Archive for May, 2008

Black Bears Flourishing in West Virginia

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Not too long ago, my dad sent me a link to this article that discusses the increased bear population in the state of West Virginia. This has been a great success story here in the state, amidst all the negative press that we get for things like coal mining, and hog population decreases.

According to this article, the State DNR has decided that it is time to implement a fall bear season, which will be early enough to harvest some of the sows before they head to their dens for the winter. Previously, the season has been later in the winter, and has targeted only the bruins that were still out of den.

The plan for this season is to actually decrease the bear population. This will be the first time since the 1960s that the state has tried to decrease the population. In the counties with the open early season, the DNR hopes to decrease the current population by 10-15%. The reason for this is that the population has grown to the point that there are too many nuisance bears, and residents are not willing to put up with them any longer. Eventually, when a program such as the bear program in WV, is successful, it leads to more liberal hunting seasons, and harvest rates.

The counties which will have the early season this year are:

  • September 19-27: Boone, Fayette, Kanawha and Raleigh
  • September 22-27: Barbour, Grant, Greenbrier, Hardy, Nicholas, Pendleton, Preston, Randolph, Tucker and Webster

I have been wanting to hunt bears, and have never done so. Perhaps this will open up an opportunity for me to get out and do some hunting, as some of these counties are not too far away from me. I am happy to see such a successful program in our state! It is a testament to good management practices.

Memorial Day Weekend

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

We were able to get out of town for a couple of days earlier this week for Memorial Day. We were able to get some of our family together, and had a very nice time. Fortunately, we had a very good day weather wise, and were able to stay outside for most of the day. The kids got to shoot the bow, and a gun before their cousins showed up. They then switched over to climbing the trees, and playing whiffle ball. My dad did take a video of Skylar shooting the bow for the first time. She has been wanting to do it ever since Jacob got it. She has pretended that she was shooting it every time we talk about it. So, we let her shoot it with a lot of help from me:

Jacob was a bit upset that we didn’t get a video of him shooting, so I will have to do that next time we are out. I have a few more pictures that we took during the day, which I may try to get ready to put on here in the next few days.

We had a great time, ate a lot of food, and even got some work done. That will have to do me on “time off” for several more weeks!

Garden Plots…the Saga Continues

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Today I was able to get outside and finish up with planing the garden. We got everything but the kale in (I’m throwing in that link just to share with Tom what kale is…I didn’t know either until a friend asked me to plant some for her!). We ended up planting 8 tomato plants, 6 pepper plants, 1 watermelon plant, and 1 cantaloupe plant, besides the seeds for everything else that I listed yesterday.

Jacob PlantingI had a lot of help with the garden. I had 4 little hands that just couldn’t wait to get in and help out. Our little Skylar doesn’t like to get her hands too dirty, so she would put a plant in, and then barely touch the dirt trying to push it in the hole with the plant. After a while she forgot about keeping clean, and had a lot more fun with the planting! Jacob on the other hand, couldn’t get enough of any of it. The hardest part was keeping him from grabbing things before I was ready for it. Without close observation, I am sure all of my plants would have had a hard day today!

It was nice to use this as opportunity to talk with the kids about how things grow, and how that provides food for us. I think it will be interesting to watch Skylar, as she realizes that the plants we put in the ground provide what we will eat for supper. We talked about how that is the case, but I’m not sure she will really grasp it until we actually start pulling the vegetables off the plants and using them for our supper. This was a good opportunity for us to talk about the wonderful creation that God has given to us, and how we can use what He has given to us in a good way.

Skylar RocksHere is a picture of Skylar with the pile of rocks that I had to dig out of the garden. This is not a very big garden, so the pile of rocks is pretty substantial. I was afraid that it would be even worse than it was. One big problem with this project was dealing with all the junk that got tilled to the top. I suspect that fill was brought in and used to level off the property that I live on, back when the house was built. Because of that, we found glass, marbels, pieces of plastic, and a lot of other things during the tilling process. I have tried to get everything picked up to make sure the kids don’t get cut on something. I hope I have been successful in that!

