Bow season not snow season
It’s hot. The beginning of September and I am so looking forward to the cool weather of fall and ultimately, rifle season coming up in November. Unfortunately, it’s not quite time yet. Or is it?
Well, for some it is as the 2016 archery season here in West Virginia (standard archery and crossbow) begins on Saturday, September 24th. But for me, I am struggling to come to grips with the fact that it still looks as though the thermometer may well be reading in the upper 80s for that opening day.
When I was growing up, I distinctly remember that opening day for squirrel season here in the mountain state nearly always fell on the second weekend in October and it seems to me that bow season began a week or two later. This year, squirrel season opened up state wide on September 10th. What changed? And more importantly, why?
Apparently back in 2011, the WV National Resources omission approved regulatory changes which allowed for the archery season to begin the Saturday closest to October 1st and, apparently that has changed again since although I couldn’t find a reference to the recent change.
From what we found, at the time of the 2011 change a WV DNR representative was quoted as saying that “We did that primarily for two purposes, one to provide additional recreational opportunities,” and “also we wanted to allow two extra weeks to allow parents to get their kids out to bow hunt after school while there’s still some daylight out there.”
Regardless of the reason, these earlier opening days present an entire new set of potential problems for West Virginia hunters with the biggest concern probably being how to assure that early season deer are processed safely considering the heat.
Deer should be field dressed as quickly as possible after the kill and more than likely should be packed with ice for the transport to where the meat will be processed. Anyone that has processed deer will tell you that it is critical to assure that proper temperatures are being maintained; especially if you are planning to age the meat prior to butchering.
I personally believe that, unless you have a very well thought out plan for dealing with the above issues, hunting in very warm weather can be a risk and may result in a non-ethical approach to deer hunting which could end with a kill that can not successfully be harvested. So, if you are out on the 24th, please make the best call for wildlife management.
As for me, I will wait for a little cooler weather even though I am anxious…
Here is a complete set of the 2016 hunting season dates from the West Virginia DNR.