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, January 14, 2009

VDGIF is an agency of the Virginia Secretariat of Natural Resources
In this edition:
  • Welcome to the New Year!
  • New Features Added For the New Year
    • BE WILD, VIRGINIA Now Featured in Virginia Wildlife Magazine
    • New Boating Safety Section
    • Nature Observations From The Byrd Nest
  • Have You Missed an Edition of the Outdoor Report?
  • General Assembly Legislation of Interest to You
  • Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
    • Fishing Expo Returns to Richmond January 16-18
    • Outdoor Sports Show at Dulles Expo Center January 23-25
    • Big Boats Coming to Richmond Convention Center January 23-25
    • February Sportsmen's Shows Offer Something for Everyone
    • Chesapeake Offers Fly Fishing Workshops
    • Outdoor Writers Association Annual Youth Writing Contest Deadline Nears
    • Holiday Lake 4-H Center Offers Wilderness Survival, Bow Building and Decoy Carving Workshops
  • People and Partners in the News
    • The 2009 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia Book is Now Available!
    • Bedford Youth Rabbit Hunting Workshop Big Success
    • Essex County Youth Waterfowl Hunt Provides Valuable Experiences
    • Augusta NWTF Chapter Hosts Wheelin' Sportsmen Hunt at Woodrow Wilson Rehab Center
    • Hunter Education Volunteers Recognized for Exceptional Service
    • Complementary Work Force Volunteers Get the Job Done
    • 2009 Virginia Wildlife Calendar Gives All Year Long
  • Hunting News You Can Use
    • Late Antlerless-Only Firearms Deer Season January 5 - March 28, 2009
    • Urban Archery Season Runs Through March 28, 2009
    • Reports From Young Hunters
    • Season Updates and New Regulations For Hunting Migratory Birds
    • A Friendly Hunters Challenge...
    • Venison is Healthy and Delicious
    • Apprentice Hunting License is a Great Way to Start the New Year!
  • Be Safe... Have Fun!
    • Preventing Frostbite and Hypothermia
    • No Campfires Before 4 PM Starting February 15
  • "Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts
    • Conference to Explore Marketing Environmental Solutions March 12-13
    • Create a Holiday Tree for the Birds
  • Habitat Improvement Tips
    • The Bobwhite Quail in Virginia is New Feature on Website
    • Websites Provide Winter Bird Feeding Tips
    • Forestry Department Offers Specialty Seedlings
  • Fishin' Report
    • Come Visit Us at the Richmond Fishing Expo January 16-18
    • Trout Stocking to Resume at Lake Thompson
    • Sarah White's Notebook
      • Teen Anglers from Orange County High School Learn Competition Is Fun
      • Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions
  • Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
    • Senior Officer Funkhouser Named Conservation Police Officer of the Year 2008
    • Field Reports From Officers Protecting Natural Resources and People Pursuing Outdoor Recreation

Welcome to the New Year!

This edition begins the third year of the electronic Outdoor Report. We have grown to over 16,000 subscribers, and we appreciate your continued interest. Our success is due to the generous support and participation by colleagues, partners, contributing reporters and readers who have made this newsletter a respected source for outdoor news. We hope you have been informed, educated and even inspired on occasion to do something new and different to enhance your outdoor experiences, or better yet, share with others. This edition introduces some new features to better inform our constituents on issues and opportunities to get involved in Virginia's wild outdoors. Better yet share your interests with novice outdoorsmen.

We will be promoting subscription signups at all the upcoming sports shows and through email contacts with anglers, boaters and hunters who have requested information during the past year. Sign up your friends and colleagues for a free subscription to the Outdoor Report! We hope this newsletter has informed and inspired you to get involved and get outdoors. From all of us that work to bring you the Outdoor Report, we wish you and yours joy, fulfillment and peace throughout the New Year!

David Coffman, Editor

New Features Added For the New Year

We greatly appreciate the comments from our subscribers for improving the Outdoor Report and its value to you. Several features have been added based on your requests for the 2009 editions. Here's an overview of the changes- let us know what you think!

Be Wild, Virgina Now Featured in Virginia Wildlife Magazine

Starting with this January 14, 2009, edition the Be Wild, Virginia! article by award winning artist and author Spike Knuth that features a Wildlife Action Plan (WAP) species in peril, will be featured in Virginia Wildlife magazine. The WAP feature can be found in the Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! section of each edition of Virginia Wildlife magazine. Our editorial team, in consultation with our readers, recommended this change to keep the features in the Outdoor Report short with links to more detailed articles in other publications and websites. Spike's wonderful art work and species information can be found in the magazine each month with greater detail than we can provide in the Outdoor Report. The artwork and species, as well as the variety of articles in the upcoming edition of Virginia Wildlife, will be listed in the Sidebar section of the Outdoor Report. A special thanks to Spike for his exceptional contributions in getting the electronic Outdoor Report off the ground and growing the past two years. If you are not already a subscriber to Virginia Wildlife magazine, we encourage you to subscribe to enjoy Spike's features and all the other interesting articles in our awarding winning feature magazine.

If you would like to become a regular subscriber to Virginia Wildlife magazine, visit the Department's website, or call 1-800-710-9369. A one-year subscription for 12 issues is only $12.95.

"BOATERS - ARE YOU ON BOARD?" Section Added to Sidebar

VDGIF Boating Safety Education Coordinators, Stacey Brown and Tom Guess, will be providing information on safe and sober boating, boat maintenance and operation tips and updates on the new requirements for boating safety education being phased in over the next several years. See the new "BOATERS - ARE YOU ON BOARD?" boating information section in this edition of the Outdoor Report, located in the sidebar section.

NATURE OBSERVATIONS FROM THE BYRD NEST

In our hectic, fast paced, electronic society, it seems many of us have lost touch with nature. The 2009 Virginia Wildlife Calendar features weekly nature notes on exciting, wonder-filled activities by wild creatures and dramatic seasonal changes in wild places reflected in plants and animals alike. Virginia Outdoor Writers Association member and Complementary Workforce Volunteer, Marika Byrd, has developed a column for the Outdoor Report sidebar entitled, NATURE OBSERVATIONS FROM THE BYRD NEST. Each edition will feature nature observations from the calendar and actions you can take to enhance your outdoor experience. We especially hope that 'budding young naturalists' will read these articles and get outdoors to observe the wonders of nature and learn lessons that cannot be experienced on the web or video game. In this edition Marika features observations on winter activity by eagles and owls and tips on getting your bird boxes ready for the fast-approaching spring nesting season.

Have You Missed an Edition of the Outdoor Report?

From time to time we hear from subscribers that they did not receive their newsletter the past 2-3 editions. We are very proud of our record of on-time posting of the newsletter every edition the past two years. We are not sure why, but once in a while, 200-700 email addresses "disappear" from the system. You may also want to check your spam or junk filter to ensure that the Outdoor Report isn't being mistakenly deleted. Periodically we put a note in the Outdoor Report that if you do not get your email report on the 2nd or 4th Wednesday of any month, email us and re-subscribe on the VDGIF website. We can send you electronic copies of the edition(s) you missed if requested.

