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, July 9, 2008

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this edition:
  • VDGIF Basic Law Enforcement Academy Graduates 4th Class
  • Apprentice Hunting License: A New Way To Get Involved in Hunting
  • New 2008-09 Hunting & Trapping Regulations Digest Available
  • Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
    • Paddle the James River July 12 for "RunOff RunDown" Event
    • Virginia Trappers Host Annual Sports Show July 18-20 in Luray
    • Kid's Fishing Derby July 19 at Lake Fairfax Park
    • Shenandoah Riverkeepers Rodeo July 19
    • NASP Teacher Training Scheduled at JMU July 20
    • Local NWTF Chapters to Host Women in the Outdoors Events
  • People and Partners in the News
    • Sportsman's Show Features New Opportunities for the Whole Family August 8-10
  • Hunting News Your Can Use
    • What's New for the 2008-09 Hunting & Trapping Seasons
    • New Web Site Provides Waterfowl Flyway Information
    • New Stationary Waterfowl Blind License Application Simplified
  • Be Safe... Have Fun!
    • Planning and Preparation Needed for Safe Summer Adventures
  • "Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts
    • From the Water to the Road, Play it Safe This Summer
  • Habitat Improvement Tips
    • Landscaping Contest Recognizes Conservation Excellence
  • Fishin' Report
    • Summer Bass Fishing Tips
    • Sarah White's Notebook
      • Lightning, Don't Let it Get You!
      • Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions
  • Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
    • VDGIF Law Enforcement Academy Graduates Earn Proficiency Awards
  • In Case You Missed It...
    • Links to Recent Articles of Ongoing Interest

VDGIF Basic Law Enforcement Academy Graduates 4th Class

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) Basic Law Enforcement Academy graduated it's fourth class of officers today. The keynote speaker at the swearing-in ceremony was Mr. Jim Yacone, Assistant Special-Agent-in-Charge of the Richmond FBI office. Clerk of the Circuit Court for Chesterfield County, The Honorable Judy L. Worthington officially swore-in the new officers.

In all, 19 new conservation police officers were sworn-in at the ceremony. These officers completed an intensive 28-week training program that included more than 200 courses. They will take up their assignments across the Commonwealth and proceed with field training under the direct supervision of field training officers. This is the fourth class to graduate from the Department's Training Academy. VDGIF undertook establishing its own academy in order to tailor the program to the specific needs of conservation police officers.

VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan also spoke at the graduation ceremony noting, "This is a very impressive group of individuals. Their training has been rigorous both physically and mentally. We are so fortunate to have this caliber of people joining us at the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries."

The following is a list of the newest conservation police officers and the areas where they will be assigned:

Officer Assigned Area
William Clayton Barnhart Franklin County
Christopher Wayne Billhimer Shenandoah County
Steven Brian Bratton Eastern Shore
Timothy Scott Dooley Goochland County
Eric Darrell Dotterer, Jr. Franklin County
Jessica Patrice Douglas Dinwiddie County
Sarah Louise Druy Eastern Shore
Daniel Lee Eller Stafford/Spotsylvania counties
Nicholas Scott Farmer Henry County
John Raymond Goodwin, Jr. City of Newport News
Beth Joannah Harold Highland County
Joshua Dalton Jackson Westmoreland County
Tony Arden McFaddin, Jr. Botetourt County
Chase Kendal Meredith Patrick County
Eric Edward Plaster Roanoke County
Jessica Renee Whirley Cumberland County
Joseph Patrick Williams Franklin County
George James Wilson King William County
Brandon Wayne Woodruff Sussex County

Conservation police officers must be proficient in a wide array of skills including handling of firearms; crime scene investigations; drug and operating-under-the-influence enforcement; search and rescue; boat operation and boat trailering; etc. Awards were presented at the ceremony to recognize the hard work and proficiency of the recruits and the dedication of instructors and academy staff. These awards are detailed in the People and Partners in the News Section below.

Apprentice Hunting License: A New Way To Get Involved in Hunting

Virginians interested in learning how to hunt and Virginia hunters eager to share their sport with friends and family now have a way to make it easier to pair up! An apprentice license can be purchased by a new hunter before successfully completing the Department's hunter education course. However, apprentice hunters are reminded they still have to comply with this education requirement before legally purchasing a state resident or nonresident basic hunting license.

Completion of the hunter education course can take place at any point during the two-year period. Doing so will provide the apprentice with necessary proof of course passage to purchase the basic hunting license and continue hunting once the "test drive" period is over.

What are you waiting for? Call toll-free 1-866-721-6911 for more information.

Virginia Apprentice Hunting License Facts

  • The new apprentice hunting license serves as a first-time Virginia resident or nonresident hunting license and is good for two years.
  • An important safety feature of the new license is that the apprentice hunter must be accompanied and directly supervised by a hunter possessing a valid Virginia hunting license who is an adult over age 18 (the mentor hunter). "Directly supervised" is defined in the new legislation as "when a person over 18 maintains a close visual and verbal contact with, provides adequate direction to, and can immediately assume control of the firearm from the apprentice hunter." This direct supervision requirement is in place because the apprentice hunter will not have had to meet the hunter education requirement as a condition of purchasing the apprentice license.
  • The apprentice license does not qualify the holder to purchase a regular hunting license, nor exempt the holder from compliance with Department regulations. A hunter education course must be successfully completed to obtain a regular hunting license.
  • A bear, deer, turkey license and all applicable stamps or permits are required in addition to the apprentice license.
  • Previous Virginia resident and nonresident hunting license holders may not use an apprentice license.

