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, September 12, 2007

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this edition:
  • Hunters - Are You Ready?
  • Safeboats New Tool on the Water for VDGIF
  • Human/Bear Interactions on the Rise in Virginia
  • Deer Hemorrhagic Disease Likely Source of Die-Offs
  • People and Partners in the News
    • Learn How Warm Season Grasses Benefit Farmers and Wildlife
    • National Hunting and Fishing Day Events Scheduled September 22-23
    • Forty-one Virginia Naturally Schools Recognized
    • Tye River to Flow Free Again
    • "Bucket Brigade" Volunteers Wanted to Stock Trout
  • Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
  • Be Safe... Have Fun!
    • Tree Stand Safety Tips for Both the Beginner and Experienced Hunter
  • Fishin' Report
  • In Case You Missed It...
    • Links to recent articles of on-going interest

Hunters - Are You Ready?

September is finally here which means school has started - yeah! And hunting season is underway - yahoo! Just like preparing for back to school, here are some things you need to do to get ready to hunt:

Mandatory Hunter Education Course

If you are a first time hunting license purchaser age 16 or older, or age 12-15, you are required to complete a 10-hour certified Hunter Education Course. This is a great time to introduce and to mentor a youngster to our outdoor sports traditions and conservation ethics to ensure we pass this rich heritage to the next generation. Hunter Education classes are free and we offer them statewide. For a schedule of Hunter Education courses call toll free 1-866-604-1122, or check the Department's Web site to find a class near you.

Purchase Your Licenses

A Customer Service Center has been established at VDGIF to help purchasers of hunting and fishing licenses. Be sure you have all the proper licenses and check the expiration date as they are good for a full year from purchase date with two exceptions: the Deer, Bear, Turkey Big Game License and the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp are valid July 1 through June 30. Call 1-866-721-6911 or email for assistance 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday, except holidays.

Sight In Your Gun or Bow

Now is the time to check your firearms and archery equipment for accuracy and proper working condition. Waiting until you have that big buck in your sights and having a problem with your firearm is both dangerous and shows poor sportsmanship. VDGIF has public sighting-in ranges on six Wildlife Management Areas and the U.S. Forest Service has seven ranges on National Forest sites. For details and rules of operation, see the Department's Web site.

Where You Goin'?

If your favorite deer or turkey woods now has houses growing on it, or you are looking for a new place to hunt, do some scouting online through VDGIF's Find Game interactive Web-based map-viewer and public hunting lands information system.

Get the Kids Involved

Mark Fike, in his "Outdoor Reminders" column in The Journal newspaper, published in the Northern Neck region, had some great advice for getting kids involved in the outdoors. "Squirrel season is in. It is time to not only get your kids outside and away from the TV, but time to do some scouting too. Turkey sign, deer sign and mast crops can all be seen now. Kids like learning new things and may even be amazed that dad or mom knew all those little things about the woods such as turkey dusting sites, where a paw paw tree grew or even what a paw paw tree was. Get those young people interested in the woods!"

Finally always be sure of your target and beyond! Have a safe, rewarding hunting season!

Safeboats New Tool on the Water for VDGIF

Conservation police officers with the VDGIF have unveiled their newest tool in serving as First Tier Responders for small craft engaged in suspicious water-based activities. The two, new 21-foot, 12-man Safeboats will enhance conservation police officers' surveillance, detection, and intervention capabilities as they patrol the Norfolk, Newport News and Portsmouth harbor areas.

Secretary of Natural Resources L. Preston Bryant, Jr. noted that "Acquiring these two Safeboats will allow Virginia's conservation police officers to maximize their daily operations as well as bring even greater resources to surveillance patrols, emergency response, and search and rescue operations. The Safeboats will enhance the Department's reputation as being the 'go to' law enforcement agency for remote areas and waterways."

Since 9/11, VDGIF Law Enforcement officers have been involved in security of critical facilities throughout the Commonwealth. Conservation police routinely patrol Virginia's waterways and serve as the primary port security for small craft (14 to 24 feet). Because conservation police have the authority to board these smaller vessels for safety inspections, they have the ability to be first detectors of improvised explosive devices favored by terrorist groups in maritime attacks.