Contact the Editor at dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov.

General Assembly Legislation of Interest to You

There is a lot of legislative action scheduled this year on issues that may affect you as an outdoor enthusiast, landowner or concerned citizen.

The most appropriate way to express your opinion about these bills, or any other legislation, is through your local delegate and/or senator. For more information about your legislators and how to contact them, please visit the Virginia General Assembly website. You may also contact the Virginia General Assembly's Constituent Viewpoint Comment line toll-free at 1-800-889-0229 (804-698-1990 in Richmond).

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Fishing Expo Returns to Richmond January 16-18

The Richmond Fishing Expo is coming to the Richmond Raceway Complex January 16-18, 2009. The family oriented show is geared to be a fun and educational experience for all who attend. Whether you are a fly fishing enthusiast, a bass fisher, saltwater, lake or river angler, this show has something for everyone in the family. There will be conservation organizations represented and an incredible selection of outfitters, fishing charters, boating suppliers and seminar presenters. Numerous nationally known speakers will hold seminars to teach skills and share some great stories of their adventures and experiences. VDGIF staff will be on hand in the Commonwealth Building to answer questions on agency programs, special training events and opportunities to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. The Outdoor Report will also have an exhibit in the Exhibition Hall featuring Fishin' Report contributing reporters answering your questions on where to get the latest "how are they bitin'" information on more that 25 primary lakes and rivers statewide. Volunteers from the VDGIF Complementary Work Force will be on hand describing opportunities for volunteers to assist in carrying out a variety of agency programs. For information visit the Show website.

Outdoor Sports Show at Dulles Expo Center January 23-25

The Nation's Outdoor Sportsmen's Show is returning to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly January 23-25, 2009. The family oriented show is geared to be a fun and educational experience for all who attend. Whether you are a fly fishing enthusiast, a bass fisher, an upland game hunter or you dream of chasing elk in the wild West, this show has something for everyone in the family. Over 30 booths have been donated for use by nationally known conservation organizations for you to learn all about the great work being done by hunters and fisherman all across the country. These groups offer information on hunting lands, fair chase, stewardship management, migration maps, hunting and fishing seasons and much more. There is an incredible selection of outfitters, fishing charters, boating suppliers and seminar presenters. Hundreds of booths will be filled with some of the country's best outdoor gear, coastal and inland fishing guides and outfitters from around the world. Numerous nationally known speakers will hold seminars to teach skills and share some great stories of their adventures and experiences. VDGIF will have exhibits and staff to answer questions on agency programs, special training events and opportunities to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. For information visit the Nation's Outdoor Sportsmen's Show website.

Big Boats Coming to Richmond Convention Center January 23-25

Now in its 54th year, the Virginia Boat Show at the Greater Richmond Convention Center is really making waves! It's a one-stop, wet & wild event focused on all facets of water sports. The Virginia Boat Show in Richmond January 23-25, features the most comprehensive selection of watercraft at a Boat Show in Central Virginia. Learn the tips, tricks and techniques from The Sportsman's Magazine's experts! A variety of boating and marine products will be available at the show.

VDGIF Boating Safety Education Coordinators, Stacey Brown and Tom Guess will be staffing the VDGIF exhibit to answer your questions and provide information on safe and sober boating and the new requirements for boating safety education being phased in over the next several years. See the new "Boaters - Are You on Board?" Boating Information section in this edition of the Outdoor Report, located in the sidebar section. Come visit us at the Boat Show! Mention you saw this article in the Outdoor Report and receive a free notepad. Click here for show details.

February Sportsmen's Shows Offer Something for Everyone

The five regional outdoor sportsman's shows scheduled for February feature seminars, exhibits, demonstrations and contests promising fun and exciting new activities for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. All the shows feature activities for kids to spark their interest in outdoor adventures. See the latest in specialized equipment and partnership programs offered by sportsmen's organizations. VDGIF staff will be on hand to provide information on hunting and fishing opportunities and agency programs to manage fish and wildlife resources. Each show offers something different, so check each show's website for all the details.

Chesapeake Offers Fly Fishing Workshops

Learn the basics of fly fishing at monthly workshops sponsored by Chesapeake Parks & Recreation Department, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and Bill Wills Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Federation of Fly Fishers (Bill Wills TU/FFF). The workshops are held at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake the first Saturday of the month with the next workshop scheduled for January 3, 2009 and continuing through March 7. Sessions begin at 10:00 a.m. in the activities building no registration or experience is required. The classes offer casting instructions, fly tying, equipment basics, rod, reel, line, terminal tackle and accessories. Classes are free and open to the public. Bring your own equipment if you like but it's not required. Learn to pick your equipment for a better fly-fishing experience. For more information or directions contact the Park at (757) 421-7151, or Bill Campbell at (757) 635-6522, or send email to tu389-bwills@cox.net or flytyer53@hotmail.com.

Outdoor Writers Association Annual Youth Writing Contest Deadline Nears

The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, Inc. (VOWA) reminds young aspiring authors that its 16th Annual Youth Writing Competition deadline for entries is January 31, 2009. The goal of the contest is to reward young people for excellence in communicating their personal experiences in the outdoors. The competition is open to all Virginia students in grades 9 through 12, including home-schooled students.

The theme of this year's contest is based on "My Most Memorable Outdoor Experience". An experience by the student writer with hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, hiking, birding or other outdoor activity should be the predominant subject matter. No athletic event or competition is an eligible subject matter. Submissions can be submitted in a Microsoft Word or text file since the three top winners will be posted on the VOWA website, and may be in other publications or on websites. email submissions are encouraged - write the document and then attach it to an email. The submissions must be made by the January 31, 2009 deadline.

Awards will consist of gift certificates and gear from outdoor sports businesses and Supporting Members of VOWA. Over $500 in prizes will be awarded. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the VOWA's Annual Meeting in Hampton, on March 21, 2009, with the time and place to be announced. The winner's parents (or mentor/teacher) will be guests of VOWA for the presentation event. There is also a separate contest for college level undergraduates interested in pursuing journalism or communication careers and interests.

For Contest guidelines, entry information and required entry submission form for the Youth contests, visit the VOWA website or contact VOWA President and Contest Chairman, David Coffman at david.coffman@dgif.virginia.gov, or telephone (804) 221-6990.

Holiday Lake 4-H Center Offers Wilderness Survival, Bow Building and Decoy Carving Workshops

Ever wondered what you'd do if you were lost in the wilderness or stranded after an accident? Would you know how to survive? Join us for a fun weekend and learn how to SURVIVE and THRIVE in the wilderness! Come spend a weekend learning Wilderness Survival Skills from experts in the fields of wilderness survival, search/rescue, primitive skills and tracking! Courses during the March 13-15 workshop include the Basics of Survival, primitive shelter building, water, wild edibles, wilderness travel, fire craft and MORE! See flyer for more details and registration form (PDF). This course will be conducted at Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center in Appomattox. Registration fee of $165 covers programming, survival kit components, meals and lodging.

