CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- On the first day of every West Virginia buck season, I always visit a game-checking station or two, and I interview hunters and biologists about their opening-day experiences.
Last Monday's opener was memorable for one simple reason: The weather was pretty much ideal.
For some strange reason, good opening-day weather comes along about as often as 30-point bucks do.
Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it snows. Occasionally the wind blows too hard. And once in a while, even in late November, it's too darned hot.
When it's raining or snowing hard, many hunters don't even bother to get out of bed. When it's windy, hunters have a hard time hearing deer. When it's too hot, deer tend to bed down and stay put.
In 24 years' worth of opening-day outings, I can think of only two or three occasions on which the weather wasn't too wet, too cold, too blustery or too hot. Monday was one of them.
Paul Johansen, the Division of Natural Resources' assistant wildlife chief, said he couldn't even remember the last time he experienced ideal weather during an opener.
"It's been quite a while, that's for sure," he said.
DNR officials always hope for good weather because it helps them "meet their harvest projections." In other words, it helps hunters kill the number of deer DNR biologists want them to.
Why is opening-day weather so darned important?