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, August 22, 2007

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this issue:
  • Are You A Sweepstakes Winner? Check Your Tickets!
  • Who Needs A HIP Number?
  • 2007 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Required
  • 2007 Migratory Waterfowl Seasons Set by Board
  • Dove and Waterfowl Hunting and Baiting Regulations on Web Site
  • People and Partners in the News
    • Hunter Education Course Offered August 25-26 Fulfillment Farms in Albemarle
    • New Volunteer Program Launched
    • Culpeper 4-H Shooting Range Open to the Public September 2
    • Quail Unlimited Hosts First Annual "Youth Appreciation Day"
    • Deer Hunting Events Scheduled for Disabled Persons
    • A Call Can Make a Difference for Wildlife
  • Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
  • Be Safe... Have Fun!
    • Know the Signs and Dangers of Sudden Storms
  • In Case You Missed It...
    • Links to Past Articles
  • Fishin' Report

Are You A Sweepstakes Winner? Check Your Tickets!

Welcome to the new subscribers who signed up at the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show in Richmond August 10-12 and entered our Sweepstakes receiving a contest ticket. Also, for those current subscribers that filled out comment cards and received a ticket, thank you for your input to help us improve the newsletter. The winning numbers are listed below.

Winners can claim their prize in one of two ways:

  1. Bring in the winning ticket to the VDGIF Headquarters office at 4010 West Broad Street in Richmond for verification and to claim your prize as listed.
  2. Mail your winning ticket to: David Coffman, Outdoor Report Editor, VDGIF, PO Box 11104, Richmond, VA 23230. Include your return address and we will mail you your prize.

New Subscribers Contest
Winning Numbers and Prizes

1st 8932084 Bear MGC Cutlery VA Wildlife Sheath Knife
2nd 8932061 VA Wildlife Fleece Vest - Grey
3rd 8392082 VA Wildlife Black T-shirt w/Eagle emblem
4th 8932236 VA Wildlife Olive T-shirt w/Deer emblem
5th 8932034 VA Wildlife Olive T-shirt w/Eagle emblem
6th 8932073 VA Wildlife Grey T-shirt w/Bass emblem
7th 8932220 Mouse Pad, Mug and Greeting Card Set
8th 8932147 VA Wildlife Camouflage Hat
9th 8932133 VA Wildlife Green Hat w/Deer emblem
10th 8932188 VA Wildlife Blaze Orange Hat

Current Subscribers Contest
Winning Numbers and Prizes

1st 7748065 Bear MGC Cutlery VA Wildlife Sheath Knife
2nd 7748138 VA Wildlife Fleece Vest - Red
3rd 7748021 VA Wildlife Black T-shirt w/Bass emblem
4th 7748136 VA Wildlife Black T-shirt w/Eagle emblem
5th 7748074 VA Wildlife Olive T-shirt w/Bass emblem
6th 7748022 VA Wildlife Navy T-shirt w/Eagle emblem
7th 7748168 Mouse Pad, Mug and Greeting Card Set
8th 7748151 VA Wildlife Camouflage Hat
9th 7748011 VA Wildlife Green Hat w/Deer emblem
10th 7748054 VA Wildlife Blaze Orange Hat

 

Who Needs a HIP Number?

All hunters (whether licensed or exempt from being licensed) who plan to hunt doves, waterfowl, rails, woodcock, snipe, coots, gallinules or moorhens in Virginia must be registered with the Virginia Harvest Information Program (HIP). HIP is required each year and a new registration number is needed for the 2007-2008 hunting season. Hunters, after obtaining their 2007-2008 hunting license, can visit VAHIP.com to register, or call toll-free, 1-888-788-9772 any time day or night. Hunters will need to have their new hunting license number to begin registering unless exempt from license requirements. Lifetime license holders and those who are license exempt should use the last four numbers of their social security number as their license number when attempting to obtain a HIP number.

2007 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Required

Waterfowl hunters are reminded that the 2007 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp is mandatory for persons age 16 and older to hunt migratory waterfowl, unless license exempt. The stamp is valid July 1 through June 30, 2008 and may be purchased at license agents or clerks that sell Virginia hunting licenses or online from the Department's Web site. Last year a total of 22,628 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamps were sold generating $203,652. The funds from sales of the stamp are used for waterfowl habitat improvement projects submitted by nonprofit organizations and for waterfowl habitat work conducted by VDGIF staff.

