West Virginia Squirrel Season to Open


There was a time in West Virginia when squirrel hunting was the only game in town.   The increased number of deer, bear, and turkey hunting opportunities in the state has certainly put a crimp into the numbers, but squirrel hunting remains an intense Mountain State tradition.

"At one time, our deer populations weren’t what they are now.  We didn’t have the bear, we didn’t have the turkey, so squirrels were about the only game in town," said Kim Shawl, biologist with the DNR’s Point Pleasant office. "Everybody thinks of themselves as a turkey hunter or a bow hunter, but we still have a lot of those hard core squirrel hunters also."

The hard core may be a little hard pressed for the opening day on Saturday.  While the squirrel numbers are certainly plentiful, the traditional places you’ll find them may be abandoned. 

"Our mast crop was down in most of the state this year," said Shawl. "They’ll be looking for other food sources, maybe even the soft mast."

Shawl says one thing is for certain, if hunters can find an oak, hickory, or walnut tree that bore well in 2009, it’s almost certain they’ll find a good number of squirrels cutting on it.    

Tactics may have to change.  Setting up on a den tree and waiting and looking may be a fruitless effort this year.  Shawl and other biologists saying continuing to move and watching for squirrels feeding on the ground may be the better strategy for finding the bushy tailed critters in the West Virginia hills this year.

The statewide squirrel season opens on Saturday morning.


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