By: Bob Fala Outdoors Columnist
September 8, 2013
The several weeks earlier (September 14) opening to the regular West Virginia squirrel season seems to be a mystery to many.
For many a prior year, the opening day fell on an early October Saturday. At present, many folks seem to be unaware of the earlier kickoff.
Gobs of others have given up the quest for bushy-tails altogether. That is, they’ve either switched over to or cut their teeth on archery hunting for deer, bear, boar and wild turkey. But to the diehard squirrel hunters out there, it might be just what the doctor ordered. For those that still like to hunt squirrels, “dancing with the one that brung ‘em” to the hunting sport of their youth; it’s the more and the merrier for them!
Reason being, squirrel hunting pressure has dropped off the charts in just the last generation. Admittedly, it’s difficult to compete with those popular big game species, but nevertheless, squirrels are a great way for youngsters and oldsters to start up or hone their hunting skills.
Squirrel hunting in present day southern West Virginia and elsewhere is an underutilized recreational resource activity. Again, more for those who choose to partake.
Admittedly, it can still be a touch warm and green for hunting, but the early morning and evening hours can be cool enough for a little of that traditional action for what most of the Twentieth Century had been the unquestionable number one game animal in West Virginia. Squirrel populations should be good and the early indications are that the mast situation is good as well. Hickory nuts are a favorite of early season squirrels. Stay tuned for the nut crop updates as the surveys and further information becomes available.
In the meantime, the best way to find out is to get out and check on the status of your neck of the woods by doing a little September squirrel hunting. Some folks might even bring along a backpack with a pint-sized ginseng hoe while casually walking the local hills. The local hills are both good bets for squirrel and some of the state’s top ginseng producers.
The daily bag limit on squirrels remains unchanged at six per day. Good hunting.
In other local news, the Buffalo Creek and Huff Creek watershed associations continue with their cleanup and fishing enhancement measures. As water conditions allow, some fall trout fishing may be in order per this year’s abundant rainfall. The stated rainfall should be a boon to statewide fisheries as well, not to mention the tremendous tree growth garnered this summer.
The Huff Creek group’s leader, Tim Jeffrey recalls with fondness the hundreds of folks from several states that flocked to trout fish Huff in the early 1970s. With a sequel clearly in mind, the back of their latest tee-shirt reads, “Best Fishing in West Virginia.”
To that goal, we say full speed ahead.