Monday, June 27, 2016
Elk Poachers Charged – On June 14, 2016, Virginia Conservation Police Sergeant Jamie Davis and SWVA Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation [RMEF]Coal Field Chapter Chairman Leon Boyd met with WCYB TV Fox News Center 5 at the Buchanan County elk release site. A News 5 reporter had received information that an elk was poached and suspects had been charged. Sergeant Davis advised this was a team effort solving this case. Conservation Officers, members of the Buchanan County community and local sportsman all played a vital role. This was definitely poachers and not hunters and it has been sportsmen through RMEF and VDGIF that have brought these elk back to SWVA. Leon Boyd, discussed partners like RMEF, local energy companies and volunteer sportsmen all had part in this project and how it impacts the whole community. Leon Boyd also discussed the economic value of this crime and the penalties faced by the poachers.
Violations at “Trophy” Trout Stockings – On June 18, 2016, Virginia Conservation Police Officers Dan Hall, Larry Walls, James Brooks and Sergeant Jamie Davis worked a covert patrol on Big Tumbling Creek within Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area. This patrol was due to numerous complaints from the public concerning snagging and other violations taking place during the special “Trophy” trout stockings in the daily fee area. This past week numerous citation brook trout were stocked. As a result of the enforcement efforts by the Conservation Officers, violations were noted and appropriate charges placed
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
WVDNR investigation of illegal bear hunting in Grant and Mineral counties results in arrest of eight men on 77 chargesROMNEY, W.Va. – Natural Resources Police Officers have completed an investigation that has resulted in the arrest of eight men on 77 charges of violations of West Virginia game laws involving the illegal hunting of black bears. The investigation began in September 2015 when an illegal bear baiting site near Mount Storm in Grant County was reported to the DNR District 2 office in Romney.
Lead investigators Sgt. G.M. Willenborg and Senior Natural Resources Police Officer A.D. Kuykendall, assisted by natural resources police officers from Mineral, Grant and Pendleton counties, completed the investigation and filed the charges. The alleged illegal bear hunting violations occurred between May 2015 and September 2015. Charges have been brought against the following individuals and are pending in court. The charges identified are allegations and any defendant is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Mark Allen Lampka, Jr. of Mount Storm, West Virginia, was charged with violations ranging from (2 counts) illegal trapping of bear, (4 counts) illegal killing of bear, (6 counts) illegal possession of bear, (2 counts) spotlighting bear, conspiring to violate Chapter 20 of the West Virginia State Code, hunting without permission, hunting bear during closed season and other game law violations. These charges were brought in Grant and Mineral counties.
Daniel Boddy of New Creek, West Virginia, was charged with (2 counts) illegal killing of bear, (2 counts) illegal trapping of bear, (4 counts) illegal possession of bear, spotlighting bear, conspiring to violate Chapter 20 of the West Virginia State Code and other game law violations. These charges were brought in Grant and Mineral counties.
Chad Fridley of Mount Storm, West Virginia, was charged with illegal killing of bear, spotlighting bear, (2 counts) illegal possession of bear and conspiring to violate Chapter 20 of the West Virginia State Code. These charges were brought in Grant and Mineral counties.
Steve Thomas Lyons, Jr. of Elk Garden, West Virginia, was charged with illegal killing of bear, spotlighting bear, hunting bear with use of bait, illegal possession of bear and conspiring to violate Chapter 20 of the West Virginia State Code. These charges were brought in Grant and Mineral counties.
Dustin Knaggs of New Creek, West Virginia, was charged with illegal killing of bear, spotlighting bear, illegal possession of bear and conspiring to violate Chapter 20 of the West Virginia State Code. These charges were brought in Mineral County.
Terry Kuh of Maysville, West Virginia, was charged with spotlighting bear, hunting bear with use of bait, illegal possession of bear, illegal taking of bear during closed season and conspiring to violate Chapter 20 of the West Virginia State Code. These charges were brought in Grant County.
James Scott Kuhn of New Creek, West Virginia, was charged with hunting bear with the use of a trap, illegal possession of bear, and conspiring to violate Chapter 20 of the West Virginia State Code. These charges were brought in Mineral County.
Ronnie P. Bothwell of Burlington, West Virginia, was charged with hunting bear with the use of a trap, illegal possession of bear and conspiring to violate Chapter 20 of the West Virginia State Code. These charges were brought in Mineral County.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Build a Better Catfish Trap
By Ted Pilgrim
It’s remarkable to consider that some of the earliest fishing artifacts unearthed by archaeologists were those curious contraptions we call circle hooks. Equally intriguing, this singular hook was designed and fished by numerous unrelated ancient civilizations across the globe. For pre-Columbian natives of Latin America, ancient Polynesians, early Japanese, and indigenous people of the North Pacific, the circle hook was apparently a logical invention among fishermen.
But how is it that such different cultures arrived independently at a similar, yet singularly innovative hook style? The answer, in part, lies with the fact that these early fishermen were not sport anglers in today’s sense. Rather, they were hunters and trappers of fish. As subsistence fishermen, they needed a tool that hooked fish by itself. Circle hooks did exactly that, serving as efficient “fish traps” and putting dinner on the table for hundreds of generations of early anglers.
In more recent times, commercial fishermen as well as catfishers using trotlines, juglines, and limblines have relied almost exclusively on the self-setting power of a circle hook. The true fish-catching talents of a circle hook, however, emerge only when coupled with a well-balanced, finely designed catfish rod.
Setting the Trap
Among rod and reel catfish anglers today, circle hooks have become standard fish-catching equipment. Yet without proper use of complementary tools—the right rod, line and bait—the circle hook is no more useful than a mousetrap lacking a spring.
