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, June 11, 2008

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this edition:
  • Boating and Fishing, An Economic Get-Away That Benefits All Virginians
  • Get Hooked on Fishing
  • Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
    • White Oaks Preserve Hosts Family Fun Day June 14
    • Great American Backyard Campout June 28
    • The Big Apple Archery Shoot July 5-6
    • Local NWTF Chapters to Host Women in the Outdoors Events
    • Kid's Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun
  • People and Partners in the News
    • Bob Ellis Named Wildlife Division Director
    • Teen Archers Compete in Statewide Tournament
    • How Teachers Can Get Involved in Archery Program
    • Governor Kaine Visits Marion Fish Hatchery
    • Mark Taylor Elected to National Outdoor Writers Board
    • Cause of Growth on Norfolk Botanical Garden Eaglet Confirmed
    • Millions of American Shad Stocked in Virginia Rivers This Spring
  • "Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts
    • Boaters - Get the Most From a Tank of Gas
  • Hunting News Your Can Use
    • June Squirrel Season on Specific WMAs June 7-21
    • Summer Squirrel Hunting Safety Tips
    • Squirrel Skinning Video Available
  • Be Safe... Have Fun!
    • Snakes: Splendor in the Grass
  • Habitat Improvement Tips
    • David Norris Recognized for Wetlands Work
  • Fishin' Report
    • State Record Freshwater Drum Caught
    • Northern Virginia Reservoirs Ranked for Largemouth Bass
    • Laurel Bed Lake Being Repaired
    • Sarah White's Notebook
      • Kid's Beat the Heat at Harrison Lake
  • Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
    • Field Reports From Officers Protecting Natural Resources and People Pursuing Outdoor Recreation
  • In Case You Missed It...
    • Links to Recent Articles of Ongoing Interest

Boating and Fishing, An Economic Get-Away That Benefits All Virginians

For less than the cost of a full tank of gas, a family of four can fish for a year.

With the weather warming up, people are thinking about getting outdoors and spending time with family and friends. However, with rising fuel costs, many people are looking to stay closer to home. Fortunately for Virginians, there's a lake, river or stream within an hour's drive from any location in the state, making it easy and economical to get away from it all for a day on the water boating, fishing and relaxing.

While many Virginians benefit from the recreational aspect, all Virginians benefit from the conservation and economic activity generated by boaters and anglers. Recent studies show that recreational boaters and anglers are major powers when it comes to the strength of the economy. Virginia is home to or a destination for more than 800,000 anglers each year. Fishing alone is responsible for more than $1.3 billion in economic impact in the state.

"With the Chesapeake Bay, our coastal waters, our rivers and lakes, and our trout streams of the Blue Ridge, Virginia is a destination for boaters and anglers. These recreational sports are tremendously important to the strength of our state's economy," said Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Executive Director Bob Duncan. "The funds generated by boating and fishing are crucial to keeping Virginia's waterways and lands in good condition and managing the state's fresh and saltwater fisheries."

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, fishing outranks football, baseball and tennis as one of America's favorite outdoor pastimes. Nationally, in one year, anglers spent nearly $19 billion on bait, boat rentals, and other equipment, $18 billion on food and lodging during fishing trips and $5.5 billion on licenses, memberships and other resources according to the U S Fish and Wildlife Service. Boating and fishing industries support more than a million jobs and add millions of dollars to state tax revenues, providing significant support to the nation's overall economy through recessions as well as booms. Anglers invest hundreds of millions of dollars every year in fisheries conservation and management, much of this through the purchase of fishing licenses which are a primary funding source for most fish and wildlife agencies.

When you purchase a fishing license, you not only buy quality time, but you also are investing in conservation. For less than the cost of a full tank of gas, a family of four can fish for a year.

Visiting Angler Snaps Great Photo

Danny Freeman from Dameron, MD, just spent a week on vacation fishing Briery Creek Lake in Prince Edward County. He described taking this spectacular photo, "Sunday morning we had two boats and I launched first and my son and a friend launched behind me and as I looked back the sun was coming up and the fog coming off the water made the lake look like it was on fire. I snapped a few pictures and wanted to share them with fellow anglers. It truly is a beautiful lake and we caught and released a lot of Bass." Thanks Danny for the great report and beautiful photo of Briery Creek Lake. Come back soon and often!

Get Hooked on Fishing

Virginia fishing licenses can be purchased directly online through the Department's Web site; by telephone through a toll-free number, 1-866-721-6911; or at sporting goods stores.

To learn more about fishing and boating in Virginia, including where to fish, how to identify fish species, guides to lakes and rivers, fishing and boating regulations and much more, visit the Department's Web site.

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

White Oaks Preserve Hosts Family Fun Day June 14

White Oaks Preserve, near Clarksville, is holding their annual Southern Virginia Family Day event this Saturday June 14 in cooperation with VDGIF. Enjoy archery, air rifles, .22 rifle range, shotgun range, and a fishing rodeo! White Oak's emphasis on family values, skill building, great food, and lots of fun guarantees that young sportsmen will have a great day and learn valuable new skills. There is no charge for the event, pre-registration is required. For more information, contact Andrew Jones at (434) 374-2025 or andrewjones@whiteoaks.ws. Visit www.whiteoaks.ws.

Great American Backyard Campout June 28 - Richmond

Experience the Outdoors and come camp overnight to celebrate the National Great American Backyard Campout! This program is from the National Wildlife Federation with outdoor skills and educational courses conducted by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The event begins at 4 pm. Saturday, June 28, and concludes Sunday morning with a campfire service and breakfast. Activities and educational courses from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. include archery, fishing/casting skills, outdoor cooking, animal tracks and pelts, and survival skills conducted by DGIF Instructors. Other activities are sponsored by Ginter Park Baptist Church, the Virginia Division of State Parks, and the Native Plant Society. After dark enjoy stargazing with the Richmond Astronomy Club, flashlight tag, and singing around the campfire. Bring your own tent, sleeping bag, coolers or other equipment. A hot dog dinner and a breakfast will be provided by the church. On-going activities include a jump castle, sports and games, arts and crafts. Restrooms are available in the church. The event is free and is limited to approximately 100 tents or 300 people. Groups welcome. Reservations must be made by June 15 by calling (804) 359-2475. Visit www.ginterparkbc.org for more information.

