FRENCH CREEK, W.VA. — With fall hunting seasons opening across the state, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is reminding hunters to be safe and mindful of hunting ethics and regulations and to plan ahead before going out on a hunt.
“You can greatly improve your odds of having a successful hunt by scouting the area you want to hunt and checking your hunting equipment in advance,” said Vinnie Johnson, assistant district wildlife biologist for the WVDNR’s District 3 office at French Creek.
Johnson said understanding an area’s topography and habitat helps a hunter judge where wildlife travel and where cover is located. Hunters should also identify where there are acorns, hickory, beech and other hard mast-producing trees because these food sources are highly sought after by game species, such as deer, bear and squirrel during this time of year.
Checking one’s equipment before going out to hunt is also important. Hunters should:
•Shoot their weapon before a season starts with the same arrows or ammunition they plan to use while hunting. Changing arrow weights or an ammunition’s bullet weight could drastically affect accuracy.
•Check gun sights to make sure they weren’t bumped or shifted while in storage.
•Check bow strings for fraying and bow arms for cracks. If either breaks during a draw, there is the potential for serious harm.
•Make sure broadheads are sharp, which will aid in a quick, ethical kill.
•Check all tree stand straps and the safety harness for wear and replace anything that shows signs of fraying.
“As a sportsman, you want to make sure you are safe and that you have the equipment to make a good, clean kill if you get the opportunity,” Johnson said.
A final and important thing to do when preparing for hunting season is to know West Virginia hunting regulations. Hunters can download a copy at WVdnr.gov/hunting-regulations. They can also get a free copy at local WVDNR district offices and license vendors around the state. Hunters with any questions about rules and regulations, may call their local WVDNR district office Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.