Human/Bear Interactions on the Rise in Virginia

Avoid negative interactions by removing attractants from your yard

We have all been exposed to mixed messages about bears in both the television news and popular programs. We have been amused by the antics of Yogi and Boo-Boo, the cartoon bears, and we have been frightened by sensationalized stories of black bear behavior. Jaime Sajecki, the Black Bear Project Leader for VDGIF notes, "We are fortunate in Virginia to have the habitat to support healthy black bear populations. It is also our responsibility to understand the true nature of black bears in order to keep them wild and prevent negative interactions."

In the past few months, there have been incidents of bears breaking into homes for food, taking trash from campsites, and being sighted repeatedly in neighborhoods. Bears generally avoid interactions with people, but in times when natural food sources are limited, they can be attracted to human related food sources. "I don't think a bear ever forgets a food source. When they associate food with camp grounds, homes and garages, we have a serious problem. Once this behavior is learned it can not be easily reversed," stated Wildlife Division Director Bob Duncan.

Bears habituated to humans may cause safety concerns and often times need to be destroyed. To prevent negative interactions caused by human related food sources and to prevent the unnecessary destruction of bears, there is only one thing to remember: remove the attractant and you will remove the bear.

Deer Hemorrhagic Disease Likely Source of Die-Offs

VDGIF Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Jonathan Sleeman has confirmed that the recent die-offs of white-tailed deer in several counties throughout the state was caused by Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease. Hemorrhagic Disease (HD) is a common viral infectious disease of white-tailed deer, and outbreaks occur annually in Southeastern states. Since late July, VDGIF wildlife biologists and conservation police officers have investigated reports of suspected outbreaks from multiple counties in Virginia. Currently, other states across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic are experiencing HD outbreaks.

Dr. Sleeman advises that, "HD typically occurs in late summer and early fall and poses no threat to humans or domestic pets such as dogs and cats. Biting flies, commonly known as biting gnats, transmit the viral disease. HD cannot be spread by direct contact between infected animals. Deer that contract the disease often die rapidly. VDGIF Biologists continue to monitor the situation and will provide technical assistance to affected landowners."

People and Partners in the News

Learn How Warm Season Grasses Benefit Farmers and Wildlife - September 25, 2007

Native Warm Season Grasses are a potential cash crop for Virginia farmers and have numerous benefits to wildlife and land stewardship. A seminar will be held on September 25, 2007, at 1:00 PM at the Burkeville Fire Department, 503 Namozine St., Burkeville, VA 23922. VDGIF Small Game Biologist Pat Cook notes, "The objectives of the seminar are to demonstrate techniques to establish native warm season grasses in one growing season, discuss existing uses of native warm season grasses as livestock forage and in soil, water, and wildlife conservation. Experts will be on hand to review other potential commercial uses such as a source for biofuels and to explain cost share opportunities for establishing and marketing this 'green' source of income for land managers." The seminar is open to the public. For more information contact Pat Cook at (434) 392-9645.

National Hunting and Fishing Day Events Scheduled September 22-23, 2007

Do you remember your first hunting, boating, or fishing experience? Ask anyone to tell the story of who first took them boating or fishing - chances are good the story is deeply personal and meaningful. America's sportsmen and women provide tremendous conservation and economic benefits in addition to the great traditions and family values that make hunting and fishing special. Getting the right introduction to outdoor experiences ensures a quality experience and the start to a lifetime of enjoyment. Join with family or friends to participate in a National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration near you and pass on these time honored traditions to a new generation.

  • East Regional and State Big Game Contest, Southampton Fairgrounds, Franklin
  • Outdoor Expo, Suffolk Parks & Recreation, Constant's Warf Park and Marina, (757) 255-4032
  • J.A.K.E.S. Family Fun Day, Raphine, (540) 377-2372
  • Outdoor Festival, Five County Fairgrounds, Farmville, (434) 547-6770
  • Quail Unlimited First Annual "Youth Appreciation Day" Louisa,

Tye River to Flow Free Again

A Virginia family is honoring the memory of their mother by granting one of her final requests - to help restore the Tye River in Nelson County. In the 1950s, Elizabeth "Bess" Quinn inherited a dilapidated former mill dam  from her father on the river. The dam was abandoned for many years and damaged by Hurricane Camille. Ms. Quinn realized that removing the dam would allow more than 20 miles of the river to run free for the first time in roughly 100 years.

