Free JAKES Event in Jane Lew Saturday

The Gilmer Free Press

JANE LEW, WV — The National Wildlife and Turkey Federation’s youth program JAKES will be putting on a free event Saturday August 1st at the Water Smith State Memorial Park for students who wish to participate in hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

Event Organizer Jim Simms said what you’re kids are doing outside isn’t as important as simply getting them outside.

“It’s more than just teaching them how to use it,” Jim Simms said. “It’s getting them outside to enjoy everything that we’ve got in our state here–that we’ve got such a blessed opportunity to do.”

The free event also provides all the necessary equipment.

“All they’ve got to do is walk in and we’ve got the activity ready for them,” he said.

All parents are welcome to attend and join in with their kids. Age groups will be split between the 5-12 range and 13-17 range.

“We want the parents to come and get involved too because this is a family activity and that’s the way we promote it,” he said.

If you wish to register, you must do so by no later than Thursday evening. You can call 304.592.5441 for registration.

Pioneer Heritage Days at Blennerhassett Island, August 01 and 02, 2015

The Gilmer Free Press

PARKERSBURG, WV – How did West Virginia’s first immigrants live, from making clothing to building shelter to growing food? Pioneer Heritage Days at Blennerhassett Island Saturday, August 01, and Sunday, August 02, will show how it was done.

“Visitors to the island will get a firsthand look at a blacksmith at work and see how families washed their clothes, cooked their food, made candles and spun wool into thread,” according to Pam Salisbury, activities coordinator.

Blacksmith, Earl Hunt will be on a portable forge demonstrating the skill of molding iron into candle holders, hooks and other items. Hunt’s family will be candle dipping and also demonstrating how to wash cloths on a wash board. Catherine Sams will demonstrate outdoor cooking, Terry Higgins will spin and weave wool, and Salisbury will demonstrate basket weaving.

“Early settlers did not have ‘fast food’ for supper like we are accustomed to today; instead, they had to depend on the land for their food.” said Salisbury. “Folks grew, harvested and preserved their food, raised livestock, and went hunting or fishing to survive. We still garden, prepare, and hunt and fish today, but modern technology makes daily living much easier.”

A nature interpretative program by Parkersburg area Master Naturalists begins at 2 PM Saturday. In addition to bird watching and learning about birds of the Ohio River area, participants will make a birds nest from ordinary craft materials. “Pickin’ in the Park” will be heard Sunday from 1 to 4 PM at the tented areas near the island gift shop and is open to any musician.

Boats run on an hourly schedule from Point Park in Parkersburg beginning at 11 AM Saturday and Noon Sunday and return on the half-hour. The last trip off the island is 5:30 PM. Heritage demonstrations will be presented from 11:30 AM until 4:30 PM Saturday and 12:30 to 3 PM Sunday. Cost for the boat round trip boat ride is $10 for adults and $8 for children 3-12. A special “senior rate” of $9 for the boat ride is available Sunday only.

For more information, call the park office at 304.420.4800 or visit

Newborn Fawn Rescued After Mother Killed by Vehicle on I-77

The Gilmer Free Press

PRINCETON, WV - A West Virginia State Police trooper says he doesn’t know how a newborn fawn survived after its mother was killed on Interstate 77.

The fawn was born after its mother was hit by a vehicle shortly after 7 PM Saturday in Mercer County.

The State Courtesy Patrol is credited with saving the fawn.

The Courtesy Patrol members found the doe and the fawn before police officials arrived at the scene.

They used rags to clean the fawn and keep it warm.

The Courtesy Patrol members found a place to take the fawn.

West Virginia Prepares for Inaugural Crossbow Hunting Season

The Gilmer Free Press

A high number of hunters in West Virginia are expected to try something new this fall. The opening day of fall archery hunting season in West Virginia will mark the first time all hunters will be cleared to legally hunt in the state with a crossbow.  Legislation approved by the House and Senate during this year’s legislative session laid the ground work and the Natural Resources Commission chose to fold crossbows into the regular archery season.

“That was actually a little surprising to us,” said John Holstein, Executive Director of the newly created West Virginia Crossbow Hunters’ Association.”The origin of the bill had called for a specific crossbow season.”

The only change will be the crossbows will not be allowed for hunting in the archery only counties of Wyoming, Mingo, McDowell, and Logan Counties unless the hunter has a Class Q handicapped hunting permit.

“I don’t think it’s reasonable,”Holstein said. “It’s understandable folks have reservations about that and I don’t see us as an organization going against that in the future.”

The association as a group has gained momentum as the first season approaches.  He expected a lot more membership as interest in the devices gained in popularity.

“We recently visited a large outdoor retailer and spoke with folks in the archery department,” he said. “They told us there has been a 600 percent increase in the sale of crossbows as compared to this time last year.  I think that’s a trend we’re going to see all across the state.”

The 6 to1 sales ratio of crossbows to traditional bows isn’t all that surprising since it’s a new kind of hunting.  Many will have to learn how to safely use one. The biggest part of West Virginia hunters have never held one in their hands.

“Drawing the cross bow back there are some limitations there and there are some technical considerations about whether you can draw it back,”said Holstein. “Some people can draw it back by themselves others will need some kind of mechanical assist.  There are of course with any type of hunting implement cautions you must be aware of and different types of dangers whether it be with guns, bows, or crossbows.”

Holstein said his organization continues to post information to their website and there is plenty more about crossbow safety online. Hunter Education instructors are also being briefed on what they should incorporate into their classes about the devices.  Since they are just getting started Holstein said they had hoped to have an open event to enable hunters to try crossbows on a 3-d range ahead of the season. He said that won’t happen this year, but he hopes to organize field days in the future to give hunters an opportunity to try them out.

The effort to legalize cross bows in West Virginia wasn’t a new concept. For many years the push on the legislature was resisted, but Holstein said it was an idea which was finally realized with education.

“The education of the legislature and the general hunting public has come a long way over the years,” he said. “I think many just realized the time has come and more and more states are coming on board with this.”

~~  Chris Lawrence - WVMN ~~

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