Regional Reports-East

Pond Fork

Within the blight that is West Virginia's abandoned or poorly reclaimed strip mines is an odd boon, as numerous old mines have become some of the few reliable hot spots that wing-shooters have for grouse hunting. The state's grouse population has declined overall, but strip mines have remained steady producers of the great game birds. The state's southwestern region contains the best strip-mine sites. Topographic maps of Boone, Logan, McDowell and Mingo counties show dozens of potential hunting spots; take a close look around the Pond Fork below Madison in Boone. Old strip mines show up as purple areas that follow contour lines. Look for mines that closed 15 to 20 years ago, as those are just starting to reclaim the timber growth that grouse need. You can often follow a strip mine in a circle, returning to your access point at the end. Flush rates of 25 grouse a day are uncommon in most of West Virginia, but can occur often on strip mines. Contact: West Virginia Division of Wildlife Resources, District Five (304-675-0871).