|In this issue:
- Youth-Only Spring Turkey Hunt:
Saturday, April 7th
- Is it a Gobbler or a Hen? How to
Tell the Difference
- Fee Fishing Areas Open April 7th
- Serial Wild Turkey Poacher
- 2007 Wildlife and Boating
Regulation Review and Amendment Process
- People and Partners in the News
- "ReNew the New" River Clean-up
- Eagle Cam Update - Chicks Have
- Youth Writing Contest Extended
- Great Dismal Swamp Birding
Festival: May 11-13th
- Time to Clean Out Blue Bird Boxes
- Be Safe... Have Fun!
- Make Your Spring Gobbler Hunt a
- Wildlife Habitat Improvement Tip
- "Cleaning Up" the Yard? Create
Brush Piles for Critters
- In Case You Missed It...
- Trout Heritage Day
- Virginia Waterfowl Stamp Grant
Application Period Open
- Fulfillment Farms Offers Youth
Turkey Hunt April 7th
- April Fishing Workshop
Scheduled in Chesapeake
- Remember Tax Fund Checkoff
- Hunting and Fishing
Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
- Reminder to Buy Hunting and Fishing
Youth-Only Spring Turkey Hunt: Saturday, April 7th
Youth Spring Turkey Hunt on Saturday, April 7, 2007, is open to
young people 15 years of age or younger who must be
accompanied and directly supervised by an adult
hunter. The adult hunter can help with calling birds
but can not carry or discharge a firearm. Adult
hunters accompanying youth must possess the
appropriate hunting licenses. Youth between the age
of 12 and 15 must have appropriate hunting licenses.
This is a great opportunity for hunters to pass the
tradition down to the next generation.
Season runs from April 14 to May 19 this year in
Virginia with a change in hunting hours midway
through the season. From April 14 to May 5, turkey
hunting will be allowed from one-half hour before
sunrise until noon. From May 7 through May 19,
turkey hunting will be allowed from one-half hour
before sunrise until sunset.
Is it a Gobbler or a Hen? The Beard is Not the Best Clue!
called Spring "Gobbler" Season, the legal
description allows that "bearded turkeys only" may
be harvested. This is because 10-20 percent of hens
may grow beards and could be mistaken for a bearded
gobbler. Even though it is legal to harvest a
bearded hen, take a good look and determine if your
quarry is truly a gobbler. Hens have a fuzzy,
blue-gray head - a gobbler's head is red and white.
Gobblers will appear black in color while hens will
be more brownish due to the buff color tips on the
breast feathers. Although harder to see at a
distance, only gobblers have leg spurs. Many
sportsmen will pass up the hen with a beard to help
the population grow a little. Remember as you take
youngsters afield with you, always set a good
example for safety and ethics. Teaching these
hunting heritage traditions to the next generation
are the most important lessons we as sportsmen and
sportswomen can make.
Fee Fishing Areas Open April 7th - Day Use Permit Required
Fee fishing areas
at Clinch Mountain, Crooked Creek and Douthat State
Park open on the first Saturday of April. This year,
that will be April 7. As a reminder to those that
frequent these areas, the cost for the one day
permit has increased to $6.50. Concessionaires
will not be present at Clinch Mountain or
Crooked Creek. Anglers will need to purchase the
permit through one of the nearly 600
license agents around the state,
on the Internet or by phone at 1-866-721-6911.
Phone sales are available Monday through Friday
during normal business hours (8:00 a.m. - 5:00
p.m.). Permits for Douthat can be purchased at the
State Park office. However, especially during
opening days, the line for obtaining those licenses
can be rather long. The Douthat license can also be
purchased at any license agent, on the Internet or
via the phone.
Serial Wild Turkey Poacher
A tip from a
concerned sportsman to VDGIF game wardens has
resulted in the largest criminal conviction of
illegal wild turkey poaching in the history of the
Commonwealth of Virginia. The single defendant in
this case, Jason Cook, a former assistant chief of
Spotsylvania County Animal Control, was charged with
nearly 100 criminal violations related to his
illegal turkey poaching activities over the past 15
years. A surveillance operation led to a search
warrant for the defendant's residence. The execution
of this search warrant included the seizure of 81
wild turkey beards, 17 turkey legs with spurs, 38
additional turkey spurs, 6 sets of turkey tail
feathers, and hunting photo albums containing
pictures of the defendant posing with illegally shot
wild turkey carcasses. The conviction resulted in
loss of hunting privileges, jail time, community
service and over $10,000 in fines and game
restoration costs. For more details, contact
Lieutenant Rich Goszka at (540) 899-4169.