"Removing the dam will increase the passage possibilities, and hopefully the populations of many aquatic species. It will also allow for increased access for anglers, paddlers and boaters," said VDGIF Fish Passage Coordinator Alan Weaver, one of the leaders of the removal effort. VDGIF is conducting a before and after fish population monitoring project to document the effects of dam removal, which are anticipated to be positive. The multi-year project is a partnership of many organizations. American Rivers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Natural Resource Conservation Service, VDGIF, and the local non-profit Virginia Organizing Project, all teamed up to accomplish this task.

Forty-one Virginia Naturally Schools Recognized

Virginia Naturally School Recognition program will be honoring 41 schools for their efforts during the 2006-2007 school year. The schools have made a long-term commitment to increase the environmental literacy of their students. Each year schools have the opportunity to add to their accomplishments while continuing with past efforts. The total number of students in the recognized schools is 19,851 under the guidance of 1, 356 teachers. The complete list of criteria may be found on the VDGIF Web site or linked through the Virginia Naturally Web site.

"Bucket Brigade" Volunteers Wanted To Stock Trout

Join the volunteer "Bucket Brigade" to stock trout in VDGIF Region 4 covering the Shenandoah Valley. It's a great way to enjoy the outdoors and build new friendships. Joining is easy - just go to the Complementary Work Force section of the Department's Web site to review the details and complete the application. Sign up today! Stocking begins October 1, 2007 through May 31, 2008. See you on the bucket line!

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.

Region 1 - Tidewater

Caught in the Act... A joint investigation conducted by VDGIF and the US Fish & Wildlife Service resulted in the prosecution and conviction of an Eastern Shore resident for violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. In late December 2006, Sergeant Steve Garvis obtained and confirmed information about a man trapping hawks in Accomack County. Sergeant Garvis requested assistance from VDGIF Special Operations Overt Unit. Special agents with the unit provided video surveillance of the suspected trap site. As a result, agents captured on tape the suspect trapping and killing two red-tailed hawks. During a subsequent interview conducted by Sergeant Garvis and USFWS Special Agent D. Ralance, the suspect admitted to killing the two hawks as an inadvertent catch while trapping fox. The suspect also admitted killing one additional hawk that season as well as killing "a few" hawks during previous trapping seasons.

In August 2007, the case was successfully prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Federal Court in Norfolk, Virginia. After the lengthy trial, the suspect was found guilty based on the evidence presented by the government and was further admonished by the judge. Additionally, the judge ruled that the defendant's fourth amendment rights had not been violated as this case fell under the open field doctrine. The defendant was found guilty and fined $1,070. For more information contact: Lt. Ken Conger (804) 829-6627.

Region 2 - Southern Piedmont

Lake Speeder Caught OUI... On September 3, 2007, Conservation Police Officers John Koloda and Jason Keith were patrolling on Smith Mountain Lake. After sunset, they observed a personal watercraft operating at a high rate of speed. The officers engaged their emergency lights and attempted to stop the vessel for illegally operating after dark. After a considerable pursuit, the boat finally stopped at the Indian Point Marina boat ramp. The operator and his passenger seemed surprised to see the officers and asked if they had done anything wrong. The officers noticed the operator had difficulty keeping his balance even though the watercraft was still. A strong odor associated with alcoholic beverages prompted the officers to give the man field sobriety tests, which he performed poorly. The operator admitted to having "3 or 4 beers" and to taking two different types of anti-depressant medication.

The man was arrested and transported to the Franklin County Jail where his alcohol level officially registered. The man was formally charged with Operating Under the Influence (OUI) and for operating a personal watercraft after sunset. Luckily, the officers were able to remove this threat from the water before someone was injured or killed and before the intoxicated man was able to get into his car and further endanger citizens on the highway. For more information contact: Lt. Tony Fisher (434) 525-7522.

