Wednesday, December 30, 2015

WV Trout Stocking Changes

West Virginia's trout stocking begins Jan. 4; WVDNR announces changes for 2016

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The 2016 trout stocking season that begins Monday, Jan. 4, will see several changes, according to Bret Preston, assistant chief for the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section.
Seven streams and one pond have been removed from the 2016 trout stocking schedule. These streams are either too small, have very limited angler access, few stocking locations, poor trout habitat, or a combination of these characteristics.
These streams include Deer Creek in Nicholas County, Long Marsh Run in Jefferson County, Lower Cove Run in Hardy County, Mill Run of Back Creek in Berkeley County, both the North and South forks of Fishing Creek in Wetzel County, and South Fork of Potts Creek in Monroe County. The smaller of the two Larenim Park lakes was removed from the stocking list due to the lack of adequate vehicle access.
Buffalo Creek in Clay County has been added to the stocking schedule. Remediation from historical mining activities, habitat improvement, and acquisition of public access made it a great candidate for put-and-take trout stocking. DNR personnel will stock Buffalo Creek in a 3.75-mile section in the Swandale Road area on a monthly stocking schedule.
The 2016 fishing regulations brochure, available at license agents, WVDNR offices and online at www.wvdnr.gov, lists which waters will receive one stocking during January. The stocking schedule is dependent upon weather and road conditions.
DNR Wildlife Resources personnel will start stocking at a high rate to promote trout distribution during periods of good stream flow. Reducing the number of trout in the hatcheries early in the year helps promote trout growth and provides larger fish for anglers throughout the entire spring stocking season, which concludes May 31.
Anglers can call the Fishing Hotline at 304-558-3399 or visit the website at www.wvdnr.gov to find out which streams and lakes have been stocked each day. Anglers also are reminded that new fishing licenses are required for 2016 and may be purchased at a license agent or online at www.wvfish.com.    
Anglers are also encouraged to check out DNR's online interactive map at www.mapwv.gov/huntfish. The map indicates which streams and lakes are stocked, the stream section that is stocked, special fishing regulation areas, and driving directions to stocked waters.
DNR

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sportfishing Industry Lists 2015 Top Recreational Fishing Advocacy Accomplishments

Sportfishing Industry Lists 2015 Top Recreational Fishing Advocacy Accomplishments
Significant progress made in several key areas for recreational fishing’s future
Alexandria, VA – December 15 – 2015 - Over the course of 2015, numerous legislative, public policy and advocacy activities occurred that will have a lasting impact on recreational fishing’s future. The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) today recounted seven of the top recreational fishing advocacy accomplishments of 2015.
“I’m extremely proud of ASA’s efforts to promote fisheries conservation and access to help ensure a strong future for our industry,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. “While we certainly face many challenges in the future, our work in 2015 leaves us well-positioned to face those challenges and build upon the positive social, economic and conservation values that recreational fishing provides to the nation.”
Sport Fish RestorationSport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund Reauthorization
This month, Congressional conferees reached a five-year agreement to operate and fund national highway and surface transportation. As part of this agreement, ASA, along with its partners in the Angling & Boating Alliance, prevailed in securing approximately $600 million per year for the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, nearly 60 percent of which goes towards fisheries conservation programs. The conference agreement cleared the House and Senate on December 3, and the President signed it into law on December 4.
KFFIndustry Unites to Keep Florida Fishing
ASA’s board of directors determined that an initiative specific to Florida was needed to ensure that anglers and the industry’s priorities were taken into consideration when polices or decisions were made that impact recreational fishing in the number one recreational fishing state in the U.S. Working with its partners in Florida, ASA launched the Keep Florida Fishing initiative, with the goal of ensuring that Florida’s resident and visiting anglers have clean water, abundant fisheries and access to both. ASA hired a Florida-based coalition manager and fisheries policy director for this effort.
Magnuson StevensFederal Marine Fisheries Law Passes House 
This past June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the primary statute governing the nation’s marine fisheries. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), contained several provisions including: promote transparency and science-based review of fishery allocations; help to ensure fisheries aren’t unnecessarily closed by provided limited exceptions for annual catch limits; collect and incorporate better angling data and improve the accuracy of fish stock information through greater involvement by the states; and provide NOAA Fisheries the authority to implement better management practices for recreational fishing.
EvergladesEverglades Management Plan Balances Access and Conservation
The recreational fishing and boating community expressed its collective appreciation to Everglades National Park officials for making meaningful progress to improve habitat conservation while allowing for public access in the final Everglades General Management Plan (GMP). Park officials worked closely with members of the recreational fishing and boating community to identify ways to better facilitate fishing access while minimizing boating impacts to important habitat, namely seagrass.
Capitol HillSportfishingPAC Gives Industry a Stronger Voice on Capitol Hill
In 2015, ASA reinvigorated its Political Action Committee, the SportfishingPAC, to raise funds from ASA member company executives and professional personnel to support Congressional elections and re-election campaigns of Members of Congress who support the interests of the recreational fishing community. Over the course of the year, SportfishingPAC supported 32 pro-sportfishing candidates, with a roughly even split between the House and Senate and Democrats and Republicans.
NOAA WrapupNOAA Unveils National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy
This past February, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) unveiled a national saltwater recreational fishing policy which was greeted enthusiastically by sportfishing and boating leaders. ASA had urged the agency to develop a saltwater recreational fishing management policy and provided comments to inform the final policy. The first-of-its-kind, the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy was one of the key recommendations of the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management, of which ASA was a contributor.
Congressional VisitSportfishing Industry Leaders Meet with Congressional Members
This past April, recreational fishing industry leaders met with Members of Congress to advocate not just for the industry’s business interests, but for the entire recreational fishing community as part of the annual spring Government Affairs Committee meeting. Committee members met with more than two dozen Members of Congress or their staff, including leadership of key Congressional committees that oversee fisheries and natural resource management. Committee members are also ASA members and represent a wide spectrum of the industry and the sportfishing community.
“These positive efforts, and many others, have created a strong foundation for the future,” said Nussman. “We still have many significant legislative and policy issues to address in 2016 and beyond, such as passage of the Sportsmen’s Act; fixing the current mismanagement of Gulf of Mexico red snapper; and preventing unwarranted marine monument closures to recreational fishing.”
“Being successful in these areas and others will require an active and united recreational fishing community who are all pulling in the same direction,” Nussman concluded.
###
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry a unified voice, speaking out on behalf of sportfishing and boating industries, state and federal natural resource agencies, conservation organizations, angler advocacy groups and outdoor journalists when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring social, economic and conservation values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America's 46 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation's waterways through KeepAmericaFishing™, our angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate more than $48 billion in retail sales with a $115 billion impact on the nation's economy creating employment for more than 800,000 people.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