Don't allow the
actions of a few to tarnish the reputation of
Virginia's sportsmen and sportswomen! To report a
wildlife violation, call 1-800-237-5712 or email
2007 Wildlife and Boating
Regulation Review and Amendment Process
In 2007 the Board
of Game and Inland Fisheries is conducting its
Periodic Regulation Review and Amendment Process, in
which it addresses all regulations administered by
VDGIF. Key dates in the process are:
- March 27.
"Staff Preliminary Recommendations" Board
meeting. Staff presented its Preliminary
Recommendations for regulation amendments.
- April 10.
The Preliminary Recommendations Public
Discussion Period opens, to run through June 15.
- June 5.
Board meeting. Preliminary Recommendations
Public Discussion Period public comments is
- June 15.
The preliminary Recommendations Public
Discussion Period closes.
- July 17.
"Regulation Proposal" Board meeting. Staff
summarizes the public discussion of the
Preliminary Recommendations; staff presents its
resulting Proposal-Stage Recommendations; the
Board solicits and receives public comments on
the Proposal-Stage Recommendations; the Board
deliberates and votes to propose regulation
- July 24.
The Proposed Regulations Public Comment Period
opens, to run through September 24.
24. The Proposed Regulations Public Comment
- October 16.
"Final Action" Board meeting. Staff presents a
summary of the public comments received; Staff
presents its Final Recommendations; the Board
solicits and hears public comments on the
Proposed Regulations and Staff’s Final
Recommendations; the Board deliberates and
adopts Final Regulation Amendments to take
effect January 1, March 1, and July 1, 2008.
VDGIF solicits the
public's participation in the regulation review
process; channels for submitting comments are:
- Online through
Department's Web site.
- Email sent to
- Mailed letters
sent to: Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries,
Attn: Policy Analyst and Regulatory Coordinator,
4016 West Broad Street, Richmond VA 23230.
- Public comment
at Board meetings.
On request and
subject to their availability, VDGIF staff will meet
with constituent groups, local government officials,
or other groups in local communities to address
specific regulatory issues of interest.
site for additional details.
People and Partners in the News
"ReNew The New"
River Cleanup Campaign Underway
On March 31, 2007,
Giles County's litter prevention program will kick
off "ReNew The New," a county-wide cleanup
campaign involving hundreds of volunteers. The first
project, "Ramps and Roads," involves two
river guide services: I Canoe-The New and New
River's Edge. They will be leading
Giles County school buses, filled with Virginia Tech
volunteers, to river access sites to clear out
debris and litter. Other groups of school children,
church and civic clubs will work on Giles County
roadways. Bags, vests and gloves will be provided by
the county. The hard work will conclude at noon with
a picnic and door prizes, all provided by Giles
County. The County is installing information kiosks
at boat access sites for the Department to post
information. They will also be installing
trash-pick-up bag dispensers at boat access sites.
To volunteer contact the Giles County Public Service
Authority at (540) 922-2576 or
their Web site.
Cam Update - Chicks Have Hatched
The three eggs in
the eagles' nest featured on the Eagle Cam have
hatched! Observers can catch all the activity by way
of a Web cam strategically placed in a tree near the
eagles' nest located at the Norfolk Botanical
Garden. Through a unique partnership with VDGIF,
WVEC TV and Norfolk Botanical Garden, the public has
a rare opportunity to witness key moments in the
life of bald eagles. VDGIF has launched a blog with
expert information provided by Watchable Wildlife
Biologist Stephen Living.
Contest Deadline Extended
deadline for the Virginia Outdoor Writers
Association (VOWA) 14th Annual Youth Writing
Competition has been extended to April 30, 2007.
Normally, the contest deadline is January 31 of each
year with the awards presented in March. However,
this year the top three Youth Writing Awards will be
presented during the Outdoor Writers Association of
America Conference being held in Roanoke June 16-19,
2007. The winners will be introduced during a
luncheon to about 300 national outdoor writers and
editors. In addition, each of the three winners
will receive outdoor gear and other prizes valued at
several hundred dollars.
The goal of the
contest is to recognize students in grades 9 through
12 for excellence in communicating their personal
experiences in the outdoors. The theme of this
year's contest, "My Most Memorable Outdoor
Experience," may include an experience by the writer
with hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, hiking,
birding or other outdoor activity. Submissions can
be made by private, public or home schooled
For contest rules,
guidelines and information visit
Swamp Birding Festival: May 11-13, 2007
The Inaugural Great
Dismal Swamp Birding Festival is scheduled for May
11-13, 2007. This event will celebrate International
Migratory Bird day with guided walks, narrated bus
tours and family activities - all free. Huge numbers
of migrating songbirds move through the swamp at
this time of year - and you'll have a chance to
experience them! The Great Dismal Swamp National
Wildlife Refuge is a treasure trove of wildlife and
a great Virginia experience.
