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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, December 12, 2007

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this edition:
  • Seasons Greetings!
  • Adaptive Wildlife Management: Merging the Then with the Now
  • Dabney W. Watts, Jr. Promoted to Chief of Law Enforcement
  • Conservation Officer Saves Life with CPR and AED
  • Hunters - Did You Remember To...
    • Mid-Season Deer Harvest on Target for Projections
    • Hemorrhagic Disease Affects Western Virginia Deer Harvest
    • Special Extended Deer Season in NOVA Counties
    • Help Feed Hungry Families in this Season of Giving
  • People and Partners in the News
    • Annual Youth Writing  Contest Announced by Outdoor Writers Association
    • Outdoor Sports Show at Dulles Expo Center January 4-6
    • Educational Women's Waterfowl Hunting Workshop Scheduled in Fredericksburg
    • Lake Level Lowered at Laurel Bed
    • Volunteers Construct Accessible Fishing Pier on Jackson River
    • 2008 Virginia Wildlife Calendar and Collectible Knives
    • Conger Photos Featured in 2008 Watchable Wildlife Calendar
  • Be Safe... Have Fun!
    • Gifts That Can Save Lives - Affordable and Priceless
  • Habitat Improvement Tips
    • Create a Holiday Tree for the Birds
    • Make a Special Bird Treat
  • Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
    • Field reports from officers protecting natural resources and people pursuing outdoor recreation
  • Fishin' Report
    • Gift Ideas for the Angler
  • In Case You Missed It...
    • Links to recent articles of on-going interest

Seasons Greetings!

This December edition is really special as it is the last edition of 2007 and completes the first anniversary of the new, revived, electronic Outdoor Report. We have grown to 10,000 subscribers and we appreciate your continued interest. This edition is somewhat longer than usual due to adding some articles that would have been in the next edition. Due to the holidays, our next edition will be posted January 9, 2008.

This "Holiday" edition is full of ideas for gift giving whether you enjoy fishing, hunting, boating, birding, camping or other outdoor adventures. My personal recommendation is to give someone special to you the gift of time together - an adventure out in the wild. You will create wonderful memories, especially for a youngster, or an adult that has not had the opportunity to discover the great heritage and traditions experienced by exploring our wild places. Follow up with a personal commitment to be informed and get involved in working for solutions to the issues that threaten our wildlife and wildlife habitat. Sharing activities with novice outdoorsmen is the best gift you can give back to the outdoors you respect and cherish. You don't have to do this alone, find a group that you can support that shares your views and join. Each edition of the Outdoor Report contains examples of organizations that partner with VDGIF staff to provide opportunities to get folks involved in outdoor activities and making our wild Virginia a great place to live and experience the gifts of our fields, streams and forests.

Sign up your friends and colleagues for a free subscription to the Outdoor Report! We hope this newsletter has informed and inspired you to get involved and get outdoors. From all of us that work to bring you the Outdoor Report, we wish you and yours joy and peace this holiday season and throughout the New Year!

Adaptive Wildlife Management: Merging the Then with the Now

The history of hunting in Virginia is as old as the history of Virginia herself and can clearly be traced back to the first English settlers in the New World. Turns out these newcomers were only doing what the native Virginians had done for thousands of years, that is, use the bounty of Virginia’s wildlife for food, shelter, tools, clothes, and indeed, recreation. These early hunters, both native and come-here, valued wildlife and the opportunities it provided. It was only hundreds of year later, after the face of Virginia had changed dramatically, that this long accepted practice of using wildlife for personal benefit changed.

That change occurred in 1916, with the creation of what is now the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The unrestricted harvest of wildlife and the market hunting of certain species had driven the populations of some animals to a dangerously low level. Deer and wild turkey, those species so common and important when the English arrived, and so abundant today, were virtually non-existent in some areas of the Commonwealth.

With this new department came new laws governing the way we interact with wildlife, particularly on the consumptive use side of the equation, resulting in a new way to look at hunting. The key to the success of this new way of managing wildlife was the end user - the hunter, angler, and trapper. It just so happened that the value of wildlife so apparent to the early hunters was shared just as fervently by the hunters in the "new" Virginia. These folks willingly bought licenses, and a bit later paid excise taxes on firearms, ammunition and other similar gear. The revenue generated by this new way of doing business provided the desperately needed funds to begin the intense wildlife management practices that have brought the results we value and enjoy in Virginia.

Anyone who appreciates the wildlife abundance we have today, whether your interest is hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife watching in all its forms, or simply knowing that the "wild" Virginia is alive and well, owes a big thank you to the proud tradition of hunting in Virginia, and to those passionate, dedicated folks who continue this tradition.

But as we know they will, things continue to change. In 2006, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries hosted the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) Conference. SEAFWA is made up of all the states in the southeastern U.S. and is one of the longest serving such organizations of its kind. The focus of this group is to seek common solutions to common problems related to all the variables of managing wildlife resources. The theme of the SEAFWA conference was "Managing Wildlife in the Next New World." The one recognition by all the participants in the conference was that the faces of all our states have changed. Consequently, the way we manage wildlife, and the activities so vital to this management, such as hunting, fishing and trapping, need to be in tune with this new world and must be preserved. Now, just as in 1916, we need to carefully balance the new Virginia and all the issues and concerns that Virginians, now some seven and a half million people, have regarding wildlife management.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is once again at the forefront of these new challenges. Loss of critical habitat, environmental degradation, human/wildlife conflicts, and a decline in areas available to hunt, fish, trap and otherwise enjoy wildlife are some of the apparent issues in the new Virginia that must be addressed.

Less obvious, but equally critical, are issues we as an agency deal with every day. We all remember the concerns in recent years related to the potential for a pandemic flu outbreak. Recall that the overriding concern was the mobility of people and how that contributes to the spreading of disease. Translate that concern to wildlife and you get an idea of one of the major challenges facing wildlife professionals today. Never in the history of the profession of wildlife management has the concern been so great related to well-intended and not so well-intended people moving wildlife.