Studying the hook itself, most rod and reel anglers believe that modified circle designs— those with points that turn toward the shank at roughly 45-degrees— hook cats a bit easier than true circles, whose points turn at about 90-degrees. True circles, such as Eagle Claw’s heavy stainless steel 190, remain the preference of saltwater fishermen.
Modified designs, such as Rippin Lips Tournament Grade Circle, typically sport wider gaps than true circles, a feature that plays a vital role in hooking bony-lipped catfish. In truth, hook size itself remains far less important than gap and bite – the areas between point and shank, point and bend, respectively. When attaching baits, it’s wise to leave most of the throat open in order to allow the hook to properly pivot in the fish’s jaw and drive itself home. Impale cutbaits as lightly as possible. With live baitfish, plant the hook gently through the nostrils, lips or just beneath the skin near the tail. Certainly, avoid burying the hookpoint in the bait. Finally, sharpen the point and file down the barb to a nub; you’ll hook and land more cats, and more easily extract the hook. Note, a circle hook’s design keeps catfish hooked securely during battle, even lacking a large barb.
In order for the hook to lodge itself into the corner of a cat’s soft, yet bony jowl, steady, sustained pressure must be exerted opposite the direction of a striking fish. Veteran catfish guide Captain Brad Durick, a highly instinctive angler who regularly employs circle hooks to put his clients on big cats, describes the process: “A good circle hook ‘trap’ consists of a 7 to 10-foot rod that loads up slowly, allowing a cat to grab the bait, turn, and move away with slight, steady resistance.” During the past season, Durick has literally boated over 10 tons of big channel catfish with a single set of SuperCat rods. For big channel cats, he prefers the 7-foot 6-inch medium-action casting version of the popular Rippin Lips sticks. Durick also notes that his SuperCats’ blanks offer the perfect balance between light heft (weight), sensitivity (strike detection) and tip softness.
“Monofilament line complements the hook and rod perfectly,” he adds, “Its stretch yields a sort of bungee-cord effect. Lines like 30-pound test Ande Premium cushion the hookset just enough to prevent the hook from bouncing out of the fish’s jaw. Happens sometimes with no-stretch braid.” Durick continues, “Lots of folks want to loosen their drags, too, but a tight drag is better—helps turn and lock the hook into the cat’s jaw.”
“Keeping the rod in a rod holder seals the deal,” he says. “Only thing hand-holding the rod does is tempt you to set the hook, which is usually a no-no. I like to set the holders to position rods at about 55-degrees to the water. This helps load the rod slowly when a fish takes the bait. When the rod tip bounces, signaling a chewing cat, I don't touch it until the rod folds over completely. Lift the rod straight up out of the rod holder, and reel down while slowly forming a deep arc in the rod.”
Employing the aforementioned prescriptions, Durick says he hooks over 99-percent of biting catfish in the corner of the lip, with almost zero fish hooked in the throat. That’s one impressive box score—both from a fishing perspective, and from a conservation point of view. It means every big cat Durick catches is shortly swimming again, where it can thump someone else’s rod.
So goes the circle of a catfish’s life.
Friday, June 17, 2016
June usually isn't too bad; until it gets hot. The garden is planted and we now have some time to unwind. I always look forward to the garden growing and the lawn dying. don't get me wrong; I like mowing grass the first couple of times. After that, it is kind of like that kick in the gut you got when you finally finished the first grade. You mean I have to go back? Eleven more years?
I really enjoy trout fishing with a fly rod. Unfortunately, it seems as if the only time that one can enjoy a little alone time on a trout stream is after the fish trucks quit running. It really isn’t much fun fishing when someone riding down the road sees you catch a fish and decides to join you. There are plenty of fish and plenty of insect activity to keep anyone happy; until the streams dry up and get hot.
I wish everyone would take a few minutes out of each day just to see the little things around them. People really need to slow down and appreciate their surroundings; before it is too late. I have several friends who are accomplished outdoorsmen and are getting up in years. They look back at the things they have experienced and seen over the years. They realize that they will never be able to see the sights they have seen again. The best quote I have heard from them is I’m Glad I Went to the Dance.” I can tell you one thing for sure and that is I would never had the appreciation for the natural world that I have now; if I had not been a hard-core turkey hunter. Nobody would believe all of the things I had seen and experienced in the spring woods. I too am glad that I danced.
It just amazes me that people do not see things right in front of them. I was taking a photo of a beautiful adult Golden Eagle along Corridor H this past March. It was within 10 yards of the highway. I know 50 vehicles zoomed by while I was there. Not one slowed to look and I’d be willing to bet the not 5 people saw what I was looking at. Three of the 5 probably wondered why I was looking at a buzzard, yes, as a whole we are way out of touch.
I do not know how many times I have been asked over the past few years what something was. The response is always Oh; I have never seen one of those before. Yes, you have they are all over the area and very common. You just never bothered to actually look at one before. One very rewarding gift you can give yourself in this journey of lifetime learning is making the time each day to stop, look and listen. Do this for a few minutes every day and you will be amazed with the results. It doesn’t hurt one little bit.
Here is something to start with and give you a little nudge. Have you ever heard of a White-eyed Vireo or a Yellow-throated Vireo? Nope, I didn’t think so. They are very common and very vocal. I imagine one or the other lives and raises young within 100 yards of your front porch. Find one, it will not hurt at all. I promise.
(c)2016 High Virginia Outdoors Photo (c)High Virginia Images ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This is my June 2016 article for Two-lane Livin