By Bob Fala
With the arrival of fall, a flurry of outdoor options starts rolling in. Before you know it, Mountain State hunters and anglers will literally have to pick and choose their favorites. This makes for quite a bit of elbow room as they do just that; either fishing, hunting or perhaps a little bit of both! There simply just isn’t enough time in the day to pursue them all amidst what soon turns into a snowstorm of options. Problems, problems…
Before we get started, let’s not forget that the earlier than in the past seasons for squirrel (Sept. 14) and archery deer and bear (Sept. 28) openers on this side of the Tug Fork have been presented previously. Chiming in right on their heels however is the October 1 opening day for the first split of duck season. Thanks to the Duck Dynasty TV phenomenon, there may be a bit more interest in the quacking ones these days.
At least there should be, duck limits are quite generous of late. Prospective hunters should carefully check the migratory bird regulations available on line at www.wvdnr.gov. Next up is kind of a southern West Virginia coalfield sleeper in its special early gun bear season (Oct. 7- Oct. 11) for the following group of eight counties only: Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mingo, Raleigh and Wyoming.
And, this southern WV style gun bear hunt is allowed with or without the use of dogs. What’s more, two bears may be taken provided that at least one is from this octet of counties and that only one bear per day may be taken. Amidst all that, we almost forgot to mention that the wild boar archery season kicks in on Saturday October 12.
As if all that weren’t enough to tempt you, the fall trout stocking venue kicks in for the two weeks of October 14 and October 21. However, with October 14 a state holiday, the stocking will not begin until Tuesday October 15. The fall venue is just a small sampling of the full spring suite of streams and lakes, but on the statewide level, it’s no slouch either.
Local fall trout options include Pond Fork in Boone County, R. D. Bailey Lake Tailwaters in Mingo County and Pinnacle Creek in Wyoming County. For the statewide picture for your out-of-town camp county or distant retreat, refer to the regulations brochure or check daily with the trout hotline by phone 304-558-3399 or online as indicated above.
Checking the hotline can pay dividends as sometimes a sleeper stocking or two is thrown in for one reason or another. Regardless of these specific stockings carryover trout in many other streams can perk up a bit with the cooling water temperatures of fall. And all this is not to mention the excellent stream and lake bass fishing finales for this, their last chance to fatten up before winter.
Hankering for still more yet, how about the first split of fall turkey season (October 12-Oct. 19) over 42 of the state’s 55 counties and approaching the statewide level? Locally, this option is a first ever for Logan County. Lincoln, Wyoming and McDowell are also sporting this option. However, Boone, Kanawha, Mingo and Wayne will not offer any fall turkey hunting. Check the regulations for other counties in question.
As can be seen, the outdoor opportunities are at all-time highs both locally and at the state level. Enjoy, follow the rules, and keep buying those licenses, tags and outdoor equipment with excise taxes that in the collective pay the way for wildlife conservation. Not a bad return on the dollar and without any recession in opportunities. You’ve earned it!