The Kentucky elk heard has proven the steep reclaimed mine lands of southern West Virginia will easily support elk
Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
The Kentucky elk heard has proven the steep reclaimed mine lands of southern West Virginia will easily support elk

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Texas drought and scarcity of quail in the Lone Star State has slowed the progress of the return of elk to the hills of West Virginia.

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Director Frank Jezioro updated members of the legislature in Charleston Thursday on the status of the state’s elk reintroduction program. Jezioro said there are two steps which need to be accomplished. One will be to secure adequate land in southern West Virginia to establish a new herd. Step two will be acquiring the elk.  Both are being pursued simultaneously.

Jezioro said state wildlife personnel have determined the best place to procure elk to begin a new West Virginia herd is in Kentucky. The Kentucky elk have no history of disease and have thrived in the reclaimed mine lands in the eastern part of the Bluegrass State. The terrain is almost identical to the southern West Virginia coalfields where the state is looking to reintroduce the population.

However, Kentucky won’t let the high value wildlife go without a price. Kentucky wildlife officials are looking to bolster other wildlife populations in their state using elk as trade bait. Already Kentucky wildlife officials want grouse and are working on an elk for grouse trade with Wisconsin.  Kentucky also wants quail. Although West Virginia has no quail, Jezioro said we have the means to acquire them.

“Kentucky didn’t want deer or bear and we have no quail, but Texas wanted eastern wild turkeys,” Jeizoro said. “We’ve already provided Texas with the eastern wild turkeys they wanted and now the problem is getting the quail. Texas has been through a drought and most of their quail are on private land, so it doesn’t look like we’re going to get any quail immediately. But when they give us the quail, we trade them to Kentucky, and they give us elk.”

A source indicated the state shipped 20 West Virginia turkeys to Texas this week. The birds spent an unexpected one day layover in the Atlanta airport when this week’s snow paralyzed the deep south, but arrived no worse for wear.  The arrangement calls for another ten West Virginia turkeys to be shipped to Texas Parks and Wildlife Officials. It’s unclear how many quail West Virginia will receive in the exchange or how many Kentucky elk West Virginia will receive in the deal.

While the wheeling and dealing happens among elk, turkeys, and quail, the DNR’s other obstacle is finding suitable habitat for those elk to range once they arrive in West Virginia.

“We’ve given Natural Resources Commissioner Kenny Wilson the written agreement and he felt confident he could find a place in the southern coalfields where we could put them,” Jezioro said.

However Jezioro is adamant about qualifications on the property.

“If we put those elk on somebody’s property, we want a guarantee hunters will have access to those elk and be able to hunt them,” said Jezioro. “We don’t want to establish an elk herd, go to all this expense and spend a lot of money, and have somebody tell us down the road ,’We don’t want you on the property anymore.’ Once we have that type of agreement, we’re ready to move forward.”

Delegate Rupie Phillips of Logan County told the committee he believed the pieces were in place to advance the program quickly.

“I understand we’ve got the land already pretty much together and it’s also my understanding there’s a location in Kentucky that has several elk they’re wanting to give away, plus we have 300,000 dollars the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is willing to pledge to the program if we put them in southern West Virginia where they feel it’s the most appropriate,” said Phillips during the legislative hearing in an exchange with Jezioro.

Jezioro said he was unaware of what Phillips claimed, but they were waiting on the land agreement from Commissioner Wilson.

“I feel confident we can get those land agreements,” Wilson told MetroNews. “They have those agreements in hand and their legal teams are looking them over.  I think we’re moving in the right direction, but the process doesn’t happen overnight.”

Phillips questioned the wording of the proposed land contract offered to land holding companies in the southern West Virginia coalfields.

“It’s a lot different from what Kentucky’s agreement is with the land companies,” said Phillips. “The land companies are willing to sign the Kentucky agreement.”

Wilson said the state has approached Dingess Run Land Company, McDonald Land Company, and Forest Land Group. The companies are the three major land holding companies in the region according to Wilson. He added the wording which caused reservations was only one or two lines and not a major obstacle.

Wilson confirmed the elk which appear  to be readily available would come from western Kentucky in the Land Between the Lakes Region along the Tennessee border.

“Kentucky apparently has a surplus of elk in that area they’d be willing to give us,” Wilson said. “But it’s also a disease free herd.”

