Last updated: July 18. 2013 1:53PM - 124 Views
Bob Fala
Outdoors Columnist

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Deer and trout are perennial favorites of the West Virginia sporting public. So what better way to kick-off the New Year than with these big guns of the outdoor venue? This is in no way a slight to bass, bears, bunnies or wild turkeys for that matter, but to merely start the New Year with some skinny for the many hunters and anglers thereof. But please be sure your license situation is current for the new year as well.

The usual local vendors now have the fishing regulation brochures in stock. So stop by and pick up a copy for the camp, vehicle or both. For a preview, there is very little that has changed within the basic fishing prescriptions. That in mind, the trout stocking season begins per usual in January albeit at a limited pace. However, before the month is said and done some fifty plus Mountain State streams and lakes will have been planted.

Laurel Lake in Mingo County is the closest January option. For details on daily statewide stockings, do an online word search under WVDNR and select the trout stocking schedule or call the hotline at 558-3399, both of which are updated around 4:00PM. In other local trout matters, the various coal program mitigation in-stream fishing structures along Pond Fork in Boone County are really looking sharp in winter flow.

Take a drive between the towns of Van and Bald Knob to see for yourself. Just do it in winter before spring green-up for the best view. The major mitigation project at Buffalo Creek above Man is now under construction. Give the work crews some space and time before taking a gander at that one. And last but certainly not least, the Logan Shrine Club merits a hearty thank you for their maintenance efforts at the Children’s and Handicapped trout Pond at Logan County Airport.

In the past, vandals and litterbugs had wreaked havoc there. Also along those lines, the popular and long standing Big Ugly WMA in Lincoln County might be lost for unauthorized ATV use, vandalism and littering. Let’s not let the actions of a few destroy the benefits for the entire public. Folks might recall that many of the once fine facilities at Big Ugly have been destroyed by scofflaws. Local law enforcement staff might keep this, the Airport Pond and the new shooting range at Chief Logan Wildlife Management Area (WMA) on their patrol list.

Moving on to deer, the final tallies will soon be rolling in. Early indications are that per the modest gun buck kill, the state’s leading herd index, the bulk of the 55 counties are now at or below their objective. And that’s even as reduced under the new management plan. We should thus anticipate some belt tightening in the regulation prescriptions for 2013. The hunter kill and thus the herd are now about half of what they were just a decade back.

Along those lines, one frustrated buck hunter sent this comment in response to the official news release. “I wish the DNR would provide their excuses prior to the season so I would have some good ones on why I couldn’t get one each year. This year - weather was dry, so it was loud walking in the woods; Hurricane Sandy limited my access to my good spots; there were too many acorns. Last year - the weather was bad and wet, no acorns, too windy.”

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