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WVDNR reminds hunters about ethics and getting land owner permission

The Free Press WV

In anticipation of fall hunting season coming up, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is reminding outdoorsmen and women to prepare for a safe and enjoyable season and to refreshing themselves on hunting ethics.

“Hunting ethically and legally preserves our image as sportsmen and women and promotes good stewardship of our natural resources,” said Gary Foster, assistant chief in charge of Game Management for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

One of the first steps in planning a hunting trip is identifying a place you’d like to hunt and checking regulations for that area/county. Topography or proximity to your home also may be a factor in choosing a location.

Should a hunter choose to hunt on private land, they should obtain written permission from the landowner and go over any ground rules for hunting in the area. While private land makes up 90 percent of West Virginia, there are still more than 1.4 million acres of public land open to hunting. This includes wildlife management areas, state forests and national forests.

“We encourage folks to check out the DNR Hunting Interactive Map online at www.mapwv.gov/huntfish/ to explore areas open to hunting,” said Paul Johansen, Chief of the DNR Wildlife Resources Section.

Hunters also should practice shooting skills before the season. Other things to keep in mind include being courteous to other hunters and not crowding folks that got to the area before you. Successful hunters, should be mindful of how they dispose of a harvest. Dumping carcasses and hides on public land is illegal.

“Treat all land, whether public or private, as if it were your own,” Johansen said. “How we act in the field and treat others reflects on all of us as hunters.”

Hunters who need help locating a place to hunt can contact any DNR district office, the Elkins Operation Center or go to the DNR’s website www.wvdnr.gov to find information about wildlife management areas, state forests, and national forests open to public hunting.

The West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations brochure can be found on the DNR’s website, all DNR district offices, and at hunting license agents.

Millions Love This Tree. Perhaps Too Much

The Free Press WV

Tourists really love China’s most famous tree, and that could be a problem. The “Greeting Pine” stands on a mountain overlooking the valleys of Huangshan and is believed to be a millennium old. It has its own guardian: He’s the 19th one and is tasked with checking on the tree every two hours around the clock. Hu Xiaochun tells NBC News that in addition to protecting the distinctive evergreen from squirrels and monkeys, he has to protect it from tourists, most of whom stop in front of it for a photo. “Human sweat damages the bark, and we are trying to ensure that it keeps growing naturally,“ he says.

“The Chinese now have disposable income to allow them to travel for pleasure, and these sites are becoming inundated with commercial enterprises and the tourists who use them. As a result some sites are being ‘loved to death,‘“ says one expert. More than 3.3 million people visited Huangshan in 2016, with most of them stopping at the Greeting Pine, so named because of two large branches that appear to be welcoming guests with open arms, the Sixth Tone reports. NBC News describes tourists as pushing against the fence surrounding the tree in an attempt to get closer. The concern over the tree’s health comes as China increasingly focuses on environmental issues, a big change from its previous “growth-at-all-costs” approach to economics and the environment.

Hunting season changes explained in 2018-2019 West Virginia hunting and trapping regulations summary

The Free Press WV

Several important changes in the state’s fall hunting seasons are included in the new 2018-2019 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

The regulations brochure is available at hunting and fishing license agents, DNR district offices, DNR Elkins and South Charleston offices and online at www.wvdnr.gov.

Hunters and trappers are encouraged to carefully review these regulations.

Numerous regulation changes will be in place this fall, including those that will affect turkey, bear, boar, raccoon and deer hunting. Major regulation changes for 2018-2019 include the following:

  • Sunday hunting is legal on public lands throughout West Virginia.

  • Fall wild turkey season dates and open counties have changed.

  • Wild boar seasons will be split, with the second portion for gun, archery and crossbow to be held February 01-03, 2019.

  • Black bear archery and crossbow season will no longer be split, and the seasons will run statewide from September 29 to December 31, 2018.

  • The dates for the second segment on the antlerless deer season have changed and will run December 06-09, 2018.

  • The muzzleloader deer season dates have changed and will run December 10-16, 2018.

  • Berkeley and Mineral counties are now included in the deer carcass transport restriction associated with the West Virginia Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Containment Area. Refer to page 13 of the Regulations Summary for details on carcass transport restrictions.

  • All adult deer harvested November 19-20, 2018, in Berkeley and Mineral counties are required to be taken to a designated CWD sampling station for carcass examination and sampling. Refer to page 12 of the Regulations Summary for designated sampling station locations.

  • The special urban deer archery/crossbow season will be a split season, with the late season running January 14-31, 2019.

  • The new Mountaineer Heritage Season dates are January 10-13, 2019. This will be a special deer and bear season, with only percussion side lock rifle (without scope), flintlock rifle (without scope), long bow or recurve bow permitted as legal weapons.

  • Bow and crossbow hunting is prohibited on the Bright McCausland Homestead Wildlife Management Area.

  • The daily bag limit for raccoon hunting will be four during a 24-hour period, from 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. on the following day.

  • Traps used for taking game or furbearing animals may now be identified with a durable plate or tag with either the owner’s name and address or his or her DNR identification number used for checking game.

  • Seniors who have previously made a resident license purchase through a license agent or at a DNR office may buy a senior lifetime license online at www.wvdnr.gov.

  • Non-resident, full-time students of any West Virginia college or university are eligible to purchase lifetime licenses.

Cops: Tape Shows Father, Son Shooting Bear, ‘Shrieking’ Cubs

The Free Press WV

On Esther Island in Alaska, a motion-detecting camera was set up in a bear den as part of a joint three-year study between the US Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. What that camera captured has now led to felony and misdemeanor charges against a Palmer father and son, who authorities say shot dead a sow black bear and her two just-born cubs, then tried to cover it up once they saw the mother bear was collared, the Anchorage Daily News reports. Per court documents, Andrew Renner, 41, and Owen Renner, 18, were charged after video clips showed them skiing past the bear den on April 14, when the sow caught their eye. Per an Alaska State Troopers dispatch, Owen Renner then shot at the mother bear twice, and when the baby bears started “shrieking,“ Andrew Renner shot and killed them.

Additional clips are allegedly said to show the Renners skinning and butchering the sow for meat, discussing getting the collar off her, and Owen Renner declaring, “They’ll never be able to link it to us.“ The men are also reportedly seen coming back to the site two days later to pick up empty shells and retrieve the cubs’ bodies. Troopers say later that month, Andrew Renner brought the bear skin and collar to ADF&G in Palmer and said he, not his son, had shot the sow, and that once he saw she had teats, he looked for but didn’t see any cubs. It’s illegal in Alaska, except at certain sites, to take cubs or sows with cubs. Andrew Renner now faces felony charges of tampering with evidence, as well as unsworn falsification and contributing to the delinquency of a minor (Owen Renner was only 17 in April). The men also face misdemeanor charges, including unlawful take of a sow with cubs and the cubs themselves.

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