COLD, COLD, COLD

COLD, COLD, COLD
I think that was a Little Feat song. I just pulled it from somewhere in the back of my mind. It just seems appropriate. Yes, it is here. Bleak dreary horizons and naked skeleton trees; the shades of gray have taken over. Some lucky inhabitants get to hibernate. The fortunate ones migrate. The rest just exist.
I had seen and endured all of the snow I ever needed to see by the time the seventies were over. I have to admit that when I lived in places where it didn’t snow; it was pretty nice to get a little shot of snow and cold, on rare occasions. I like wintertime beaches when nobody else is there. I guess that as we age our tolerance for inconveniences diminish. Winter and the dead of summer are to two most unwelcome things in my life. I get no pleasure from either.
The December day I dread most is that day when I harvest the last deer I need for the freezer. That is the day I know it is over. Nothing to do until it is time to dig some ramps. I don’t tend to run on the same calendar as most of you do. I know that winter doesn’t officially begin until almost Christmas. Thanksgiving week is the start of winter to me. The last days of harvest time are closing in. It seems to me that the only things we do around here are get ready for winter and endure winter. Blah.
We tend to hear a lot from the outdoor type experts about layering for the cold temperatures. I have heat in the house and heat in my vehicle. I have wool behind the seat of my truck. I can run the snow blower with my ventilators and wool socks just fine. I can make a couple of mad dashes to fill up the birdfeeders. I love wool and have all that I need, but I’m not planning on staying out in that mess any longer than I have to. The only layers I need are layers in the freezer; they start with ramps and asparagus and end with venison. There are lots of fillers in between. Those are the only layers I worry about.
I guess the only thing I like about winter is when the Great Lakes freeze over and we get an interesting push of waterfowl into our area. I always look forward to the opportunity to see some rarities. The anticipation of the unexpected is the one thing that keeps me out there in the frigid months; searching for spots of open water. Several years ago I found a spot where I could watch a flock of wild turkeys ice skate across the river to a stand of oak trees. They made the trek nearly every day. That was my favorite sight to see during the winter and I never told anyone about it until just now. The oaks were cut down this spring. Just another memory, now.

I’m not a total scrooge and I hope that everyone wanting a white Christmas gets their wish. You can even have it right into the New Year; but that should be enough. So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year if I don’t win the Powerball; I’ll still be here.

This is my article for the December 2015 issue of Two-Lane Livin
(c)2015 High Virginia Outdoors Photo (c) High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved

Virginia Deer Attractants

The Outdoor Report

Natural Deer Urine Attractants Illegal in Virginia – Alert to ALL Virginia Hunters…

To Virginia’s Deer Hunters,
As all of you hopefully know by now, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries adopted a new regulation effective this fall that made it illegal to possess or use deer scents and lures that contain natural deer urine or other bodily fluids while taking, attempting to take, attracting, or scouting wildlife in Virginia.  The Department took this proactive action to help minimize the risk of introducing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) into new areas in Virginia.  CWD poses a real and significant risk to Virginia’s deer herd.  It could also have a devastating impact on deer hunting which generates over $500 million dollars annually to the state’s economy.
Over the past months, there have been several articles in Virginia newspapers or in the national outdoor press by persons questioning the need for, and the science behind, Virginia’s CWD urine ban.  Unfortunately, these writers have based their opinions on distortions of the facts and truth about CWD.  The most basic fact that is omitted from these articles is that nearly all of the critics of the Virginia urine ban who have taken time to write have direct economic ties to the captive deer industry.  To quote Upton Sinclair, a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it.”  Let’s take a look at a few of their CWD facts and science.
The first item the urine ban naysayers will mention is research that suggests CWD transmission by urine is a low risk.  Low risk is not zero risk.  What they fail to mention is the rest of the story.  The infectious agents that cause CWD (prions) are shed by CWD-infected deer in urine, saliva, and feces and saliva and feces are reported to be higher risk than urine.  Deer urine is collected from captive deer by housing these deer on grates or slatted floors, and any other fluids shed by these deer (saliva, feces, etc.) are also collected.  Consequently, these deer urine products also contain both deer saliva and deer feces.  Furthermore, research has clearly demonstrated that environmental contamination from CWD-infected materials (urine, saliva, and/or feces) will continue to transmit CWD for years.  No CWD-infected animals even need to be present, only the environmental contamination from CWD-infected urine, saliva, and/or feces.
The second assertion the critics of the urine ban make is that the urine only comes from captive deer herds that have been continuously monitored for CWD for five consecutive years and are considered certified deer herds.  This statement is false.  Deer urine is not a regulated industry or product and there is no federal or state agency that can certify deer urine based products as CWD-free.
In fact, there is no CWD-free captive deer certification or monitoring program.  The five-year CWD monitoring program the urine supporters frequently mention is a loose reference to a voluntary national US Department of Agriculture (USDA) CWD captive herd certification program that was initiated in 2012.  Under this USDA program captive deer herds that have been monitored for at least five consecutive years are certified “as low risk for CWD”.  This national CWD monitoring program is administered by individual states whose state CWD monitoring programs are USDA approved.  Unfortunately, since 2012 CWD has been detected in at least four captive deer herds that were certified as low risk for CWD.   A fifth CWD certified captive deer herd withdrew from their state/USDA CWD monitoring program and was found to be CWD positive several months later.  When this fifth deer pen was depopulated 80% of the deer in it were CWD positive.  The national USDA CWD herd certification program commonly cited as the captive deer industry’s safety net is not mandatory and, more importantly, recent CWD events clearly show that it does not and cannot guarantee that captive deer herds are CWD-free.
Lastly, the most outlandish of the critics of the urine ban assertions is that the captive deer industry deer herds are less of a CWD risk than wild free-ranging deer.  To date, CWD has been found in more than 140 captive deer herds in 16 states and two Canadian provinces.
Over the past twenty plus years, the Department’s deer management staff has taken deer management positions and enacted regulations to be as proactive as possible with regards to trying to keep CWD out of Virginia.  Our goal with the urine ban is to minimize the risk of introducing CWD into new areas in Virginia to protect the long-term health of the Virginia deer herd and to protect our wild free-ranging fair chase Virginia deer hunting heritage for the current and future generations.

Matt Knox
Deer Program Coordinator
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
matt.knox@dgif.virigina.gov

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Tick Tock

Tick Tock
Yes, we are winding down. One more year is just about in the books. Winter is bearing down. Harvest season is nearly over. Venison is all that is left. The holiday season is upon us. I do not get too excited about Thanksgiving. It is always Thanksgiving; here.
I am sorry; but when I think about deer hunting the first thing that pops into my mind is cold. Boring and cold may describe it better. I have spent too many hours staring at a desolate hillside; hoping to just see some sign of life. Bleak and desolate seems to be the norm. A lone woodpecker can be the excitement of the day. Stare at your feet for a while; pull the wool up over your face for a while. Stare, stare, and stare. Hope for a glimpse of brown or white. Stare some more, doze off, wake up and stare. Shiver a little, eat something frozen from your backpack, and drink a little ice crystal water and stare.
You hear a few shots in the distance; nothing very close. Maybe they will stir something up. Probably not. Cold; will the sun ever reach this side of the hill? Your mind wanders and you stare some more. Silence, nothing is stirring not even a shrew. A goshawk lights in a tree; it stares. Nothing here. It flies away; headed towards the sun. Finally; it is late morning and sunlight reaches you. It feels so good, the shivers go away. You know in your rational mind that the temperature has only risen 2 degrees. You don’t care; there is light. Something rustles in the leaves; a vole. Birds begin to tweet, Squirrels begin to stir. There is life.
You hear something moving up the hollow. Ten minutes of eternity elapse before you can see what it is. Three gobblers glisten in the sunbeams as they slowly feed up the hill. They disappear from sight. A stick breaks and you are on high alert; then you see orange on the next ridge over. Two hunters are moving towards the top. You know what will happen; soon. The orange dots disappear over the ridgeline. You have been there before. Tick-Tock The anticipation level rises.
A speck of brown trots around the hillside; bad angle and you can see that it is a spike. You hold your ground and stare. The spike slows down and begins to feed in some grapes a hundred yards away. You wait. You know what will happen, soon. That comes from experience. High Noon, soon. Here they come, straight towards the saddle you have been standing in for the past 5 hours. Eight; no nine. Two decent bucks are amongst them. Two hundred yards, one-fifty, one hundred; they stop when they hit the low gap. Fifty yards; bang, It is over.
Field dress and drag straight down the ridge. Back the truck up into the ditch and drag the deer right into the truck bed. Experience once again. Drink your other quart of water that you left in the truck, eat your bag of almonds that you forgot you had. Happy ride home. Tick tock. It is coming soon.

