Being from Elk River, West Virginia, I have always felt that elk and I were somehow connected. As strange as that may seem, perhaps growing up on the river and a town named after the animal may have caused my curiosity. I often wondered why so many places in our home state had the word “elk”…

I’m a hillbilly. Have been since birth and, believe it or not, I’m proud of it. Hillbilly, like most things that deal with the Appalachian Mountains, is a term that is usually misunderstood. Scholars tend to disagree a little as to the actual source of the word, but it is usually rooted in t… Read more

This time of year, as we get settled in for the long days of summer, many are in search of a good read. Some of us head down the hillbilly highway to the coast of the Carolinas for an annual family beach trip, and finding the right book helps us relax and enjoy the sandy beaches and only add… Read more

Hunters can be very nostalgic and passionate about our sport and the equipment and tools we use when we tramp the wild places. We may latch on to and defend our favorite boots, or an old hunting coat, but what guns we carry and shoot is where we really shine. Back in the day the gun brand yo… Read more

How is it something that you profess to love so much can cause you so much anxiety and grief? No, I’m not talking about dealing with your children or your friends. Read more

Ask anyone who hunts and fishes and they will tell you someone opened the door for them to become a sportsman or woman. They may not mention that person or group of people as their mentor, or teacher, but that is how it’s most likely to have happened. Someone had to teach us how to track, hu… Read more

It was a long spring gobbler season – multiple states and multiple weeks in a row had my tongue hanging out. To be frank, I was tired of traveling and needed a rest. In my tunnel-vision-state of chasing gobblers, fishing season snuck up on me rather quickly. Here it is June and I have only f… Read more

OK, sports fans, just thought I would let you in on some inside information that I am privileged to have access to. Summer, that season that is the favorite to many of you, is almost here. As for my little neck of the woods here in the middle of the Appalachian Mountain range, we have had su… Read more

As turkey harvest numbers come in across the country, there are some interesting results. As many of you are aware, there are concerns about the appearance of declining wild turkey numbers in the eastern United States. As written before, I am not a wildlife biologist or a trained, profession… Read more

Most of us would agree there is a lot of difference in a grizzly bear and a chicken hawk. Now right away some of you regular readers (I think there are a few of you out there) are thinking “That is a weird statement, where is he going with this?” but stay with me here class. Read more

After our spring gobbler season closed on our West Virginia hunting grounds, my son and I weren’t ready to hang up our turkey vests just yet. We were longing to chase Tom Turkey around for a few more days. Read more

In the world of recreational shooting and the shooting sports, there is something about West Virginia that has always puzzled me. We Mountaineers are no doubt among the last strongholds when it comes to owning firearms, shooting them and using these firearms for hunting. If we do not hunt an… Read more

By the time most of you read these words, spring gobbler season in West Virginia will be over. For those crazed people like me who hunt every day of the season, the bell ending the season is bittersweet. No more getting up in the middle of the night, no more sleepy afternoons at work in a zo… Read more

You know how I hate to be the bearer of bad news. I wish I could tell you that for the entire turkey season this spring it will be sunny and 65 degrees every day (it certainly hasn’t been here lately), the turkeys will gobble till your ears hurt and march toward your calling like you are Ben… Read more

This spring gobbler season has been a very strange one thus far. First of all, the weather has been whacky with colder than normal temperatures. I hunted two mornings this past week with the back porch thermometer reading in the 30s. Secondly, I don’t recall a season with more days in a row … Read more

There is no denying, we are blessed to live in a state with so many natural resources and where outdoor recreation opportunities are so plentiful. West Virginia shines brightly as one of the best places to get outside and enjoy nature’s wonderful bounties. From our rivers, lakes, streams, mo… Read more

It’s six o’clock in the morning and I am prying myself into an airplane seat somewhere in Illinois. I think there is no way the airline could have downsized these seats since I was here about a week ago, but it is a tight fit. Do the airline people think a lot of hobbits fly with them regula… Read more

This is my 31st year of spring gobbler hunting in West Virginia. Although this may sound silly, I am positive I can recall at least one or two certain facts about each season — the amount of gobbling and the weather are generally the factors I note. Read more

I wanted to go back to the old days. I was driving down a back road in Virginia, tired and footsore and feeling sorry for myself. We were hunting turkeys in the spring season and it was beautiful and awful at the same time. The morning was bright and the songbirds started a Hallelujah chorus… Read more

Back in 2013, I was asked to be part of a television series on The History Channel. The series was all about Kodiak brown bears and a select group of hunters who tested themselves against some of the most rugged wilderness elements in search of one of the largest land predators on Earth. In … Read more

I promise this won’t be as bad as talking about mountain lions. Even though we still have to do that story, I feel the need for us to talk about turkey concerns. If you are a rabid spring gobbler hunter, as I know that many of you are, the clock is ticking. Read more