Wilson said a public meeting is set for February 27 for all interested parties. The meeting, slated for the Chief Logan Conference Center, will involve the formation of a new Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Chapter for fundraising activities and a discussion about the progress of the Elk Reintroduction Program.

“The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, representatives of the land companies, and interested lawmakers will all be there,” said Wilson. “It’s a meeting to discuss all of the issues and get everybody on the same page.  This is going to happen, it just takes time.”

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Comments

  • Independent View

    Previous post continued: Surely WV sportsmen haven't forgotten the DNR debacle known as the Wild Boar Program? Hundreds of thousands of dollars maybe a million or two if all tallied and decades of time, energy and manpower wasted trying to establish Wild Boar in Southern WV. The same path was traveled as proposed for establishing Elk. Get agreements with the Southern WV land holding companies to stock the Wild Boar and to allow hunter access. The program ran smooth for a few years then, the land holding companies broke the agreement and would not allow hunter access to their property. How do I know this? I was around when the first truck transporting the Wild Boars from Tellico Plains, TN to the French Creek Game Farm. Further, for DNR to state that during the Elk feasibility study, there was a lot of push-back from farmers in the Eastern Mountain Region is BS! The Mon National Forest comprises a million acres, with very, very few active farms within its boundaries. To say that is the reason for choosing Southern WV, I saw, that dog won't hunt! The few active farms located within or adjacent to the National Forest already experience bear and coyote livestock predation and some deer crop damage. Are Elk going to eat sheep or cattle? No. Are they going to mooch some field corn, given the chance? Maybe. After several decades of hauling deer, turkeys and bears to the Southern, WV Counties, they still cannot support a deer gun season! So, we didn't learn from the fiasco of the Wild Boar program, so we will do it again, but with a twist, we will transplant a much higher value animal this time. Makes perfect sense--if you are a Southern, WV politician or a state bureaucrat afraid of loosing his job if he doesn't toe the line set by politicians.

    • thornton

      I expect the southern coalfield area mostly is the elk spot because of the jailbreak KY elk filtering in regardless of any future introduction, and the success seen by the KY program itself...if you call that success.
      Could be a bit of politics(this is WVa) involved with wanting to keep a bit of future imagined money in the area...if the elk bring in any money above the cost they will carry. But, more than that?...not likely. Fretting about politics in DNR decisions is politics....I reckon there is a backstory to any such claims. Best to ignore such diverting silliness. The problem with elk in WVa is not in any politics involved...it is with the elk themselves and what they take away form where interest deserves to be.

      Importance should be placed on a species rather than placed on the hunters of a species....that goes for any game species.
      For these elk...the hunters appear to be the main focus...and a poor focus it is.

      Sure, the eastern mountains would hold some elk, same as in Pennsylvania....but hopefully, they never see those mountain counties. Unless they can catch a bit of CWD, of course. Keep 'em down in that SW border country to see how they fare for a decade or so.

      All just a really sad but unstoppable turn of events.

      • Independent View

        @ Thornton: Your statement in response to my post of, "Fretting about politics in DNR decisions is politics....I reckon there is a backstory to any such claims. Best to ignore such diverting silliness."
        To the contrary Thornton, it is not silliness on my part. And, to put my comments in perspective, I believe that I am much more qualified than you to make observations about transplant programs and politics in the DNR. My next statement does not have malicious intent or a slam toward you or your opinion Thornton. However, because in addition to being a graduate biologist, I am a retired DNR Wildlife Resources employee who was involved in surveys, studies, trap and transplant programs of deer, bear and wild turkeys and even Wild Boar, all of which were transported to Southern WV. Why did this happen when studies had identified that these transplant programs were doomed to fail as history has proven? Simple, Southern WV politicians and DNR administrators attempting to curry favor with Southern WV politicians. Whereas your assessment is based on opinion, conjecture and buying into DNR justifications, while mine is based on both scientific eveidence and first-hand observations. To synthesize the whole debate, why would you make a decision to transplant Elk to the Southern WV Coalfields, on private land when you spent decades and hundreds of thousands make a million or two of license buyers' money on the Wild Boar transplant program that was an abysmal failure when there is a million acres of public land, a lot of which prohibits vehicle and ATV access and in some areas so remote as to deter even human foot travel? Also, as you characterize it, the focus should be on the species rather than the hunter. This begs an answer to my last question. Who pays the bills for wildlife programs such as this? HUNTERS/LICENSE BUYERS not armchair Wilderness Society or ASPCA members.

