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 28, 2007

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this issue:
  • Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail Guide Available
  • The Virginia Wildlife Special Photography Contest Issue Now Available
  • It's Time to Buy Your Hunting and Fishing Licenses!
  • General Assembly Legislative Update
  • Fully Accessible Fishing Pier Coming to Smith Mountain Lake Community Park
  • John Cobb Named 2006 Game Warden of the Year by Virginia State Chapter NWTF
  • Joe Watson Named 2006 Wildlife Manager of the Year by Virginia State Chapter NWTF
  • Your State Tax Refund Can Make a Difference
  • Spring Gobbler Hunts Offered for Sportsmen with Disabilities
  • Youth Spring Turkey Hunt/Take a Hunter Education Class
  • Help Prevent Wild Fires
  • Help Spread the News!

Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail Guide Available

The all new Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail Guide is available for purchase! This updated guide combines the Mountain, Piedmont, and Coastal regions of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail into one beautiful guidebook. Virginia is the first state to complete a statewide birding and wildlife trail. This invaluable resource is your guide to over 670 of the best wildlife viewing sites in the state.

The guide contains detailed site descriptions, lists of available amenities, directions, site contact information, wildlife watching tips and fascinating natural history information. The book is beautifully illustrated by award-winning wildlife artist Spike Knuth.

Updated Guidebook Features:

  • New Sites
  • Updated Site Info
  • New artwork by Spike Knuth
  • Revised directions and maps
  • Maps indexed with page numbers, making it easy to find the loop you want.
  • New, more durable cover

The guide is available for purchase for $8.50 at the Department's online store.

The Virginia Wildlife Special Photography Contest Issue Now Available

Virginia Wildlife Magazine - March 2007 Cover

There's an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. If that's true, then the March issue of Virginia Wildlife may be just one of most informative and entertaining issues of the magazine ever published.

Nationally-renowned wildlife photographer Lynda Richardson, who was selected to oversee the judging of the contest, helped to narrow down the more than 3,000 photographs that were submitted by hundreds of talented photographers. The final award winning selections will offer you an incredible visual journey across the Commonwealth, from the Eastern Shore to the Blue Ridge Mountains, including some of the most awesome wildlife photographs ever published in Virginia Wildlife magazine.

It's Time to Buy Your Hunting and Fishing Licenses!

Most licenses now sold by VDGIF are valid for one year from the date of purchase with two exceptions: the Bear, Deer, Turkey license and the National Forest Permit.

VDGIF operates a Customer Service Center to assist purchasers of hunting and fishing licenses Representatives are available 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to answer your questions about the appropriate licenses you need for your hunting or fishing outing and to re-issue a lost license. You can purchase licenses online, by telephone at 1-866-693-9157, or direct from hundreds of local license agents.

General Assembly Legislative Update

People and Partners in the News

Fully Accessible Fishing Pier Coming To Smith Mountain Lake Community Park

Recently, the Department entered into a partnership with Franklin County to develop a fully-accessible fishing pier at the Smith Mountain Lake Community Park. This partnership was made possible, in part, by $80,000 in Federal Aid from the Sport Fish Restoration fund and matching funds from the locality. Seeing the need for greater public access to Smith Mountain Lake, Franklin County provided $45,000 to match the Sport Fish Restoration funds. This match was made possible through volunteer donations of time and labor by local corporations. The 100-foot-long pier will be the only public accessible fishing pier on the southern side of Smith Mountain Lake. The pier, which will be located along the main channel of the Roanoke River, will allow anglers to pursue striped bass, largemouth bass, catfish and panfish. It is anticipated that the project will be completed this summer.

John Cobb Named 2006 Game Warden of the Year by Virginia State Chapter NWTF

VDGIF is pleased to announce that Game Warden John Cobb is the recipient of the 2006 NWTF Game Warden of the Year Award. The award was presented by the Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) at their annual awards banquet. Cobb represented Virginia at the National Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer of the Year ceremonies at the NWTF national convention February 24. The Commonwealth of Virginia is unique in having had two game wardens receive the national honor in the past: Sergeant Chris Thomas in 2006 and Captain Ron Henry in 1992.

Joe Watson Named 2006 Wildlife Manager of the Year by Virginia State Chapter NWTF

VDGIF is pleased to announce that Wildlife Biologist Assistant Joe Watson is the recipient of the 2006 NWTF Wildlife Manager of the Year Award. The award was presented by the Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) at their annual awards banquet. Watson has provided critical support to the Wild Turkey Project during his tenure with VDGIF.

Your State Tax Refund Can Make a Difference

Remember when you complete your Virginia state income tax form, you can support 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.

Spring Gobbler Hunts Offered for Sportsmen with Disabilities

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Virginia Department of Forestry, and Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen have four exciting spring gobbler hunts planned for April and May. All of the hunts are free and open to anyone with a disability. Hunters are responsible for having all required Virginia hunting licenses. These hunts are made possible through the generous contributions of time, facilities and expertise of numerous volunteers.

