Wednesday, December 31, 2014
There isn't much in my yard, either. The juncos show up when they see a snowflake. But, they seemingly stay over in the clear-cut most of the time. My Pine Siskins have moved on and I have a couple of Fox Sparrows. That is just about it after you take the goldfinches out of the equation. Yep, we need something new to look at. Bring on the Ducks.
(c)2014 High Virginia Outdoors All Rights Reserved
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Yep, I'm having fresh Oyster Mushrooms right off the stump and some filet minion right off the carcass. The date is 12/14/14 and I'm in the infertile, gloomy and cold environs of Randolph County, WV. Some of you believe that I spend a lot of time searching for all of this stuff. The reality is that most of the things I find are on hour long dog rides. Yep, the only thing that many need to upgrade their quality of life is the ability to see and observe. Nope it will not hurt you one little bit to learn to look and see.
(c) 2014 High Virginia Outdoors Photos (c) High Virginia Images ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Month twelve, Yuk. Cold, gray, brown and white. Here we go again. I have noticed that as we get older years tend to speed up in their passing. Still, it seems as if some weeks can last forever. Think back to January; did you accomplish everything you had planned on doing? Well, you’re about out of time. I know that I am.
I know that I had planned on fishing once per week from January until deer season. That sure didn’t happen. It wasn’t fit to go until April; but I did manage to get out more times than I have since 2007. I guess I can get some partial credit for that. Morel season came and went; I found a couple in my yard. That was it. Ramps and asparagus season was very good and then it was garden time. I got everything out and it seemed fine, by then it was fly-fishing time. July rolled around. Clouds, clouds, clouds no sun; tomatoes died. I still had big plans for a truckload of chanterelles. I might even have some to sell; if all goes well. It didn’t.
I never told anyone about this; until now. I found a massive patch of chanterelles in early August of 2013. They were probably 95% too old when I found them. I had big plans for this patch when July rolled around. The first trip I made over there to check them out was a total bust. Nothing was up, yet. I figured I was just a bit early. Two more trips and about eighty dollars’ worth of gas later; I picked a grand total of 3 chanterelles. You just cannot trust fungi. Lesson learned.
I can always count on getting my fill of Chicken of the Woods in early September. Not this year, I can’t find any.
Things change. It is now late September and I’m finding chickens every time I take the dogs for a ride. Suddenly, I now have a surplus of those beautiful orange things in the freezer to brighten the winter. Yep, you can’t trust fungi. I had never before found any after the 8th or so of the 9th month. If you give up the search; you are guaranteed to never succeed. I found my biggest all-time Shaggy Mane patch in early October and ate shaggies until I didn’t want anymore.
Mid-October brings my thoughts to migratory birds. Not shooting them, just observing. I love finding to ones that most people don’t even realize stop by and visit. Nelson’s Sparrows and Marsh Wrens were very cooperative. I even got glimpses of the elusive Sedge Wren. My goal for the month was finding a Sora in Randolph County. The dogs and I slogged and slogged through the cattails with no success. But, I did find the first for county Marsh Wren.
Fresh venison is in the freezer at the end of the month; taken with ammo I loaded. This ended several years of reloading procrastination for me. I’m proud of that. I’m confident that the rest of deer season will be good and the freezer will be full. December is here already, wow. My mind wanders back to late winter the last several years and all of the mink I have seen run over and wasted. I used to be a pretty good minker; I’m breaking my stuff back out and see if I’ve still got it.That is where I’ll be this month. Merry Christmas
(c) 2014 High Virginia Outdoors
This is my December Article for Two-Lane Livin All Rights Reserved
Monday, December 8, 2014
I have also picked Oyster mushrooms when they were seemingly dried out from the sun. They reconstitute just fine when cooked and always seem to retain their flavor.
This just goes to show you that you will never find anything; if you don't look.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Report hunting and fishing law violations to West Virginia DNRSOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – It's easy to report hunting or fishing law violations in West Virginia, and those reports are helpful in protecting the state's wildlife.
"Anyone who witnesses or is aware of hunting and fishing law violations can call the closest DNR district office, 911 or provide information on the DNR website," said Col Jerry Jenkins, chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Section. "We are doing this to ensure a quicker response to the violations reported by the public."
For non-emergency calls or questions, or to report questionable hunting or fishing activity, telephone calls should be made directly to the closest of six DNR district offices.
For emergencies or to report game law violations in progress, calls should go to local 911 centers or use the DNR website reporting at www.wvdnr.gov/LEnforce/Poachers.shtm which sends information directly to a Natural Resources Police Officer for immediate response.
"Call immediately, any time, day or night, if you see something going on in violation of the state's wildlife laws," said Col. Jenkins. "
When calling, please provide the following information, if known, to a West Virginia Natural Resources Police Officer:
- the nature of the violation;
- the location of the violation;
- the name and/or description of the violator;
- a description of any vehicle and license number or boat involved in the violation;
- any other important information which will assist in apprehending the violator.
