Deer Hunting in WV: Time For A Change!


The deer population in West Virginia is going to take a huge hit, at as a matter of fact, it already has. Remembering years past, where you could go out hunting and see a herd of 20 deer pass you at a time and seeing 50 to 100 deer a day is gone. Now in the late 70’s and through the 80’s when I was living and hunting in WV, there were a lot of deer, but this year (even though I was successful) I saw only three deer the first day, and others that I know didn’t see any. After talking with many hunters and landowners, there seems to be many reasons.

  1. Too many coyotes! People need to start taking out those fawn-killing predators! There are just too many coyotes and they are multiplying every year!
  2. Too many people baiting deer! Folks, that is not hunting! The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (WVDNR) made a huge mistake when they allowed people (I am not going to call them hunters) to hunt over bait. People set out their feeders and the deer come running when they hear it turn on! I remember a time when you got out in the woods and actually outwit the deer. I don’t think it is a bad thing to put out nutrients to help keep the herds healthy, salt blocks, etc… But to sit over bait is just not hunting it is KILLING!
  3. Too many people are taking anything with antlers! You take the young bucks out, they don’t have time to grow into trophies and keep the good genes going.
  4. Too many tags allowed! Bow season, you take one deer, buck or doe! Firearm season, you take one Buck! Doe season, you take one Doe! If during any of those season you come across a coyote, you take the coyote out first!
  5. West Virginia out-of-state license is too inexpensive! Raise the price of the non-resident license. Too many people, especially from Ohio have said “I am going to WV to get meat and hunt in Ohio for a trophy.” Time for those folks to pay a little more!
  6. Just as it was back a few years ago, outlaw hunting off of four-wheelers, side-by-sides and any other machine that makes people lazy! It is ok for those who are disabled to use them, but in my mind, those people who ride back and forth on ridges and right of ways are like mosquitoes to me. They do nothing but scare the deer and ruin everyone else’s hunts!
  7. Turn in road-hunters! There is no place in hunting if you are too lazy to get out of your truck and pack into the woods and HUNT! I can promise you, that if I see someone road hunting, shooting from the road or at night, I will turn you in! No questions asked, I don’t care who you are, you will be turned in!
  8. Bring back the physical check-in process! There is no way that the WVDNR can get an accurate count of how many deer are taken by putting the check-in process online!

Now there are many other ways that we can help keep our deer herd healthy and growing, but to me and many others like me feel that this is a good starting point. Time for dads, brothers, uncles, moms and anyone else to teach our youngsters how to actually hunt and not just put out the menu and watch the deer come in. Nothing is more satisfying that working hard to fill your tag, knowing that you put forth the effort to outsmart that big buck! Get out in the woods, walk around set up cameras (yes, that is a great way to get to know your deer and other wildlife), and learn the habits of your deer! It is time for all of us to become Hunters and not just shooting deer under feeders!

With that said, I am going to start petitioning the WVDNR to start changing the regulations and start caring about our deer! It is either that, or we will no longer be able to enjoy what every West Virginian has enjoyed for the past 40 years!

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Vortex Binoculars: Optics You Can Rely On!


Working in a gun shop, I get to see a lot of different products. Guns, scopes, rangefinders and binoculars. When I first started there, I had not heard much about Vortex, but after selling a few scopes, bore-sighting rifles and looking through the scopes myself, I could tell right away that they were a quality company with equal quality products.

Vortex Vanquish 10X26 Binoculars

I decided to buy a pair of small binoculars, because my old Tasco were getting hard to focus (after 20 years). So I decided to try a pair of Vortex Vanquish, 10X26 binoculars.

I took them out squirrel hunting and I was amazed at how well I could see. I was even able to pick out a squirrel that was laying flat on a limb 30 feet high. Being able to see clearly for the first time in years through binoculars that were compact and crisp was almost as good as when I got Lasik eye surgery.

I was amazed at how much better I could see and the price was right at $129.