The interstate trade in wildlife is significant, driven by any number of markets for the animals. This Department has taken a hard line on the illegal possession and movement of wildlife, specifically due to the disease concerns. This concern was virtually unheard of in the "old" Virginia. So far, as indicated by frequent monitoring, none of the wildlife diseases so problematic in other states have been found in Virginia. We certainly will continue to do all we can to keep it that way.

Along these same proactive lines, the Department has launched a study regarding the use of hounds in certain types of hunting in Virginia. Hunting with hounds is a long and time-honored tradition in many states, but probably nowhere any stronger than Virginia. Our interest, as the Agency charged with matters related to hunting, is to protect this heritage and the role it plays in managing wildlife. As with all hunters, hunters who work with hounds are passionate about wildlife, about hunting in general and in particular about their love for and use of dogs in pursing their sport. No one recognizes and appreciates that more than we at the Department.

Issues related to hunting with hounds that we are hearing about today were largely unheard of in a more rural Virginia. Our approach in this study is to involve stakeholders and, because the face of Virginia has changed, the list of stakeholders is larger and more diverse than it may have been in 1916. Hunters who use dogs, other hunters, private landowners, corporate landowners, rural homeowners, local government officials, law enforcement, wildlife managers and of course many other groups who enjoy wildlife are all important to this process. By participation in local focus groups, all these stakeholders can have the input we feel is so important to getting the full perspective.

It is worth noting that this is the same approach we took in developing long-term management plans for deer and bear. In a simplified description of this process, we asked stakeholders at the local level what they thought the management philosophy should be regarding regional populations of these species. The results of that process are now paying dividends in the management decisions we make.

In managing Virginia’s wildlife for all to enjoy, we must be diligent in staying on top of threats to this invaluable resource. We must also be in tune with what our citizens want from these resources and with their expectations of those who use these resources. Some folks are uncomfortable with the hunting with hounds study process but clearly the information gained in the study will prove invaluable. Just as hunting not only survived but thrived after the significant changes in the early 1900s, we feel it can and will continue to do so as we face today’s challenges.

This is not about abandoning our heritage related to wildlife resources and hunting. Rather, it is all about protecting them in an ever changing environment.

Mike Bise, Acting Director

Dabney W. Watts, Jr. Promoted to Chief of Law Enforcement

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) announced that Dabney W. Watts, Jr., has been promoted to the rank of Colonel and will serve as Chief of the Law Enforcement Division.

Watts, a native of Winchester, joined VDGIF as a Game Warden in February 1987. He attended the Central Virginia Criminal Justice Academy, graduating as the top graduate for the Department and second in his class overall. His first assignment as a Game Warden was in Culpeper County. He served in that community until 1991 when he was promoted to the position of Hunter Education Training Sergeant and assigned to the Region IV office then located in Staunton.

In 1993, he was promoted to the position of District Lieutenant overseeing game wardens in five Piedmont counties and also served as one of two Recruiting Officers for the Law Enforcement Division. While in this position Watts developed and implemented a special operation to provide water security patrols for the North Anna nuclear power facility in the months following the terrorists' attacks on September 11, 2001.

In 2003, Watts was promoted to Captain of Region V as the Law Enforcement Region Manager and in 2005, he led one of the Department's response teams to offer relief to local law enforcement personnel in the devastated Mississippi Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, he was promoted to Major and served as Assistant Chief of Law Enforcement and oversaw that division's operations.

Col. Watts replaces Col. Mike Bise who in October had announced his plans for retirement in January 2008, initiating a search for his replacement as Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. Col. Bise expressed his congratulations to Col. Watts on his well deserved promotion and noted the Agency was fortunate to have someone of Col. Watts' diverse experience from both field service and administrative capabilities to lead the law enforcement effort by the Agency . On November 30, the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries appointed Colonel Bise to serve as Acting Director of VDGIF until the director's position is filled by February 2008.

Conservation Officer Saves Life with CPR and AED

On December 1, 2007, Officer Richard Howald was staffing a VDGIF exhibit at the grand opening of "The Sportsmen's Warehouse" in Roanoke. During the morning, a photographer who was there to assist with taking pictures of children with Santa, collapsed and became unresponsive.

Officer Howald immediately checked the photographer and found that he was not breathing and had no pulse. Officer Howald activated 911 and began CPR on the victim. After a period of CPR, Officer Howald instructed a Roanoke Police Officer to assist with compressions while he retrieved his Automated External Defibrillator (AED) from his nearby patrol vehicle. Howald quickly returned, hooked up the unit, and re-assessed the victim. The computer of the AED showed no rhythm and suggested continuing CPR. After several more minutes, the victim began to breathe on his own, became somewhat more responsive and was able to advise the officers of his name. Two physicians arrived and began to assist with the treatment until an ambulance transported him to the hospital. Chase Gallentine, the store manager, stated that Officer Howald did an excellent job, took control of the situation, and instructed other individuals on how to assist.

Due to Officer Howald's immediate emergency administration of CPR to a lifeless person, the victim survived and is now recovering at home. Officer Howald's experiences as a U.S. Marine serving in Iraq, combined with completing the VDGIF Conservation Police Academy, provided the training and know-how for quick action that saved this man's life.

VDGIF Conservation Police Officers carry AED units in their patrol vehicles. VDGIF purchased 103 of these life saving units through a $133,000 grant in 2003 from the Office of Emergency Medical Services. The grant dollars originated from the Health Resources and Services Administration's Rural Access to Emergency Devices Grant Program. The AEDs were allocated to rural counties to enhance emergency response efforts. VDGIF was a great fit for this effort because of their statewide law enforcement coverage, the ability to operate in remote areas, and enhanced mobility. Conservation Police Officers can go anywhere at anytime to assist with any situation requiring AED usage in rural Virginia.

Hunters - Did You Remember To...