The Big Apple Archery Shoot July 5-6

The Buggs Island Archers will be hosting "The Big Apple Archery Shoot" July 5-6, 2008 at the Buggs Island Fish and Wildlife Club near Clarksville. This annual family oriented event draws archery enthusiasts from a four state area. In addition to Virginia Bowhunters Association sanctioned contests, the event has games, contests, skills training, good food, camping live music and the infamous "flyn' coon shoot under the lights". For information contact: Jerry or Debbie Jordan, email Buggsislandarchr@aol.com or visit their Web site.

Visit the Virginia Bowhunters Assoc. Web site for other tournament opportunities.

Local NWTF Chapters To Host Women In The Outdoors Events

More and more women are learning to hunt, fish, camp and participate in outdoor adventures by participating in the National Wild Turkey Federation's (NWTF) popular Women in the Outdoors (WITO) program. WITO events can provide activities at a very reasonable cost, thanks to a combination of state and local NWTF chapter support and many generous corporate and wildlife agency partners such as VDGIF. Recently some events were re-scheduled and new ones added. For registration and event information contact: Priscilla Page, NWTF Women in the Outdoors Regional Coordinator at telephone (410) 378-2064 or on the Web: www.womenintheoutdoors.org.

Kid's Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun

Join the fun at one of the dozen Kid's Fishing Day Events for June through July statewide hosted by various organizations in partnership with VDGIF. These events are an enjoyable time for the family and a great opportunity to introduce kids to fishing in a fun atmosphere. For detailed information on dates, locations, times and contacts, see the Kids Fishing Days Schedule (PDF) to find one near you! Catch the fun! Take a kid fishin'.

Catch the fun and excitement of your child on film while fishing and enter his or her picture in the annual Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest sponsored by VDGIF, Green Top Sporting Goods, and Shakespeare Tackle Company. The winning pictures are those that best capture the theme "kids enjoying fishing." Any snapshot will do. Children in the first through third place photographs of each category will receive a variety of fishing-related prizes. Photos must be postmarked on or before June 21, 2008. For complete rules and Contest entry information, visit www.huntfishva.com/kidsnfishing/.

People and Partners in the News

Bob Ellis Named Wildlife Division Director

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) announced that Robert "Bob" Ellis has been named Director of the VDGIF's Wildlife Division. Bob had served as Assistant Director of the Wildlife Division since 1992, when he joined VDGIF. Over the last 16 years he has supervised biologists managing deer, bear, turkey, migratory game birds, small game, furbearers and their habitats. In that capacity he has administered and supervised VDGIF's statewide programs on forest wildlife/habitat, farm wildlife/habitat, waterfowl and wetland habitat. He has directed the development of technical reports and papers related to these programs and research that provide information to the public. Among his other duties was the responsibility for administering the compilation and interpretation of technical data on the status, distribution and harvest of wildlife statewide, and for providing support in the development of management and regulatory proposals.

VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan observed, "Bob Ellis's background, education, experience and skills elevated him to the top of a very competitive applicant pool. I've worked with him since his arrival at the Department and look forward to working with him in this new capacity." In addition, Bob has served as the VDGIF representative on a number of statewide, regional and national working groups and committees including the state's West Nile Virus Task Force; the Atlantic Flyway Council, having served as chairman; the National Flyway Council, on which he serves as the current chairman; Wildlife Division representative on the Northeast Wildlife Administrators Association; the national High Path Avian Influenza Steering Committee; among many others.

Prior to joining the Department, Bob Ellis worked for the Florida Game and Fish Commission for 12 years, initially as a regional wildlife biologist in the Everglades Region, then later as a regional director. He earned a Masters of Science degree in Wildlife Biology/Management from Virginia Tech. Following graduation he worked as an extension agent in Grundy, Virginia, with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. Bob earned his undergraduate degree, a Bachelor's of Arts in Biology, from Millersville State College in Pennsylvania. Originally from York, Pennsylvania, Bob now happily calls Virginia home. He and his wife of 38 years, Sandy, reside in Montpelier. His interests include hunting, fishing, bird watching, decoy carving, collecting antiques, and spending time with his son Chad, daughter-in-law Tiffany, and granddaughter Sydney.

Teen Archers Compete in Statewide Tournament

VDGIF Outdoor Education conducted the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) State Archery Tournament in April with several schools participating in a "virtual" tournament. The "virtual" tournament allowed schools to conduct a qualifying archery shoot on their school's grounds and even compete with a school in their locality to save travel expenses.

First Place in the high school category was the Warwick High School team from Newport News with a score of 3,093. The team coach is Michael Cooke. Second Place High School was Hidden Valley High School (pictured below) from Roanoke with a score of 2732. The School coach is Lisa Sink-Morris. First Place Middle School was Northside Middle School (pictured left) from Roanoke with a score of 2803. The school coach is Bob Shelton.

Presently Virginia has 148 schools participating in NASP, and conducting archery as part of their school curriculum statewide. DGIF has trained and certified 398 teachers in schools located in 50 of the 99 counties of the Commonwealth and the NASP program reaches over 90,000 students a year with a positive archery experience. NASP is a joint venture between state departments of education and wildlife. Several archery equipment manufacturers and organizations are also partners. Funding for the Virginia program comes from federal grants, Camp-Younts Foundation, and the Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The main goal of NASP training program is to make enjoyable and safe archery experience available to more people than ever before. The program utilizes time-proven and state-of-the-art training techniques, philosophies and educational methods to provide a foundation to support a lifetime of archery enjoyment. For more information, visit the NASP Web site.