This is my article for the November 2015 issue of Two-Lane Livin
(c) High Virginia Outdoors Photos (c) High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved



Saturday, October 17, 2015

WV Firearms Antlerless deer hunting runs Oct. 22-24, 2015


Firearms antlerless deer hunting runs Oct. 22-24 on private land in most counties

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia deer hunters can take advantage of an October three-day firearm antlerless deer season on private land again this year, according to Paul Johansen, chief of the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section (DNR). In counties having a firearms antlerless deer season, the season on private land only will run Oct. 22-24, 2015.
There are several advantages to hunters and the state's deer management program if hunters participate in this season. Many hunters may find the weather better for stand hunting since temperatures should be warmer than during late November and December. Hunters who hunt in one of the nine counties where hunters are required to harvest an antlerless deer prior to taking a second antlered buck can take advantage of harvesting an antlerless deer and not worry about filling this requirement later in the season. From a deer management perspective, every antlerless deer harvested early in the October season means there will be more food for the remaining deer over the winter months.
"The harvest of antlerless deer is the key to healthier, heavier and more productive deer herds," Johansen said. "To manage West Virginia's deer herd, hunters and landowners must continually assess their expectations of the proper number of deer sightings versus the impacts deer have on vegetation."
Hunters and landowners should encourage antlerless deer hunting where needed to benefit the deer herd and other wildlife dependent on our state's woodland habitat. Conversely, antlerless deer harvests can be reduced to stabilize or increase deer populations. The early opening date for antlerless deer hunting with a firearm is a good opportunity for hunters and landowners to accomplish their antlerless deer harvest objectives, according to Johansen.
Hunters are reminded that recording their harvest is an integral part of the DNR's ability to manage deer in West Virginia. Hunters have helped manage deer in the state since mandatory game checking began in 1929, and the information provided by hunters is the foundation for tracking deer herd trends and monitoring doe harvest impacts.
Hunters need to obtain their DNR identification number to use the new electronic game checking process that allows for game checks by phone, computer or smartphone, or by the traditional practice of locating a  license agent/check station.
For more details on license requirements, the new electronic game check process and all deer hunting seasons, please see the 2015-2016 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary available at DNR offices and license agents across the state.  Or visit the Wildlife Resources Section on the web at www.wvdnr.gov.
DNR

Saturday, October 10, 2015

ASSUMPTIONS & PRESUMPTIONS

ASSUMPTIONS & PRESUMPTIONS
We are finally getting into one of the two good parts of the year. Yep, the time between the dead gnats and the first snowflakes. Leaves are thinking about changing and our few remaining monarchs are hurriedly heading south. Frost is in the air. Autumn can be inhaled with each breath; kind of smells good doesn’t it? No more sticky, thick inhalations; it is now cool and crisp. Asters; I love asters, but they mean the end is near. Cold, dreary, black, white and gray loom on the horizon. Soon they will be here. I know you are now wondering what the other good part is. That would be the time between the last snowflake and the first consecutive eighty degree days. That is a long time off; we will not worry with that, now.
I have already been asked several times if I was ready for bow season. I imagine that since I haven’t touched a bow in around twenty-eight years; I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. It still amazes me that people think they know someone based on their perception of that person way back when they were growing up. I hear people in their sixties state that they know someone because they went to school with them Do you really think that they actually know anything at all about that person? People change and they change a lot once they are turned out into the real world. At least; I hope they did, if not they are headed for major disappointments in life. I spent a lot of my time locked in school staring out the window at turds floating down the orange creek and wishing that trout could live there. Thirty-five years later the turds are gone but the water still runs orange and there are no trout. I guess that is some progress, not much; but some. Things change.
I have never seen Star Trek, Star Wars or a single episode of Duck Dynasty. I do not watch people hunt or fish on TV; never have and never will. Absolutely zero interest there for me. People assume that since I grew up in the 70’s, hunt and fish that I do all of the above. Nope. In my past; I have made a living at different points of my life hunting, fishing or trapping. That was a young person’s life. Could I do any of that now? Maybe; but it would be painful. Do I like to deer hunt? No. I like to eat venison; therefore I deer hunt. I like to fly fish but hardly ever have time. I like to turkey hunt; but know what days to pick. I still think about the trap line from time to time; but I’m too old to beat stakes into rocks; I’ll pass on that. I am outside for a period of time just about every day. I am hunting but not in the manner that many perceive.

The next time you run into someone you thought you knew a quarter of a century or more ago; do yourself a favor and don’t make assumptions. Take the time to learn about the person you thought you knew. You may be in for a pleasant surprise; maybe not. People change, things change. Don’t get caught up in presumptions or other silly things.


(c)2015 High Virginia Outdoors Photos (c) High Virginia Images  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This is my article for the 10/15 edition of Two-Lane Livin

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Facebook Users Solve Another One

Facebook users help WV Natural Resources Police solve albino deer killing case in Boone County

MADISON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Natural Resources Police have solved an albino deer killing case in Boone County, thanks to help from Facebook users.
On Sept. 27, 2015, Natural Resources Police Officer Dakoda Chattin got a call from Boone County 911 advising that an albino deer had been shot and killed in someone's yard along Route 17. After interviewing witnesses, the only evidence available was that there were multiple suspects involved and they drove a smaller model gray truck.
The incident was posted on the Natural Resources Police Facebook page (www.facebook.com/DNRpolice) with a request for help from the public. That post was seen by nearly half a million people and was shared by more than 7,000. Information received following the post helped Officer Chattin learn of suspects who might have committed the crime.
After investigation and research into names provided by the public, Officer Chattin made contact with three suspects. They admitted in their statements that they had committed the unlawful act.
Charges include hunting without a license, hunting during closed season, carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, shooting from a motor vehicle, shooting from a public road, and illegal firearm for deer hunting.
"We continue to be impressed with how we've been able to solve crimes with the public's help," Natural Resources Police Col. Jerry Jenkins said. "The response has been beyond what we anticipated when we began using Facebook earlier this year. It's become a valuable tool for us to gather information about crimes and suspects. It shows how deeply the community of hunting and fishing enthusiasts in West Virginia cares about protecting wildlife and enforcing laws. We encourage anyone who sees anyone violating the state's wildlife laws to call 911 or their closest DNR district office."
DNR
Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Class Q Roads Open