Are you interested in making your own primitive bow or learning the art of traditional duck decoy carving? Nate Mahanes, Program Director for the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center advises that a gift of a registration for one of the workshops is perfect for that special person who enjoys the outdoors. Early registration is encouraged as courses fill quickly. For details visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website, or contact by email: nmahanes@vt.edu, or call (434) 248-5444 Fax: (434) 248-6749

Click to view upcoming events at the 4-H Center:

People and Partners in the News

Fishing Regulations, Where to Fish, Trout Stocking Plan, and Much More; the 2009 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia Book is Now Available!!!

The new 2009 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia (Fishing Regulations) book has been published and a copy can be obtained at all license agents and Department offices. VDGIF Fisheries Division Director, Gary Martel, notes, "This publication not only contains the fishing regulations, but an extensive "Let's Go Fishing" section, with information about major sport fish, public fishing lakes, major fishing rivers, and the trout stocking program. Also, you can find information about fish citations, state records, angling education programs, exotic species, and more." The Freshwater Fishing Regulations section and the complete Trout Guide on our website have also been updated for 2009.

Bedford Youth Rabbit Hunting Workshop Big Success

On Saturday, December 6, 2008, VDGIF, in cooperation with Virginia Hunter Education Association, Inc., conducted their third annual, all-day Youth Rabbit Hunting Workshop on property belonging to Kennedy's Orchard in the Wheats Valley section of Bedford County. The event created an incredible opportunity for 11 youngsters (under age 17) to experience rabbit hunting with dogs in a safe, controlled and learning environment. The event began with an instructional session on Eastern cottontail biology and habitat, hunting techniques, proper field dressing, as well as ethics and safety.

Subsequently the youth were divided into four groups, including hunter education instructors, dog handlers and rabbit beagles. In short order, with enthusiasm abounding, the music of some very excited beagles rang out and the chase was on! Despite the cold weather and frozen ground making it difficult for the beagles to stay on the track, plenty of rabbits were jumped and several were harvested. After three hours out in the cold weather everyone came back to the comfort of the Kennedy home with warm cups of hot chocolate and steamy bowls of venison stew, while sharing their experiences of the day! The afternoon activities concluded with a demonstration of the proper method for caring of harvested game. After hearing expressions of "Thanks" and many "let's do it again next year", the instructors ended their day with plans for a 2009 event.

The sponsors expressed appreciation to the VDGIF employees, biologists, Outdoor Education staff, Hunter Education instructors and regional coordinators, the Virginia. Hunter Education Association and area rabbit dog handlers, without which this event could not have been possible.

Essex County Youth Waterfowl Hunt Provides Valuable Experiences

On Saturday, January 5, 2009, 12 excited youngsters braved a 5:00 a.m. call and eagerly arrived for another promised great day afield waterfowl hunting in Essex County rather than spilling over in the woods on the final day of deer season. The VDGIF Outdoor Education program staff and Waterfowl USA's LOCS (Louisa, Orange, Culpeper, and Spotsylvania) Chapter teamed to host the Fourth Annual Youth Waterfowl Hunting Workshop in that area.

Following a review of firearms safety, game laws, and instruction on the hunting methods, the paired participants received guide assignments for the hunting component. At their blinds, guides quickly began teaching the "how and why" of decoy placement. Once the decoys were out, the participants got in their blinds to wait for the first flight of birds. Soon after sunrise the first large flight of Canada geese began rising off the river and marshes, and the guides began calling for all they were worth! In spite of hundreds of full body decoys and expert calling, the bluebird skies and bright sun, combined with very large flocks of geese, proved too daunting for the guides and participants to overcome.

Meanwhile, on the creek and swamp, some of the young participants became engaged in harvesting some of the local ducks. Unfortunately, all of the birds were high flying and out of range. Fortunately, our boys on the creek were able to harvest one lone, coveted Rappahannock Black Duck (also known as a common crow).

One of the unique aspects of the Essex property, leased by Waterfowl USA members, is the abundance of tundra swans in the area. These majestic birds are a coveted species, with only 600 permits issued to harvest a single bird each Virginia season. One of our young participants, Ward Fowler, along with his father, Keith, was fortunate enough to draw a tundra swan permit this season. Each of them were blessed to harvest tundra swans during the hunting component of the workshop.

Outdoor Education Coordinator, Jimmy Mootz noted, "Even with the low number of birds harvested, the memorable day was declared a success. You see, the measure of the hunt extends far beyond the harvesting of game. It involves heritage. It involves the forging of relationships. It involves learning about the species. It involves becoming committed to conservation, and giving back." For the guides, Frank and Cathy Wade of Waterfowl USA, and for the officials from VDGIF's Outdoor Education program, the planning is already underway for the Fifth Annual event.

Augusta NWTF Chapter Hosts Wheelin' Sportsmen Hunt at Woodrow Wilson Rehab Center

It was a windy, bitter cold 21 degrees in the early morning hours of January 2, as ten Wheelin' Sportsmen hunters converged on Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center (WWRC) in Fishersville for their third annual deer management hunt. This year's hunt was hosted by volunteers with the Augusta Area Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). The wooded areas surrounding the grounds of WWRC are loaded with deer and they have created major problems for staff and motorists. After consulting with VDGIF biologists, WWRC invited Wheelin' Sportsmen to hunt their property, thus helping control the deer population and providing hunters with disabilities with an exciting hunt. This two-day shotgun (buckshot only) hunt was very successful, as hunters harvested 11 antlerless deer. NBC TV 29 in Charlottesville did an on-site report on the benefits of the hunt both to the center to manage the deer herd and habitat and the rewarding outdoor adventure activity for the disabled hunters. The many volunteers that make a special hunt like this possible were also recognized for their valuable contributions of time and experience.

Robin Clark, volunteer Coordinator for the Virginia Chapter of Wheelin' Sportsmen, expressed special appreciation to Milton Gallahan, Wildlife Biologist Assistant with VDGIF, who provided three of the VDGIF Huntmaster wheelchair accessible, hydraulic lift stands for the event. These stands allow hunters using wheelchairs the opportunity to experience a true tree-stand hunt as they raise hunters up 20 feet above the ground. Milton is responsible for maintaining the stands reserved for use by organized groups hosting hunts for persons with disabilities.

Hunter Education Volunteers Recognized for Exceptional Service

5000 hours is roughly the equivalent of 2½ 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 website. 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 website or call 1-866-604-1122.

Complementary Work Force Volunteers Get the Job Done

VDGIF Complementary Work Force (CWF) Coordinator Susan Alger was pleasantly surprised at the tally of the success for this new volunteer program in 2008. For the six months since July 1, 2008, CWF volunteers have donated 2140 hours of service at a value of $42,200. Since CWF's inception as a pilot program a little over a year ago, volunteers have donated 3638 hours of service at a value of $71,741. The value of volunteer service is calculated using the standard accepted value for volunteer service in Virginia of $19.72 per hour. The number of citizens certified for the innovative volunteer program now stands at 106.

