The LA (Logan Area) remains at the heart of the Mountain State’s bow-hunting only quad of famous trophy deer counties. It along with its equally famous accompanying contiguous members of Mingo, Wyoming and McDowell comprise the Fearsome Foursome of a big buck kind.
They draw in modern day Robin Hood’s from far and away in quest of West Virginia’s biggest bucks from a herd unfettered from the roar of modern rifles.
However, the LA’s biggest fans are perhaps its major local contingent of bow-benders that have grown up knowing nothing but archery methods and have come to like it just the way it is. Having been closed to gun deer hunting since the late 1970s, this generation is now introducing the next one to the very same tradition.
In testament, just last year, fully 39 (56 percent) of the 69 registered typical bow class Big Buck Contest entries came from these four counties alone! To put that in perspective, this four-county trophy zone comprises just seven percent of the state’s 55 counties. Doing the math, there are eight times as many big bow bucks bagged here on average as any other four county combo!
Still not convinced, four of the top five bow bucks of all time have also been taken from the “gunless four.”
The 1998 Logan County buck taken by Mark Lester ranks as the all-time number one of the typical archery class. Yet another Logan County bruiser taken by Terry McGrady in 1997 is the fifth highest scoring of all time. And you guessed it; it was number four until topped out just last year by David Miller’s big buck taken along the Logan and Mingo county line!
Miller’s buck also topped the 2011 year charts as the best buck of that campaign.
The bow-hunters themselves deserve a lot of the management credit for maintaining the unique resource.
Just how do they do it?
Most save their one and only lawful bow buck tag for the big boys. They simply refrain from shooting smaller spike, fork-horn or even six or eight-point bucks that don’t measure up to the minimum Big Buck Contest entry score of 125 on the Pope and Young scoring system.
With an overall two-deer limit here, hunters are likewise taking adult females out of the population with that other tag. This takes care of herd control, maintaining quality as well as excellent buck to doe ratios unheard of in the much more heavily gun buck-culled counties over the rest of the state.
Hunting clubs and leases have blossomed in the zone as well. Many are gating unnecessary ATV and Jeep Trails, converting them into grassy food plots instead. They’ve also taken a serious approach against non-seasonal hunting.
The rest is history as they say.
This year’s archery deer season begins Sept. 29, a notch earlier for the second consecutive year and the beginning of a new tradition of sorts over the former mid-October versions. The long, liberal bow season runs through December 31. Be careful with those tree stands and enjoy the fruits of your own management efforts and license dollars.
And, may that trophy of a lifetime drop by in your neck of the woods.