National Forest and Wildlife Management Area roads in West Virginia open to hunters with disabilities

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Physically-challenged hunters possessing a Class Q/QQ hunting permit may hunt on designated roads throughout the Monongahela National Forest, portions of the George Washington/Jefferson National Forest in West Virginia and on selected wildlife management areas, according to Paul Johansen, chief of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Resources Section.
"The designation of these Class Q/QQ roads on national forest lands in West Virginia is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Forest Service and the DNR," Johansen said. "This highly successful program provides hunting access for physically-challenged sportsmen and women. For the past 20 years, these areas have been well received by hunters."
To participate in this program, hunters must possess either a Class Q (resident) or Class QQ (nonresident) permit issued by the DNR. Applications for these permits may be obtained at any DNR office or hunting and fishing license agent. In addition to the Class Q/QQ hunting permit, both resident and nonresident hunters must possess all applicable hunting licenses and stamps. Nonresidents hunting on national forest lands must also possess a National Forest Stamp (Class I).
Hunters with a Class Q/QQ permit must apply in person at the appropriate national forest district office or DNR district office and receive a letter of authorization. This documentation must be in the hunter's possession while hunting on the designated roads in the program.
The Class Q/QQ permit holders may be accompanied by no more than one assistant, at least 16 years of age, when hunting within a designated area. The assistant cannot hunt while accompanying the Class Q/QQ permit holder.
Authorized hunters will have access to specific gates via a special lock. While behind the gate, hunters must observe all national forest and/or state wildlife management area regulations and all state hunting regulations.
In addition to the special access areas, Class Q/QQ permit holders may participate in special Class Q/QQ antlerless deer hunts Oct. 17 and Dec. 26 and 28, 2015. This special split, antlerless deer season for Youth, Class Q/QQ and Class XS (Lifetime Senior Citizen) hunters will be held on private land in all counties having a firearms deer hunting season and on all public lands within these counties. The bag limit of one antlerless deer per day will not count toward the hunter's annual deer season bag limit.
The U.S. Forest Service and DNR are committed to providing quality hunting opportunities for physically-challenged hunters and welcome comments and suggestions from participating hunters. For more information concerning access to national forest or wildlife management area Class Q/QQ roads, contact the U.S. Forest Service (304-636-1800) or DNR (304-637-0245). Information is also available on the DNR's website (www.wvdnr.gov). Specific areas with designated Class Q/QQ roads are listed below.
Class Q/QQ roads available:
Cheat Ranger District (304-478-3251)
  • Forest Road #933 Godwin Road – U.S. Route 219 south from Parsons, near the community of Moore. Turn north onto F.R. 933. Gated portion starts on left at top of ridge.
  • #973 – Brushy Fork – From Parsons, take Route 17 north to Route 21 west, then west onto Route 8.  FR 973 is on the left.
  • #153 / 153A -- Five Lick – Take U.S. 33 east from Elkins to Wymer. Turn north onto State Route 10 and drive about 2.5 miles. Turn left onto Forest Road 153.
Potomac Ranger District (304-257-4488)
  • #814 Back Ridge – Drive west of Circleville on State Route 28 for 5.8 miles. Turn right on S.R. 28/10 and drive for 3.2 miles. Road 814 is on the left.
Greenbrier Ranger District (304-456-3335)
  • #385 / 183B Little Beech Mountain – From Elkins, take U.S. 33 east approximately 10 miles to State Route 27 at Alpena. Turn right on S.R. 27 and go about 12 miles to Glady. Turn left onto S.R. 22 and go about 3 miles to F.R. 385 on the right.
  • #224 Span Oak - From Bartow, take US. 250 east approx. 2 miles to State Rt. 28. Turn left on Rt. 28 and go about 2 miles, turn left on FR 14 (near 4-H Camp above Thornwood), go approx. 3.8 miles, turn left on S.R. 250/4 and go about 4 miles to FR 224 on the right.
Marlinton Ranger District (304-799-4334)
  • #300 Marlin Mountain – From Marlinton, drive east on State Route 39 for 4 miles. Turn left onto S.R. 28. Drive 5 miles to F.R. 300 on the left.
  • #251 Crooked Fork – From Marlinton, take U.S. 219 north approximately 12 miles. F.R. 251 is on the left.
White Sulphur Ranger District (304-536-2144)
  • #298 Panther Ridge – From White Sulphur Springs, drive north on State Route 92 8.8 miles to S.R. 16, Blue Bend Road. Turn left and bear left at Camp Wood for 3.4 miles to Rocky Run Road. Turn right and drive uphill for 2.3 miles. Turn left onto F.R. 298 to gate just beyond the top of the hill.
  • #882 Bear Track – From White Sulphur Springs, drive north on State Route 92 14.8 miles to S.R. 14, Lake Sherwood Road. Turn right and drive 3.7 miles to Rucker Gap Road. Turn right and drive uphill 0.8 miles. Turn left on F.R. 882.
Gauley Ranger District (304-846-2695)
  • #946 Desert Branch – From Richwood, turn off Main Street at the Exxon. The road will force you left (the mill is on the right), then make an immediate right and follow it until it forces you left again. Cross the bridge that is in front of you, turn right onto Spencer Run Road, and FR# 946 is about ½ mile on the left.
  • #273 Buckeye Branch – Take FR# 76 (Cranberry Road) to Big Rock campground and turn left onto FR# 81. Follow FR# 81 until you pass through an area of private camps, and FR# 273 is about a mile past on the left.
State Wildlife Management Areas with Available Roads:
  • Bluestone Lake, Burnsville Lake, Elk River, Hillcrest, Hughes River, Lewis Wetzel, McClintic, Sleepy Creek and Stonewall Jackson Lake.
**DNR**

West Virginia Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook

West Virginia Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The 2015 "Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook" is available on the Division of Natural Resources' website and at DNR offices across the state, according to Paul Johansen, 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 impacts on wildlife populations and harvests," said Johansen.  "Our biologists have used the mast survey data to demonstrate a 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 significantly less than in 2014 and will have noticeable effects on the 2015–2016 hunting seasons. However, hickory, walnut, and beech produced mast well above the 44-year average. Considering all 18 species of trees and shrubs surveyed, food conditions are slightly above 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 Johansen. 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 2015 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook may be found on the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov under "Hunting."  Information analyzing mast conditions and wildlife harvests also is available on the website.
**DNR**