Mentoring Guidelines

  • Emphasize the quality of the experience and not the harvest.
  • Demonstrate good sportsmanship.
  • Know your partner's endurance level and attention span during the outdoor experience.
  • Make it an enjoyable experience.
  • Make preparations ahead of the experience and share the pre-plan (scouting the area, weather forecast, permission if required, etc.).
  • Let someone know your plan for the adventure; where you are planning to go and when you are planning to return.
  • Be prepared in case of emergencies.
  • Proper clothing may be important factors during extreme hot or cold weather conditions.
  • Comply with all laws, regulations and license requirements.
  • Make preparations for another outdoor adventure, while the thrill of the hunt is still fresh.

New 2008-09 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Regulations Digest Available

VDGIF is distributing the new 2008-09 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Regulations digest. The booklet has a new look this year with color- coded page tabs for the different sections including: What's New, Licenses, Regulations, Hunting Lands, Bear, Deer Turkey, Small Game, Trapping and an Index. In addition to laws and regulations, featured topics include detailed information on deer, bear, turkey, small game and furbearer management programs and frequently asked questions. For landowners, information is included on liability, posting recommendations and habitat management incentive programs. There is an entire page listing new regulations, expanded seasons and other hunter friendly changes this year. The 58-page booklet is available free of charge from license sales agents, Regional VDGIF offices and the Richmond Headquarters office. To offset printing costs, paid advertisements have been included again this year. Many of the ads contain coupons and information on new products and gear to enhance your hunting experiences. A PDF version is available at the Department's site, along with more features on topics of interest to sportsmen.

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Paddle the James River July 12 for "RunOff RunDown" Event

On July 12, 2008, the James River Association will host the first annual James River RunOff RunDown. The idea is that we invite paddlers/boats to cover the entire 340 miles of the James River - from Iron Gate to the Chesapeake Bay. River enthusiasts are encouraged to visit the event Web site: On the site paddlers can sign up for a stretch on the "river sections" page on the site. For details on how you can participate in this event read Andy Thompson's feature article from last Sunday's Richmond Times Dispatch by clicking here.

Virginia Trappers Host Annual Sports Show July 18-20 in Luray

The Virginia Trappers Association is hosting their annual Convention and Sportsmens Show at the Page County Fairgrounds near Luray on July 18-20, 2008. Whether you are an experienced or novice trapper, this event is one that you won't want to miss. There are workshops, exhibits, gear for sale and lots of experienced trappers to share information with you. VDGIF Furbearer Biologist, Mike Fies notes, "There are a number of new regulations this year that trappers need to be aware of. The VTA Convention is a great place to meet with other trappers and VDGIF staff to learn more about these new requirements and gain additional trapping skills."

A summary of the new regulations related to trapping include:


  • Mandatory electronic checking for bobcats- A new regulation was passed that requires all hunters and trappers who kill a bobcat to report the kill within 24 hours through an electronic harvest reporting system
  • Tagging Requirements- Beginning this year, bobcats taken to a Virginia taxidermist will no longer be required to be sealed with a CITES tag.
  • Hunters and trappers who require CITES tags to sell bobcat pelts can now order them via the Internet and attach the tags themselves.
  • Electronic calls may now be used to hunt bobcats, coyotes and foxes on public lands during specific periods.


  • Trappers will now have the option of tagging their traps with a permanent identification number issued by the Department, instead of their name and address.
  • Body-Gripping Traps in excess of 7 1⁄2 inches can now be set half-submerged in water.
  • The method for measuring maximum jaw spread of Foothold Traps has been clarified
  • Licensed trappers may now shoot a .22 caliber rimfire rifle or pistol on or over public waters to dispatch trapped animals.

Be sure and read the full details of these new regulations, seasons and requirements in the 2008-09 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia Regulations digest.

For information on the VTA Convention and Sportsman Show visit:

Shenandoah Riverkeepers Rodeo July 19

Come celebrate our river and the recovery of the fishery at a party hosted by Shenandoah Riverkeeper® Saturday July 19, 2008. at the Bentonville Low Water Bridge Campground on Indian Hollow Road (Route 613 off Route 340) on the banks of the South Fork and in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Fourteen nationally known smallmouth bass fishing guides are sponsoring the event, participating that morning in a catch and release fishing contest. Then fish, canoe, swim or just hang around until the pig roast and Blue Grass party starts at 5:00 p.m. For ticket and paddling information contact: or (540) 837-1479. Visit the Shenandoah Riverkeeper Web site )

Kids Fishin' Derby July 19 at Lake Fairfax Park

The New Horizon Bass Anglers in cooperation with VDGIF are hosting the 34th Kid's Fishing Derby July 19, 2008 at Lake Fairfax Park in Reston. The Derby is open to all kids, age 15 and under at no charge. All kids receive prizes, regardless of whether they catch fish or not. This is a super day for a family get-together with the hosts furnishing rods, reels, bait, lunch and guidance. The format of the event is catch, photograph and release, with the kid getting a picture to take home, of him/her holding the catch. The event attracts between 250-300 kids and parents.

VDGIF, Fisheries Biologist John Odenkirk, and Rock Cianciotti, Fairfax Co. Conservation Officer, have helped organize the event for several years and noted that fishing is truly a great family activity that can be enjoyed and shared with the next generation. Event Director, Charlie Taylor told of one young woman that came to the July Derby last year with two toddlers and told the story that she had fished the Kid's Derbies when she was a little girl. For pre- registration information visit:, or email Charlie Taylor at :

NASP Teacher Training Scheduled at JMU July 20

School teachers who want to teach the National Archery in the Schools Program (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. Teachers have an opportunity to take the NASP certification training at the James Madison University (JMU) Summer Health and Physical Activity Institute for PE Teachers on July 20, 2008. Click Here for more information.

For information on your school "hosting" the eight hour training for surrounding school educators contact Karen Holson, VDGIF Outdoor Education Supervisor and Virginia NASP State Coordinator, at 804-367-6355 or email

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:

The event originally scheduled for June 28 at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Hampton, has been rescheduled to August 2.

