Thursday, April 16, 1964
From the desk of Mrs. Jane Price Sharp
Ollie Tacy, of Cass, wasn’t able to buck the snowdrifts as usual this winter but he did get one wildcat and one fox. In the last four years he has killed eleven wildcats within the radius of one mile.
James R. Merrill, 31, of Fairlea, was killed Sunday night in a car accident on Stamping Creek. He was a salesman for the Lewisburg Wholesale Company. He was in a late model Pontiac, hit a telephone pole and turned over several times.
Debbie Cutlip, little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sonny Cutlip, is at the medical Center at Morgantown after being struck by a car near her home on Drennen Ridge. Her main injury seems to be a broken leg; her condition is satisfactory.
The following is from Wayne Bailey, Research Biologist, in answer to the letter concerning turkey trapping:
There are few who take an unsigned letter seriously but that from “A Patriot” on April 2 concerning the transplanting of wild turkeys from the county warrants an answer.
However, before commenting on that letter, I wish to point out that unusual courage is implicit in the term “patriot” considering that the writer of the letter lacked the guts to sign his name to it, I doubt that he can lay claim to the title of “patriot.” Perhaps “A Chicken” would have been a more appropriate signature. If the letter’s author truly regards himself as a patriot, I think he owes it to the community and to the people he attacked to let himself be known. Patriots have always been sufficiently rare and outstanding that they should be given due recognition and adulation wherever they occur.
Many wild, exaggerated, even vicious rumors regarding the turkey research and transplanting work of the Department of Natural Resources have circulated in this area in the last few years. I will here try to set the record straight, as well as to point out certain distortions in the letter of the self styled “patriot.”
Let us consider some of the worst of them, point-by-point.
Reference was made to the need to … “control the varmints, including the ones who are trapping our turkeys and taking them out of the county and state…”
No turkeys have been exchanged with other states since the spring of 1960. The benefits of those exchanges were described in an article by Director W. M. Lane in the May 1961 issue of West Virginia Conservation. Several hundred – perhaps a few thousand – reprints were made and distributed throughout the state. I have a supply should anyone care to read the facts.
That article also listed the objectives of the transplanting program, the areas where the birds were stocked, number stocked, results of the stocking, etc. since that article is now three years old, I will here summarize, and bring up to date, the transplanting work.
Efforts to stock unoccupied turkey range in southern and western West Virginia were begun in 1947. No success was achieved until 1950 when six turkeys, four of which were from Pocahontas County (three from Watoga Park, one from Seneca Forest) were stocked on Cooper’s Rock State Forest, Monongalia and Preston counties. That area has been open to turkey hunting since 1956. Since 1950, twenty areas in the southern and western parts of the state have been stocked with a total of 216 turkeys. This averages 11 stocked per area, 15 per year; most however, were stocked during the last six years. Not all, by any means, were taken from Pocahontas County. Stock was also secured on State or Federal lands in Greenbrier, Hardy and Hampshire, Morgan and Randolph counties. Most birds secured from Pocahontas County were taken from Watoga State Park (closed to hunting), but some were removed from Calvin Price State Forest, Seneca State Forest, and very few from the Monongahela National Forest. Thus, it is obvious that the number transported from Pocahontas County in any one year was only a small fraction of an estimated population varying from 1,500 to 3,000.
Three of the stocked areas in southern and western West Virginia have been opened to hunting and 87 turkeys have been reported harvested. On one such area – Camp Creek State Forest – the highest density of kills ever recorded in the State – 3.5 per square mile – occurred the year it was first open (1960). Opening these areas to hunting has probably been partly responsible for the great decrease in turkey hunting pressure in Pocahontas County in recent years. This means that hunting opportunities were bettered for the residents of Pocahontas.
We have been banding turkeys and releasing them at the point of capture on the Rimel and Neola Game Management Areas. This work has been conducted for nine successive years. 1,390 turkeys have thus far been marked. During August and September, 1963 we captured 227 individuals. These data, plus the fact that Pocahontas County persistently leads in reported harvest, indicate its turkey population has not been adversely affected by the transplanting.
The banding studies are to continue through the coming summer, but may then be terminated.
We hope next fall to be able to secure stock for transplanting from some of the areas where transplanted birds are doing well. This will eliminate the necessity of further trapping in Pocahontas County and transporting stock across the state. The overall objective of the transplanting program is to open the entire southern and western part of the state to hunting, hopefully within ten years.
The “Patriot” called me a “varmint” for taking turkeys out of the county, but failed to discuss the reasons for, and the results of, that action. What nobler objective, from a broad, longterm point of view, is there than to expand occupied range (thereby opportunity to hunt) by stocking those areas from which the bird disappeared long ago, but which again provide suitable habitat? This is a fulfillment of one of the basic objectives of successful game management. Nearly all states with turkeys are conducting such work. As a result, many of them have huntable populations that would otherwise be without turkeys. This is a phase of management of unquestionable value, whereas other types of management such as predator control bounty payments, releases of game farm stock and food patches (some of these were recommended by the “Patriot”) are, to say the least, of doubtful value or controversial.
To be continued.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Glade Bennett, of Dunmore, a son.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. William Hefner, of Hillsboro, a daughter, named Charlotte Gale.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Cummins, of Durbin , a son, named Jack Edwin.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Robert McLeer, of Washington, D. C. a son, named Brian Keith.
Born to Mr. and MRs. Richard Mullenax, of Durbin, a daughter, named Kelly Baine.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Ward Jackson, of Warren, Ohio, a son, named Daniel Lawrence.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Gene Pryor, of Waynesboro, Virginia, a daughter, named Angela Carol.
Samuel Morgan, age 58, of Hillsboro; arrangements are incomplete.
James Clark Long, infant son of Bobby Joe and Glenda Phillips Long, died in the Pocahontas Memorial Hospital; graveside service in Oak Grove Cemetery.
Jeremiah Eldon Friel, age 85, of Marlinton, died in the Denmar State Hospital; son of the late Joseph Newton and Virginia Duncan Friel. Burial in the Fairview Cemetery.
Mrs. Virginia Gore, age 47, of Hinton; born in Pocahontas County, daughter of the late Russell and Hattie Moore McLaughlin; burial in Restwood Memorial Estates.