        • thornton

          All DNRs are political creatures....as to the elk, I still reckon the KY connection and pathway made the decision of area...easy. I acknowledged the likelihood that lucre down the line was in play as well.

          I would suggest that you consider letting old wounds or slights or wrong decisions drift on by rather than muddy the waters re elk location and Occam's Razor. For me, I'd kill 'em at the boarder as an invasive.

          My idea is that the focus should be on the species...AND the Habitats....rather than the too often selfish and self-focused hunter.

          The hunter should and will benefit from that focus on the first two and the resulting decisions....I could not care less who pays the bills.

          Additionally, I have spoken with many in the areas of expertise you indicated you may have...I seldom find consensus on any single decision...even amongst the professionals.

    • Gun Dog

      After listening to Chris' program this Saturday morning I think you are correct. A huntable population of Elk in southern WV will take at least 15 years, more likely two decades before the first permit is even sold. So some folks are wanting "viewing areas" to attract in tourist dollars; I heard it this morning in the interview. We all would benefit by viewing Elk. Well just do not use Pittman/Robertson monies for that! Go buy a hundred with Department of Commerce dollars from the lottery, but not hunting license fees or Pittman monies.

      • brian

        There has been some private money offered, but the state is dragging there feet

  • Independent View

    As Paul Harvey would say, "and now, the rest of the story." The Elk are going to Southern WV, not because DNR or the RMEF have identified it as the best area. They are going to be transplanted to Southern WV because of POLITICS! You Central, Northern and Eastern West Virginians have never been able to take politics to the art fomr that Southern WV politicians have! The DNR study was a classic case of, "I've got my mind made up, don't confuse me with the facts." And, "what conclusions do you want the study to make?"

  • James Lane

    So, in other words, us hillbillies are bound to screw this up.

  • Ashamed

    Introduce another cervid in a state with one of the most obscure cervid diseases spreading through the Eastern Panhandle? What are the long term goals of that program? What college degree is standing behind that line of thinking?

  • northforkfisher

    Dolly sods west side and a good portion of spruce knob have enough sod to sustain them.

    • Gun Dog

      I agree but Elk have an inbreed tendency to come into the valleys for winter. Wonder if they will only have hair on only one side of their coat living up on the Sods?

  • Hollowhunter

    The Mon national forest would be one of the best choices. Wherever they put them they will move to whatever habitat suits them best.

  • Roy Riggleman

    Given the sightings of elk in Logan/Mingo, wouldn't an elk herd become established without the input of WVDNR?

    • Robin

      Yes they will establish themselves. Problem with that is no one can claim credit. Of course you have to consider the reason there is no gun season in those counties. Poachers plain and simple. So who is to say they will not poach the elk?

      My bet is if we bring in ten to that area some worthless pond scum poacher will take one or two the first year.

  • Avid Outdoorsman

    Our DNR sucks at whitetail management. Why does anyone think the elk will be any different.

    IF a we end up with a huntable poplulation; I am sure it will be the same and with our WT deer.

    "Did you get your bull (buck)?"
    "Sure did, killt a spike opening morning"

  • Longbeards

    No mention of the area that was identified as the best area to introduce them...The Dolly Sods/Can Valley? How come, share the wealth!!

    • Brett

      If I remember correctly, the state had looked at every region as a possible candidate. I believe Pocahontas and Greenbrier Counties were the original targets a ling time ago, but were met with opposition for agricultural reasons. After seeing how well the elk did in the coalfields of Kentucky, that led them to southern WV first.
      As for quail and other game birds, WV is losing their habitat. There are so many mature forests now because we can't dare cut a tree down that quail doesn't have the habitat it once had. It needs dense vegetation and undergrowth you can't get in mature forests.

      • leroy j gibbs

        It's been years since I have heard a bob white call. I do miss that. Hate to be pessimistic but isn't there a lot of poaching in the southern coal field. That's why there is no gun season?

      • thornton

        Quail are not a bird that is helped by cutting hardwoods and hardwood regeneration....their issue in WV is not related to timbering to any important degree and their range is limited at the best of times here. Dense vegetation is simply not what they need.

        KY has a long and solid quail tradition...best of luck to them.