How Teachers Can Get Involved - School teachers who want to teach the NASP curriculum to their students during their physical education classes can complete the Basic Archery Instructor training provided by VDGIF education staff and certified volunteer trainers. Schools can "host" the eight hour training for their teachers and invite surrounding school educators. Training is conducted in the school's gym. Training equipment and supplies are provided by VDGIF. Schools interested in bringing archery into their curriculum can contact Karen Holson, VDGIF Outdoor Education Supervisor and Virginia NASP State Coordinator, at (804) 367-6355 or email Karen.Holson@dgif.virginia.gov.

Governor Kaine Visits Marion Fish Hatchery

While on a visit to southwest Virginia, Governor Tim Kaine stopped by VDGIF's regional office and fish hatchery in Marion on May 20, 2008. The Governor toured the office and had a chance to speak with our Fisheries, Wildlife and Law Enforcement personnel assigned to that work area. Across the street from the regional office is the Marion Fish Hatchery which the Governor also toured. At the hatchery he got a hand's on lesson in trout stocking, including the finer points of netting trout.

The Fisheries Division of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries operates nine fish cultural stations around the state. These are categorized as either "rearing stations," or "hatcheries." There are four warm water facilities, that hatch and rear warm water species, like muskellunge, northern pike, striped bass, walleyes, catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill and redear sunfish. These warm water stations provide 2-5 million fish for annual stocking in Virginia waters. In addition, they produce 10-15 million striped bass for trading with 15 other states.

The five cold water facilities are engaged entirely in trout production, from hatching to raising to stocking sizes. Over a million trout are reared to stocking size each year. The Marion Trout Hatchery is the oldest of the trout culture facilities. Trout are spawned, hatched, and reared at this facility, with many of them then transported to other stations. Trout from Marion are stocked in the waters of far southwest Virginia.

Mark Taylor Elected to National Outdoor Writers Board

Mark Taylor, Outdoors Editor for The Roanoke Times, was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA). Mark will begin his three year term on the Board at the OWAA 81st Annual Conference in Bismarck, N.D., June 19-22. In addition to his informative and insightful articles for the Roanoke-based newspaper and "Wild Life" outdoor blog on Roanoke.com, Mark has served in other leadership positions in the journalism profession. They include a four-year commitment as co-chair of the Virginia Host Team for the 80th OWAA Annual Conference hosted by Virginia in 2007. The inter-agency team included representatives of tourism and natural resource agencies, outdoor recreation and product related associations. The Conference was the culmination of a four year commitment as part of the Governor's initiative to increase tourism and promote the Jamestown 400th Anniversary. OWAA is one of the largest professional outdoor communicator organizations with more than 1,200 members representing the nation's top outdoor-oriented writers, photographers, editors, videographers, radio, TV and film makers. Outdoor product businesses, travel industry, conservation organizations and agency information and education professionals also prominently participate in OWAA events. VDGIF is a Supporting Member of OWAA. Mark is also an active member of the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association. His articles and columns appear in The Roanoke Times on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Or you can view his newspaper work and blog online.

Cause of Growth on Norfolk Botanical Garden Eaglet Confirmed

The Southeastern Cooperative for Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) in Athens, Georgia has confirmed that the cause of a growth on the eaglet at the Norfolk Botanical Garden is avian pox. Avian pox is a viral disease that is contracted by any number of birds. The disease is generally spread through mosquitoes but may be spread from bird to bird. Symptoms include warty nodules on the featherless parts of the skin which can become enlarged resulting in impairment of vision, breathing and feeding. Avian pox poses no human health hazard.

The eaglet was removed from the nest on May 22, 2008, to be examined by VDGIF Wildlife Veterinarian Jonathan Sleeman. Nuckols Tree Care Service used a bucket truck to retrieve the eaglet and lower it to the ground. Dr. Sleeman examined the young bird and took a tissue sample from the growth on the eaglet's beak and sent it to SCWDS. Concern that the growth was beginning to deform the young bird's beak and that it may eventually inhibit breathing led to the bird being transported to The Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro, where it is being treated.

At this point the eaglet seems otherwise healthy, feeding and appearing alert. It is anticipated that treatment will last until the clinical signs have abated or until all reasonable treatment options have been exhausted. The young bird will not be returned to the nest. If treatment proves successful, with no long-term deterioration of bone and beak, and the bird poses no health concerns to other wild eagles, it will be released back into the wild. The WCVA has added a new section to their Web site devoted to the eaglet with the latest medical update.

Many people followed the progress of the Norfolk Botanical Garden eagles through the Eagle Cam hosted by WVEC TV 13 in Norfolk. VDGIF Biologist Stephen Living maintained a blog on nest activities in what proved to be an eventful season this year. Living will update the blog to reflect this latest development. The blog can be reached by going to the Department's Web site.

For information about eagles and other Virginia wildlife visit the Department's Web site. To learn more about the partner organizations working on eagle conservation visit the following Web sites:

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine located in Waynesboro. Every year, about 2500 animals - ranging from Bald Eagles to chipmunks - are brought to the Wildlife Center for care.

Norfolk Botanical Garden celebrates it's 70th Anniversary promoting the enjoyment of plants and the environment through beautiful gardens and education programs. NBG recently received accreditation by the American Association of Museums placing the Garden in the top 5% of museums in the U.S. The accreditation is a national recognition of a museum's commitment to accountability and public service, its high professional museum standards, and its excellence in education and stewardship.

WVEC-TV is the ABC affiliate serving the Norfolk, Virginia area, including Virginia's Eastern Shore and northeastern North Carolina. They host the live video stream on their Web site, making it possible for thousands of national and international bird watchers to have a rare look inside a Bald Eagle nest.

Millions of American Shad Stocked in Virginia Rivers This Spring

In the continuing effort to help restore American shad to their former glory, millions of young shad, or fry as they're called, were stocked in several of Virginia's coastal river systems this spring. As recently as the 1960's, American shad still supported one of the largest fisheries in Chesapeake Bay. However, dams, pollution, habitat destruction, and overfishing caused the species to decline dramatically in the 1970's. In response, the fisheries in both Virginia and Maryland were closed. Because shad were not showing signs of recovery in the James River, a re-stocking program was initiated in 1992.