Friday, September 4, 2015

Tis the Season

Tis the Season
September is the month that traditionally ushers in hunting seasons in most of this country. September 1 has just about always meant the opening of dove season and the beginning of hunting season in general. I was born on that date, too. Maybe that was destiny, maybe not but it seemed appropriate for many years. I never was much on dove hunting but I was always out there somewhere during the month either with a bow or stalking the squirrel woods. My destination was usually somewhere in Virginia or Maryland. I followed the seasons from September until I pulled my water traps on February 28. I had that drive and had to be out there through the seasons. There were a couple of weeks to fish a little before it was time to head south for turkeys. But, it was a constant drive that never let up.
West Virginia didn’t use to have much to offer hunters as far as seasons go in September. I believe it was pretty much doves and maybe an early waterfowl season for many years. Things have changed over the years. We now have archery season for deer, bear and wild boar plus an early gun bear season in selected counties. Squirrel season opens on the 12th and migratory bird seasons open during the month. There are plenty of things for the WV hunters to get ready and look forward to. I know I will be out there every day in search of the elusive Chicken of the Woods.
Things change and people change. I know that as I got older and gas prices got higher I slowed recreational travel almost to a dead stop. Travelling out of state to hunt ended for me; as did those hundred mile trap lines. It just was not feasible. I never thought that I would quit doing all of those things that were pretty much seasonal every day routines. They were my way of life; that is what I did and I did it for a long time. Nope, you never think you will give up doing things that you think you love to do. But, things change.
Sometimes, we get smarter as we get older. I for one never lost that drive I had to become a successful and consistent hunter and trapper. I just learned to channel that drive into other things. I imagine that I now hunt about 360 days per year and I enjoy it immensely. I am now out there on a daily basis usually not more than one or two hours hunting and looking. I find that very rewarding and I find lots of good stuff. I may be pursuing birds, butterflies or fungi; rarely is it planned. I may be out there just hunting a little quiet or the sound of flowing water. My senses are as sharp as or sharper than ever. I am able to stay tuned in throughout the year.

Yes, I still hunt some and I have all of the venison and turkey I need in the freezer. But, hunting season to me is just like gardening season. When it is time to harvest your crop, go do it, get it done and go right on to the next thing in line. It is always hunting season for me.

This is my article for the September 2015 issue of Two-Lane Livin
(c) 2015 High Virginia Outdoors  Photo (c)1982 High Virginia Images ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Friday, August 28, 2015

Migratory Game Bird Seasons To Begin

West Virginia's Canada goose and mourning dove seasons open Sept. 1, 2015

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia's 2015–2016 migratory game bird seasons will begin statewide Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, with the opening of the early Canada goose and mourning dove seasons, according to Paul Johansen, chief of the Wildlife Resources Section of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR). "This is a great way to start off your hunting seasons with a morning goose hunt and an afternoon dove hunt," said Johansen.
The dove season is split into three segments with this first segment running from Sept. 1 to Oct. 17. Shooting hours Sept. 1 are noon to sunset. For the remainder of the season, hours are one-half-hour before sunrise to sunset. The daily bag limit is 15 birds.
The early Canada goose season ends Sept. 12. Shooting hours are one-half-hour before sunrise until sunset with a bag limit of five. All waterfowl hunters, 16 years old and older, must possess a federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp or "Duck Stamp." Duck Stamps can be purchased from local post offices or with a credit card by calling 1-800-782-6724. All other general waterfowl hunting regulations apply to the September season.
Federal regulations require all licensed migratory bird hunters (including lifetime and senior citizens) to register with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) and carry proof of registration while hunting. HIP cards are free and available from DNR offices, all hunting license agents and online at www.wvhunt.com.
"Several hundred doves and geese are banded with leg bands each year throughout West Virginia for population monitoring and research purposes," Johansen said. "It is very important that hunters who harvest a banded bird report these bands." Banded birds can be reported by calling 1-800-327-2263 or going online at www.reportband.gov. Hunters may keep the band and will receive information on when and where the bird was banded.
More information on West Virginia's migratory game bird seasons can be found in the 2015-2016 West Virginia Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations, which will be available from DNR offices and the DNR web site (www.wvdnr.gov) in late August.
**DNR**

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Getting Interesting

It is finally starting to get interesting out there in the woods. It seems as if every rain shower brings on spurts of mushrooms. I know that many people enjoy looking for morels foe a couple of weeks every spring. I am not one of them. I would rather spend my time trying to get a few fish into the freezer at morel time.

There was a bumper crop of chanterelles out there in early to mid summer. I'm going to say this once. I don't like chanterelles. To me; they are bitter and leave a lingering bad aftertaste. The pink ones are even worse than the apricot variety. I don't like any of them.

Chicken of the Woods season has opened up early this year and I am happy about that. I didn't find any last year until mid-September. From that time on I found more than I ever have. I was still getting them well up into October. I ate the last ones from my freezer 2 weeks ago. August 18 seems to be the date that they started popping out in the mountains this year. I have already put around 25 pounds into the freezer; plus I've eaten quite a few over the last 3 days.

I depend on Chicken of the Woods and Oyster Mushrooms for my mushroom fix. They are without a doubt my 2 favorites and can be found in adequate numbers to get more than just a taste. It looks as if 2015 may be my best year ever for edible fungi. I have been finding Oysters fairly steadily since May.I have spots where I can harvest Oyster well up into December if the temperatures are favorable.

Shaggy Manes are always numerous throughout the rainy season of October. It looks as if we are going to have a very nice hunting season for the next few months.I harvested these Chicken of the Woods and Oysters in about 45 minutes on Backbone Mountain in Tucker County this morning.

(c) 2015 High Virginia Outdoors  Photo (c) High Virginia Images ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

DNR Regulations Error

Archery and Crossbow Deer Seasons Bag Limit Error in 2015-16 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The 2015-2016 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary contains an error on page 15 with regards to the archery and crossbow white-tailed deer maximum combined seasons bag limit. In the counties listed below, which are closed to the antlerless season, the maximum combined seasons bag limit is two either-sex deer, not three deer as printed. Those counties or parts thereof include:
BooneMineral (West Portion)
Clay (South of Elk River) Pendleton (West Portion)
Fayette (West Portion)Raleigh (West Portion)
Greenbrier (North Portion)Tucker
Kanawha (South Portion)Webster
Mineral (West Portion) 
The Division of Natural Resources encourages hunters to refer to pages 22-23 of the Regulations Summary for maps and descriptions of the split counties and regrets any inconvenience this error may cause. Questions can be directed to any DNR district office, the Elkins Operations Center or the South Charleston office.
**DNR**

Monday, August 10, 2015

THE WALL

THE WALL
I was sitting around Saturday afternoon; not much else to do when it is 80. I heard a vehicle stop across the road from my house. I kind of thought it was the selling meat out of the back of the truck dude. My doorbell rang as I knew it would and the screaming beagles headed to the wrong door; as expected. I couldn’t hear the person’s introduction; because the dogs had found the right door by the time I had gotten it unlocked. The first thing I actually heard was “my boss talked to you and he said this is one of the properties that we have permission to spray Japanese Knotweed on”. Ah, NO..I didn’t talk to anyone. He left a card. Nobody is spraying anything here.
I can look at this for about 6 months out of the year:

Or I can look at this year-round. Which would you choose?


