Expo was great event for Elkins
This past weekend, I volunteered for the task of manning the Mountaineer Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America’s booth at the first ever Hunting and Fishing Expo in Elkins.
This took place on Saturday and Sunday at the old National Guard Armory, which has been renamed the Phil Gainer Community Center. The results from this pleasant chore were quite gratifying.
The revenue from selling raffle tickets on three firearms and one crossbow will go to this IWLA chapter to host their free summer outdoor events for area youth and to offer college scholarships.
This year, the Mountaineer Chapter is going to raffle off a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun, a Mossberg 3¢-inch 12-gauge magnum shotgun, a .17 caliber rifle and a crossbow. The drawing will be Oct. 8, just after the pancake and sausage feed during the Mountain State Forest Festival at the clubhouse on Files Creek.
While this expo was a success, I think that it might be a good idea for the Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission to consider holding this event sometime in the late summer or early fall, perhaps the weekend prior to Labor Day. This is when the early hunting seasons are just beginning to get underway, and the hunters are getting themselves mentally and physically prepared to go hunting.
Naturally, the Commission would not want to schedule this event when it would interfere with the Forest Festival, or the National Hunting and Fishing Day Event at the Stonewall Jackson State Park in Lewis County. This is only a mere suggestion the Commission might like to give some consideration.
In a column two weeks ago, I emphasized that the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources considers the spring gobbler season to be the most dangerous of all of the various hunting seasons. Last year, the only shooting fatality was during this season when a 57-year-old shot and killed a 47-year-old using a shotgun in McDowell County, officials said.
This statewide spring gobbler season comes in Monday and runs through May 13. Just about all West Virginians who like to hunt know that the interest in the spring gobbler season has increased dramatically in the past two to three decades. The real sport in this game is for the hunters to be able to call the gobbler (male turkey) to come to them.
In West Virginia, turkeys can legally be taken not only with shotguns, as in several other states, but also with rifles, handguns, muzzle-loading firearms, bows and crossbows. To some extent, the use of rifles adds to the risks that are associated with this season. However, I would like for the DNR to keep the regulations for hunting spring gobblers like they are.
Wild turkeys have incredibly good eyesight. I have had more than one turkey enthusiast tell me “when they come into view and you make the slightest move, they’ll have you spotted.”
Other turkey hunters have told me “if they could smell as good as they see and hear, nobody would be able to get one.”
Those who hunt them need to cover their entire body with camouflage clothing. A few even camouflage their guns and hunting equipment.
Several years ago, I saw a hunting safety movie that emphasized turkey hunters should not wear blue, red or white while hunting spring gobblers. The film also stressed that hunters need to have their backs next to a large tree or rock while turkey calling. This is just a matter of common sense.
At the present time, I have no plans to be spring gobbler hunting. At the same time, I would like to wish all of my readers who plan to go spring gobbler hunting a safe and successful spring turkey season.