        • SamWVU304

          The Grouse/Quail populations were hammered by the Coyote that were reintroduced by???You guessed it The"DNR". Why? Insurance companies,to drop the amount of Turkey in windshield claims.How's that working in the northcentral region? As a child hunting with my Grandfather,it was nothing to see 80-100 whitetails a day. Fastfwd twenty years. Its a good day to see five,maybe ten "IF" you cover acres of ground. Good job guys great management. The wildlife is not overpopulating the roads an highways..Automobiles are... The trend keeps up our childrens children will only read of them on yahoo..Great day to be a mountaineer that will be..BS.

          • thornton

            Good heavens...get past the bad information and wrong assumptions....neither ruffed grouse nor quail were negatively impacted to any important degree by coyotes...probably not to any degree at all.

            I understand coyotes can impact the young deer...which is good. I also understand how comforting it is to blame the DNR and insurance companies by assuming some black helicopter scheme of coyote introduction but that is just frustrated and very poor thinking....the BS lies with you, Sam, along with the fixation on one species rather than on the best habitat for many species.

            That focus, in other words, represents a large part of the problem with game management in WVa today.

          • Gun Dog

            The DNR never released coyotes. Good grief they migrated here. Quail are impacted by avian predators more so than mammalian in every study, the same as grouse. What got rid of the quail was Fescue 31 grasses and brush hogging. Quail are dirt birds. The young ones are the size of ping pong ball and can not get through those thick grasses without getting wet and dying. Get rid of the brush hogs and put some disc on the back of those tractors at WMAs and we could have some quail again.

          • thornton

            Yep.....quail need their feet on the ground.

            This type winter though would not be to their liking...it's what slammed them in the very late 70s. Hope they recently did ok in their more traditional areas on south. While there are still some wild quail around the tri-state....they face a tough go w/o a bit of help setting their house and yard in order..

          • thornton

            I should add that the quail have the same problem as the ruffed grouse in one way....they don't have antlers, they don't gobble and they don't vote.

          • The bookman

            Sam:

            Kudos to the DNR for bringing that level of overpopulation down to the more habitat friendly levels we see currently. I'll call again and thank them. I'll have to wait though til they get back to the office. I hear they are out in Webster County seeding the forest with mountain lion cubs. Think that's the only rumor you missed in your post.

          • SamWVU304

            You can believe what you want i have my reasons..They also don't migrate like birds do fellas..strictly territorial animals don't travel hundreds of miles to just do it. Your right that the other predators also do damage the bird numbers,Fox,hawks,falcons,fisher, skunks,snakes..etc.its the circle of life. I'm not bashing on our Dnr for it. I'm simply stating that introducing animals that could do the damages these nonnative herds/packs can could ruin what we do have and they have worked for. For what reasons?

          • thornton

            What migratory game birds do you mean, Sam?

            Quail or ruffed grouse don't migrate. Woodcock do...are you saying the coyote is slamming the woodcock? Geese and ducks can pack a valise....are they your concern?

            Grouse and quail never have been "hammered" in WVa by coyotes as you stated...your ideas of DNR/Insurance company dark of night dump-offs is also a bit silly as to reality and effect.

            You lost me on the migratory comment.

        • Gun Dog

          Quail in the GW National Forest from cutting timber is working, at least on the other side of the Allegheny Front. Don't know if it would work here or not but with the outlook toward game birds in WV I assume it will never be tried. Look on You Tube for the Northern Bobwhite quail initiative. It is really educational. Two biologist on the GW were stunned by the development.

          • thornton

            Yes, I know of the Initiative. Biologists often speak glowingly regardless of any particulars, especially on camera. It's part of their job requirements.

            Unlikely to be any quail help in WVa from hardwood regen in the NF....one needs AG, set-asides, good grass plantings and so on involved. Finding that stew in WVa will be difficult and, imo, impossible on any meaningful scale past the photo op.

            That does not mean that quail should be ignored...they should not. Just that WVa will never be a quail state anymore than it will be an elk state.

            It is a shame that DNR interest is limited more and more often to the glamour species of tv hunting shows but it appears to be the trend in many states....and a selfish shame that is.

            Still, one can only try and point out the selfishness and hope that commonsense some day trumps those easiest critters to manage...like the whitetail deer. Easy should never be the driving decision controlling which species and habitats to value.

    • Gobbler

      The Dolly sods region was looked at and met with opposition because of farmers in the valley. But perhaps the biggest reason against it is because of the CWD containment zone is less than 30 air miles away and the RMEF didn't want to put up that much money so close to a CWD zone.

  • Thatguyoverthere

    I hope those land contracts are air tight...

