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Archive for the ‘Outdoor Sports’ Category

[editor’s note:  I’m very impressionable, so I’m likely to make a list like this based on each and every season.  Bear with me.]

Uncle Shockers

Uncle Shockers' Barn (Hayride destination)

It’s really not even close.  You literally can’t say the word “autumn” without subconciously thinking the word “awesome.”  Fall is the more ubiqitous term for the glorious season we’re currently experiencing.  And I dare you not to fall in love with its glory.  Maybe it’s because where I grew up you only really had two seasons – “Summer” and “Members Only Jacket” – that I long for the change in tree leaves and the taste of a smoky-aged bourbon on a crisp Saturday morning.  After all, the best childhoods are the ones that you resent…

Here’s my top-10 reasons why Fall is the best: (more…)

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Deer at Jose's house in West Virginia

Deer at Jose's house in West Virginia

As we creep into October, the temperatures have really dropped out. It’s been in the 40s most mornings and in the 60s in the afternoons. The water temperature in the river has dropped and it’s a little uncomfortable to wade out and go fishing.

The deer have also been a little more active. I’ve seen a lot of large deer driving around in the mountains. There are some nice bucks and the largest bucks have been hanging around with the does. This year’s fawns have almost lost all of their spots and, the most exciting development this past week is that the females are in estrous.

They pee all around in the woods and the smell is unmistakable. It’s the sort of smell that makes most people wrinkle their nose. But gets a hunter’s blood pumping. I’m really excited for the season opener on October 17th. They’re already in rut and that should continue through to mid November maybe.

As for fishing, the bass have definitely moved to fall feeding patterns at this point. I’ve not been having as much luck on topwater lures lately. But lures like large spinners or medium sized rooster tails have been getting fish to the bank pretty regularly. I haven’t had much luck fishing the middle of the river or deep holes anymore. I’ve been getting more hits in shallow water around lots of structure.

And, if hunting and fishing isn’t your thing. Go hiking and camping. The leaves of the paw paws and alders have started turning bright yellow. The oaks, maples, and sycamores are still green but should start turning any day now. The Appalachian region offers some of the best fall foliage in the country. Life is short – and you won’t see a fall like this again until next year.

Camping in this weather is the most pleasant outdoor experience you can ask for. You don’t wake up baking in your tent. It gives you an excuse to cuddle up a little closer to whomever you take with you (unless you’re just friends). And of course, cool crisp nights are much better for viewing the stars than warm humid ones. So get out, enjoy what West Virginia (or your lesser state) has to offer.

Oh, and be patient – don’t poach.

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West Virginia Outdoor Report 9/25/09

Nice tiger musky.  The DNR stocks fingerlings in West Virginia, but I've never caught one here.

Nice tiger musky. The DNR stocks fingerlings in West Virginia, but I've never caught one here.

What a difference a week makes. After the fiasco of last week, pretty much anything would have been better. So, on the last day of the early doe archery season, I saw the exact animal I was looking for. A smaller doe, not full grown yet, so with less reproductive potential next year than a large doe. The reason for the early season is the overpopulation in the area. So, I took the shot. It hit a little farther back than I meant for it to, but she only went about 150 yards. Despite being a smaller doe, she gave me enough meat that I likely only need to take one more deer this year to get me through to October 2010.

I also got out and went fishing this week. The water has gotten a lot colder. Unlike last week’s strange occurrence when there were no fish, this week there were minnows everywhere. I also saw a few bass swimming around, but I was using a big topwater lure. I’m guessing it was too late in the year and too cool so the fish weren’t going to be that active. Anyway, I didn’t catch any fish again this week. I think this week I will blame that it gets dark so early. I really only got to go fishing for about an hour all week.

I did have a party on the river this past weekend though and some of the people that came out went fishing. One guy using a Rooster Tail caught a bunch of sunfish. But since I was trying to entertain, I didn’t get to fish that day. That dude showed up with this huge saltwater fishing pole with 25 pound test line. Even if he was going for tiger muskies, that might have been overkill. But I set him up with one of my lightweight rods and he seemed to have a good time. And maybe sometime soon he’ll take his new rod out in the Chesapeake Bay and try to get some rockfish running this November/December.

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Deer at Jose's house in West Virginia

Deer at Jose's house in West Virginia

I’ve been out fishing this week and I need to tell you, there aren’t any fish in West Virginia.  And, I’ve caught fish in the past. 

I’ve caught LOTS of fish in the past. 

I only say that because I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about my fishing abilities.  I’ve caught nice fish before, but this past week, the water has been really low and the only thing biting are mosquitoes.  Well, and some larger animals, but I think I’ll save that for the hunting update, because the other wildlife bites I’ve suffered this week were in the deer stand.  But, I digress.

So, there are arguably no fish in West Virginia but the only way all of the fish could disappear would be some sort of supernatural occurrence.  The jury’s still out on that one.  But that would explain the other mysterious anomaly I’ve seen this past week.  Some sort of strange creatures keep jumping out of the water.

So, remember, while things are slow in West Virginia, they’re worse elsewhere.  West Virginia gets a bad wrap for being a pretty backwards place because of the incest and poor performance on standardized tests, but those things are biased anyway.  And, let’s not forget that Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky are still in the US, thus protecting West Virginia from the “inglorious” distinction of being the slowest state. 

The other thing that might be slowing my catch rate is that Monday the 14th marked the first day of a week long archery season for antlerless deer on private land, so I’ve spent a lot of my time in the tree stand trying to get a look at a doe.  Now, as I mentioned above, I’ve spent days, weeks, probably even years of my life in a tree stand and never been bit by an animal.  So, by God, if I wasn’t bit by two different animals on the same day.  Ladies, no need to worry, I don’t think I have rabies.

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