Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Concerns about safety in the fall...

Hey Guys and Gals,

Big Jim here. Recently I have been asked a lot of questions about hunting season in WV vis a vis from visitors concerned about coming during November and December.
Some folks who are not familiar with the area and culture are afraid of possibly getting shot. As I keep explaining to 'em, "You have a better chance of getting shot paying for gasoline at the convenience store where you live than you have of getting shot in HMT country during hunting season."
There are several reasons for this, but the primary reason is that in much of HMT land there is no gun season for hunting....
Gun season is only available in Boone, Lincoln and part of Wayne county in the primary HMT area. There is no gun season in Logan, McDowell, Mingo or Wyoming Counties. Those areas are the heart of HMT country, basically. Hunters are limited to archery tackle for the most part in those arenas.
There are other reasons why its not a realistic thing to worry about and we will go into that here....

First of all, the reality is that it should not be much of a problem, as all of our trails are on private property. The majority of that property is owned by large land companies involved in natural resources extraction such as natural gas, timber and coal. Virtually none of them allow hunting, so your chances of wandering into a hunter in the woods is just about Nil.Most of the trail area is abutted by natural gas extraction and timber areas. More than likely, you probably would not ever encounter a hunter in the trail area, unless you wandered off onto the so-called "Outlaw Trails" and to be honest, even there if you encountered one, most likely both he and you would be trespassing. Its just another good reason to avoid the 'outlaw trails' and stick with the real ones, no matter what some goofy local may tell you.

Also, stop and consider this- In this area, most hunters don't actually "hunt" the way I was taught by my grandfather. My grandfather was part Blackfoot Indian and he taught me how to actually track game animals (and people for that matter) through the wilderness. That sort of hunting these days is called "spot and stalk." Back in the sixties and seventies it was just called hunting.
The most common form of hunting in our area today basically consists of guys climbing in a tree stand, sitting there all day silently and hoping an animal wanders by within range. It's actually what my grandfather would have called "sniping" more than hunting. The second most common form of hunting in this area is where a guy or sometimes two, will sit in a blind on the ground and wait for a deer to wander by...Once again, my grandfather, who was an exceptional woodsman would have called that sniping too. He was a very severe and strict man who did not talk much, by the way.
Ironically, many times when a hunter would get lost in the woods, the local sheriff's department would ask my grandfather to come and help find the missing fellows through his tracking skills. I am glad he taught me something of tracking. More than once I have gotten lost in the woods and wound up having to backtrack my way out!

What it basically boils down to is this. ....
No local hunter is gonna set up his blind or tree stand near an ATV trail where motors might 'startle' the game animals and make them run off, so stated concerns are pretty much overdone.
In much of the trail area, there is not even a gun season.

Something else to consider if you are a mite nervous about hunting season in the region. Some of our counties in Southern West Virginia do not even have gun season for deer hunting....In Logan County, deer hunting is archery only.

Also, in WV, Hunting education (which includes firearms safety training) is mandatory.


Anonymous said...

Here in Montana it's illegal to hunt from a vehicle or Atv so people use their vehicles to go to their hunting spots .our season is five weeks long and not heard of any avers getting shot while riding although most hunters would prefer that all vehicle traffic was stop during hunting season. Mike Jeffords

Montcalm said...

We have a hard enough time finding places to hunt anymore thanks to the logers and gas lines, then the damn Hatfield Mcoy trail system come along and cuts trails right throught he damn middle of a couple of my hunting spots!! Not to mention they block the damn roads that they are not going to make there trails on so we cant go out them to find new spots so what the hell you expect us to do??