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The Biggest Day of the Hunting Season

posted Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 2:21 PM by Frank Jezioro

By Frank Jezioro – Director, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

The Biggest Day of the Hunting Season

It was clear and cold as we left the vehicle and headed down the trail to a stand I had chosen a week or so before.  This was a “saddle” or “low gap” in the ridge.  There was a small clearing where both ridges sloped down, creating a perfect crossing from one big hollow to another.  There were acorns last year and the deer were traveling from both ridges to the oak flat along the side of the hill.

Young Coltin Jezioro, my middle grandson, had killed a doe the previous year and was hoping to shoot a buck this year.  He had shot his grandmother’s rifle, a custom .250-3000 that was built more than 50 years ago for the rifle maker’s wife.  He wanted a rifle made to fit the dimensions of a lady or a youngster.  When the rifle maker’s wife passed away the rifle was left to my wife Beverly.  Since then, it had been “grandma’s rifle.”  All three grandsons had started their deer hunting careers with this rifle and it was now Coltin’s time to try to take his first buck.

I wanted him to learn two lessons today.  First, any buck is a trophy and you don’t have to take one with a monster rack to have a good hunt.  Second, I wanted him to know that it didn’t take cannon to kill a deer and that shot placement was more important than what you shoot the deer with. 

First Sighting

As daylight broke we were scraping away the leaves by an old log and making a place to sit and wait.  In a few minutes the woods began to come alive.  First we heard an owl and then an old crow answering it.  A rustle in the leaves behind us caused Coltin to jerk around to look, only to find a gray squirrel scurrying away.  We settled in and the wait began in earnest.

We didn’t have to wait long.  In a few minutes we heard a something running in the dry, frozen leaves.  As we looked in the direction of the noise the first deer we saw was a big doe with this year’s fawn in tow.  They passed and the woods settled down again.  After about a minute we heard something walking again, coming from the same direction.  In a minute or so we spotted a spike buck coming down the same trail as the doe and fawn had taken minutes before.

I motioned for Coltin to get ready and set his gun down on the “shooting sticks.”  The buck kept coming until it was about 100 yards away.  Then it stopped and looked in our direction.  The wind was from the deer to us so I didn’t think he winded us, but did Coltin move and the buck spot the movement?  For whatever reason the buck whirled and was gone. 

Second Chance

The rest of the morning was uneventful.  We decided to go back to the house to warm up and have lunch.  Coltin couldn’t wait to get back out so about 2 p.m. we were back on our stand.  Nothing happened until about an hour before dark.  Again we started to hear noises in the woods.

The Biggest Day of the Hunting Season In a few minutes, along came what appeared to be the same spike buck.  Again he stopped and looked around.  Satisfied that all was well, the buck stopped to nibble at something and turned broadside. “Now” I whispered to Coltin.  No sooner out of my mouth than the little rifle cracked.  The buck collapsed from a perfect shoulder/lung shot.  The little rifle and the 100 grain Nosler Ballistic tip bullet did the job. 

We emptied the rifle and walked up to the buck.  It was clear that all lessons were learned this opening day of the firearm buck season.  The smile on Coltin’s fact told me he was both happy and proud of his buck.  Secondly, his little rifle and well placed shot showed him that it didn’t take a cannon to kill a buck.

Buck Season is Big for West Virginia

Monday before Thanksgiving will see the biggest event in the state unfold.  On the first morning, hundreds of thousands of orange-clad hunters would find their way into the woods and fields to take up stands waiting for daylight and a chance for a shot at a buck.  

Deer season provides a tremendous amount of recreation time in the woods as well as an enormous amount of economic benefit for the state’s economy.  Deer hunting in West Virginia generates more than $200 million each year for our stores and vendors.  Many of our rural storekeepers tell us that they may make half of their year’s income during the various deer seasons with the opening morning of the firearm buck season leading the pack.

So, as Thanksgiving week approaches and preparations are made for the opening morning, please keep safety as the first and most important part of the hunt.   Dress well, wear plenty of orange, get out to the range and make sure your gun is shooting where you want it and have a safe and successful hunting season. 

Note: West Virginia buck gun season runs from November 19 through December 1, 2012.  The 2012-2013 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary brochure is available at all license agents and online at . Hunting licenses may be purchased online at .

Frank Jezioro
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