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, May 23, 2007

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this issue:
  • Hunter Education Challenge Recognizes Champions
  • Fishin' Report Returns
  • People and Partners in the News
    • Eaglets Testing Their Wings on Eagle Cam
    • Eagle Cam Named Top 10 in World
    • Women in the Outdoors Event July 14 in Hampton
    • Smallmouth Bass Workshop on the New River July 17 in Radford
  • Be Safe... Have Fun!
    • Summer Squirrel Hunting Safety Tips
  • In Case You Missed It...
    • Kids Fishing Days Scheduled Statewide
    • Free Fishing Days
    • View the Shad Cam Located at Bosher's Dam
    • Shenandoah Fishing Festival Memorial Day Weekend
    • Float Fishing the James Workshop, June 26
    • If You Find a Fawn, Leave it Alone!
    • Report Dead Fish in Shenandoah
    • Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Grant Application
    • Spring Hunting and Fishing Events Offered for Persons with Disabilities
  • Fishin' Report

Virginia Hunter Education Challenge Recognizes Champions

The Annual Virginia Hunter Education Challenge was conducted at Holiday Lake 4-H Center in Appomattox May 4-6, 2007. One hundred and eleven youth on 22 teams from across the Commonwealth competed in shotgun, rifle, archery, a skills trail incorporating "shoot/don't shoot" scenarios, and a comprehensive test encompassing knowledge of wildlife behavior and wildlife identification. The participants were divided into two groups. The Junior Division consisted of participants up to age 14. Seniors were 15 to 19 years old. The following individuals and teams finished at the top:

Overall Individual

Junior 3rd Place Overall Culpeper Zach Beaver
Junior 2nd Place Overall Nottoway Will Outlaw
Junior 1st Place Overall Nottoway Quincy Elder
Senior 3rd Place Overall Powhatan Connor Mulherin
Senior 2nd Place Overall Culpeper Brett Woodward
Senior 1st Place Overall Powhatan Travis Wagner

Overall Champions

Junior Team Champions 3rd Place Culpeper
Junior Team Champions 2nd Place Powhatan
Junior Team Champions 1st Place Nottoway
Senior Team Champions 3rd Place Shenandoah
Senior Team Champions 2nd Place Powhatan
Senior Team Champions 1st Place Nottoway

Sgt. David Dodson, Hunter Education Coordinator, expressed appreciation for the outstanding efforts by the participants, team coaches, Hunter Education Volunteer Instructors and VDGIF staff for their tireless efforts in making this annual event one of the most successful and efficiently operated events of its kind conducted in the past 20 years.

Capt. Bobby Mawyer, Hunter Education Program Manager, commented that the volunteer hunter education instructors provide thousands of hours of invaluable service to sportsmen and sportswomen in numerous events in addition to their classes. The ten-hour Hunter Education Class is mandatory in Virginia for new hunters age 12 and over to obtain a hunting license. Last year, 320 classes were conducted for over 14,000 students by more than 750 certified volunteer instructors.

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 each issue of the Outdoor Report. 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, prepares the Fishin' Report from interviews with contacts the week prior to publication of the Outdoor Report. The Fishin' Report is only available as part of your free subscription to the Outdoor Report.

People and Partners in the News

Eaglets Testing Their Wings on Eagle Cam

The eaglets at the Norfolk Botanical Garden continue to grow. The three young eagles have replaced their downy feathers with their brown juvenile plumage, including their flight feathers. These eaglets won't attain the emblematic white head and tail of an adult eagle until they are 4 or 5 years old.

The eaglets are much more active in the nest now, and have begun to test their wings, catching breezes and getting the feel for what flying will be like. They'll begin to make short hopping glides to adjacent branches, gaining coordination and strength in their flight muscles. Sometime around Memorial Day we expect these eaglets will start fledging. They'll stay in the vicinity for a few weeks and may often return to the nest where their parents will continue to feed them. The immature birds will follow their parents - who may continue to be fed by them. The young eagles will eventually learn to hunt on their own, and will subsist largely on scavenged fish until they gain the skills necessary to catch live prey.

Be sure to follow the progress of the eaglets on the VDGIF/Norfolk Botanical Garden Eagle Cam. VDGIF maintains a blog with news and information about the birds.

Eagle Cam Named Top 10 in World

Recently the Web site EarthCam.com selected the VDGIF/Norfolk Botanical Garden Eagle Cam one of the Top 10 webcams in the world. The Top 10 webcams are chosen by a panel of EarthCam producers who select the best out of hundreds of popular webcam submissions. The criteria used for judging includes image quality, uniqueness of the content, and overall technical achievement in webcam technology. The Web site describes the winners as, "the cameras that have amused, amazed, or astounded us."

Check out EarthCam's Top 10 list or visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Eagle Cam Blog.

