|First fish of the year and the only one I ate|
|First trout of the year - gotta start somewhere|
|First and largest brown of the year - early March, Savage River|
|I always spend a lot of time after these guys each year|
|For better or worse, a lot of my small stream brook trout fishing is with this guy|
|Sometimes those rough fish can be pretty - this is a spawning male striped shiner from NF at Seneca Rocks|
|I lucked into several slab crappies like this from the Mon|
|Of course fishing the Mon, you'll catch some sauger too|
|This monster redbreast sunfish came from Deckers Creek|
|Another pretty bycatch - Rosyside Dace from Savage River|
|Chunky smallmouth from Dunkard|
|I always end up chasing these guys, the scenery and easy fishing always draws me back to them|
|Had a great morning fishing the Morgantown waterfront area from my kayak, this largemouth took a buzzbait|
|It had been a while since I caught a nice catfish, so I threw some chicken liver one evening to land this ~20 incher|
|My last fish of the year, October brookie|
My hunting year was pretty great. I got to hunt on about 18 different days, again some were all day, some were just a quick jaunt after work. I killed 6 deer this year, more than I've ever taken in a single year, 2 does and 2 bucks in the Morgantown urban archery hunt, one doe with a rifle and one doe with a muzzleloader. I started off quickly. On the first morning of the urban archery season which opens earlier than normal bowseason, I took a doe right after daylight. Thanks to the new regulations which allowed for harvest of a second deer without checking the first, I was able to keep hunting. About an hour later, a big 8 point showed up, and even though I didn't make the best shot, it was still a quick fatal shot. I donated both of these deer to the needy through the program with the urban hunt.
|Personal best buck|
All of October was slow for me. I was busy with other stuff, and had little time to hunt, but those times I did were unsuccessful. Finally on a cold crisp early November morning in my urban stand, a big doe snuck in behind me around 8:30, and I was able to make a perfect shot. She ran 20 yards and dropped, a perfect addition to my deep freeze.
|Doe # 2 from the urban hunt|
That same week, I made an annual trip to bowhunt a friend's family farm in Ritchie County. I passed shots on a couple young deer, and a marginal shot on one nice doe, but wasn't able to get a good shot. I came home from there empty-handed but enjoyed the getaway and camaraderie with the guys.
The following week, we had a good early snow with about 3-4 inches of accumulation. I can't resist hunting in the snow, so I snuck away from work and back to my urban stand. I saw a deer in the distance through the woods at about 4:15. I finally made it out to be a buck, but wasn't sure how big it was, and it was moving away from me. I made a couple blows on my grunt call, then lost sight of the deer thinking it just kept going. About 5 minutes later, I saw it had crossed a deep gully and was heading straight toward me. I had time to make out that it was a small buck, but when he stopped perfectly broadside at 15 yards, I knew I couldn't pass the opportunity to do some more deer management for the city, and put deer #2 in the freezer.
|Urban deer management - 3 point|
By this point of the season, I had nearly exhausted my time off, but couldn't resist being in the woods the first day of rifle season. I saw one deer all day...a lone doe that I shot with about 10 minutes of shooting light left. This was deer number 3 for the freezer, and ensured I would be set for the year for venison.
My last hunting excursion of year came with a trip back to Ritchie County for muzzleloader season. Four of us went to hunt, and we each bagged a deer, 3 does and one 8 point. I got my doe on the last morning with a 70 yard shot right through the vitals. I gave this deer to my in-laws to supplement the one deer my father-in-law was able to harvest.
|Roger's muzzleloader 8 point|