2007 Migratory Waterfowl Seasons Set by Board

Season dates for hunting migratory waterfowl this fall were set by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries at their meeting on August 21, 2007. Overall duck and goose numbers and habitat conditions in the breeding areas improved over last year, resulting in liberal seasons and bag limits for most species. For details, see the Department's Web site.

Dove and Waterfowl Hunting and Baiting Regulations on Web Site

Migratory game birds such as doves and waterfowl are a national resource protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act through both Federal and State regulations. Federal regulations define key terms for hunters and land managers with respect to baiting, and clarify conditions under which you may hunt doves and other migratory game birds. These rules are not meant to regulate farming, but to ensure that land managers and hunters understand those practices that are compatible with dove and waterfowl hunting and those that are not. As a hunter or land manager, it is your responsibility to know and obey all Federal and State laws that govern the sport. Federal rules on baiting laws for dove and waterfowl hunting can be found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Web site:

How Are The Fish Bitin'?

Anglers across the state can get answers on fishing conditions for many of their favorite rivers and lakes by reading the Fishin' Report, included in 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.

Got your fishing license yet? Purchase your license online!

People and Partners in the News

Shotgun/Rifle Hunter Education Course August 25-26 at Albemarle Fulfillment Farms

The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia is hosting a Shotgun/Rifle Hunter Education Course August 25 and 26, 2007, at Fulfillment Farms in Albemarle County. The basic 10-hour course will be presented, along with instruction on the caring of and firing shotguns and rifles. Students will need to provide hearing and eye protection, as well as their own firearm. The course will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. both days, and lunch will be provided. This is a great opportunity for completing the required Hunter Education Course in one weekend. Registration is limited to 15 students. Call Jenny West at (757) 566-4000 to register or for additional details.

For information on the location of upcoming Hunter Education Courses, visit the VDGIF Web site or call toll free 1-(866)-604-1122.

New Volunteer Program Launched

The Complementary Work Force (CWF) program has been launched by VDGIF to enlist volunteers to assist with a variety of programs and routine duties. Depending on their particular interest and capabilities, volunteers can help with certain permit inspections and issuance, trout stocking, wildlife damage inspections, waterway marker inspections, exhibits, presentations, dispatching, equipment repair and maintenance, office work at the Department's regional offices and other responsibilities. This assistance will free conservation police officers -- formerly game wardens -- to concentrate on law enforcement and protection of the Commonwealth's fish and wildlife resources. Volunteer efforts will also assist biologists and staff in other Divisions including Wildlife, Fisheries, and Wildlife Diversity.

Secretary of Natural Resources Preston Bryant said the effort also aligns with Governor Kaine's volunteer initiative to build a stronger, united Virginia through volunteer service, and to engage citizens in a wide variety of services across the Commonwealth. "The volunteers in the Complementary Work Force will put the Department in direct contact with so many more people, which are critical to building support through establishing new relationships." The program's Web site lists volunteer job descriptions, training and how to apply online. In addition, information and applications are available from Susan Alger, Complementary Work Force Program Coordinator, (703) 481-2102, P.O. Box 481, Herndon, VA 20172, Susan.Alger@dgif.virginia.gov.

Culpeper 4-H Shooting Range Open to the Public September 2

The Cedar Mountain 4-H Shooting Sports Club in cooperation with Cedar Mountain Youths, Inc. is hosting firearms training open to the public, for one day only, at their range in Culpeper on Sunday September 2, 2007. Participants can learn basic firearm safety and responsibility for rifle, shotgun and bow and arrow. Participants over 21 years of age are also eligible to participate in the handgun training. Hours at the range will be from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. For more information, contact John Dodson at (540) 543-2070.

Quail Unlimited to Host First Annual "Youth Appreciation Day" September 22

The Central Virginia Chapter of Quail Unlimited (CVCQU) in partnership with other conservation minded organizations and individuals, will host the first annual "Youth Appreciation Day" on Saturday, September 22, 2007 to celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day. Guys and gals of all ages are invited to participate in many activities including fishing, shooting, archery, tree climbing, ATV riding and even miniature golf. Experienced guides and volunteers with their pointing dogs will have live quail for those who would like to try their skills at feathered targets. All activities will take place at "Breezewood" farm located in rural Louisa County at 2065 Bethany Church Road, Bumpass, VA 23024. For details contact Lanny Woolfolk at (804) 651-4922, or e-mail lwoolfolk@earthlink.net.

To find out more about Quail Unlimited or to discover the heritage of National Hunting and Fishing Day you can go to their respective Web sites which are www.qu.org and www.nhfday.org.