JonDavid OutsideWe did have a supervisor for the project today, at least while it was not raining. We have found out that JonDavid, like the rest of our crew, likes to stay outside. He has been laying out on a quilt while the rest of us are outside working or playing. Yesterday he found the grass, and seemed to like it a lot. I am sure it won’t be long at all until he is crawling around the grass, trying to catch up with the other kids, and getting a hold of the plants in the garden. For now, he was content to just keep an eye on us!

I have a couple of other pictures of the kids from the days activities that I will share with you as I close. I still did not get a picture of the whole garden yet, but maybe I will do that in the next couple of days. It looks like it has a lot of grass growing in it, since I just busted up the sod in there yesterday. I am hoping that the grass clumps will die, and I can till them in by the end of the summer. Next year, I hope those won’t be so bad! Anyway, here are a couple of more pictures!

Skylar Planting Skylar Jacob Planting

Spent the Day Planting…

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Well, I have been inspired by The Hunter’s Wife, and decided to plant a garden of my own. It is certainly not as pretty as Jody’s, but I am hoping that it will produce a bit of vegetables by the end of the summer. It was certainly a big job to get my garden ready today. I started out this morning with a nice little front yard, and ended this evening with 4 rows of corn, and 2 rows of beans. I didn’t get everything planted today, so I hope to get it done tomorrow. I was able to take off most of the day today, and it took almost the whole day to get the garden ready. I had to run the tiller through it 3 times before it was ready to put seed in it. The truth is, it probably wouldn’t hurt to let it set a day and then till it up again, but I don’t really want to wait that long. Remind me of that when the grass is growing up in the garden all summer.

Here is what we hope to put in the garden by the time we have it fully planted:

  • Tomatoes
  • Jalapeño Peppers
  • Bell Peppers
  • Blue Lake Green Beans
  • Carrots
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Yellow crook neck squash
  • Okra
  • Cucumbers
  • Silver Queen Corn
  • Kale

I think that about covers it, though I may be forgetting something. I am looking forward to seeing how things grow here. The soil looks pretty good, and I got some Miracle Grow fertilizer to put on it…I’ve had good luck with that before, especially with peppers and tomatoes.

I’ll try to get some pictures taken when everything is planted.

Tuesday’s…err…Wednesday’s Tracking: Base Camp Legends

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Tuesday's TrackingI know that it isn’t Tuesday, but I hated to let another week go by without posting a Tuesday’s Tracking, so it is coming on Wednesday this week.  Sorry for any confusion that may cause…I don’t want anyone missing out on a day this week!

I’m sure many of you have noticed a relative new comer to our community, Tom Sorenson.  He has been joining in on several of the conversations around our little circle of bloggers, and I thought I’d point my tracker in his direction today.

Tom has started Base Camp Legends with his Father, Gary.  The stated goal of the project is to provide a way for hunters to have a place to tell their hunting stories, and share their memories.  They are set up so that you can sign up for your own blogging account, and write about your hunting exploits.  They are already getting a few bloggers signed up, and have some very good stories posted.  Make sure you get over there and read some of those stories.

This was a great idea!  It gives people the opportunity to hook up in a community that is focused specifically on their interests, hunting.  It provides a place that we can go and read stories from all over the country about hunting different game species.  I suspect that many who sign up over there will start branching out from just hunting stories, and start blogging about their lives, much like we do in our more unorganized community.  This will also provide a great opportunity for us to meet up with new bloggers who are just getting started, and bring them into our current community.  I know that another platform, Skinny Moose Media, has been very successful in connecting hunters, and it has been through them that I have made a lot of contact with other bloggers.  If you know someone who would like to get started in blogging, but they don’t know where to go, point them over to Tom’s website.  It would be a great place to start, especially if you don’t want to set up your own hosting account, and don’t have the technical know how to set up your own blog.  Its free to use, so why not give it a try?

Welcome to our community, Tom.  We look forward to reading your blog, and those that hook up with you on your platform!

A Truly Honest Mistake; Big Punishment?

