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#28843 - 12/20/23 12:56 AM Re: Quest for Ole Bigfoot, 2022. [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 3020
Loc: WV
I'm sure that your dogs were glad to go for a run. I can imagine, it would be just about impossible to keep a sled dog in decent shape during the off season.

No matter what kind/breed of dogs that a feller would have, "safe zones" are getting harder and harder to find. I mean where a guy can just take them out and cut them in the wind.

Talked to a buddy of mine that lives up near the top of the mountain east of town, he said he had 1/2 inch, unless it had blown away. DOH guy told me the same thing. It's been very windy here today. Flurries most of the morning and windy. Still a little dab on the north sides, otherwise it's gone.

Wardney stopped by yesterday and told me that there wasn't any bear crop damage on Robbie's farms. Robbie had standing field corn until just the other day. As far as I know all of the corn has been shelled, from above town, up at least 20 miles. The corn fields around here are very small, compared to fields in the mid-west and parts of Canada.

It seems that bear are very hard to find this season, we don't have as many as we did a few years. I know about all of the guys in this area, that do have some seriously good bear hounds, and they just can't find a track. Or very few tracks.

Friend of mine invited me to hunt with him and his guys, he's a young man, 40 or so? He just ordered a 5-month old pup from Oregon, and had her shipped here. I didn't ask. Forget the breed of dog, but he was bragging that she already has scars. She must be one mean little devil. He hunts over in the next county west. Like I said he's young, and will take off and go hunting at like 3am. Figure, he's hunting an hours drive from here, that's pretty early.

We're supposed to get down into the teen's tonight, below freezing now. Starting to feel like bear hunting season.

Wanted to tell you this too. The buck I killed the other week, called a guy today and he's going to do a skull mount for me. ($100 down the drain), but Moe highly recommends the young man, by the way, Moe and this man are 2nd or 3rd cousins. I know that he'll do a good job, and said he'd have it finished in 2 or 3 weeks.

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#28844 - 12/24/23 04:13 AM Re: Quest for Ole Bigfoot, 2022. [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 3020
Loc: WV
While I have a chance I'll give you an update on Friday's hunt. I've made it a point this season to stay off of that one big ridge on the mountain. Really, it's the best ridge.

Anyway, Big Donnie wants to hunt with me one day. I called Big D., he's got a headcold or something, didn't feel like hunting. Talked to Moe, he was planning on going, messaged me back and said he'd freeze riding his buggy up there.

Moe is like a lot of folks, they are learning that a buggy with only a windsheild, isn't much good in cold weather!

Invited my buddy Chad, he said he'd go shooting with me, not really interested in hunting. Chad is into long range target shooting. 1,000 yard stuff.

So, the dog and I went out yesterday. We started in on the north end of the property, angled up, pretty much on the property line. The wind was perfect, coming out of the south-west, worked our way up to the top of the mountain. Dropped off on the east side (more or less to take pictures) circled around and came down the backbone of the first big ridge.

Little bit of old deer sign, not much. Coming down the ridge, me or the dog jumped a deer, it was a doe. It jumped, ran 30 yards or so and stopped. It didn't know where I was, I guess it didn't know where the dog was either? I was above and downwind, it just walked off.

I stopped on the next to the last ledge, watching ridge-to-ridge, for maybe 20 minutes. I didn't know where the dog was located, when she checked back in, we eased off and came on home.

Pretty good hike yesterday. I did check the "lured rock" camera, I've got a one horned spike buck, a coyote, mangy red fox. And I have one picture of 2 bobcats, and I'm pretty sure a pic of a bigger bobcat. No bear pics.

Talked to one of the neighbors, he has cameras up there too, he hasn't had a bear pic since before Thanksgiving.

After the 1st, if everything works, I'll do a little trapping out around the lured rocks. But, while bear season is in, I will bear hunt. Gotta work tomorrow, but I'll be off Christmas day. I'll be on the mountain.

