Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

W.Va. to hold hunter education ‘blitz’

huntered.jpgWith West Virginia’s firearm season for deer opening later this month, law enforcement officials want to make sure hunters know what they’re doing before they head into the woods.

That’s why the Division of Natural Resources will hold a “Hunter Education Course Blitz” Nov. 14 and 15. During that weekend, some counties will have as many as three hunter-ed courses being taught at the same time.

Every person born after Jan. 1, 1975 must pass the course before purchasing a hunting license.

Look here for a complete list of classes, times and locations. Classes are listed by county. If your county isn’t listed, call one of the following DNR district offices to find out where the nearest classes are being held:

Farmington: 304-825-6787; Romney: 304-822-3551;  Elkins: 304-637-0245; Beckley: 304-256-6945; Nitro: 304-759-0703; Parkersburg: 304-420-4550; and Charleston, 304-558-2784.

Fayette fatality: Hunting-related or not?

From Gazette reporter Rusty Marks:

Fayette County authorities are looking into the death of a Greenbrier County man who was shot near Springdale on Monday.

Clarence Edward Stroud III, 50, of Rainelle was found Monday evening on property he owns in Fayette County, according to a press release issued by Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler.

Authorities believe Stroud had been hunting on the property when he was struck in the chest and face by what appeared to be the blasts of a shotgun.

Authorities believe Stroud was killed sometime between 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. Monday. Kessler said authorities are treating the death as a homicide.

Division of Natural Resources spokesman Hoy Murphy said there is no fall turkey season in Fayette County this year.

Fayette County sheriff’s deputies, troopers from the Oak Hill State Police detachment and conservation officers from the DNR are investigating.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Fayette County 911 Center at 304-574-3590, Crime Stoppers at 304-255-STOP or the Fayette County sheriff’s office at 304-574-4216. Information may also be submitted to the Crime Tips section of the sheriff’s department Web site, www.fayettesheriffwv.net.

DNR busts eight Ohioans for bear baiting in W.Va.

bearpoach.jpgFrom a DNR news release. The good news, I suppose, is that they caught these guys. The bad news is that they were doing it in the first place: 

A lengthy bear poaching investigation was brought to a conclusion Oct. 22 and Oct. 25, when West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) conservation officers and Wildlife Resources personnel apprehended a group of eight hunters in Nicholas County for using bait to lure black bear into sites where they could be shot from elevated and camouflaged stands. It is illegal to bait black bear in West Virginia.

“This group of hunters, all of whom were residents of Ohio, had been participating in this type of illegal activity for a period of several years,” said Capt. Michael Waugh of the WVDNR District 3 Office in Elkins. “They had purchased their bait, which consisted of donuts and corn, from multiple out-of-state vendors. The bait was then hauled into the area by truck and distributed to the bait sites using all-terrain vehicles. This out-of-state purchase and interstate transport of the bait is believed to have been an effort on the part of the poachers to conceal the quantities of bait, the purposes for which it was being purchased, and to avert suspicion in the areas they were baiting.”

Seven baited shooting sites were located by Conservation Officers D. Duffield, T.L. White and Wildlife Manager Tom Pratt when they entered the woods in Nicholas County near Summersville. On Oct. 22, five of the hunters were apprehended at a cabin used as a base camp from which to stage these illegal activities. As the individual hunters were located and removed from the elevated shooting platforms, Sgt. C.R. Johnson conducted interviews which led to additional information and the discovery of multiple baited black bear kills from previous years.

Two large adult black bears were seized at the base camp location as well as large quantities of bait stored for future use. The first was a large male bear that was estimated to weigh in excess of 240 pounds. The second was a large three-to-four-year-old female estimated to weigh more than 130 pounds. Two additional black bears were killed at the bait sites earlier and had already been removed from the base camp to locations outside the borders of West Virginia. Requests for assistance in recovering these black bears have been made to the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the provisions of the Lacey Act.

In conjunction with the Nicholas County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, charges were lodged against the participants in this illegal baiting scheme on Friday, Oct. 23. The suspects chose to enter pleas to these charges at the arraignment. The charges lodged included:

  • David B. Moore, Felicity, Ohio – two counts of hunting bear over bait, fines of $2319 and 100 days in jail suspended, contingent upon payment of fines and costs.
  • Eric W. Lykins, Loveland, Ohio – one count of killing a bear over bait on 10/21/09 and one count of hunting bear over bait on 10/17/09, fines of $2319, replacement costs of $500 and 100 days in jail suspended contingent upon payment of fines and costs.
  • James E. Moore, New Richmond, Ohio – two counts of hunting bear over bait, fines of $2319 and 100 days in jail suspended contingent upon payment of fines and costs.
  • Frank J. Burns, New Richmond, Ohio – one count of killing a bear over bait on 10/23/09 and one count of hunting bear over bait on 10/17/09, fines of $2319, replacement costs of $500 and 100 days in jail suspended contingent upon payment of fines and costs.
  • Carl M. Ramsey, Amelia, Ohio – one count of killing a bear over bait on 10/21/09 and 1) count of hunting bear over bait on 10/17/09, fines of $2319, replacement costs of $500 and 100 days in jail suspended contingent upon payment of fines and costs.

