Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF)
Outdoor Report

Managing and Conserving Our Wildlife and Natural Resources

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this edition:
  • Virginia Conservation Officer Mullins Earns National Recognition
  • Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
    • Lynchburg Family Outdoors Day September 13
    • Wheelin' Sportsmen To Host Numerous Events in September
    • Conservation Celebration Event Recognizes Roanoke City September 14
    • 16th Eastern Shore Birding & Wildlife Festival September 18-21
    • Willis Wharf Dedication Set for September 19 on Eastern Shore
    • Tracking Workshop at Holiday Lake October 10-12
  • People and Partners in the News
    • Hunter Education Volunteers Recognized for Exceptional Service
    • Public Asked to Review Hound Project Advisory Committee Recommendations
  • Hunting News You Can Use
    • Dove Season Opens September 1 - Labor Day Holiday
    • Are You HIP?
    • Shotguns Need to be Plugged for Doves, Ducks, Geese and More...
    • Non-Toxic Shot Now Required for Hunting Rail, Snipe, Moorhen and Gallinule
    • New Seasons Set For Waterfowl and Webless Migratory Birds
    • Wildlife Regulatory Issue Meetings Scheduled for September in 19 Locations
    • What's New for the 2008-09 Hunting & Trapping Seasons
    • Apprentice Hunting License: A New Way To Get Involved In Hunting
    • Upcoming Sportsman's Shows
    • Virginia Deer Classic Winners Posted on VDHA Website
    • 2008 Spring Gobbler Harvest Shows Increase
  • Be Safe... Have Fun!
    • Know the Signs and Dangers of Sudden Storms...
  • "Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts
    • Effective September 1, Feeding Deer Is Prohibited in Virginia
  • Habitat Improvement Tips
    • Master Naturalist Program Provides Valuable Service to Conservation
  • Fishin' Report
    • Lake Thompson is Draining
    • Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest Winners Selected
    • Sarah White's Notebook
      • Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions
  • 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

Virginia Conservation Officer Mullins Earns National Recognition

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is proud to announce that Conservation Police Officer Sergeant Charlie Mullins has been named North American Wildlife Enforcement Officer of the Year by the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association (NAWEOA).

Founded in 1980, NAWEOA, is an 8,000-member organization of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement officers from across North America. The NAWEOA Officer of the Year Award is considered to be one of the most prestigious awards issued to wildlife conservation police officers. VDGIF Law Enforcement Division Chief Colonel Dabney W. Watts, Jr. said, "Sergeant Charlie Mullins is a skilled officer, a dedicated professional, and an all-around impressive individual. I am proud of the work he has done and continues to do for the Department. He is more than deserving of this recognition."

Virginia's Sergeant Charlie Mullins began his career with VDGIF 23 years ago in Tazewell County. He served as a game warden, as conservation officers were previously known, in Tazewell and Alleghany counties for only six years before being promoted in July 1990. He served as area leader for a region that includes such challenges as patrolling Smith Mountain Lake. In February 1993, Mullins transferred back to his home county of Giles where he served as area leader for the largest VDGIF law enforcement work area in the state.

Over the course of his career, Sergeant Mullins has demonstrated great dedication to his agency and his community. In addition to serving as an area leader, he took on responsibilities for training; search and rescue operations; and dive team recovery operations. He served on the team that developed and implemented the Marine Firearms and Tactics training that continues to be part of the core curriculum of the VDGIF Basic Law Enforcement Academy. He has also taught Defensive Tactics to sworn officers at more than 50 agencies.

His involvement in his community ranges from a weekly column in the local newspaper to serving as a coach for a variety of youth sports; working as a Boy Scout leader; coaching a 4-H shooting team; and participating in Relay for Life and the Law Enforcement Torch Run. He is active in his church, local civic organizations, local schools and in various sportsmen's organizations. In 2006, Sergeant Mullins coordinated the first kids fishing event in Giles County. More than 450 youth participated in the program. Mullins demonstrated both teamwork and compassion by volunteering for two deployments to the Mississippi Gulf Coast region that was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. During his second deployment he served as supervisor to the Virginia Law Enforcement Task Force. In that capacity he scheduled 45 officers from five law enforcement agents, ensured timely response to calls, and monitored officer activities.

To learn more about Virginia conservation police officers visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Lynchburg Family Outdoors Day September 13

The Lynchburg Family Outdoors Day is a fun and informative hands-on event where families can learn outdoor skills together. All classes are taught in the field and focus on outdoor skills, conservation, ethics and safety.  This year's event will be held at Walton Park in Amherst County and will include sessions on Freshwater Fishing, Kayaking, Outdoor Cooking, Archery, Basic Shotgun, Basic Rifle and more.  There is no cost, but registration is required by August 29. This program is cooperatively sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and The Lynchburg Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America. For more information, visit DGIF web events or email Jimmy.Mootz@dgif.virginia.gov.

Wheelin' Sportsmen To Host Numerous Events in September

September:

  • 5 - Dove Hunt - Gum Springs
  • 12 - Dove Hunt - Fulfillment Farm - Albemarle Co.
  • 19 - Wheelin' 'n the Green Golf Tourney - Buena Vista
  • 20 - Goose Hunt with Va Waterfowlers Assoc. - Henrico Co.
  • 20 - Outdoor Day V - Shenandoah Stone - Raphine

The schedule for 16 Wheelin' Sportsmen sponsored deer hunts from November 3 through December 29 has been set. Application deadline is October 1st. For details on these and other events and hunt event applications visit: www.vanwtf.com. Interested in volunteering to assist with an event or have a friend that is interested? Visit the Virginia National Wild Turkey Federation Web site to find numerous links to opportunities and information.

Conservation Celebration Event Recognizes Roanoke City September 14

The annual celebration of open space, clean air and fresh water by the Western Virginia Land Trust will be held at the Annual Conservation Celebration on September 14, 2008 from 4-7 p.m. in Roanoke. The City of Roanoke will be honored with the A. Victor Thomas Environmental Stewardship Award for its many contributions to conservation, including the recent record-setting conservation easement on Carvin's Cove Natural Reserve. The venue for this year's event is the beautiful Kegley farm in northeast Roanoke. Site of the historic Monterey home, the 120-acre farm is situated between two golf courses and an industrial park in the shadow of Read Mountain. To protect it from future development, George and Louise Kegley donated a conservation easement on the property to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation in 2007.. For more information, call the Western Virginia Land Trust at (540) 985-0000 or e-mail dperry@westernvirginialandtrust.org.

