Another year, and big game hunting season has come to an end.
I have to openly admit, in this past deer gun seasons I got skunked. I just wasn't able to be at the right place at the right time. However, I did manage to bag an even dozen squirrels, and that season will not be over until the end of this month. Cottontail rabbit, ruffed grouse, and Snowshoe hare close on the last day of February.
I was talking to some personnel at the Elkins Operations Center recently and was informed that the trout stocking season has started. As long as the weather stays nice, the DNR will be stocking trout.
As of Thursday, the following local streams and lakes have been stocked: Laurel Fork of Dry Fork, Shavers Fork (Bemis), Shavers Fork (C&R) Stuarts Recreation Area, Shavers Fork (Lower section), Shavers Fork (Upper section), South Branch of Potomac (Smoke Hole) and Watoga Lake
I reported last month that the 2014 fishing regulations are now readily available. There are a few changes, and all anglers need to study these new regulations.
I realize that it is somewhat early, but all local sportsmen and women need to mark their 2014 calendars for March 18 for the spring regulations meeting to be in Elkins, most likely at the Operations Center on Ward Road.
I don't have any idea if I will do any more hunting for the remainder of the small game seasons this winter. The latest weather forecast does not look one bit encouraging.
According to the DNR, some changes are going to be in effect for the 2014 trout stocking season. Wolf Creek in Preston County has been removed for this year. The reason for this is lack of access. The stocking section of Wolf Creek flows through private property, which was posted in early 2013. Baker Lake in Ohio County replaces Wood Pond as a designated Children and Class Q Handicap Fishing Area. Both of these lakes are located in the Bear Rocks Wildlife Management Area. Wood Pond is difficult to stock and fish. Baker Lake is larger, and the fishing is good along its shoreline
Anglers are also encouraged to check out the new online interactive mapping tool, which offers valuable information on all aspects of fishing and hunting in West Virginia. I emphasized last month this new feature contains a lot of good information for trout areas. It also provides driving directions on how to get to the various lakes and streams that have been stocked. Anglers can call the fishing hotline at 304-636-3399, or visit the DNR website online at www.wvdnr.gov to find out which creeks, lakes, and streams have been stocked on a certain day.
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The DNR has another new web page when it comes to reporting game and fish violations. Reporting a violation using this web page is anonymous. The DNR does not obtain any information that will identify the individual who is using this new system, unless the caller is willing to give their name and contact information.
The first thing to remember if the crime or game and fish violation is in progress, call 911 as quickly as possible. If the violation has already been committed, go to www.wvdnr.gov and then go to report a natural resources crime.
This will bring up a form that calls for the date and time of violation and the county of violation.
After this, give a brief description of the type of violation, the name and description of the violator if known, the vehicle boat description if known, and the approximate location within the county. (Try to be brief, but specific, about certain details in this space). If the person reporting the violation can get the registration plate number on the vehicle or boat, this will be a big help for the DNR law enforcement.
Do not attempt to confront any potential violator and stay safe. Remember: All information will remain anonymous unless the caller is willing to give their name, phone number and be ready to talk to a WV Natural Resources Police Officer.
I hope all my readers had happy and healthy hunting and fishing seasons, and of course, a wonderful holiday season.