Region 3 - Southwest

Deer and Turkey Poachers Busted... In July 2007, Conservation Police Officers Jamie Davis and Daniel Hall began a six week investigation which resulted from a call to report a deer being shot and killed in Smyth County during closed season. Both officers demonstrated excellent investigative and interrogation skills during this long process which included the cooperation of local citizens. Officer Davis stated, "Without the dedication from the citizens in the community, and working as a team with Officer Hall, this case would not have been solved."

A suspect was identified and the following warrants were obtained and served: two warrants for taking deer during closed season; two warrants for killing a deer by a light attached to vehicle; one warrant for trespassing. The subject riding in the vehicle, and who admitted to holding the spotlight, was served the following warrants: two warrants for killing a deer by a light attached to vehicle.

The Officers concluded their investigation on August 28, 2007, following a final interview with the suspects. Armed with information of other violations of killing deer and turkey, Officers Hall and Davis were able to obtain a confession that one of the suspects killed eight deer and three turkeys illegally. For more information contact: Lt. Rex Hill (276) 783-4860.

Region 4 - Mountain & Valley

Pot Seized Due to Observation and Teamwork... On August 29-30, 2007, Conservation Officer Billy Angle assisted the Virginia State Police and local Drug Task Force officers with marijuana eradication in Bath and Alleghany counties. A few days prior to the operation while in an off-duty status, Officer Angle observed a male subject on a farm tractor hauling five gallon buckets of water into the National Forest in Bath County, just north of Douthat State Park. On eradication day, Officer Angle advised Virginia State Police of the area where the subject was observed transporting the buckets. A helicopter flew the area and detected marijuana plants growing along a power line. Ground crews investigated the location and seized 25 marijuana plants at an estimated street value of $25,000-$50,000. For more Information contact: Lt. Kevin Clarke (540) 248-9360.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Operation SWEEP Enforces Boating Safety Requirements... Conservation Police Officers, in the largest concentration effort ever on Lake Anna, enforced the Commonwealth's boating laws and educated constituents about safe boating. This special operation came on the heels of the successful statewide Operation SWEEP (Safer Waterways through Enforcement and Education Programs) held on August 18. The Lake Anna SWEEP Operation included every uniformed officer working within Region 5, which encompasses 20 counties from the Richmond metropolitan area to Northern Virginia, and westward to Charlottesville. In addition, officers volunteered from two other regions in the state. This focused effort resulted in 37 two-officer boat patrols, along with six boating safety checkpoints. Two of these high profile checkpoints included 10 patrol boats, which were the largest single operations ever deployed on Lake Anna.

In just over 48 hours, 340 boats had been inspected, 86 charges made and 37 warnings issued. Most charges were related to boats not being in compliance with safety requirements; however, among the charges were two arrests for boating under the influence, a reckless operation, and two underage boaters who were prevented from drinking their large supply of alcoholic beverages.

This nearly around-the-clock lake coverage also resulted in several personal watercraft, and even a water skier, being caught on the water after legal hours. In addition, just after sunrise, numerous boat operators were caught by surprise "on plane," completely disregarding no wake zones. Finally, a criminal thief investigation was started and a possible stolen motor was seized as evidence. For more information contact: Lt. John Cobb (540) 899-4169.

Operation SWEEP is the beginning of an intensified effort to enforce the Commonwealth's boating laws and to educate the public about safe boating practices.

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Tree Stand Safety Tips for Both the Beginner and Experienced Hunter

Among the hundreds of volunteer Hunter Education Instructors, Dick Holdcraft stands out as the "tree stand expert," based on over 40 years as a career safety manager and instructor. Dick has taught for VDGIF as a Master Instructor since 1993, and has taught the tree stand safety course 39 times to over 600 Hunter Education Instructors. We appreciate Dick's dedication and service to his fellow sportsmen and thank him for providing this sage advice to our readers…

Whether you are an experienced deer hunter or this is your first time in the field, now is the time to prepare if you are going to use a tree stand. Here are some tips to help you prepare and stay safe.

