Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF)
Outdoor Report

Managing and Conserving Our Wildlife and Natural Resources

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this issue:
  • If You Find a Fawn, Leave It Alone!
  • Fishin' Report Returns
  • Free Fishing Days: June 1-3, 2007
  • Spring Snowstorm Surprises Young Gobbler Hunters
  • Report Dead Fish in Shenandoah River
  • People and Partners in the News
    • "Golden Chase" Seeks Eagle Nesting Documentation
    • Lance Hanger is Grand National Turkey Calling Championship
    • Town of Shenandoah Youth Fishing Festival, May 26
    • Float Fishing the James Workshop, June 26
  • Be Safe... Have Fun!
    • What's In Your Boat Tank?
  • Wildlife Habitat Improvement Tip
    • Hummingbirds Returning Soon
  • In Case You Missed It...
    • Kids Fishing Days Scheduled Statewide
    • "Learn to Fly Fish" Workshop May 12 in Harrisonburg
    • Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival, May 11-13
    • Regulation Process
    • Virginia Waterfowl Stamp Grant Application Period Open
    • Hunting and Fishing Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

If You Find a Fawn, Leave It Alone!

It's that time of year again when white-tailed deer fawns are showing up in yards and fields and concerned citizens want to know how to help. In almost all cases, the best way to help is to simply give the fawn space and leave it alone. By giving it a wide berth, you also reduce the risk of inadvertently leading dogs and other predators to the hidden fawn. The white-spotted coat camouflages a fawn as it lies motionless in vegetation. Fawns, born from April through July, are purposely left alone by their mothers. Female deer, called does, stay away from the fawns to avoid leading predators to their location. They will return several times each day to move and/or feed their young. You probably will not see the doe at all since she only stays to feed the fawn for just a very few minutes before leaving it alone again.

Concerned people sometimes pick up animals that they think are orphaned. Most such "orphans" that good-intentioned citizens "rescue" every spring should have been left alone. Most wild animals are dedicated parents and will not abandon their young, but they do leave them alone for long periods of time while looking for food. If a fawn or rabbit has been "rescued" when it shouldn't have been, it can often be released at the same location. Parents tend to remain in the area for at least a day, looking for the lost youngster.

If a wild animal has been injured or truly orphaned, do not take matters into your own hands. You may contact a licensed rehabilitator by visiting the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) Web site (see below). Raising a wild animal in captivity is illegal unless you have a state permit. Besides, each animal's nutritional, housing, and handling requirements are very specific and must be met if they have any chance of survival.

Fishin' Report Returns

How are the fish bitin'? Anglers across the state can get answers to this and other fishing related questions for many of their favorite rivers and lakes in upcoming issues of the Outdoor Report. Back by popular demand, numerous license agents, marinas, fishing guides and bait shops have volunteered to serve as contacts for information on recent fishing conditions for primary rivers and lakes throughout the state. Sarah White, outdoor writer and regular contributor to Virginia Wildlife magazine, will prepare the Fishin' Report from interviews with contacts the week prior to publication of the Outdoor Report. The Fishin' Report will only be available as part of your free subscription to the Outdoor Report beginning in May.

Free Fishing Days: June 1-3

June 1-3, 2007 have been designated as Free Freshwater Fishing Days in Virginia. No fishing license of any kind will be required for rod and reel fishing in freshwater except in designated stocked trout waters on these days.

Spring Snowstorm Surprises Young Gobbler Hunters

A rare April snowstorm made the Youth Spring Gobbler Hunt on Saturday April 7 a unique adventure with many parts of the Commonwealth experiencing snow on the ground and colder than normal temperatures. This unusual weather had minimal impact on youth being successful in harvesting a bird. From the harvest reported on the Department's toll free GOT GAME telephone checking system, there were 55 gobblers reported. Last year 85 gobblers were reported through GOT GAME on the youth day. GOT GAME statistics reflect only those turkeys reported by phone. The majority of turkeys are checked in at check stations. Counts from these locations will not be finalized until after the season concludes May 19. The following Saturday, April 14, when all ages of hunters were able to engage in the regular spring season opening, cold temperatures and high winds again challenged even the most experienced hunters.

