Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Outdoor Report

Managing and Conserving Our Wildlife and Natural Resources

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this issue:
  • Eagle Cam Provides "Bird's Eye" View
  • Game Warden Academy Now Recruiting
  • Be a Sweetheart to Wildlife
  • Trout Heritage Day - April 7, 2007
  • Forget the Cold, the Fishin' is Hot!
  • Deer Hunting Opportunities Still Available
  • Virginia Naturally Schools Recognized
  • Men Shouldn't Have All the Fun: Becoming an Outdoors Woman
  • General Assembly Legislation of Interest to You
  • No Campfires Before 4 PM Starting February 15
  • Help Spread the News!

Eagle Cam Provides "Birds Eye" View

Through a unique partnership with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), WVEC TV and Norfolk Botanical Garden, the public will have a rare opportunity to witness key moments in the life of bald eagles.

Observers are able to catch all the activity by way of a Web cam strategically placed in a tree near the eagles' nest located at the Garden.

VDGIF has launched a blog with expert information provided by Watchable Wildlife Biologist Stephen Living.

Currently, there are three eggs in the nest. They are expected to hatch in early March.

Game Warden Academy Recruitment Opens

Do you have the right stuff? Do you love the outdoors? Would you like a law enforcement job protecting and conserving Virginia's wildlife? The Department is recruiting for the next class of game wardens.

For more information, visit the Department's Web site or call 1-804-367-DGIF.

Be a Sweetheart to Wildlife

You can make a difference by helping to support the management of Virginia's wildlife. When you complete your Virginia state income tax form, you can be a sweetheart to wildlife by simply marking the Nongame Wildlife Program checkoff box and filling in the amount of your donation. Your contribution will help support essential research and management of native birds, fish, and other nongame wildlife.

Trout Heritage Day - April 7, 2007

On Saturday, April 7, 2007, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) will host its annual Trout Heritage Day. A group of 16 waters will be freshly stocked with trout to allow trout anglers and communities to plan activities around a known stocking date. The Department has worked with the U.S. Forest Service, local communities and private landowners to provide this opportunity.

During the previous Trout Heritage Days, anglers reported success on most waters and were pleased with the angling opportunity provided. On April 7, fishing can begin at 9 a.m. A list of the waters included in the Trout Heritage Day program for 2007 can be found on the Department's Web site.

Forget the Cold, the Fishin' is Hot!

Fisheries biologists forecast good overall fishing statewide for walleye and bass! To read their detailed reports by body of water, visit:

Deer Hunting Opportunities Still Available

Don't hang up your bow just yet - opportunities still exist for archery deer hunting across Virginia. To assist towns and cities with urban deer management issues, the Department established an urban archery season in 2002. This year, the season extends until March 31, in 19 localities. Due to these areas being more developed, there may be additional restrictions for safety measures that hunters must follow.

According to Deer Project Coordinator Nelson Lafon, "The Urban Archery season plays an important role in managing human-deer conflicts. It allows participating towns, cities and counties to address the problems of too many deer while offering sportsmen a chance to hunt in these areas."

To find which of the 19 participating localities is near you, visit the Department's Web site.

Virginia Naturally Schools Recognized

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Virginia Naturally School Recognition program awarded 25 schools for their environmental education efforts during the 2005-2006 school year. The schools have made a long-term commitment to increase the environmental literacy of their students and completed projects to enhance their environment. The recognition program is part of the Commonwealth's Environmental Education Business Plan (PDF). Each year, schools have the opportunity to add to their accomplishments while continuing with past efforts.

For the list of Virginia Naturally recognized schools and program information visit:

Men Shouldn't Have All the Fun! Becoming an Outdoors Woman

Backpacking, canoeing, fishing, and shooting are just some of the courses available for women at our Becoming an Outdoors Woman weekend! Courses range from outdoor cooking to wilderness survival.

The workshop takes place March 16-18, 2007, at the Holiday Lake 4-H Center in Appomattox.

According to Outdoor Education Coordinator Karen Holson, "BOW workshops are designed for women who are beginners, so no experience is necessary! Equipment and instruction are provided and our professional instructors work hard to create a comfortable and supportive atmosphere."

Hurry, the registration deadline is February 23rd! Register now to reserve your place at this fun-filled weekend.

General Assembly Legislation of Interest to You

There has been a lot of legislative action this year on issues that may affect you as an outdoor enthusiast, landowner, or concerned citizen.

The most appropriate way to express your opinion about these bills, or any other legislation, is through your local delegate and/or senator. For more information about your legislators and how to contact them, please visit the Virginia General Assembly Web site. You may also contact the Virginia General Assembly's Constituent Viewpoint Comment line toll-free at 1-800-889-0229 (698-1990 in Richmond).