The volunteers serve in a variety of jobs including providing regional office clerical support, assist biologists at Chronic Wasting Disease data collection points in Frederick County, complete wildlife damage inspections, bat surveys, goose banding and eagle nest surveys. Volunteers also assist in outreach programs helping staff exhibits at outdoor events, sports shows and the State Fair. The program has expanded to the Shenandoah Valley to include trout stocking, creel surveys and completing renovations underway at the Coursey Springs Fish Cultural Station, the highest trout-producing hatchery in Virginia. Several of the volunteers in the CWF program also volunteer in other VDGIF programs including Hunter Education and Outdoor Education instructors and Master Naturalists program.

Volunteers serving next to full time staff help staff realize the valuable potential of the CWF Program. As the program has grown, new friendships and working relationships have been forged. Staff members now seek out volunteer assistance and include project ideas for trained volunteers in future work plans. CWF volunteers complete various training programs depending on their area of interest including Agency orientation, wildlife damage inspection, nuisance wildlife solutions, CWD testing procedures, boating safety and more. Enhanced skills training will soon be offered in CPR and AED, classroom driving safety tips for the outdoorsman and state vehicle operator, chainsaw use and safety, and other topics.

Regional Coordinators have been established in three Regions as the number of volunteers has grown and the scope and number of projects has rapidly expanded. Jim Battle is the Tidewater Region Coordinator. Thomas Goldston serves in the Northern Piedmont Region. Jason Hallacher serves as CWF Volunteer Assistant and Senior Fisheries Technician in the Shenandoah Valley Region.

If you are looking for a fulfilling volunteer opportunity, consider joining the VDGIF Complementary Work Force. The program benefits the agency, its constituents, and the wildlife and fisheries resources of Virginia in many unique and rewarding ways. It provides opportunities for you to share your talents, gain new skills and work experience, and make new friends, all while working in some of the most beautiful locations that Virginia has to offer. Volunteers may donate time on a regular, occasional, or even seasonal basis, depending on their availability. To apply, please visit our website. CWF State Coordinator, Susan Alger may be contacted by phone and Fax: (703) 481-2102, or email: susan.alger@dgif.virginia.gov

2009 Virginia Wildlife Calendar Gives All Year Long

It's past time to purchase the 2009 Virginia Wildlife Calendar! For more than 20 years the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has been publishing one of the most visually stunning and informative wildlife calendars in the country.

The 2009 edition highlights many of the most sought after game and fish species in the state. Virginia hunters, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the rich colors and composition of the 12 monthly photo spreads. Each page is full of useful tidbits for the outdoors lover - including wildlife behavior, preferred fishing and hunting times, hunting seasons, state fish records, and much more! Life history information is provided for each species featured.

Virginia Wildlife Calendars are still being offered at the bargain price of only $10 each. Quantities are limited, so order yours now! Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery.

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.

Deer Hunting Opportunities Still Available

Late Antlerless-Only Firearms Deer Season January 5 - March 28, 2009

Hunters are reminded of the special late antlerless-only firearms deer season January 5 – March 28, 2009 in the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, and Prince William, except on Department-owned lands.

  • To firearms deer hunt on private lands in Fairfax County a special landowner permit is required. Contact the Div. of Animal Control, 4500 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 for details. No special police permit is required for archery deer hunting.

Urban Archery Season Runs Through March 28, 2009

Don't hang up your bow just yet—opportunities still exist for archery deer hunting across Virginia. To assist towns and cities with urban deer management issues, the Department established an urban archery season in 2002. This year, the season extends until March 28, 2009, in 21 localities. Due to these areas being more developed, there may be additional restrictions for safety measures that hunters must follow.

According to Deer Project Coordinator Nelson Lafon, "The Urban Archery season plays an important role in managing human-deer conflicts. It allows participating towns, cities and counties to address the problems of too many deer while offering sportsmen a chance to hunt in these areas."

To find which of the 21 participating localities is near you, visit the Department's website.

Reports From Young Hunters

How did you do? Send stories and photos to dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov. If we use your story that includes a youth or first time hunter, you'll receive a complementary Virginia Wildlife hat!

Congratulations to 12 year old Camden Philpy for downing this prized pintail drake. Camden, with the help of his dad Brooke, managed to drop it with one shot with his Remington 870 - 20 gauge pump shotgun at about 20 yards. Camden was extremely excited since this was his first pintail. Waterfowl hunters are reminded that there is still some great duck hunting to be had before the season ends. Please check the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl 2008-2009 Seasons and Bag Limits on the Department's website for regulations and hunting opportunities in your area.

For Season Updates and New Regulations For Hunting Migratory Birds Click On:

A Friendly Hunters Challenge...

The buddies in my hunt club came up with an interesting challenge... As we made drives the last week of the season to get venison for all the club members, we agreed to donate any extra to Hunters for the Hungry. Well, I admittedly missed my one good shot, so rather than "cut the shirt tail", I agreed to donate $40 to cover the cost of processing a deer that one of my fellow hunters that did make the shot and donated his deer. This year with the added drain on food banks from hard times, Hunters for the Hungry can use every donation whether it's cash or venison and helps show that sportsmen do positive things in their communities. If you had a successful hunting season, and were fortunate to have harvested more deer than what you can use and you use a 2008/2009 Hunters for the Hungry participating processor consider setting aside several packages of venison for donating to Hunters for the Hungry. Share and enjoy your harvest with those in need! If you don't have a deer to donate, how about $40 bucks!

Venison is Healthy and Delicious

Venison when properly processed and prepared provides healthy low fat meat and can be served in a variety of delicious recipes. For great venison cooking recipes, purchase the Hunters for the Hungry Cookbooks containing 224 recipes and over 300 pages.

Apprentice Hunting License is a Great Way to Begin the New Year!

With seasons still open for waterfowl, rabbits, squirrel, and other small game, it's a great time to introduce a youngster to the sport by getting an apprentice hunting license. Also, spring gobbler season is only 11 weeks away with the special Youth Spring Turkey Hunt Day scheduled for April 4, 2009. 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. Be sure to check out the new Apprentice Hunting License video VDGIF has posted to its website. The video is an overview of how the new Apprentice Hunter program works. Watch the video and consider becoming a mentor to a friend or family member who's always wanted to try hunting.

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

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Preventing Frostbite and Hypothermia

Prolonged exposure to low temperatures, wind or moisture - whether it be on a ski slope or in a stranded car - can result in cold-related illnesses such as frostbite and hypothermia. The National Safety Council offers this information to help you spot and put a halt to these winter hazards.

Frostbite is the most common injury resulting from exposure to severe cold. Superficial frostbite is characterized by white, waxy, or grayish-yellow patches on the affected areas. The skin feels cold and numb. The skin surface feels stiff but underlying tissue feels soft and pliable when depressed. Treat superficial frostbite by taking the victim inside immediately. Remove any constrictive clothing items that could impair circulation. If you notice signs of frostbite, immediately seek medical attention. Re-warming usually takes 20 to 40 minutes or until tissues soften.

Hypothermia occurs when the body's temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms of this condition include change in mental status, uncontrollable shivering, cool abdomen and a low core body temperature. Severe hypothermia may produce rigid muscles, dark and puffy skin, irregular heart and respiratory rates, and unconsciousness.