He began to tell me all about knotweed and what a threat it is to the environment. I cut him off at about the third word. He kept trying to tell me the evils and I kept cutting him off as we walked toward the knotweed wall. You know that every spring the USFWS sponsors noxious foods for noxious weeds event at McDonalds. Yep, they tell you all about invasive weeds and you get a Happy Meal out of the deal. I can tell you right now that I have never eaten a McNugget or a knotweed. But, if I ever have to choose one of them to consume I can guarantee you that it will be knotweed & garlic butter. It will not be McChicken Parts.
We finally reached the knotweed patch and I already knew from the propaganda that they were supposed to spray their poison at or near peak bloom time. I stood and stared at the flowers for a little while and said you are not going to spray my bees. He said do you have bees and I said look. There were a couple thousand honey bees present and thousands of other pollinators big and small everywhere you could see. Between the bees and the trailer; he was beginning to see my argument. But, then in a last ditch effort he started to tell me all about knotweeds damage to riparian habitats. I told him it was about 100 years too late to be worrying about Grassy Run and that knotweed was the least of this watersheds problem.
Do you really think that knotweed has anything to do with this?

I do want to make note right now that I like the guy they sent. He was professional, not argumentive and was just doing his job as his boss had instructed him to. I am also sure that he will be allowed to spray plenty of bees this summer. Everyone knows that honey bees and other pollinators are in decline. Could it possibly be because of the USFWS spraying the dreaded knotweed?

You want to know the real kicker in the deal, now? I don’t have any knotweed on my property it is on someone else. That shows how well this spraying project was planned out. Billy Joe Shaver states it best in Oklahoma Wind yep “the government ain’t something you can trust”.
(c) 2015 High Virginia Outdoors Photos (c) High Virginia Images ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Thursday, August 6, 2015

DOLDRUMS

Twelve-spotted Skimmer
DOLDRUMS
It is no secret that I enjoy August just about the same as January. Hot, humid and boring is about the same as cold, snowy and boring. When July turns into August we have pretty much figured out what the gardens production for the season will be. It may be good, bad or just plain out ugly; there isn’t much we can control by this point. There is one bright point though; mine probably cannot be as bad as it was last year. I cannot even look forward to fall color around here this year. There isn’t much left around these parts except for yellow poplars and they are already brown from the bumper crop of yellow poplar weevils.
Long, long ago this was my month for dying and waxing traps, shooting the bow and preparing for hunting and trapping seasons. If you asked me 30 years ago if I thought I was still going to be doing all of those things in thirty years; the answer would have been yes. Times change and we change (some of us anyway) I haven’t even held a bow in my hand in about twenty five years. I cringe at the thought of sending a piece of fur to China. I no longer hunt for sport or as a recreation. I have Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys in the freezer. I need 2 deer in the freezer; 3 make it better with less rationing. I really do not start thinking about deer hunting until the week before opening day of gun season; no need to. I do not use all of the gadgets and gimmicks; so there is nothing to buy. I loaded enough ammo last winter to get me through several seasons. Yep, I have nothing to prepare for. I’ve been preparing for winter since April. .Beans and tomatoes that is all that is left to do until I’m cutting up venison.
I can feel it running through your mind right now; he is depressed. Nope, just realistic. I can always find something interesting to do to fight the doldrums. There is always something to see and discover, Last August, I finally opened my eyes to the wonderful world of dragonflies and damselflies. Sadly; I had never paid much attention to them before. Yeah, like you I noticed the big ones and the small ones and thought that was it. I was sadly mistaken and the variety is amazing. There are 336 species in the East. One hundred forty four species are known to WV and One hundred thirty-three of those species have been documented in the state since 1995. That is a bunch of colorful critters to go out and look for. The big ones are fairly easy to identify. Some are like a fine hair with wings and a challenge they are.

I have come to the realization that there is plenty of stuff out there to observe and learn, Between the birds, butterflies and dragonflies I will have plenty to hunt until after the first good freeze; anyway. I’m never bored. I just don’t do the stuff I used to do. I changed because I want to be out there hunting every day and I do. No doldrums, here. Too much to see.

This is my article for the August 2015 issue of Two-lane Livin. Note that a few words were changed from the printed published version. It was nobody's fault that one sentence didn't make any sense.The article was printed just as I sent it but sometimes in cyber-world things just get jumbled. 

(c) High Virginia Outdoors Photo (c) 2015 High Virginia Images ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Monday, August 3, 2015

Knotweed Compost

I built 3 raised beds on a slope that I hated mowing about thirteen years ago. They were just semi-leveled in on a slick hill. I just built the framework in the early spring and filled them up with yard debris. The main component was Japanese Knotweed. I cut down the stalks ran over the plants with a mulching mower, bagged the green stuff and threw all of the mashed, beat up stalks in the bottom of the frames. I didn't do much else other than add  grass clippings and mulched leaves. I planted the boxes the next spring and they have been going strong ever since.
I am going to have to replace the framing before the next growing season, but it has been a productive and low maintenance project. The only thing that has ever been added to these boxes over the years has been a few bags of garden soil to keep then fairly level. I always add a thick layer of mulched grass and leaves in the fall. It winters well and I just turn it all under in the spring with a garden fork. Very simple and very easy. This photo was taken on August 1, 2015 and as you can see; all is well. I did build another box to the right of these. It turned out to be too shady and is now full of volunteer Joe-pye weed and butterflies.

Yes, noxious weeds can be turned into a useful commodity. Japanese Knotweed does make some good dirt.

(c)2015 High Virginia Outdoors All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The End is Coming, Sooner Than You Think.


Further Actions Taken to Combat CWD of Deer in West Virginia

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. –"As part of our agency's ongoing management efforts to slow the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a larger portion of the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia has been added to the current area where artificial supplemental feeding and baiting of deer is prohibited," said Robert Fala, Director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR).
Effective July 1, 2015, the area includes Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral and Morgan counties. Current research indicates that supplemental feeding and baiting of deer increases the chance of disease transmission far above the normal clustering of deer on natural and agricultural feeding areas. Lowering encounter rates between infected and non-infected animals by prohibiting artificial supplemental feeding and baiting are generally accepted management practices for slowing the spread of an infectious disease among wildlife. Initiating these prohibitions is a major tool used by other states combating CWD. In these seven Eastern Panhandle counties it is illegal to bait or feed deer, which includes minerals and other edible enticements. Song and insectivorous birds may be fed, provided that such feeding shall not cause, or be done in a manner that would be reasonably anticipated to cause, a congregation of deer or other wildlife.
"The expansion of the West Virginia CWD Containment Area follows similar expansions of disease management areas in Virginia and Pennsylvania," Director Fala said.
At a recent meeting hosted by West Virginia DNR at Cacapon Resort State Park, wildlife agency staff tasked with addressing CWD in their respective states of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio shared information regarding CWD and discussed ways to coordinate CWD management efforts on a regional basis.
"This information exchange between states is especially important with the current location of known CWD infected deer located in close proximity across the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia," said Director Fala.
Deer hunters are reminded that dead deer or their parts may not be transported beyond the boundary of Hampshire, Hardy and Morgan counties except for the following: meat that has been boned out, quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached, cleaned hide with no head attached, clean skull plate (no meat or tissue attached) with antlers attached, antlers with no meat or tissue attached, and finished taxidermy mounts. Hunters may transport deer carcasses that were not killed inside the containment area through the containment area.
CWD has now been detected in a total of 179 deer in Hampshire County and four deer in Hardy County. The DNR will continue to update management actions designed to control the spread of this disease, prevent further introduction of the disease, and possibly eliminate the disease from the state as information from deer testing within West Virginia is gathered and scientists across the country provide more information on how to combat CWD in white-tailed deer.
For additional information on deer baiting and feeding prohibitions and deer carcass transport restrictions please see the 2015-2016 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary available at DNR offices and license agents or visit www.wvdnr.gov.

