Youth squirrel season gets underway today

Hello to one and all.

First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Don Thomason, I’m currently president of the Tygart Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and a board member at the Mountaineer Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America.

It was through the IWLA that I met Ken Cobb, former writer of this column. As most of you know, Ken passed away on July 11 of this year.

Ken was an active member of the IWLA and helped out at many activities. He was a strong advocate of trying to get today’s youth involved in the outdoors. Especially hunting and fishing. This was one of the subjects that we both strongly agreed on.

With that being said, that brings us to this weekend, Sept. 5 and 6. These are the two days of the youth squirrel season.

I know that to many of the people I talk to, this is still a controversial subject.

Many hunters don’t like the early season because of the chance of harvesting a squirrel that still has warbles.

The warble is the larvae of the botfly and uses the squirrel, as well as some other animals, as a host for around 30 days. Although the stage in which the larvae leaves the skin coincides with the cooler temperatures, it actually has nothing to do with the temperature. It is just the point of which the larvae has matured.

DNR Biologists say, that through past studies, the odds of collecting a squirrel with warbles, is around 11% and normally the warble is in the hide only and does not penetrate the muscle area. So with proper care, the meat is still edible.

I’m sure this will remain a debated topic in the general public for years to come. But when it comes right down to it, the benefits of taking any child into the woods for a hunt, far outweighs the debate.

I know from personal experience that the older I have become, the less drive I have to get out of bed during the pre-dawn, weekend hours after working all week.

Now with grandkids, old enough to hunt and fish, you can see things with a new perspective. Things that were common place and I took for granted, they are seeing for the first time.

So just the experience of being in the woods, whether you harvest an animal or not, is worth getting out of bed.

There are also a few other youth hunts coming up this fall. In Randolph County, Sept. 19 and Nov. 7 will be youth waterfowl season, with Oct. 17 and 18 and Dec. 26 and 27 being doe seasons.

Please check DNR regulations, which are now available, for more information on these seasons and availability in your area.

So get out this weekend or any weekend and take a kid into the great outdoors. You will not regret it.

Stay outdoors and stay safe.


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