Women in the Outdoors Event July 14 in Hampton

Women who are interested in learning new outdoor skills and meeting others with similar interests should sign up for this new one-day event in Hampton July 14, 2007. Come take educational sessions in canoeing, kayaking, fishing, camping, backpacking, archery, map & compass, fly tying and game calling. The day long event hosted by Bass Pro Shops, begins at 8:30 and the registration fee is $40.00. Deadline for registration is July 7, 2007. See the VDGIF Web site for details (PDF). VDGIF is co-sponsoring this event with the Women in the Outdoors (WITO) program of the National Wild Turkey Federation. For more information on this and other events, contact Angela Smith WITO Coordinator, at 804-264-4797 or vancwito@verizon.net.

Smallmouth Bass Workshop on the New River July 17 in Radford

Would you like to try canoeing and learn to fish the New River for smallmouth bass? This educational workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to receive instruction on basic angling techniques for catching smallmouth bass. Lunch, rods, reels, tackle and canoes will be provided. Workshop is designed for participants 9 years and above. Participants 16 and older are required to have a valid Virginia freshwater fishing license. Registration fee is $15. Please register by June 22, 2007. See the VDGIF Web site for details (PDF). For more information, contact Chris Dunnavant at 804-367-6778 or Chris.Dunnavant@dgif.virginia.gov.

Be Safe... Have Fun

Summer Squirrel Hunting Safety Tips

If you're planning to go squirrel hunting this June during the new season on selected VDGIF Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), you need to keep a few things in mind to ensure you have a pleasant and safe experience. If you're wearing camouflage, it should be lightweight. You'll also want to put on some bug repellent to ward off ticks, chiggers, gnats and mosquitoes. Learn to identify poison ivy (leaflets three let it be!) and avoid contact with the shiny green leaves and hairy vines. Note that you can also get a rash from handling clothes that have come in contact with this abundant woods plant. If you have walked through a patch of poison ivy, wash those clothes to remove the oils which cause the itchy rash. Snakes are also out and about with the warmer temperatures, so be alert. If it is a very warm day, it would be a good idea to field dress your harvested game as soon as possible and bring along a cooler with ice and plastic bags to store them.

As always, practice basic firearm safety. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded, only point at what you intend to shoot, and clearly identify your game and what is beyond. This June will be a great time to take youngsters squirrel hunting. They'll be out of school and there's very little other hunting opportunity available at the start of summer. It is a great time to introduce a youngster to actual in the field hunting without some of the distractions, or pressures of fall deer or turkey hunting like more hunters in the woods, cold and windy weather, or more elusive game. So, spray on a little bug juice and take a youngster squirrel hunting on one of the VDGIF's WMAs. You can locate them at the VDGIF map information system on our Find Game Web site. For more information on the new June squirrel season, read the feature article in the May 2007 issue of Virginia Wildlife magazine.

In Case You Missed It...

Editor's note: With numerous new subscribers each issue, we realize that some of the seasonal features are important and timely enough to bear repeating. So readers can easily review these seasonal items, we have retained the headlines and information links in this section "In case you missed it..."

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!

Fishin' Report

Anglers throughout Virginia and neighboring states want to know "how are the fish bitin'?" To provide some answers, more than 25 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, prepares this Fishin' Report from interviews with these contacts the week prior to publication of the Outdoor Report.

The Fishin' Report is only available as part of your free subscription to the Outdoor Report.
The rivers and lakes featured in the Fishin' Report are listed by VDGIF Administrative Regions so you can quickly locate the area in which you are most interested. Consult the Regional location map below to find the major river or lake you want to know about.

If you catch a big one or want to relay some information about your experience to our readers, report in at the contacts we have noted here.

Region 1 - Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir: Lots of rain and cool temperatures have slowed things down according to Robert Eveland. Shellcrackers are hitting good this week. Lake water is stained and in the mid 60's.

North Landing River: Dewy Mullins at West Neck Marina tells that anglers are doing very well on 1 pound catfish. Lots of white perch to be had here. Bass fishing sounds good with reports of bigmouths running from 1 to 5 pounds. The water's clear and at a good level for fishing with a temperature around 70 degrees.

Region 2 - Southside

Philpott Reservoir: Great fishing at Philpott for largemouth and smallmouth bass as well as stripers and crappie says Shawn Purdue of Franklin Outdoors. Some walleye action to be had also. If you want big trout try the Pig River. One angler came in with a brown over 8 pounds. Clear water, good fishin'!

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Claytor Lake's Mike Buchett says the bass are coming off the beds and anglers should be able to pick them up around dock pilings. Nighttime is best for stripers. Go after them with broken backs, ThunderSticks, and Raplas. Striper fishermen are also having good luck with live shad. During the day stripers are coming to umbrella rigs fished down over 30 feet. Lake water is generally clear and in the upper 60s. Mike reminds everyone that there is a tournament every Tuesday from 6 to 10 in the evening.