District 1 – Farmington 304-825-6787 (Barbour, Brooke, Hancock, Harrison, Marshall, Marion, Monongalia, Ohio, Preston, Taylor, Tucker and Wetzel counties)
District 2 – Romney 304-822-3551 (Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan and Pendleton counties)
District 3 – Elkins 304-637-0245 (Braxton, Clay, Lewis, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Randolph, Upshur and Webster counties)
District 4 – Beckley 304-256-6945 (Fayette, Greenbrier, McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming counties)
District 5 – Nitro 304-759-0703 (Boone, Cabell, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo, Putnam and Wayne counties)
District 6 – Parkersburg 304-420-4550 (Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Jackson, Pleasants, Tyler, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt and Wood counties)
Thursday, November 6, 2014
I enjoy watching some of the upper-North made for TV reality shows. The scenery is usually pretty good and you can actually see bits and pieces of life in remote regions. The statement is invariably made that they have seven months of winter and a short four month growing season. I always think; that’s about what we have here. I always think to myself that yes, they do have some brutal weather conditions but as far as I’m concerned once it is froze up; it doesn't make much difference how much colder it gets. They don’t have to get up and drive to a job miles away six days per week, either. They all have put away stores of smoked salmon and a moose and a couple of caribou sure can be stretched a lot farther than a couple of whitetails. I always believe that they don’t quite have it as hard as they would like for us to believe.
I was watching an episode recently; they were loading ammo for a moose hunt. The statement was made that they couldn't just go to the store and buy their ammo like everyone in the lower 48 can. Yeah, right. During the past decade it has been a challenge to find the ammo you actually want. I always have started in September to try and purchase my needed ammo supply. Some years I have been able to get what I wanted and other times I have had to settle for something that will just do. I found what I needed this year actually in-stock. But, I needed to buy tires. Alas a week later none was to be had. That was my final straw.
I broke out my reloading press which had been idle since 1987. I started gathering supplies and was lucky enough to find everything that I needed; locally! I already had a few hundred used cases for my two rifles; so I was set to go. One week later, I had more ammo loaded up than I will ever have a need for. Yep, a lifetime supply and more accurate than store bought. I’ll never have to go through the annual trying to find it hassle again. That feels real good.
I defrosted my freezer today and it really made me think. Down in the frozen depths were mushrooms, trout, asparagus, blackberries, strawberries, corn, beans and ramps. None of these were purchased from a store. There was a turkey and a little bit of venison in there, too. The venison is definitely running a bit low; but I’m sure that will change over the next couple of months. I have to admit that there are a few bags of store bought frozen peas in there. There are plenty of sugar snap peas, but I’m not shelling out a winter supply of the others. Been there and done that. That is also the reason I don’t grow black-eyed peas anymore, too.
I believe that if you sit back and think about it; we are in the same league as the homesteaders in the upper-North, Maybe they will put us on TV and we will become rich and famous. Not in one of those silly monster shows, either. Happy Thanksgiving and be thankful for what you have and what you can produce.
This is my November 2014 Article for the printed edition of Two-Lane Livin
Sunday, November 2, 2014
I'm so glad that my freezer is full of Spring. I can just look inside and feel the warmth.
I don't care what others say about Japanese Knotweed..It makes a great fence; tall and green. Until the leaves fall.
Then it is DONE.
Friday, October 31, 2014
|Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk|
Thursday, October 30, 2014
This just fortifies what I have learned about predicting fungi this year. just when you think you have them figured out; you find out that you were wrong. I guess you just can't trust a mushroom.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Saturday evening I headed out for the last round and hadn't walked more than 50 yards from my truck; there they were on a poplar stump. The first Oyster Mushrooms I have found in 2 years!! I was satisfied with the find for the day; but about 20 minutes later I had venison to drag. It turned out to be a pretty productive hour.
That is the reason you have to keep on going; you never know when something good will happen. One thing that is for sure; you will not get anything if you are not out there. Oyster Mushrooms by their-selves are hard to beat but when you add fresh tenderloin; it makes a mighty fine Sunday morning breakfast.
(c)2014 High Virginia Outdoors Photos (c) High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Tomorrow never came; did it? Yep that paper towel covered with black goo. Come on admit it now and move on.
I picked more Shaggy Manes than I could eat yesterday and started thinking a little. It doesn't hurt too much. Why do they turn to ink so quickly? It isn't the cold, I've seen live ones sticking up through the snow. Maybe, it is from being cut from the ground; but I've rode them around in the truck all day with no visible effect. Hmmm; maybe good old Oxygen is the culprit. I do tend to think up stuff; at times.
I took some left-over Shaggy Manes and put them in a zi-lock full of water, squeezed all of the air out of the top and put them in the refrigerator. Twenty-four hour later they looked like this? I blotted them real well with paper towels and cooked them. I am happy to report that they were as good as the fresh ones yesterday!! Now we all know...No more ink blobs.
