Bob FalaOutdoors Columnist
June 15, 2013
Not too many moons ago, the Logan Area (LA) was in the cellar. That is, when it came to the ever important status of its big game populations.
A short generation back, local folks had to hit the distant national forests for a taste of that action. The tides have turned as several coalfield counties like Logan are now putting up some big deer, bear and turkey numbers of their own making. Now that’s what we’re talking about!
Let’s start out with the unquestionable kingpin species, the wonderful white-tailed deer. Back in the late 1970s when gun deer hunting was closed here for fear of local extirpation; the last reported total kill for Logan County was something like 10. Get that picture? Just last year, the archery kill alone was 748! And that’s just shy of an archery category top-10 county status of the state’s 55.
What’s more, some of the Mountain State’s finest trophy buck deer and buck to doe ratios are found in the LA zone, one of West Virginia’s four counties of bowhunting only for deer. And to participate, hunters as far as Alaska have made treks to this now nationally famous big buck turf.
Moving on to black bears, they were essentially unheard of at LA back when the gun deer season was closed. For that decade of the 1970s, the entire West Virginia annual bear kill averaged 67 per year. And again, it was confined mostly to the national forests. Just last fall, Logan County alone accounted for 51 bear kills. What’s more, per its nominal take in relation to its population, it remains as only one of a handful of counties that allows the taking of two bruins!
Is it time to talk turkeys? They too were locally extirpated here circa those very same 1970s. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that some of that, you guessed it national forest stock of birds was transplanted here. That was the last of the in-state plantings of the trap and transfer program. Long story short, Logan County chalked up some 250-plus gobblers just this spring. That tally is just shy of a state top-10 county spring turkey ranking. And, it surpasses several of those initial turkey-sharing national forest county kills combined. Looks like the last shall be first and the first shall be last when it comes to wild turkeys.
Lest we forget, Logan and Boone counties were the only two that produced decent numbers of Russian wild boar for a little exotic big game variety for them to monopolize. Logan County is also at the very heart of the proposed seven-county elk restoration zone nestled nicely in between Virginia and Kentucky’s successful project areas.
So when it comes to LA in these parts, we’re not talking about the Lakers. It’s all about the local big game species climbing their respective power rankings. And that’s a 3-point shot. Nothing but net…