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West Virginia Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook

The Gilmer Free Press

SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV - The 2015 “Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook” is available on the Division of Natural Resources’ website and at DNR offices across the state, according to Paul Johansen, Chief of the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section.  Since 1971, the Wildlife Resources Section, in cooperation with volunteers from numerous other agencies, has conducted a fall mast survey to determine the abundance of mast produced by 18 species of trees and shrubs.

“The availability of fall foods has significant impacts on wildlife populations and harvests,” said Johansen. “Our biologists have used the mast survey data to demonstrate a strong correlation between mast conditions and deer, bear and turkey harvests. In addition to the impacts on harvests, the amount of food available each year can affect the reproductive success of numerous species which will affect population sizes in following years.”

Production of acorns is significantly less than in 2014 and will have noticeable effects on the 2015–2016 hunting seasons. However, hickory, walnut, and beech produced mast well above the 44-year average. Considering all 18 species of trees and shrubs surveyed, food conditions are slightly above the long-term average.

“It is very important for hunters to scout and consider the type and amount of food available in the areas that they hunt,” added Johansen. Hunters can find a wealth of facts in the ‘Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook’ and it should provide them valuable information before heading into the field.”

Copies of the 2015 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook may be found on the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov under “Hunting.”  Information analyzing mast conditions and wildlife harvests also is available on the website.

Glowing’ Turtle

The Gilmer Free Press

ust look at it glow! Above, you can catch a glimpse of a very special find — what may be the first instance of biofluorescence ever spotted in a reptile.

In other words, it glows in the dark. Sort of.

Unlike bioluminescent creatures, those with biofluorescence don’t create their own glow through chemical reactions. But they are able to absorb blue light and re-emit it as a different color entirely — usually red, green or orange. You need a high-energy light, like an ultraviolet lightbulb, to make the colors appear.

National Geographic Emerging Explorer David Gruber, a marine biologist from the City University of New York, spotted the turtle by chance while filming more common biofluorescent critters in Solomon Islands.

Gruber let the turtle — a critically endangered hawksbill — go on its way, so it’s not as if the glowing has been closely studied. “It’d be fairly difficult to study this turtle because there are so few left and they’re so protected,“ he told National Geographic.

Based on his brief observation, however, Gruber suspects that the red color seen on the turtle may come from biofluorescing algae stuck to its shell — but that the green is all turtle.

Since the hawksbill was found in an area full of glowing sharks and coral, it’s possible that the biofluorescence is a camouflage adaptation. But with just one brief look at this very special reptile, it’s impossible to know how common the adaptation is, how the turtle manages it, or what its purpose is.

Weekly Analysis: Grain Markets

The Gilmer Free Press

Corn (Cash): The DTN National Corn Index (NCI.X, national average cash price) closed at $3.55, up 12 cents for the week. The secondary (intermediate-term) trend remains sideways-to-up with resistance at $3.67. This price marks the 50% retracement level of the sell-off from $4.06 through the low of $3.28. If the NCI.X were to climb above the August high $3.65 by the end of the month, and close above the August settlement of $3.40, it would establish a bullish outside month on the long-term monthly chart. This would confirm the major trend remains up.


Corn (Dec futures): The December contract closed 11.75cts higher at $3.89. The secondary (intermediate-term) trend remains sideways-to-up with initial resistance at the trendline mark of $3.92 1/2 this week, then the 4-week high of $3.95. Weekly stochastics are bullish above the oversold level of 20%.


Soybeans (Cash): The DTN National Soybean Index (NSI.X, national average cash price) closed at $8.35, up 18 cents for the week. The NSI.X looks to have posted a bullish 2-week reversal last week, indicating the secondary (intermediate-term) trend has turned up. Also, weekly stochastics established a bullish crossover below the oversold level of 20%, confirming the pattern on the price chart. If the NSI.X extends its rally through the end of the month to close near its monthly high of $8.50, it would set the stage for a potential bullish island reversal on its long-term chart.


Soybeans (Futures): The November contract closed 22.00cts higher at $8.89 1/4. The secondary (intermediate-term) trend is sideways with resistance at the 4-week high of $8.94 1/2 and support at the 4-week low (contract low) of $8.53 1/4. Weekly stochastics posted a bullish crossover below the oversold level of 20% at the end of last week indicating upside momentum could begin to build. If Nov soybeans see a bullish breakout, flipping the sideways range of 41.25 cents ($8.94 1/2 to $8.53 1/4) puts the secondary target at $9.35 3/4. This would also be a test of resistance near $9.42 3/4, the 23.6% retracement level of the contract’s downtrend from its high of $12.32.