Go For Quality Design

Use a well designed and built, sturdy tree stand. Tree stands manufactured by the Tree Stand Manufacturers Association (TMA) that have been built since 2006, are commercially designed and tested to meet recognized industry standards.

Heed Instructions - Practice Use

Read and understand the manufacturer's instructions on the use of your tree stand before using it. You should practice using the tree stand in the morning and evening hours. As the saying goes; "Perfect practice makes perfect."

Inspect for Dangerous Wear

Carefully inspect your tree stand for wear, rust, metal fatigue and cracks, loose, or missing nuts or bolts, rot and deterioration before and after each use. Tighten loose nuts and bolts and replace rusty or worn hardware. Check straps or chains or other attachment devices for wear and replace if they are unsafe.

Check for Defect Recall

You should also check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to see if your stand has been recalled due to safety defects. In the search field type in the words tree stand, then click on the link for your stand. Contact the manufacturer if it has been recalled.

Remember: Always Harness Up - Before You Climb Up!

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 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...

Fall fishin' time for reflection

I remember in my college days reading some Russian author, Pushkin I think, describing the fall trees in their red and gold as "victims decked for sacrifice." I never agreed with that. Fall and the coming winter seem to me to be a time for the trees, for the earth, to get ready for the rest and reflection of winter. But trees aren't the only ones who get some cool, quiet reflection time in fall. In fall the angler will have more of the rivers, lakes and streams to himself. You will probably fish that beautiful mountain stream alone, there is nobody at the beach, so you can surf cast until you're tried of it, if that ever happens.

And under the water most everyone is willing to cooperate. It's feeding time for fish. The lakes will have turned over, causing the water temperature to be in the 60 to 70 degree range. Perfect for floating down the New River for smallmouth, or casting for largemouth in the James, or for stripers at Lake Anna. Until the meditative trees drop their brilliant leaves it will be a magic time for anglers in Virginia. Enjoy!

Region 1 - Tidewater

Chickahominy River: Charlie Brown reports that not a lot of anglers have come his way lately. There have been some big cats brought in; and some largemouth bass, but the heat is making the fishing really slow. The water is clear and the temperature is starting to drop from the upper 80s.

Little Creek Reservoir: Richard Creech tells me that things are doing pretty good. The largemouth, walleye, yellow perch, stripers and crappie are biting fairly well. Mike Fowler of Williamsburg landed six stripers and 11 bass, all of which were released. The water is clear and around 80 degrees.

North Landing River and Back Bay: Dewey Mullins says that largemouth, white perch, crappie and bluegill have been hitting. The bass have been going for topwater lures morning and evening and crankbaits and plastics during the day. Mike McDuvitt, of Virginia Beach, came in with an 8 lb. largemouth. The water has been clear in the high 70s. Dewey wants me to tell you to "come catch fish!"

Portsmouth Lakes: Mike Gizara relates that chain pickerel have been going after minnows. Crappie have been attacking minnows and small jigs. The largemouths have been hungry for plastic worms, and the stripers are responding to crankbaits and minnows. Lenny Clark of Chesapeake caught a citation shellcracker at 1 lb. 4oz. The water is two feet below normal, clear and 82 degrees.

Region 2 - Southside

James River (Scottsville area): Brian Bodine at Razorback Guide Service reports that the smallmouth are attacking grubs and finess worms from Howardsville to the Scottsville stretch. Below Scottsville to Bremo Bluff they are doing better on tubes and flukes. Fred Hardy, from Fork Union, landed a smallmouth over 6 lbs. near the mouth of the Slate River.

James River (at Lynchburg): According to Wayne Childress the "streams are almost non-existent" due to heat and lack of rain. Still, some smallmouth are responding to poppers and streamers used in fly fishing. The best fishing is early morning and late evening. The water is clear and very warm.

Kerr Reservoir: Bobby Whitlow of Bob Cat's Lake Country Store tells us that cats are hitting on the upper lake. Stripers are responding around the dam, going for jigs and spoons and live bait. Crappie are lurking around deep brush and can be lured out with small to medium minnows. The water in the lake is low, fairly clear and around 80 degrees.