The following notes are quick reminders of things you may have overlooked in your efforts to get ready for hunting season, or reports from numerous calls we received recently at our information desk or experienced afield.

The best gift hunters can give, or receive are those of safety and courtesy - give often and generously!

Mid-Season Deer Harvest on Target for Projections

One of the most common questions the VDGIF gets during the middle of the firearms deer season every year is "Does the Department know if the deer kill is going to be up or down?" The honest answer is no, according to VDGIF Deer Project Coordinator Matt Knox . This question is almost always followed by the questioner's opinion on whether it will be up or down, which is typically based on their personal hunting success or failure.

The midseason deer kill in 2007 appears to be stable compared to last year based on the number of deer checked so far by telephone. As of Monday December 10, 2007, over 101,000 deer had been checked by telephone or Internet. This is about exactly what would be expected if the deer kill is going to be stable around 223,000, which was reported last fall by telephone and check stations combined. Last year 56% of the deer killed were reported by telephone, and this telephone check figure is predicted to increase to about 62% this season.

In a handful of counties, the deer kill appears to be running higher than last year, including Charlotte, Chesapeake, Craig, Floyd, Montgomery, Page, and Pulaski. An unusual outbreak of Hemorrhagic Disease (HD) in western counties has affected the deer harvest. Read details in the next article. None of these were big HD counties in fall 2007. Additionally only one county, Lee, appears to be unexpectedly lower than normal, and it did have a number of HD deer reported this past fall. Bedford County has already had over 5,000 deer checked by telephone and Internet this fall followed by Franklin and Loudoun both with 3,100+. All three of these are stable from last year.

Final deer kill numbers will not be available until early February when all the check station and DMAP materials are accounted for. It should be noted that Virginia's deer kill statistics dating all the way back to 1947 are based on a mandatory reporting system and represent an actual minimum known count. Harvest data can be found on the "Deer" section of the Department's Web site.

Hemorrhagic Disease Affects Western Virginia Deer Harvest

VDGIF Deer Project Coordinator Matt Knox reports that this year their appears to be more interest in the status of the deer kill, especially in western Virginia because of the Hemorrhagic Disease (HD) that occurred this past fall. For those not familiar with HD, it is the most important infectious disease of white-tailed deer in the Southeast United States and in Virginia, and outbreaks occur almost every year. It occurs every year in eastern Virginia.

The Department expected a quiet HD year in 2007, and in the "common" HD areas (e.g., Tidewater and the central Piedmont) it was fairly quiet. However, in the less common and rare HD areas (e.g., west of Highway 29), it was the biggest HD year ever. The Department received 100 HD calls and have had HD reported from the upper Shenandoah Valley all the way down to the Tennessee line. In the past two decades, with the exception of the very northern Shenandoah Valley counties, HD has been virtually unknown west of the Blue Ridge and rare in the southwestern piedmont. We had a small number in these areas in 2002, which was also a drought year/fall. For more information on HD, see the Department's Web site.

Special Extended Deer Season in NOVA Counties

Hunters are reminded of the special late anterless-only firearms deer season January 7 - February 2, 2008 in the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William. See the Department's Web site or refer to the Regulations Booklet page 38 for further details.

Help Feed Hungry Families in this Season of Giving

Now that you've had a successful hunting season, and you are fortunate to have harvested more deer than what you can use- donate your deer to a local processor who handles deer for Hunters for the Hungry. A list of processors can be found on the Hunters for the Hungry Web site. Also consider paying the $30 processing fee to help offset processing expenses. Another option is to ask the processor to set aside several packages of any deer they process for you for donating to Hunters for the Hungry. Every donation helps whether it's cash or venison and helps show that sportsmen do positive things in their communities. For great venison cooking recipes, purchase the Hunters for the Hungry Cookbooks containing 224 recipes and over 300 pages.

People and Partners in the News

Annual Youth Writing Contest Announced by Outdoor Writers Association

The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, Inc. (VOWA) announces its 15th Annual Youth Writing Competition for 2007. The goal of the contest is to reward young people for excellence in communicating their personal experiences in the outdoors. The competition is open to all Virginia students in grades 9 through 12, including home-schooled students.

The theme of this year's contest is based on "My Most Memorable Outdoor Experience". An experience by the writer with hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, hiking, birding or other outdoor activity should be the predominant subject matter. No athletic event or competition is an eligible subject matter. Submissions can be submitted in a Microsoft Word or text file since the three top winners will be published on the VOWA Web site, and may be in other publications or on web sites. E-mail submissions are encouraged - write the document and then attach it to an e-mail. The submissions can be made between now and the January 31, 2008, deadline.

Awards will consist of gift certificates and gear from outdoor sports businesses and Supporting Members of VOWA. Over $500 in prizes will be awarded. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the VOWA's Annual Meeting in Charlottesville, on March 19, 2008, with the time and place to be announced. The winner's parents (or mentor/teacher) will be guests of VOWA for the presentation event. There is also a separate contest for college level undergraduates interested in pursuing journalism or communication careers and interests.

For Contest guidelines, entry information and required entry submission form for both the Youth and Undergraduate contests, visit the VOWA Web site: vowa.org

Outdoor Sports Show at Dulles Expo Center January 4-6

The Nation's Outdoor Sportsmen's Show is returning to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly January 4-6, 2008. The family oriented show is geared to be a fun and educational experience for all who attend. Whether you are a fly fishing enthusiast, a bass fisher, an upland game hunter or you dream of chasing elk in the wild, this show has something for everyone in the family. There will be more than 30 conservation organizations represented and an incredible selection of outfitters, fishing charters, boating suppliers and seminar presenters. Hundreds of booths will be filled with some of the country's best outdoor gear, coastal and inland fishing guides and outfitters from around the world. Numerous nationally known speakers will hold seminars to teach skills and share some great stories of their adventures and experiences. VDGIF will be selling licenses on-site and have exhibits and staff to answer questions on agency programs, special training events and opportunities to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. For information visit the Nation's Outdoor Sportsmen's Show Web site: nationsoutdoorshow.com

Educational Women's Waterfowl Hunting Workshop Scheduled in Fredericksburg

VDGIF Outdoor Education Program in cooperation with Waterfowl U.S.A. is sponsoring an Educational Women's Waterfowl Hunting Workshop January 20-21, 2008, hosted by Gander Mountain in Fredericksburg. This workshop will offer educational sessions in decoys and blind setup, waterfowl habitat and ecology, retriever demonstrations, firearm safety and instruction. The L.O.C.S. Chapter of Waterfowl U.S.A. is providing an opportunity to hunt waterfowl. Guides, decoys and blinds are included with the hunting opportunity. For more details visit the Department's Web site. For more information, contact Jimmy Mootz at (804) 367-0656 or jimmy.mootz@dgif.virginia.gov.