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#28849 - 12/26/23 10:18 PM Re: Quest for Ole Bigfoot, 2022. [Re: redsnow]
Hal Offline
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Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 10236
Loc: Blue Creek, Ohio, USA
Good luck!
_________________________
Endeavor to persevere.

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#28850 - 12/27/23 03:36 AM Re: Quest for Ole Bigfoot, 2022. [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 3020
Loc: WV
It was foggy on the mountain Christmas day and calling for 100% chance of rain, I didn't go hunting.

The fog finally lifted about 2 hours before dark. So far I'm had almost 1/2" of rain.

Above I told you about the man that ordered a pup from Oregon and all. He sent me 3 videos the other day, he and his guys killed a nice bear, Saturday, I think? He hunts over on the Allegheny Mountains, 30 air miles west of here. The other day they were calling for up to a foot of new snow.

The man's name is Ashby, he and I were chatting today, I asked if it was snowing out there today. He said: It's foggy and just dang rain", he didn't hunt today. I know about where he was hunting, it's public land, but he tracked 4 different bear that day.

That's big rough country where Ashby was hunting, and he told me that he was back in the boonies. Also said that he'd lost a dog the other day, never know if it's GPS collar died or what happened to it?

He's planning on going back in there in the morning, hopefully he'll find another track. I'm invited, but guess I'll take my big dog up on the local mountain again. 30 air miles translates to about 60 miles on the odometer.

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#28851 - 12/28/23 02:36 PM Re: Quest for Ole Bigfoot, 2022. [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 3020
Loc: WV
Well, it was foggy on the mountain yesterday, calling for a 100% chance of rain again. I didn't go hunting. I've had a total of 8/10's of an inch of rain, over 2 days.

It's still foggy now, but is to clear out later today. Going to take the dog out in just a little bit. I'm running out of time this season, but that's part of hunting.

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#28852 - 12/31/23 02:26 PM Re: Quest for Ole Bigfoot, 2022. [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 3020
Loc: WV
I'll give you an update on my recent hunt. Thursday, I took the big dog into one of the best spots that I can think of to find a bear. The fog didn't burn off until about 10:30. Long story short, we didn't find one.

I checked 2 of the mountain cameras, no bear, no bobcat or coyote pictures. I did have a picture of 2 bucks that still have their antlers, I think the one is a 6-point, pretty sure the other little buck is one that I scoped over, I think the week of Thanksgiving? It's like a spike with a couple extra little points, small deer.

Today is the last day of bear season, on a Sunday morning, with not much bear sign, I'm not going to hit it very hard. With these short days, seems like it doesn't get good daylight, until shortly before dark.

Above I mentione my buddy Ashby, we were talking about finding bear tracks. I'm going to copy/paste his message: "Found a old one today I covered a lot of ground today I started walking before daylight and didnít stop till around 1:30 walking steady"

The young man is better than 6 feet tall, I figure he'd have a pretty good stride.

Just bought my 2024 West Virginia hunting/trapping/fishing license yesterday, I'm good to go for another year. Seems like the dog is about ready to go, I'll take her out one more time this season. It's not likely that we'll amount to much, but there's only one way to find out.

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#28853 - 01/01/24 05:50 PM Re: Quest for Ole Bigfoot, 2022. [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 3020
Loc: WV
Above I mentioned that I was going to have a guy do a skull mount on the deer I killed this season. He dropped it off one day last week, he did a fine job. Not sure, he only had it 10 days or so? It's skull isn't as white as paper, but almost. All of the skulls that I've boiled off and cleaned turned more of a bone color. Fox, bobcat, bear and all.

Anyway, I took the big dog out on the 31st, yesterday. I wanted to check my cameras, didn't have any bear pics, so I didn't hunt. Kind of short on time, honestly, I've pushed my daughter to the max, as far as working for me. She'll be ok.

It was snowing in the mountains when I came home, the top was white this morning, and it's snowing now.

