As rifle season approaches in West Virginia, there are many factors that hunters consider when deciding where and how they will hunt Things like weather, mast harvest, hunting, etc can all make a difference in what a hunter should do

One thing I rarely hear mentioned is when the opening day falls. West Virginia gun season opens on the Monday before Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving takes place on the fourth Thursday in November, not necessarily the last Thursday, which means Thanksgiving can fall between the 22nd and 28th This, in turn, means the West Virginia opening can be n ‘Anywhere from 19 to 25 It can make a huge difference in deer activity, especially in areas with low hunting pressure Let me explain why

While it is possible to see rutting activity almost any time from September to February, the most intense rutting activity occurs from early to mid-November in this region It is quite easy to tell by the amount of deer, especially beautiful males, that are hit on the road during this time

When gun season opens at the end of possible dates, the rut is usually still strong When it opens near the end of possible dates, the chase has often slowed down

How does this affect the way I go hunting? Well if the season starts early I’m going to try and look at as many areas as possible, settle on funnels where the horny males are likely to pass, or even watch open, cultivated fields. If the season opens later, I have found that mature males are often “stuck” with a mature doe, spending their time on the rougher and thickest terrain in a given area. Often times they don’t travel much at all So I will then focus on this type of blanket

I used to hunt a friend’s property in western Morgan County which contained beautiful open hardwoods and steep, rough troughs with rock ledges and laurel thickets When gun season hit early, we often saw handsome bucks chasing hinds through the open hardwoods When it opened later in the month the deer seemed to move a lot less and stayed in the heavy blanket.

This is also good to keep in mind for hunting later in the season, even when the season starts early

Since gun season in West Virginia opens on the 25th of this year, I’ll be surprised if the rut is still in full swing.It won’t be over, but it probably won’t be as intense as a few days ago I will adjust my hunting strategy accordingly Of course the deer don’t read “the book” or my articles so your mileage may vary Have fun Be careful Enjoy the outdoors in our beautiful condition!


News from the world – FI – Every day in the open air: the opening date of the rifle season can change the hunt