Lake Level Lowered at Laurel Bed

The VDGIF plans to lower the water level of Laurel Bed Lake in Russell County. The temporary lake level will be 10 feet below normal. Extensive monitoring in the summer of 2007 identified two areas where water is seeping from the lake. Lowering the lake level will reduce the amount of seepage while plans are being made to complete the repairs.

With the lake level at 10 feet below normal, boat access will be limited. VDGIF Fisheries Biologist Tom Hampton, in the Marion Regional Office notes, "Anglers will still be able to launch small boats and canoes, but the concrete ramp will be out of the water. Shoreline access may be improved during the drawdown, but the draw-down should not adversely affect the fish populations in the lake. In fact, it might benefit the fishery by exposing the increasingly abundant bluegill population to more predation by smallmouth bass." VDGIF is considering options to extend the ramp in order to provide access at the lower level. Brook and rainbow trout fingerlings will be stocked as planned.

The duration of the draw-down is not known at this time. However, it is likely that the lake level will be below normal during the 2008 fishing season. Questions concerning Laurel Bed Lake should be directed to Tom Hampton, VDGIF Fisheries Biologist in Marion at (276) 783-4860.

Volunteers Construct Accessible Fishing Pier on Jackson River

Thirty-two volunteers recently completed a project to build a new accessible fishing pier at Johnson Springs Canoe Access on the Jackson River. The site, located in Alleghany County on the James River Ranger District of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, is one of five sites on the river where anyone can fish from the bank, but none were suited to fishing by disabled persons, especially those confined to wheelchairs.

Dan Genest, a public affairs specialist with Dominion Virginia Power and an avid trout fisherman, saw an opportunity to improve accessibility on the river by combining that need with Dominion's program to encourage its employees to use a work day per year for volunteer projects. Genest contacted the Forest Service and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), and the project began to take shape. An existing design was adapted to the Johnson Springs site.

Dover England, president of the Roanoke Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU), recruited eight TU members from as far away as Roanoke, Salem and Richmond to participate. In addition, VDGIF District Fisheries Biologist Paul Bugas coordinated assistance from VDGIF including three employees and a volunteer from the Staunton area. "This was one of the best volunteer projects I've seen", noted James River district forester Sharon Mohney. "The Dominion, TU, and VDGIF people pretty much handled all of the preparation and organization for the two workdays." The Forest Service estimates that, in addition to the funds provided for materials, about 600 hours of volunteer time was donated, valued at about $11,400. Mohney noted that the project also received a lot of help from area businesses, especially Boxley Materials Company in Alleghany County, and Neathawk Lumber Inc. in Lewisburg WV.

"Volunteers are essential toward accomplishing the mission of public agencies such as the USDA Forest Service and VDGIF," noted Susan Alger, Coordinator for the VDGIF Complementary Work Force (CWF) volunteer program. She added, "Volunteer opportunities and program details are available on numerous agency and organization Web sites. Conservation groups and area businesses are also great partners as evident in the success of this fishing pier project." To learn more about volunteering on the National Forests, contact Mohney at (540) 962-2214. For more information on CWF, see the Department's Web site.

2008 Virginia Wildlife Calendar Great Gift Idea!

It's time to purchase the new 2008 Virginia Wildlife Calendar. For more than 20 years the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has been publishing one of the most informative and beautiful wildlife calendars in the country. This special edition of the Virginia Wildlife Calendar highlights 12 of the 925 species of greatest conservation need identified in the Virginia Wildlife Action Plan. This comprehensive wildlife conservation strategy unites natural resource agencies and citizens through a common vision and concept for the conservation of the Commonwealth's wildlife and habitats in which they live.

An important component of the Virginia Wildlife Action Plan is participation of citizens from around the state to get involved with wildlife conservation efforts. By purchasing the new 2008 Virginia Wildlife Calendar you not only get 12 months of incredible wildlife viewing, but you also take that first step in helping to bring awareness to important wildlife issues facing our state.

Virginia Wildlife Calendars make great holiday gifts and are only $10 each. They begin with January 2008 and run through December 2008. Quantities are limited, so order now! Please allow 1-2 weeks for delivery.

New! 2007 Limited Edition Virginia Wildlife Collector's Knife

The VDGIF 2007 Collector's knife has been customized by Buck Knives. This classic model 110 folding knife is 8-˝" long when fully opened and has a distinctive, natural woodgrain handle with gold lettering. Each knife is individually serial numbered and has a mirror polished blade engraved with a fox. Our custom knife comes in a solid cherry box with a collage of foxes engraved on the box cover.

Conger Photos Featured in 2008 Watchable Wildlife Calendar

When VDGIF Conservation Police Officer, Lt. Ken Conger is not out enforcing Virginia's wildlife laws or volunteering for community service, he can be found with camera in hand capturing wildlife images from around state and the world. Ken has a serious love of wildlife photography and an eye to match. His talents were recently recognized by Watchable Wildlife Inc. and displayed in their new 2008 Watchable Wildlife calendar. Ken's stunning action photograph of a bald eagle swooping down to the waters edge to catch a fish in flight was not only selected to be featured during the month of May 2008, but also was honored as the calendar's cover photograph. The Watchable Wildlife calendar is noted for featuring various wildlife photographs taken from around the country at state wildlife areas, national and state parks, wildlife refuges and USDA Forest Service lands.

