Roger Wolfe: Hunters have plenty to be thankful for

November 28, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving! What better way to kick off the holiday season than by giving thanks for all the things we have been blessed with. All those many years ago the first settlers and the Native Americans sat down to break bread and give thanks for a new friendship over a feast of fresh game and a bountiful harvest.

Even to this day hunters are still celebrating for many of the same reasons. It is no coincidence that Thanksgiving falls in the middle of hunting season. What better time to be thankful?

Not to mention that I have my suspicions that having a couple of extra days in the middle of hunting season was purely by coincidence either. Regardless, hunters and fishermen across the state have plenty of reasons to be thankful. Not only this year but every year.

Through the wonders of social media, it is easy to keep tabs on your hunting buddies, their buddies, and even people you don’t even know all over the country. From the looks of it, there are some very thankful hunters out there. Big bucks have been taken from every corner of the state.

Seeing a picture of a monster buck that got taken just a few miles from your hunting grounds is often that little extra incentive to crawl out of bed on those cold and frosty mornings. If there was one trophy buck lurking in those woods, there is likely another and you will never kill him from the couch.

For those of us just looking to fill the freezer with some tasty venison, preliminary numbers indicate that the buck harvest this year should be pretty good. Especially if the weather continues to hold out for the remaining week of the season. A full pantry of fresh venison is something to be thankful for whether it comes from a trophy buck or a heard management antlerless deer. Everybody knows you can’t eat those antlers anyway. No matter how you cook them.

The blessings don’t stop there. There are still months of deer hunting to do. This year, for the first time, hunters in the mountain state will be hunting big game all the way into the new year! Extra days to hunt, I for one will be thankful for that!

Let’s not leave out the fishermen. They have plenty of reasons to be thankful, too. I have seen some huge fish being hauled in lately. Not sure who has time to fish in deer season, but to those that do ... Congratulations!

To say we have had a wet summer would be an understatement, but we have been lucky in that we haven’t had any major flooding issues and all that water makes for some great fishing. That extra water will also pay off for months to come.

The state trout hatcheries depend on a lot of water to grow a lot of trout for the stocking season that is just around the corner. More water this fall will translate into more and bigger fish come next spring’s trout stockings. That is a big reason to be thankful. Can I get an “Amen”?

I could go on and on over the things we have to be thankful for as hunters and fishermen, but I would be sorely remiss if I failed to mention the most important one and that is the time shared with family and friends.

Hunters and fishermen alike are a close-knit bunch. You get more than one in the same room and the conversation will head to the outdoors quicker than that big buck headed for the next county when your boot snapped the only twig in the forest a couple of years back.

The friendships made along the way and the family time spent in the pursuit of your favorite game are the real reasons to be thankful. Those early pilgrims long ago had it figured out and I am confident that their thanksgiving feast was as much about the togetherness and friendships as it was about the harvest that they celebrated with each other.

So, before we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, take a minute to be thankful for all we have as hunters and fishermen. We can look around and see that game is plentiful whether your favorite is bear, deer, turkey or even small game species. Outdoor opportunities abound around every turn and in every corner of the state and the nation. If that isn’t something to be thankful for, I don’t know what is.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and if you are looking for something else to be thankful for, we still have 2 months of hunting seasons to go! Good luck, stay safe, and here is to more outdoor fun and thankfulness in the weeks to come!

Roger Wolfe is an avid outdoorsman and has spent most of his life hunting and fishing and writes a weekly outdoors column for HD Media. He is a resident of Chapmanville and can be reached via email at wolfeii@hotmail.com.

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