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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Squirrel Alert: Using Natures Sentries to Score.


I have lived in Tennessee for close to 16 years, hunted deer a few times here, but most of the time, I would drive back to West Virginia to hunt. When I did hunt in Tennessee, it was on TWRA land, and myself along with other hunters who didn’t own land to hunt on would be there.

This year I was fortunate enough to have a land owner offer his land to allow me to hunt and the best part, it was only five miles away. So, opening day of gun season came around yesterday, it was sunny, but cold. The wind was blowing pretty hard and the ground was soggy from the storms the night before. I can’t really remember a time that I went into the woods and never saw a deer, but opening day 2016, that is just what happened. img_4119I stayed out all day, trying different locations, knowing the deer were bedded down, but one of the other parts about West Tennessee, is that it is fields and brush.

So as tough as it was to admit I didn’t see a deer opening day, I got up early the second day (today) and decided to try a new strategy. I started out in a 50 yard open woods (pretty much the only open woods on the land) that I had placed a game camera in img_4117before season. I had seen many does, turkeys, and what I thought (and still do) to be wild hogs. I hoped that something would come by. But as the time went on, nothing, and so I moved.

 

I decided to set up behind a log, near a large field. Hoping that I could glass the fringe of the brush. Around 10 a.m. I heard a squirrel barking and I knew something was there, I just could not see it.img_4122

After about 10 minutes of listening to the sentry alarm, I caught a glimpse of something on the ground. At first I thought it might be a rabbit or the sentry, but as it came up over the rolling field, I saw the first deer in the past two days of hunting. It was a nice one, not a wall-hanger, but a trophy for the plate. So I waited until he stopped walking and shot. He began to run, so I shot again as he ducked into the woods.

img_4129

 

I walked over to find a bright red trail and within 20 yards, there he was.

 

 

Trophy for the plate, a nice six point. Every day I am able to hunt, I thank God for the beauty he put on earth and the food to fill my freezer.img_4130

 

Even on days that I don’t see a deer, I call it a success, because I am able to enjoy the outdoors.

 

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Women Hit the Woods: Inspire a New Generation of Hunters


By Jeff Nichols

There is a whole new generation of hunters coming up and I am very proud and impressed by their ethics and skills. To top it off, I am very happy to see a very large number of women and girls who are starting to hunt and enjoy the outdoors. Eva Shockey, Kendall Jones, Taylor Altom, and Stephanie Ray just to name a few, are some of those women who are showing the world that there is nothing wrong with hunting ethically and harvesting game for food. You see the photos, read the articles, but there is more to hunting than pulling the trigger. That is just the beginning, after the animal goes down, then the work starts, field dressing, dragging, skinning and processing. But they all do it with excitement and a smile on their faces. Those smiles and those actions have caught the attention of a lot of young girls who see what these great role models are doing and are beginning to follow in their footsteps.

steph

Stephanie Ray hunting with her grandfather’s Winchester model 12 shotgun.

Stephanie Ray, from southern Michigan is one of the women above that has taken to the outdoors to enjoy nature and engage in ethical hunting.

What got her into hunting is the question most people will ask, and for Stephanie and just about every other hunter, the answer is usually the same. “I hunt because I love the outdoors, the sport, and the challenge. I have a sense of pride that I can provide meat for myself and my family,” Stephanie says. “Being in the woods also gives me time to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature while spending quality time with friends who enjoy the same things I do.”

After growing up in the city Stephanie decided to move to the country eight years ago, and it was seven years ago, she decided to see what hunting was about. “I went and sat in a blind with the guy I was dating at the time on a bow hunt,” she recalls. “He shot a nice buck, and me, always up for a challenge, wanted to try it too. So I bought a bow and the deal was if I practiced, and was consistent, I could go.”

Like so many other hunters, with practice and the right equipment, she set out to become proficient and comfortable with her bow.

steph_practice

Stephanie practicing during the off-season.

“Within a week, I was consistent. My first time out, I shot the first deer I saw, and watched it fall,” she says. “Although I was able to tune out, ‘shoot her, shoot her’ and focus, we walked up on a button buck. I was still so happy, and honestly wasn’t sure if this was a bad thing – I grew up in the city. This was all new to me.”

 

Although women have been hunting since the beginning of the human race, it wasn’t until a few years ago when they began featuring women hunters on prominent hunting shows and in outdoor magazines. Now with a new group of young women hunting, the sport has gotten a whole new generation interested in the outdoors.

Like many others, Stephanie loved being in the outdoors and after harvesting her first deer with a bow, she decided to try gun hunting. “After I shot my first deer I was pretty hooked, she said. “Gun season rolled around here in Michigan and I figured I better get a gun.” So she bought a Remington 870 20 gauge shotgun and shot two does that season.

steph_8_pt

Stephanie’s first buck.

The following season she shot a nice eight point during gun season, and many people told her that she would never take another buck that large. “I’m honestly glad that was my first buck,” Stephanie stated. ” He humbled me. Set my standards and the bar high. I’ve let dozens of smaller bucks walk, and I’m OK with it.”

Over the past few years, hunting has become a passion for Stephanie. She hunts small game, waterfowl, turkey, and  fishes. “I’m very lucky to have a great support system, my friends and boyfriend that offer their wisdom and experiences, share their passion, and share the fun.”

steph_grandparents

Stephanie’s grandparents circa 1940s.

One thing that Stephanie holds close to her heart is the Winchester model 12 shotgun her late grandfather left to her father. Her grandparents hunted small game growing up and now she uses it to hunt squirrels and geese.  “It’s awesome to hunt with! I shot my first squirrels and geese with it this year,” she said. “The first time I took it out I had tears in my eyes.”