Watchable Wildlife, Inc., is a nonprofit organization with a simple mission "To help communities and wildlife prosper." Its members seek to advance wildlife viewing as a viable economic and conservation enterprise for communities throughout Canada, the United States and Mexico. Watchable Wildlife, Inc. is committed to helping local communities realize the economic potential of nature-related recreation while conserving native plants and animals in their natural habitats. It also strives to help people to provide these opportunities for their community by concentrating efforts in three major areas: The Annual Watchable Wildlife Conference, publications and special project assistance. Their philosophy is straightforward; to put people in touch with the most up-to-date strategies for providing positive wildlife viewing experiences for visitors and residents.

If you would like to learn more about Watchable Wildlife Inc. or to purchase the new 2008 Watchable Wildlife calendar visit their Web site at: watchablewildlife.org.

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Gifts That Can Save Lives - Affordable and Priceless

We're always looking for unique gifts. With anglers, that can be anything from antique lures and tackle to the latest computer-aided, battery-equipped, depth-finding, temperature-recording, fish-finding gizmo to help us go from "fishing" to "catching." One area where we seem to ignore something that could literally save our lives concerns a common piece of safety equipment that seems to have absolutely no glamour about it - at least not compared with the computer-based location and emergency reporting gear - our personal flotation devices. The PFD is a mandated piece of gear for every boat - and every passenger aboard every boat - but we seem to believe the $14.99 special PFD that's cleverly disguised as a sun-faded, waterlogged seat cushion will suffice.

Unfortunately, it seems some people would rather be dead wrong - emphasis on the dead - rather than inconvenienced by the PFD. A few years ago, that trend started to change when the idea of comfortable, inflatable and capable devices could actually be worn without completely immobilizing the wearer. Today, professional anglers, racers and other professionals wouldn't be without their inflatable PFDs.

But there hasn't been much advancement in the technology for those who don't always fish from boats - or those who might see someone in trouble who aren't equipped with personal flotation devices. Those can be anyone from fly fishermen to adults who simply fall into the water from the shore and find themselves in trouble.

Mustang Survival has addressed those scenarios with a pair of their inflatable flotation devices. The first is called the Rescue Stick.

The Rescue Stick weighs less than a pound, is just over a foot long, and comes in a waterproof bag. It's activated by pulling it from its waterproof bag and tossing it near the person in trouble. It activates when it hits the water, inflating into a large horseshoe shape with a 35-pound buoyancy considerably more than necessary to keep someone afloat with their head out of the water until they can be rescued.

The average person is capable of tossing the baton-shaped stick 100-150 feet. That's about triple the distance anyone can throw a life ring or rope bag. It's small enough to fit into a backpack, boat, vehicle, or by a pool. And it's reusable. Simply repack the flotation portion, screw on a new handle that contains a fresh CO2 cylinder and it's ready to go again. It's one of those affordable (MSRP: $39.99) devices that can truly be a lifesaver.

The second flotation device combines the classic fishing vest with floatation. When fly fishing, I fall. So far, I've never injured anything but my pride, but I'm the type who has a fear of drowning that can only be understood by someone who's come close to drowning in the past. I can still remember being pulled from the water, dazed, choking and out of breath - it's not a sensation I'd like to repeat. I can promise you I will not fly fish again without wearing Mustang's F3 Inflatable Fishing Vest. It's comfortable, has all the hook and fly patches, inside/outside pockets, leader eyelets and catches and spaces for my tiny tackle offered by my former vest. But it also has the same 35-pound buoyancy as all Mustang Survival's Inflatable PFDs.

Combined with my waders and boots, I feel I have an increased level of safety that more than compensates for the cost. The 3-Fs referenced in the name are: Form, Functionality and Flotation. Personally, I'm at the point where I like all three working together for my own good.

There are lots of great safety devices out there for all of us who love the water, but these can help keep us safe without interfering with our recreation. Not a bad combination.

Reprinted courtesy of Jim Shepherd, The Outdoor Wire and The Fishing Wire.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Dreaming of a white Christmas? Whether there is ice and snow, or just frigid temperatures, below are some ideas to help wildlife through severe weather. If you are wondering what to do with the kids over the long holiday break from school, these activities will get them away from the video screens and outdoors exploring nature.

Create a Holiday Tree for the Birds

When the holidays are over and all the decorations and tinsel have been removed, put your cut tree out in the yard to provide additional cover for the birds. Outside, cut trees will remain green long after the holiday has ended, if they were cared for properly inside. You may want to anchor the tree with tent stakes and string to prevent the wind from blowing it over. Once stable, you can "decorate" the tree again, this time with food for the birds. An evergreen holiday wreath can be recycled in your yard the same way.

Fill the cut tree (or old wreath) with fruits and nuts strung on narrow twine or tied with other inexpensive string. Suitable foods include apple slices; whole peanuts in the shell or cranberries and raisins; suet in nylon net bags; or pine cones filled with peanut butter and rolled in seed. Use foods that are natural and not full of added sugars or artificial ingredients. Be sure to tie the treats close to the branches so that once eaten there isn't a long string dangling for a bird to become entangled in; remove strings as they are emptied. The birds will welcome the treats and will take advantage of the protective cover from the tree as winter winds and cold settle in. Keep re-decorating the tree with more fruits and nuts as the food is eaten through the winter.
When spring comes, don't haul the now leafless tree to the dump. Instead, lay it on its side in an out of the way location, or incorporate the dead twigs and branches into a compost pile. The tree can also be used with other dead limbs or fallen branches in the yard to construct a brush pile for chipmunks, rabbits and other small animals.