Treat hypothermia by protecting the victim from further heat loss and calling for immediate medical attention. Get the victim out of the cold. Add insulation such as blankets, pillows, towels or newspapers beneath and around the victim. Be sure to cover the victim's head. Replace wet clothing with dry clothing. Handle the victim gently because rough handling can cause cardiac arrest. Keep the victim in a horizontal (flat) position. Give artificial respiration or CPR (if you are trained) as necessary.

How to prevent cold-related illnesses

Avoid frostbite and hypothermia when you are exposed to cold temperatures by wearing layered clothing, eating a well-balanced diet, and drinking warm, non-alcoholic, caffeine-free liquids to maintain fluid levels. Avoid becoming wet, as wet clothing loses 90 percent of its insulating value.

Permission to reprint granted by the National Safety Council, a membership organization dedicated to protecting life and promoting health.

No Campfires Before 4 PM Starting February 15

All outdoorsmen are reminded that the "4 PM Burn Law" is in effect from February 15 until April 30 to help prevent forest fires. The law bans all open air burning, including campfires, before 4 PM if your fire is within 300 feet of the woods, brush, or dry grass which can carry the fire to the woods. You are allowed to burn debris or have campfires between 4 PM and midnight, as long as you take proper care and precaution and attend your fire at all times. Read the Virginia Department of Forestry's Frequently Asked Questions: Can I Burn? to learn more.

"Green Tips" For Outdoor Enthusiasts

This 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.

Conference to Explore Marketing Environmental Solutions March 12-13

Balancing economic and environmental sustainability is the challenge for the 21st Century being explored during a two-day conference at the Charlottesville Omni Hotel March 12-13, 2009. Ecosystem Services : Explore Marketing Environmental Solutions will explore the design and implementation of ecosystem service markets and the development of tools to enhance landowner participation in these markets.

Humankind impacts to the natural environment greatly influence our quality of life. New mechanisms such as ecosystem service markets are emerging as a pragmatic market-based option to manage growth and yet mitigate the environmental impacts of such growth in a cost-effective manner. Industry, government, non-governmental organizations, academia, and landowners will all benefit from the information presented. Attending this conference will ensure a better understanding of how ecosystem service markets function and what opportunities exist for landowners. Click here for more information.

Or contact:

  • Neil Clark, Assoc. Extension Agent at Virginia Tech, telephone:757-657-6450, ext. 406 Email: southeast@vt.edu
  • Buck Kline, Director of Forestland Conservation, Virginia Department of Forestry, telephone: 434-220-9035 Email: Buck.Kline@dof.virginia.gov

Create a Holiday Tree for the Birds

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

Fill the cut tree (or old wreath) with fruits and nuts strung on narrow twine or tied with other inexpensive string. Suitable foods include apple slices; whole peanuts in the shell or cranberries and raisins; suet in nylon net bags; or pine cones filled with peanut butter and rolled in seed. Use foods that are natural and not full of added sugars or artificial ingredients. Be sure to tie the treats close to the branches so that once eaten there isn't a long string dangling for a bird to become entangled in; remove strings as they are emptied. The birds will welcome the treats and will take advantage of the protective cover from the tree as winter winds and cold settle in. Keep re-decorating the tree with more fruits and nuts as the food is eaten through the winter.

When spring comes, don't haul the now leafless tree to the dump. Instead, lay it on its side in an out of the way location, or incorporate the dead twigs and branches into a compost pile. The tree can also be used with other dead limbs or fallen branches in the yard to construct a brush pile for chipmunks, rabbits and other small animals.

Habitat Improvement Tips

The Bobwhite Quail in Virginia is New Feature on Website

The Bobwhite Quail in Virginia website is designed to help Virginia's landowners and land managers access the best information and technical assistance available to them for managing early-succession habitat in Virginia. It includes links to other sites, some of which may be in other states. All information provided is relevant to Virginia. It is designed to be a self-service site, but contact information is provided for VDGIF biologists who can help you with questions that arise along your management journey, or if you desire on-site help with habitat evaluation and management planning. The more research you do as an individual, the better our biologists will be able to help you when that time comes.

Websites Provide Winter Bird Feeding Tips

Brisk temperatures and heavy snow can pose challenges to local birds that winter in your area. An effective Habitat at Home© contains many shrubs and densely vegetated areas that can provide good cover for birds. You can supplement your habitat with a couple of bird feeders placed near windows for continued enjoyment. The Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology has excellent resources about feeding birds, including Project FeederWatch. Bird Watchers' Digest also provides some great tips. Teachers are encouraged to have students hang bird feeders outside classroom windows and monitor the number and species of birds that visit. A curriculum on birds is available from the National Environmental Education Foundation's Curricula Library. Check out DGIF's web site, too, for information on feeding birds.

Forestry Department Offers Specialty Seedlings

The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) has been in the seedling business for 90 years assisting landowners in reforestation projects on cutover and idle land. Landowners may now purchase seed mixes, shrubs and quality bare root tree seedlings in specialty packets for wildlife habitat enhancement, water shed protection, fall and spring colors and timber management. For product information, pricing and ordering go to the Virginia Department of Forestry's website.

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.

Come Visit Us at the Richmond Fishing Expo January 16-18

The Outdoor Report will have an exhibit in the Exhibition Hall featuring Fishin' Report Contributing Editor, Sarah White answering your questions on where to get the latest "how are they bitin'" info on more that 25 primary lakes and rivers statewide. Volunteers from the VDGIF Complementary Work Force will be on hand describing opportunities for volunteers to assist in carrying out a variety of agency programs. Stop by our booth and tell us you are a subscriber and we will ask you to take a short reader survey and receive a carabineer. We hope to see you at the Fishing Expo—bring a friend and sign them up for the Outdoor Report. For information visit the Show website.

Trout Stocking to Resume at Lake Thompson

Lake Thompson, a 10-acre lake on the Department's G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area in Fauquier County, has recently refilled and trout stocking and fishing will resume this winter/spring, 2009; the lake will be stocked four times between now and the end of May, as long as the lake remains full. All resident anglers, 16 years of age and older, are reminded that they are required to possess a trout license in addition to a valid state freshwater fishing license to fish in Lake Thompson, since this lake is being added back onto the Department's official list of Designated Stocked Trout Waters.

A leak in the bottom drain of Lake Thompson was discovered back in July and 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 find an economical, quick fix were not successful. Unfortunately, the lake slowly drained and was closed to fishing. However, when the water level was just about to reach a low enough point to see the bottom pipe and make an assessment of damages, the water stopped going out the pipe; engineers believe some bottom silt and/or other obstruction must have collapsed in on the bottom pipe, temporarily "plugging" the leak.

The lake has now re-filled with water and engineers are still unable to assess what is wrong with the bottom pipe; they think the lake could again start leaking and drain, but are unsure of if or when. Since the lake is now full, the Fisheries Division has decided to resume trout stocking, once again providing trout fishing opportunity at this popular lake, as long as the lake stays at an adequate water level for safe, convenient fishing.