Deer Hunting Events Scheduled for Disabled Persons

Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen in cooperation with VDGIF and volunteers from numerous sportsmen's organizations is offering twelve exciting hunts this fall in all areas of the state. These special hunts are open to all physically challenged individuals and are free of charge. A lot of planning and logistics goes into scheduling these special events and we hope to fill each one with participants. Pass this information along to anyone with a disability. If you would like to participate in any of these hunts either as a hunter, or volunteer to assist disabled hunters, please complete the application form found at www.vanwtf.com. All applications must be e-mailed or postmarked by October 1, 2007.

A Call Can Make a Difference for Wildlife

A man dressed completely in camouflage lifts a turkey gobbler and his shotgun from the back of his pickup and disappears behind his house as his neighbor watches. The neighbor, knowing that the spring turkey season in Virginia has ended for the year, wrestles with his conscience, trying to decide what he should do. Finally, he makes his decision, reaches for his phone, and calls 1-800-237-5712. This is the toll-free, telephone number for the Virginia Wildlife Crimeline, a program through the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and sponsored by the Virginia Sportsman Reward Fund, Inc. His call could make the difference in stopping this poaching activity. Colonel Mike Bise, Chief of Law Enforcement for VDGIF, says of the program, "One of the most important tools in wildlife law enforcement is the support and involvement of outdoorsmen and citizens. The prompt reporting of violations is a tremendous help in investigating these cases."

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

To increase awareness of the activities of our dedicated Conservation Police Officers, previously called game wardens, we are adding a new section to the Outdoor Report, the "Virginia Conservation Police Notebook." These Notebook entries provide an overview of the variety of activities encountered by our officers who protect natural resources and people pursuing outdoor recreation in the fields, woods and waters of Virginia. The Notebook entries are listed by Region and come from official weekly reports completed by the field officers. The reports have been slightly edited to fit the format of the electronic Outdoor Report.

Region 1 - Tidewater

Promoting Boating Safety… On July 28, 2007, a popular boating event was held in King George County with approximately 800 boats in attendance. Seven Virginia Conservation Police Officers deployed three large patrol boats in Potomac and Aquia Creeks near the event to monitor the increased boating traffic. The officers inspected 27 boats, issued 18 summonses, gave 15 warnings and conducted four field sobriety tests. They also responded to a distress call in which a vessel was taking on water. The officers were the first on the scene and secured the vessel until a fire and rescue boat arrived. For information contact: Lt. Ken Conger, (804) 829-6580

Region 2 - South Piedmont

Felon Apprehended… On August 10, 2007, while on patrol, Officer Roy Morris noticed vehicle tracks on the Amelia Wildlife Management Area. Upon further inspection, he spotted two tents in a forested area where vehicles are prohibited. The tents were vacant, so Officer Morris returned the next day with Officer Gavin Farris. At that time, a vehicle and individual were present. The officers confronted the individual about his residency and discovered he had two rifles and a pistol. Suspicious of the circumstances, a records check was conducted finding the individual had multiple prior felony convictions, including armed robbery and malicious wounding, and was prohibited from possessing firearms. The officers placed the man under arrest. For information contact: Lt. Tony Fisher, (434) 525-7522.

Region 3 - Southwest

Man Overboard… On July 21, 2007, Officers Wes Billings and Lee Wensel were patrolling Claytor Lake when a subject in a bass boat waved them in for assistance. Upon approach, a second individual was observed in the water. This individual was a 53-year-old male weighing approximately 300 pounds. He had fallen overboard, was not wearing a PFD, and was unable to re-enter his boat due to his physical condition. The officers lifted the man out of the water back into his boat. The man was visibly exhausted, and the rescue squad was contacted. He was given oxygen and examined by rescue personnel. The man was grateful for the assistance of the Conservation Police Officers. The boaters were advised that public safety is the primary concern of a Virginia Conservation Police Officer and that it's always a good idea to wear a Personal Flotation Device. For information contact: Lt. Rex Hill, (276) 783-4860.

