By Bob Fala Outdoors Columnist
June 15, 2014
The seventh-annual “JAKES” Youth Fishing Day is slated for Saturday, June 21 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The event is open to youngsters 17-and-under and will be held at the Chief Logan Scout Camp Lake off the Garrett Fork Exit of US119/Corridor G just north of Chapmanville.
JAKES is an official program of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). It stands for “Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship.” The event is sponsored by the NWTF’s Logan Area Chapter.
The youth day will also feature prizes, a picnic style lunch and the popular Daisy-Take Aim Inflatable BB Shooting Range. Long time kingpins for the event are the couples of Robin and Roger Wolfe and Doyle and Linda Gore. For questions or to make a donation they can be contacted at 304-855-9148 and 304-239-2025, respectively.
Young angling prospects in the readership areas have got to feel fortunate. This event is hot on the heels of the recent Buffalo and Huff Creek Watershed Association youth trout fishing events. This one however is for the warmer weather and bulldog strong fighting catfish species. Several years ago, one youth fishing day participant stated that this fishing event was the “best day of his life.”
Folks should bring their own fishing tackle and bait. Recent sponsors for the event include: Empire Consulting, Gatti’s Pizza, Civitas Media Outdoors, Acculab, Hypes Brothers, Uncle Tom’s Loans, Saul’s Seismic, Cabelas, Midway USA, Beyond the Backyard, Amsoil, ECSI, Buckskin Council BSA, WVDNR, Daisy and others. And that’s not to mention a host of helping parents and volunteers.
There are other supporting NWTF chapters in the surrounding counties. They include the Mingo Beards & Spurs, Boone County Limbhangers, Wayne County Longbeards and the Jack Martin Chapter out of Wyoming, W.Va. As can be seen the wild turkey and the hunters thereof are quite popular here. No surprise then, recent WVDNR date shows that for the 2013 season, Mingo, Logan and McDowell counties rank within the top ten of the 55 counties in gobbler kill per square mile.
Wild turkeys are popular statewide too. The many Mountain State chapters have raised over a million dollars at their fundraising banquets for in-state projects since 1985 alone.
West Virginia’s spring gobbler hunters had a pretty rough go of it this year however, especially at the local level. WVDNR has just released the 2014 kill of 9,017 gobblers, which was 19 percent down from the prior year, 6 percent down from the 5-year average and a whopping 27 percent down at the local DNR District 5 level! Many may thus be yearning for the good old record-year days of 2001 when the West Virginia kill was dang near twice the present level coming in at just shy of 18,000 gobblers.
With the Bluegrass State of Kentucky’s flock presently peaking a la ours was circa 2001, it’s no wonder that many local hunters are opting for that greener turkey grass on the west side of the Tug Fork River. In contrast, the corresponding 2014 Kentucky kill came in at just shy of 30,000 for a few percent below the prior year. In 2014, the KY spring gobbler season all but closed (May 3) while WV was just opening (April 28).
For decades, died in the wool southern WV gobbler hunters have clamored for an earlier opening season. Numbers like these certainly give them some additional gobbling power.