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Autumn is almost here

August 17, 2013
By Kenneth Cobb , The Inter-Mountain

August is more than half over. In Randolph County, the children will be starting back to school on Monday.

In just two short weeks, the West Virginia Mountaineers will start their 2013 football season against an old Southern Conference rival from the past - William & Mary.

In the last few mornings when I stepped outside, I could certainly feel autumn in the air. The temperatures were in the mid 40s. My favorite time of the year is rapidly approaching.

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Earlier this month, I received my mast survey and hunting outlook forms from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. I hope to get this completed and to the DNR before the Aug. 31 deadline. Last year, I did the survey, but when I got ready to mail it in, I quickly noticed that it was about a week too late. This resulted in getting a little scolding from a few of my friends at the Elkins Operations Center.

The DNR would like to have at least four surveys from each county this year. They will not have any trouble getting this from Randolph County. I think this county gets the most survey reports of all the 55 counties in the state.

People are telling me that, in particular areas of Randolph County, certain nut trees are producing quite well. They say the beech, Chinese chestnut and hickory are going to be abundant this year. However, in the next two weeks, I am going to be looking at a few places to see for myself. It's not that I don't trust these people, but from past experience on this subject, I have been told one thing; and when I went to look for myself, to my dismay, it was really the opposite from what I was told.

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The DNR reminding all young hunters that all persons, born on or after Jan. 1, 1975, must first successfully complete a certified hunter education safety course before purchasing a regular hunting license (Chapter 20-2-30a WV code). All persons born after this date when purchasing a standard hunting license for the first time must present a certificate of completion of this course to the agent issuing the license.

It's like what I have said before, the hunter safety course and the mandatory blaze orange regulation during the various deer firearms seasons have made a big difference in the hunting accidents throughout the state. When I was a teenager and learning how to hunt, about two-thirds of the hunting accidents with firearms were committed by hunters under 21 years of age.

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This past week, I was talking to some DNR officials in Charleston. For 2013, there have been only five hunting accidents so far, and only two involving firearms. None of these incidents were fatal.

On Feb. 22, a person fell from a tree stand while trying to take it down in Lincoln County. This injury involved broken bones. On March 12, 2013, a person was injured due to negligent shooting in Jefferson County. I don't know any other details about this incident. On April 23, a spring gobbler hunter fell resulting in a broken leg in Lewis County. On April 24, another turkey hunter fell out of a tree stand in Harrison County. The last hunting accident for this year occurred on June 13 in Ritchie County. According to the report, metal from a shotgun entered a person's left elbow.

Once again, I don't have any additional details about this incident.

It is interesting to know the DNR considers the spring gobbler season to be the most dangerous hunting season statewide. It used to be the buck gun season in the fall. This however was changed with the blaze orange regulation.

It certainly would be nice if West Virginia could make it through the entire year without a hunting fatality. Several people say this is like "asking for the moon" or maybe winning the lottery; but for right now, that possibility is clearly there.



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