16th Eastern Shore Birding & Wildlife Festival September 18-21

Don't miss the 16th annual Eastern Shore Birding & Wildlife Festival September 18-21. This is one of the premier wildlife viewing events on the East Coast. Virginia's Eastern Shore funnels huge numbers of migrating songbirds, raptors and shorebirds down the Delmarva Peninsula. This spectacular natural event offers a unique opportunity to appreciate Virginia's wild heritage.

The keynote address will be given by world renowned birder and author Pete Dunne. Don't miss the excitement of seeing flying raptors up close with TALONS - A Bird of Prey Experience. Master Falconer Lorrie Schumacher will thrill and inform with this spectacular show. The Eastern Shore Birding & Wildlife Festival offers boat and land based trips to a variety of beautiful spots on the shore - many not generally open to the public. The Wildlife Viewing Platform at Willis Wharf will be dedicated in a ceremony at 3:30pm on September 19 in conjunction with the Eastern Shore Birding & Wildlife Festival. Register here and reserve your spot today!

Willis Wharf Dedication Set for September 19 on Eastern Shore

The Wildlife Viewing Platform at Willis Wharf will be dedicated in a ceremony at 3:30pm on Sept.19 in conjunction with the Eastern Shore Birding & Wildlife Festival. This platform was a collaborative project funded by a grant from Virginia's DEQ Coastal Zone Management(CZM) Program (through NOAA). Project partners included DGIF who managed the project and provided the design, CZM, Northampton County, the Village of Willis Wharf and the Accomac-Northampton Planning District Commission. The platform was built on county owned property at the marina at Willis Wharf. The fully ADA compliant platform offers unparalleled views of the waters of Parting Creek, a haven for migrating shorebirds. Willis Wharf is an existing site on the Virginia Birding & Wildlife Trail's Eastern Shore Loop. This platform will support existing ecotourism projects at the site including a floating kayak dock of the Virginia Seaside Heritage Trail. Enhancing ecotourism will allow the community to maintain the traditional lifeways of a working waterfront. VDGIF has also designed interpretive signage to help visitors identify wildlife and understand the creek's ecology.

Rockbridge JAKES Event September 26-28

The Rockbridge Chapter of the National Wild turkey Federation (NWTF) is hosting their annual JAKES event September 26-28 at the Zollman Pavillion near Lexington. This event has been awarded Best JAKES Event in the Nation by the NWTF twice in previous years. For details on activities and registration visit the VA NWTF Web site. Billy Hall, event organizer and NWTF Regional Director, reminds participants that, "Adults must be accompanied by a child!"

Tracking Workshop at Holiday Lake October 10-12

A symposium for everyone interested in man or animal tracking is scheduled for October 10-12, at the Holiday Lake 4-H Education Center near Appomattox. This gathering of practicing trackers is an excellent tracking skills development opportunity sponsored by the International Society of Professional Trackers and hosted by The Wilderness Discovery School, directed by Roy Hutchinson. Roy is a VDGIF Hunter Education and Outdoor Education Volunteer Instructor with an extensive background in tracking, training military, police, emergency services personnel and the general public. The three day event has numerous presentations and field exercises for novice and experienced trackers. Registration is required by September 22. For program information visit the Holiday Lake 4-H Center Web site, or contact Roy Hutchinson, email: inahme2004@yahoo.com or phone: 1-877-614-5289.

People and Partners in the News

Hunter Education Volunteers Recognized for Exceptional Service

5000 hours is roughly the equivalent of 2-½ years of full-time work.  Three active Virginia Hunter Education instructors have each contributed over 5000 hours to the VDGIF, together training over 27,000 students to be safe, responsible, and knowledgeable hunters.  VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan acknowledged their contributions at the August 19, 2008 Board Meeting, with the Director's Volunteer Service Award.  The recipients have a great many accomplishments related to Hunter Education:

Lewis A. Austin became a Hunter Education instructor in 1985.  Since that time, Lew has given 5469 hours to the Hunter Education Program.  In 1997, he received the William Dixon Morgan Memorial Award, given annually for the instructor considered to have contributed the most to Hunter Education.  In addition to teaching the basic Hunter Education course, Lew has trained countless numbers of young people from Boy Scout and 4-H groups in firearms and hunter safety.  He has also used his knowledge and experience to teach advanced rifle and shotgun courses for other instructors.

Jack L. Broughman has been an instructor since 1988.  He has contributed 5566 hours, more than any other active instructor in Virginia.  Jack received the Morgan Award in 1996.

John W. Dodson became an instructor in 1987.  He has contributed 5161 hours to the Hunter Education Program.  John became a founder of Cedar Mountain Youths, Inc. in 1990 with the goal of teaching firearms safety to young people.  Since that time, most of the Hunter Education instructors in the Culpeper area have come from Cedar Mountain Youths.  John has taught firearms safety to numerous young people from 4-H, Boy Scouts, schools and churches.  John was the Morgan Award recipient in 1995.  He has trained many other instructors in the use of hunter safety trails as a teaching aid and in safe turkey hunting.

The Virginia Hunter Education Association was formed last year as a non-profit group, composed of volunteer instructors who wished to provide a greater level of assistance to the Department with its Hunter Education efforts.  Vernie Kennedy, President of the Association, presented a Henry "Golden Boy" .22 rifle to each of the award recipients in recognition of their service.  Vernie also thanked Henry Repeating Arms and Green Top Sporting Goods for assistance with obtaining the rifles.

If you would like to learn more about opportunities on how to become a Hunter Education Instructor, or sponsoring a Hunter Education Course for novice outdoorsmen, visit our Web site.  There are numerous Hunter Education Classes scheduled for this fall. The mandatory 10 hour course is offered free of charge in a variety of formats to accommodate student schedules. The classes are taught by trained volunteer instructors.  To find one near you visit the VDGIF web site or call 1-866-604-1122.

Public Asked to Review Hound Project Advisory Committee Recommendations

After several months of information gathering, issue identification, and deliberations, the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) for the Hunting with Hounds in Virginia: A Way Forward process has recommended strategies for addressing issues and concerns related to hunting with hounds in Virginia. The recommended strategies can be viewed on the VDGIF Web site along with new reports that summarize public input and technical information. Hard copies can be requested by calling (540) 231-0961.

The public is strongly encouraged to review the strategies and to comment on them. The comment period will close on Friday, September 12, 2008. There are several methods citizens can use to comment on the strategies discussed and/or recommended by the SAC.  Written comments can be emailed to HoundHuntingSAC@vt.edu or sent to Hound-Hunting SAC c/o Sarah Kozlowski, 111 Cheatham Hall, Department of Fisheries & Wildlife, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24060-0321. Written comments can also be submitted at the series of public meetings that will be held throughout the state. Public meetings will be held from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. August 26 through September 9, 2008, at locations across the Commonwealth. Click here for more information.

