In Outdoors….

The Free Press WV

Marriott Acquisition Likely to Make Starwood VIPs Unhappy

Somewhere between their Westin Heavenly Beds and the room’s rainfall shower system, Starwood hotel loyalists were struck Monday morning by a new reality: their beloved loyalty program would soon be gobbled up by Marriott’s less-generous reward system. “It ruined my breakfast. I realized all the effort put into lifetime status with Starwood has been wasted,“ says Edward Pizzarello, a partner in a private venture capital firm who spends 130 nights a year on the road and writes the travel blog Marriott International announced plans Monday to buy Starwood Hotels and Resorts in a $12.2 billion stock-and-cash deal. The transaction is expected to close in the middle of 2016. No details have been released yet on what it means for the loyalty programs but Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson says “we will take the best of both programs and make sure the bests are preserved.“

Starwood’s frequent guests are used to upgrades to oversized suites. They are guaranteed late checkouts. And forget calling a random 1-800 number. Those who spend 100 nights a year with the chain have personal “ambassadors” who are supposed to make “each trip special.“ Marriott does treat its top-tier platinum guests to nicer rooms but rarely gives them suites. Both programs offer free breakfast to platinum members, except Marriott doesn’t do so at its Courtyard hotels or at resorts. Late checkout isn’t guaranteed, just offered “subject to availability.“ “No Starwood Platinum member has ever said ‘I would rather be a Marriott Platinum,‘“ says Gary Leff, who writes about points and miles at And for those without elite status, there is still plenty of interest in what happens to their points. Some type of conversion rate will have to be set since Starwood points are worth more than Marriott’s points.

2015 WV Deer Firearms Season Fact Sheet

The Free Press WV

•    The West Virginia buck firearms season is November 23 – December 05, 2015. It is open in all counties except Logan, Mingo, McDowell and Wyoming.

•    Approximately 330,000 deer hunters will be in West Virginia’s woods during this season.

•    Hunters should review the 2015 - 2016 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary for detailed instructions concerning bag limits and season dates. The regulations are available at license agents, DNR district offices or online at .

•    All hunters must have an official DNR ID number in order to check game this year. The ID number can be found on the annual hunting license when purchased, or can be obtained by calling 304-558-2758 or logging on to and providing the requested information. Game may be checked by telephone at 1-844-wvcheck, online at or at any hunting license agent. All field tagging, transporting and possession requirements still apply.

•    Hunters may use a crossbow during the firearms season.

•    The buck deer bag limit during the two-week buck firearms season is two (one on the base license and one on an RG [resident] or RRG [nonresident] stamp). A hunter may take no more than three antlered deer per calendar year in all archery, crossbow and firearms seasons combined.

•    The last day to purchase an additional buck deer gun tag (Class RG/RRG Stamp) is Sunday, November 22, 2015. Class RG and Class RRG additional buck stamps can only be used to take an additional antlered deer during buck firearms season. Unused Class RG and Class RRG stamps may not be used in antlerless or muzzleloader seasons.

•    Antlerless deer hunting is legal on private land in 47 counties or portions thereof and all public lands having an antlerless season November 23 – December 05, 2015, concurrent with the buck firearms season, with valid stamps.
•    A hunter may harvest two deer per day, but only one antlered deer may be harvested per day. The first deer does not have to be electronically registered before harvesting the second deer in the same day. However, all deer legally harvested must be electronically registered and legally tagged before hunting during a subsequent day.

•    Concurrent with the buck gun season will be a bear gun season in 29 counties, 18 of which require a permit that must be issued before the season. Consult the 2015–2016 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary for specific counties.

•    According to Southwick Associates, hunting contributes $500 million each year to the state’s economy. Deer hunters spend an estimated $230 million in West Virginia, much of it in the rural areas of the state that depend upon the deer seasons for a large portion of their annual income. Hunting is estimated to be responsible for 5,400 jobs and $35 million in sales taxes on goods and services spent in West Virginia. 

•    In 2014, the traditional bucks-only firearm season harvest of antlered bucks was 37,450, a decrease of 34 percent from the 2013 harvest. This is 33 percent less than the five-year average bucks-only firearm season harvest of 55,902 and ranks 34th among all past years.

•    WVDNR predicts the buck harvest should be higher in 2015 than in 2014. The 30 percent reduction in the 2014 buck harvest means that many bucks survived the season and some of them should be available for harvest in 2015. In addition, the percentage of yearling bucks in the harvest in 2014 was near 30 percent. This means many bucks are surviving to reach older age classes and the chance to kill a large-antlered buck has increased. 

•    As of November 17, 2015, Sunday hunting was legal in the following 21 counties on private land only: Boone, Braxton, Brooke, Calhoun, Clay, Hancock, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, McDowell, Marshall, Mingo, Nicholas, Ohio, Roane, Wayne, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt and Wyoming. The only Sunday that is open in these counties during the buck season is November 29.

•    Hunters are required to wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange (about the size of a vest) as an outer garment for visibility and safety. Blaze orange camouflage patterns are legal as long as 400 square inches of blaze orange are displayed on the garment. A blaze orange hat is not required, but the hunter must have blaze orange visible from both the front and the back.

•    Hunting licenses may be purchased online at any time and printed out on a home computer printer. Go to the goWILD! website at, fill out the application, and purchase it over a secure server with a credit card.

•    Hunters who wish to donate deer meat or dollars to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program, which distributes deer meat through the Mountaineer Food Bank and the Huntington Food Bank, should call 304-924-6211 or visit the DNR website at to find a participating meat processor.

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Have a safe and successful deer hunt, good citizens of Gilmer County.

By Retired Ed  on  11.18.2015

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NASA released this image of Pluto, using a technique called principal component analysis to highlight the color differences between its distinct regions. This was produced by the New Horizons satellite:

The Free Press WV

Hunters Encouraged to Get ID Number Before Buck Gun Season

The Free Press WV

Deer hunters are being encouraged to get their Division of Natural Resources identification number before West Virginia’s buck firearms season opens.

Hunters will need the ID number to use the state’s new electronic game checking system to report deer they have killed. Use of the electronic system is required.

The DNR says hunters can obtain an ID number online at .

They also can obtain the number from any license agent.

The buck firearms season will begin on November 23 and run through December 05.

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