    • Stephen

      Having worked with/for 2 of the 3 land companies cited in this report I can only guess they are on-board for a few reasons:

      1. Hoping (beyond hope, probably) that an established elk population will benefit them monetarily in the future on land that has been mined/flattened and will produce no marketable timber for several decades

      2. The success of the Hatfield-McCoy trail has shown them that cooperation can have some positive PR benefits

      3. They know that even apparently "air-tight" contracts/agreements can be easily broken/modified as needed in WV.

  • Gun Dog

    Personally I would rather see our state keep the bob white quail. The Elk herd is dependent on getting the land "Long Term" for an elk herd, to hunt. It would take a good deal of time to build a huntable herd of Elk. In fact both of these issues have not been answered. However we have land at McClintic WMA that could well be used for bobwhite quail with just one season of habitat improvements. Big Game rules in this state though. The majority of the quail in Texas are on private lands instead of public so even wonder if the Texas Wildlife folks can talk the ranchers out of those quail.

  • Elk4WV

    Thornton,

    More of the typical gloom and doom with a focus on your perceived persecution of grouse.

    I, like many hunters, would welcome elk to West Virginia. As far as poaching, if deer in southern WV can live long enough to grow trophy racks, elk can live long enough to reproduce.

    • thornton

      Nope, Elkatallcosts...Reality, capital R, as opposed to "of, goodie...it'll cost less to shoot an elk" and "I would love to hear their noble bugle echoing over the hills". Also opposed to the screech of brakes, I reckon. Regardless, enjoy the arriving elk herd.

      But, you obviously did not read slowly enough of what I wrote as to the exchanges re doom and glom. You knowledge is lacking.....your passion is not. Consider past your own nose.....if you can.

      To GunDog....I don't believe FJ was considering swapping quail or grouse. Raise the quail and release some, here or in KY....a few steps above a Preserve but, that is ok.
      The Texas quail deal is all a matter of getting some raised quail and shipping them to KY....small taters.

      • SamWVU304

        Thornton: I was meaning the coyote didnt migrate,maybe couple miles. You misread my comments. And,to the other fella.I never said a black helicopter in the dark. May have came from P.a.not sure but wow are they multiplying. I've personally seen an (animal) that is no native to my neck of the woods. Believe me i didn't want to see it either. Id rather just hear (rumors) as u say. Or believe I had," just imagined it." THAT'S NOT THE TRUTH THOUGH.

        • thornton

          Of course the coyote expanded it's range.....one will always have that potential. Of course, coyotes impact young deer...good, imo.

          The DNR did not "reintroduce" coyotes to help out the insurance companies....but, maybe they introduced the pothole to help out the car repair lobby.

          And, coyotes will indeed multiply...a lot of prey means a lot of predators. Much the same as a lot of deer feeding means a lot of nest predators. Odd how hunters pick and choose what to acknowledge and what to ignore, eh?

          What you "saw" may not mean what you wish it to mean. But, if you mean that coyotes( or painters or....) are not native...then what about these mangy elk over which many are presently swooning?

          I expect the rain will not impact the rhubarb...though the cold may be an issue. I think I'll worry over that rhubarb more....it's popular for pies and popularity is where the greatest focus lies today....as sad as that is.

  • thornton

    Considering the actions and responses of KY in the ACGRP over 10 years ago, any grouse from Wisconsin will have only a small chance at viability. Let alone that Trap & Transfer with ruffed grouse has never worked in any state to a practical degree that made the idea a good one....grouse aren't turkeys, by any stretch. T&T for ruffed grouse is a death sentence unless the state already has habitat and a viable grouse population...in which case they would not need T&T. However, T&T is a wonderful opportunity for a photo op and those matter far more than the bird for far too many DNR folks....expect smiling KY & WI officials, for a while.

    But the actual goal here is finding a way to deal with elk that are entering the picture despite any wish to stop them. And then spinning that reality into..."it's a good idea and we thought of it"...plus there is the great lure of money, as from the RMEF, as a wiggling worm hiding a current and future Mustad aberdeen.

    I say, kill the mangy elk at the border but that will never happen. So, good luck on the quail trade.....considering the slide of KY quail, those little critters face a tough go as well but quail are a bird that can be trapped and transferred or raised and released to some actual degree of success.