(c) 2014 High Virginia Outdoors ALL Rights Reserved
October. Hearing this word immediately puts visions in my head. I can see the changing leaves falling to the ground; asters and goldenrod swaying in the breeze. I can feel the frosty morning and see the monarchs flutter in the sky during their long southward migration. Monarchs are now pretty scarce these days. Most of us know why and I’m not going to go into the reasons again. Nowadays, most of us have been able to count these once common butterflies that we have seen during the summer on one hand. Things change and often these changes are unexpected and beyond our control. Sometimes change is good; other times it is not.
I can watch the road through town and see that hunting season is near. Pickups and 4-wheelers loaded with corn are now the norm. The anticipation of squirrel season is now gone, too. The woods are silent. I guess squirrels aren’t cool, anymore. Fall turkey season has become a thing for a few dinosaurs and opportunists. Things change. Archery season is now the king of autumn. The only October season I look forward to now; is the late-October antlerless season. I always hope to get one in the freezer at this time. Success during this time will hopefully mean one less day spent in the sub-zero barren deer woods later on.
I really cannot seem to grasp the fascination people have with gadgets. I am amazed every time I make myself go into a store. I cannot believe the people wandering around, oblivious to anything around them except for their stupid phones. They will walk right into you clueless and sad. The same can be said about all of the hunting gadgets out there. I have never owned a trail camera, deer feeder, walkie-talkie, GPS or a 4-wheeler.I’ve never had any use or desire for any of these. But, for so many these are necessary pieces of hunting equipment. I often wonder why more time isn’t spent learning the animal, its habits and the habitat it lives in; instead of relying on technology to fill the freezer. I just cannot seem to understand the thought process. Why do you want to sit and stare at pictures of deer taken at 4am? I just don’t get it.
I always know that when the cold winds blow and I look back at 2014 I will have just as much meat in the freezer as anyone else. The thing that makes me glow is the fact that I spent a whole lot less time, money and fuel to get it. Yes, maybe change is good but maybe we should try to good back to our roots and make life more productive and rewarding.
Yes, sometimes I tend to feel like that old tattered monarch desperately headed south, trying to make the best out of a bad situation just to survive. I think sometimes that some of us have actually evolved to the point that we don’t need gadgets to survive. We have learned through trial and error how to make it on our own; on our own terms. That is a good feeling. I still hope; as the monarch does that things will get better, but my mind knows it probably will not.
This is my article in the October Print Edition of Two-Lane Livin
(c) 2014 High Virginia Outdoors Photo (c) High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved
West Virginia's fall wild turkey season opens Oct. 11SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The fall wild turkey hunting season in West Virginia opens Oct. 11 in selected counties across the state, according to Curtis I. Taylor, chief of the Wildlife Resources Section of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR).
DNR expects the wild turkey harvest this fall to be similar to that of the 2013 fall hunting season, depending upon hunter effort. The average spring weather has given rise to improved brood report numbers, but the abundant oak crop should have flocks scattered throughout the woods.
A total of 34 counties in West Virginia will be open to wild turkey hunting this fall. Counties open to fall turkey hunting include the following:
- Fourteen (14) traditional fall hunting counties will be open to a four-week spilt season (Oct. 11-18 and Oct. 27 – Nov. 15, 2014). Counties include Berkeley, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Tucker and Webster.
- Seven (7) counties will be open to a two-week split season (Oct. 11-18 and Oct. 27 – Nov. 1, 2014). Counties include: Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, Preston, Wirt and Wood.
- Thirteen (13) counties will have a one-week season (Oct. 11-18, 2014). Counties include: : Barbour, Harrison, Jackson, Marion, Mason, Monongalia, Pleasants, Ritchie, Summers, Taylor, Tyler, Wetzel and Wyoming.
More information on the fall wild turkey season and other hunting regulations can be found in the 2014-2015 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary. Copies of this brochure are available at DNR offices, license agents, and on the agency's website: www.wvdnr.gov.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
I looked down the hill and couldn't believe my luck. Right there on the edge of a log road was the biggest patch of Shaggy Manes that I have ever seen. Most of the patches I find consist of about 12 - 20 mushrooms.This patch probably had two hundred. Several were way past prime and were only stalks. Some were turning to ink, But I actually picked 70-80 perfect little ones that were barely visible in the grass. Yep, never quit and always keep on looking. You never know when you will find something good.
(c)2014 High Virginia Outdoors All Rights Reserved
I was able to find a really nice clump of Chicken of the Woods. They would have been a very nice find; last week. Yep, too old.
I traveled on and searched a location that has never failed me in October while the Shaggy Manes are up. Today it failed me.
Things got a lot better, later on. Never give up.
|Chicken of the Woods|
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Celebrate the heron at Beech Fork State Park during Heron Fest Oct. 11BARBOURSVILLE, West Virginia – Heron Fest is a family fun day at West Virginia's largest state park campground, Beech Fork State Park. The Oct. 11 event includes free pontoon boat rides and hay rides, children's games, arts and crafts, gospel music and other events and activities throughout the day. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there is plenty of parking.