SRW Wheat (Cash): The DTN SRW Wheat National Index (SR.X, national average cash price) closed at $4.49, up 21 cents for the week. The secondary (intermediate-term) trend is up with initial resistance at $4.61. This price marks the 23.6% retracement level of the previous downtrend from $6.23 though the low $4.11. The 33% retracement level is up at $4.81.


HRW Wheat (Cash): The DTN HRW Wheat National Index (HW.X, national average cash price) closed at $4.44, up 21 cents for the week. The secondary (intermediate-term) trend is up with an initial target of $4.62. This price marks the 23.6% retracement level of the previous sell-off from $6.41 through the recent low of $4.06. The 33% retracement level is up at $4.85.


HRS Wheat (Cash): The DTN HRS Wheat National Index (SW.X, national average cash price) closed at $4.96, up 36 cents for the week. The secondary (intermediate-term) trend is up with weekly stochastics bullish. Initial resistance is pegged at $4.97, the 23.6% retracement level of the previous downtrend from $6.68 through the recent low of $4.44. The 33% retracement level is up at $5.19.

Time for Talkin’ Turkey Again

The Gilmer Free Press

As I write this near the end of September, a sure sign that fall is upon us was apparent this morning with the reappearance of flocks of wild turkeys around my home. These critters spend their summers deep in the Badlands canyons sheltered among the pine and cedar trees, hidden from view by the ragged edges of the buttes and deepness of the canyons. They show up as the fields are harvested and the weather starts to turn cooler.

First to appear are the ‘toms’, which are large males. They strut around the yard spooking the cats and showing off their tail fans. Many days later the parade of females turkeys (hens) and their broods of young poults show up.  I’m noticing many different sizes of poults this year–some are almost as big as the females and others are smaller, about the size of chickens, indicating there were several hatches.  Perhaps the first hatches were lost to storms or predators of some sort.  Depending on the year, we may have hundreds of birds or maybe just a very few. It’s fun to watch them fan out across the combined fields gleaning the last of the grain and streaming down through the farmyard looking for anything else interesting, such as the late crabapples falling off of the tree.

The fields have also drawn in hundreds of doves that fill the tree branches and line up on the fences and overhead electric lines. They don’t stay long, but are pretty to watch.

The deer resurface as well; they too spend their summers deep in the badland canyons among the cedar and pines where it’s cooler to eat their fill and raise their young.  We have to be ever vigilant about watching for them popping out from behind trees and tall weeds and bounding out of the ditch into the roadway. Hitting one is expensive for both the deer and the vehicle.

Leaves have changed from summer green to gold and yellows.  Gardens have been harvested and the food that was gathered has been put in canning jars, dried or frozen for the coming winter months. Last minute ‘winterizing’ of homes is in progress as yet another season comes to an end.

We give thanks for the bounty of the past season and look forward to the winter months and the joys and the blessings of this time of year.

(I was given this article years ago; it’s food for thought, and especially important in a world that is so ‘busy’.)


Moments That Take Our Breath Away

I had a very special teacher in high school many years ago, whose husband unexpectedly and suddenly died of a heart attack.

About a week after his death, she shared some of her insight with her classroom of students. As the later afternoon sunlight came streaming in through the classroom windows and the class was nearly over, she moved a few things aside on the edge of her desk and sat down there.

With a gentle look of reflection on her face, she paused and said, “Before class is over, I would like to share with all of you a thought that is unrelated to class, but which I feel is very important.  Each of us is put here on earth to learn, share, love, appreciate and give of ourselves.  None of us knows when this fantastic experience will end. It can be taken away at any moment. Perhaps this is ‘the powers that be’ way of telling us that we must make the most out of every single day.”

Her eyes began to water; she went on, “So I would like you all to make me a promise.  From now on, on your way to school or on your way home, find something beautiful to notice. It doesn’t have to be something you see, it could be a scent, perhaps of freshly baked bread wafting out of someone’s house or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly rustling the leaves in the trees, or the way the morning light catches the autumn leaf as it falls gently to the ground.

“Please look for these things and cherish them.  For although it may sound trite to some, these things are the ‘stuff’ of life.  The little things we are put here on earth to enjoy. The things we often take for granted. We must make it important to notice them, for at any time…. It can all be taken away.”

The class was completely quiet. We all picked up our books and filed out of the room silently. That afternoon, I noticed more things on my way home from school than I had that whole semester. Every once in a while, I think of that teacher and what an impression she made on all of us, and I try to appreciate all of those things that sometimes we all overlook.

Take notice of something special you see on your lunch hour today. Go barefoot. Or walk on the beach at sunset. Stop off on the way home tonight to get a double-dip ice cream cone.

For as we get older, it is not the things we did that we often regret, but the things we didn’t do.

    Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.  –Author unknown

God Bless you all and may sunshine always be in your lives to brighten your days.

~~  Paula Vogelgesang ~~

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