People and Partners in the News

Sportsman's Show Features New Opportunities for the Whole Family August 8-10

The 25th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show features over 300 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places and techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. The three day show is held at The Showplace in Richmond August 8-10, 2008. You can purchase your new Hunting and Fishing Licenses and 2009 Virginia Wildlife Calendar from the VDGIF booth and also subscribe to Virginia Wildlife magazine and the Outdoor Report at the Show. Biologists, conservation police officers, Complementary Work Force volunteers and Hunter Education Instructors will be on hand to answer your questions.

This is your chance to see the biggest bucks harvested in Virginia. Deer hunters throughout Virginia will bring their mounts to this prestigious contest organized by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA). Certified judges from the VDHA and VDGIF will be awarding ribbons and trophies in four antler classes. The Virginia Open Turkey Calling Championship will be held on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. sanctioned by the National Wild Turkey Federation. There are cash and prize awards with the first place winners in four Divisions eligible to go to the National Calling Contest. Featured this year are seminars for persons with disabilities to learn about specialized equipment and partnership programs with sportsmen's organizations that provide hunting and fishing opportunities. Check the Show's Web site for information on numerous other seminars, exhibits, demonstrations and contests.

Take a Friend, Make a Hunter…This is the perfect event to bring a friend that is interested in the Apprentice Hunting License to talk with experienced sportsmen about the many opportunities for hunting and try out the latest gear to enhance your experience. Purchase an Apprentice Hunting License and sign up a new subscriber for the Outdoor Report at the Show and we will give you a useful VDGIF camo carabiner and a free 2008 Hunting & Fishing Virginia Wildlife Calendar .

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.

"What's New" for 2008-09

Get your free copy of the new 2008-2009 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Regulations digest an see what's new this season. The booklet has a new look this year with color- coded page tabs for the different sections including: What's New, Licenses, Regulations, Hunting Lands, Bear, Deer Turkey, Small Game, Trapping and an Index. There is an entire page listing new regulations, expanded seasons and other hunter friendly changes this year entitled "What's New". We will be featuring details of these new opportunities in each of the next editions of the Outdoor Report through September. A PDF format is available on the VDGIF Web site along with feature articles on the topics listed in the digest.

Here is the list of "Top Ten" new hunting opportunities from the "What's New" page of the digest:


1. Apprentice Hunting License is now available.


2. Black bear checking procedures have changed and there is a new way to find out the age of your harvested bear.


3. Earn A Buck regulations have been established in Bedford, Fairfax, Fauquier, Franklin, Loudoun, Patrick, Prince William and Roanoke counties.

4. An Early Antlerless Only Archery Season has been established in Loudoun and Prince William counties (except on Department-owned lands) to coincide with the early segment of the urban archery season (September 6, 2008 - October 3, 2008).

5. The Early Muzzleloading Season west of the Blue Ridge Mountains has been extended to two weeks (November 1-14).

6. City of Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp Line) now has a late muzzleloading season with the last six days as either-sex deer hunting days.

7. The Special Late Antlerless Only Firearms Deer Season in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties has been expanded to include Fauquier County, except on Department-owned lands and was also extended to the last Saturday in March.

8. General Firearms Either-Sex Deer Hunting Days have been increased in 16 eastern Virginia city/counties


9. Youth Fall Turkey Hunt Day established for youth 15 years of age and younger on October 18 and Youth Spring Turkey Hunt Day hunting hours were extended to sunset during the youth spring hunt.

10. Starting and ending dates for the late segment for fall turkey have changed in most counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Be sure and read the full details of these new regulations, seasons and requirements in the 2008-09 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia Regulations digest.

New Web Site Provides Waterfowl Flyway Information

Waterfowlers now have a new Web site packed with news, updates, harvest management information and scientific data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS). This new site is a collaborative effort of waterfowl managers from across the continent where the FWS and CWS post the initial assessments of waterfowl breeding habitat conditions in new video segments. These assessments offer a first glimpse of habitat conditions and the status of waterfowl populations entering the breeding period starting in May, 2008.

VDGIF Wildlife Division Director, Bob Ellis an avid waterfowler himself noted, "This will be a great Web site for all waterfowl hunters and other migratory waterfowl enthusiasts to keep up with flyway activities. In addition, users can view aerial photos chronicling the survey as experienced by the field crews in May and June; query an interactive map to find out where birds were banded and recovered." The site also features short videos that contain reports from FWS and CWS biologists who conduct the annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey, the primary tool used to track the status of waterfowl populations and their habitats in North America. Users can submit questions about duck, goose and swan hunting management in the United States that will be answered by experts.

New Stationary Waterfowl Blind License Application Simplified

A new, improved version of the Stationary Waterfowl Blind License Application is now available to license agents and on-line at the VDGIF Web site for stationary blind applicants applying for the 2008-2009 waterfowl season. Several changes have been made on the form including allowing up to five blinds to be licensed on one form and to have one certification box that will cover both the riparian and non-riparian applicants. VDGIF Wildlife Division Director, Bob Ellis said of the new form, "We hope these changes will provide a more user friendly form for the applicant as well as for the license agent. We again are requesting the applicant provide GPS coordinates so that we can develop a database of applicants that will be used to streamline future application procedures."

Take a Friend, Make a Hunter… Be sure and visit the VDGIF exhibits at the 25th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show at The Showplace in Richmond August 8-10, 2008. This is the perfect event to bring a friend that is interested in the Apprentice Hunting License to talk with experienced sportsmen about the many opportunities for hunting and try out the latest gear to enhance your experience. Purchase an Apprentice Hunting License and sign up a new subscriber for the Outdoor Report at the Show and we will give you a useful VDGIF camo carabiner and a free 2008 Hunting & Fishing Virginia Wildlife Calendar .