I am simply giddy about the upcoming spring gobbler season that opens statewide April 19 and runs through May 23. Beginning this year, West Virginia’s statewide spring gobbler season will run for five weeks instead of four. Read more

Well, here we go again. For some time, I have been lecturing you about the lack of hunter unity these days. I told one of my bear hunting contacts the other day that I was so naïve (dumb), I thought if I kept harping on this subject things might actually get a little better. If anything, I t… Read more

A long time ago, right where I am standing in what is now southwestern West Virginia, Logan County, there were herds of wapiti (wap-i-ti). We are told that is what the Shawnee Indians called them; we call them elk. The wapiti had been gone for a long time, but now they are back. Read more

Near my home, there’s a creek and it has been very special and meaningful in my life. To be honest, there is nothing particularly special about the creek or its waters. In fact, there are many more creeks in West Virginia that are more scenic, more remote and, to be honest, are better fisher… Read more

I don’t want to start off on a negative note here, but I really do not believe all that stuff about the groundhog. You know, the whole bit where he (the groundhog) is supposed to peek outside of his den on Feb. 2 and look for his shadow. Most of us know that no self-respecting groundhog is g… Read more

charleston — Gov. Jim Justice announced Tuesday that the West Virginia Gold Rush trout program is returning this year bigger and better than ever, with 12 days of trout stockings and more opportunities for anglers to win prizes. Read more

In my last weekly column, I wrote about the top hunting brands from a recent survey of hunters. Since that column, the sun came out and warmed the earth and our faces, and instantly my mind switched over to the thoughts of fishing. So I decided to switch gears this week and concentrate on fishing. Read more

As a lifelong hunter, I am a purchaser of brands and products that help fuel my passion for my favorite hobbies. From my truck, my boots, my clothing and my equipment – they all represent my lifestyle and I take pride in that. Being a hunter is who I am and who I want to be. Read more

“March is a green and muddy month down below. Some folks like it. Farmers mostly.” Bear Claw Chris Lapp in the movie Jeremiah Johnson. Read more

As February closes, so does squirrel season. I always feel a certain responsibility at the end of the season to hunt as much as possible with my dog. Although the season is in for nearly six months, and no matter how we’ve hunted during the season, I always feel the pressure is on to go hunt… Read more

The ravages of the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic seem to have no end. I’m sure all of my brothers and sisters in camo out there are as tired of all this as I am. Besides all the missed events like family gatherings and many other social events, if we are honest it has taken away from our outdoor… Read more

It’s about 20 degrees as I stumble along in the dark following my two guides, Connor and Tyler. With about a gazillion stars overhead, it is still very dark, and I try not to make too much noise. The bare cornfield that we are walking in is covered in frozen snow and mud and it is hard to be quiet. Read more

I glanced over at Linda Powell and fidgeted in my waders. It was cold — not Artic Circle cold, but 20 degrees with a stiff wind is chilly. I was dressed for it and not in bad shape, other than a nagging feeling I might have a small leak in my right wader. Along with outdoor writer Brad Fitzp… Read more

The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, born of acts such as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act of 1934, the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 and the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950, is the … Read more

In a normal year (remember those?), it is easy to get cabin fever this time of year. Add in the stressor of trying to cope with a worldwide pandemic with sheltering at home that may even intensify the effects of cabin fever. Lately, the cold days and snow-covered ground just don’t lend thems… Read more

Several years ago, perhaps during a moment of weakness or a middle-aged crisis, I bought an aluminum bass boat with a trolling motor on the front and two sets of electronic fish finders for both the bow and stern. Growing up on the Elk River and later guiding for smallmouth bass on the New, … Read more

This is one of my absolute favorite times of the squirrel season to hunt. Don’t get me wrong, I love each and every month during the nearly six-month season — actually, it’s five months and 17 days, or a 170 day-long season, if you are curious or counting. Read more

OK, can we just decide here and now that 2021 is going to be better than last year? Good. I’m glad that we can agree on something. Read more

For those of us who prefer to live the outdoor lifestyle, you are probably aware of the high demand for outdoor recreation supplies and equipment. Simply ask a deer hunter looking for hunting ammunition this past season and they will let you know how empty some of the shelves are at outdoor … Read more

With the start of a new year, outdoorsmen and women are starting to plan their 2021 hunting seasons. No matter the hunt, the anticipation and planning phases of the adventure can be the most enjoyable part of the experience. After all, it is the experience that we are all searching for to li… Read more

I pushed my way through the rhododendron and stepped out on the rock. It is uneven footing and close to the edge, but I have been here many times and I felt pretty safe. From this viewpoint I can look down into the gorge and up and down river. Although far below me, I could see the river is … Read more

Like many new things in life, it simply takes some getting used to. And as far hunters go, sometimes new things take us longer to accept. There is a relatively new hunt for 2021, the “Mountaineer Heritage Season.” The season was introduced in 2019 after the West Virginia Division of Natural … Read more


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