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.

Dove Season Opens September 1 - Labor Day Holiday

Dove hunters have a unique opportunity this year with the opening day for Dove Season coinciding with the Monday Labor Day Holiday. This is also a great opportunity to introduce a youngster or adult  friend to hunting with the Apprentice Hunting License. See details on this new license option further on in this edition.  So there's no excuse this year not to go afield… Wow, a holiday opening day, good friends and family, ample dove fields and lots of birds.

Remember safety first and have fun!

Are You HIP?

Vance Shearin at the VDGIF Information Desk in the Richmond Headquarters  reminds hunters they need to get a new HIP number before heading out for doves, geese and other migratory waterfowl.   All hunters (whether licensed or exempt from being licensed) who plan to hunt doves, waterfowl, rails, woodcock, snipe, coots, gallinules or moorhens in Virginia must be registered with the Virginia Harvest Information Program (HIP).  HIP is required each year and a new registration number is needed for the 2008-2009 hunting season. 

Vance has fielded a lot of calls on this explaining that since the HIP number runs from July to June, hunters will need to get a new HIP number even if they do not need a new license yet because the small game license is now valid a year from the date of purchase. Using himself as an example he notes, " I bought last year's hunting license at the end of September so the small game license is still good through September of '08 and I could go hunt doves on it this September. However, I do need to get a new HIP number. But I will not have to get the HIP number again in October when I buy my new license because the HIP number is good through June 2009." To register for HIP, visit VAHIP.com or call 1-888-788-9772.

Shotguns Need to be Plugged for Doves, Ducks, Geese and More...

Hunters are reminded that they need to have their shotguns plugged for dove, crow, ducks, brant, geese, swan, coot, gallinules, rail, snipe, and woodcock. The new unplugged shotgun rule does not apply to dove and other migratory fowl listed. Many shotgunners falsely think the plugs are now just for waterfowl. For details refer to 2008-2009 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Regulations digest.

Non-Toxic Shot Now Required for Hunting Rail, Snipe, Moorhen and Gallinule

A new regulation that goes into effect this hunting season in Virginia requires the use of non-toxic shot for hunting rails, snipe, moorhens and gallinules. Non-toxic shot approved by the Department [steel, bismuthtin, tungsten-bronze, tungsten-iron, tungsten-tin-bismuth, tungsten-polymer, tungsten matrix, tungsten-nickel-iron (HEVISHOT), tungsten-iron-nickel-tin (TINT), tungsten-iron-coppernickel, tungsten-tin-iron, and iron-tungsten-nickel shots] is now required for hunting all waterfowl, mergansers, coots, moorhens, gallinules, snipe and rails. Lead shot is not allowed for hunting these species and cannot be in possession in the field while hunting these species. Shot size can be no larger than "T".

New Seasons Set For Waterfowl and Webless Migratory Birds

New season dates for waterfowl were set by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries at their August 19, 2008 meeting in Richmond. The dates and bag limits for various migratory waterfowl and webless species are posted in the sidebar of the Outdoor Report under the "Hunting Season at a Glance" section, or can be found on the Department's website.

Wildlife Regulatory Issue Meetings Scheduled for September in 19 Locations

The VDGIF will hold 19 Wildlife Regulatory Issue Meetings around the state to receive public comment and meet with Wildlife Division staff to review proposals for changes in hunting regulations for the 2009-2010 hunting season. All meetings will be from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the locations scheduled. The meetings begin September 3, 2008 at Southwest Virginia Community College and go through September 18. For site location schedule and directions click here.

"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.

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.

Upcoming Sportsman's Shows

Take a Friend, Make a Hunter…Be sure and visit the VDGIF exhibits at upcoming sportsmen's shows this fall.  These are excellent opportunities 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.  The trophy bucks on display can provide some inspiration too!

September 13-14: Eastern Regional Big Game Contest, Southampton Co. Fairgrounds west of Franklin sponsored by the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen's Association  in partnership with VDGIF. The VDGIF exhibit will feature subscription sign-up for the Outdoor Report and information on the hound hunting issue and new hunting opportunities of interest to sportsmen in the eastern regions of the state.  The event will feature exhibitors with gear, calls, supplies and taxidermy as well as activities for youth.  Biologists and Law Enforcement staff will be on hand to answer questions.  For Contest rules and information: www.vpsa.org

September 20-21: SVHEC Hunting/Fishing Expo, Abingdon Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) is hosting a Hunting/Fishing Expo on September 20-21, 2008 in Abingdon.  VDGIF is participating by offering the Hunter Education Course, providing additional educational programs, demonstrating the fishing/hunting simulator, and SVHEC will provide computers for guests to obtain their license online during the event.  Kim Stewart, Director for the event,  noted that exhibitor spaces are still available for vendors, seminar presenters and all organizations/associations affiliated with hunting and fishing to participate.  For information visit: www.swcenter.edu

September 27-28: 69th Western Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest. More than 3000 sportsmen and families are expected to attend the official Big Game Contest at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds south of  Harrisonburg, sponsored by the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Izaak Walton League.  VDGIF's exhibit will feature information on new VDGIF programs and hunting opportunities and the CWD surveillance plan for the northern Shenandoah Valley. Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors will teach safe gun handling and shooting with the laser shot range for youth attending the event.  Exhibitors will be on hand with the latest in gear, supplies, artwork, taxidermy and more. This year the Western Regional is also the State Championship.  Come see the truly awesome trophy bucks harvested in Virginia. For Contest rules and information: www.iwla-rh.org.

Virginia Deer Classic Winners Posted on VDHA Web Site

The winners of the Virginia Deer Classic Contest sponsored by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association and Swedish Match at the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show August 8-10 at the Showplace in Richmond are posted on the VDHA Web site.

2008 Spring Gobbler Harvest Shows Increase

Spring gobbler hunters reported harvesting 15,037 birds during the 2008 season according to Bob Ellis, Wildlife Division Director.  The statewide harvest was 7% higher than last year's total of 14,090.  Counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains posted a 7% increase with a harvest of 9,840 birds compared to 9,180 birds last year.The harvest in counties west of the Blue Ridge (5,193) was 6% higher than last year's take (4,910). Overall, the harvest may suggest an increase in the spring turkey population.

Gary Norman, Small Game Program Manager, indicated that the increase in the spring kill was likely due to good weather conditions during the 2008 season and poor weather conditions during the 2007 spring gobbler season. The poor weather conditions realized during last years spring gobbler season negatively impacted hunter success and lowered harvest rates.  The result was good carry-over of gobblers into the 2008 spring gobbler season. Good weather conditions during the 2008 spring season combined with the healthy populations resulted in an increased harvest.