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Spring bear season is in across much of the US.  But one problem that could certainly come up has become a reality for a Billings, MT man.  He mistook a small male grizzly bear for a large black bear.  With the many different color phases of the black bear, I can certainly see how this mistake could be made honestly.  I have no experience hunting bears (though I hope to remedy that some day), but it seems that this would be a pretty significant problem anywhere the two species overlapped.

According to the article linked above, the consequence for this man’s mistake is that he may lose his hunting privileges for up to three years.  It seems like there really should be some consistency to the application of game laws.  Recently, I wrote of a teen who shot a bear here in WV out of season with his bow and arrow.  He got a warning.  This man made a mistake, and confessed to what he had done.  He notified the DNR  of what he had done.  He could have kept it quiet, cut the bear up, disposed of the hide, and been none the worse off.  But he actually did the right thing, and came forward to tell what he had done.

It seems to me that these two cases have the punishments backwards!  When there is a blatant violation of the game laws, there should be a harsh punishment imposed.  But, when there is an accidental violation, there should be at least some leniency.  There should also be some consideration given for the violator who is willing to fess up to his actions, and try to set it right.

I hope this Billings man is shown a little leniency, and that he won’t have to sacrifice his hunting privileges for so long.  Not too many people would do what he did!

Take a Kid Fishing!

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Jacob FishingNot too long ago, I wrote a post about taking my kids fishing. I told you that I was going to take Jacob to get an Ugly Stik Ultralight rod and reel. Well, we were able to get out to the local Wal-Mart and find the combo last week. We ended up with the 4’6″ one piece rod, with a matching Shakespeare reel.

Last Monday we finally got out to a local lake to fish for some bluegill and bass. We bought a bunch of night crawlers and some octopus hooks, along with some bobbers and headed out to the lake. It didn’t take us long to start catching some fish. In fact, I got my daughter, Skylar, set up with her little Tigger fishing pole, and turned around to get Jacob baited up, only to see Skylar with BluegillSkylar’s bobber start diving under the water. Sure enough, with a little help, she was able to pull in a little bluegill. So, we got that fish off, and got her line cast back out into the lake so that I could help Jacob get his pole ready. Sure enough, another bluegill bit Skylar’s night crawler and headed for the bottom of the lake. I had to help her get the second fish reeled in, and Jacob didn’t even have his line in the water yet! He was getting pretty aggravated, as he wanted to get to fishing too. I finally was able to help him get everything ready, and get his line out in the water. It didn’t take long until he was able to start reeling in little bluegill as well.

We had quite a day, and caught a lot of little bluegills. Jacob also was able to catch one little bass. He was thrilled to death about it! Of course Jacob and Skylar were Jacob and Bass“competing” to see which of them were the best fisherman. I think they decided that Skylar caught the most, but Jacob caught the biggest one. That bass put him over the top. He even caught that one all by himself, without any help from me (except I cast the line out for him).

One thing I learned on this trip was that it can be tiring to try and cast for two kids! They were wearing me out, as I would cast out for one, and then help the other to reel in a fish, only to do it all over again. Jacob thought it was hilarious that it was their first time and they were able to catch more fish than dear old dad. I didn’t catch hardly any fish…every time I had one on the hook, I’d let Skylar come over and reel it in. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

Skylar with DucksAfter a while, the kids started getting bored with the fishing. The fish weren’t biting as well as when we first got there, so they started getting a bit antsy. They began running around and playing, which was fine, since we went to a place that had a good play area as well. They were able to play a while, and then come back and fish a little bit. It worked out very nice, and they had a blast.

Skylar found herself some ducks to follow around. She would try to sneak up on them if they were on the bank, then she would just walk along the bank while they were swimming in the lake. She has a much different personality to my son. She will play by herself, and was just as happy as could be to be by herself with the ducks!

We took several pictures throughout the day, as you can see from what I have posted on here tonight. I can’t believe it took me a week and a half to get this all posted. It was a great day, and I know we will be doing it more this summer!