Be Safe... Have Fun!

This edition of Be Safe... Have Fun! was written by the Editor, David Coffman, based on his experiences, including mistakes, the past 30 years camping, fishing and exploring our wonderful wild places.

Planning and Preparation Needed for Safe Summer Adventures

Skeeters, ticks, and snakes, oh my! If you stop to think about all the critters and conditions that can possibly make your summer outdoor activities miserable, you may make a big mistake and stay home. With a little planning, preparation and the proper gear, you can minimize the discomforts that come with any outdoor adventure. The old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," relates directly to you and your outdoor plans. There are some basic safety precautions directly related to summer heat and critter activity that warrant your attention.

Clothing: dress for the conditions you plan to encounter, then take additional items in case conditions change. Consider wearing pants that have the zip-off legs to give some protection in case you encounter brush, poison ivy (leaflets three, let it be!), or ticks. Same advice for shirts - take a long sleeve - it may get cooler if out after sunset. Wear light colors, they are cooler and do not attract mosquitoes like dark shades. Carry a small folding poncho for sudden downpours. Wear a hat to provide shade. Use sunscreen, even if you already have your tan.

Water: have plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration. As an Eagle Scout, the motto "Be Prepared" has helped me and my companions out of unforeseen circumstances on many occasions. I offer a personal tip for long drives. Always take a cooler with ice and a variety of liquid refreshments in your vehicle on any trip 5 miles or 500. With heavy traffic just about anywhere you go these days, a traffic stopping incident, or breakdown may strand you for hours, miles away from any refreshment. Keep a couple of bottles of water, or sports drink and some packaged snacks in your vehicle just in case. You may just make someone's day, including your own. Be aware of the symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion - these conditions can kill. Keep hydrated and do not over do it. Know your physical limits. Rest or get in shade to prevent heat stress.

Critters: wear insect repellant. There are many kinds on the market, so read up on benefits and precautions of the various kinds. Note the proper proper method to remove ticks (PDF) to prevent infection. If you happen to encounter a snake, its best to leave it alone. Many species of snakes, including venomous ones, are very beneficial to humans. Snakes are not aggressive and only bite in self defense, or if provoked. If bitten by a venomous snake, stay calm and seek medical attention immediately. Most venomous snake bites in Virginia only result in some swelling and discomfort. Bee, wasp and hornet stings pose a greater risk, especially if you are allergic to them. If you are allergic, keep the proper medications with you and tell your companions in case you need medical assistance. Rabies gets a lot of attention in the summer. If during the daytime, you see a fox, raccoon, or other mammal that is normally nocturnal and elusive acting aggressively or strangely, keep away. Contact local animal control authorities or the police immediately with the location of the animal.

Finally, always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. These days with cell phones, SUVs and GPS, we have gotten somewhat complacent on this basic safety rule. Murphy's Law is lurking out there - no cellular signal, dead batteries, twisted an ankle - insert your own excuse here. No wildland adventure is without some risk - it's why we call it "wild" and part of the appeal of venturing outdoors! If you take simple steps to be prepared, have the proper gear for the conditions and take basic safety precautions, you optimize your chances for a great wildland experience. Now go out there and have fun, seek adventure, respect and enjoy our great wild places.

"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" and wildlife "wild" to benefit us all.

From the Water to the Road, Play it Safe This Summer and Slow Down

With Virginia's lakes, rivers, bays and oceanfront popular summer outing destinations, drivers are reminded to play it safe both on the water and on the road. Slow down, stay alert and stay sober. Use courtesy and common sense, don't litter and heed safety zones.

Conservation police officers log many hours patrolling rivers and lakes to enforce safety laws to protect all boaters. Nationwide recreational boating is one of the fastest growing outdoor activities, and Virginia is no exception. The number of registered boats in the Commonwealth exceeds 250,000 and Virginia is a prime boating destination for out-of-state visitors. This figure does not include thousands more including kayaks, canoes and non-motorized sailboats. In an attempt to keep Virginia's busy waterways safe for all citizens to enjoy, Virginia conservation police officers launched Operation SWEEP - Safer Waterways through Enforcement and Education Programs - last summer. During the start-up phase of this program 109 patrols were conducted resulting in 1,163 boat inspections; 203 warnings were issued and 294 arrests were made which included 14 arrests for operating boats either under the influence of alcohol or drugs. To learn more about boating laws and boating education in Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Web site.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Landscaping Contest Recognizes Conservation Excellence

Calling all Conservation Landscapers--show off your spectacular gardens and put our guidelines to the test! The Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council (CCLC) is running a contest for novice gardeners, schools, businesses and professionals who have a residential or non-residential site that exemplifies the Eight Essential Elements of Conservation Landscaping (site must be located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed to be eligible). These Essential Elements include: 1) design that benefits the environment; 2) landscaping that uses locally native plants; 3) provides for the removal or management of invasive exotic plants; 4) provides good wildlife habitat; 5) promotes good air quality; 6) conserves water or improves water quality; 7) fosters healthier soils such as through composting; and 8) works in harmony with nature for sustainability. Deadline for submission is August 1. This is not a photo contest but a contest of landscaping principles! Complete contest rules and application form are available at Winning sites will be featured on the CCLC Web page this fall and may be chosen as a field trip stop during our fall Field Days.

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.

Summer Bass Fishing Tips From Larry Thornhill- Fish Harder Co.

1. Go Dark. If your water is a popular recreation destination consider fishing after dark. Things usually settle down at this time and the fish typically become more active. Safety is the big concern after dark. Don't fish alone; know your water; always wear a PFD; make sure your boat is properly lighted; and watch for other boat traffic.