After a few weeks of using the Vanquish, and deer season coming up soon, I decided I would buy the Vortex Fury HD, 10X42 Rangefinder Binoculars.

Fury® HD 10X42 Rangefinding Binocular

I figured that having a rangefinder and binoculars together would save a lot of movement in the woods by having an all-in-one product. I received my binoculars two days before the West Virginia Bucks Only Rifle season opened, so I was pretty excited that I would get to use them the first morning. The Vortex Fury, was amazing! I could range out to 1600 yards (even though there is no where I hunt that is that far) and could see up close just as clear. It has many functions that allow you to range an individual object, or if you hold the button down, it allows you to range while scanning. It was well worth the $1599 price tag!

The opening morning, I began by ranging different objects so that if a deer came by one, I would know how far away it was. I ranged squirrels, turkeys, anything that moved. I was definitely like a kid in a candy store. Without seeing a deer for a few hours, finally a doe came running down the trail. So I ranged her, 28 yards! I was looking at her through the binoculars, noticing that she had her mouth open, tongue sticking out and gasping for air. She turned and ran into the brush. Not 30 seconds later, I see a buck, running down the same trail. I pulled up the binoculars, and I could see he was a five point, not one of the bucks I was after. But I ranged him too! I probably would have ranged a tank if it had come through the woods at that time, because I was having fun. The five point ended up going the same way as the doe, and I knew he was chasing her!

Once I let the small buck go, it wasn’t a minute later, I saw another buck, following the same trail as the first two deer.
As he got closer, I could see he had a nice rack, but from the side, I could not tell quite how big he was. I put the binoculars on him, and noticed what looked like a drop-tine. As he turned to follow the trail of the smaller buck and the doe, I noticed his rack was wider that his ears. So I decided to take him. Turned out to be a nice eight point with a 16 inch spread. He wasn’t a huge buck, but he was mature and with the help of my Vortex Fury HD Binoculars, I was able to see clearly enough to see he was a nice buck.

Not all hunts go this well, but it is worth noting that no product can make you 100% successful, but it does not hurt to have good equipment when you are trying to outsmart that nice buck!

For more information on Vortex Optics, go to www.vortexoptics.com and see their whole line of scopes, binoculars, spotting scopes and accessories, you will be glad you did.

 

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Sydney Broadaway: Hunter, Role Model, Inspiration!


By Jeff Nichols, Nichols Outdoors.

As a little girl, the sound of her grandfather pulling up in his pickup truck was the sound of a successful hunt and food for her family. The excitement of rushing out the door to see what “Hooty” (Truman Ingram, her grandfather) had harvested was a memory and an inspiration that has fueled Sydney Broadaway’s love for hunting and a career in the outdoor industry.

“One of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had the opportunity to be a part of… the banding program at @whiteoaks_duckwoods this past February was an awesome experience!” ~ Sydney Broadaway

Her first hunt consisted on her grandfather bringing a coloring book, so she would not get bored and stay quiet.  “Whenever a deer would walk into the green patch, he’d let me sit on his knee and try to look through the scope,” Sydney recalls. “I never shot one with him, but I went several times and enjoyed those years.”

What Sydney didn’t understand, was that things her grandfather did when she was little was training for her hunting adventures now. As with many lessons learned, young children will mimic those they look up to, not understanding why they are doing the things they do.  “One thing that sticks with me to this day is rubbing pine needles on my clothes. I watched my granddaddy do that for years, and I really didn’t know what that meant,” she said. “I just knew that I should do that, too, so I would always grab a limb walking to the stand and rub it on my clothes – just so I could be like him. I didn’t know anything about scent control back then. I was just trying to be like him!”

Sydney shot her first deer when she was 18, a “late bloomer” as she recalls.  “I know. I had gone countless times with my granddaddy as a child and during my teenage years, but I never really had the urge to pull the trigger,” she said. “But finally, I decided to pull the trigger, and it was the craziest experience. It felt like slow motion, and I will never forget that moment.”


Sydney and her hunting partner Tripp waiting for the ducks to appear.