The 275-site campground features four distinct areas: Old Orchard, Moxley Branch, Four Coves and Lakeview. Old Orchard, with its 49 sites with full hook-up, is open year-round.
"Heron Fest celebrates what camping should be all about – enjoying the outdoors with family and friends," said Beech Fork Asst. Supt. Dillard Price. "It is a thank-you to campers who have visited state parks over the years. We have a lot of campers who see Beech Fork almost as home. Heron Fest is just a way of expressing our appreciation to our park visitors."
Anyone interested in displaying or selling crafts and artwork at Heron Fest should contact the park prior to the event.
In addition to campsites, Beech Fork has deluxe cabins for rent and is offering discounts as the weather turns colder. When reserving for November through March, ask for the "wildlife watchers" rate.
Beech Fork State Park is located in the southwestern section of West Virginia, near Barboursville and Huntington, and is easily accessible from Interstate 64. For more information about Heron Fest, camping and Beech Fork State Park call 304-528-5794 or www.beechforksp.com.
Sunday, October 5, 2014
|Lower Shavers Fork|
This is the critical time for Brook Trout spawning and I do believe it is going to be though this year. I'm sure they are trapped in many spots. There is a little rain in the forecast for this week. I hope something happens this time; unlike that big rain event we were supposed to get on Friday.
|Shavers Fork Streamflow|
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Look for shaggy blooms in any grassy area. They are hard to see; while road-hunting if an area hasn't been mowed. They are normally too old when you find them in high grass.
They can be found up into early November; if you are lucky. Don't try to keep them. Just take them home and eat them. Enjoy..
Friday, October 3, 2014
|WV Brook Trout|
Before I go any farther; all of these photos were taken on October 2, 2014 in the upper-Roaring Creek watershed on the Rich Mountain Battlefield property in Randolph County, WV.
The first photo is one of two brook trout present at the culvert in photo number 2. I could see 2 brook trout, about 6 creek chubs and a few black-nosed dace present. This is the smallest of the 2 trout.
The trout in this watershed really do have a hard time existing, but exist they do. Many of the headwater tributaries are isolated due to acid-mine drainage. Somehow, the trout continue to survive. They don't flourish but they do manage to hold on; about like the rest of us around here.
(c) 2014 High Virginia Outdoors Photos (c) 2014 High Virginia Images ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Thursday, October 2, 2014
|(c) 2012 High Virginia Images|
North Bend State Park fills October weekends with fun eventsCAIRO, West Virginia – October weekends at North Bend State Park in Ritchie County are a cornucopia of activities. "There is no better time to enjoy the outdoors with color changes, pleasant temperatures and seasonal activities," said Ken Zebo, North Bend's activities coordinator. He is well known by North Bend visitors for his interpretative programs about snakes, birds and the environment. A variety of weekend activities are available to the public at North Bend in October.
Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014 - Hughes River Watershed Celebration
The Friends of the Hughes Watershed Association is celebrating all things water Oct. 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This free, family friendly event is open to anyone who has an interest in learning about preserving water quality and the natural world. Interpretative hikes, educational presentations, aquatic sampling and testing, and wildlife exhibits are all part of this exciting day. Lunch will be provided with several door prize drawings. The festival will take place at the Jug Handle day-use area of the park, just below the dam.
Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 - 10 Mile Hike
Celebrate autumn by taking a hike on the North Bend Rail Trail. Bring plenty of water, a lunch and snacks, and dress for the weather. Hikers will meet at Shelter #3 at 8 a.m. in North Bend State Park and take shuttles into Pennsboro, hiking the rail trail back to the park. There will be opportunities to see the historic Pennsboro Railroad Depot, the small town charm of Pennsboro and Ellenboro, natural springs, and several tunnels and bridges.
Hikers must register for van space by Oct. 9 by calling 304-643-2931 or email Kenneth.T.Zebo@wv.gov. Shuttles will leave the park at 8:30 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 - Ritchie County Car Club Fall Classic Car Show
There is no better setting for a day of fun, food and classic cars than North Bend State Park. The Fall Classic Car Show will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the "Old Playground Area" of the park (on the way to River Run campground from North Bend Lodge). Registration starts at 9 a.m. and closes at noon. Trophies for the top 10 vehicles and the best of show will be awarded at 3 p.m. T-shirts will be given to the first 50 entries, and there will be a 50/50 drawing and door prizes. For more information about the event, contact car club members Dave at 304-869-3969, Larry at 304-659-3797 or Bill at 304-873-2676.
Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014 - Nature Programs
An Autumn Tree Hike starts at the Nature Center at 11:30 a.m. with Naturalist Ken Zebo. Enjoy the fall foliage during peak leaf peeping season and learn to identify native West Virginia trees. The trail is flat and easy to walk with a portion paved.
The Nature Center is open from 1 to 3 p.m.
"Creek Critters" at 3:30 p.m. and an opportunity to put on your water shoes and get wet! Zebo introduces attendees to the smaller world of critters that inhabit local creeks and streams. Using nets to collect these tiny animals and view them up close is part of the learning experience. This activity meets at the Nature Center.
Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014 – Nature Programs
The Nature Center is open from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
A Euell Gibbons Trail Hike starts at noon from the River Run Campground. Euell Gibbons was a pioneer in the wild foods movement and a frequent visitor to North Bend. Learn about some wild foods growing in the forests of North Bend and the teachings and history of Euell Gibbons.
"Venom and Poison" is a Ken Zebo program about what not to touch in the woods. Beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the Nature Center, learn how to identify dangerous plants and animals with discussion about venomous animals and poisonous plants.
Wednesday, Oct. 22 through Sunday, Oct. 26 – Quilters Getaway
Enjoy the peaceful setting of North Bend State Park in the fall while spending time with friends and sharing ideas. Spend a relaxing weekend working on projects and taking classes from master quilters. Expert instruction and quilting classes will be featured in "Celebrations," a holiday table runner class and "Big Stitch Quilting," a class done with #8 pearl cotton threads to give your project an old fashioned look. Registration is required for this popular event and lodge rooms are recommended. Contact North Bend State Park for pricing and registration information.
Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 – Halloween Party
Celebrate Halloween at North Bend State Park with a family friendly Halloween movie and party in Shelter #3 near the Amphitheatre. A costume contest begins at 6 p.m. with the movie and refreshments starting at 6:30 p.m. The party is free and open to the public. All ages welcome!
To learn more about North Bend State Park, visit www.northbendsp.com. North Bend State Park is located in Ritchie County near Cairo and Harrisville. The park features a lodge, vacation cabins, campgrounds, lake for fishing, canoeing and kayaking, hiking trails and the North Bend Rail Trail.
Semi-resident should be the key word when describing the Green Frogs. This pond has been there since 1987 and every year the frogs are gone by mid-June. They always return in late-September and winter in the pond. They started showing back up around September 24th or there about. I had been looking for them everyday for the previous couple of weeks. I am just curious as to where they choose to spend their summer vacation. There are no ditches or any other water within what I would think to be frog travelling distance. Does anyone know where they go??
(c) 2014 High Virginia Outdoors Photo (c) 2014 High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved
Sunday, September 28, 2014
I have found a lot during the last 7 days or so and now have close to twenty pounds of frozen Chicken of the Woods. They will sure make our seven month winter a little more tolerable. I have yet to find ANY oyster mushrooms this year. You would think that with all of the rotting stumps in this country they should be everywhere. I an hoping that our fall rains will result in a good bloom before everything freezes up. Shaggy Manes should be popping up soon, too. Yep, things can quickly change; if you don't give up.
Note: To freeze Chicken of the Woods you must first saute them in olive oil or butter and then freeze them Chicken broth is another simmering option. Try whatever you want, but they must be heated before freezing.
(c) 2014 High Virginia Outdoors Photos (c) High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved
Friday, September 26, 2014
The first photo is corn stalks dumped at one of my favorite bird spots. The second one is a bag full of corn stalks dumped at the same spot, about 15 feet away. which do you prefer? Leaves are another thing that will soon be dumped. That will then be followed by deer remains. I have no problem with either if you take your plastic back home. Everything else will soon decompose or be consumed; not PLASTIC BAGS !!
Thursday, September 25, 2014
|Bigtooth Aspen (c) High Virginia Images|
Final Walk Between the Parks event Oct. 4 at Canaan Valley Resort and Blackwater Falls state parksDAVIS, West Virginia– The final Walk Between the Parks event of 2014 is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 4. The walk between Canaan Valley Resort State Park and Blackwater Falls State Park is an 8-mile / 4-hour scenic hike and is considered moderately strenuous.
"In the fall, the Walk Between the Parks allows hikers to enjoy exceptional fall foliage up-close-and-personal," said David Vance, walk leader and guide.
The season finale hike includes a cookout lunch at the halfway point along the trail. The menu consists of hamburgers, hotdogs, chips, fresh fruit, cookies and cold/hot drinks. Supplies for lunch are brought in for the cookout, but hikers should carry their own water and snacks. Hikers will encounter wet and rocky terrain and are encouraged to wear hiking boots or cross-country walking shoes and carry their own water and snacks.
"I've been leading these hikes since 2006 and I can honestly say that each hike offers something new," said Vance. "But it's the fellowship you experience on these hikes that keep people coming back year after year."
Shuttle service will leave the Main Lodge of Canaan Valley Resort State Park at 9 a.m. and take hikers to the starting point at Blackwater State Park; or hikers can meet at the Blackwater Falls State Park Farm Discovery Center at 10 a.m. The shuttle will return to Blackwater Falls State Park between 2 and 5 p.m. to return hikers who started from Canaan Valley Resort.
Registration fee is $25 for adults and $15 for children ages 6-12. The fee includes an event memento, cookout and shuttle service from Canaan Valley Resort State Park. Register online at www.canaanresort.com or in-person Saturday morning from 7 to 8:30 a.m. Because of its popularity, early registration is recommended for this event.
