Another big game hunting season is about to come to a close. This past Wednesday, I was talking to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Public Relations Police Officer Lt. Tim Coleman in Charleston.
According to Coleman, this year the deer gun seasons have been somewhat safe.
During the firearms deer season, there were no shooting accidents involving a hunter shooting another. There were four self-inflicted gun shot wounds, none fatal. The reason for this is most likely hunters not having the muzzles of their guns pointed in safe directions. The locations for these were: two in Grant County, and one each in Braxton and Wayne counties.
There were two heart attacks that were fatal. These happened in Ritchie and Harrison counties. There were also five tree stand falls, none of which were fatal. The locations for these were: two in Marion County, one each in Grant, Nicholas, and Wood counties.
The big game hunting season will close at sunset on Monday.
If this is all West Virginia has for the firearms deer seasons, it could be one of the safest deer seasons on record. Keep in mind, all of these mishaps took place on or after Nov. 19, when the two-week buck gun season opened. There was a fatal tree stand fall in October in Jackson County in the Rock Castle area, but this was during the deer archery season. Considering there were 275,000 to 300,000 deer hunters outdoors trying to bag that "big buck" clearly indicates that deer gun season is a very safe activity.
Hunters need to keep these figures in mind when certain people start screaming about how dangerous sport hunting is.
The DNR will most likely release all of the preliminary big game harvest figures sometime next month. I could be wrong, but I really don't think there will be any kind of a record for any of the various deer seasons (state or county). If there is, the personnel at the Elkins Operations Center will be quick to let me know.
The black bear totals for the year has the potential to be a record, but the October super snowstorm could have driven some of the bears into early hibernation. We all know there are more bears in the state since records have been kept. The wild boar and wild turkey numbers have been down for several years, so I don't think any of these harvests figures will be any kind of a record.
Before Christmas, I was thinking about maybe going to the Morgantown area to get another antlerless deer.
The weather we are now having shot down this idea. After all, it is wintertime.
It looks like I am going to just stay indoors and watch post-season college football games and hoping West Virginia University will be able to defeat an old rival (Syracuse) in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
If we get some decent weather in January, the fish stocking trucks will start rolling. However, the forecast for the next several days does not look promising. When the weather is not fit for man or beast, all I want to do is eat a big meal, get under an electric blanket, and just sleep the time away.
New Year's Eve will be on Monday night, and I don't have a clue what Ruth wants to do for the evening. One thing is certain, she will not want to stay home and watch football or basketball games.
So everyone, do your celebrating to bring in 2013 in a responsible manner.
The West Virginia State Police has already given more than sufficient notice in the newspapers, on radio and television, "Over the limit, under arrest." Here is ample reason to use good judgment when we all go to a New Year's Eve Party.