Here’s a quick rundown of the highlights.
The general framework remains remain fairly stable with the usual exceptions for the county by county deer, bear and turkey management prescriptions.
The annual modifications are needed to properly manage these premier game species.
For the ever expanding and record setting bears, things are to be loosened up per the lofty prevailing populations and associated damage claims.
In addition, the poor mast and bad weather last fall resulted in many bruins hibernating earlier whereby they avoided the December bullet.
So look for the makings of more state records in the black bear gun, bow or total kill categories.
After a one year hiatus, the two bear limit has returned as long as one of them is bagged from a designated southern bear project county.
On the local scene, Boone County is not on that list this time around. Prospective hunters must thus closely examine their favorite county prescriptions.
For deer on the other hand, a well controlled herd in historical terms has resulted in a bit of belt tightening.
Some winter kill under the prevailing poor mast and widespread state snow cover justify this strategy further.
Lincoln County however has returned to the antlerless or “doe season” docket but only via mail-in limited quota tags.
And just to get it out of the way, no one has even muttered a breath about opening the bow-hunting only counties of Logan, Mingo, Wyoming and McDowell to any form of gun hunting.
Fall turkey hunters should see more counties opened to a one or two-week season option.
This is per a proposed lowering of the spring gobbler kill bar needed to trigger a fall county opening the same year.
If not locally, look for many more counties to open along the state’s Ohio River and western-front turkey turf. With a host of troubling issues related to “baiting” of game, the DNR is again recommended its termination for all publicly owned lands between the Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 hunting seasons.
For the youngsters there’s always something new.
For instance, the age threshold for special youth season participation is to increase from 15 to 18 years old. A new youth and handicapped trout fishing zone is slated for Mash Fork within the Camp Creek State Forest in Mercer County.
For trout anglers, a new catch and release area is proposed for Shavers Fork of Cheat at Stuart Recreation area near Elkins.
The other angling proposals are geared toward the thriving walleye strain of the New River and a simplification (by combination) of the bag limits for the similarly appearing white, hybrid and striped bass.
To comment up or down on these proposals and others plus whatever’s on your mind, please try to attend the Logan Sectional Meeting, Tuesday March 16 between 6-8 p.m. at the Chief Logan Conference Center.