**DNR**

Yes, the way it is heading it will not be long until BAITING & Captive Deer operations will ruin deer hunting in the ENTIRE state....Careful What You Wish For. And Don't Worry, YOUR Politicians will Take Care of You. Deer Meat will soon be as SAFE to eat as Your CHINESE Chicken...Mmm

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

STAPLES

STAPLES
I am not a shopper. I needed to get that out of the way; first. The newest, improved hi-tech stuff doesn’t interest me in the least. I believe in finding something that works and sticking to it. I have not looked at any of the outdoor catalogs for several years. Yep, so long that they have finally quit sending them to me. I just got finished thumbing through a borrowed one during a thunderstorm. I have to admit being a bit perplexed at all of the stuff that is out there. I was looking for a set of uninsulated camo bibs to replace my pair that is rotting away. They may not make it through the next briar patch.  I can’t believe the patterns offered. Many look as if they were designed by Hawaiian Florists. What ever happened to stuff that looked like dirt and dried leaves? Nope, I don’t want insulated, super-silent waterproof ones either. I want cotton/polyester bibs that look like dirt and leaves. Nope, none available. Enough.
I then made the mistake of flipping through the fishing stuff, Wow.  What is it with all of those colors and who actually comes up with the names for all of that stuff? I was just wondering when fish quit biting on a white 2 inch twister tail grub. Must have been since the last time I fished with one; which I have to admit was too long ago. I imagine that a 2.75 inch silver and black floating Rapala no longer will catch anything. I was thinking about going out and doing a little fishing; just fishing for fish and nothing in particular this month. I might have to change my plans and spend some money to get re-equipped. Do fish still bite on real night crawlers and real minnows? I was just wondering; I hate being outside wasting my time.
I fully intend on spending the Fourth of July weekend on the water. I really do not want to have to purchase a whole bunch of new stuff. I wouldn’t mind the investment if I had the chance to fish more. I just now pulled out my little box of stuff that I always carried on the rivers. Yep, it fits in my back pocket. It has several small Rapalas, Rebel Crayfish, Rattle-Traps, curly-tail grubs and shad-darts. The other smaller box which also fits in a pocket contains sinkers, hooks, bobber stops, finger-nail clippers and some small slip-bobbers. I think I will be prepared for any situation that arises. I know I used to be able to do all right with that little menagerie of prehistoric equipment. Oh my, I just remembered that I just have plain old nylon monofilament fishing line on my reel. According to the catalog I looked at, you can’t catch fish on that stuff anymore. I might just as well stay home.

I’m stubborn, though, so I’ll probably still give it a try; even though I will be doomed with failure. I wonder if you can still catch channel cats on chicken livers or do you have to use that stinky stuff they sell in tubs to be successful?

This is my July 2015 article for 2 Lane Livin
(c) 2015 High Virginia Outdoors Photo (c)2016 High Virginia Images ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A BIG Year; So Far

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
I've had a pretty good bird year in 2015 and it is only July. Thanks to Facebook and WV Bird; it is easy to be notified of rarities. I am not going to drive 200 miles to look at gulls through a spotting scope; but there were some nice opportunities nearby. The first of the year was the Snowy Owl near Grafton and I was lucky enough to find it on my first attempt.

The most exotic place I have had to go to this year was Red House, MD for a lifer Upland Sandpiper (actually I drive past that location within a half-mile 2 or 3 times a week), but this was the farthest spot from my house.

In June we got a double whammy. Common Gallinule and a Red-necked Phalarope at the same spot and same time at Stonewall Jackson Lake The gallinule lingered for a while; the phalarope only for a day or so. Last Sunday (6/28) may have brought the most un-expected species to the area and it was only 7 miles away. I never thought one time about seeing a Black-bellied Whistling Duck in Randolph County, WV. But, there they were and once again I want to thank others for timely reporting on social media.

Always remember; the one and only key to seeing good stuff is: You Have To Be There When It Is...

(c) 2015 High Virginia Outdoors Photos (c)2015 High Virginia Images ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Natural Deer Urine Attractants Illegal in Virginia

Natural Deer Urine Attractants Illegal in Virginia

Effective July 1, 2015, it will be illegal to possess or use deer scents/lures that contain natural deer urine or other bodily fluids while taking, attempting to take, attracting, or scouting wildlife in Virginia.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) poses a significant risk to the long-term health and stability of the Virginia white-tailed deer populations. Since it was first found east of the Mississippi in Wisconsin in 2002, CWD has been found in a total of eight eastern states, including Virginia. To date, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has spent over one million dollars on CWD monitoring and management efforts. Importation bans on whole carcass and certain carcass parts (i.e., brain and spinal cord) from high-risk CWD areas (including areas or states infected with CWD or any North American enclosure intended to confine deer) are already in place in Virginia, along with a ban on interstate movement of captive deer and elk. Reducing the use of natural deer urine attractants by prohibiting the possession or use while afield for the purposes of taking or attempting to take, attracting, or scouting will further minimize the risk of introducing CWD into a new area of Virginia.

Why is the use of deer urine attractants risky?

The infectious proteins (i.e., prions) known to transmit CWD have been found in the urine, feces, and saliva of infected individuals. To make these commercial scents, urine from captive elk and/or deer kept outside of Virginia is collected over a grate system that does not prevent contamination from either feces or saliva. The "urine" product is not treated chemically or with heat to kill the infectious proteins because these treatments would also secondarily destroy the desired scent characteristics. The infectious proteins causing CWD are extremely resistant to degradation and may persist in the environment for years in contaminated soil, thereby posing a disease transmission risk to deer for extended lengths of time. Additionally, many of the facilities are located in areas or states with CWD. Deer in Virginia that taste or sniff these products may actually be exposing themselves to CWD harbored by deer living hundreds of miles away that were used to collect the infected urine.

Why did the Department decide to ban these urine-based products?

The VDGIF is taking a pro-active approach on this issue and has banned possession and use until it is proven that prions are not spread in commercial deer urine products, rather than continue to risk introducing CWD to new areas until it is confirmed that urine attractants do spread prions. VDGIF's intent with this regulation is to protect our deer hunting heritage by ensuring that future generations have the same opportunities to deer hunt as are available to Virginians today and to protect the long-term health and stability of the Virginia deer herd. Both of these goals can be achieved, in part, by trying to minimize the areas in Virginia infected with CWD.

What does "possess or use" a natural deer urine attractant mean?

It will still be legal for products that contain natural deer urine or other bodily fluids to be purchased and sold in Virginia. However, it will not be legal for individuals to have these products in their possession or on their person while afield for the purposes of taking or attempting to take, attracting, or scouting any wild animal in Virginia.

Can I collect and use urine and/or tarsal glands from deer I kill in Virginia?

You cannot use these fluids afield anywhere in Virginia. Possession or use of any natural deer urine, feces, blood, gland oil, or other bodily fluid while afield for the purposes of taking or attempting to take, attracting, or scouting any wild animal becomes illegal in Virginia starting July 1, 2015.