Canaan Valley Resort State Park, located in Tucker County, is a four-season mountain destination and the highest mountain valley east of the Rocky Mountains, with a base elevation of 3,100 feet. Nestled among 6,000+ acres on a plateau overlooking the valley, the resort offers sweeping views of the surrounding peaks.
The newly renovated Main Lodge boasts 160 new guestrooms and has recently been awarded a three-star rating by AAA. In addition to the lodge rooms, the resort offers 23 cabins and cottages, 34 campground sites and more than 25,000 square feet of conference space consisting of 10 meeting rooms, an exhibit hall and an outdoor pavilion. Visit the resort website at www.canaanresort.com or call 800-622-4121 for more information.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
|Northern Red Oak|
SOUTH CHARLESTON, West Virginia – The 2014 "Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook" is available on the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources website and printed copies will soon be available at DNR offices across the state, according to Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section. Since 1971, the Wildlife Resources Section, in cooperation with volunteers from numerous other agencies, has conducted a fall mast survey to determine the abundance of mast produced by 18 species of trees and shrubs.
"The availability of fall foods has significant impact on wildlife populations and harvests," said Taylor. "Our biologists have used the mast survey data to demonstrate the strong correlation between mast conditions and deer, bear and turkey harvests. In addition to the impacts on harvests, the amount of food available each year can affect the reproductive success of numerous species which will affect population sizes in following years."
Production of acorns is much improved over 2013 and will have noticeable effects on the 2014-2015 hunting seasons. However, hickory and beech produced mast well below the 43-year average. Considering all 18 species of trees and shrubs surveyed, food conditions are at the long-term average.
"It is very important for hunters to scout and consider the type and amount of food available in the areas that they hunt," added Taylor. "One of the primary traits of this year's mast crop is its consistency across the landscape. Hunters can find a wealth of facts in the 'Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook' and it should provide them valuable information before heading into the field."
Copies of the 2014 "Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook" may be downloaded from the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov under "Hunting." Information analyzing mast conditions and wildlife harvests also is available on the website.
Seems to me that they should also include a commodity index for the price of corn.
Monday, September 22, 2014
Sunday, September 21, 2014
West Virginia Invasive Species Strategic Plan out for public commentSOUTH CHARLESTON, West Virginia – The draft "West Virginia Invasive Species Strategic Plan" is now available for public comment.
"Non-native invasive species cost West Virginia millions of dollars every year," said Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section. "These plants, animals and pathogens reproduce rapidly and have no native predators, so they have become a leading cause of biodiversity loss worldwide. They reduce timber regeneration, lower mast production, degrade wildlife habitat and decrease stream quality."
Annual losses and control costs for invasive species in the U.S. are estimated to exceed $127 billion.
The strategic plan is intended to enable West Virginia and all entities operating within its borders to address the threats posed by terrestrial and aquatic invasive species, including pathogens, which occur or may occur, in the state. Modeled after similar plans nationwide, the plan describes the status of invasive species in West Virginia and proposes a comprehensive set of goals and strategies to address their impacts. This voluntary plan is designed to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of all stages of invasive species management efforts that occur wholly or partially within the state of West Virginia.
Recommended management goals include:
- Early Detection
- Rapid Response
- Control and Management
- Research and Risk Assessment, and
- Education and Outreach
The West Virginia Invasive Species Working Group first proposed the plan several years ago. It has been developed with the expertise of dozens of professionals from various agencies and organizations across the state.
Major contributors include The Nature Conservancy, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, The West Virginia Division of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, West Virginia Department of Agriculture, and the Potomac Highlands Cooperative Weed and Pest Management Area. Development of the plan was funded in part by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force through the Maryland Sea Grant.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Today (9/19/14) started out the same. I decided to check out a Barbour County road where I saw some too old chickens last year. I hadn't gone very far up the road and there was an oak log that was totally covered with Chicken of the Woods; way too old ones. I barely had to slow down to make that determination. Yep, same old same old should have been there last week. I continued onward and after a short distance there was an old, very nasty yellow and orange looking Lion's Mane growing on a beech tree.
I guess mushroom hunting is about like turkey hunting; you sure aren't going to get anything if you are not out there. I was thinking that at least I'm headed towards a spot where the dogs like to walk. Then I saw it; a small clump of fresh chickens on a stump. Not many, but enough for a meal. It was the little clump on the right side of the photo. Well, at least it wasn't another couple of gallons wasted on a foraging trip. I gathered them and headed on.
I was nearing the end of productive mushroom woods and happened to look up on the hill and there they were; a nice bunch growing in the top of a Sandy snapped tree. I could barely reach them but i managed to get them all and only fall over the hill, once. I now have enough to eat this weekend and enough to freeze for Thanksgiving. This is the latest in the season that I have ever found any good Chicken of the Woods. I figured we are about into the period of nothing except for Oysters and Shaggy Manes. Things look up when you don't give up.