2. If you can't fish after dark go early. Most fish are more active at dawn than in the evening during the hottest days of summer. It's easy enough to get up around 4:00 a.m., fish a few hours, and then go home and take a nap.

3. Deep-diving crankbaits are hot. Deep-diving crankbaits are super bass lures during July, August and into September. Throw them over offshore breaks and ledges. Long cast and very fast retrieves are usually your best option.

4. Fish schooling bass. Often bass will surface-school during the hottest days of summer. Look for them breaking the surface and cast directly into the school. Small topwater baits, spoons, in-line spinners and crankbaits are effective lure choices for this type of fishing.

5. Release your bass immediately. Survival times for bass in hot weather, hot water conditions are short. Release you fish immediately so you can catch them another day.

Thanks Larry for these pro tips. To learn more, visit the Fish Harder Company - Tru-tungsten Web site for the latest in top quality fishing lures, gear and fishing workshops. To contact Larry Thornhill in Bullock, NC area on Kerr Reservoir, e-mail at and phone 919-603-5681. Larry currently serves as Board Chairman for the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association and is a valued advisor to the Outdoor Report.

Sara White's Notebook

Lightning, Don't Let it Get you!

Last evening I was headed to one of my favorite fishing spots on the James. Faithful Keeshond Guinness leading the way. Almost immediately it began to sprinkle and in another fifty yards a bolt of lightning hit the trail in front of us. Back to the car we ran, Guinness leading the way.

In half a minute we were driving away from the rain. It turned out this sudden storm ended up knocking over trees and tearing off the roof of at least one building. I wondered what might have happened had I been half a mile down the river rod in hand and a nice bass on the line. What do you do, and what don't you do if you're out in the open with lightning all around you? Here are some good ideas provided by the National Weather Service that will help get you through the storm:

Region 1 - Tidewater

Chicahominy River: Betsy Caldwell of River's Rest reports that smallmouth bass are hitting on soft plastics, while cats are going for peeler crabs and worms. Not many crappie have been brought to boat. A few perch have been brought in on worms and plastics. The water is warming and stained.

Little Creek Reservoir:

According to Walter Elliot the following anglers were lucky -

Jim Grigonis James City County 1 Largemouth Bass 22" long Plastic worm.

Willie Weber New Kent County 8 Stripers up to 10 lbs. Live Herring. 1 Walleye 4.1 lbs. jig.

Keith Williams Hanover County 4 Stripers to 10 lbs. 1 Largemouth Bass 23" long Bait, Live Herring.

John Robertson Richmond 1 Walleye 3.8 lbs. Bait unk.

Paul Robertson Doswell 1 Largemouth Bass 7 lbs. Bait unk.

Robert (Doc) Eveland James City County 1 Striper 14 lbs. Live Herring.

Greg Rose Prince George County 1 Channel Cat 4.5 lbs. Red Wiggler.

Mike Fowler Williamsburg 26 Stripers up to 10 lbs. Live Herring.

Most of the action over the past week centers around anglers fishing for Stripers. Live Herring fish off points in twenty are more feet of water brought a number of patrons fish weighing from ten to fourteen pounds The Largemouth Bass bite pick up, with fishing measuring up to 23" and 7 pounds. Live bait was used to catch most of the Bass, in from ten to twenty feet of water.

Chain Pickerel are hitting on minnows and plastic worms fish in five to twenty feet of water. A few Yellow Perch and Crappie are being caught on small minnows and jigs fish off structure in fifteen to twenty feet of water. The Reservoir is clear with an estimated water temperature of 89 degrees. The water level is 21 3/4" below full pool.

North River Landing and Back Bay: Dewey Mullins of West Neck Marina told me that bass are hitting early and late on top water plastics, crankbaits and buzzbaits. Stripers are going for large shiners, spinners and buzzbaits. Blluegill like spinners, jigs, red worms and crickets. White perch are easily fooled, especially at night. Water is in the 80s and clear.

Region 2- Southside

James at Lynchburg: Doug Lane at Angler's Lane says that smallmouth are going for several types of flies shch as:CK Baitfish, Clawdads in brown, blue or back size 4 or white zonkers. The water is warming and clear.

James at Scottsville: Brian Bodine of Razorback Guide Service reports that smallmouth bass are biting well in the Howardsville to Bremo area. Water conditions were getting low, slow and fluctuating some this week with daily thunderstorms adding some muddy water from Rivanna and Hardware rivers. Baits of choice right now are Pop-R's for the morning and evening topwater bite. SMbass are hitting plastics. Mostly finesse worms on a modified Carolina rig and tubes. Concentrate on the darker water along the bank with some sort of structure. Lots of dinks with the occasional fish up to 3+ pounds. Cats are biting well on into the evenings with Razorback clients landing many channel cats in the 5 to 10 pound range with the occasional flathead pushing up to 20 plus pounds. Bait of choice is live bait or cut bait. Visit the Razorback web site or call (434) 923-9305.

Kerr Reservoir: Brandon Gray of Bobcat's Country Store reports good bass on cranks , Carolina rigs and football jigs. Anglers going for crappie would do well to fish in brush 20 feet down and make use of curly tail jigs or minnows. Big cats can be had with large shiners, bream or shad. The water is clear and warming.

Smith Mountain Lake

By Mike Snead, Virginia Outdoorsman

Water Temperature: 80 degrees;  Water Clarity: Good

The weather this week will be similar to last weeks with daytime highs in the upper 80's and lows at night in the upper 60's. The skies will be partly cloudy all week with a chance of showers or thunderstorms possible each day. The present water surface temperature is 80 degrees and with the current weather forecast, it should stay around that level all week. We will have a first quarter moon this Thursday, July 10th, so with clear skies we will have increased light and improved visibility on the lake when the moon is overhead in the early evening.