Make a Special Bird Treat

The following recipe is a great food mixture for birds that can be smeared on tree bark, fence posts, the wood in a wood pile, or pine cones hung in the yard where they can be seen from your windows. This mix provides a supplemental source of fat energy and nutrients to the birds. Making the mixture is fun, inexpensive and something the whole family can join in.

First, in large bowl, stir together:

  • 1 part flour,
  • 3 parts yellow corn meal,
  • 1 part bird seed,
  • a handful of raisins and
  • a handful of shelled peanuts.

Then add 1 part of lard or peanut butter and stir until the mixture holds together in one big ball. (Or, you can substitute bacon grease that's been rendered and chilled, but do not use shortening.)

This mixture will attract nuthatches, chickadees, tufted titmice, brown creepers, woodpeckers, mockingbirds and even bluebirds. Keep a record of the different species of birds you observe, it's fun and educational for "children" of all ages. The birds will appreciate it too!

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

The "Virginia Conservation Police Notebook" provides an overview of the variety of activities encountered by our officers, previously called game wardens, 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

Long hours of surveillance pays off with baiting arrests. Conservation Police Officers have recently concluded investigations on eight separate baited deer hunting sites. Officers B.I. Bell, Hank Garner and Krista Myers completed their investigations by issuing summons to eight individuals who were found hunting directly over baited tree stands. The stand locations were baited with a diversity of illegal attractants. Salt/mineral blocks, peanut butter, corn, pumpkins and what one suspect refereed to as, "Purina Deer Chow" were discovered on scene. Due to the diligence and patience of all three Officers, each subject was caught in the immediate proximity of the bait after many long hours of surveillance. For more information contact Lt. Ken Conger (804) 829-6580.

Region 2 - Southside

Landowner complaint leads to multiple charges. On Monday, November 19, Officer Richard Howald received a call from an Appomattox Co. Deputy that a landowner had complained about an individual driving through his wheat field, cutting donuts, spinning their tires and destroying a large portion of the wheat. The landowner had confronted two males and a female at 3 p.m. but had not seen the damage in the dark. He also stated the individuals had a deer in the truck that they stated had been hit on the road. The Deputy told Officer Howald that they have had problems with the driver in the past and hoped he would be able to get this suspect to admit to driving because his driving license was suspended. Officer Howald went to the property, spoke with the landowner and looked at the damage to the field. After seeing the tracks he was able to locate blood and deer hair in the field leading him to the belief that the deer had been shot. Officer Howald and the Appomattox Deputy then interviewed the individuals and were able to get written statements. They all stated that they were driving down the road and saw four deer in the field, they them turned around and entered the field chasing the deer, running over one of them. They then drove through the field destroying the wheat. Warrants have been obtained for spotlighting, take wildlife by unlawful methods, and illegal possession of wildlife. Charges are pending through the Sheriff's Office for trespassing, destruction of property, driving while suspended, no valid insurance, and no state inspection. The suspect had also used license plates that belonged to another vehicle. For more information contact Lt. Tony Fisher (434) 525-7522.

Region 3 - Southwest

Long time poachers caught in act. On November 24, 2007 Conservation Police Officers Jason Harris and George Shupe observed a vehicle parked next to the large shooting house off of Little Fox Creek Road in Grayson County. They discovered the subject in the shooting house had an illegal .17 caliber rifle, two electronic turkey calls, two turkey carcasses and several beards from young birds hanging inside. Corn was located near the blind and on the back of the truck. The officers wrote summonses for the violations detected and obtained a written confession on a set of antlers found in the back of the truck. The subject confessed to illegally poaching 75 turkeys in the past 15 years. The officers also seized turkey parts and fans displayed on several boards and full body turkey mounts at his residence. A hunting companion was also implicated during the investigation and officers seized evidence at the companion's residence including 30 turkey beards, sets of spurs, a necklace made of spurs, along with other hunting violations pertaining to deer hunting. The investigation in this case is ongoing and charges will be placed after consultation with the local commonwealth's attorney in the jurisdictions where the offenses occurred. For more information contact Lt. Rex Hill (276) 783-4860.

Region 4 - Mountain and Valley

Radios, Cell Phones and CPO's determination save hunters life. On Friday morning November 23, 2007 at approximately 8:00 am, Conservation Police Sgt. Steve Bullman was notified by Augusta County EOC dispatchers of a reported hunting accident on Shenandoah Mountain. in Augusta County. A hunter had shot himself in his arm and needed immediate medical care. The victim was reported to be behind a locked National Forest gate several miles in. Sgt. Bullman responded to the area and drove in behind the gate encountering a downed 12 inch diameter tree top blocking the road. He radioed for a chain saw to be brought to the area. While waiting, Sgt. Bullman began to cut the tree using a 'Pulaski Tool' that he carries in his patrol vehicle. Sgt. Bullman had the tree cut in two as help arrived to clear the road with the chain saws. Conservation Police Senior Officer Neil Kester, Hunter Ed. Specialist Kris Dougherty, and EMTs arrived to assist in the rescue. The victim was located off an old logging road over two miles from the gate. Chain saws were used to clear this trail to facilitate getting an emergency equipped "Gator" to the scene. Officer Kester found the victim outside of a ground blind and being helped by a hunting companion who had placed a tourniquet on the victim's right arm. The victim's .30-06 rifle had discharged in the blind, striking him in the back of the right triceps area and causing massive tissue damage.

Hunters are reminded to double check to be sure the safety is ON and not to prop a gun where it may be knocked over.

The victim had called for help using his FRS radio and had tried to administer a tourniquet on his own arm. When his hunting companion arrived he effectively applied the tourniquet, then called for help on his FRS radio. His plea for help was heard by another hunter in the Jennings Gap Area of Augusta County approximately 9 air miles away. This hunter then used his cell phone to call Augusta EOC and dispatch help to the victim. The victim was transported out of the mountain on the "Gator" while being attended too by an Air flight Nurse. The victim was then transported by Churchville Rescue Squad to a waiting Med Flight helicopter at West Augusta and flown to UVA Hospital in Charlottesville. Surgeons attempted to save the victim's arm, but were unable to due to extensive tissue damage and bone loss. The right arm was amputated just above the elbow.

