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
"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 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 ( in late August.

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.

Monday, August 10, 2015


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


Twelve-spotted Skimmer
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