Questions concerning the re-opening of Thompson Lake should be directed to Fred Leckie, Assistant Director of Fisheries, in Richmond at (804) 367-8944. For current trout stocking information call 1-434-525-Fish (3474) for a daily updated recording or go to our website.

Sara White's Notebook

Winter is upon us and, sadly, this means much less fishing action. This is no cause for despair, however, as the off season can be a good time to study and practice our craft. In the upcoming weeks I'll be looking into just how we can do this. Next report, look for an installment on how to practice casting out of the water.

At the Richmond Fishing Expo last year, I met an outstanding group of teens from the Orange County High School Angler's Club and their inspirational teacher and mentor, Rebecca Gore. Their story is all about what's good in getting youth "hooked" on fishing and the outdoors.

Teen Anglers from Orange County High School Learn Competition Is Fun

The boat creaks. A soft June wind ruffles the young angler's hair. Girls giggle and boys roughhouse. There is a competition going on, but those who do the competing are still having fun to the point that the competition is one of the best parts of the trip.

The students at Orange County High School have had an Angling Club for several years now. It's a real sport; kids can get a lettered jacket and must maintain good grades to play. It's a true intramural sport, one where the girls don't just participate in some token way – they stand as good a chance of winning as the boys.

The founder of this program is a dedicated teacher named Rebecca Gore, who started the program "so I could have someone to fish with on the weekends." Her desire is more than satisfied, the Angling Club has grown to a considerable size, with over 50 students and adult mentors. Rebecca is quick to point out that the Club is about more than landing a fat bass, though that's fun too; it's about learning life skills like patience, persistence and teamwork. She maintains that the program works; that her kids develop great character and drive. Her opinion is born out by the fact that her kids win tournaments—some world class. And when I talked to the team members, I was impressed by their intelligence, politeness and knowledge of their sport. While they all mentioned competing as one of their favorite parts of the Club, I got the impression that this was friendly, not cutthroat, competition. They were being, as Ms. Gore puts it, "pointed in the right direction"; and their behavior and characters bode well for the future.

Another key element of the Team is that it takes the kids outdoors and makes conservationists out of them. The team spends time volunteering to help clean up and maintain fishing sites. And, as every angler knows, just spending time fishing makes one care about the future of our wild places. The team has received numerous awards for their service including "National Outstanding Jr. B.A.S.S. Federation – Nation Chapter". Let's hope that more kids get "hooked" on saving the environment. Ms. Gore is more than happy to help anyone set up a fishing club at their school or organization. To contact her, call (540) 661-4300 or email her at iteach72@yahoo.com.

Region 1 - Tidewater

Beaverdam Swamp: By local ranger Eddie Hester: Few anglers visited the lake this week, but there was a report of an angler who managed to catch 5 bass in the 3-5 pound range. The crappie bite has been pretty slow, but a few are being caught at the Fary Mill, 354 entrance on the old paved road where the creek runs under RT # 606. There is not much else to report right now so everyone stay warm and have a Happy New year! Just a reminder that the 2009 Annual Boating and Canoeing passes are now on sale at the Beaverdam Ranger station. The water temperature is around 44 degrees, the water clarity is clear, and the water level is near full pool.

Chickahominy River: Alton Williams of River's Rest reports that while things have slowed down, some decent cats have been brought in with live eels. No word on bass or crappie. Bluegill are also scarce. The water is cloudy and cold.

North Landing River and Back Bay: Dewey Mullins of West Neck Marina says that although action is slow, there are fish to be had. Crappie are hitting well in deep waters on small spinners. Yellow perch are also haunting the deep with some citation sized ones out there. Best baits are small jigs and small live minnows. A few stripers and bass are being caught on artificial lures. No word on cats. Water is in the high 40s and low 50s, and fairly clear.

Norfolk Lakes: Drew Dixion of Dashell's Show Room tells us that things have been slow. White perch and crappies can be found in deeper water and responding well to minnows and small jigs. Stripers are hitting on large shiners. No word on cats. A few bass can be had jigging with Silver Buddies. Water clarity on the lakes is clear and temperatures remain cold.

Region 2 - Southside

Kerr Reservoir: Brandon Grey of Bob Cat's Lake Country Store says that things are slow. A few stripers have been landed on Grassy Creek with live shiners, shad and bucktails. Some 20 to 30 pound cats have been fooled by cut bait. Crappie are in the shallow flats and brush piles. Some largemouth bass have been brought in with slow-fished crankbaits. The water is 43 to 46 degrees and muddy in the upper stretches around Clarkesville. Down lake creek arms remain fairly clear.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Glen Don of Rock House Marina reports that both large and smallmouth bass are going for jigs; while stripers are attacking bucktails. No word on cats, crappie or bluegill. A few big muskies are showing up and brought to boat with jerkbaits. The water is 43 degrees and murky.

Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

North Fork of the Shenandoah River: Sadly, we will not be hearing from Harry Murray for a while, as he is getting a knee replaced. Word has it that the metal used will be made from fused tiny fly hooks. Let's all remember Harry in our thoughts and wish him a speedy recovery. We are looking for a temporary replacement reporter to keep us updated on the area - if you have any information for the Fishin' Report contact Sarah via email at fishing_report@hotmail.com.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Lake Anna: By local outdoor writer C.C. McCotter: Water temperatures are now in a more typical range (38-45) for December after some subzero days and nights and this means the fish are moving into the mid lake region. You'll find good fishing for bass, striper, crappie and white perch not much further than two miles from the major marinas now at Anna. Vertical jigging has slowed while live bait and retrieved lures have begun to produce more regularly. Here's what you can expect for your next visit.

Largemouth bass - You're going to have to fish offshore except for the area around Dike III in the lower end of the lake (50 degrees). Offshore means either crawling a jig-n-pig on the bottom, vertically jigging the Toothache spoon or Crazy Blade, drop shotting or retrieving a swimbait of sorts. Anna's bass are pulling off most shallow and mid-depth structure and relocating on bottom contours near schools of threadfin shad. Sometimes these deep fish feed actively, and you'll know this when baitfish are active either on your depth finder or under birds. Good places to fish include: The Splits, the mouth of Marshall, Mitchell and Pigeon Creeks. Rarely will you see any surface activity from bass now, except in the lower end of the lake where they will often feed late in the afternoon in coves near the dam. Try casting soft plastic jerkbaits when this happens. Otherwise, use a drop shot and shakey head worm around wooden cover in this lower lake region. The Winter Team Open Bass Series has begun at Sturgeon Creek Marina on Sundays.

Striped Bass - Fish are starting to fatten up now, so you have to be a little more on your game to find active ones. Birds are often just on bait now, but a good depth finder will reveal if stripers are under them, too. We are catching them from the first two bridges down to the mouth of Sturgeon Creek and at Dike III. The better fish are mid-lake. Live shad and herring on free lines and down lines are great now, but with so many schools, this method of fishing can tie you down. Casters should be careful not to just run amok looking for easy bird fish. Slow down and use your electronics to find fish in 30-38' of water near the main channel. Try the Toothache or Crazy Blade but if no bites within a few minutes, switch to a Berkley Jerkshad on a 3/8-oz head and count it down to the fish. There is a good morning bite if you can take the cold. The bait plugs are below the second bridges now and heading toward mid-lake each day.