With the legacy she found from her past, Stephanie is definitely making the most out of her time in the field and sharing stories and experiences with others. This is what role models do and for years to come, women like Stephanie will not only be helping with conservation of wildlife, but teaching young men and women how to enjoy the outdoors.

 

 

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The Smell of Fall: Hunting Season is Here!


Ah, the smell of fall! Leaves falling (not fast enough in the south), squirrel season is open, bow season is open and people are hitting the woods. In a few short weeks, all the leaves will be down, the smell of firewood will drift through the air and then comes the grand-daddy of seasons, Bucks Only gun season.
sightin-in

 

Every year, during the early seasons, it is a time to get out with family, scout your areas, sight in your guns and have some real fun, all to get ready for buck season. Of course in the south, that same time is also a great time to fish.

 

This year I was fortunate enough to be allowed to hunt on a piece of land very close to where I live, so I bought a new trail cam and set it out. Every time you check the camera card, it is just like Christmas, because you don’t know what you are going to see walking past your camera. Today I was happy to see some deer, a coyote, raccoon and an armadillo (as you can see in the photos below).

img_3926This past weekend, I decided to go to a wildlife management area and hunt some squirrels, as stated above, the leaves in the south are very reluctant to leave the tree right now, so it made it hard to see the little nut eaters!

I was successful in taking one squirrel, which will taste delicious very soon. But more important it was just a nice stress-free day, with no noise except for the wildlife. Believe me, I need about 364 days of that!

Now that we are full into fall, awaiting the first frost, just being outside allows you to breath better, think better and relax… until the BUCK shows up! The excitement is always swift and never goes away no matter how old you get. A few years ago, I went back home to West Virginia to hunt with my family. The day before season came in, we took a drive and got some great photos of deer. Buck-2One in particular was chasing does in the field across from the house. The next morning we got up to hunt. It was freezing rain and cold. As I sat in my favorite spot before daylight, I noticed my eye was twitching. After a couple hours, it bothered me so much that I decided to go to the house to find out what was wrong. Walking along a path, I looked over this bank into this “holler” and I saw a deer. It turned its head and I saw it was huge, the same buck I saw the day before. So I pulled my gun up and my scope was wet and fogged up. I cleaned it quickly and pulled up again, only to notice the deer was moving and I had the scope set on the highest power. I saw brown fur and pulled the trigger! Dang it, I missed and because I didn’t take the moment (that I didn’t think I had) to readjust the setting! 

Needless to say, I kicked myself all the way to the house to find out I had put my contact lens in backward. So two lessons learned and a 10 point was still running the hills.

deer

Fortunately, a couple days later, I took a nice nine point
The lesson here is, that at 52 years old, I still get excited, even after harvesting close to 100 deer in my lifetime, each one brings something a little different each hunt. Also, missing is still part of hunting. You will never get every thing you shoot at. I had a guy tell me once, I have taken every deer I have shot at. I told him he needs to keep that to himself, because being cocky and thinking you are a great shot will come back in a big way. And of course it did, he went turkey hunting, had a nice gobbler 15 yards away and missed. I didn’t let him live that down, nor should I!

With all of this being said, the one thing to take from all the jibberish I just wrote, is go out, enjoy the outdoors, make memories with your family and tell tall tales about the one that got away. Next year at this time, I will be back in West Virginia in my old hunting grounds and filling my tags. I sure do look forward to that!

Best of luck this hunting season and I hope that the your aim is steady and your freezer gets filled.

Note: I really like the app called Prisma, turns a normal photo into a work of art. As you can see from some of the photos above.

 

 

 

 

 

The Gun Debate: Dumb and Dumber and Dumber Show Their Ignorance!


So a new year begins and it is politics as usual against guns. The biggest problem with the gun debate is, the democrats almost always come to the table unarmed (pun intended).

California Representative Adam Schiff along with a partner in dumbness has decided to try to pass a bill that will make gun manufacturers liable for how people decide to use their guns. Here is a tweet that states his intentions:

rep_schiff

Now, the problem is, “That’s not how it works, that’s not how any of this works,” to quote the esurance lady.

So how does it work you ask? First, the manufacturer builds a firearm, they then ship to their distributor who then ships it to a dealer. The dealer then sells to a person, who at the time of purchase does go through a background check. Once it leaves the manufacturers warehouse, the only liability on the manufacturer is on craftsmanship and reliability (whether it works right or not for those who are a little slow). So, the only liability on the manufacturer would be if the firearm did not work correctly, or caused injury because of defective parts. The manufacturer is not liable in any way for what an individual does with a legally purchased firearm.

Still having problems understanding, let’s use cars as an example.

Example one: Chevy builds a car then sends it to the dealer. A car buyer comes in, shows license and insurance and pays the money and drives off the lot. The brakes fail and the car careens into a building full of people, who is liable? If you said the manufacturer, give yourself a pat on the back.

Example two:  Chevy builds a car then sends it to the dealer. A car buyer comes in, shows license and insurance and pays the money and drives off the lot. The owner of the car decides to load up cans of gas in the trunk, and runs his car into a building, causing an explosion killing and injuring many. Who is liable now? If you said the manufacturer, please hit your head against the wall. That is the person’s fault.

Same thing goes with guns. If you can’t understand that, then you have an agenda that is not healthy, you are lying to yourself and anyone you try to convince that you are correct. That is what you have in these anti-gun crazies that have no clue what they are talking about.

I will leave you with the ultimate in stupidity from the anti-gunners:

First is a YouTube video from Colorado Representative Diana DeGette

My favorite ad by the Bloomberg fanatics:

everytown-for-gun-safety-blooper

Comment below if you can see the problem with this ad.

Now that you are ARMED with facts, use them for good and stop the ignorance from the left.

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