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Safety must be first concern for hunters

The long-awaited bucks-only firearm season gets under way tomorrow as more than 350,000 anxious hunters head for the woods to bag that trophy buck. This is the highlight of the year for most hunters and has unofficially become a state holiday for most workers.

The bucks-only season in West Virginia is not only a tradition, but the hunters engage in activities that contribute significantly to the state's economy. It is estimated that deer hunting in West Virginia generates a total economic impact of $248 million. The majority of this money is spent in rural sections of the state, providing a substantial boost to these local economies.

Many hunters also participate in the "Hunters Helping the Hungry" program, which lets successful hunters donate their deer to the Mountaineer Food Bank. The Mountaineer Food Bank then distributes the meat to the needy through its network of qualified charitable agencies. In order to participate, the only thing that the hunters have to do is to take their deer to the nearest participating meat processor.

West Virginia's deer season provides many positive benefits to the state, but all of these benefits can be overshadowed by the accidental death of a hunter. As hunters prepare for the start of the season by getting their guns sighted-in and putting their tree stands in that ideal spot, we ask that they remember to exercise caution and put safety first as they head into the woods.

Steve Morris

Telegram Editorial Board member

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