Overall, the fishing continues to be good. Black bass continue to be found in a variety of different water depths and are usually found near some type of structure that provides them ready access to deep water. One of the most common places to find bass on Smith Mountain Lake during the day is around deep-water docks. The bass will be found suspended under floaters, right next to pilings and ladders as well as near old stumps under the dock. The bass like the shade and protection the dock provides. Sometimes they will be found up close to the shoreline and other times in water that is much deeper. They may be found at different locations on a dock at different times of the same day, but when located will often be found in similar locations on different docks establishing a pattern. This means that if you find fish suspended 8 feet below the surface on the shady side of an outside piling of a dock in 20 feet of water, you will often find bass in a similar location and depth on other docks that share the same characteristics. Once you find bass in a certain location, you can often find them near a similar type of cover in other locations on the lake.

Many lures can be used for bass suspended around docks in the summer. One of the best is the YamaSenko worm by Gary Yamamoto. It comes in different lengths and colors and is a lure that has been often imitated but never duplicated or equaled. It is clearly one of the top ten baits for bass at Smith Mountain Lake. This lure can be fished a number of different ways, but one of the best ways to fish it around docks is wacky rigged using Gamakatsu Wide Gap Finesse, Octopus or weedless hooks and a spinning or baitcasting outfit. Rig the bait without any other terminal tackle by inserting the hook through the bait at the egg sack so it just hangs from the hook. Toss the Senko worm right next to vertical structure (pilings, ladders, etc.) around the dock and allow the bait to sink naturally to the appropriate depth. Leave your bail or reel in free-spool so the bait sinks right next to the structure. Watch your line closely and when you see it start to move to the side, take the slack out of your line, set the hook and hold on. Once you locate bass look for additional fish near similar docks at the same location and depth and don't forget to return to the same dock and fish it again after giving it a break.

In the summer, some bass will have moved into deeper water and deep diving crankbaits by Bomber, Bandit, Lucky Craft, Norman and Rapala and plastics by Deep Creek, ZOOM, V&M, Netbait, Roboworm, Yamamoto and Gambler are working. Carolina rigged plastic worms, creature baits and lizards by the above mentioned plastics companies continue to produce bass, especially on deepwater points and humps. There is still a topwater bite early and the Lobina Rico is a top producing topwater lure. There are still seats available in the "Summer Bass Fishing Workshop" this Thursday evening. This workshop will cover summer bass patterns and the lures and presentation techniques used on Smith Mountain Lake during the summer. Additional details about all of our workshops can be found at All workshops are all held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the second floor conference room of our building in Westlake, on Route 122 across the street from Krogers and Wendy's. Seating is limited and classes are filled on a first come first served basis. To reserve a seat, stop by or call the shop on (540) 721-4867.

Tournament bass fishing results were good this past week. The Saturday night bass tournament out of Foxport Marina was won by Paul Perrault and Dennis "Chicken" Holland with a five fish weight of 17.65 pounds. The big fish in that open tournament weighed 6.20 pounds and was caught by the team of Steve Grubbs and Tracey Bowles. The team of Mike Johnson and Glen Sink won the Tuesday night tournament. They produced a five fish weight of 16.50 pounds to win the event. The big fish Tuesday weighed 6.15 pounds and was caught by the Martin/Wheeler Team.

Striper fishing continues to be good, particularly for those using live bait in the mid lake areas near the mouths of the major creeks. Good fish are being caught early in the morning using alewives and small gizzard shad on freelines, planer boards, Redi-rigs (floats) and downlines. Once the sun gets up, stripers are schooling up and are often found near or in deepwater timber. You can catch these fish when they move up to feed using live bait on downlines or flukes on "Virginia Outdoorsman Custom Fluke Jigheads" with Gamakatsu hooks. Stripers are also being caught trolling Sutton spoons, plastic swim shad (Storm, Calcutta), sassy shad and Umbrella rigs (Urigs).

The catfish bite continues to be strong with stinkbaits, nightcrawlers, shad and shiners all producing good results. Carp are also being caught on one of the flavored carp baits and corn. Bluegill and other panfish continue to feed wildly on "red wiggler" worms making it the preferred bait for kids fishing around docks this time of year.

Tight lines. Visit Us Online or call ahead (540) 721-4867 for updates.

Region 3- Southwest

Claytor Lake: Mike Burchett of Rock House Marina says that bass fishing is slow during the day, with better action at night. Every Tuesday, the Marina has a bass tournament from 6 PM to 10 PM. There is a 100% payback. The most recent winners were Jason Adams and Chris "Bubba" Lewis, who brought in 5 fish, totaling over 8lbs. The fish were fooled by Drop Shot Robo Worms and Wacky Rig Senkos. Stripers are striking late, with Yum Money Minnows and Berkley Hollow Belly Swimbaits being the bait of choice. Cats, too, are good at night on the deeper points when fished with shad. Bluegill are responding to worms. No report of big action from crappie or perch. The water is in the mid 80's and clear.

New River and Claytor Lake: Victor Billings of Sportsman's Supply tells us that flatheads are going for shad. Stripers are hitting at night. Perch are going for small jigs. Bass and crappie are slow. The water is dingy and 77degrees.

Lower New River: John Zienius of Big Z's reports that the river is really low and slimy. The only angers with luck are wading or using belly boats. Clear pockets with no grass produce the most fish. Smallmouths are going for Gitzs and super flukes. Cats are going for cut bait in the evening hours. The water is warming and clear.

Region 4- Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

Lake Moomaw: Larry Andrews of The Bait Place tells us that 3 big brown trout have been brought in recently by Covington's Bobby Jr. Hubbard, using minnows. Bass are doing well on worms and soft plastics. Crappie and yellow perch are slow. Fishing on the Jackson has been good. The water in the lake is down 4 feet, 78 degrees and clear.