(c)2014 High Virginia Outdoors Photos (c) 2014 High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved
Thursday, September 18, 2014
WVDNR Law Enforcement officers seize illegally harvested ginseng in southern West VirginiaBECKLEY, West Virginia – A year-long investigation by Natural Resources Police Officers in southern West Virginia has resulted in 11 arrests and the seizure of 190 pounds of dry ginseng that was illegally harvested before the ginseng digging season began Sept. 1. The estimated market value of the ginseng is $180,000.
In addition to the ginseng, officers also seized multiple stolen guns, illegal drugs and pills, and $30,000 in cash, according to Lt. Woodrow Brogan of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Law Enforcement District 4 office in Beckley. District 4 includes the counties of Fayette, Greenbrier, Raleigh, Wyoming, McDowell, Mercer, Summers and Monroe.
"The legal digging and selling of ginseng root has been a part of the culture of southern Appalachia for more than a hundred years," Lt. Brogan said. "Many people in this area have supplemented their income by digging ginseng, almost all of which is exported to Asia. In the past, they took care to preserve the resource, but we've noticed in recent years an increase in people wanting to make a 'fast buck' by digging and selling as much ginseng as possible, both in season and out. Much of that increased activity includes unlicensed dealers trading illegal pills for ginseng root."
Working with officials with the West Virginia Division of Forestry, which regulates the ginseng digging season and licenses dealers, DNR police officers investigated and conducted two weeks of multiple raids on illegal diggers and dealers, confiscating the dry ginseng and other items.
Eleven arrests have been made to date and several more arrest warrants are expected in the near future as this is an ongoing investigation, according to Lt. Brogan.
About West Virginia's Ginseng Season
West Virginia's 2014 ginseng digging season began Sept. 1 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 30. The native herb grows in all of the state's 55 counties and is ready to harvest when its berries turn red. West Virginia state law requires "sengers," those who dig the root, to only harvest plants with three or more prongs. The number of prongs indicates the age of the plant. Only plants 5 years old and older can legally be harvested. In addition, sengers are required to replant the berries/seeds from the parent plant in the spot where they harvested it to help continue the species.
The following laws also apply to the harvesting of ginseng:
- No permit is needed to dig wild ginseng, but anyone digging ginseng on someone else's property must carry written permission from the landowner allowing him or her to harvest ginseng on the property.
- Digging ginseng on public lands, including state forests, wildlife management areas or state parks, is prohibited.
- Diggers have until March 31 of each year to sell to a registered West Virginia ginseng dealer or have roots weight-receipted at one of the Division of Forestry weigh stations.
- Possession of ginseng roots is prohibited from April 1 through Aug. 31 without a weight-receipt from the West Virginia Division of Forestry.
Monday, September 8, 2014
|Female Familiar Bluet|
|Male Familiar Bluet|
Find, prepare and eat wild foods during Nature Wonder Weekend Sept. 19-21, 2014, at North Bend State ParkCAIRO, West Virginia – Forty-seven years and still wildly popular is Nature Wonder Weekend at North Bend State Park. This year's event is set for Sept. 19-21. The late nature author Euell Gibbons initiated an interest in wild food, turning dandelions and paw paws into gourmet delicacies. The event, North America's premier and longest-running wild foods event, begins Friday evening and concludes Sunday afternoon. It includes speakers, presentations, nature walks, and collection and preparation of wild foods.
"This year's event has a focus on mushrooms," said organizer Emily Fleming. "Gary Lincoff of New York City is the featured speaker with the assistance of members of the West Virginia Mushroom Club."
Lincoff has led mushroom study trips and forays worldwide and is a featured "Myco-visionary" in the award-winning documentary "Know Your Mushrooms." Lincoff is also the author of the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms.
The weekend activities include a park tour, dinner, presentations, the Hazel Wood National Wild Food Cooking Contest and the Bill Faust Wild Cake Contest. The Wild Drink Contest winner is awarded the honorary Maxine Scarbro Friendship Cup.
"Many guests return year after year for Nature Wonder Weekend, Fleming said. "Individuals attending for the first time are always amazed at the types of wild foods often overlooked as well as the presentations and the afternoon wild food social hour. Mushrooms and other edibles are always fascinating to learn about and to learn how to prepare."
The weekend offers overnight packages as well as day-only attendance options. The individual cost is $169 when two people share a room. This rate includes five meals, all activities and programs. Other rates are available for single occupancy room, cabins, and fees for only the activities. To register, please contact Wendy Greene at the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources at 304-558-2754 or email Wendy.L.Greene@wv.gov. Reservation forms and additional information also are available online at the Event Calendar listings at www.northbendsp.com. Overnight options include lodge rooms, cabins or camping sites. Please specify your preference during registration.
Although wild foods are featured throughout the weekend, five conventional meals will be provided by the North Bend Lodge Restaurant.
Nature Wonder Weekend Schedule
Registration begins at the North Bend State Park Lodge Friday, Sept. 19, from 2 to 8 p.m. A park tour is scheduled at 3 p.m. and a buffet dinner is at 6:30 p.m. A Wild Foods Cooking Contest will be held that evening, including prizes for best wild food cooks, best wild cake and best wild drink.