With the help of watermen, adult shad have been collected each spring in the Pamunkey River, which still supports a healthy spawning run. These fish have been stripped of their eggs and milt, and the fertilized eggs were used to produce fry for stocking the James River. During March, April, and May of 2008, through the cooperative efforts of the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the James River system was stocked with a total of 6.9 million fry (see table for specific locations). This brings the grand total stocked in the James since 1992 to 104 million. Embrey Dam in the Rappahannock River was removed in 2004 to allow migrating anadromous fish such as American shad to re-access historical spawning grounds upstream of Fredericksburg. To promote the recovery of this spawning run, restoration stocking was initiated there in 2003. The Potomac River, which has the healthiest run of American shad in Chesapeake Bay, has been used as the source of fish for stocking the Rappahannock.

The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission are also partners in this phase of the Restoration Program. A total of 4.8 million fry were stocked in the Rappahannock River system during May, 2008 (see table) as part of this on-going effort, which brings the total number stocked since 2003 to 23.5 million. Shad fry have also been re-stocked in the Pamunkey and Potomac rivers to compensate for the fish that were taken. Both the James and Rappahannock rivers now support more American shad than they did prior to the initiation of the Restoration Program, but the goal of restoring these spawning runs to historical levels is still a long ways off. For more information regarding the Shad Restoration Project, visit the Department's Web site, or contact Dean Fowler, VDGIF American Shad Restoration Program Coordinator, at (804) 367-6796.

"Green Tips" For Outdoor Enthusiasts

This new section in the Outdoor Report provides tips and articles on ways you as an outdoor enthusiasts can join with others to do simple things in your outdoor pursuits that can make a big difference in keeping Virginia "green" to benefit us all.

Boaters - Get the Most From a Tank of Gas

With boaters facing record high fuel prices this summer, Scott Croft with the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) has a few tips that could help stretch your fuel dollars:

  1. Leave the extra 'junk' home: Don't load the boat up with weight you don't need. Do a little spring cleaning - unused equipment that has been collecting mildew in the bottom of lockers for years should be taken home.
  2. Water weight: At 8.33 pounds per gallon, why keep the water in the tank topped off if you're only going out for the afternoon?
  3. Tune her up: An engine tune-up is an excellent investment and should easily pay for itself over the summer.
  4. Tune your prop: If your boat goes 30 mph with a like-new prop and only 27 mph with a prop that's dinged and out of pitch, that's a 10% loss in fuel economy, or, you're wasting one out of every ten gallons you put in your tank.
  5. Get a discount: Many of the 885 BoatU.S. Cooperating Marinas around the country offer up to 10 cents off a gallon of gas. To get the discount all you have to do is to show your BoatU.S. membership card.

For more tips on properly maintaining and operating your boat to save time and money or membership information, visit www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.

Hunting News You Can Use!

The following notes are quick reminders of things you may have overlooked in getting ready for hunting season, or reports of interest compiled from numerous calls we received recently at our information desk.

June Squirrel Season WMAs June 7-21

The second year of a statewide squirrel season will be available for sportsmen June 7-21, 2008, on specific VDGIF Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) as listed on the VDGIF Web site. Fox squirrels may only be harvested on Big Survey, Goshen, Havens, Phelps and Thompson WMAs. You can locate these WMAs at the VDGIF map information system on our Find Game Web site Hunting squirrels with dogs is not allowed during the June season. This is a great time to take youngsters squirrel hunting. They'll be out of school and there's very little other hunting opportunity available at the start of summer. It is a great time to introduce a youngster to actual in the field hunting without some of the distractions, or pressures of fall deer or turkey hunting like more hunters in the woods, cold and windy weather, or more elusive game.

Summer Squirrel Hunting Safety Tips

If you're planning to go squirrel hunting this June on selected VDGIF Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), you need to keep a few things in mind to ensure you have a pleasant and safe experience. If you're wearing camouflage, it should be lightweight. You'll also want to put on some bug repellent to ward off ticks, chiggers, gnats and mosquitoes. Learn to identify poison ivy (leaflets three let it be!) and avoid contact with the shiny green leaves and hairy vines. Snakes are also out and about with the warmer temperatures, so be alert. If it is a very warm day, it would be a good idea to field dress your harvested game as soon as possible and bring along a cooler with ice and plastic bags to store them. As always, practice basic firearm safety. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded, only point at what you intend to shoot, and clearly identify your game and what is beyond.

Squirrel Skinning Video Available

For beginners or experienced squirrel hunters alike, VDGIF has produced a DVD "Squirrel Skinning, Quick and Easy". The easy to follow step-by-step instructions are demonstrated by retired Conservation Police Officer John Berry. The DVD is available for $5.00 from the information desk at the Richmond Headquarters Office at 4010 West Broad Street in Richmond. Copies can be mail ordered by sending a check or money order for $5.00 made payable to: "Treasurer of Virginia" and mailed to: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Attention Squirrel DVD, P.O. Box 1104, Richmond, Virginia 23230. This DVD is not available through the Online Catalogue.

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Snakes: Splendor in the Grass

Snakes have been the focal point of folklore for centuries. From the hoop snake that sticks its tail into its mouth and rolls after you to snakes that hypnotize their prey. No other group of animals has suffered more from negative misinformation than snakes. In fact, snakes are some of the most fascinating and beneficial creatures on the planet. The benefits range from the thrill of a chance encounter while on a walk in the woods to the consumption of thousands of rodents that may potentially cause millions of dollars in agricultural damage every year. Their benefits to us and the ecosystem they inhabit are some of the reasons it is illegal in Virginia to intentionally kill snakes.

