Sportsman license is a great gift

The combination fishing and hunting license for next year makes an excellent gift for those sportsmen and women on your Christmas list. While most of my readers have probably finished their shopping, this is a great idea for those last-minute shoppers.

I don’t know how many times that I would buy my father a hunting and fishing license on the day before Christmas. This was back when the Class AB (fishing and hunting) license cost less than $5. Today, for this type of sportsman, the Class X (sportsman) license is the one to purchase.

This particular license is for sportsmen and women between the ages of 18 through 64. It includes the privileges of hunting, trapping, and fishing in the Mountain State for only $35. The holders of this license will not have to purchase a conservation stamp for $5 that is required of all anglers and hunters, except the holders of Class X, XS, XJ, AHJ, A-L, B-L and AB-L licenses. The Class X licenses also includes the privileges of the Class B-G (Big Game) license.

I have stated in past columns that sportsmen and women are not difficult or expensive to please. This is good for “last minute” Christmas shoppers. It seems like they are always in need of little things like long underwear, heavy socks, gloves and hunting hats. If the individual is someone who likes to shoot, a box of ammunition makes a nice gift. Shooters are always in need of paper targets. If this person enjoys handloading his or her own ammunition, then reloading components (bullets, virgin brass casings, reloading powders, and primers) make a good gift.

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For all practical purposes, the big game hunting seasons for this year are nearly over. I said last week that I would like to give a thorough report on all of the big game hunting seasons, but this will have to be after the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) releases the official figures. This is usually when they put out the big game bulletin sometime in March.

Now just because the big game hunting seasons are over does not mean that hunters have to put all of their hunting gear away until next fall. Several of the small game hunting seasons don’t go out until Feb. 28

Among these include: cottontail rabbit, raccoon, red and gray fox, ruffed grouse and squirrel.

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This past Wednesday, I was up at the Elkins Operations Center and found out that the 2018 Fishing Regulations are now available. In 2018, there are going to be three changes from last year. Here is one that all statewide anglers need to be fully aware of.

Effective Jan. 1, it will be illegal to catch, take, kill or attempt to catch, take or kill any fish by any means within 200 feet of any WVDNR personnel engaged in the stocking of fish in public waters.

This new law was enacted by the West Virginia Legislature during the 2017 legislative session. If this law is rigidly enforced by the DNR police, it will definitely discourage anglers from following the stock trucks.

I have talked to several anglers over the years who have been in favor of such a law. Now they have it; let’s see if the DNR can enforce it.

The WVDNR has plans for a special golden rainbow trout stocking in 2018. During the week of April 2-6, the DNR will stock only golden rainbow trout in designated lakes and streams throughout the state. Several of these lakes and streams are located in many of the state parks. Go to www.wvgoldrush.com for details and information.

Happy Holidays!

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