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

Saturday, October 10, 2015


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 ( 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."
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 ( 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.

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 under "Hunting."  Information analyzing mast conditions and wildlife harvests also is available on the website.