Our bear kill season ended yesterday, but on private land we can still play with them.

If I get a break later today, I'm going to expand my trapline. Kind of hard to hunt and trap both, without being tied down.

But it's been a good season, only fired one shot with my big gun. Did find some good otter sign the other week, and I've heard rumors of a fisher on one of my farms.

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#28859 - 01/22/24 04:43 AM Re: Quest for Ole Bigfoot, 2022. [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 3020
Loc: WV
The West Virginia DNR has not reported the bear harvest for our past season yet. All of our big game seasons are closed now. The harvest numbers should be out, maybe this week?

Since our big game seasons have closed, I've talked to a lot of hunters. There were bear killed in this county, but everyone agrees, there weren't many killed. Of the bear I know about, all but one were taken early in season.

Friend of mine, Joey killed a nice one in a cornfield north of town, it weighed 340 pounds. That's the biggest one that I know of.

As far as our deer harvest, statewide, we were down 7%. Talking to a man, he summed it about as well as anyone. "We didn't find many deer, and very few bucks, but the ones that we did find were better than average."

We've had snow on the mountains and the ridges since about the end of December. Within the last 2 weeks, we've had 3 different snows and a cold rain. Here at the house, I had 7 inches of wet snow, then it rained, then I've had 3 inches of snow, the last one was 6 inches deep.

The South Fork had more water in it last week than it's had for over 2 years. I had 6*F here the other morning, that really dried it up.

The last 2 snows that we've had were a cold and dry snow.

I was out today, I had 13* at daylight this morning, didn't get out of the 20's, with full sunshine. The snow has settled a good bit. I made a little circle,the snow was about 8 inches deep where I was, honestly didn't track much. Almost too deep for small critters to move around much. Probably something running my tire tracks now.

But, I'm down to 12* now, and they're calling for it to get to 40 tomorrow. I think rain Wednesday, then we are going to get muddy!

I did see 4 deer today, as well as I could tell, looked like a doe and 2 fawns and another adult deer. Just by the way they ran off, very spooky, and that was ridge to ridge.

Down to 11* degrees now, they should be moving.

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#28867 - 02/02/24 02:20 PM Re: Quest for Ole Bigfoot, 2022. [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 3020
Loc: WV
Here is a link to the West Virginia bear harvest numbers for the 2023 season.

https://wvmetronews.com/2024/01/31/black-bear-harvest-jumps-64-percent-in-2023/

I live in Hardy County, WV. During the 2022 season there were 16 bear harvested. During the 2023 season there were 41 bear tagged. That's archery and gun combined.

The DNR shortened our firearm bear season, I forget, but they took away the 2 weeks of bear/deer combined season. It was a big change from one season to the next.

You can spin numbers around and make things look how you want them to look. Really, if you're going to be consistent, you need to compare numbers, back 5 or 10 years.

Just a few years ago, here in Hardy Co., our bear kill was up over 100 per season. Looking at that, we're down more than 50%.

Looking at the counties, with the highest bear kill, the big number counties have shifted to the southern part of the state. For the most part.

I'll guess the ice storms that we had in this part of the state, late December, 2022. Probably caused a lot of our bear to either hole up, or just not move.

I checked one of my trail cams the other day, I have at least 2 buck deer that have antlers. One is a spike, the other is a 4 point or small 6. It was snowing hard in the pictures, but they were on the move.

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#28868 - 02/02/24 07:35 PM Re: Quest for Ole Bigfoot, 2022. [Re: redsnow]
musher Online   content
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Registered: 07/22/03
Posts: 2390
Loc: Qc.
Sow bears produce cubs every 2 years.

Given that you aren't in wilderness and that roads provide access to pretty much everywhere, I'd guess that bears are pretty nervous during hunting season.

The weather might not be the reason for the lowering numbers ..... it isn't that hard to over harvest them. I've done so myself. But, since I am in bush, others fill the spot.

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