Leesville Reservoir: Fred Tannehill reports that fishing is "hard." Some large cats are coming in. Steve Johnson, a local angler, came in with a blue cat 48 inches long and 28 lbs. 8 oz. These big cats are going for night crawlers and chicken livers. Crappie are responding to small minnows. The water is fairly clear and very warm.

Smith Mountain Lake: Mike Snead, at the Virginia Outdoorsman's Store, says that the stripers are schooling in the main channels and the mouths of major creeks. They are going for three-way jigs with Sutton spoons and umbrella rigs. The smallmouths are biting live bait on down lines and jigs with flukes. Laregemouths are near the docks and are attacking Shaky Head worms and Sinkos. In deep water and in brush they seem to like Carolina-rigged worms. Crappie fishing has slowed somewhat, but anglers are still having lucik with minnows on top of submerged trees. Cats are biting on shad, night crawlers and stink baits. Bluegills are going for red wigglers around the docks. The water is clear at 83 degrees.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Greg Osborne of Rock House Marina says that there's not a lot of fishing going on during the day. At night, however, cats are biting live shiners, and shad. The stripers are also going after shad. Smallmouth fishing is starting to pick up, with fishermen having the best luck with plastic worms and spinner baits. The water is stained and at 84-85 degrees.

Flannagan Reservoir: Michael Mullins at Flannagan Reservoir Marina tells me that both large and smallmouth fishing is picking up. The bass are going for worms and jigs, and shad in the early morning and late afternoon. Cats are also doing well on night crawlers and chicken livers. Bluegill are attacking crickets and worms, while crappie prefer minnows. Trolling for walleye with night crawlers and spinner baits are also a good bet. The water is clear and 76 degrees.

According to Rodney Fleming at Primetime Sports, smallmouths are responding early in the morning and late at night. Walleye are going for Long A Bombers. Other than that, fishing has been slow due to the heat. The water is clear and in the upper 80s.

North Fork of the Holston River: Jamie Lamie, at the Sportsman's Den, reports that both smallmouth and redeye are going for dark colored soft plastics, flukes and minnows. The redeyes are tending to stay on top of the water, where they find jitterbugs and tiny torpedoes attractive. The best fishing is early morning and late evening. The water is clear and warm.

South Holston Reservoir: Bill Faber, at the Sportsman's Marina, says that smallmouths are responding to root beer pig-n-jigs at night. Walleye are going for night crawler rigs. A few crappie have been taken with minnows after dark. The water level is low, causing the fish to move around. The water is clear and at 82 degrees.

New River, Claytor Lake and other waters: Victor Billings at Sportsman's Supply tells us that fishing is slow on Claytor. The New River is low, but smallmouths are going for minnows on the top water. Cat fish angling on the New River is "fair" with chicken livers being popular with the fish. The water in all areas are low and clear with very warm temperatures.

Region 4 - Mountain & Valley

Lake Moomaw: Larry Andrews of the Bait Place reports that the lake is low and fishing is correspondingly "slow." But both large and smallmouth bass are still going for jigs and worms. Trout are active below the dam on the Jackson River. The catfishing is also pretty good using the standard chicken livers and big minnows. The water is clear and 78 degrees on the surface, but is much cooler lower down.

Lake Robertson: Gloria Clemmer tells me that bluegills are interested in night crawlers. Cats are going for chicken livers. The water is clear and somewhat cooler.

Shenandoah River, North Fork and South Fork: Harry Murray says that the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah are clear and fishable with good water levels. The fishing is best on the North Fork around Edinburg and downstream. On the South fork the best bet is to set up around Luray and downstream. The waters in these areas are 78 to 84 degrees and the best flies to use are the Shenandoah Blue Popper, the Shenandoah Damsel Popper and the Murray's Hellgrammite. In the large trout streams in the Shenandoah Valley, the water level is low and the best places to fish are below the riffles. The best flies to use are the casual dress and the Murray's Betsy Streamer and the Murray's Pearl Marauder. In the mountain streams the trout population is good. The water is cooling and getting lower, so approach with caution. The best flies for the setting are the Murray's Flying Beatle 16, McMurray's Ant 18-20 and the Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly 18. The water in these streams is running clear and 63 degrees.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

James River (Richmond area): Mike Ostrander reports that the cats are responding well to live bait. The sunfish are going for jigs and spinners. The smallmouths are also biting some. He warns that there is a lot of submerged aquatic vegetation (a.k.a. grass). The water is clear and cooling off.