Her hunt of choice is waterfowl hunting, but she hunts deer, turkeys, ducks, doves, pheasants, geese, 
predators, and will be getting into big game, in the future. Waking up early in the middle of winter, putting on layers of clothes, taking a freezing ride in the boat before daylight, waiting impatiently for legal shooting hours shows how much dedication and love for the sport she has. “I feel like I could paint a better picture of waterfowl hunting than try to describe it, but there’s nothing like it, and the camaraderie of the hunt is my favorite, indeed” she explains.

 

Sydney and a young hunter at the WildLifers booth during a hunting show.

Now Sydney, who lives in a small town in central Alabama, works for The Way It Was “and WildLifers TV.” She works tirelessly wildlife conservation and being a role model for young boys, girls and women who are interested in hunting and fishing. She travels around the country to hunting trade shows and shares hunting stories, tips and friendships with hundreds of other hunters.

With the wave of social media in the past few years, women hunters are sharing much of the spotlight in both a positive way and being attacked in a very negative way. A woman posts a photo of game that she has harvested, and she is attacked relentlessly by “anti-hunters” and others who do not understand conservation and the contributions that hunters make to help wildlife. The sad part of this is, that some other hunters are getting in on the bullying. But Sydney takes it all in stride and is now speaking out on this type of “internet warrior” behavior.

“Right now, I’m currently working on a blog that addresses these very issues, specifically the attack on female hunters from other hunters,” she states. “It’s incredibly disheartening to be stereotyped into a category of “fake Instagram huntress,” which is what I’m called quite frequently.”  Many people just do not believe that someone who is beautiful and smart, just can’t be a serious hunter.

“For years, I’ve tried to take the high road, not interact with those that stooped to such levels, but recently, I’ve had somewhat of a fire lit in my heart,” she shoots back. “Recently, I’ve had countless women reach out to me expressing their fears of posting harvests on social media because they don’t want to get made fun of by other hunters.”

From November 2017, “I would have made my granddaddy proud yesterday. It was a big day for me. I dropped a doe at 172 yards, dragged her 100 yards to my truck, proceeded to field dress her, loaded her up, and skinned her at the processor. This was my first time doing everything alone, and I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it felt.

Currently, with so many uneducated anti-hunters in the world, the one thing we can’t allow to happen is hunters bullying other hunters! We are all here for the same reason, conservation, enjoying nature and feeding our families.

As a role mode, many women have reached out to Sydney. “I’ve also had some scared to buy a duck call because their spouse or significant other told them they didn’t have any place calling.” She said. “Unfortunately, I’ve also had females explain that they would love to document their outdoor adventures, but they didn’t want to get made fun of like I did. That’s a hard pill to swallow.”

She continues, “I wonder if hunters would bite their tongue more often if they knew they were aiding in perhaps the decline of female hunters. I’ve yet to understand why hunters are mean to hunters. It’s like High School 2.0. Cyber bullying is certainly prevalent in the hunting industry, and it’s very unfortunate.” 

“Sydney is a kind, good hearted individual. She is a stunning lady thats got brains and a hard work ethic,” host of WildLifers Stephanie Braman said. “I am proud to know her and have her working on our team. She makes me a better person.”

More than ever, in 2018, women are becoming hunters and working in the hunting industry. Sydney sees a trend that is only getting stronger.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that the hunting industry is predominately male, but I am very happy to see females beginning to take on roles within well-known companies and conservation organizations.” She continues, “One woman that sticks out for me is Stephanie Braman; she is truly an incredible role model, and luckily, I get to work alongside her. She is the host for WildLifers which airs on the Sportsman Channel, and she is one of a kind, indeed. I’ve learned so much from her, and I’m grateful to consider her a friend.” With Sydney being an inspiration and along with the growth of female hunters, more and more young ladies want to be just like her. She advises, “I always tell them if their passion is genuine, then I fully believe they should reach for the stars and put forth the effort to reach those dreams.”  She said, “Being passionate about something makes the quest to success that much easier. Even during times of failure, you can still find the silver lining if you love something enough.”