Adult gobblers made up the majority (89%) of the birds reported by hunters. Juvenile or "Jakes" comprised 11% of the spring harvest.  Bearded females made up less than 1% (0.2%) of the spring bag. The higher harvest is encouraging in light of the poor reproduction in the turkey population in recent years. Youth hunters reported taking 238 birds during the early youth spring hunt.  Last year youth hunters took 235 birds during the youth season.

New this season is the Youth Fall Turkey Hunt Day established for youth 15 years of age and younger on October 18 and the Youth Spring Turkey Hunt Day hunting hours were extended to sunset during the youth spring hunt.  Also note starting and ending dates for the late segment for fall turkey have changed in most counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For further information on harvest data and season changes contact Gary Norman at (540) 248-9389, or email gary.norman@dgif.virginia.gov.
 

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Know the Signs and Dangers of Sudden Storms...

A very localized and severe storm stalled over the Powhatan area in June 2004, dumping over seven inches of rain within an hour resulting in two feet of water overtopping, eroding and breaching the earthen dams at the VDGIF Powhatan Lakes.  It took nearly four years to re-build the old dams under new environmental and dam safety guidelines. With the new boat ramps and other facility improvements being dedicated this past spring. The long restoration process for Powhatan Lakes reminds us of the devastation that can be caused by severe thunderstorms.

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

Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!

The Labor Day holiday means more boaters on the water. VDGIF reminds all boaters to boat smart, boat sober, and boat safe while out on our waterways. All boaters should:

Remember safety and courtesy are free, share them generously!


"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.

Effective September 1, Feeding Deer Is Prohibited in Virginia

Effective September 1, it will be illegal to feed deer statewide in Virginia. The prohibition runs through the first Saturday in January. The regulation designating the prohibition went into effect in 2006. This regulation does NOT restrict the planting of crops such as corn and soybeans, wildlife food plots, and backyard or schoolyard habitats. It is intended to curb the artificial feeding of deer that leads to negative consequences. Problems with feeding deer include: unnaturally increasing population numbers that damage natural habitats; disease transmission, including tuberculosis as well as many deer diseases; and human-deer conflicts such as deer/vehicle collisions and inappropriate semi-taming of wildlife. In addition, feeding deer has many law enforcement implications. Deer hunting over bait is illegal in Virginia. Prior to the deer feeding prohibition, distinguishing between who was feeding deer and who was hunting over bait often caused problems for law enforcement.

The negative consequences of feeding deer outweigh the benefits. If you are not feeding deer, you should not start. If you are currently feeding deer, you should now stop. Feeding deer is against the law between September 1 and the first Saturday in January, January 3, 2009. If anyone sees or suspects someone of illegally feeding deer during this time period, or observes any wildlife violations, please report it to the Department's Wildlife Crime Line at 1-800-237-5712. To learn more about Virginia wildlife regulations visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website at www.dgif.virginia.gov.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Master Naturalist Program Provides Valuable Service to Conservation

The Virginia Master Naturalist Program (VMNP) provides a statewide corps of volunteers delivering education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.  The volunteers are organized and coordinated through the Virginia Cooperative Extension Program in 25 area Chapters statewide.  Four other State agencies also sponsor the program and use the volunteers for numerous projects statewide.  These include the state Departments of Forestry, Conservation and Recreation, VDGIF and the Museum of Natural History.

To qualify as a Master Naturalist, volunteers complete 40 hours minimum training in both the classroom and field studies and eight hours of Advanced Training annually.  To receive and maintain Certification, volunteers must complete 40 hours of volunteer service annually. Since the programs establishment in 2006, a total of 574 volunteers have been trained.  More than 160 education projects, 93 science projects and 212 stewardship projects have been completed.  Over 10,000 volunteers hours of service have been logged with a monetary value of $382,404.

VDGIF Watchable Wildlife Program Coordinator Lou Verner reports that the VMNP has assisted VDGIF in a variety of projects including: Quail Habitat Improvement,, Habitat Education and Outreach at Powhatan Lakes WMA, Wildlife Mapping Surveys, Frog and Toad Surveys, and updating the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail database.  The volunteer efforts have greatly enhanced the ability of all agency sponsors to conduct mission-critical research, outreach, and stewardship  To learn more about this valuable program visit the VMNP Web Site.

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.

Lake Thompson is Draining

VDGIF recently discovered the water level was dropping at Lake Thompson, a 10-acre lake on the VDGIF's G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area in Fauquier County, and immediately began an engineering assessment of possible causes. VDGIF, in consultation with contract dam safety engineers, determined that the bottom drain attached to the base of the principal spillway had failed somewhere along its course, near the lake bottom, upstream of the riser. Attempts to locate the source of the leak and to render an economical, quick fix have not been successful; and, unfortunately, it appears the lake will slowly drain.

Thompson Lake's water level is dropping at a rate of approximately six inches per day and is expected to be nearly dry within the next few weeks. VDGIF will monitor the lake level and dam as the water continues to drop and will conduct additional assessments to evaluate potential long-term repairs. Smallmouth bass have been and will continue to be removed from the lake and transported to the Department's Front Royal Fish Hatchery to serve as brood stock.

Fred Leckie, Assistant Director of Fisheries advises anglers, "That fishing access to the lake is becoming difficult each day as the water level continues to fall and more mud is exposed. However, there are a few rocky areas that can provide access to the water's edge. All visitors and anglers should use extreme caution under these changing conditions."  Updates will be posted in future  editions of the Outdoor Report and at the Department's Web site.

Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest Winners Selected

The winners in the annual Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest have been selected and can be viewed on the VDGIF Web site. The contest was sponsored by VDGIF, Green Top Sporting Goods, and Shakespeare Tackle Company. The winning photos best captured the theme "kids enjoying fishing." Children in the first through third place photographs of each category received a variety of fishing-related prizes. More winning photos will be featured in future editions of the Outdoor Report.

Sara White's Notebook

Low water is the theme for this last report of August. Hot weather has caused drought conditions in many parts of the Commonwealth. In some places water restrictions are in effect. Although these may seem capricious or unnecessary, please try to follow them, as there is much the average citizen can do to help out. As far as the fish go, low water means warier fish and tougher angling conditions; but if you stick to it, you can succeed; especially at dawn and dusk and during the night hours. If you want to see some strange blue crabs that have taken a walk up the James to see the sights at Richmond, try one of the James River City Parks. Save water and good luck!

Region 1 - Tidewater

Beaverdam Swamp: Eddie Hester reports that fishing has been relatively slow. Bass anglers are having some luck early and late with soft plastic worms Carolina or Texas rigged or with crankbaits. Crappie are hiding in deeper water and are a challenge to bring to boat. Moonlight fishing for cats has been good off the floating dock using chicken livers. Some small bream are being brought in. The water down 14 inches, slightly stained and in the low 80's.