Generally speaking, snakes are very reclusive and timid. Many species of snakes will not even attempt to bite when handled. Of the 30 species in Virginia, only 3 are venomous: copperhead, cottonmouth and timber rattlesnake. All three of which are considered docile, unless provoked. Copperhead bites are by far the most common venomous snake bite in Virginia. However, in the 30 years that the Virginia Department of Health has been keeping records on venomous snake bites, no one has ever died from a copperhead bite. Copperhead bites often only result in mild inflammation and discomfort.

If you do encounter a snake in the woods, simply leave it alone, it'll get out of your way or you can walk around it. SNAKES DO NOT CHASE PEOPLE. Here are a few tips to avoid the possibility of being bitten when hiking in the woods:

  1. Stay on the trail
  2. Watch where you place your hands and feet, and where you sit down.
  3. Do not attempt to capture snakes

If you are bitten by a venomous snake, stay calm and seek immediate medical attention. None of Virginia's venomous snakes are considered to be highly lethal, but medical attention is necessary for all venomous snake bites.

If you are lucky enough to encounter a snake while enjoying the outdoors; step back and watch a moment. Notice the way the sunlight reflects off the scales and the incredible way a snake can glide off into the leaves barely making a sound. Unless cornered the snake is going to slip away as quick as it can.

To learn more... A Guide to the Snakes of Virginia, one of VDGIF's most popular publications since its 2001 release. This 32-page full-color booklet, co-authored and illustrated by Mike Pinder, our Region 3 Wildlife Diversity Manager, presents all of Virginia's 30 species of snakes in an attractive and educational "field-guide" format. It also includes snakebite information, provides answers to frequently asked questions about snakes, and suggests what you can do to protect or control snakes in your yard and home. Finally, it summarizes snake conservation and management issues, and offers ways you can help protect these fascinating animals. Single copies of the guide can be picked up free of charge at the Department's regional offices; or copies may be purchased online through the VDGIF Outdoor Catalogue for $5.00 each, or in cases of 60 copies for $150 per case.

Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!

The upcoming summer boating season is right around the corner, and VDGIF reminds all boaters to boat smart, boat sober, and boat safe while out on our waterways. All boaters should:

  • wear your life jacket
  • do not mix alcohol and boating
  • take a boating safety course

Remember safety and courtesy are free, share them generously!

 

Habitat Improvement Tips

Wetlands habitat conservation is critical to the restoration and protection of numerous wildlife species throughout the Commonwealth. Several programs have been developed to help fund habitat restoration, enhancement, protection and landowner education. Congratulations to VDGIF Wetland Project Leader, David Norris who has been recognized by Ducks Unlimited as the 2008 Virginia Conservationist of the Year for his dedication and leadership and outstanding accomplishments in wetlands conservation.

The habitat tip for this edition is simply - if you need advice or technical assistance on conserving this valuable wetland resource - contact David Norris at david.norris@dgif.virginia.gov. For information on the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp program, see the VDGIF Web site.

David Norris Recognized for Wetlands Work

The Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp isn't only a requirement for hunting waterfowl in the Commonwealth; it's a source of revenue for waterfowl habitat conservation. Over the past three years since the stamp has been mandatory, nearly $200,000 annually have been placed in the Duck Stamp Fund available for waterfowl habitat conservation work by non-governmental organizations like Ducks Unlimited and by our own waterfowl and wetland habitat staff.

One VDGIF employee who is at the forefront of our wetland initiatives and who was recently recognized by the State Chapter of Ducks Unlimited (DU) is Wetland Project Leader David Norris. At the June 3, 2008, meeting of the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries, Richard Hudson of DU recognized David as DU's 2008 Virginia Conservationist of the Year.

David Norris began his career as a biologist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in 1991. David moved to Virginia and began his career with VDGIF as the wetland project leader in 1996. David works with public and private landowners to restore wetland habitats on their properties, provides technical assistance to landowners on how to best manage existing wetlands as wildlife habitat, creates partnerships with agencies and organizations to expand wetland restoration in the Commonwealth, and assists in the writing of grants to expand wetland habitat. In fact, David developed the process for awarding grants from the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp program.

David has been involved in numerous projects that protect, restore and enhance wetland habitat on Department property including the Beasley Tract in Virginia Beach, the Blue Wing Tract in Charles City and Cavalier Wildlife Management Area in Chesapeake, all major accomplishments. His favorite accomplishments, however, are the projects completed on private lands where he gets to interact with the landowners. His work with private landowners through partnerships with DU was key to his earning the DU 2008 Virginia Conservationist of the Year Award. The award was formally presented to David at DU's annual state convention. David congratulations on your award.

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.

State Record Freshwater Drum Caught

Timothy Davidson of Stovall, North Carolina has set a new Virginia record for freshwater drum. He caught his gigantic 15 pound, 2 ounce drum on May 17, 2008 in the Virginia portion of the Grassy Creek arm of Kerr Reservoir (also known as Buggs Island Lake). This species was added to the VDGIF State Record Fish Program in 2007, and this is the first application that met the minimum qualifying weight of eight pounds. This is one of the few species in the drum family that live in freshwater, and the only one found in North America. In Virginia, this species is only native to the Clinch and Powell rivers, and it is unknown how they became established in Kerr Reservoir. Mr. Davidson was bass fishing with a green Zoom worm when the drum hit. It took him about ten minutes to land the fish, which he expected to be a 30-40-pound catfish because it was pulling so hard. He said that he'd caught drum there before, but none bigger than a couple of pounds. The fish was 31.5 inches long and had a girth of 21.25 inches. For a complete list of the current State Record Freshwater Fish, visit the VDGIF Web site.

Northern Virginia Reservoirs Ranked for Largemouth Bass

District fisheries biologists sampled major reservoirs in northern Virginia in spring 2005-2008. The samples were conducted during daytime with boat electrofishing gear targeting largemouth bass and were conducted in a manner that allows several comparisons to be made concerning these fish populations. Since many anglers seek largemouth bass, and fish considered over 15 inches are considered "preferred" nationwide; the following summary contains information about bass over 15 inches (preferred size).

