by Wade Shambaugh
As 2020 comes to a close, it has been anything but a normal year. Many businesses have been forced to close, or severely reduce hours and capacity. Many activities have been cancelled. It remains to be seen how long and to what extent these
restrictions will continue.
As we prepare to enter 2021, it is a great time to pursue various outdoor activities with renewed vigor. This area presents opportunities for many of those activities year-round.
West Virginia usually starts stocking trout in January, with increased stockings during the months immediately following. This year, the Governor has announced that there will be additional stockings in December 2020, so that anglers will have better fishing over the holidays. (See regulations). There are also special antlerless deer hunting days, in some counties, at the end of the year (with proper licensing). In addition, there are small game seasons that extend through most of the winter, as well as varmint hunting, waterfowling other types of fishing, etc. The opportunities for outdoor activities truly are many and varied.
As the winter changes into spring, the quality and number of fishing opportunities only increases. Then in late April, Spring turkey season arrives, along with the best stream fishing for smallmouth bass of the year.
Spring days then become longer, the weather becomes milder, and there are more things to do outdoors than most of us can keep up with. Late Spring into Summer is a wonderful time in the Mountain State for camping, fishing, hiking, biking, photography, birdwatching, and many other outdoor pursuits.
All of those activities continue right through the Summer, along with river floats, groundhog hunting in mowed hay fields, and trips to the shooting range to get ready for hunting season in the Fall.
Of course, Fall is the favorite season of many outdoor folks, especially hunters. It is also a beautiful time to hike, bike, horseback ride, and photograph. Before you know it, we will be right back to Winter, and the end of another year.
Nobody knows how 2021 will play out. We can’t predict what will be closed, or what kind of restrictions will be in place. But I can tell you this — the outdoors in West Virginia won’t be closed. The woods and waters of our great state won’t be closed. Sunrises and sunsets won’t be cancelled. Get out there and enjoy!
Wade Shambaugh has lived in Morgan County his whole life and is a lifelong outdoorsman.