Crappie/White Perch - If you know where deep brush is in the mid and lower lake region, now is the time to fill a cooler with 10" plus specs. You can also catch plenty in the up lake region fishing the bait plug with 1" jigs or minnows on slip bobbers. Soon, you can even use light down lines with minnows.  White perch are in Rose Valley/Big Ben/Splits region and taking minnows on the down lines in 27-37' as well as Crazy Blades.

NOTICE: All anglers are reminded to acquaint themselves with a good description of the northern snakehead fish. 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.

Senior Officer Funkhouser Named Conservation Police Officer of the Year 2008

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is proud to announce Senior Officer Cleggett Gregory "Greg" Funkhouser was named Conservation Police Officer (CPO) of the Year 2008.

Greg Funkhouser began work for VDGIF in 1998, and was assigned to Roanoke County, where he is also responsible for Salem and Roanoke Cities. Prior to joining VDGIF he worked with the Virginia Department of Corrections, where he was a supervisor working with inmates. He is currently assigned to Roanoke County and accepted the responsibilities of working in Craig County, where he coordinated work activities to cover a vacancy during the 2006 hunting season. Funkhouser also works four other counties and Smith Mountain Lake.

Funkhouser obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science from Virginia Tech and has completed several community college courses in criminal justice, the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Patrol Officer's Course; the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Comprehensive and Advanced Boat Incident Investigation and Reconstruction Schools; and NASBLA Train the Trainer Course and Boating Under the Influence Detection and Deterrence Course. In addition, he attended the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) Law Enforcement Instructors and Field Training Officer schools.

As a certified DCJS instructor, Officer Funkhouser has been involved in the Department's Conservation Police Officer Training Academy. He is a certified Boating Safety Instructor and a certified Personal Watercraft Safety Instructor. He serves as a Field Training Officer for new Conservation Police Officers (CPO), serves on the Department's Boat Training Cadre, a group of specially trained officers who instruct CPO recruits in the basic academy and other CPOs during in-service training. He is also instructor of Boating Incident Investigations for new recruits at the academy.

Officer Funkhouser is an extremely dedicated and committed officer, educator, and an exceptional public spokesperson for the Department as evidenced by his extensive community outreach with sportsmen's groups, civic organizations, and citizens. His programs promote VDGIF's mission and enhance the public's knowledge of safety, game laws, and wildlife management.

An example of his initiative in community relations is the "Roanoke Valley Bear Awareness Seminar" Officer Funkhouser created to educate the public on how to safely co-exist with bears. He was instrumental in organizing a youth fishing clinic in Roanoke County in coordination with the Roanoke County Moose Lodge. Funkhouser actively participates in the annual Tomorrow's Outdoor Generation Program which is geared to get kids involved in the outdoors and outdoor activities including hunting, fishing, canoeing and camping. His participation in the Roanoke County National Wild Turkey Federation Jakes Events and Hunter's for the Hungry fundraising events contributes significantly to the success of these programs.

Officer Funkhouser has effectively and efficiently handled calls from the routine to the complex and readily accepts difficult assignments and handles them with ease. He often goes "outside the box" by using innovative and unique investigatory techniques. Because of his excellent investigatory skills, Officer Funkhouser was selected to work a major spotlighting case with the National Park Service and the Department of Agriculture resulting in four suspects charged with more than 50 state and federal violations.

His extensive work with landowners in the Catawba Valley area of Roanoke County to reduce illegal spotlighting, resulted in 40 charges against seven defendants and over $15,000 in fines and costs. This investigation virtually eliminated the spotlighting activity in the area and complaints are now rarely received.

Officer Funkhouser has received numerous awards and compliments from organizations, other law enforcement agencies, and citizens. He has received the Mothers Against Drunk Driving award three times for his tenacity in apprehending boaters operating under the influence of alcohol on Smith Mountain Lake.

Officer Funkhouser has an exemplary record in serving the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Conservation Police Officer. His genuine concern for protecting natural resources, coupled with his professionalism, excellent working relationships, and his strength in representing the Department in public forums, makes him a highly valued asset in promoting the Department's mission. Further, he maintains an outstanding reputation within the law enforcement community, including prosecuting attorneys and the courts. Both VDGIF and the citizens of Virginia have benefited greatly from the efforts of this conscientious officer. It is an honor to recognize him as the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Conservation Police Officer of the Year 2008.

Region 1 - Tidewater

Convicted Felon faces multiple charges... On December 6, 2008 Conservation Police Officers Clark and Woodruff were checking some hunters in Greensville County when Officer Clark noticed a man with no blaze orange holding a shotgun and walking away. As Officer Clark approached, the subject went behind some bushes where he could not be seen and then returned with no firearm. Officer Clark asked the man how the hunt was going and was told that the man had not seen any deer that day. When asked for his hunting license, the man stated that he had not bought one. Officer Clark then asked him where he had put his gun, and the man led him straight to where he had stashed the gun in the bushes. Officer Clark asked the suspect if the reason he had hid his gun was because he did not have a license, to which he replied "I have a felony." After verifying that he was a convicted felon, the following charges were placed: hunt without a license, hunt without a big game license, hunt without required blaze orange, and felon in possession of a firearm. For more information contact Captain Mike Minarik at (804) 829-6580.

Region 3 - Southwest

Tip leads to arrest of felon with illegal deer and gun... On Saturday, January 3, 2009, Senior Officers Jeff Pease and Wes Billings responded to a call in the Stoney Fork area of Wythe County. The caller reported seeing a man dragging a deer out of the woods and carrying a small caliber rifle. Officers Billings and Pease located the man in the edge of the woods quartering a deer. The man stated that the deer had been hit by a car and he had shot it twice with a .22 caliber rifle to "put it out of misery." The deer had no apparent trauma injuries and further investigation revealed that the man was a convicted felon. The rifle was located under a kitchen table in the suspect's house and the man was arrested and charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Unlawful Possession of Deer. For more information contact Lt. Rex Hill at (276) 783-4860.

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

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 upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for:

  • Deer, Bear and Turkey Harvest Summaries
  • Walleye and Bass Forecasts
  • Hunting, Fishing, and Boating Shows
Artwork copyright Spike Knuth.
 
SUBSCRIBE TO VIRGINIA WILDLIFE MAGAZINE!

The "Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild!" section in the January 2009 edition of Virginia Wildlife Magazine features an article on "Winter Nomads" by Spike Knuth.

Read about the variety of seed-eating song birds and predator species that periodically fly south to the warmer areas of the Mid-Atlantic from their winter home in Canada when food supplies there are diminished. One of these winter nomads, the Red Crossbill, is one of the bird species that has been identified in Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan whose existence is at risk. Read more about this bird in peril in the "Winter Nomads" feature.

·    ·    ·

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 "Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild!" section of each issue of Virginia Wildlife magazine highlighted here in the Outdoor Report each edition, features one of the 925 animals that have been identified in Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan whose existence is at risk.

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.