See the Upcoming Events section in this Outdoor Report for dates and locations. The application deadline is April 1st. For more information, or to get an application by mail, please contact Robin Clark at (434) 979-6154, or via e-mail at weeeelz@aol.com.

Be Safe... Have Fun

Planning to Take a Youngster on a Spring Gobbler Hunt? Schedule a Hunter Education Class Now!

VDGIF is offering a statewide Youth Spring Turkey Hunt that will take place on April 7th for youth age 15 and under. Youth hunters between the ages of 12-15 must have valid hunting licenses. Hunters under the age of 12 are not required to have a license, but must be accompanied by a licensed adult. See the Department's Web site or Hunting & Trapping in Virginia Regulations and Information digest for more information on Hunter Education requirements.

Hunter Education is mandatory for all hunters age 12 and older. Now is the time to enroll in a Hunter Education class for spring gobbler season. Class schedules are available on the Department's Web site.

The Youth Spring Turkey Hunt is a great way for an experienced hunter to introduce a youngster to the great outdoors.

Help Prevent Wild Fires

Hunters, hikers, campers and anglers, please remember the Virginia 4 p.m. burning law is in effect from February 15 - April 30. Any outdoor burning including campfires is banned before 4 p.m. Dry woods conditions and high winds can quickly spread a small ember into a raging wildfire. For more information, see the Virginia Department of Forestry's Frequently Asked Questions: Can I Burn?.

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:

  • Trout stocking schedule
  • Spring gobbler hunting tips
  • Fall hunting harvest data
Mole salamander. Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.
BE WILD, VIRGINIA!

Mole Salamander
by Spike Knuth

The mole salamander is one of the least known of Virginia's amphibians. Its scientific name, talpoideum, means "mole-like." Like its namesake, it lives underground for most of its life. It inhabits burrows in hardwood forests, bottomland forests, swamps, and pine flatwoods that contain small ponds or wet low spots. Sometimes it will be found under logs or rocks in low, damp places.

This rare salamander is 3¼ to 4¾ inches long with a chunky body, short, thick tail, and comparatively large head and limbs. Its snout is wide and rounded and it has small black eyes. Its base coloration is dark brown or grayish-brown with specks of white or light blue all over its body. Some specks are close together and appear as large irregular spots. The belly is a pale bluish-gray.

It is known to inhabit an area from Charlotte to Campbell counties. The single known breeding site in Virginia is in an abandoned, small ice pond in the flood plain of a small stream that is surrounded by a mixed hardwood forest. Otherwise, it is common in most of its range, which includes the lower Mississippi River Valley as far north as Illinois, eastern Texas and Oklahoma, and east to the Coastal Plain of southeastern United States, where it is found in scattered locations in the Carolinas and Georgia.

       

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!

UPCOMING EVENTS
February 2007
15-April 30 Virginia 4 p.m. Burning Law in effect, banning outdoor burning before 4 p.m.
March 2007
10-11, 17-18 Highland Maple Festival, Highland County
17 Kid's Day Trout Fishing, Robinson River, Madison County. Exclusively for children 12 and under, starts at 9 a.m. Contact Graves Mountain Lodge at (540) 923-4231 for information.
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. Visit vawildlife.org or call (434) 286-2656 for information.
21 Covey Kids Event: Educational Workshop, Quail Unlimited, White Oak Preserve, Clarksville. Call (434) 374-2025 for information.
20-21 Butch Trinca Memorial Spring Gobbler Hunt - Central Virginia Chapter, Charlottesville
28 New Kent Forestry Center Spring Gobbler Hunt I, Providence Forge
28 James River Chapter NWTF Spring Gobbler Hunt, Bedford
May 2007
12 New Kent Forestry Center Spring Gobbler Hunt II, Providence Forge
MAKE IT A FAMILY ADVENTURE!
The Department offers numerous hunting, fishing, and outdoor education programs designed for families, women, beginners and seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO HUNT OR FISH?
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 vanwtf.com.

Find accessible fishing areas.

QUICK GLANCE
AT HUNTING SEASONS
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.
March 2007
31 Urban Archery Season Closes
April 2007
7 Youth Spring Turkey Hunt
14-May 5 Spring Gobbler Season (Hours: one-half hour before sunrise to noon)
May 2007
7-19 Spring Gobbler Season (Hours: one-half hour before sunrise to sunset)
Please consider contributing to Hunters for the Hungry through the $2 check-off when purchasing a license, or at any time through our online Outdoor Catalog.
REPORT
WILDLIFE VIOLATIONS
To report a wildlife violation, call 1-800-237-5712, or email WildCrime@dgif.virginia.gov.

FOR 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 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 - www.dgif.virginia.gov