Opening day is Monday

For some people, this is the best day of the entire year.

This whole thing reminds me of a picture I saw in an outdoors magazine about 40 years ago. The photograph showed five grown men, who were old enough to be World War II veterans, in what looked like a hunting cabin. The caption at the bottom of the picture read something like this: “It’s 12 after four in the morning, under-cooked eggs, over-cooked bacon, and coffee that will most likely get more attention than respect. It really didn’t matter because everything tasted great on what is the greatest of all days, opening day.”

The West Virginia traditional two-week buck firearms season will start Monday and run through Dec. 2. Gary Foster, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources assistant chief of game management, says, “Hunters should enjoy a great deer season in 2017.”

According to a DNR news release, the timing of the firearms season is a balance between the hunting part of the “rut” while still allowing for the annual renewal of the deer herd.

West Virginia’s deer firearms season provides quality outdoor recreation for hunters and at the same time will boost the economies of several rural towns throughout the state. Deer hunters will be spending millions of dollars on hunting supplies, ammunition and gasoline, in addition to food and lodging.

Resident hunters who would like to harvest an additional buck must purchase an RG stamp before the beginning of the season. The cost is $21. The RG stamp must be accompanied by a Class A, CS, A-L, X, XS, XJ, AH, AHJ, or free license. Resident landowners do have the privilege of harvesting an extra buck without having to purchase an RG stamp, as long as they are hunting on their own acreage.

Nonresident hunters wanting to harvest an extra buck must purchase an RRG stamp prior to the beginning of the buck season for $43. The RRG stamp must be accompanied by a Class E, AAH, AAHJ or XXT license. Nonresident hunters who own land in West Virginia are not exempt from purchasing any hunting license even if they are hunting on their own land. On page nine of this year’s Hunting and Trapping Regulations, it clearly states under the definition of resident, “Absentee ownership of land in West Virginia does not constitute legal residence.”

Antlered deer hunters need to keep in mind that in 23 counties of West Virginia, hunters will be required to take an antlerless deer with a firearm before harvesting a second antlered deer during the buck firearms season. To do so, a Class N deer stamp will be required for residents and an NN deer stamp for nonresidents. The only counties in this area that are affected by this special regulation are Lewis and Upshur.

Most counties in the state will be open to concurrent antlerless deer gun hunting during the traditional buck firearms season. Class N or Class NN are required to hunt antlerless deer during this season. They can be purchased at any time. The antlerless deer firearms season opens Nov. 20 and runs through Dec, 2 on private land and selected public lands. The antlerless gun season will re-open on select days in December. Here is where hunters need to consult the 2017-2018 Hunting and Trapping Regulations for each county and/or wildlife management area they may plan to hunt in.

I would like to wish all of my readers a safe and successful deer season. Remember, it is the shot placement that is the most important factor to making a clean and quick kill on the animals. It will be the ethical sportsmen and women who will be doing their utmost to achieve this goal.

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