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Deer season begins in West Virginia

Nov. 25, 2008 @ 10:03 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Poised and ready, Billy Collins stretched back the string of his bow as he lined up a shot on a 7-point buck while hunting on his property Monday morning.

A few hours later Collins was at Justin's Fishing, Hunting and Marine shop in Huntington to get his second deer for the season tagged. Hunters from all over Cabell and Wayne counties filed into Justin's on Monday -- the first day of buck season -- to buy gear, get their bucks tagged and tell tales of their battles with the bucks.

After hunting on public land for years, Collins said he's glad he can relax and hunt on his own private 22-acre property on W.Va. 10 in Barboursville. The deer he shot Monday was the second he had killed with a bow this season. From now on in the buck season, Collins said he's sticking with the rifle.

Though he hunts both rifle and bow, Collins said he prefers shooting with a bow.

"Anyone can take a rifle and kill something," Collins joked. "But you have to be a decent hunter to shoot with a bow."

Buck season runs through Dec. 6 in West Virginia. Hunters can bag two bucks with a gun during the season.

Though he ended the first day of buck season with a 9-point buck, Troy Nicely of Wayne jokingly described Monday's hunting experience as "wet and miserable" because of the steady rain that drenched hunters all day. By 1 p.m., only about 22 deer had been tagged at Justin's.

Employees at Justin's suspected rain was the reason for the relatively small number. By later Monday afternoon, Cabell County checking stations reported about 124 deer.

Nicely said he got soaked after hours of hunting on private land in Wayne County. The buck, however, was worth the muddy boots and wet clothes, Nicely said.

"A bad day of hunting is better than a good day at work," Nicely said. "I just enjoy being out there, no matter if we kill anything or not."

While many West Virginia hunters walked away with deer on the first day of buck season, a number of other hunters were not as lucky.

At least two hunters have died and three others were injured on the opening day, all but one due to suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.

A 37-year-old man from San Antonio, Texas, died at about 6 a.m. Monday after being overcome by carbon monoxide from a lantern inside a trailer he and another hunter were using.

Wetzel County Sheriff James Hoskins said the man's 38-year-old hunting partner from Pennsylvania was flown to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. The two men, whose names were being withheld pending family notifications, were hunting in the area of Four Mile near Pine Grove.

The Putnam County Sheriff's Department said three hunters were being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning at CAMC Teays Valley after being overcome by fumes inside a camper.

In Marshall County, Sheriff John Gruzinskas said an unidentified hunter died sometime Monday morning in the woods. His death is believed to be the result of natural causes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Did you bag a buck this year?

E-mail us photos of your big buck or family or hunting buddies sporting their gear to news@herald-dispatch.com. Please use "Hunting photos" in the subject line of your e-mail.



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