The victim reported to Sgt. Bullman during an interview at the hospital that he had heard a deer behind him and had turned around in the blind and knelt down. He had his rifle propped on the seat and another branch used to make the blind. When he reached into his backpack he slid the rifle with his arm and it discharged. He does not know how the safety was pushed to the fire position or what caused the rifle to fire. The victim is very grateful to all the people that came to his rescue. For more information contact Lt. Kevin Clarke (540) 248-9360.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Surveillance and patience nabs backyard shooter. On November 12, 2007, Officer Ryan Shuler set-up surveillance on a baited site in Stafford County that contained a salt block and two large piles of corn. The baited site was located in a septic field about 100 yards behind the house of the suspected violator and was overlooked by a tree stand and a ground blind which were both empty. Officer Shuler had made numerous visits to this site without finding any activity. While Officer Shuler was watching the baited site, he heard some activity around the house. Based on information that the suspect has been known to hunt from his back porch, Officer Shuler moved to a better location where he could see the baited sites. While watching the house, he observed a buck walk in front of him to the pile of corn.. After standing there for about 20 seconds, Officer Shuler heard a muzzleloader shot that came from the direction of the house. The buck startled, jumped and took off into the woods. Shortly the subject came walking towards Officer Shuler's position and was surprised to find the officer rather than the buck. After interviewing the subject, Officer Shuler was able to ascertain that the subject had shot at the deer, but had missed. The subject was charged for hunting deer over bait. For more information contact Lt. John J. Cobb at (540) 899-4169.

If you suspect or witness a violation, report it to the Wildlife Crimeline at 1-800-237-5712.

Don't let the actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen!

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...

With Christmas fast approaching, some of you might be wondering what to get the little would-be angler on your list. One necessary gift is a good personal floatation device, or life jacket. This may not seem too exiting, but it can and does save young lives. There are also many different designs, probably one with your youngster's favorite character on it. Once that vital piece of equipment is purchased, there are many other gifts available. One such is the first rod. Depending on the child's age and seriousness about fishing, there are different rods in different price ranges. The Shakespeare (nothing to do with The Bard) company puts out several inexpensive first rods that are designed with characters like Superman and Scooby Doo. They also put out a "family combo" which includes two rods and tackle sets for those of you with two little anglers. Shakespeare also makes the Crappie Hunter and Ugly Stick for older children. Zebco has a Ready Tackle set which has everything needed for a fishing trip and the 33 or 202 rod and reel combos; while Courtland offers the 333+ fly fishing set which claims "just add water."

Our contributors also had some good ideas about Christmas gifts for young anglers. Anglers Legacy offers a fish trip IOU - a pledge to take someone new fishing. Several contributors suggested that a trip with a good guide is an excellent adventure for the older child who is really serious about becoming Dad's fishing buddy. It is also a good idea to get the youngster some tackle for species that are close to home, don't get trout flies if you live 3 miles from a bass pond. Another gift kids love is a flow minnow bucket, having live fish at hand seems to excite them. A final thought is a large pillow shaped like the child's favorite species, several online companies offer them and they can be fun for the kids to lay on while they watch TV. But, again, the first gift should be one of safety - a personal floatation device.

Region 1 -Tidewater

Beaverdam Swamp Reservoir: Chuck Hyde reports that things have been very slow at Beaverdam. In fact, it has been a few weeks since anyone has had a big hit. The crappie are still out there, but the cold weather has been keeping anglers away. The water is cooling and clear.

Chickahominy Lake: George Allen of Eagle's Landing says that although things have been slow, the crappie and bass are still there to be found. The water is cold and clear.

Chickahominy River: Charlie Brown of River's Rest tells us that some big blue cats have been landed recently. The stripers and crappie are also responding well. The water is clear and 50 degrees.

Little Creek Reservoir: The fishing is closed for the season at Little Creek, and there is no boat launching. They hope to re-open in March, but this depends on the water level.

Region 2 - Southside

James at Lynchburg: Tom Reisdorf at Angler's Lane reports that although things have been slow, the smallmouth bass are still hitting. The water is cold, low and clear.

Smith Mountain Lake: Mike Snead at Virginia Outdoorsman says that the crappie are really biting just now, with some over 15 inches long and a pound an a half in weight. Small minnows and lead headed jigs were the lucky bait. Bass fishing has been "mixed", but crankbaits run in medium depths have been fairly successful. Stripers are also a mixed bag, but some have been caught on live bait on freelines, downlines, and floats. A word of warning to striper fishers – one local angler has reported landing a striper that was "heavily infested with . . . parasitic copepods". These parasites are usually found in the back of the fish's mouth and gill plates. They are very small, about the size of a single grain of rice and are white to brown in color. According to Mike, many stripers were lost to copepods in the winter of 2002. If you do land an infested fish, call Mike at (540) 721-4867 and let him know how long the fish was, where you caught it and how badly it was infected. The water is 56 degrees and clear.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Mike Buchett of Rock House Marina says that fishing has been good. The stripers are really hitting. On November 29, Jimmy and Jimmy Jr. Hailey of North Carolina landed a striper weighing over 32 lbs. and 40 inches long. On November 23, 10 year-old Tyler Hailey caught a 22 lb. 12oz. striper that was 38 inches long. On December 8, he caught a 7 lb. 12oz. walleye that was over 27 inches long. Obviously the striper fishing has been great, with the fish responding best to live bait, especially shad. If the water warms up, umbrella rigs would also be a good bet. The walleye are going for shad and crankbaits. The bass fishing has been "hit or miss". The water is clear and 49 degrees.