Region 4 - Mountain & Valley

Trespassers Caught… MeadWestvaco Security in Alleghany County contacted Officer Lisa Rhudy requesting assistance with individuals trespassing and stealing posted signs. MeadWestvaco set up surveillance cameras where suspected entry onto their property occurred. Cameras were monitored for approximately one month. Subjects were identified, arrested and charges placed by Officer Rhudy. One adult male was charged with two counts of Petit Larceny, one charge of General Trespass and one count of Trespassing to Hunt. The subject received jail time and $700 in fines. One adult female was charged with one count of General Trespass and one count of Petit Larceny. The Petit Larceny charge was dropped when she pled guilty to the trespass charge; she received a $200 fine. For information contact: Lt. Kevin Clarke, (540) 248-9360.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

License Agent Repays Fees… Officer Brad Luxford was assigned a case involving two Fluvanna County license agents who were in default for license fees in excess of $32,000. After a thorough investigation, two convenience store owners were afforded the opportunity to repay these debts. One agent made no attempt to repay his debt, so Officer Luxford obtained a felony embezzlement warrant against the subject, along with a search warrant for his residence. On June 4, 2007, the subject was arrested and his residence searched which resulted in the discovery of a large quantity of VDGIF license accounting documents. In addition, drugs were found and turned over to the Fluvanna Drug Task Force. On June 6, 2007, after the subject bonded out of jail, he made full payment of his debt of more than $14,000. The second license agent is still under investigation. For information contact: Lt. John J. Cobb, (540) 899-4169.

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Know the Signs and Dangers of Sudden Storms...

A very localized and severe storm stalled over the Powhatan area in June 2004, dumping over seven inches of rain within an hour resulting in two feet of water overtopping, eroding and breaching the earthen dams at the VDGIF Powhatan Lakes. Anglers have inquired on the restoration status of the popular Powhatan Lakes where the dams were destroyed by torrential rains now four years past. VDGIF has been working on the reconstruction and can report that the restoration is 60% complete. "Re-building an old dam under new environmental and dam safety guidelines has been a very involved process, taking nearly two years to receive project authorization, approvals and necessary permits," notes James Adams the Capital Programs Director for VDGIF construction projects like boat ramps, hatcheries and other facility improvements. The long restoration process for Powhatan Lakes reminds us of the devastation that can be caused by severe thunderstorms.

With hurricane season upon us the lingering destruction and impact of Hurricane Isabel on eastern lakes and rivers is still evident in Virginia. Even the scars of Hurricane Camille in 1969 are still evident in Nelson County. Be aware of the weather forecast for thunderstorms when going outdoors. Powerful storms can form quickly and be locally devastating, as much as a hurricane, as evident at Powhatan Lakes. If out on a day long or multi-day field trip take a portable radio to get weather bulletins in case storm clouds threaten. Get out of low lying areas that may be prone to flash flooding. If you hear thunder you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Seek shelter away from open areas. For more tips on being safe during storms or while on the water, read "The Power of Lightning" by Jim Crosby on the Department's Web site.

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.

For regulations and conditions on saltwater fishing, visit the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) Web site.

Reporter's Notes:

I was pulling into the Holiday Inn in Waldorf, Maryland when I saw the boats. There were several of them, all emblazoned with sponsor logos, as were the trucks that had pulled them there. One or two boats had an angler in them, pretending to cast or organizing their tackle. The rest of the bass pros were gathered around small charcoal cookers, grilling, eating, sharing a beer -- just kicking back, enjoying the night and each other. Soon enough, before dawn in fact, they would be competitors, each striving to best the others. But just for tonight, just now, they were good old buddies.

Region 1 - Tidewater

Beaverdam Swamp Reservoir: Mel Hopkins reports that the fishing for crappie and cats had been "decent." The bass fishing has been OK as well. Gary Slusher of Newport News brought in a 15 ¾-inch crappie. The water is clear and 85 degrees.

Chickahominy Lake: George Allen of Ed Allen's reports that the largemouths are going for live minnows. Apparently "everything in the lake is biting": pike, bowfins, cats, and bluegills. The water is clear and in the upper 80s and lower 90s.

Chickahominy River: Charlie Brown says that things have been slow. A few good cats and some 5 lb. bass have been brought in. The water is clear and 89 degrees.

Little Creek Reservoir: According to Walter Elliott, largemouths are favoring plastic worms and deep diving crankbaits. Chain pickerel are attacking live minnows and plastic worms. Big stripers are going for Bucktails and herring in the deeper parts of the lake. Nine year-old Henry Moore of Mechanicsville landed a 12 ¾-inch yellow perch. Water is clear and in the high 80s.

North Landing River and Back Bay: Dewey Mullins at West Neck Marina tells us that fishing has been "awful slow" in his area. Some bluegills and cats have been caught in the early morning or late evening. Bass are best sought with top-water baits in the morning and crankbaits and plastics during the day. The cats are going for shiners, and bluegills for crickets. The water is clear and in the 80s.