Little Creek Reservoir: Walter Elliiott writes: that fish continue to hold in summer patterns, in 20 plus feet of water off points. Stripers are chasing pods of bait fish off points in deep water with live herring being the most productive bait. He has had one of his regular customers Paul Robertson from Doswell, hooked up with a largemouth bass in more than 50 feet of water on a white top water popper, while fishing for stripers. Largemouth bass are in water from 5 to 10 feet of water early in the morning moving to deeper water as the day progresses. Shellcrackers are being caught on night crawlers in 15 to 20 feet of water. Yellow perch and some crappie are holding in 10 to 20 feet of water close to structures.  Small minnows and jigs are the top baits. Here's some of the anglers that have done well this week: Robert " Doc" Eveland, James City County, one striper 9 pounds, using live herring; Willie Weber,  New Kent County , one walleye  2 pounds; one blue cat  6 pounds, using live herring. John Robertson, Richmond, one  striper  8 pounds using a Sassy Shad; Paul Robertson, Doswell, one striper  9 pounds on a bucktail. The reservoir is clear with an estimated surface water temperature in the upper 80's, water level is 70 inches below full pool.

Chickahominy River: Charlie Brown of River's Rest says that anglers haven't been too lucky lately. A few largemouth have been fooled by soft plastics. Very few crappie are coming in. Cats are responding well to chunks of crab meat. The water is muddy and in the 80's.

North Landing River and Back Bay: The inimitable Dewey Mullins told me that lots of small bass and white perch have been taken lately. The bass are going for topwater late and early in the day, and plastics, swimbaits and crankbaits during mid-day. White perch are going for grubs, beetle spins, and night crawlers. Crappie have been scarce.  Bluegill are active and attacking crickets and red worms. Many small cats have been brought to boat by using cut bait and night crawlers. The water is clear and in the low 80's.

Norfolk Lakes: Drew Dixon of Dashell's Show Room tells us that bass are responding well to top-water lures. There hasn't been much word about crappie. Lots of bream have been brought in with crickets, worms and small jigs. Many cats have been undone by cut bait and chicken livers. The lakes are low due to lack of rain. The water is in the low 90's and clear.

Region 2 - Southside

Smith Mountain Lake: Mike Snead writes: we did not get any of the rain forecast for last week and the lake water level continues to be far below full pond. Sunday evening the lake surface level was 790.10 feet, which is almost 5 feet below full pond (795 feet). This has created difficulty launching boats from shallow docks or deep water docks with limited lengths of cradle cable. Several of the boat ramps around the lake proved challenging to use with the low water. Current water visibility is good, however with rain in the forecast we might see some runoff and stained water in the creeks and muddy banks around the lake. Forecast temperatures are cooler than usual with lows expected in the 60's and upper 50's and high temperatures ranging from between 70 and 80 degrees. It is going to be progressively darker on the lake at night as we approach a new moon this Saturday, August 30.

Summer striper patterns continue with striped bass schooling near the mouths of most major creeks around the lake. Better fish continue to be reported in the mid lake areas of both the Roanoke and Blackwater Rivers. Schooling stripers continue to move rapidly. They can be found with good electronics in depths from 25 to 60 feet, but are not staying in the same area very long. Some stripers are being caught out of schools using live bait on downlines and others are being caught trolling. Trolling with a gas motor can also be an effective technique this time of year. Trolling pre-assembled Umbrella rigs (Captain Mack's) or those assembled from components, including three and four arm frames, leaders, large curly tailed grubs, swim shad (Calcutta, Storm), spoons or lead headed jigs with sassy shad, continue to produce good fish. Lead core outfits continue to work as well, especially when trolling Urigs and the traditional cost effective and reliable three-way rigs with a Sutton Spoon and swim shad. Lead core outfits are easy to use as their changing line colors make lure depth control simple. A complete lead core outfit, including lures, can be purchased for around $108. If you are new to trolling Umbrella rigs, I suggest you purchase an Umbrella rig retriever at a tackle shop who can instruct you on its use. It will pay for itself the first time it is needed. The bass fishing was tough this past week. Many anglers found it difficult to locate bass and only a limited number of good fish were caught in tournaments. Bass are being caught both shallow and deep. Some continue to be caught on deep-water docks with Senko worms and finesse baits on light jigheads. Jigs with plastic trailers and Texas rigged plastics are working on natural rock bottoms at moderate depths. Heavier jigs like the ½ to 1 ounce football jigs by Dave's with plastic trailers are producing an occasional bass in water 20 to 30 feet deep. Bass are also being found in open water. Last week several bass were caught in open water by striper anglers trolling Umbrella rigs and pulling live bait. Bass are also being caught off deep water off points and humps using Carolina Rigged plastics.  Panfish are being caught using "small minnows" rigged on small gold hooks and light jig heads (1/32 to 1/16 oz). Small "hair jigs" tipped with small minnows have also been a very effective bait for bluegills and other panfish making them a good choice for kids fishing around docks. White with blue, pink and silver accents are all working. Channel catfish continue to be caught on Magic Bait prepared stink bait rigged on a spring hook and fished on an egg sinker, bottom rig in deep water. The water is clear and 80 degrees.

James at Lynchburg: Tom Reisdorf of Angler's Lane says that smallmouth are going for popping bugs and have been "quite active" during periods of low water. Crappie have been few and far between; as have been cats. Bluegill and bream are being wary. The mountain streams still remain to low for good fishing. The water is warm and clear.

Kerr Reservoir: Brandon Gray of Bob Cat's Lake Country Store reports that some largemouth are being brought in on crankbaits fished in 8 to 20 feet of water. Stripers are hanging out in deeper water and going for jigging spoons. Crappie fishing has been decent, but slow and best in 15 to 25 feet of water around natural structures and deeper brush piles; jigs and minnows are a good bet. Cats are doing well around the mouths of local rivers. The water is in the mid 80's and clear.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Mike Burchett tells us that cat fishing has been "phenomenal". At night try live shad, and bean tree worms during the day. No crappie of size have been reported. Bass have been fair along most any where you find grass covered shoreline. Bluegill are going for crickets and night crawlers. The water is in the 70's and clear.

Lower New River: John Zienius of Big Z's reports that the water is as low as he has seen it in his 18 years of business. Even jet boats can't operate. If you can find a way to get to the pools, however, you can still fish.  You may find your best success at night. Claytor Lake is fishable for large and small mouth bass and spotted or "Kentucky" bass in the early hours. No word has been heard about crappie and cat fish. The water is in the lower 80's and clear.

Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray says that the smallmouth streams in the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah are cooling down and make for good fishing. However as both are low and clear, a cautious approach is necessary. Good flies are the Tapply Bug in green and white, size 4; and the Shenandoah Chuggar in grey, also size 4. For underwater flies try Murray's Roadkill Nymph, size 6; and the Brown Marauder, also size 6. The water in these areas is 76 to 78 degrees and clear. In the mountain trout streams a very cautious and stealthy approach is needed as water flow is low. Nevertheless there is good fishing to be had. Good flies are Shenk's Cricket, size 16; and Murray's Flying Beetle, sizes 16 and 18. The water is 62 degrees and clear. The large trout streams are also low but fishable. The best areas are the Hidden Valley of the Jackson River and the Bassett area of the Smith River. Good bets for flies are the Betsy Streamer, size 10; and Casual Dress, also size 10. On Tuesdays and Thursdays Harry's website www.murraysflyshop.com has a very detailed report about local angling.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Lake Orange: Darrell Kennedy, of Angler's Landing reports that bass fishing is very strong with soft plastics being the bait of choice. Top water is good during low light periods of the day, as well. Crappie are suspending in about 10 ft. of water around the fishing pier and fish attractors. Small minnows are enticing the crappie to bite. Cat fishing is great all over the lake on chicken livers and night crawlers. The water is clear with temperatures in the mid 80's.

Lake Anna: C. C. McCotter writes: There are so many shad and herring in the lake this year, the late summer fishing has been great. Here's what you can expect on your next visit: Largemouth bass - many fish are schooled like stripers and busting herring and threadfin shad during the morning. Good places to look include points in the mid-lake region where you see baitfish flipping around 3PM to 4 PM; the Dike III region and channel bend points in the upper region of Anna. Always have a topwater popper or Zara Spook at the ready in the morning to reach out and get to those breaking fish. Another top lure is a soft plastic jerkbait, like the Berkley Jerkshad or the Realistix Minnow, especially for mid and down lake bass fishing. Up lake, you are going to want to use a Bandit 200 crankbait and a Tiger Shad Lake Anna Special spinnerbait in 1/8 to 1/4-ounces. Striped bass - Just about every morning at sunrise Anna has stripers breaking now. The vast majority are below keeper size; but they are fun on light tackle. There are bigger fish under the little ones, though. The trick is getting your bait down to them. The topwater bite is fantastic. You can also catch them on the Jerkshad. Try vertical jigging the new Toothache Spoon when you see them on the depth finder after they stop breaking. Try fishing in the mid lake region from The Splits to the power plant for this bite (topwater and vertical jigging with spoons). Crappie - fair fishing at best. Lots of little fish are readily available in the upper lake region. You will find them on brush piles, bridge pilings and rock piles on channel bends. Catching a fish over 12" is tricky now. I like to fish deep structure mid lake for bigger specs. I suggest you try live minnows on slip bobbers for the best results now. You can email me at mcfish@gemlink.com.

Lake Orange: Darrell Kennedy, of Angler's Landing writes: that the largemouth bass bite is fantastic during the low light hours of the day with buzz baits and poppers.  Soft plastics will bring the bass bite during mid day, near fish attractors and off shore structures.  Cat fishing is excellent throughout the lake on night crawlers and chicken liver.  Crappie continue to bite on small minnows in 8-12 ft. of water near the fishing pier and fish attractors.  Blue gills and shell crackers prefer red wigglers feeding on the bottom in 6-8 ft. of water. The water is clear with temperatures near 80 degrees.

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 1 - Tidewater

Booze and Boating prove a deadly combination…  A boat operator was charged with involuntary manslaughter by CPO Mitch Beatley after a boating incident fatality that occurred August 2, 2008. A passenger was tragically killed when the boat struck buoy marker #22 in the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, 200 yards south of the Gilmerton Bridge in Chesapeake. The upper left portion of the windshield and mounting post of a 27' Baha struck the navigation marker frame and hit the passenger in the upper torso, neck and head. The passenger was pronounced dead on the scene. The operator was also charged with operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol and unreasonably refusing to allow a breath sample.

Early the following Monday morning (August 4th) at 3:40 a.m. after the boating fatality CPO Beatley received a call from Chesapeake PD. The Great Bridge lock tender of the intercoastal waterway had enclosed within the locks a boat that was recklessly operating. When CPO Beatley arrived, Chesapeake PD was on scene and told Beatley that the boat operator refused to let them board the boat. After contact with the boat operator, CPO Beatley determined that he was potentially under the influence of alcohol. After conducting field sobriety tests the operator was placed under arrest. The owner of the boat, who was a passenger, became uncooperative over the situation and ended up being placed under arrest by CPO Beatley for resisting arrest and obstruction of justice by Chesapeake Police. For more information contact Lt. Ken Conger (804) 829-6580.

Region 2 - Southside

Spotlighters caught with homemade bomb…  On August 9, 2008, at approximately 0015 hours, Senior Officer Dewayne Sprinkle was contacted by the Bedford County Sheriffs Office in reference to a possible spotlighting complaint. Officer Sprinkle responded to a location in Bedford County where he made contact with three subjects at their residence. One of the subjects was wearing a Fire Fighter Helmet and had a .357 magnum revolver on his side. Sprinkle noticed the man also had a homemade explosive device in his hand. The Bedford County Sheriff's Officer responded to the scene as well. The subject was subsequently taken into custody and the device was confiscated. The State Police Bomb Squad was then called out to destroy the device which consisted of a six inch PVC pipe filled with smokeless gunpowder attached to a small propane canister with tape. A two inch piece of cardboard filled with nails separated the two devices. The case is still under investigation with charges pending by the Bedford County Sheriffs Office. For more information contact Lt. Tony Fisher (434) 525-7522.

Region 3 - Southwest

Poacher and  felon apprehended on crime line tip…  On August 17, 2008, while preparing for a kayak patrol on the New River, Senior Officer Pease received a crime line call in reference to spotlighting and killing deer in the Rural Retreat area of Wythe County. The anonymous caller advised that a local man had been spotlighting and shooting deer earlier in the morning and was still on the property tracking a deer. Officer George Shupe accompanied Officer Pease to the call. When the officers arrived they located the suspect vehicle on a remote section of the farm. A fresh blood spot was located approximately 100 yards from the vehicle, but the suspect could not be located. The officers regrouped and decided to set up surveillance on the suspect's vehicle and wait him out. After a considerable amount of time, the suspect emerged from the woods with a juvenile son. He was carrying a partial six pack of beer in one hand, an opened can of beer in the other, and a loaded .270 caliber rifle across his back. The suspect claimed to be checking fences for the landowner, and brought the rifle in case he saw a coyote. The officers soon discovered that the suspect had numerous felony convictions, and promptly placed him under arrest and transported him to the magistrate's office. He was charged with Felony Possession of a Firearm, Possession of a Schedule III Controlled Substance without a Prescription, Hunting Under the Influence, and Hunting On Sunday. For more information contact Lt. Rex Hill (276) 783-4860.