Lower New River: John Zienius of Big Z's reports that the water level is up enough for jet boats. Fishing is "not great," but a 30 lb. striper was recently landed on an umbrella rig. The bass have been slow. John wants to remind anglers and other boaters to check the water level before they plan a trip. The level can be checked at the Department's Web site at www.dgif.virginia.gov. The water is cold and clear.

New River, Claytor Lake: Victor Billings of Sportsman's Supply told me that there are some good walleye in the river hitting white bucktails with read heads, Mr. Twisters and fire tiger colored crankbaits. The stripers are biting live gizzard shad and big crankbaits. The bass fishing has been slow, but some muskies are cooperating in the river. The waters are 41 – 49 degrees and clear.

Region 4 – Mountain & Valley

Lake Moomaw: Larry Andrews of the Bait Place says that the bass fishing is still good, with a largemouth of over 7 pounds being brought in. The trout are responding in the Jackson River below the dam. The cold weather has been keeping anglers away, but those that do venture out have a "field day". The lake is low, 52 degrees and clear.

North Fork of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray of Murray's Fly Shop reports that the smallmouth bass can still be found in the North Fork of the Shenandoah downstream from Edinburg in the deep pools. The South Fork has some good bass fishing in the deep water above the Egypt Bends dam. As for trout, the fishing is good in delayed harvest streams, with the best flies being black strymphs and Murray's Betsy Streamer. In the large streams such as Big Stony Creek West of Edinburg and the Hidden Valley section of the Jackson River. In these areas it is best to use small nymphs and streamers in deep pools. The mountain streams are too cold to fish. The waters are clear with the temperature of the bass rivers at 42 degrees and the trout streams at 38.

Region 5 – Northern Piedmont

James River - Richmond: Mike Ostrander tells us that several citation sized blue cats have been landed lately. The stripers are there, but not especially abundant. Bald Eagles, however, have been sited; and while it's not landing a lunker, the sight of one of these magnificent creatures is always thrilling. The water is low, cold and clear. 

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 the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Stay informed on issues and opportunities about Virginia's outdoors!

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for:

  • New Wild Turkey Educational Video Available Online
  • Venison Recipes
  • General Assembly Updates
  • Hunting with Hounds Study Update
Fisher. Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.

(Martes pennanti)
by Spike Knuth

The fisher formerly ranged over most of Canada, the eastern United States and parts of the northern Rockies. The last sightings of native fishers in Virginia dates back to the late-1890s. In the 1970s they began showing up again as a result of introductions in West Virginia in 1969 wandering into western Virginia. The fisher had been highly valued for its fur and was often called American sable. In the 1920s, fisher pelts were bringing over $300 per pelt. By the 1940s, fishers had disappeared from much of their original range.

Fishers are stocky, weasel-like mammals weighing 7.75 to 12 pounds and measuring 30 to 47 inches. Their fur is dark brown to nearly black and has a frosted appearance due to its white-tipped hairs. Sometimes it has patches of white on its neck and throat.

They are active night or day and are excellent climbers, although they live mostly on the ground. Large, heavily wooded spruce, fir, and mixed hardwood forests, as well as bogs and swamps in northern climes are their favored habitat. They feed mainly on small rodents, rabbits, squirrels, birds, carrion, and porcupine in the north.

Fishers are solitary except during breeding, when they den up in hollow trees, crevices under large rock piles or logs. A litter of one to five young are born in March and April. The young are weaned in about 16 weeks.

Fishers wander widely, males traveling a large circular route of up 60 miles, requiring up to 30 square miles of living space, with females needing at least 10 square miles. This space requirement, plus logging, forest fires, and early unregulated trapping probably all combined to bring fisher populations down.

·    ·    ·

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.

December 2007
24 Christmas Eve - State Offices Closed
25 Merry Christmas!
29 Educational Youth Waterfowl Hunting Workshop, Essex. Contact Jimmy Mootz at (804) 367-0656 or by e-mail.
31 New Year's Eve - State Offices Closed
January 2008
1 Happy New Year!
4-6 Nation's Outdoor Sportsmen's Show, Dulles Expo Center
20-21 Women's Waterfowl Hunting Workshop, Fredericksburg. Contact Jimmy Mootz at (804) 367-0656 or by e-mail.
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.

Beginning in September 2007
Crow: through March 15 Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday only.
Coyote, groundhog, and skunk: Sept. 1 to Mar. 10 on public land, continuous open season on private land.
Squirrel: Sept. 1 - Jan. 31
Beginning in October 2007
Snipe: Oct. 22 - Jan. 31
Opossum: Oct. 15 - Mar. 10
Raccoon: Oct. 15 - Mar. 10
Grouse: Oct. 27 - Feb. 9 West of Interstate 95 only.
Beginning in November 2007
Bobcat: Nov. 1 - Feb. 29
Fox: Nov. 1 - Feb. 29 certain counties, see regulations
Rabbit: Nov. 3 - Feb. 29 (new regulation enacted by Board of Game & Inland Fisheries)
Nov. 5 - Jan. 5 certain counties, see regulations
Nov. 26 - Jan. 5 certain counties, see regulations
Quail & Pheasant: Nov. 10 - Jan. 31
Deer: Nov. 17 - Jan. 5 certain counties, see regulations. Special Late Anterless-Only Firearms Deer Season: Jan. 7 - Feb. 2, 2008 in the (counties including the cities and towns within) of Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William.
Please contribute 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 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!

  • If you would like to become a regular subscriber to Virginia Wildlife magazine, visit the Department's Web site, call 1-800-710-9369, 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.

Editor: David Coffman

Web Production: David Murr

Contributing Editors:
Julia Dixon, Ron Messina, Lee Walker

Special Feature Contributors:
Rick Busch, Carol Heiser, Fred Leckie, Spike Knuth, Steve Pike, Vance Shearin, Jeff Trollinger, Sarah White

Wildlife Diversity and Information & Education Division Director: David Whitehurst

The electronic Outdoor Report is sent free via e-mail to more than 10,000 subscribers the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.


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 - www.dgif.virginia.gov