Start planning your next hunting adventure

July 21, 2018

Right now is the best time to plan for hunting success.

Let’s get a plan. If bugling elk are on your list, it’s time to do some research. Maybe a Western deer hunt, Southern turkey hunt or taking your hunting dog on a truly amazing upland bird hunt suits your fancy. Or maybe finding a new hot spot here at home for turkeys and deer would punch your ticket. Regardless if your dream hunt is 1,000 miles away or in your home county, there is no better time than now to research and plan.

If some new turf to hunt here at home and the opportunity to fill your freezer full of fresh, organic meat sounds interesting, then pay attention to the following information from our West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Applications for the 2018 antlerless deer season limited-permit areas are now available online at www.wvhunt.com, and will be accepted until midnight Aug. 14.

Hunters who apply for a limited antlerless firearms permit must use the electronic licensing system at www.wvhunt.com. Applicants must log on, select “Enter Lottery” on the home screen, select “2018 Antlerless Deer Hunt,” then choose the county or wildlife management area for which they want to apply. Hunters also may select a secondary county or Wildlife Management Area.

Successful applicants will be notified by mail by the first week of October. Starting Sept. 1, all applicants can see whether they received a permit by logging into their account.

The following Wildlife Management Areas and counties are open for this drawing:

• Blackwater

• Bluestone

• Calvin Price State Forest

• Greenbrier State Forest

• Hillcrest

• Kumbrabow State Forest

• Little Canaan

• Seneca State Forest

• Boone

• Greenbrier

• Lincoln

• Mineral

• Pocahontas

• Raleigh

• Webster

A limited number of Class N licenses for resident hunters and Class NN licenses for nonresident hunters will be available. Successful applicants may hunt antlerless deer Oct. 25–28 on private land only, and Nov. 19–Dec. 1, Dec. 6–9 and Dec. 28–31 on private and public land.

Hunters who want to enter as a group must know the other hunters’ DNR ID numbers to enter the lottery. Hunters also can call their local DNR district office for help with the application process.

For complete information on antlerless deer season dates and bag limits, consult the 2018–19 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary. It is available online at http://www.wvdnr.gov/Hunting/hunting_regs.shtm and at West Virginia license agents and DNR offices.

If you are longing for the wide-open spaces of the West with grand animals far, far away from your West Virginia home, there are several approaches. A guided hunt with an outfitter can increase your odds tremendously if you pick the right one. The task of finding a good outfitter seems daunting, but it shouldn’t be. My steadfast rule: No matter how great their website is designed, their booth is staffed at an outdoor expo or how nice their ad looks on outdoor television, you must start by word of mouth.

In the outfitter world, things can change quickly, but a great recommendation from someone who has personally been there is worth its weight in gold.

Find a species you are interested in and start by asking around to see if anyone in your community has any experience. Ask at local shops, maybe a conservation organization banquet or a friend of a friend. I bet if you flip a few rocks you will be surprised what you might find. When found, ask them the positives and negatives of their adventure.

Create a list of what is important to you — food, great lodging, wall tents at 10,000 feet, seeing incredible country, lots of game or not much game but big, mature animals (or both), just make sure it’s your dream list. Remember: It is YOUR perfect adventure, not theirs, that you are searching for.

Whether you are ready to roam or prefer to stay close to home, starting now on your next hunting adventure only makes sense. Good luck with the draw of a tag or great outfitter.

Chris Ellis, of Fayetteville, West Virginia, an outdoorsman and Marshall University graduate, is owner of Ellis Communications, a public-relations agency serving the outdoor industry. Contact him at chris@elliscom.net.

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