6:00: Morning News

Idea of Gun Season in Four Southern Counties Gets Cool Reception

 

The prospects of a firearms hunting season in McDowell, Wyoming, Logan, and Mingo Counties is bleak.    A busload of hunters from the four bow hunting counties of southern West Virginia rolled up to the door of the Days Hotel in Flatwoods with a clear mandate, "No Gun Hunting (for deer) in Logan, Mingo, Wyoming , and McDowell Counties."   The sign was hung plainly on the side of the bus.

  "Most of these guys were raised up in that country, they didn’t have anything but squirrels, rabbits, and a few raccoons to enjoy.  Now they have some big game species to enjoy and they don’t want to lose that," said James Bailey from the Two Rivers Conversation Club in Iaeger. "It’s frightening to think we could go back to what we had in the 60’s and 70’s which is nothing."

A total of 152 sportsmen packed the Natural Resources Commission Meeting in Flatwoods to oppose the idea of a firearms season in Wyoming, Logan, McDowell, and Mingo Counties — Photo: Charleston Gazette

 

The opponents of the idea number 152 at Sunday’s Natural Resources Commission Meeting in Flatwoods.  The number is certain because they were counted off as part of the meeting.  

The matter has been brewing for almost a year after the National Rifle Association provided mail-in cards to members in the region urging them to send the cards to DNR Director Frank Jezioro to push for the opening of gun hunting in those four counties.

"The first thing we were aware of that this was on the minds of anybody was when we started receiving these cards,” said Jezioro. "This wasn’t the right approach. "

DNR Director Frank Jezioro holds up 238 pre-printed cards provided by the NRA  requesting a gun season in the four southern counties.  Jezioro says the cards were unsolicited and the DNR has no plans of pursuing a gun season in those counties. PHOTO: CHARLESOTN GAZETTE

Jezioro received 238 of the pre-printed and addressed cards through the mail.  He held them up in a bundle and said they would be sent back to the NRA.  

No representatives of the NRA showed up to speak at the meeting and nobody stepped forward to speak in favor of opening the gun season in those counties.   Several opponents identified the NRA’s point of contact on the matter as Jordan Austin, the lobbyist for the NRA in West Virginia.   Austin has made no comment on the matter. 

"The NRA seems to stand for something besides the National Rifle Association," said Larry Lawson of the West Virginia Bowhunters. "How about ‘Not Really Around, Not Realizing Anything, and Not Recognizing Advice." 

"The DNR had no input in this,” said Jezioro. "We at never at any time came forward and talked to the NRA and said, ‘Let’s have a gun season down there.’"

The turnout at Sunday’s meeting made it clear the idea isn’t popular among the locals, or certainly isn’t popular enough to bring champions to the microphone.

"We have a great asset in West Virginia to have these large deer,” said Brad Toler. "I’d hate to see this destroyed by opening a season.   If it was (opened) in 2010, by 2011 you’d have no deer."

"We’re concerned about protecting that resource for future generations," Bailey added. "We don’t have the agriculture resources that other parts of the state.  A full-blown firearms season would be detrimental to the deer herd and we’d be back to square one."

 





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