Are there any legal alternatives to natural deer urine lures?

Yes, there are synthetic products that can be used to attract or lure deer but do not pose any secondary risks for CWD transmission to Virginia white-tailed deer. These products are readily available at sporting goods stores and online retailers.

Why should I worry about CWD in Virginia?

Population models predict that CWD will lead to significant declines in deer populations over time. Current research in Wyoming suggests that white-tailed deer numbers are significantly lower in diseased areas than in areas where CWD has not yet been diagnosed, and CWD infection prevalence has risen to nearly 25 percent in adult bucks in some areas of Wisconsin since the initial discovery of CWD in 2002.
Not only are deer an important part of Virginia's natural heritage, they are also important to the economy. Deer hunting in Virginia generates over $600 million in economic activity, according to data from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation for Virginia. Over 20,000 jobs were related to hunting in Virginia in 2011, according to a report by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
This prohibition on the possession or use of deer urine attractants while afield was enacted in order to protect Virginia's deer populations and our Virginia deer hunting heritage by ensuring that future generations have the same opportunities to deer hunt as are available to Virginians today. Get more information on CWD here.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Another Untruth

Isonychia
I spent a very uneventful evening fly fishing on Glady Fork in Randolph County, WV yesterday. It was; I do believe the deadest I have ever seen a trout stream. Chubs weren't even rising. I fished for 2 solid hours and saw exactly 2 March Browns and 2 Dobson Flies in the air. There was no feeding bird activity, since there was nothing to feed on. I made it back to my truck a bit before dark and drove upstream. I noticed a few Isonychias in the air above a riffle and stopped. I already had a pair of beadheaded Zug Bugs pre-tied on a fluorocarbon tippet. I was prepared, but the fish didn't cooperate. I saw absolutely zero feeding on the surface or below the surface. Therefore I was sitting and staring as I often do. You know how you have always been told that Isonychias ALWAYS crawl up on the downstream side of an exposed rock to hatch; well they don't.

I was sitting there and one popped out of 2 feet of water right in front of me. Shortly thereafter another followed and I caught it in mid-air. we now know that this species does emerge from the water at times. One should never use the word Always...Now we Know.
Isonychia Shuck


(c) 2015 High Virginia Outdoors Photos (c) High Virginia Images ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Saturday, June 6, 2015

LEARNING STUFF

LEARNING STUFF
If you were to look back on life and attempt to categorize things that you actually know a whole bunch about; I imagine the things that top out your list are things you learned by doing. It is all right to sit in a classroom and learn from one who tells you what they have read and studied. The best lessons come from doing and experiencing. Knowledge comes from living. I would bet that several things you now know are things that you never set out to learn. I know people who quit learning the day they walked out of whatever formal school they last attended. I feel sorry for them. Life happens; take advantage of your opportunities to improve upon your understanding of the world.
The last week of June and first week of July was coal miner vacation when I was young. That week in June meant it was time for camping and fishing. It was the best week of the year for me. The destination was usually the West Fork of the Greenbrier. The whole family and often a friend or two went. Vehicles were loaded with provisions and that big smelly canvas tent. The majority of everyday was spent fishing. We didn’t know back then that since the river hadn’t been stocked in over a month that it wasn’t worth fishing. We caught fish, too. Lots of fish. That was about the time I began to notice how fish fed in the summer heat. I noticed fish feeding on the surface, sipping insects. I noticed that the most activity was in the shade. We still caught trout on salmon eggs and night crawlers but it wasn’t steady or consistent.  Presentations were often overlooked by noticeably feeding fish. I knew there was a better method; but wasn’t sure of what it was.
Then it happened. My granddad gave me a 7 weight fiberglass fly rod with one of those clunky automatic reels. I don’t remember how long I frothed up the water catching chubs and dace on a Royal Coachmen but it was a while before the first trout. I do know that first trout was a 10 inch brown from a coffee colored, flooded Elk River. I bought flies at every opportunity, things that looked buggy or maybe just caught my eye. I started really paying attention to streamside insects and started catching fish. I learned that from May until autumn you it would be in your best interest to be fishing with a fly. Now, back to a summer week on the West Fork;

I noticed thousands of tiny black mayflies one morning while fishing. They were thick on the grasses and in the spider webs. Fish could be seen feeding but no trout could be caught. Tricorythodes (Tricos) were unknown and never heard of by me but I dug around in my fly collection and found a size 20 Black Gnat. The fishing trip was saved from then on. I had a grand total of 2 tiny flies; the other was a size 22 white midge. I used the black fly when I could see it and the white one at dusk and dawn. It worked for me and we ate trout all week. Yes, I do know now that Tricos are dark olive. The ability to learn cannot be taken away; unless you allow it to.

This is my article for the June 22015 issue of Two-Lane Livin
(c)High Virginia Outdoors  Photos (c) High Virginia Images ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Friday, June 5, 2015

Proponents of National Monuments/Birthplace of Rivers etc. READ THIS..

West Fork of Greenbrier
Public Locked Out of Biscayne National Park
Recreational Boating and Fishing Community Strongly Objects to Fishing Closure
WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 5, 2015 – Today, the National Park Service announced its final General Management Plan (GMP) for Biscayne National Park. Despite commitments made by Biscayne National Park officials to work with stakeholders and the state of Florida to explore less restrictive options, the GMP includes a marine reserve, eliminating fishing and severely restricting boating in over 10,000 acres of the park’s most popular and productive marine waters.
“America’s  recreational fishing community is disheartened by the National Park Service’s decision to implement a marine reserve at Biscayne National Park,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation. “We understand the importance of protecting our natural resources and the delicate balance needed to ensure that anglers and boaters are able to enjoy these public waters. However, the National Park Service has shown little interest in compromise and today’s announcement confirms a lack of desire to include the needs of park users and stakeholders in important decisions such as this.”
For the past several years, a large coalition of partners in the recreational boating and fishing community has submitted comments, attended public meetings and organized discussions with the leadership at the National Park Service in an attempt to balance the critical need for conservation with the need for recreational access to the park’s waters. Numerous fisheries management measures were presented to the National Park Service that would balance resource conservation with maintaining public access, including size limits, bag limits, quotas, permits, seasonal closures and gear restrictions.
“Today’s announcement confirms that Biscayne National Park officials never had any real interest in working with stakeholders or the state of Florida to explore compromise plans,” said Mike Leonard, Ocean Resource Policy director for the American Sportfishing Association. “The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, one of the nation’s leading fisheries management agencies, has stated that a marine reserve is far too restrictive, and that other management measures can achieve resource goals while still allowing for public access. The only conclusion that one can draw from this decision is that the public is simply not welcome at Biscayne National Park.”
“Anglers recognize that the condition of the fisheries resources in Biscayne National Park needs to be addressed, but we also know that once an area is closed, the public will never be allowed back in,” said Jeff Miller, chairman of Coastal Conservation Association Florida’s Government Relations Committee. “These decisions should happen only when clearly supported by science, and when all other management options have failed. By not giving other, less restrictive options a chance, the National Park Service has put Florida’s reputation as ‘Fishing Capital of the World’ at stake.”
To read the most recent public comments submitted by the recreational boating and fishing community to the National Park Service on this issue, click here.
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The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association