Sydney showing her friend Jenna Taylor “all the turkeys I didn’t harvest this season. It’s healthy to laugh at yourself. I still haven’t harvested my first turkey, but guess what? I’ll be back at it next season.”

 

Along with reaching for the stars, one of the most important pieces of advice that Sydney would pass along is, don’t forget to ask questions!  “No one is born an expert. It’s important to ask questions, understand the safety of firearms,” she states. “and, be cognizant of the laws and regulations in the areas you’re hunting. I know that isn’t super inspiring, but I think it’s incredibly important.” 

With Sydney and others like her, hunting, fishing and outdoor adventures will be here for all to share. Just like Hooty, Sydney inspires and educates those who look up to her and this is just what the hunting world needs!

 

 

You can follow Sydney on Instagram (click the logo below) and see her adventures on WildLifers Tv .


 

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2017: A Great Year To Come Home!


2017 was a good year to move back to West Virginia. After working for the U.S. Navy for 30 years, I decided that I wanted to go home. A place where the outdoors is a way of life. Many people ask me about “retiring” from the Navy, but I only retired in name, not reality. I put in 19 years, active and reserve, six years as a government contractor and five years in government service, all intertwined to equal 30 years. Confusing huh? Let’s just say I joined the Navy in 1987 and left in 2017 and leave it at that. Needless to say, I made a good choice. I have never been healthier, never been more at peace as I have been since I moved home.

I got back to West Virginia on a Saturday, and unloaded my bed, and some belongings so that I could have a place to sleep that night. After a good night’s sleep, I got up early Sunday morning and had a cup of coffee and sat outside enjoying the cool breeze and just taking it all in. I decided to walk to the creek and see if I could catch a bass. After about 10 casts of my buzz bait, a musky hit and for the next 15 minutes of fighting, he just spit it out. It was a great welcome home for me!


For the next few months, I spent a lot of time with family, fishing with my nephews, taking my niece to the movies. It was a great summer, and catching up with everyone was priceless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We caught fish, turtles and really had a good time, just the way summers used to be when I was growing up.

 

 

 

 

As summer ended, I needed to get back to work.

Of course going back to work, meant
that my time spent with family and in the outdoors was going to be limited. But I still had time to hit the woods a few days.

 

 

 

 


 

I was able to spend a day here and a day there working the trail cameras that were set and each time we looked at them, it was like Christmas morning, we were always surprised. First morning of rifle season and all the preparation paid off, when I took my largest buck to date.

 

 

But the biggest highlight of 2017 for me, was being able to be with family for the holidays. It had been many years since I had been in West Virginia for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I can say it was worth coming home for.

I believe that 2018 will be a good year for me, but 2017 was a great year!

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WV Bananna: Paw Paws, The Unknown Fruit (And Deer Food)


So everyone has heard the old children’s song about the “Paw Paw Patch,” that goes like this:

Where, oh where, oh where is Susie?
Where, oh where, oh where is Susie?
Where, oh where, of where is Susie?
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

Chorus:
Picking up paw-paws; put ’em in a basket.
Picking up paw-paws; put ’em in a basket.
Picking up paw-paws;put ’em in a basket.
Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

But did you know anything about the Paw Paws they are singing about?

Paw Paws (also known as the WV Banana as well as other states claiming it to be their banana) is a fruit that grows in eastern North America forests and unless you know what you are looking for, you might just over look them.

In West Virginia, there are many festivals and celebrations that celebrate the fruit. The Paw Paw is a very tasty fruit and can be eaten raw (after it ripens and turns brown) and is also an ingredient in Paw Paw pie.

One of the things with being an outdoorsman, I am always looking at what wildlife eats. One day I was hunting squirrels in October and as I was sitting there, I kept hearing a loud plop in the hollow below me. I ignored it at first, but then I heard more plops and deer began to show up. After a while the curiosity got the best of me and I walked toward the sounds only to find Paw Paws hitting the ground and just like a deer feeder throwing corn out, the deer came running, eating them as fast as they were falling.