The investigation continued and, on Oct. 25, three additional Ohio residents were found by DNR Sgt. C.R. Johnson, CO T.L. White and CO Dwayne Duffield and cited for violations of the West Virginia bear law. They are:

  • Randy Durbin, New Richmond,Ohio – one count of taking a black bear over bait on 10/17/09and one count of hunting black bear over bait on 10/25/08.Durbin was arraigned by telephone and entered a plea to these charges on 10/26/09.Hewas assessed a penalty of $2,319 and a $500 replacement fee.This individual surrendered the remains ofone black bear to the conservation officers.
  • Anthony Parker of Sardinia, Ohio – cited for one count of taking a black bear over bait on 10/19/09 and one count of illegally possessing parts of a black bear on 10/20/09.His arraignment is pending.This individual surrendered the remains ofone black bear to the conservation officers.
  • Robert Bradfordof Amelia, Ohio – cited for one count of hunting black bear over bait on 10/27/08 and one count of illegally possessing parts of a black bear on 10/20/09. His arraignment is pending

Also, based upon information provided by Sgt. Johnson, on 10/26/2009, David Moore of New Richmond, Ohio, surrendered parts of three black bears that had been taken over bait in West Virginia to Ohio wildlife officers.  No charges have been filed at this time.

“This investigation serves as a classic reminder that the Division of Natural Resources and its employees are ever mindful of their charge to protect the natural resources, including the wildlife, of the State of West Virginia for the benefit and enjoyment of our citizens and their children,” said Capt. Waugh.

streety.jpegRemember Vann Streety, the Florida wildlife officer who survived after being shot seven times?

Sunshine State residents have set up a fund to support Streety, his wife and three kids during while he recovers. The Tallahassee Democrat has the full story, including how to donate.

Tackle thefts mar Missouri fishing tournaments

stolentackle.jpgAttention, anglers: Keep your fishing tackle under lock and key. Theft is more widespread than you probably think.

Case in point: The Missouri State Water Patrol recently arrested a man alleged to have received “tens of thousands of dollars’ worth” of stolen fishing gear (see photo).

The man, Keith Clark of Peculiar, Mo., has been charged with receiving stolen goods. Police hint, however, that other charges might be forthcoming.

Investigators say the equipment was stolen between April 4 and July 10 at three Missouri reservoirs — Lake of the Ozarks, Truman Reservoir and Table Rock Lake.

That’s one tough game warden

streety.jpegDoctors say Vann Streety is lucky to be alive.

Shot seven times, the Florida conservation officer survived on will and grit. His story, in Florida Today, makes compelling reading.

polygraph.jpegWhat ever happened to the good old honor system?

In Winnipeg, Manitoba, it’s gone the way of the dinosaur. When folks there offer cash prizes in their fishing contests, they use lie-detector tests to make sure the winners haven’t cheated.

Lorne Huff, an ex-police officer, administers the tests. So far, he hasn’t discovered any violations serious enough to force an angler to forfeit any prize money — or be charged with felony fraud.

More on the story from the Winnipeg Free Press.

boatsunset.jpgDivision of Natural Resources conservation officers will be keeping an especially sharp eye out for drunk boaters during the June 26-28 weekend.

It’s all part of a national enforcement effort known as Operation Dry Water. DNR officers will conduct more patrols, breathalyzer tests and checkpoints on waters throughout the state.

“There will be arrests this weekend, and some boaters will face the consequences of boating under the influence,” said Lt. Tim Coleman, the DNR’s Boating Safety Coordinator. “But we’d much rather arrest someone than to have to tell their friends and family they’re never coming back.”

Be warned, folks. Have fun, but stay “dry.”

A tip of the hat to a tough customer

coleman.jpgCongratulations to Lt. Tim Coleman, hunter education coordinator for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

The 54-year-old conservation officer was recently awarded the International Hunter Education Association’s Darrell Holt Memorial Award for persevering in the face of a life-threatening health problem.

“This award recognizes the hunter education coordinator or administrator who is working or has worked under conditions that call for a determination to succeed despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles such as physical disabilities, working conditions, accident, disease, personal hardship, etc.,” said Wayne East, the association’s executive director.

Coleman fell gravely ill with a septic infection last May, and was in a coma for two weeks. He suffered atrophy and paralysis, and eventually had to have one of his kidneys removed.

After months of physical therapy, Coleman returned to the job in March. His colleagues at the IHEA voted him the honor in May. The complete story is here.

1-800-NET-GAME bites the dust

lawpatch.jpgAt long last, the Division of Natural Resources’ law enforcement arm has given up on its slow, inefficient toll-free system for calling in hunting and fishing violations.

Effective immediately, DNR officials say it’s best to call Law Enforcement Section field offices directly to report suspicious behavior or potential violations, or to call local 911 centers for emergency situations or violations in progress.

Lt. Col. Jerry Jenkins of the Law Enforcement Section said the changes were made “to ensure a quicker response to the public.”

The DNR’s old toll-free number, 1-800-NET-GAME, has been taken out of service.

Following is the list of DNR regional offices and their numbers:

  • Farmington (District I) — 304-825-6787
  • Romney (District II) — 304-822-3551
  • Elkins (District III) — 304-637-0245
  • Beckley (District IV) — 304-256-6945
  • Nitro (District V) — 304-759-0703
  • Parkersburg (District VI) — 304-420-4550