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

I received a note this week about an opportunity for us as sportsmen and women to get outdoors, and as a West Virginian and an avid outdoorsman, the note made me proud of our state and its natural resources. Read more

It has been more than nine months since my last column, so I owe my readers an explanation. Back in February, I had major back surgery and was told my recovery and rehab would take at least 10 months. My progress has been steady, but very slow. Read more

I love Christmas. I really do. The time of year, the spirit that seems to be in the air. If only for a short time people treat each other a little nicer. While we are celebrating the birth of the Christ child many of us are out there going crazy trying to find gifts for each other. Read more

One of the great things about hunting is doing it with old friends. I dare say that some of us would probably quit going afield if we were not able to do it with familiar old hunting partners. In fact, I know some hunters who did exactly that. When their old buddies were gone, they gave it u… Read more

I was invited to be on a podcast earlier this week to talk about new hunting and shooting gear. The podcast was also being streamed live on several social media channels. As the host and I waited for a few listeners to tune in, we chatted about family and how our seasons had been going so fa… Read more

Deer season in West Virginia is a special time of year for most hunters, with the highlight being the two-week buck firearm season. The week of Thanksgiving, when friends and family gather to celebrate the culture and heritage of buck season, is a time-honored tradition. But that week is not… Read more

As hunters, we are the hands-on wildlife conservation tool called upon to help manage our state’s wildlife, and to be frank, our role is a huge part of our lifestyle. We cherish the opportunity to go afield actively in pursuit of the season’s targeted species. Read more

I write you this on my birthday, Nov. 15, and I am 67 years old. I know that sounds old to some of you, and in truth it sounds kind of old to me. I have told you before that aging has been a mystery to me for the past several years. Although I am told that I am getting older and I definitely… Read more

For our state’s sportsmen and women, this week is the big dance, the main event, the season we all look forward to every year — the opening of buck season. From new hunters to the old-seasoned deer camp veterans, this season is special to all involved and is a great celebration of our state … Read more

When I was younger, say around the sixth grade, I became interested in hunting for white-tailed deer. My neighbor was a deer hunter and he talked often about big-racked deer and how hard it is to fool an old bruiser buck into playing your game. Read more

It’s fall turkey season. Now to some, or maybe a lot of you, that is not a big deal. Most of us are wrapped up in other pursuits, mainly deer-related. Bow season is in full swing here in my neck of the woods, and the big show, rifle buck season, is right around the corner. Some states are in… Read more

I have to admit, this recent warm spell has me attracted to our woods more than usual. I find my morning walk more pleasant with the sound of crunchy leaves under my feet. And with the amount of animal activity in the woods this time of year, critter encounters are an added bonus. Deer are o… Read more

Yes, friends and neighbors, boys and girls and deer hunters around the world, it is that time. Time for your annual report on the season in the deer world known as “the rut.” This time, as we all know is for deer hunters THE event of the calendar year. If you are a deer hunter it is the Supe… Read more

With the leaves falling quickly now that the calendar is flipped to the page titled November, my hunting habits have landed squarely on squirrels. Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that the rut for whitetails is drawing near, and there is no finer time to be in a tree with a bow, but he… Read more

Imagine my surprise when I received an email from the editors telling me that fall is here. They went on to explain the various hunting seasons were starting and I might want to write something about that. Well, of course I knew that fall was here. I mean, everybody knows that (anybody know … Read more

I was blessed to have grown up with an older brother. Simply put, he was my best friend and mentor to the outdoor world. What made him so unique to grow up with was the fact that his brain was always stuck in curiosity mode — especially when it came to hunting and fishing. Read more

On my morning walk this past week, I could feel it in the air, and on the tips of my nose and fingers — the chill of fall is right around the corner. For sportsmen and women, that chill brings with it the thoughts of one of our state’s most cherished traditions that is simply part of our cul… Read more

I bet you have seen this in the movies a dozen times. The bad guy, usually a hit man, screws a long tube-like attachment on the barrel of his weapon, be it rifle or handgun. Now with this instrument of evil he is free to do all sorts of nefarious deeds because the instrument, a “silencer,” a… Read more

The 2020 West Virginia Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook was recently published. This resource is extremely valuable to the hunters of our state. The Division of Natural Resources (DNR), in conjunction with the Division of Forestry, annually surveys the state to determine the relative abundanc… Read more

I live in bear country, there is no doubt about it. Maybe it’s because I’m home more during this worldwide pandemic or simply luck is playing a role, but either way my bear encounters so far this season are numerous. Maybe I’m just a bear magnet. Read more

Cade Clemens and Anse Justice are bear hunters. That fact would not be too unusual seeing as how both are from West Virginia and they live in the Appalachian Mountains. We West Virginians pride ourselves that we are a stronghold for hunters and outdoorsmen, and Cade and Anse are every bit of… Read more

With hunting seasons opening right around the corner, I find myself in a strange transition from summertime to fall. To put things plainly, I’m going from flip-flops to hunting boots and from dreaming of smallmouth bass to wondering if my hunting grounds have any shooter bucks walking around… Read more

It’s the first day of squirrel season and I am not in the woods. I have let the threat of a little rain in the forecast keep me from going. I stand on the front porch of the camp with coffee and take in the foggy, misty gray morning. It is no bright and shiny morning with lots of sun, but it… Read more

Soon, the big dance starts. When the bell sounds on the openers, droves of sportsmen and women will enter their hunting grounds in stealth mode, climb a tree and step on to their treestand’s platform and await the arrival of Mr. Big. It’s a front-row seat to witness first-hand the behaviors … Read more

I followed Tim and Dave down to the sandy river bank. It was only eight in the morning, but it was already getting hot. For the 10th time, I stopped to try to fix the loose sole of my Red Ball Jet tennis shoes (we called them “tenna” shoes). I knew it was beyond repair, but I kept trying var… Read more

For many of us, Labor Day signifies summer’s last long weekend that Is best spent outdoors, enjoying all summer has to offer. Swimming at the lake, fishing, taking a hike and, most definitely, grilling out. Although there is still plenty of summer days left until fall — the first official da… Read more

As sportsmen and women, we as a collective group of people are planners. We have to be. For example, most of us wouldn’t simply walk into a patch of woods and climb a tree and bowhunt. Instead, we plan by scouting our hunting grounds for deer activity signs, food sources, bedding areas, game… Read more

I was relaxing in my easy chair (I know that is such a dad-sounding thing to say) when my neighbor’s dog started to bark loudly. It wasn’t a normal-sounding bark or a bark I had heard before from the dog. Also, the dog was in my backyard at night, which I found very odd. As I listened, it hi… Read more

I know it’s still summer and the back porch thermometers are reading hot, but I have always been a person who looks forward to things that fall brings. The thing that I am looking forward to most is September. Why, you may ask? Simple — September means fall and the opening of several of my f… Read more

Are you a deer hunter? Do you like to hunt for big bucks? If you do, do you make a habit of judging the deer that others take and belittling them because you think the antlers were too small or the buck wasn’t old enough? If you do this, then you are a buck shamer and we need to talk about it. Read more


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