It’s hard to believe that July is over and August is already here. Schools will be starting in a few weeks, I know the kids might not be too excited to here that, and summer vacations will come to an end. Every year when August rolls around the thoughts of another hunting season enter my mind.
I think about the cool crisp mornings in the woods as well as the peaceful evenings watching the sunset over our rolling hills and hollows. You never know what may happen or what you might see while waiting patiently for that big buck to come by. Once the rut kicks in I’m in full out deer mode which never gets old but I’m getting ahead of myself now.
Even though it’s still a couple of months until the first official day of deer season there are plenty of things to do to get ready. Right now is a great time to put trail cameras out to see what bucks are cruising through your hunting areas. Nothing will get you more excited about the upcoming deer season than a picture of a big ole buck from one of your trail cameras.
It’s also a good time to check your stand sites out and clear some shooting lanes. I have one stand that’s in need of this as the autumn olive is starting to block my view. It can be work and not much fun in the summer heat and humidity but I’m always glad I put the time and effort into it once deer season comes in.
Late summer is a good time to brush hog and mow any fields or food plots that you may have as the grasses and weeds start slowing down their growth. The clover in my food plots have grown really well this year which will be beneficial if there aren’t many acorns in the woods. From what I’m seeing it appears the acorn crop is going to be spotty this fall.
The new hunting regulations are out now and there are a couple of notable changes hunters should be aware of. The biggest change is Sunday hunting is now allowed in all 55 counties. “Sunday hunting will be legal in all 55 counties on private land only, with written permission, beginning July 6, 2017” the regulations state. The state Legislature voted to open Sunday hunting statewide earlier this year.
The other change will affect those of you that plan on hunting in Hampshire, Mason, and Upshur Counties during the first two days of the buck firearm season. The 2017-2018 regulations state that “All deer harvested by hunters on November 20 and 21, 2017 in Hampshire, Mason, and Upshur counties are required to be brought to a designated Biological Examination Station for carcass examination between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.”
The regulations also states that “Hunters are still required to check their deer via telephone, internet, or at a license agent. This action will maximize the cost effectiveness of placing DNR personnel at sampling locations to monitor deer herd physical characteristics and age structure.”
The reason the DNR decided to set up these checking stations was because they weren’t getting any biological data from deer since the new electronic check in system was implemented. With the new electronic check in system, hunters weren’t required to bring their deer into a check station anymore. The DNR plans to rotate the counties from year to year to eventually collect data throughout the state.
The rest of the regulations are pretty much the same as last years but it’s always a good idea to check them before venturing out. The regulations can be found on the Hunting page of the DNR’s website, www.wvdnr.gov/hunting. Printed copies are available from hunting-license agents and at all DNR district headquarters.
Another hunting season is upon us and it’s never too early to start preparing. Enjoy the rest of summer as it will be over before you know it. Take care and stay cool until then.