recommendations, the DNR proposes to remove the night fishing prohibition at eight state parks and/or state forest lakes. These include Boley in Fayette County, Coopers Rock in Monongahela County, Little Beaver in Raleigh County, North Bend Pond in Ritchie County, Pipestem in Summers County, Seneca in Pocahontas County, Tomlinson Run in Hancock County and Watoga in Pocahontas County. The DNR also proposes a no-boating regulation at Coopers Rock State Forest Lake. I will most likely vote in favor of all of these fishing recommendations.
n n n
The fall turkey season will come in Oct. 11 and run through Oct. 18. It will then reopen on Oct. 27 and run through Nov. 15 in all of the four-week counties.
The 2015 squirrel season is scheduled to come in Sept. 12 and run through Jan. 31, 2016. I still say this is too early, and several squirrel hunters in this area are in agreement with me. This is officially during the summer, and many females are still nursing their young. In my opinion, the last Saturday of September would be a better time of the year to open the season on bushytails.