Portsmouth Lakes: Allen Wills of Lake Meade and Cohoon Bait and Tackle says that "not a lot" has been going on fishing wise. Some bass are going for plastics and some speckles for minnows and jigs. The water has been clear and 85 degrees.

Region 2 - Southside

James River at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane reports that the smallmouth are striking crankbaits in orange and brown crawfish patterns and poppin' bugs. More bream are being landed. The water has been clear and low and in the mid 70s.

Kerr Reservoir: Bobby Whitlow of Bob Cat's Lake Country Store tells us that things there are very slow. Not much has been brought in. The water is clear and hot.

Leesville Reservoir: Leigh Tannehill of Tri County Marina says that things have "picked up." Early morning and dusk are the best times to try your luck. Cats are responding to worms and minnows. Some 3-4 lb. largemouth have been brought in. On the 26th there will be a bass tournament at the nearby Pit Stop. The water is clear and warmer than normal.

Philpott Reservoir: According to Bill Coe the bream continue to hit well. The walleye are really going for night crawler rigs during the day - at night use top-water baits. Cats are coming in "in abundance," attacking night crawlers, small bream and chicken livers. The best times to use these baits are at and around the time of the full moon. The water is clear and warm.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Mike Buchett of Rock House Marina tells us that times are "very, very, tough." A few stripers and cats are landed at night. If you want to go for stripers during the day try an umbrella rig in deep water. Night is the best time to go for bass. The water is clear and in the low 80s.

Flannagan Reservoir: The folks at the marina tell me that the bass are hitting well on jigs and worms. Night angling for cats using chicken livers is a good bet. J.J. Philips of Clintwood brought in a 30 lb. flathead. The water is clear and around 1 foot above the normal summer pool. The temperature is around 82 degrees.

Lower New River: John Zienius of Big Z's says things are "really tough." The river is so low, it is usually better to wade than to try to maneuver a boat. Anyone doing this, though, should be very careful and wear a PFD. The best times to fish are early morning and late evening. The water is clear and in the high 80s.

North Fork of the Holston River: Jamie Lamie of the Sportsman's Den reports that angling has "slowed way down." It's best to try at dusk and early morning. The smallmouth are responding to jitterbugs and dark colored soft plastics. The water is low, clear and hot.

South Holston Reservoir: Bill Faber of Sportsman's Marina tells us that night fishing is "unusually good" for this time of year. Bass are attacking root beer pig-n'-jigs and spinner baits. Some bass anglers are picking up accidental walleyes on the spinner baits. The water is clear and at 84 degrees.

New River, Claytor Lake and other nearby lakes: Victor Billings of Sportsman's Supply says that the local smallmouth are going for live bait. Catfishing is picking up. A few muskies have been attacking bucktail spinners. A 21 lb. muskie was brought in as were some 5 lb. smallmouth. The water is low clear and hot.

Region 4 - Mountain & Valley

Lake Robertson: Barbara Steinbrenner tells us that largemouth and cats are picking up. The water is clear and at a normal temperature for this time of year.

Shenandoah River, North Fork: Harry Murray tells me that the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah are running low and clear at around 77 to 82 degrees. The best fishing on the South Fork is from Luray to Front Royal. Your best bet for the North Fork is around the town of Edinburg. Good flies to use in these waters are the Shenandoah Blue Popper (4) and the Damsel Popper (4). Underwater flies to use are the Murray's Hellgrammite (6) and the Pearl Marauder (6).

The Blue Ridge Mountain streams are running low and clear at around 62 to 66 degrees. The best action to be found is in the steep parts of the streams. Good flies are Murray's Flying Beetle (16) and Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly (18).

The large stocked streams in the valley are unusually low, making fishing tough. It is best to go at dusk or dawn and to use streamers such as Murray's Betsy Streamer (10-12) or Casual Dress (10-12).

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

James River (middle): Jeff Schmick of James River Runners reports that fishing is slow due to a combination of heat and low water. Heavy grass and shallow water make it difficult to maneuver a boat. When angling these waters it is best to use plastics and weedless lures. The water is clear at 81 degrees.

Now go catch a whopper!

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

  • Bowhunting Safety Tips
  • Big Game Contest Results
  • Schedule and Locations for Hunts for Persons with Disabilities
American Oystercatcher. Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.
 
BE WILD, VIRGINIA!