Report Dead Fish in Shenandoah River

Due to the recent fish kills that have occurred the past three years in the Shenandoah River, anglers are encouraged to report any dead fish or fish with lesions to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Valley Region Office at (540) 574-7800. For more information contact VDGIF Fisheries Biologist, Steve Reeser, in the Verona Regional Office at (540) 248-9360.

People and Partners in the News

"Golden Chase" Seeks Eagle Nesting Documentation

Would you like an opportunity to help the Virginia Society of Ornithology, the Bath-Highland Bird Club and Bear Mountain Farm and Wilderness Retreat document the first golden eagle nest in Virginia? On May 19, 2007, they will sponsor "The Golden Chase" in Bath and Highland Counties. Each team will collect sponsors for their team and all money will be used to pay for transmitters to be placed on golden eagles in Highland County to track their seasonal movements. This project will hopefully lead to determining why so many golden eagles are seen in Highland County during summer months and if nesting is taking place in this area. It will also provide a more comprehensive view of the breeding and resident birds in the two counties. For more information, go to their Web site at or call (540) 468-2700.

Lance Hanger is Grand National Turkey Calling Champion

Lance Hanger, a 16-year old sophomore at Buffalo Gap High School in Augusta County was awarded First Place Champion- Best in the Nation Intermediate Division, at the Grand National Wild Turkey Calling Contest. The national competition was held at the 31st National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Convention in Nashville, Tennessee in February. Last year, at age 15, Lance also won the Junior Division of the national contest. He is the first competitor in the history of the national contest to win back to back championships in two different divisions. Lance began hunting and turkey calling at a young age with his father, Mark Hanger, sponsor of the annual Western Virginia Sports Show in Fishersville. Lance stays busy assisting other young and novice hunters in learning turkey calling and hunting techniques. He helps promote safety, ethics and enjoying the outdoors with numerous sportsmen's groups and at events around the state. He also promotes and assists in turkey hunting for persons with disabilities and women's programs in cooperation with NWTF and VDGIF.

Shenandoah Fishing Festival Memorial Day Weekend

Several small fishing tournaments are scheduled during the Memorial Day Festival in the Town of Shenandoah on May 25-26, 2007. On Friday May 25, a free Shenandoah Indians Fishing Tournament for youth ages 13-18 will be held in Shenandoah River Park.

The following day, Saturday May 26, a free tournament will continue at Big Gem Park for ages 8 and under from 8:00 a.m. - 8:45 a.m., then for ages 9-12 from 9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. All fishing tournaments are bank fishing only - no boats allowed. Participants must bring their own fishing pole and bait. For more information contact Kirk Comer, Town of Shenandoah Parks and Recreation, at

Float Fishing the James Workshop June 26

Enjoy a day on the Piedmont section of the beautiful James River and receive instruction on the basics and techniques for fishing these historic waters. This workshop is held from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Lunch, rods, reels, tackle and canoes will be provided. Workshop participants must be 9 years of age or older to attend. Participants 15 years and under must be accompanied by a registered adult. Participants 16 and above are required to have a valid Virginia freshwater fishing license. Registration fee is $15. There is an additional $5 charge for entry to the workshop site at James River State Park. Please register by June 5, 2007. For more information, contact Chris Dunnavant at (804) 367-6778 or

Be Safe... Have Fun

What's In Your Boat Tank?

If you own a boat and operate it with a gas motor you may want to check your owner's manual and the kind of gas you use, before you decide to top off your gas tank. You may have noticed that E-10 fuel is now being distributed throughout the state and in major metro markets, such as Richmond, Norfolk and Chesapeake. E-10 fuel is gasoline that is 10 percent ethanol. The new additive could cause some serious problems for local boaters who do not check manufacturer's specifications to see if the use of an alcohol additive is suitable for their particular boat motor.

