Cumberland Times-News

Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors

July 7, 2012

Mountain State opportunities grow

When it comes to hunting regulations in West Virginia, one size does not fit all — or even most.

My fellow columnist Dave Long and I were on the same page (double meaning alert --- double meaning alert) this week, each noting that the new regs were published and digging into them to see what is up for this year’s hunts in the Mountain State.

It is pretty much impossible to cover every nuance in the regs, so, like Dave, I encourage you to sit down and take a good hard look at what the rules mean to you.

For example, right here in the circulation area of the Cumberland Times-News, there is some September bear hunting using firearms in Grant, Hardy and Pendleton counties, but not in Mineral, Hampshire or Morgan.

Deer regulations, too, can differ depending upon which county or portion of a county you hunt.

One new regulation that applies statewide, though, is a much earlier opener for bowhunting bears.

In fact, both deer and bear bowhunting begins Sept. 29.

On a personal level, I like this change. Where I hunt in the Eastern Panhandle, our group often sees bears in September and early October, but they consistently disappear after that. Happens every year.

Paul Johansen, of the DNR’s Wildlife Resources Section, said the early deer bow opener was proposed by agency biologists as part of a revamped Deer Operational Plan. “The inclusion of bear archery hunting on Sept. 29 was brought up by one of the Natural Resources Commissioners and approved. There are no biological problems with it and the biologists support the additional opportunity it provides. Our bear population is in great shape.”

Also, the fall turkey season has been renovated and the changes include a much earlier opener, Oct. 13.

In what the Division of Natural Resources calls the traditional fall turkey counties, the season will be Oct. 13-20 and Oct. 29-Nov. 17.

Johansen said it was actually the decision to conduct a late October firearms hunt for antlerless deer that generated the change in the turkey season.

“We are excited about the antlerless hunt because it will remove does before breeding season and offers us a way to control the deer population where needed,” he said. “However, we don’t like to overlap deer firearms seasons with turkey seasons because there is always a chance hens will be overharvested.”

This means West Virginia hunters will get an earlier crack than usual at the birds of autumn.

And, those who hunt deer during the Oct 25-27 antlerless hunt can certainly use those outings as turkey scouting trips and return on Oct. 29 or later to hunt the birds, it would seem to me.

This isn’t exactly like the split season the state had some years ago. That split included a week in December to hunt turkeys.

“The fall has only so many days,” Johansen said. “As a hunter myself I wish it had more. We try to fit in as much hunting for as many species as possible within the time frame we have.”

Also this year, the September bow and muzzleloader hunts for antlerless deer were scuttled; the bow season at the suggestion of the biologists and the muzzleloader season at the command of the commissioners. Neither season had proven very popular or resulted in many deer being harvested, according to Johansen.

There is no change to the chronic wasting disease containment area this year.

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

1
Text Only
Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors
  • Black bear biologist explains new hunt

    The Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service has abandoned the bear harvest quota system in use for 10 hunting seasons and has set the next two hunts at four days apiece.

    April 5, 2014

  • MIKE SAWYERS South Branch of Potomac River best place in W.Va. for trophy rainbows

    I always enjoy the annual roundup supplied by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources that reveals where all the trophy fish were caught.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Mettiki will once again produce trout

    Brian Richardson is confident that the Maryland Fisheries Service will, little by little and year by year, get to the point where full production is restored to the state’s trout hatchery system, meaning that fish will no longer have to be purchased from private sources.

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The answer my friend ...

    Recently, the Times-News published
    a photograph of sea gulls that had
    landed on the parking lot at Braddock
    Square Shopping
    Center in LaVale
    My first thought
    was, “If those sea
    gulls landed in the
    Gunpowder River or
    Big Hunting Creek
    on their way here
    from the ocean I
    hope they didn’t have
    felt soles on their
    feet, otherwise they
    will spread rock snot
    to our trout streams
    in Allegany and Garrett counties.”

    March 15, 2014

  • Gobbler stuff can get crazy

    Tough, old bird
    The third gobbler I killed was in 1990 while hunting on Pond Hill near McCoole. Relatively early in the morning I sent out a couple yelp calls. Immediately, 75-100 yards away, what sounded like three gobblers got into a fight.

    March 8, 2014

  • MIKE SAWYERS Almost Maryland welcomes you back

    If you are a hunter in Almost Maryland, circle Thursday on your calendar so you don’t forget to attend the 7 p.m. hearing at Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg that deals with proposed hunting regulations for the next two years.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Gobbler radar activated

    With only 54 days until it opens, the Maryland spring gobbler season is officially on the radar.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Region A buck, doe changes possible

    The Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service, the Allegany-Garrett Sportsmen’s Association, the Quality Deer Management Association and the Washington County Federation of Sportsmen have hashed out a new deer hunting concept for Region A, which includes Garrett, Allegany and the western portion of Washington counties.

    February 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Meshach Browning would say ‘Just do it’

    I wonder if it is possible to attach a
    GPS unit to legislation that has been
    introduced at the Maryland General
    Assembly.

    February 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Get ready! Get set! Legislate!

    The wheelings and dealings associated with the 90-day Maryland General Assembly have been going on for more than two weeks now and some legislation having to do with hunting fishing has already been proposed.

    January 25, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads