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West Virginia Wildlife
Winter Hunting
Patrick McMurtry Cold Weather Means Great Hunting

January 15, 2014
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


Deer season's over, it's cold outside, so there's really not much reason to get out in the woods over the next few weeks, right? Wrong. When the new year starts, you have some great reasons to grab your kid and get outdoors. Dave McClung, a biologist with The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, explains why this time of year is special.

"This time of year, deer season has just gone out at the end of December and a lot of people think hunting season is over. Really, that's far from the truth. Right now, squirrel hunting, rabbit hunting, any of those right now, and there is not much pressure. A guy can go out, it's a good time to take a kid and expose them to the outdoors, that could be a really good opportunity."

And small game hunting is a lot of fun for kids, they get to walk around with a smaller, more comfortable gun, looking for running rabbits or climbing squirrels. It's also a good time to introduce them to another sport that can help them big time in the woods.

"Trapping is another thing you can do right now. It's the best sport to teach a young kid woodsmanship. You can trap clear on to the end of February, you can trap beaver till the end of March. It's a good stepping stone to get into private property sometimes, especially beaver. We get a lot of calls about coyotes, it may be a stepping stone with the land owner." says McClung.

In other words, if you get rid of a nuisance beaver or coyote for someone, chances are they'll return the favor and let you hunt on their property if you ask. In the meantime, this is the perfect time to do a little yearly maintenance of your own.

"A lot of deer hunters may shut down this time of year but it's a good time to start thinking about next year. The woods are just like a road map, there are scrapes, rubs all laid out there for you. You can go over your hunting property with a fine tooth comb, not worried about bumping or scaring deer. I really encourage people with portable tree stands to go get them out of the trees." says McClung.

That way you'll be able to make sure you have them handy when next fall rolls around and you need to make sure your gear is good to go for the next hunting season.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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