The most serious outcome of introducing E-10 fuel into your boat engine is the potential for the corn-based alcohol additive to act as a corrosive solvent, which may result in damaging resins in fiberglass and plastic fuel tanks. Other concerns include: contamination from rust or gunk, and water-alcohol separation that can damage and shorten the life of your boat motor. Gas stations using E-10 will alert you at the pump that the ethanol additive is being used. To learn more about the effects of ethanol gas read the May issue of Virginia Wildlife magazine and the On The Water column by Jim Crosby.

If you would like to become a regular subscriber to Virginia Wildlife magazine call 1-800-784-3359, visit the Department's Web site, or mail a check made out to "Treasurer of Virginia" and send it to Virginia Wildlife Magazine, 4010 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23230. A one-year subscription or 12 issues is only $12.95. Let Virginia Wildlife magazine be your guide to the best in hunting, fishing, boating and wildlife information!

Wildlife Habitat Improvement Tip

Hummingbirds Returning Soon

Get ready to hang out your hummingbird feeder the ruby-throats are making their annual spring comeback. These fast-flying acrobats of the air are steadily moving their way up the East Coast and have already been documented in some Tidewater areas and other parts of Virginia (you can view a map of the 2007 migration route at Check the VDGIF Web site's "Hummingbird Tidbits" for some great pictures and tips about welcoming back these charming nectar seekers...

In Case You Missed It...

Editor's note: 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 review these seasonal items, we have published them in this section: "In case you missed it..."

Kids Fishing Days Scheduled Statewide

More than 30 Kids Fishing Days (PDF) are being planned statewide by various organizations in partnership with VDGIF. These events are an enjoyable time for the family and a great opportunity to introduce kids to fishing in a fun atmosphere. Events are scheduled every weekend statewide through June 9, 2007. For detailed information on dates, locations, times and contacts, see the Kids Fishing Days schedule (PDF) to find one near you! Catch the fun! Take a kid fishin'!

The Shad Are Back

Spring is upon us and the annual run of shad and herring is in full swing as they make their way into our freshwater rivers to spawn. In recent years, many anglers have been rediscovering these silvery jewels from the sea, as increasing numbers of hickory and American shad are providing exciting spring angling opportunities. American shad and hickory shad usually arrive in March in the Rappahannock and James rivers and the Americans usually hang around through May. Remember, it is catch and release only for American shad (check VDGIF and VMRC regulations).

View the Shad Cam Located at Bosher's Dam

The Shad Cam at the Bosher's Dam fishway provides visitors a peek into the incredible journey of anadromous fish as they return to the James River to spawn in the spring. The fishway, constructed in 1999, provides fish with access to 137 miles of the James River and 168 miles of its tributaries.

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. At the March 27 Board meeting, staff presented its Preliminary Recommendations for regulation amendments. The Preliminary Recommendations Public Discussion Period opened April 10 and runs through June 15. Key dates in the process can be found at the Department's Web site.

VDGIF solicits the public's participation in the regulation review process; channels for submitting comments are:

  • Online through the Department's Web site
  • E-mail 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 five Board meetings (March 27; June 5; July 17; August 21; October 16; all are 9 AM at 4000 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA.).
  • Meetings on request. On request and subject to availability, VDGIF staff will meet with constituent groups, local government officials, or other groups in local communities to address specific regulatory issues of interest.

Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival May 11-13

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. Visit the Festival's Web site or call (757) 986-3705 for information and reservations.

"Learn to Fly Fish" Workshop May 12 in Harrisonburg

The Massanutten Chapter of Trout Unlimited is sponsoring the annual "Learn to Fly Fish" Workshop on May 12, 2007, in Harrisonburg, at River Rock Park beginning at 8:30 a.m. The event is for beginners or novice anglers who need a tune up. Classes provide hands-on instruction in selecting the right tackle, fly casting, knots, stream techniques and more. Participants must be at least 10 years of age and accompanied by an adult if under age 15. Participants 16 years or older must possess a valid Freshwater Fishing License and Trout License. The cost is $49 and lunch and fly fishing rods and equipment will be provided. For more info visit the Massanutten Chapter of Trout Unlimited's Web site or email:

31st Annual Youth Conservation Camp Sponsored by Soil and Water Districts

The Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) has sponsored a week long summer conservation camp for Virginia high school students (grades 9-12) on the campus of Virginia Tech for the past 30 years. The program brings together about 90 interested students for a week of learning about Virginia's natural resources; classes are taught by conservation professionals and faculty from Virginia Tech. Most of the instruction is hands-on and outdoors. The 2007 Camp is July 8-14, 2007. Applications (PDF) must be submitted to your local soil and water conservation office by May 8, 2007. To determine local office (based on your locality), see the VASWCD's Web site.

Virginia 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. Grant applications are due June 29, 2007, before 5:00 p.m. Successful applicants will be notified within 30 days of the submission deadline.

Spring Hunting and Fishing Events Offered for Persons with Disabilities

Virginia Wheelin' 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 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 30, 2007. For more information, or to get an application by mail, please contact, Robin Clark at (434) 979-6154, or via e-mail at

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:

  • "Game Warden" Name Changing to "Conservation Police Officer"
  • Boating Safety Tips
  • New Fishin' Report
Saw Whet Owl. Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.

Saw Whet Owl
by Spike Knuth

One of the most migratory of owls is the saw whet. Often its wandering takes it into unexpected areas in large numbers. They may remain for awhile then suddenly disappear. The saw whet is so named because its call resembles the rasping and scraping sound made when the teeth of a saw are being filed.

It is a small (8 inches) but large headed owl that lacks ear tufts. Its upper parts are brown, spotted with white, while its under-parts are grayish-brown to reddish-brown, The bird's crown is narrowly streaked with white.

Saw whets nest in the Canadian-type forests of spruce and fir in the Appalachians, usually above 1500 meters. They choose old woodpecker holes to nest in but will use man-made nesting boxes. They are dependant on small woodland mammals such as deer mice, shrews, voles, red squirrels and flying squirrels for food.

Saw whets are able to live and even nest close to human habitation without any problems. One oddity about them is their tameness. They can be approached easily and reportedly have even been picked off of a branch while sleeping.

They winter over much of Virginia.


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!

April 2007

Check the Kids Fishing Days calendar for events scheduled in April!

28 Fishing Workshop (PDF), Oak Grove Lake Park, Chesapeake
28 New Kent Forestry Center Spring Gobbler Hunt I, Providence Forge
28 James River Chapter NWTF Spring Gobbler Hunt, Bedford
May 2007

Check the Kids Fishing Days calendar for events scheduled in May!

5 Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen Spring Gobbler Hunt, Buckingham County
6 Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen Trout Rodeo, Broadway
11-13 Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival (PDF). Call (757) 986-3705.
12 New Kent Forestry Center Spring Gobbler Hunt II, Providence Forge
18-20 Mountain Lake Migratory Birding Festival
25-26 Free Fishing Tournaments for Youth, Town of Shenandoah.
June 2007

Check the Kids Fishing Days calendar for events scheduled in June!

1-3 Free Freshwater Fishing Days
5 Board of Game and Inland Fisheries Meeting, Richmond
16-19 Outdoor Writers Association of America 80th Annual Conference, Roanoke
18-23 Holiday Lake Forestry Camp, Appomattox
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!

For persons with disabilities: a calendar of hunting, fishing, and skill-building events, as well as areas designed for access to persons with disabilities can be found on the Department's online events calendar, accessible fishing areas page, as well as the VANWTF site.

Find out where to fish, fishing access, and much more at the Department's Web site.

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.
April 2007
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)
June 2007

New Squirrel Season on selected VDGIF Wildlife Management Areas

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.
To report a wildlife violation, call 1-800-237-5712, or email

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!

  • Sunfish spawning peaks
  • Time to plant native warm season grasses and food plots
  • Turkey gobbling peaking


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