Last updated: July 17. 2013 3:39PM - 309 Views

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Earl Ray Tomblin

Governor of West Virginia

In a time when families are hurried, smartphones intrude on dinner and less time is spent outdoors-crisp autumn air and vibrant fall foliage, again, remind us of West Virginia’s natural beauty and splendor. For many West Virginians, it’s the anticipated arrival of hunting season, a proud part of our state’s heritage.

Our families have long preserved this time-honored tradition, passing it down from generation to generation. We currently have over 2,700 sportsmen and women who proudly carry our state’s senior lifetime hunting and fishing licenses. Our seniors have experienced some of the best hunting and fishing our state has to offer, and they are great ambassadors of the sport for our young generations.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has several programs designed especially for our state’s youngest hunters and anglers. They have a series of hunts, regulations, and a special Junior Sportsman License for those ages 15-17. In addition, youth ages 8-14 may hunt without a license when accompanied by a licensed adult. Just last week, the first day of a split three-day antlerless deer season for youth took place.

It gives me great pride to see young folks discovering the great outdoors and continuing family traditions. But we must make every effort to ensure safety remains a top priority. Since 1968 our state has provided hunters, young and old, with hunter education courses. Contributing to the program’s success are hundreds of trained volunteer instructors who donate hundreds of hours and miles to ensure our hunters are familiar with topics such as safety, wildlife management, first aid, and game identification.

I truly believe there’s simply no better place to enjoy Mother Nature’s beauty than in our West Virginia hills. And with boots laced up, hunting gear in tow, and safety in mind-thousands of West Virginians along with thousands of visitors will embark on an early morning journey, seeking out that prized buck or doe. By preserving this time-honored tradition, we help ensure future generations can experience the great outdoors just as our ancestors did many years ago.

The new early antlerless deer season split starts today, October 25, and runs through Saturday, October 27. For more information about West Virginia’s hunting seasons, licensing and/or regulations, visit www.wvdnr.gov. To learn more about hunter safety, visit www.wvhuntered.com. And to purchase a hunting or fishing license, visit www.wvhunt.com or a certified license agent.

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