I have finally made it into the woods for this fall.
This past Wednesday, I went out about 3 p.m. to a small tract of acreage about a mile from town. I have been hunting in this location for about three years. Within five minutes after getting out of the car, I saw a doe watching me come up the foot trail.
About 30 minutes later, I got a squirrel. This old J.C. Higgins 12 gauge, that once belonged to my grandfather, shoots well with these Remington 2 3/4 inch, high brass loads using No. 6 shot.
The temperature was about 70 degrees. The mosquitoes were very much around, but they were not as troublesome as they could have been. The leaves were very heavy, with a third of them still green. What we need is a good frost to knock these leaves down.
In this section of the woods where I was hunting, the mast was somewhat scarce. There was a little bit of hickory, very little acorns or oak, absolutely no beech. I saw two more squirrels before it got dark. The first one saw me first and quickly scampered out of sight. The second was too far away for a shotgun.
When I left the woods at about 6 p.m., I could hear a few more squirrels barking in the distance. I think there may be more mast in another location of this small tract of forest. When the temperature is this warm, the bushy-tails just don't stir around like they would if it had been 20 degrees cooler. From the weather reports I have been seeing, temperatures could drop considerably in the next few days.
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The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) had announced the fall trout stocking was to start Oct. 14, which was a state holiday.
The autumn stocking is scheduled to continue for the week of Oct. 21.
Approximately 32,000 pounds of trout will be stocked during this two-week period in 25 streams and nine lakes throughout the state. Brooder trout will make up about 20 percent of the total poundage.
This is a good time of the year to enjoy trout fishing because of the fall foliage and cool temperatures. According to WVDNR Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section, Curtis Taylor, outdoors people can make a full day of it by hunting in the morning and fishing in the afternoon.
This past week, the DNR has stocked several streams and lakes in this area. On Tuesday, the Blackwater River and the Tygart tailwaters were stocked. On Wednesday, the DNR stocked the Cranberry River, the south branch of the Potomac near the Smoke Hole Cavern and Teter Creek Lake. On Thursday, the DNR stocked the Buckhannon River, Shavers Fork in the Bemis area, Spruce Knob Lake and the Williams River.
The construction of the New Creek Dam in Grant County has been completed, and this lake is scheduled to be stocked with trout this fall.
All sportsmen and women need to be aware that the U. S. Forest Service has closed an access road and campground at Rock Cliff Lake in Hardy County. This lake is not expected to be stocked, unless the road is reopened during the next two weeks. I think that all campgrounds in the national forest and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Lakes have been closed during the Federal government shutdown. However, camping is still available in state parks, forests, and certain wildlife management areas.
Anglers should check the DNR trout stocking Web page at www.wvdnr.gov for any changes or new information as it becomes available for the daily trout stocking reports.