American Oystercatcher
(Haematopus palliates)
by Spike Knuth

The oystercatcher is a large shorebird of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, measuring 17 to 21 inches in length. It's a noisy, thick-bodied, black-headed bird, with black or dark brown back, white undersides with white wing patches and rump. It has a large red bill, red eye ring and red eyes. Taxonomists gave it the name Haematopus palliates, meaning "red footed" wearing a cloak." Some of the other common local names are clam bird, sea crow or oyster bird.

Oystercatchers are most likely to be seen in pairs, standing quietly and alert, having an almost dignified appearance as it stands on exposed mud flats in the crisp black and white outfit. If startled they'll take flight on wings wider than most shorebirds, and uttering a high pitched single note "wheep-wheep-wheep" warning call. The oystercatcher feeds on exposed tidal flats and oyster beds, running about quickly, feeding on mollusks, crabs, marine worms, limpets, shrimp, clams and other marine life.

Oystercatchers are thought to mate for life. While they nest close to colonial nesting shorebirds, they tend to be solitary nesters. Nests are normally located on shell strewn beaches, isolated sand spits or tiny shell islands called "tumps" of Virginia's Eastern Shore. They begin nesting in late spring and continue well into summer. Incubation takes about 24 to 27 days. The downy young are colored and marked like their surroundings. The young feed on small marine animals and tidbits of food brought by the parent birds. They are able to fly in about 35 days.

·    ·    ·

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!

The artwork used to enhance this publication is produced by award-winning Virginia artist Carl "Spike" Knuth. He is currently retired from VDGIF and continues to be active in numerous activities contributing to wildlife conservation, information and education through his artwork and writing. We appreciate his continued service and support through his exceptional talent for both illustrations and writing. Spike's artwork can be seen at the Jager Gallery, 6939 Lakeside Avenue, in Richmond.

UPCOMING EVENTS
August 2007
24-26 Mother Daughter Outdoors, Appomattox - FULL
25-26 Hunter Education Course, Fulfillment Farms, Albemarle, (757) 566-4000
September 2007
2 Culpeper 4-H Shooting Range Training, (540) 543-2070
3 Labor Day Holiday
8 Western Regional Big Game Contest, Harrisonburg
22 Eastern Regional Big Game Contest & State Championship, Franklin
22 National Hunting and Fishing Day
22 Central Virginia Quail Unlimited "Youth Appreciation Day," Louisa, lwoolfolk@earthlink.net
22-23 Outdoor Expo, Suffolk Parks & Recreation, Constant's Warf Park & Marina, (757) 255-4032
23 J.A.K.E.S. Family Fun Day, Raphine. Call Clara Johnston at (540) 377-2372 or sairock@ntelos.net.
27 State Fair of Virginia, opens through October 7
28-30 J.A.K.E.S. Event, Rockbridge Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation/VDGIF, Lexington. william@cfw.com, (540) 463-5410
29 Women in the Outdoors (PDF), Leesburg
October 2007
5-7 Eastern Shore Birding & Wildlife Festival, Cape Charles
8 Columbus Day Holiday
20 Outdoor Beach Women (PDF), Virginia Beach
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
We have opportunities for the public to join us as volunteers in our Complementary Work Force Program. If you are interested in devoting your time and talents, apply here.

Opportunities will be posted regularly providing descriptions of available volunteer positions.

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

The following is a partial list of upcoming seasons starting in September and October for the more popular species. For a complete list and regulations consult the 2007-08 Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information.

September 2007
Crow: through March 15 Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday only.
Squirrel: Sept. 1 - Jan. 31
Dove: Sept. 1 - 29 noon to sunset.
September Canada Goose: Sept. 1 - 25
Rail: Sept. 10 - Nov. 17
September Teal: Sept. 17 - 26 East of Interstate 95 only.
October 2007
Archery
Bobcat: Oct. 6-31
Deer: Oct. 6 – Nov. 16
Turkey: Oct. 6 – Nov. 10
Bear: Oct. 13 - Nov. 10
Firearms
Snipe: Oct. 4 - 8 and Oct. 22 - Jan. 31
Dove: Oct. 5 - 27
Opossum: Oct. 15 - Mar. 10
Raccoon: Oct. 15 - Mar. 10
Grouse: Oct. 27 - Feb. 9 West of Interstate 95 only.
Turkey: Oct. 27 - Nov. 9 in most counties, check regulations for details.
Woodcock: Oct. 27 - Nov. 10
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 conservation police officer 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!
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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