After Saturday breakfast, small groups will take guided hikes in search of edible wild foods. Following lunch, the groups will prepare wild foods for the social hour that evening. A buffet dinner is available in the lodge restaurant Saturday evening.
Sunday will include a morning worship service and a wild foods workshop.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Nope, we are not going to discuss fishing from or in trees; although I have seen a few people spend a good portion of their time casting into said trees. I do believe that the majority of fish will be caught in some type of water. Terrestrials to the fishing world are land based insects that sometimes end up falling in the water and therefore become fish food. The cooler nights of September change fish back into a daytime feeding pattern. The combined effects of heat and less available oxygen during the peak of summer make most of our fish species predominately nocturnal predators.
Low water levels make river and stream fishing difficult at this time of the year, The fish are there and are feeling the lean times of winter approaching. They want to eat and will feed on whatever is most abundant. The mayfly and caddis fly hatches are over; with a few exceptions. Minnow and crayfish populations have thinned out over the summer. What does that leave out there for forage? Things that haplessly fall in or are blown into the water become the most reliable food source.
Waters that are bordered by grassy areas tend to have an abundant population of grasshoppers. Where do some of the grasshoppers end up anytime something walks by? Fish know that, too. I love fishing high mountain streams when the leaves are beginning to show some color. Careful wading is a must to prevent spooking the fish. Fine tippets are not needed and often a less than perfect cast which makes your grasshopper pattern land with a plop; often works best. You probably will not notice any rising fish. Casts should be made to ambush spots such as points sticking out into the water or overhanging vegetation. You never know what may be laying there and waiting for a meal. Rises are not dainty little sips, either. You should use a much heavier tippet than you would when normally dry fly fishing. This one tip will save some heartache when you see red spots the size of your thumbnail.
Now I know some of you are thinking: I don’t have any grassy meadows or sods nearby. Don’t worry. There is another option. Actually there are two other options. Overhanging trees and rock ledges tend to be hotspots. Just think of the menu underneath a tree: Ants, Beetles, Caterpillars, Leaf-hoppers and Spiders; just to mention a few. Sounds like a good place for fish dinner and the food supply is replenished with every breeze. Try sitting and staring alongside a rock ledge that meets the water sometime. Spend fifteen minutes and you will be enlightened. It is unbelievable how many creatures fall into the water. There is always something rolling in. Fish know that; you should too.
Those of you that are looking for something peaceful to do between now and when the snow starts flying should get an empty fly box and prepare it for your autumn trips. Yes, trips. I know that after you go once during this un-traditional time you will keep going back. Fill up your box with grasshopper, beetle and ant patterns. Throw in a few small Slate Drakes and Blue-winged Olives and you will be set for anything that happens. Enjoy.
This is my article in the September 2014 print issue of Two-Lane Livin
(c) 2014 High Virginia Outdoors
Saturday, September 6, 2014
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources receives grant to address White-nose Syndrome in batsSOUTH CHARLESTON, West Virginia – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced grant awards totaling $1,276,088 to 30 states for white-nose syndrome (WNS) projects, including a $45,700 grant to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section (WRS). These funds will be used to monitor the state's bat populations and assist with research efforts focusing on White-Nose Syndrome, a disease which affects cave-dwelling bats.
First discovered in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, the disease has spread through the eastern U.S. and parts of Canada, and continues to move westward. To date, the disease has been found in 25 states and five Canadian provinces. WNS was first documented in West Virginia in February 2009. White-Nose Syndrome is caused by a cold-loving fungus which affects bats while they are in hibernation.
Mortality from the disease can be extremely high, and the impact of WNS varies with bat species. The bat which appears to be hit the hardest is the little brown bat. Prior to the appearance of WNS, this species was one of the most common bats in the state. Winter surveys conducted by WRS biologists to monitor hibernating bats indicate that in West Virginia this species has declined by more than 96 percent since the winter of 2008-2009.
The WRS surveys also show an 87 percent decline in tricolored bat populations and an 80 percent decline in Indiana bats, a species which was considered endangered even before WNS appeared. Because all bats in West Virginia feed solely on insects, the loss of these bats results in a loss of a source of natural insect control.
The federal funds the WRS is receiving will fund biologists to monitor populations of bats in winter and summer, assist with ongoing research looking for ways to control WNS, and to participate in regional and national workshops addressing this disease.
Additional information about WNS is available at www.whitenosesyndrome.org/.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
|Male Common Whitetail|
Got you thinking now, don't I? There are around 130-140 different species that may be possibly found in West Virginia. I am going to start out with one of our most common Odonata. The Common Whitetail (Libellula lydia) is a thick, stocky dragonfly that may be found statewide near any muddy bottomed pond, river or stream.It prefers to perch on a horizontal position on logs or rocks. The photo of the male was taken at Mill Creek Reservoir in Barbour County, WV. The female photo was taken at Condon Run in the Otter Creek Wilderness Area of Randolph County, WV.
|Female Common Whitetail|