The term "RSD-P" (below) stands for "relative stock density of preferred fish" - which is the proportion of bass in a population over eight inches (stock size or "recruits") that are also at least 15 inches. Thus, this index describes the size structure of the population... the higher the number - the larger the percentage of the population is composed of big fish. The index "CPE-P" stands for "catch per effort of preferred fish." This is a measure of how many bass over 15 inches are collected by biologists during a set unit of effort (in this case, 1-hour of electrofishing). Thus, the higher the number is, the more abundant big bass were during the sample.

Several factors can bias the data (e.g., weather conditions, fish behavior), but samples were conducted with efforts to minimize these biases. The following is a summary of these data with lakes ranked by CPE-P:

Reservoir Rank Year Size (AC) County CPE-P RSD-P
Occoquan 1 2007 2100 Fairfax 39 52
Burke 2 2006 218 Fairfax 38 55
Mountain Run 3 2005 75 Culpeper 37 21
Motts 4 2008 160 Spotsylvania 32 35
Beaverdam 5 2008 350 Loudoun 28 47
Pelham 6 2005 255 Culpeper 28 41
Germantown 7 2008 109 Fauquier 23 17
Fairfax 8 2008 28 Fairfax 22 31
Anna 9 2008 9600 Spotsylvania 21 36
Brittle 10 2006 77 Fauquier 21 26
Abel 11 2005 185 Stafford 20 24
Curtis 12 2005 91 Stafford 17 18
Hunting Run 13 2008 420 Spotsylvania 14 19
Orange 14 2008 124 Orange 14 12
Ni 15 2007 411 Spotsylvania 13 30
Breckinridge 16 2006 47 Stafford 12 9
Lunga 17 2005 477 Stafford 11 13
Smith 18 2007 250 Stafford 5 7
 

All of these lakes are considered "small impoundments" except Lakes Anna and Occoquan; and Lake Anna is, by far, the largest. Therefore, it is not entirely appropriate to compare them all "head-to-head", as catch rates at large reservoirs are usually lower than in small impoundments (which makes Occoquan's first place even more impressive).

John Odenkirk, VDGIF Region V District Fisheries Biologist, noted many of the best district lakes (for big bass per hour) were consistent producers year-after-year such as Burke and Motts, but a few "sleepers" emerged after the 2007 sampling season. Of special note, Beaverdam Creek and Germantown made major moves up and offer anglers a change of scene and a chance of catching a trophy. Hunting Run, a new reservoir, has great potential, but anglers need to harvest sub slot (< 16 inches) fish to relieve stockpiling. For more information, contact Fisheries Division in Fredericksburg (540) 899-4169.

Laurel Lake Being Repaired

VDGIF has halted the draining of Laurel Bed Lake in Russell County. The lake was being drained due to seepage found during scheduled inspections. Extensive monitoring identified two areas where water is seeping through the lake's dam. Engineers had determined that lowering the lake level was necessary until the Department could find sufficient funds to complete repairs.

Funding for repairs was authorized by the Department's Board during approval of the budget at the June 3, 2008 meeting. The repairs are most effective if undertaken when water is in the lake. The proposed solution involves injection of chemical and concrete grout into the areas where seepage is occurring. The project is expected to be completed in October. Currently the lake level is down 11 feet and boat launching is by hand only as the ramp is not accessible. The fishing regulations have been re-established as in the past with catch and release for bass.

VDGIF Fisheries Division Director Gary Martel noted that Laurel Bed dam repair is the highest priority on the current list of Department dams requiring repairs. VDGIF is a special fund Agency, funded primarily from fishing, hunting, and boating fees, and there are not adequate funds, at this time, to make the necessary repairs and improvements to all of the Department's dams.

Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!

The upcoming summer boating season is right around the corner, and VDGIF reminds all boaters to boat smart, boat sober, and boat safe while out on our waterways. According to Charlie Sledd, the Department's Boating Safety Director and Boating Law Administrator, "Our safety message to all boaters is to wear your life jacket, do not mix alcohol and boating, and take a boating safety course."

Sara White's Notebook...

Here are some great kids fishing pictures and stories sent to the Fishin' Report that we wanted to share with you.

Kids Beat the Heat at Harrison Lake

Brad Puryear reports that this year's annual "youth fishing day" at Harrison Lake in Charles City County started just like last years event, with Jerry Taylor of Prince George landing the first fish of the day. With temperatures well above the uncomfortable mark, the turnout was still very good. At the sound of the starter pistol, the quiet surface of the pond was suddenly shocked with the plopping of bobbers from every possible angle. Within seconds the first catfish of the day was weighed-in. Kids from around the area continued to pull fish from their hiding spots on the bottom of the pond until the unseasonably warm temperatures chased us all into the shade, where hot dogs and cold drinks awaited everyone.

For the folks who wanted a little shade, there was a kids pool setup with a pair of Atlantic Sturgeon in it with the biologist standing right beside it to answer questions about this rarely seen Virginia fish, as well as another kids pool for the children to play in. This is an annual event put together by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, VDGIF, US Dept. of the Interior and supported by many sponsors including Adam's Sport Mart, Virginia Waterfowlers' Association, Wal-Mart, Bass Pro Shops, Henrico Police Dept., Gander Mountain, Dick's Sporting Goods, Greentop Sporting Goods, Ukrops, Food Lion, Frito-Lay and the many volunteers who braved the heat to help the children. A very special thank you goes out to the Burrowsville Volunteer Fire Dept. for cooking lunch for everyone.

Farm Pond Yields Big Bass

Justin and Daniel Terry of Dinwiddie, had a memorable early summer afternoon at an area farm pond fishing with Brad Puryear. The results were an 18 inch bass for Justin, a 20 inch bass for Daniel, and a 23 inch bass for Brad. Brings to mind that wise old saying, "my worst day fishing is better than my best day at work, or school, or fill in your own spot __________...!"