Shenandoah North and South Forks: Harry Murray says that the mountain trout streams are at a good level, and very fishable. The best flies are Murray's flying beatle size 16 and 18. Another good fly is the Mr. Rapidan dry fly size 16 and 18.Water is clear and 59 degrees. Trout streams in the valley are clear and fishable. Some are very low and require a conscious approach. The best flies are Betsy streamer sizes 10 and 12 and the pear marauder also sizes 10 and 12. Water is clear and 69 degrees. Smallmouth bass streams in the north and south forks of the Shenandoah are clear and fishable. Good flies are the Shenandoah blue popper size 6, Shenandoah Chartreuse Popper size 6, the Shenandoah Chuggar and Murray'Hellgrammite black size 6.. The water is 78 t80 degrees and clear. Every Tuesday and Friday Harry puts out a stream report at

Region 5- Northern Piedmont

James at the Fall Line: Mike Ostrander says that flathead cats are hitting in the James River Park System. They are going for live and fresh cut bait. Smallmouths like spinner jigs. The water is hot and clear.

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
and it might get used in the Fishin' Report!

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!

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.

VDGIF Law Enforcement Academy Graduates Earn Proficiency Awards

The VDGIF Basic Law Enforcement Academy graduated it's forth class of officers June 26,2008. As the 19 new officers were officially sworn-in, special awards were presented at the ceremony to recognize the hard work and proficiency of the recruits and the dedication of instructors and academy staff. Conservation police officers must be proficient in a wide array of skills including handling of firearms; crime scene investigations; drug and operating-under-the-influence enforcement; search and rescue; boat operation and boat trailering; etc. Awards were presented to recognize the hard work and dedication of Conservation Police Officer recruits and staff. They are as follows:

The Top Shot Award was presented to the Conservation Police Officer recruit with the highest overall qualification scores on all firearms courses. The selection was based solely on qualification scores earned at the conclusion of the 80-hour block of firearms training held during the Academy. Recruits were required to demonstrate proficiency with their issued pistol, rifle, and with shotguns during day and night courses in a variety of demanding situations. The recipient of the Top Shot Award was Officer Tony A McFaddin, Jr., who is assigned to Botetourt County. Officer McFaddin was born in Lexington, VA. He is a graduate of Natural Bridge High School and has previously served our country in the United States Marine Corps and as a Deputy with Rockbridge County.

The Outstanding Driver Award was presented to the Conservation Police Officer recruit with the highest overall qualification scores on all driving courses. The selection was based solely on scores earned during the 80-hour block of driver training during the Academy. Due to the nature of the locations officers are required to access and patrol, four-wheel drive vehicles are among the primary focus during this training. Training for this type of vehicle goes beyond the curriculum established for sedan patrol vehicles utilized by traditional law enforcement agencies. Driving courses include Asphalt Precision courses, High-Speed Reaction courses, Emergency Vehicle Operations course, Off-Road Obstacle Negotiation, All Terrain Vehicle Operation, Gravel Surface Braking Course, and three different Trailer Backing Courses. The recipient of the Outstanding Driver Award was Officer Timothy S. Dooley who is assigned to Goochland County. Officer Dooley was born in Roanoke, VA. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Science.

The Most Physically Fit Award was presented to the Conservation Police Officer recruit with the best overall performance in the three areas tested by the VDGIF Basic Training Academy. The recruits were given a pre-test when they began the Academy in December, a mid-term test and a final test in June. The recruits were required to participate in a physical training program each day for one hour for the entire 28-week period of the Basic Academy. The four performance areas were push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and a mile-and-a-half run. The scores were compiled and reviewed by the instructors that assisted with physical training and then confirmed by Academy staff. The recipient of the Most Physically Fit Award was Officer Christopher W. Billhimer who is assigned to Shenandoah County. Officer Billhimer is from Harrisonburg, VA and is a graduate of Broadway High School and an honor graduate of the Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Academy. He was previously employed by the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office.

The Outstanding Boating Award was presented to the recruit that demonstrated the best overall ability to operate large patrol boats, jon boats, and personal watercraft. One of the primary duties of a Virginia Conservation Police Officer is to patrol the vast waterways of the Commonwealth. The recruits took part in a rigorous three-week course during which instructors evaluated their performance in high speed boat operation, precision docking drills, and a timed personal watercraft course. The recipient of the Outstanding Boating Award was Officer Chase Meredith who is assigned to Patrick County. Officer Meredith is a Giles County native. He graduated from Giles County High School and the New River Community College with an Associate Degree in Applied Sciences with a major in Instrumentation Technology. He is involved in his community and currently serves as Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 37 in Pembroke, VA.

The Colonel's Award was presented to the Conservation Police Officer recruit with the highest grade point average in the recruit class. This is the average of all 32 exams administered in the Academy. Exams covered 1,455 questions which addressed training objectives set by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, in the areas of Professionalism, Legal Issues, Communications, Patrol, and Investigations. Other exams taken during the course of the Basic Academy were as a result of training that addressed the non-traditional law enforcement functions that pertain specifically to the unique law enforcement duties of the Virginia Conservation Police Officer. Some of these topics were Marine Theft Investigation; Hunting Incident Investigation; laws and regulations specifically pertaining to hunting, fishing, trapping, and boating; camouflage and concealment; and permits. In a very competitive field, this year's recipient edged out his classmates by obtaining a 97.58 average. And for his efforts, we are honored to present the Colonel's Award to Officer Timothy Dooley.

The Director's Award was presented to the person voted best instructor by the recruit class. To be eligible for the award the instructor must have taught at the Basic Academy and could have been from any VDGIF division (not just Law Enforcement), or any outside agency. The recipient of the Director's Award was Special Agent Gene Agnese. Special Agent Agnese has been a law enforcement officer with the VDGIF for 20 years, initially serving in Middlesex County and most currently with our Overt Operations Unit. Special Agent Agnese has attended the Forensic Science Academy and as such, now provides invaluable instruction to all of our officers in areas related to crime scene investigation and other related topics. SA Agnese was recognized by the class for his knowledge of subject matter, ability to effectively convey the information, and for his rapport with the students.

