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Hunters prep for start of antlered deer season

It’s been a rough year, but as we move into the month of November and toward Thanksgiving, I’m sure everyone can find something to be thankful for.

I, myself, am thankful that my family and friends have been pretty much COVID-free and I hope they stay that way. I have had just a few people I know get the virus and they have recovered with minimal effects.

If anyone reading this has lost someone, you have my condolences.

I think that in this state, we can also be thankful that the start of the state’s antlered deer season coincides with Thanksgiving week.

I have many memories of how big a deal the opening day of buck season was with my family. It would always mean a visit from relatives and friends that lived out of state. Sometimes that would be their only visit all year. We would spend the week before getting gear ready and rifles sighted in.

The Sunday before opening day would quite often be a bigger get together for dinner, than actual Thanksgiving Day, as many people would head back to their respective homes by Thursday to be with their immediate families.

For my family, it never seemed to be a high priority to get a monster buck, just to have the extra deer meat to help through the winter was reason enough to take the first legal buck. Sure, it was always nice and gave some extra bragging rights if you could get one bigger than another family member, but most agreed it was just the luck of the draw.

Nowadays, most families do not rely on deer meat to supplement their food supply. Some people get a mess or two and are done with it until next year. Keep in mind that there are families out there that would love to be gifted some extra deer meat or it could be donated to the “Hunters Helping the Hungry” program sponsored by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

In my day it also meant a week out of school, and that was always something to be thankful for. On opening day, most hunters would be thankful if there was little bit of snow on the ground. It made game movement a little easier to spot and aided in tracking if it became necessary.

You could also hunt almost anywhere you wanted, as long as you had permission. Leases were almost non-existent. The state has added much land for use since then, but it still doesn’t seem to be the same. As hunter participation has declined over the years, I guess there is others who would agree.

We all need to try to help anyone that we can get involved in hunting. Be it young or old, there are people out there who would hunt if they were asked.

If you have kids, grandkids or anyone that you can help get excited about any outdoor activities, then you can be especially THANKFUL.

So, enjoy Thanksgiving week and good luck this hunting season.

Stay safe and stay outdoors.

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