This event is
co-sponsored by VDGIF, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service, the City of Suffolk and the Great Dismal
Swamp Coalition. Call (757) 986-3705 for information
If you haven't
already put up your bluebird box, time is of the
essence. Male bluebirds have scouted their
territories and females are arriving; nesting will
Be Safe... Have Fun
Make Your Spring
Gobbler Hunt a Safe One!
To ensure a safe
and enjoyable day afield, VDGIF recommends the
following guidelines for Spring Gobbler hunting:
- Because a
gobbler's head is distinguished by its bold
white, blue and red colors, NEVER wear
white, blue or red clothing - not even socks or
undershirts - because a flash of white could be
mistaken for a turkey. Even a red bandana or
blue snack food wrapper could be misread in the
woods during turkey season.
- Never shoot
at a sound or movement. Wait until you have
a good, clean shot at a legal bird. Never move,
wave or make turkey sounds to alert another
hunter of your presence. Instead, call out in a
loud voice and remain hidden, until the other
hunter acknowledges your presence.
- When you
harvest a gobbler, carry it out of the woods
draped in blaze orange. Otherwise, another
hunter might just see the bird and not you.
Get more tips on how to
stay safe during your Spring Gobbler hunt! »
Wildlife Habitat Improvement Tip
the Yard? Create Brush Piles for Critters
You can provide important
cover for birds, mammals, and other wildlife
species by creating brush piles from your yard
debris, such as pruned branches or downed limbs.
Also, don't remove leaves! Keep leaf litter intact
as a ground cover, where possible, and allow the
natural decomposition process to occur. Leaves
provide a home for many insects that feed other
animals in the food web.
Learn more »
In Case You Missed It...
As our subscriptions have grown to over 8,000 and
new readers continue to sign up, we realize that
some of our seasonal features are important and
timely enough to bear repeating. So you can easily
note repeated items we have added this section, "In
case you missed it..."
Day - April 7, 2007
On Saturday, April
7, 2007, 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 begins at 9 a.m.
Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Grant
Application Period Open
VDGIF is soliciting
applications for the 2007 Migratory Waterfowl
Conservation Stamp grant cycle. This grant is open
to non-profit organizations for cooperative
waterfowl habitat improvement projects in Virginia.
There are two grant application windows. Grant
applications are due on March 30, 2007, and June 29,
2007, before 5:00 p.m. Successful applicants will be
notified within 30 days of the submission deadlines.
Farms Offers Youth Turkey Hunt April 7
opportunity for young turkey hunters is being
offered by The Virginia Wildlife Foundation at
Fulfillment Farms in Albemarle County on April 7.
Details and registration information can be found at
www.vawildlife.org or by calling at (434)
for Beginners Scheduled in Chesapeake
Do you want to
learn to fish? The VDGIF Outdoor Education Program
is hosting a Fishing Workshop at Oak Grove Lake Park
in Chesapeake on Saturday, April 28, 2007. This is a
freshwater fishing workshop for beginners. The lake
is reported to have plenty of bass and bluegill, so
it should be a lot of fun. The cost is $15. Tell a
friend and make it a family outing to remember!
Still Working On
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 Hunting and Fishing Events Offered for
Persons with Disabilities
Sportsmen and VDGIF have seven hunting and fishing
outings for April and May for persons with
disabilities. Applications for these hunting or
fishing opportunities are available online at
www.vanwtf.com. All of the events are free and open
to anyone with a disability. Participants are
responsible for having all required Virginia hunting
and fishing licenses.
See the Upcoming
Events section 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
Reminder to Buy
Hunting and Fishing Licenses
Most licenses now
sold by the VDGIF are valid for one year from the
date of purchase with two exceptions: the Deer,
Bear, 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
holidays, to answer your questions about the
appropriate licenses you need for your hunting or
fishing outing and to re-issue a lost license. You
purchase licenses online, by telephone toll free
at (866) 721-6911, or
direct from hundreds of local license agents.
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
subscribe. New editions are sent directly to your email
address every two weeks. Stay informed on issues and
opportunities about Virginia's outdoors!
upcoming issues of the
new Outdoor Report, look for:
- Leave Fawns Alone
- Shad Cam
- Free Freshwater Fishing
Days: June 1-3, 2007