Region 4 - Mountain & Shenandoah Valley

Young campers enjoy fishing classes and competition…  Virginia Conservation Police Officers from District 41, Wayne Billhimer, Kevin Bilwin, Ray Solomon, Master Officer Carl Martin, and Fisheries Division's Wayne Pence conducted six, 3-hour fishing classes for the 10th Annual Frederick County Sheriff's Office Youth Camp on August 11-13. Seventy-two campers received instruction on topics such as fish identification, fishing laws and regulations, catch & release techniques, fish handling techniques, etc. The campers were able to test their casting technique during a friendly casting competition. The campers were able to fish in the lake at Camp Rock Enon where they caught bluegill, bass, trout, yellow perch, and crappie. District 41 Officers and Wayne Pence stayed busy assisting the kids with baiting hooks, measuring and taking fish off the hook, fixing rods and reels, and trying to help all the campers catch fish. This was a great experience for everyone involved. For some of the kids, this was their first time fishing and their first time catching a fish! Future Angler Certificates were provided to all campers. Chris Dunnavant, Angling Education Coordinator, also provided the materials that we put together as an informative, educational, and fun packet for the campers.

On August 13, CPO's Wayne Billhimer and Master Officer Carl Martin and Fisheries Division's Wayne Pence conducted a 4-hour fishing program for the Warren County Sheriff's Office Youth Camp. The Izaak Walton League in Warren County opened their facilities to the program once again, and the officers were able to provide an enjoyable fishing experience to 40 campers. The CPO's provided instruction on such topics as fish identification, fishing laws and regulations, catch & release techniques, fish handling techniques, etc. Following the "classroom" portion of the program, the group was divided in half. The first half of the kids fished in the Izaak Walton League's lake and the second half of the kids participated in other fishing activities. The two halves then switched locations and activities so that all participated equally in the day's events These activities included a friendly casting competition followed by several games of FISH-O, which also aids in fish identification. Prizes were also provided. Future Angler Certificates were given to all campers "for successfully participating in a fishing education program and learning to enjoy and protect our water resources through skillful and ethical sportfishing practices." Chris Dunnavant, Angling Education Coordinator, also provided the materials that we put together as an informative, educational, and fun packet for the campers.  For more information contact Lt. Kevin Clarke (540) 248-9360.

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:

  • Fall Turkey Forecast
  • New Muzzleloader Seasons
  • Hunter Education Classes and Hands-on Events
 
Appalachian Monkeyface Pearly Mussel. Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.
 
BE WILD, VIRGINIA!

Appalachian Monkeyface
Pearly Mussel
(Quadra sparsa)
by Spike Knuth

Mussels, or what most people would call clams, are not the most colorful or exciting of animals. They are drab in color, and just lay half buried in the bottom mud, sand, or gravel of a stream or lake. If they do move, it rarely moves more than a few feet or maybe up and down a few inches. Many of them are in serious decline because of dams, pollution, and siltation.

One such species is the Appalachian Monkeyface Pearly Mussel. It is a medium-sized mussel measuring about 2-3/4 inches. It is a bivalve, with its outer shell layer or periostracum, being yellow-green to brown in color with small raised greenish triangles. The shell is heavy and has numerous small tubercles on the anterior and behind the beak; the raised portion of the top of the shell. The nacre, or interior layer is composed of shingle-like crystals of calcium carbonate, is white on the monkeyface, and its beak cavity is deep. This lustrous interior is what is known as mother-of-pearl.

The short, thick hinge ligament, or abductor mussel, is an elastic structure that connects the two valves on the mussel the along the top of the shell and enables the mussel to open and close its shell. It has siphons which are openings on the posterior end of the mussel and allows for the circulation of water inside the animal. Water enters through the inhalant siphon and is expelled through the exhalent siphon.

A large, muscular foot provides some locomotion for the animal although it only moves short distances, but once it finds a suitable spot, it usually stays there, except in times of drought when it moves to deeper water. Mussels are filter feeders, feeding on detritus, bacteria, phytoplankton, diatoms, zooplankton, algae and protozoa. The gills move the small food particles to the mouth.
The monkeyface's reproduction phases take place in spring and early summer. The males discharge sperm into the water column which is taken in by the female during siphoning. The eggs are fertilized in the female's gills in a cavity which serves as a nursery for embryo development into the parasitic stage called glochidia.

Through a number of methods host fish are tricked into getting close to the female and the glochidia are released and attached to the gills or fins of the host fish until they undergo a metamorphosis into juvenile mussels. After a time they drop off from the fish and begin living independently. If a host is not acquired the glochidia will die.The host fish for the Appalachian Monkeyface is unknown. If any of these stages are incomplete, the mussel cannot reproduce.

This mussel inhabits shallow riffles, runs, and shoal areas of fast-flowing headwater streams with rubble, gravel, or sandy bottoms relatively free of silt. At one time its population was thought to be widespread in the Tennessee River drainage, but dams, pollution, and siltation have been major contributors to their demise. In Virginia, remnant populations exist in parts of the Holston, Clinch, and Powell rivers.

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
August 2008
27 Public Comment Meeting for the Hound Study Advisory Committee Recommendations, Spotswood High School, www.dgif.virginia.gov
28 Public Comment Meeting for the Hound Study Advisory Committee Recommendations, Caroline Community Center, Bowling Green, www.dgif.virginia.gov
30-31 Wildlife Foundation of Virginia Hunter Education Event, Fulfillment Farm, Albemarle contact WFV Web site for details
September 2008
Check the Wildlife Regulatory Issue Meetings Scheduled for September
2 Public Comment Meeting for the Hound Study Advisory Committee Recommendations, Fauquier High School, www.dgif.virginia.gov
3 Public Comment Meeting for the Hound Study Advisory Committee Recommendations, Appomattox High School, www.dgif.virginia.gov
4 Public Comment Meeting for the Hound Study Advisory Committee Recommendations, King's Fork High School, Suffolk, www.dgif.virginia.gov
4 Woody Biomass for Energy in Virginia, Southwest Higher Education Center, Abingdon. Visit www.cnr.vt.edu/woodybioenergy or John Munsell (540) 231-1611 jfmunsel@vt.edu for registration.
7 The Wildlife Center of Virginia Open House, Waynesboro, reservations required call (540) 942-9453 or wildlife@wildlifecenter.org
9 Public Comment Meeting for the Hound Study Advisory Committee Recommendations, Gretna High School, www.dgif.virginia.gov
12