When you are looking to see if you have Paw Paws, here are a few photos to help you recognize them.


 

 

Here is what the leaves look like.

 

 

 

 

 

The trees are slender but tall and the weight of the Paw Paws make the trees lean.

 

 

 

 

Here are how the Paw Paws look in the trees.

The key to hunting around Paw Paws is to make sure you are in the woods when they start dropping for two reasons:  1. You want to be there when the deer are in there feeding and 2. you want to be able to pick some for yourself before the deer and wildlife eat them all.

 

Many people have never seen Paw Paws before, but in WV, they are all over the place and easy to find, if you know what you are looking for.

Watch this video that I made, showing a good Paw Paw patch. Enjoy everything the outdoors has to offer, live off the land and live healthy!

 

 

 

 

 

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Starting My Own Business: Little Ads, LLC


Finally, after 30 years of working for the Navy, I decided to move home to West Virginia. I had many reasons for moving back, the weather, the hills and mountains, wildlife, family and to start my own business.

I wanted to move back for many years, but it wasn’t until a year ago I made the decision to take a leap of faith and do it on the 30th year of joining the Navy. Joining the Navy in September 1987, I had many jobs, starting out as a Hospital Corpsman, Store Keeper, Boatswain’s Mate, and a few others, finally settling in on the job of a Journalist (now called Mass Communications Specialist, MC). While I was working as a Journalist, I learned to write, take better photos, layout and design and editing. I found out I was pretty good while working as the editor of Shift Colors, The Navy Retiree Magazine, and I began to get a lot of feedback from many of the 260,000 readers who received it.

When my enlistment ended, I applied for a government contractor job that opened at Navy Recruiting Command as a Public Affairs Specialist and was hired. After six years the job was converted to a Government Service position as a Public Affairs Specialist.

While I was working there, I decided to help out some local WV folks with their election campaigns. Living in Tennessee I was able to build ads, and run their social media campaigns from 700 miles away. It was then that I felt that I could make a business out of that type of service. In October, 2016, I decided that I would make the move.

Fast forward to June of 2017, I made the move. Once getting back to WV, I applied and received my business license through the state of WV and came up with the name “Little Ads, LLC.” 

   

 

 

If you are looking for ads, graphics or help promoting yourself or your business at a reasonable price, visit us at https://nicholsoutdoors.com/little-ads/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/littleadsllc/ and we will work with you. We serve people and businesses who do not want to hire a large firm.

 

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What Historical Person Would You Like to Share a Dram With?


As published in the Bourbon Zeppelin Newsletter .

Since I was a young boy I have been fascinated with the old west characters. Heroes who tamed the cow towns and brought justice to a new big land. People like Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickock just to name a couple. But If I had one chance to sit down and have a drink and a cigar with someone, I would like to have done that with John Wayne.john_wayne

John Wayne has always been at the top of the list not just because of his iconic movie roles, but that he had stated that his portrayals of lawmen in his movies came in part from meeting and talking with Wyatt Earp when he was a young man working as a prop boy in early movies.

I would have to say at first, I know I would be awestruck and mention how much I loved his movies and the no-nonsense way he took care of business. Above all, I would like to sit and talk about just being a cowboy. In my mind, no one ever paid homage to the Wild West like he did. I would tell him how much I appreciated the fact that he had Cowboy Ethics, and lived by that code, even in life. In the movies, he never shot a man in the back and was very adamant about that. He treated people with respect until he was disrespected and that stayed with me my whole life.dw_jw

I think that before we had that drink, I would ask Mr. Wayne if he would take a ride on horseback with me and maybe take in some target practice, just so I could say that I shot alongside of him. We would then sit down and discuss everything from movies, politics to horses and shooting. Then I would ask him one thing, “Tell me about Wyatt Earp.”

John Wayne was a man above men, back when handshakes meant something and you didn’t talk unless you had something worth saying.

We could use a few more like John Wayne these days.

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