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Youth hunters bag deer

On Thursday, I tried squirrel hunting again using my favorite .22 rimfire rifle. The location I picked to go was the same location where I hunted on Sept. 30.

This time, my luck was a little better. I didn’t get into the woods until about 9:30 in the morning. Within five minutes, I heard a squirrel barking in the nearby trees. The leaves were still better than 50 percent green, and I was not able to locate the chattering bushy-tail.

On this particular outing, I actually saw six squirrels and got two with my rifle. I also saw a bear during the morning hours. It wasn’t much more than a cub. Chances are, the mama bear may have been trying to wean the critter. I don’t think this small bear would have weighed 100 lbs.

I went into another section of woods on Saturday afternoon at about 3 p.m. Within 10 minutes I saw one squirrel, but the squirrel saw me first and was quickly out of sight. For the next two-and-a-half hours, the only thing I saw were three other hunters.

Last Saturday was the youth antlerless gun season. At about 4 p.m., I did hear two shots in the distance that sounded like the report from a centerfire rifle. I hope some youth hunter was able to drag venison out of the woods from a hunting trip.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources held their second annual Youth Doe Hunt in Monroe County. Members of the Law Enforcement and Wildlife Sections of Wildlife District Four, along with other volunteers spent the day with youth hunters, discussing firearm safety and hunting ethics. Among the volunteers present were West Virginia legislator George Ambler and WVDNR Commissioner Dr. Gregory Burnette.

Both of these gentlemen spoke to the youth hunters about how important young hunters are to the future of the state’s natural resources. The president of the Natural Resources Police Officer Association spoke about the various roles of the DNR law enforcement officers.

After the gun safety instructions and some hands-on time at the shooting range, Delegate Ambler and WVDNR Police Captain Woodrow Brogan prepared lunch. After the meal, the youth hunters were off to the woods.

Seven of the 13 youth hunters were able to bag a deer. However, the overall success rate of such hunts are not measured by the number of animals taken, but the memories that are shared by all who participate in the activity or experience.

Nationwide, sport hunting is on the decline. I have seen the decreasing numbers for the past 15 to 20 years. Demographics and economic reasoning have radically changed during this time period.

Sport hunting is one of the primary reasons why people own guns. There is an old saying, “A right not exercised is a right that ceases to exist.” It has become increasingly critical for individuals and groups of people to come together on the hunting issue. Conservation groups like the Izaak Walton League of America, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, the Boone & Crockett Club and many others are ready to

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