Here are reminders of some great programs coming in June-July…

Picture the Excitement! Enter the Kid's 'n Fishing Photo Contest

Catch the fun and excitement of your child on film while fishing and enter his or her picture in the annual Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest sponsored by VDGIF, Green Top Sporting Goods, and Shakespeare Tackle Company… celebrate National Fishing Week! The winning pictures are those that best capture the theme "kids enjoying fishing." Children in the first through third place photographs of each category will receive a variety of fishing-related prizes. There is no need to be a professional photographer. Any snapshot will do. Winner's photos are displayed on the VDGIF Web site and are often used in publications. Photos must be postmarked on or before June 21, 2008. For complete rules and Contest entry information, visit www.huntfishva.com/kidsnfishing/.

Kid's Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun

Join the fun at one of the dozen Kid's Fishing Day Events for June through July statewide hosted by various organizations in partnership with VDGIF. These events are an enjoyable time for the family and a great opportunity to introduce kids to fishing in a fun atmosphere. For detailed information on dates, locations, times and contacts, see the Kids Fishing Days Schedule (PDF) to find one near you! Catch the fun! Take a kid fishin'.

Interested in hosting a fishing workshop? The VDGIF provides educational materials for educational fishing events. Just print out a Materials Request Form found on the VDGIF Web site and mail or fax it in at least 30 days prior to your event and the materials will be shipped to you. We also have a Tackle Loaner Program with locations throughout the state to provide rods, reels and tackle for your educational fishing event. Click here for both the Materials Request Form and Tackle Loaner locations.

NOTICE: All anglers are reminded to acquaint themselves with a good description of the northern snakehead. If you should manage to catch one of these exotic imports, please kill it immediately and report the catch to either the Virginia Department of Game And Inland Fisheries or the Maryland Department Of Natural Resources.

View video about the snakehead »

Get your kids hooked on fishing!

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

email your material to
fishing_report@hotmail.com
and it might get used in the Fishin' Report!

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

To increase awareness of the activities of our dedicated Conservation Police Officers, previously called game wardens, the "Virginia Conservation Police Notebook" provides 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.

Region 3 - Southwest

Out of state anglers busted for illegal catch and no license…On May 17 while on patrol in the Parrott area of Pulaski County, Officer Rolland Cox observed four individuals wading and fishing the New River. As one individual crossed a shallow area Officer Cox saw what appeared to be a bass within the slot limit on the individual's stringer. Officer Cox began surveillance on the individuals and over the next three and a half hours he observed two of the other individuals place bass that appeared to be in the slot on stringers. At approximately 8:00 p.m. the individuals waded to shore and as Officer Cox watched they placed all of their fish onto two stringers and concealed them in high weeds along the bank of the river. Officer Cox waited until they climbed onto the roadway and approached them. When asked if they had had any luck and for their license all replied they had caught some nice fish, but had released them and their licenses were in their vehicle. Officer Cox than escorted them to the area where they had concealed the fish and retrieved 8 smallmouth bass, 6 of which were within the 14 - 20 inch slot limit. After further questioning, three of the North Carolina men admitted to catching and possessing slot limit bass and none of the four had purchased licenses. As summons were being issued one of the individuals commented they didn't have a place to fish like the New River in their area because most of the streams had been over fished and only had small fish not worth keeping. For more information contact Lt. Rex Hill at (276) 783-4860.

Region 4- Mountain & Shenandoah Valley

Personal Flotation Devices save lives from dam hydraulics…Officers with the Virginia Conservation Police, Sgt. R.M. Warren and Master Officer W.C. Martin responded to a boating incident in Warren County on May 24. Four individuals (2 adults and 2 juveniles) were fishing in an 11foot Coleman Crawdad on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. The fishing was very good and no one realized they were approaching a low-head dam until it was too late. They attempted to oar away from the dam, but the current was too strong. The boat and its occupants went over the dam and became caught in the hydraulics. One of the adults finally got free and called for assistance. He later assisted rescue personnel with pulling the other three to safety with an electrical extension cord borrowed from the home where he called for help. Fortunately, all four of the individuals were wearing a Type III PFD. While they were still pulled under by the force of the hydraulics, they credit the PFDs with providing enough buoyancy to keep them afloat. They were in the water for over an hour awaiting rescue. All four are very fortunate to have survived the ordeal. Sgt. Warren and Officer Martin launched a jet-powered inflatable boat and recovered the Coleman Crawdad boat about 75 yards downstream from the dam. For more information contact Lt. Kevin Clarke at 540-248-9360.

The link below shows images of the rescue and an article from the Northern Virginia Daily. Images clearly show the PFDs being worn, the overturned jon-boat and the yellow extension cord being used to pull the victims to safety. There is also a link for purchasing copies of the images.

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!

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:

  • Summer Outdoor Safety Tips
  • Conservation Police Officer Awards
  • New Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Information
Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker. Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.
 
BE WILD, VIRGINIA!

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
Sphyrapalius varius varius appalachiensis
by Spike Knuth

The yellow-bellied sapsucker in Virginia is common, but because it is so quiet and secretive it is often not noticed. The Appalachian subspecies in western Virginia is not as numerous. Measuring 7-1/4 to 8-1/2 inches, they can be recognized by their black and white striped pattern on their head, with males having a bright red forehead, crown and throat. Both species have a black bib on the breast and their bellies are dirt white with a yellowish wash and black markings.

Sapsuckers are silent in winter but get very noisy in spring, and like other woodpeckers, it will hammer on anything that resonates as part of its courtship ritual, and territorial claims. They nest in dead or decaying trees, frequently alongside rivers or in swampy areas. The nest is located in a cavity 15 to 60 feet up, and 4 to 7 white eggs are laid.

Its main food source is, as its name implies, tree sap, especially when the sap is "running" in spring. It bores hole in trees, rows of varying lengths, which can be viewed as being horizontal or vertical. They sometimes look like they've been riddled with a machine gun! Depending on the type of tree, sometimes the holes are domed shaped and sometimes they look like squares or rectangles with rounded corners, looking mesh-like as if someone used a template to carve them out. In most cases they leave enough bark so the tree isn't girdled and killed, although possibly vulnerable to disease.