The Board of Game and Inland Fisheries Award was presented to the recruit who displayed exceptional overall performance during the entire course of training. The recipient was selected for his motivation, professionalism, peer leadership, and for being an inspiration to others. He was also recognized for his support of the Academy and staff by providing outstanding logistical, administrative support. The recipient of the Board Award was Officer Nicholas Farmer who is assigned to Henry County. Officer Farmer was raised in Abingdon, VA and is a graduate of Abingdon High School. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Appalachian State University in 2006. He served our country in Iraq and while doing so, received the Army Commendation Medal as a member of the VA National Guard.

In all, 19 new Conservation Police Officers were sworn-in at the Thursday afternoon ceremony. These officers completed an intensive 28-week training program that included more than 200 courses. They will take up their assignments across the Commonwealth and proceed with field training under the direct supervision of field training officers. This is the forth class to graduate from the Department's Training Academy. VDGIF undertook establishing its own academy in order to tailor the program to the specific needs of Conservation Police Officers.

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:

  • Approval of Quail Management Plan
  • What to Do With Nuisance Wildlife
  • New Muzzleloader Seasons
Sharphead Darter. Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.

Sharphead Darter
Etheostoma Acuticeps
by Spike Knuth

The sharphead darter is a small member of the perch family that is found in the upper Tennessee River drainage. In Virginia it is found only in the South Fork Holston River in Washington County. While considered rare in Virginia, it also inhabits the Tennessee and North Carolina portions of the South Fork Holston and a fairly large population of them are found in the Nolichucky River in Tennessee.

It is a stocky, sharp-headed fish as its name implies, measuring three to five inches long with the males being larger than the females. They are basically straw-olive to brown-olive in color with numerous vertical bars down the sides. Fin rays are basically yellowish with a wash of turquoise. They have the typical perch-like spiny dorsal.

Sharpheads inhabit shallow, quick-flowing streams with gravel riffles and may often be found in thick patches of vegetation. They can tolerate slightly turbid water in large, either cool or warm large creeks. Spawning occurs from late-spring through late-August with the female burying her 100-400 eggs in the sand. Sharpheads feed on aquatic insects such as mayflies, midges, blackfly larvae, caddis flies, and other larvae.

Siltation and impoundments have contributed to severely reduced or eliminated populations of sharpheads, and they are considered as endangered in Virginia.

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.

July 2008

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

18-20 Virginia Trappers Association Convention & Sportsmen Show, Page County Fairgrounds-Luray, contact Glen Mabe (540) 743-2436
19 Youth Fishing Derby, Lake Fairfax- Reston Contact: or click for pre-registration.
19 Shenandoah Riverkeepers Rodeo, Bentonville Low Water Bridge Campground contact: or (540) 837-1479.
20 NASP Teacher Training James Madison University (JMU) Summer Health and Physical Activity Institute for PE Teachers
22 Saltwater Fishing Workshop, Smith Point Marina, Northumberland, visit DGIF web events

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

August 2008

NWTF Women in the Outdoors Event. BASS PRO World, Hampton, contact Priscilla Page (410) 378-2064

5 Flat out Catfishing Workshop, Richmond, visit DGIF web events
8-10 Virginia Outdoor Sportsmen's Show, The Showplace, Richmond, visit
20 Woodland Options Short Course, Eastside Community Center, Dinwiddie. For information (540) 231-6391 Virginia Cooperative Extension visit or email
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
September 2008

JAKES Event-Page Valley Sportsmen's Club, Inc and NWTF Skyline Strutters Chapter, Pre-registration is required, contact Art Kasson (540) 622-6103 or

13-14 Eastern Regional Big Game Contest, Southampton Co. Fairgrounds- Franklin for information:
20 Fly Fishing Workshop, Dry River - Harrisonburg. Visit DGIF web events
19-21 16th Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Festival (*note date change from previous years), Cape Charles, for information: (757) 787-2460 or
20-21 SVHEC Hunting/Fishing Expo, Abingdon, for information visit:
27 National Hunting and Fishing Day- visit DGIF web events to find an event near you. This is a great day to get an Apprentise License for a friend or family member.
27-28 Western Regional and State Championship, Rockingham Co. Fairgrounds- Harrisonburg, for information:
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 April for the more popular species. For a complete list and regulations consult the 2008-09 Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information.

Coyote, groundhog, & skunk: Continuous open season on private land only.
August 2008
Crow: Aug. 16 - March 21 on private land (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday only).
September 2008
Crow: Sept. 1 - March 10 on National Forest and Department Lands (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday only).
Coyote, groundhog, & skunk: Sept. 1 to Mar. 10 on public land, continuous open season on private land.
Squirrel: Sept. 6 - Jan. 31
Deer Urban Archery: Sept. 6 - Oct. 3 in most cities, check regulations for details.
Deer Early Antlerless-Only Archery: Sept. 6 - Oct. 3 In Loudoun and Prince William Counties (except on Department owned lands).
October 2008
  • Bobcat: Oct. 4-31
  • Deer: Oct. 4-Nov. 14
  • Turkey: Oct. 4-Nov. 8
  • Bear: Oct. 11-Nov. 8
  • Opossum: Oct. 15-Mar. 10
  • Raccoon: Oct. 15-Mar. 10
  • Grouse: Oct. 25-Feb. 14 West of Interstate 95 only.
  • Turkey: Oct. 25-Nov. 7 in most counties, check regulations for details
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

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.

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


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.

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.


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 -