Friday, October 31, 2014

It Is Back

Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk
The leucistic Red-tailed Hawk has returned to the Childers Run Road area of Route 33 east of Buckhannon. Barb Sargent reported it last week. i didn't have anywhere to take the dogs to today; so I rode over there. I was hoping to get better photos than last year and accomplished the task. this shot isn't my best one of the day. But, it is the most interesting. It is having Fox Squirrel for lunch. You can also plainly see that it does not have a pink eye.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Its Not Too Late

Shaggy Mane
Shaggy Manes are still popping up this week. I have found several patches. I found these two on Monday in a spot that I have checked at least twice per week since the end of September. I have found shaggies in this spot for the last 8 years. I always found them during the first week of October. I figured that someone else had found them and already took them home.

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

Breakfast Oysters

Oyster Mushrooms
The year 2014 turned out to be a pretty good mushroom year for me. Actually, it was a good September and October after a very dismal start. WV had an antlerless deer season on private land from Thursday until Saturday. I was able to go for a few hours each day; morning and evening. I saw plenty of bucks, several turkeys and a bear; but no does.

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


Shaggy Manes
I do not normally have the chance to pick more mushrooms than I can actually eat. It does happen on occasion with Chicken of the woods and Oysters; but they are simple. Just cook and freeze. I kind of figure that anyone who has ever gathered mushrooms of more than one variety has at sometime placed some Shaggy Manes in the refrigerator for "tomorrow".

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

Fall Turkey Season

West Virginia's fall wild turkey season opens Oct. 11

SOUTH 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.
Hunters are reminded that only one turkey of either sex may be taken during the fall hunting season with either a bow or gun. It is illegal to hunt turkeys in a baited area.
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:          

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sack of Shaggys

Shaggy Mane
I hit the jackpot today o some Shaggy Manes! Things didn't start out well on my search today. (10/8/14) But, I didn't give up. I was driving up a very narrow and crooked mountain road and had someone riding my bumper. I was getting really irritated and pulled off in a wide-spot on top of the mountain. I figured I'd let the dogs out and let the idiot get wherever he was in a hurry to get to.

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

Too Small & Too Old

Lion's Mane
The first part of my Tucker County mushroom search didn't go very well today. I did see one white spot on a tree that showed promise. The closer I got to it; the smaller it seemed. Yep, a Lion's Mane one of my fall favorites. I haven't picked one for several years. Don't let my photo fool you, this one isn't much more than thumb-sized. Oh.well.

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

(c) 2014 High Virginia Outdoors All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

First Shaggy

Shaggy Mane
I picked my first bag-full of Shaggy Manes a little bit ago (10/7/14). Who predicted this on Saturday? Yep, they're starting to pop up. You'd better keep your eyes open or you will not get any.

Shaggy Mane

(c) 2014 High Virginia Images all rights reserved

Heron Fest

Celebrate the heron at Beech Fork State Park during Heron Fest Oct. 11

BARBOURSVILLE, 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

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Lower Than Low

Lower Shavers Fork
We Need Rain, Period. I have never seen the water level as low as it is now at Bowden. This first photo was taken on October 5 from the bridge above the Bowden Hatchery; yes this is the spot where everyone fishes. There is only a small trickle flowing over the little dam. Yes, the place where everyone fishes and can't normally get their Powerbait down to the bottom where the fish are.

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

Coming Soon

Shaggy Mane
You could feel it in the air this morning. Time to pull the pepper plants. Cool and drizzly. Yep, it is time for Shaggy Manes and funny looking sparrows. Soon, the first flakes will fall.

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
Its tough out there in the real world and getting tougher everyday. Nobody will deny that this is a hard place to make a living. Living is a lot different than existing.

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.
Photo 2
I know that this culvert isn't much of an obstacle and it is more so due to the drought that we are in. The rains we are going to get on Friday should make it passable for the spawning trout. but, still it is an obstacle. It does, however produce some current and mixing of oxygen in the water. The fish were all nosed up to it, before I spooked them.
The next photo, #3 is another culvert farther upstream. There were 2 small trout present there, also. They were probably 5 inches long and darted underneath the mini-waterfall.

Photo #3
If these fish could ever get upstream through this culvert, well they wouldn't have much to look forward to, as shown in Photo #4.
Photo #4
Who was it that once said that life is hard; harder if you're stupid? Yep, the poor little brook trout has a tough existence and it is made tougher by idiots. Think About It.

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

October at North Bend

(c) 2012 High Virginia Images

North Bend State Park fills October weekends with fun events

CAIRO, 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 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 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.

Where Do They Go ?

Green Frog
I have a small water garden/goldfish pond in my side-yard. This little patch of space always has something going on of interest. It provides the cleanest water around for many species and is a food source for mink in the dead of winter. I always have resident Green Frogs and breeding American Toads.

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