Wheelin' Sportsmen Dove Hunt at Fulfillment Farm, Albemarle visit www.vanwtf.com for details

13

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

13 Lynchburg Family Outdoors Day, Walton Park, Amherst County Visit DGIF web events
13-14 Eastern Regional Big Game Contest, Southampton Co. Fairgrounds- Franklin for information: www.vpsa.org
14

Western Virginia Land Trust's Annual Conservation Celebration, Kegley Farm in Roanoke, contact Western Virginia Land Trust at (540) 985-0000 or email dperry@westernvirginialandtrust.org

19

Wheelin' Sportsmen Benefit Golf Tourney at Vista Links in Buena Vista visit www.vanwtf.com for details

20 FULL Fly Fishing Workshop, Dry River - Harrisonburg. Visit DGIF web events
20

Wheelin' Sportsmen Outdoor Day - Shenandoah Stone - Raphine visit www.vanwtf.com for details

20

JAKES Youth Outdoor Event, National Capital Chapter, Izaak Walton League of America - Centreville, Registration is limited. Contact Kevin Walter (484) 951-1275 or kevinwalter44@gmail.com

20-21 Advanced Training Workshop for Hunter Education Instructors, Holiday Lake 4-H Education Center, contact David Dodson for registration.
18-21 16th Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Festival (*note date change from previous years), Cape Charles, for information: (757) 787-2460 or info@esvachamber.org
19

Willis Warf Wildlife Viewing Platform Dedication, Eastern Shore

20-21 SVHEC Hunting/Fishing Expo, Abingdon, for information visit: www.swcenter.edu
21

The Wildlife Center of Virginia Open House, Waynesboro, reservations required, call (540) 942-9453 or wildlife@wildlifecenter.org

26-28

Rockbridge JAKES Event, Rockbridge Chapter NWTF, Lexington, registration and information at www.vanwtf.com or call Billy Hall 540-784-0046

27 National Hunting and Fishing Day- visit DGIF web events to find an event near you. This is a great day to get an Apprentice License for a friend or family member.
27 Hunters for the Hungry fundraising event, Salem. For information, contact Jeff Fletcher at (540) 985-6523.
27

Outdoor Festival - Five County Fairgrounds, Farmville. For more information call (434) 547-6770

27-28 Western Regional and State Championship, Rockingham Co. Fairgrounds- Harrisonburg, for information: www.iwla-rh.org
28

The Wildlife Center of Virginia Open House, Waynesboro, reservations required, call (540) 942-9453 or wildlife@wildlifecenter.org

29 Woody Biomass for Energy in Virginia, Virginia State University, Petersburg. Visit www.cnr.vt.edu/woodybioenergy or John Munsell (540) 231-1611 jfmunsel@vt.edu for registration.
October 2008
1 Conservation Organization Appreciation Night, Bass Pro Shops, Hanover Grand Opening, contact Outdoor Report Editor (804) 367-0702
2 32nd Annual Fall Forestry & Wildlife Bus Tour, Fort Pickett, Nottoway County, registration information Click Here
4 Ladies Day Handgun- Shotgun Clinics, Cavalier Rifle & Pistol Club, contact h.baskerville@comcast.net,  or call (804) 370-7565.
4 Fredericksburg Chapter NWTF JAKES event, Caledon State Park. Contact Buddy Fines at (540) 775-7294.
10 32nd Annual Fall Forestry & Wildlife Bus Tour, Montgomery/Giles Counties, registration information Click Here
11 5th Annual Fall Wildlife Festival, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Friends of the Potomac River Refuges Click Here
12

The Wildlife Center of Virginia Open House, Waynesboro, reservations required, call (540) 942-9453 or wildlife@wildlifecenter.org

15 32nd Annual Fall Forestry & Wildlife Bus Tour, Rockbridge County, registration information Click Here
16 32nd Annual Fall Forestry & Wildlife Bus Tour, Essex County County, registration information Click Here
24-26 Forest Landowner's Retreat: Discover Value in Your Forest, Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, Appomattox, register by Sept.22. Contact Jason Fisher jasonf@vt.edu (434) 579-5689 or Neil Clark southeast@vt.edu (757) 657-6450 x 406
November 2008
1 Ladies Day Handgun- Shotgun Clinics, Cavalier Rifle & Pistol Club, contact h.baskerville@comcast.net,  or call (804) 370-7565
8-9 The Wildlife Center of Virginia 13th Annual Call of the Wild rehabilitation conference, Waynesboro, visit: www.wildlifecenter.org under "rehabilitator training" for information
14 Wildlife Biology and Trapping Weekend Camp, VA Trappers Assoc. and Girl Scouts- Skyline Council, for registration contact Debra Giles at (800) 542-5905 ext. 101, or email: dgiles@gsvsc.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 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.
Dove: Sept. 1 - Sept. 27, 12:00 noon until sunset.
September Canada Goose: Sept. 1 - Sept. 25
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).
Rails: Sept. 10 - Nov. 18
September Teal: Sept. 20 - Sept. 30 East of I-95 only.
October 2008
Archery
  • Bobcat: Oct. 4-31
  • Deer: Oct. 4-Nov. 14
  • Turkey: Oct. 4-Nov. 8
  • Bear: Oct. 11-Nov. 8
Firearms
  • Duck: Oct. 9-13
  • Mergansers, Coot, Gallinules, & Moorhen: Oct. 9-13
  • Sea Ducks: Oct. 9-Jan. 31
  • Snipe: Oct. 9-13 and Oct. 22-Jan. 31
  • Opossum: Oct. 15-Mar. 10
  • Raccoon: Oct. 15-Mar. 10
  • Youth Fall Turkey Hunt Day: Oct. 18
  • Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day: Oct. 25
  • Grouse: Oct. 25-Feb. 14 West of Interstate 95 only.
  • Turkey: Oct. 25-Nov. 7 in most counties, check regulations for details
  • Snow Goose: Oct. 31-Nov. 29

All hunters (whether licensed or exempt from being licensed) who plan to hunt doves, waterfowl, rails, woodcock, snipe, coots, gallinules or moorhens in Virginia must be registered with the Virginia Harvest Information Program (HIP). HIP is required each year and a new registration number is needed for the 2008-2009 hunting season. To register for HIP, visit VAHIP.com or call 1-888-788-9772.

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

Staff Photographers: David Coffman, Ron Messina, Tim Tassitano, Lee Walker

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

Executive Director: Bob Duncan

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