No Campfires Before 4 PM Starting February 15

All outdoorsmen are reminded that the "4 PM Burn Law" is in effect from February 15 until April 30 to help prevent forest fires. The law bans all open air burning, including campfires, before 4 PM if your fire is within 300 feet of the woods, brush, or dry grass which can carry the fire to the woods. You are allowed to burn debris or have campfires between 4 PM and midnight, as long as you take proper care and precaution and attend your fire at all times. Read the Virginia Department of Forestry's Frequently Asked Questions: Can I Burn? to learn more.

Help Spread the News!

We hope you enjoy the new, electronic Outdoor Report and invite you to share this information with your friends and colleagues. Simply visit the Department's Web site and click on the Outdoor Report link to subscribe. New editions are sent directly to your email address every two weeks. Stay informed on issues and opportunities about Virginia's outdoors!

In upcoming issues of the new Outdoor Report, look for:

  • Spring Turkey Hunting Tips
  • New Birding and Wildlife Trail Guide Available
  • 2006-2007 Hunting Harvest Figures
Loggerhead shrike. Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.

Loggerhead Shrike
by Spike Knuth

When we hear of or think of the term predator, we generally think of large birds like hawks and owls with swift, quiet wings, hooked beaks and toes with strong, sharp talons. But one of our most interesting predatory birds is usually regarded as a songbird. It's the loggerhead shrike, which gets its name because of its large, relatively thick head.

Among its other names is French mockingbird and butcherbird. It has similar coloration as the mockingbird but has a black mask. Its flight is surprisingly weak and fluttery. It flies with quick, shallow wing beats, followed by a short glide. When it approaches a perch, it comes in low and swoops upward to alight - a very recognizable habit. It sits in low tree or shrub tops, poles or posts.

Shrikes are very maneuverable and persistent hunters. They will catch small birds, small rodents, mostly in the cold months, along with lizards and insects. Grasshoppers make up about 70 percent of their diet. They take its prey to a thorny bush or barbed wire fences and impales them so they can eat, because they have small weak feet. They leave what they canít eat on the thorns - a sort of gruesome meat locker - known as the butcher birdís kitchen.

Loggerhead shrikes nest in open fields with small brushy trees and shrubs. They are down in numbers over the years probably due to habitat loss.

∑    ∑    ∑

This section of each issue of the Outdoor Report features one of the 925 animals that have been identified in Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan whose existence is at risk.

Think you can't make a difference? You can! Be wild and work with your local officials and in your local communities to conserve Virginia's wildlife resources. Find out how you can help and join our team!

February 2007
14-16 Mid-Atlantic Flower & Garden Show, Virginia Beach. Master Gardener training.
15-April 30 Virginia 4 PM Burning Law in effect, banning outdoor burning before 4 PM
15-18 Richmond Boat Show at Richmond Raceway Complex.
16-18 20th Annual Western Virginia Sports Show, Waynesboro.
22-25 National Wild Turkey Federation Convention and Sports Show, Nashville, Tennessee. (Visit the VDGIF exhibit and many Virginia-based vendors).
23 Fly Fishing Workshop (PDF), Richmond
March 2007
10-11, 17-18 Highland Maple Festival, Highland County
16-18 Becoming an Outdoor Woman (BOW) (PDF), Holiday Lake
27 Board of Game and Inland Fisheries Meeting, Richmond
April 2007
7 Youth Spring Turkey Hunt (statewide)
7 Trout Heritage Day
10-12 Environment Virginia Conference, Lexington (VMI)
13-14 Hunter Education Instructors Advanced Training, Holiday Lake. If you are interested in becoming a Hunter Education volunteer, please email Sgt. David Dodson.
17 Youth Turkey Hunt, Fulfillment Farms, Albemarle
21 Covey Kids Event: Educational Workshop, Quail Unlimited, White Oak Preserve, Clarksville
The Department offers numerous hunting, fishing, and outdoor education programs designed for families, women, beginners, and seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Visit Find Game, the Department's award-winning online public hunting lands locator!

A calendar of hunts and skill-building events designed for persons with disabilities can be found on the Department's online events calendar or at

Find accessible fishing areas.

For a quick reference to the season dates for hunting and trapping for all game species visit our online quick reference or refer to page 77 of the 2006-07 Hunting & Trapping Regulations Digest.
February 2007
14 Rabbit season closes
March 2007
31 Urban Archery Season Closes
Please consider contributing to Hunters for the Hungry when purchasing a license through the $2 check-off, or at any time through our online Outdoor Catalog.
To report a wildlife violation, call 1-800-237-5712, or email

IF THIS IS AN EMERGENCY SITUATION, contact the local Game Warden immediately through the local sheriff's office or police department.
Don't allow the actions of a few outlaws to tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen and sportswomen!

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Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23230
(804) 367-1000 -