Here are a few more pictures:

Jacob with Bluegill Skylar Fishing Kids Fishing

Tuesday’s Tracking: The Hog Blog

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Tuesday's TrackingToday’s Tuesday’s Tracking focuses on the Hog Blog. I have a blast reading the Hog Blog, because it is not like anything else out there. Phillip reveals his obvious passion in hunting, and especially in Hog Hunting. He shares different accounts of the hunt, of hunts he guides, and even expands out into other hunting endeavors, like turkey hunting.

Phillip has also taken up the challenge of fighting against the lead bans that are being pushed for in the state of California. I hope that he, and those who fight with him out there, are successful in their fight, because if such measures are passed in the state of California, it won’t be long until it finds its way to the rest of our states!

I really enjoy reading about different hunting experiences from all over the country (and the world). Most of us only get to hunt in our own little corner of the country. I have been privileged to hunt in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Vermont and Alabama. I’ve killed deer in all those states but Vermont. Every one of those states has a very different manner of hunting, except perhaps Pennsylvania and West Virginia, which are very similar. I hope to expand those hunting experiences sometime in the future. But, until that time, I enjoy learning from the experiences of others. I like reading the Hog Blog because it shows an experience that I may never get a chance to enjoy. If I ever end up moving out to the left coast, I might just have to visit California and hunt for some of those wild hogs. It sounds like a lot of fun!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Phillip’s blog, make sure to jump over there and check it out.  He has been writing for a long time, and has a lot of good information on his blog.  I know I could spend a lot of time reading a lot of his material from the past.

Local Archery Team Heads to Nationals

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Meigs Local School District must have a great archery coach!  The elementary school, the middle school, and the high school all three made it to the national competition that will be held this Saturday in Louisville, KY.  There will be 3000 students who will meet to compete.

According to one of the students on the team, they practice 2 hours per day, 3 days per week.  I suppose that is why they are so good!  I would have loved to have had an archery team when I was in high school.  I am so glad that there are programs like this where kids can learn the skills that are taught by archery.  An article from the local news station had this to say:

The good thing about archery is you don’t have to be an outstanding athlete, super strong or the perfect weight and size—it’s all about the mental.

“It levels the playing field. You can be a computer geek or a star athlete and still have to follow the same rules and use the same equipment,” said Coach Jones.

And the lessons beyond the target are what keep these kids right on target.

“There’s a lot of concentration and focus that they can also use in the classroom when they’re taking a test or when the teacher is talking to them,” said Coach Jones.

Archery is such a great sport for all the reasons that are mentioned in the quote above.  It is a sport that teaches good characteristics like focus, and concentration (perhaps more than any other sport).  It is also a sport that nearly every person can do.  Even those that are handicapped in some way can participate in archery.  So, kids that may not be capable of participating in other sports, or maybe are just not good at those sports, or don’t like them, can join in with archery.

Good luck to the Meigs Local schools at the national competition on Saturday.  I hope they do well.  Just making it to that level is a great accomplishment.  But, if they are anything like me, that won’t be good enough!  They will do their very best, and try to take it all!

USA Fly Fishing Team? How Cool Is That?

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as a USA Fly Fishing Team!  But, it appears that it is time to add a few new members to the team.  According to the Patriot News, the team will be adding 6 new members, ages 14-18.  I guess that rules me out.  But just think how cool it would be to be chosen for a National Fly Fishing Team!

The National Championships this year will be in Penacova, Portugal.  What a great opportunity for these young guys or gals to be able to travel to a place like that to fish!  New members are chosen for their fly fishing abilities, as well as their maturity and coachability.  I would think a 14 year old would have a hard time being ready to take the pressures of traveling the world, and fishing in competitions like this, but I am sure there are some out there!  I am also guessing that there is a lot of competition for the limited spots available on the team–much like other sports’ national teams.

Last year, there were two teams from the USA.  One team finished 4th, just one fish out of the bronze medal, and the other team finished 7th in the World Championships.  There were also teams from Canada, The Czech Republic, England, France, Ireland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain.

If I remember to do so, I am going to check up on the new team, and see how they do.  Here’s wishing the Youth USA Team luck during the year!