·    ·    ·

The February edition of Virginia Wildlife Magazine contains the following features:

Pursuing an American Dream
by Virginia Shepherd
Researchers across the state persevere to bring back a mighty tree.

It's Never Too Late
by Curtis Badger
A deer hunter proves that age does not trump determination.

Wroblick's Huntin' House
by Wayne C. Turner
Step into another era of hunting the fields and swamps of eastern Virginia.

Upland Game Bird Trail
A private hunting preserve awaits you not far from home.

Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild!
by Spike Knuth
The Fish Ducks.

The "Go Green" Team
by Gail Brown
Recycling has become a passion for students at Rivers Edge.

We Are Home
by Wayne & Genevie Riner
This photo-essay celebrates the natural wonders of Dickenson County.

If you would like to become a regular subscriber to Virginia Wildlife magazine, visit the Department's website, 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.

  • BOATERS ARE YOU ON BOARD WITH COMPLIANCE?
    • Virginia Boating Safety Education Requirement
    • In 2007, the Virginia General Assembly enacted a law establishing requirements for boating safety education. This requirement will be phased in over several years.
    • Virginia Boating Safety Education Compliance Requirement
      Phase-in Schedule
      Operators must meet the requirements as follows:
    • Personal Watercraft (PWC) "Jet-Ski"
      PWC, age 20 or younger, July 1, 2009
      PWC, age 35 or younger, July 1, 2010
      PWC, age 50 or younger, July 1, 2011
      PWC, ALL ages by July 1, 2012
    • Motorboat (MB) 10hp and greater
      MB, age 20 or younger, July 1, 2011
      MB, age 30 or younger, July 1, 2012
      MB, age 40 or younger, July 1, 2013
      MB, age 45 or younger, July 1, 2014
      MB, age 50 or younger, July 1, 2015
      MB, ALL ages, July 1, 2016
    • For more information visit:
      Boating Education classes
    NATURE OBSERVATIONS FROM THE BYRD NEST

    by Marika Byrd

    Great Horned Owls and Bald Eagle Nestings begin mid-January:
    January 15, the great horned owls and bald eagles begin nesting. Grab the binoculars, some warm clothing and get outdoors with the family/friends looking for their nesting places.

    The great horned owl (hoot or cat owl) nest high in trees in swamps and dense dark forests, choosing heron nests, hollow trees, power-towers, haylofts, nesting boxes or on sometimes rocky ledges, as a place to "call home." While nocturnal, they stay in the shadows in daylight and their hunting venture begins at dusk.

    Bald eagles are beginning to spruce up their aeries, where they tend to stay in the same nest for years. Look near rivers and coasts for about a five feet diameter nest in a tree, on a cliff or on the ground as eagles will use the earth when there are no other options. The territorial birds will keep other eagles out of their area (one to two square miles) during nesting season.

    Cleaning and Repairing "Homes" for the Birds:
    Now is a good time to begin cleaning and repairing birdhouses for the new season and draw our feathered friends to our residences. Observations on the bird behavior will be interesting and educational, whether you are an adult or sharing the information with youngsters.

    So, gather up your work tools, a stiff wire brush, petroleum jelly, sulphur and gloves and get started right away. Begin cleaning and repairing the bird boxes in your yard by removing old nesting materials. Next, scrape out any old droppings or other stuck-on residue with a stiff-bristled brush. Make certain holes in the bottom are unclogged for proper drainage. A great way to prevent wasps from building nests in the top of your bird box is to apply a thin coating of petroleum jelly to the inside top of the box where they like to hang their nests. This will prevent adhesion of new nests and will discourage attempts by wasps to colonize the box. Add one teaspoon of sulphur to kill the mites.

    Boxes are most predator-proof when placed on a metal pole. If the bird house is on a wood pole or tree, place several feet of metal flashing around the base. Prune away any limbs, vines or other vegetation from around the box that might help a climbing predator gain access to the box.

    Click here for additional information on bird boxes.

    UPCOMING EVENTS
    January 2009
    14 General Assembly Convenes in Richmond
    16 Lee-Jackson Day (state offices closed)
    19 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (state offices closed)
    16-18 Richmond Fishing Expo- Richmond International Raceway.
    23-25 Virginia Boat Show, Richmond Convention Center
    23-25 Nation's Outdoor Sportsmen's Show, Dulles Expo Center
    31 7th Annual Woods & Wildlife Conference, Manassas. For registration info check here (PDF) or contact Adam Downing adowning@vt.edu
    February 2009
    7 Learn the Basics of Flyfishing, Chesapeake.
    16 George Washington Day (state offices closed)
    20-22 The Greater Virginia Sports & Big Game Show, Rockingham County
    20-22 Richmond Boat Show, Richmond Raceway Complex
    20-22 The Fredericksburg Outdoor Show, Fredericksburg Expo Center
    22-25 Primitive Bow Making Workshop, Appomattox.
    27-Mar 1 Western Virginia Sports Show, Augusta Expoland Fishersville
    27-Mar 15 Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic, Ashland
    March 2009
    13-15 Wilderness Survival & Outdoor Skills Weekend, Appomattox. Click here for PDF
    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.

    MOON PHASES
    January 2009
    4 First Quarter
    10 Full Moon
    17 Last Quarter
    26 New Moon
    February 2009
    2 First Quarter
    9 Full Moon
    16 Last Quarter
    24 New Moon
    QUICK GLANCE
    AT HUNTING SEASONS

    The following is a partial list of upcoming seasons starting in October 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.
    Archery
    • Urban Archery Deer: Jan. 5-Mar. 28
    Firearms
    • Deer: Late Antlerless Jan. 5-Mar 28, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William except on Department-owned lands.
    • Duck: Dec. 6-Jan. 24
    • Mergansers, Coot, Gallinules, & Moorhen: Dec. 6-Jan. 24
    • Sea Ducks: Oct. 9-Jan. 31
    • Snipe: Oct. 22-Jan. 31
    • Opossum: Oct. 15-Mar. 10
    • Raccoon: Oct. 15-Mar. 10
    • Tundra Swan: Dec. 1-Jan. 31
    • Dove: Dec. 27-Jan. 10
    • Grouse: Oct. 25-Feb. 14 West of Interstate 95 only.
    • Turkey: Spring Gobbler, Apr. 11-May 2, ½ hr before sunrise until noon; May 4-May 16, ½ hr before sunrise until sunset
    • Snow Goose: Dec. 6-Mar. 10
    • Bobcat: Nov. 1-Feb. 28
    • Fox: Nov. 1-Feb. 28
    • Rabbit: Nov. 1-Feb. 28
    • Squirrel: Sep. 6-Jan. 31
    • Quail & Pheasant: Nov. 1-Jan. 31
    • Brant: Dec. 6-Jan. 29
    • Canada Goose: See regulations.

    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!

    VIRGINIA WILDLIFE CATALOG

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

    OUTDOOR REPORT
    EDITORIAL TEAM

    Editor: David Coffman

    Contributing Editors: Marika Byrd, Julia Dixon, Ron Messina, Lee Walker

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

    Special Feature Contributors:
    Stacey Brown, 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 email to more than 16,000 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