This week I was able to get a look at the 2014-2015 Hunting and Trapping Regulations online. For all practical purposes, they are about the same as last year, with maybe one or two minor changes for this area.
This year, Randolph County bear gun hunters will be able to hunt bears with dogs during the early Sept. 18-20 season and during the traditional black bear gun season that will run from Dec. 8-31. However, during the two-week buck gun season, bear hunters will not be permitted to use dogs. This applies to private and public acreage. This year, all 55 counties will be open for bear hunting during the December season. Two bears may be taken with a gun, provided at least one bear comes from Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mingo, Nicholas, Raleigh, or Wyoming Counties.
Like last year, Randolph County will have a three-day deer antlerless gun season that will run Oct. 23-25 on private land only.
The antlerless gun season in Randolph County will reopen on Nov. 24 through Dec. 6 on private and public land. There will also be two, three-day antlerless gun seasons in December. These will be Dec. 18-20 and from Dec. 29-31 on private and public land.
All antlerless gun hunters in Randolph County need to be fully aware that certain public hunting Wildlife Management Areas are closed to antlerless firearm hunting. These areas include Cheat WMA of Monongahela National Forest, Otter Creek WMA of Monongahela National Forest, and Tea Creek WMA of the Monongahela National Forest.
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is going to have limited hunting on the Beaver Dam WMA. One hundred permits will be given out for this location. There will also be limited antlerless gun hunting on Kumbrabow State Forest. The DNR will give out 50 permits for this area. These two limited hunts will be open to residents and nonresidents. The applications should be available sometime this month. The bag limit will be one antlerless deer with a gun in Randolph County during all four antlerless seasons.
The thing that really caught my eye was the front cover photo of the Hunting and Trapping Regulations booklet. It shows two good-looking young ladies proudly holding the squirrels they had bagged, along with the scoped-mounted rifles they were carrying. This photograph was made by Keith Krantz, who is a game biologist at the Elkins Operations Center.
I talked with Krantz on the telephone and asked him if these were his girls. He proudly replied, "They were two of his three daughters." I think all fathers should be proud of their daughters when they become a participant in sport hunting.
It is really good to see youth eager to be involved in this sport. This is why I have often stated the youth hunts are important for the future of all hunting.
Last Saturday, I helped out with the skeet shooting for the "JAKES Day" sponsored by the Tygart Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. This event was held on the Izaak Walton League property on Files Creek.
Eighty-eight youth ages 3-17 were present to take part in the event. Some of the classes included fishing for catfish, and they were really pulling out some really nice-sized cats. There were talks regarding outdoor ethics. They had a class for making an outdoors T-shirt. In addition to the skeet shoot, there were also airgun class. One thing I found a little disturbing was that some of the youth (mostly teenagers) did not want to shoot the 20-gauge shotgun. While we did not want to make them shoot, we tried to tell them this small shotgun did not have a lot of kick or recoil. I don't know if this was the reason why they didn't want to shoot, or if they have been told that all guns are bad and they should stay away from them. I have tried to get it across to both of my daughters that a gun is only as dangerous as the individual who is holding it.
During the afternoon, I sat in on a class about the snakes that are native to West Virginia. This class was conducted by one of the game biologists from the Elkins Operations Center.
All of the youngsters appeared to be enjoying the class, and I learned some things about the snakes of this state that I was not fully aware of. I would certainly recommend this snake class for anyone who enjoys being in the great outdoors.