MANNINGTON — With Monday the start of the buck firearms hunting season, local West Virginia Division of Natural Resources officers said some hunters were disappointed with the warm weather.
Randall K. Kocsis and Jeremiah Clark, natural resources police officers for the state of West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Section (WVDNR LES), were in Marion County on Monday patrolling the woods and making sure hunters were being safe and obeying the law.
Kocsis said they encountered hunters in the about 60-degree Fahrenheit weather, saying several sportsmen left their hunting areas because of the conditions. He said some hunters left their posts because of the wind knocking branches off trees.
“Some believed it was no longer safe to stay in the woods,” Kocsis said.
Clark said weather affects deer movement. He said the warmer the weather, the more likely a deer will stay where it is. He said the colder the weather, the more likely the deer will be up and moving around.
The officers said several hunters told them because of the wind, they couldn’t hear deer coming.
Although the weather wasn’t ideal for hunting, it didn’t stop hunters from heading into the woods looking for their first buck of the season. At a DNR check-in point at Fair Traders in Mannington, Mike Peters, wildlife biologist with the DNR, said there was a steady stream of hunters coming to have their freshly shot deer legally checked in and tagged.
“It was just a good morning to be outside,” he said. “This is probably one of the busiest seasons I’ve had.”
Peters said it seemed like several hunters were getting their deer early in the day Monday.
Monday was also a day to remember for 15-year-old Jacob Powell, who shot his first buck. Powell went hunting with his father Richard near Dent’s Run Road.
Powell said he felt nervous moments leading up to getting the deer and didn’t think he would get one Monday. Then came along a seven-point buck.
“I’ve got buck fever,” he said.
Powell and his father will continue to hunt later this week.
Other families made memories Monday, too.
Henry Brewer took his 10-year-old twin daughters Amber and Hannah hunting and Amber shot an eight-point buck. He said Hannah isn’t much of a hunter, but Amber was very excited.
“She’s a shooter,” Henry said. “She’s very accurate.”
Hunting is something Amber said she is familiar with. She said Monday’s buck was the third one she’s gotten in her life but the first one this season.
“I was a little nervous because I thought it was going to get away,” Amber said.
But when she was able to get the buck, Amber said she was excited. The Brewers went hunting on their own property Monday in Monongalia County.
In 2015, hunters like Powell and Amber will have to check their game in a different way.
Susan Olcott, wildlife diversity biologist with the DNR, said in April 2015, a new electronic game checking system will start. She said hunters will be required to check game by one of three methods.
Those methods are by going to www.wvhunt.com, calling 844-824-3251 or through a license agent.
Olcott said with smartphones and cellular service almost everywhere, hunters will be able to check their game from almost anywhere.
“Hopefully this will be very convenient for them,” she said.
For more information about hunting regulations, rules and the 2015 check-ins, visit www.wvhunt.com. Those with questions about regulations and rules can call the DNR’s Farmington office at 304-825-6787.
— Emily Gallagher is a reporter for the Times West Virginian