Got Tips?
Got Tricks?
Adventure Stories?
The one that got away?
The one that didn't?

email your material to
and it might get used in the Fishin' Report!

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..."

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 editions of the Outdoor Report, look for:

  • Hawk Fall Migration Viewing
  • Big Game Contest Results
  • New Virginia Wildlife Collector's Knife
Black duck. Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.

Black Duck
(Anas rubripes)
by Spike Knuth

One of the more important and impressive of our waterfowl is the black duck - often called the black mallard because of its similar shape, size and habits. It is unique to the eastern half of the United States.

Both sexes are similar in color - a dark, chocolate brown-appearing almost black - with a lighter, buffy-brown head and neck, and silvery white and gray underwings, which helps make the ducks appear black. Its speculum is a deep, purplish-blue. The males have deep yellow bills and red-orange feet, while the female's bill is greenish-yellow and feet a little duller in color.

They nest mainly in Quebec, but as far west as Manitoba. One thing different about this duck is that it commonly nests in forests, near lakes or rivers. A very winter hardy duck, it can take the blustery weather in the Northeast, and they winter from the Great Lakes and New England, all the way to the Gulf, but mainly in the Mid-Atlantic.

Black ducks feed on aquatic plants and seeds-adding clams and snails to their diets in their coastal habitats.

Due to loss of habitat, encroachment on their historical coastal habitats and interbreeding with mallards, black duck numbers have been down below the long term average as compiled by the USFWS.

·    ·    ·

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.

September 2007
22 Eastern Regional Big Game Contest & State Championship, Franklin
22 National Hunting and Fishing Day
22 Central Virginia Quail Unlimited "Youth Appreciation Day," Louisa,
22-23 Outdoor Expo, Suffolk Parks & Recreation, Constant's Warf Park & Marina, (757) 255-4032
22-23 Outdoor Festival, Five County Fairgrounds, Farmville, (434) 547-6770
23 J.A.K.E.S. Family Fun Day, Raphine. Call Clara Johnston at (540) 377-2372 or
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., (540) 463-5410
29 Women in the Outdoors (PDF), Leesburg
October 2007
5 Forestry and Wildlife Bus Tours, Virginia Cooperative Extension and VDGIF, Patrick County, (276)-694-3341
5-7 Eastern Shore Birding & Wildlife Festival, Cape Charles
8 Columbus Day Holiday
12 Forestry and Wildlife Bus Tours, Virginia Cooperative Extension and VDGIF, Albemarle County, (434) 872-4580
19 Forestry and Wildlife Bus Tours, Virginia Cooperative Extension and VDGIF, Prince George/Surry County, (757) 657-6450
20 Outdoor Beach Women (PDF), Virginia Beach
25 Forestry and Wildlife Bus Tours, Virginia Cooperative Extension and VDGIF, Frederick County, (540) 665-5699
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.

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.


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
Bobcat: Oct. 6-31
Deer: Oct. 6 - Nov. 16
Turkey: Oct. 6 - Nov. 10
Bear: Oct. 13 - Nov. 10
Snipe: Oct. 4 - 8 and Oct. 22 - Jan. 31
Duck, Merganser, Coot, Gallinules, & Moorhen: Oct. 4 - 8
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.
To report a wildlife violation, call 1-800-237-5712, or email

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!

  • 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, P.O. Box 11104, Richmond, VA 23230-1104. 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.


The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shall afford to all persons an equal access to Department Programs and facilities without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sex or age. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any program, activity or facility, please write to: The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 4010 West Broad Street, P.O. Box 11104, Richmond, VA 23230-1104.

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