    Which begs the reality of why trap(if they are) quail for KY when they can be raised and released. Those Texas bobwhites, and I hope no other Texas quail are considered, may not be the best bang for KYs buck...unless they need to jettison some elk real bad(do that math). Considering the drought that hit and is still hitting the Plains, I would not be surprised to discover that the Texas quail are far from wild....and KY could R&R more efficiently at home with birds with somewhat better genetics for KY.

    There is no way to avoid it now...those worthless, flea-ridden elk will be in WVa sucking up money from more native species(those KY elk often carry antlers with crowned points that speak to Canada) actually on the brink of extirpation. So, good luck to all in the shameful process of pursuing the glamour game of the moment. You all should be so proud of what you are overlooking for a stab by a few at pretending to be real elk hunters.

    • leroy j gibbs

      Quail DON'T stand a chance. Too many predators. Hawks owels fox bobcat coyote. Not enough cover

  • JL

    I agree the few game wardens we have are stretched to thin. If they have a time catching deer poachers then how can they protect a elk herd.

  • Hollowhunter

    I have hunted for the wild boar in the southern counties for several years in a row. I seen a few. Wich I was told I was lucky to even see one. Locals informed our group that when a boar shows itself it has lead thrown its way. Is that what's gonna happen to the Elk ?! Would be sweet to have them around but how are they going to be protected in that part of the country ?

    • Stephen

      I also hunted boar for several years, and after several sightings over several years our group finally managed to bag one. We had several advantages:

      1. Unfettered access to 1000's of acres of land where the boars were originally "stocked"
      2. In the area on foot daily throughout the year, or the opportunity to talk to other landmen/timbermen who were in the area daily
      3. Permits for the late-December season (and snow on the ground)
      4. Willingness to begin scouting the areas on foot (no ATV's) in late summer to further refine where we would be hunting

      Many of the boar hunters we met weren't local, and didn't seem prepared for the rugged topography. Most hadn't scouted the area(s) they planned to hunt and seemed to believe that it would be "easy" to bag one due to past experiences on game farms in the southern states. Most also gave up after 1 day of hunting.

      All that being said, we quit hunting boar a few years ago because we weren't seeing any boar or finding any sign of their presence. My personal opinion is that the boar numbers were never high to begin with, and that human activity/changing habitat and some predation kept the populations stressed and constantly moving around in relatively limited territory.

      • Hollowhunter

        Stephen, I also hunted the same rugged area. The group I was with hunted it very hard. We were diehard hunters (and still are) at the time. We turned an old school bus into a camper just for our boar hunting trips. It was an awesome time. But the locals we met there ( and there were many) told us the stories and photographs of the boars taken. It didn't matter to them about the season. They lived in poverty the most of them. Some loved them for food on the table, others just a nuisance . They were shot at year round. They put us in the right direction of the boars home range in the area. That's when I finally spotted them. I hope the elk don't suffer the same. But I hope the DNR doesn't exclude the Mon & GW National forests ! Those lands will always give our children a chance at free access for a chance at an elk. We probably will not be able to physically climb those rugged areas by them time WV has a population of elk big enough to sustain an elk season.

        • Stephen

          I have no doubt about the poaching poaching that continues to this day. I couldn't count the times we ran across locals with a 30-06 on their ATV in August "squirrel hunting"... Sadly, due to general poverty and absentee ownership, some folks in that region have a mentality that they are "owed" something, and they don't mind taking it from someone else. Whether it's poaching a deer or two, stealing some copper or a donkey engine from a well site, or damaging company equipment, they "get theirs". Fortunately, most won't get off the ATV, so there are still some nice bucks in that area if you are willing to work for them.

          We had the "benefit" of some local help the first season we hunted for boar. Heard all the stories and saw some pictures (all were older pics BTW) and were told about the "best" spots. First, the locals didn't want to get out of bed until 9am and didn't want to get out of the truck afterwards. We were told the best way to hunt boar was to park at an old log load-out or strip bench overlooking a stripped or cleared area and hope to get lucky. Oh, and they were ready to quit @ 1400 or when the beer ran out. Needless to say we struck out on our own the next day and didn't look back.

          As you said, it is hard hunting but was always fun. And finally tagging a nice boar was a real treat. In my years of hunting, I've found boar hunting to be the most exciting. Having a boar charging out of the brush at you is something that you don't get to experience everyday, and something you never forget. Sadly, it is an experience that most WV sportsmen will never get to have.

          I think bringing back elk is an idea that has merit, but I hope that it is well-managed. I like the concept of establishing a population in the MNF, but realize that isn't feasible.