They return to these "feeding wells" regularly. Sapsuckers have a tongue that's brush-like enabling it to sweep up tree sap. They hang away from the tree while other woodpeckers tend to "hug" the tree, and fly in the typical roller coaster-like flight of other woodpeckers but in more of a floating motion. Their call is a nasal "mewing" like call, or a "quee-ah' during breeding, or a "wika-wika" call. When approached on a tree it will sidle around to the other side like a squirrel. When they takes off, they will jump out away from the tree and drop down to pick up speed. Their feeding habits benefit other animals. Chickadees, yellow-rumped warblers, hummingbirds, red-bellied woodpeckers, squirrels and others come to the sapsucker's sap wells to feed. Sapsuckers will also feed on seeds, wild fruits and nuts and insects and insect larvae.

The yellow-bellied sapsucker is a bird you might see all winter in Virginia although, among the woodpeckers, it is the one that is most apt to migrate south. November is the month you are apt to see them most. Come the next spring the males will precede the females, flying in small groups mostly at night at which time they roost in tree cavities as they migrate. They will appear almost as overnight on warm March days when the sap begins to run.

For more information on endangered or species of special concern in Virginia, refer to the book, Virginia's Endangered Species by Karen Terwilliger, sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and published by McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company, Blacksburg, VA 24062.  

·    ·    ·

This section of each issue of the Outdoor Report features one of the 925 animals that have been identified in Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan whose existence is at risk.

Think you can't make a difference? You can! Be wild and work with your local officials and in your local communities to conserve Virginia's wildlife resources. Find out how you can help and join our team!

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

UPCOMING EVENTS
June 2008

Check the Kids Fishing Days Calendar for Events Scheduled in June! (PDF)

14

White Oak Preserve Family Fun Day, Clarksville. Contact Andrew Jones at (434) 374-2025 or andrewjones@whiteoaks.ws.

14

NWTF Women in the Outdoors Event. Gander Mountain, Ashland. Contact Priscilla Page at (410) 378-2064.

21 Chesapeake Bay Fishing Charter, NWTF Women in the Outdoors Event, Hampton Chapter. Contact Priscilla Page (410) 378-2064
21

Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen Awards Event, Augusta Expoland, Fishersville. For ticket information, email: rglayser@earthlink.net.

24 Smallmouth Bass Workshop, statewide.
26

VDGIF 4th Basic Law Enforcement Academy Class Graduation, Sheraton West Hotel, Richmond. Contact Diane Davis, (804) 367-0420 email: diane.davis@dgif.virginia.gov.

28 NWTF Women in the Outdoors Event. BASS PRO World, Hampton. Contact Priscilla Page at (410) 378-2064.
28 NWTF Women in the Outdoors Event. Rockbridge Chapter, Lexington. Contact Priscilla Page at (410) 378-2064.
28 Great American Backyard Campout - Richmond, to register call (804) 359-2475.
July 2008

Check the Kids Fishing Days Calendar for Events Scheduled in July! (PDF)

4 Independence Day Holiday
8 Flat out Catfishing Workshop, Richmond, visit DGIF Web events
22 Saltwater Fishing Workshop, Smith Point Marina, Northumberland, visit DGIF Web events
26

NWTF Women in the Outdoors Event. Bland County. Many Beards Chapter. Outdoors day at Camp Roland in Bastian. Visit DGIF Web events

August 2008
5 Flat out Catfishing Workshop, Richmond, visit DGIF Web events
8-10 Virginia Outdoor Sportsmen's Show, The Showplace, Richmond, visit www.sportsmanshow.com
20 Woodland Options Short Course, Eastside Community Center, Dinwiddie. For information (540) 231-6391 Virginia Cooperative Extension visit www.dinwiddieva.us or email jgagnon@vt.edu
22-24 Mother Daughter Outdoors, Holiday Lake 4-H Center, Appomattox, visit DGIF Web events
23-24 VAWFA Virginia State Duck and Goose Calling Contets, Hampton, visit www.vawfa.org
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
We have opportunities for the public to join us as volunteers in our Complementary Work Force Program. If you are interested in devoting your time and talents, apply here.

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

MAKE IT A FAMILY ADVENTURE!
The Department offers numerous hunting, fishing, and outdoor education programs designed for families, women, beginners and seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO HUNT OR FISH?
Visit Find Game, the Department's award-winning online public hunting lands locator!

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

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

QUICK GLANCE
AT HUNTING SEASONS

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

Coyote, groundhog, & skunk: Continuous open season on private land only.
Beginning in June 2008
June 7 to 21: Spring Squirrel Season on certain VDGIF Wildlife Management Areas - see Regulations Digest page 41 or DGIF website
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.
REPORT
WILDLIFE VIOLATIONS
To report a wildlife violation, call 1-800-237-5712, or email WildCrime@dgif.virginia.gov.

FOR AN EMERGENCY SITUATION, contact the local conservation police officer immediately through the local sheriff's office or police department.

Don't allow the actions of a few to tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen and sportswomen!

SUBSCRIBE TO VIRGINIA WILDLIFE MAGAZINE!
  • 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.
VIRGINIA WILDLIFE CATALOG

Security Reminder: VDGIF will never ask for personal information through unsolicited e-mail.

OUTDOOR REPORT
EDITORIAL TEAM

Editor: David Coffman

Web Production: David Murr, Tim Tassitano

Contributing Editors:
Julia Dixon, Carol Kushlak, Ron Messina, Sally Mills, Lee Walker

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

The electronic Outdoor Report is sent free via e-mail to more than 15,000 subscribers the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.

ABOUT VDGIF
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' mission is:
  • To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth;
  • To provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia;
  • To promote safety for persons and property in connection with boating, hunting and fishing;
  • To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities.

Privacy Policy | {UNSUBSCRIBEHYPERLINK}

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