Lower New River: The fishing in the river has slowed down from low water according to John Zienius of Big Z's Tackle Shop, a good rain would help. However, tubes are bringing in some smallmouth bass. John says the muskies are not doing much. On the lake early in the morning stripers and hybrids are taking ThunderSticks and Redfins. This fishing "explodes" from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. Bass action is pretty good during the day. Successful folks use lures imitating a dying shad. Small worms like Robo Worms can do the trick. Water quality in the lake is good with nice clear water. The river, on the other hand, needs rain.

Region 4 - Mountain & Valley

Lake Moomaw: Larry Andrews at the Bait Place is enthusiastic about all the big panfish that are showing up. Fishing for bass, both largemouth and smallmouth is still good. Young Forest Mayberry from Covington had a good day, hauling in a 4 pound brown trout. Water quality is getting better with the lake clearing up. Larry says the "best kept secret" is the Jackson River below the dam. Float and fish for rainbows and browns.

North Fork of the Shenandoah River/Mountain Streams: The water is clear on both the North and South forks of the river, fishing has been slow according to Harry Murray. Good fishing in the mountain streams. Hatches of Sulphurs and mayflies are helping the dry fly angler. Streams in the Shenandoah Valley area at ideal levels with good fishing for browns and rainbows. Try fishing Big Stoney Creek west of Edinburg or Passage Creek east of town. Water quality is clear and good with temperatures in high 50's to the upper 60's. A detailed weekly report of the local stream conditions can be found at www.murraysflyshop.com.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Fall Line of the James: Fishing guide Capt. Russ Cress tells us that the shad were hitting well until they headed back to the ocean (they will be back next year!). Stripers are in the river below the I-95 Bridge; catch them early in the morning and late evening. Good water quality in the James... mid level and clear.

Lake Anna: Anna Point Marina's Ken Kirk reports some stripers using crank baits about 12 feet down, but the better fishing is for crappie. A 1 pound, 9 ounce crappie was weighed in. Bass are away from the beds and somewhat scattered. Carolina rigs and soft plastics are getting results. The water is stained but clearing with the temperature in the high 60's.

Go catch a whopper!

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

  • What to do about nuisance wildlife
  • Effective and safe insect repellants
Royal Tern. Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.
BE WILD, VIRGINIA!

Royal Tern (Sterna maxima)
by Spike Knuth

One of the birds that shares the sand islands and beaches with gulls, egrets, sandpipers and other shore birds, is the royal tern. Terns can be identified by their choppy wing beats and by the fact that they hold their heads and bills pointed downward. The royal tern is one of the larger terns, measuring 18-21 inches in length.

They are bluish-gray above, shading to white on its rump. The sides of the head, the chin, throat undersides, and tail are all white. They also show a white forehead and a black crested head. The slim bill is bright orange to yellowish-orange. The first five primaries of its wing are grayish-black and the tail is forked.

The calls of the royal tern are short, shrill sounds described as "tsirr" or "kree," but they also utter a more melodious-like whistled call.

Royal terns can be seen in large flocks resting on sand spits, usually facing into the wind. They feed mainly on small fish of all kinds. They fly on narrow, pointed wings, scanning the water for small fish. Suddenly they'll hesitate, and hover briefly before plunging into the water, often with considerable force.

They begin nesting in late-May forming large colonies on sand bars and sandy islands. Known as "colony nesters," they are so closely packed that a bird's nesting territory is about as far as it can reach with its bill while sitting on the nest.

Royal terns normally winter along the Gulf Coast and points south, but occasionally a few may stay around during mild winters. They have been seen up the James River as far as Jamestown during the winter months.

       

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
May 2007

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

25-26 Free Fishing Tournaments for Youth, Town of Shenandoah. kirko3@hotmail.com.
26 Women in the Outdoors Event (PDF), Primeland, Meadows of Dan
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
23 JAKES Event, Luray.
July 2007
14 Women in the Outdoors Event (PDF), Hampton.
17 Smallmouth Bass Workshop on the New River (PDF), Radford.
20-22 Virginia Trappers Association (VTA) Convention and Sportsman Show, Page County Fairgrounds, Luray.
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!

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.

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.
June 2007
2-23

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.
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!

SUBSCRIBE TO VIRGINIA WILDLIFE MAGAZINE!
  • If you would like to become a regular subscriber to Virginia Wildlife magazine call 1-800-710-9369, visit the Department's Web site, or mail a check payable 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.
2007 WILDLIFE AND BOATING REGULATION REVIEW & 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. The Preliminary Recommendations Public Discussion Period opened April 10 and runs through June 15. Key dates in the process can be found on 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.
    Email sent to RegComments@dgif.virginia.gov.
    Mailed letters sent to: Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries, Attn: Policy Analyst and Regulatory Coordinator, 4016 West Broad Street, Richmond VA 23230.

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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