In this edition:

Youth Hunting Days Create New Traditions

As you read the testimonials from parents, mentors, and the young hunters themselves in this edition, we are confident that you will be inspired by the comments from those who braved the rainstorms and took time off from other routine fall Saturday activities to give these youngsters a memorable day afield and create a new tradition. I'll bet you remember your first deer hunt, or special day afield sharing the traditions, skills, and character building experiences that can last a lifetime. The creation of these new traditions are especially important in this fast paced society that tends to keep us from taking the time and effort to spend a day in the wild - appreciating the wonders of nature and spending real "quality time" with one of "tomorrow's conservation leaders." Despite the torrential rain and whether they harvested a deer or not, if you took a young hunter out that day you created a special memory and hopefully started a "new tradition" for the last Saturday in September.

Read all the great stories from these young hunters in this edition and if you missed the special Youth Deer, Turkey, or Waterfowl Hunting Days this year, be sure and take a young person out before the seasons ends - the future of our sport and hunting heritage traditions depend on it.

David Coffman, Editor

Family Starts New Hunting Tradition

Kiersten Ball (photo below, center), 11 years old from Fauquier County, got her first buck and first deer during the first ever Virginia Youth Deer Hunting Day on a guided hunt with brother Hunter Ball and proud dad "KD" Ball. Last Call guide, Andy Maneno led the adventure. Kiersten used her guides' trusty old .243 with 100 grain Winchester bullets to shoot her first deer - a button buck. Then Kiersten recalls, "While watching some does in a field, a spike buck came in on us and was now directly in front of me. So I had to turn the gun and did not want to scare him, so I placed the gun on my left shoulder, looked thru the scope with my left eye placed the cross hairs on his neck and pulled the trigger. The deer folded over and rolled down the hill. I began shaking more than I had ever shaken before. My brother and Mr. Andy helped me clean the spike. We finished just as it began to rain. I had a wonderful time, I love hunting and now I have the antlers to show that I am a girl and I do know how to hunt!" Andy noted he planned to guide both Kiersten and her mother for muzzleloader season coming up. This family has started a memorable and rewarding hunting tradition.

First Special Youth Deer Hunting Day A Big Success!

When VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan learned that more than 1000 deer were harvested by youngsters on the first ever Youth Deer Hunting Day on September 26, he was as excited and proud as the young hunters that participated in the special early hunting day. Director Duncan commented, "Over 1000 deer harvested on any new season date is indeed impressive. As you may recall, especially if you attended the Virginia Tech football game in a downpour, it was generally rainy on that Saturday across the state. However hard the rain, it was not enough to wash the smiles off the faces of the many youngsters who had a great time in pursuit of white-tails. To be sure, there are still those who continue to question the need for or the motives behind these important youth opportunities. This brings to mind the old adage about 'the proof's in the pudding'!"

"This special early deer hunting day for our "next generation" of sportsmen and conservation leaders did not happen overnight, continued Director Duncan. I want to acknowledge the dedicated commitment and efforts of Board Member Sherry Crumley and Hunters Helping Kids Director Dennis Campbell for their leadership in working with the General Assembly and other sportsmen's organizations to get this special youth hunting opportunity enacted."

As you read the testimonials you will be inspired by the comments from parents and mentors who braved the rainstorms and gave these youngsters a memorable day afield sharing the traditions, skills, and character building experiences that can last a lifetime. Especially telling are the 'thank yous' expressed by many of the young hunters and their mentors for the opportunity to hunt on a special day just for them, whether they harvested a deer or not. If you took a young hunter out that day, thank you for participating in this "new tradition." If you missed it this year, be sure and take a young person out before the seasons ends—the future of our sport and hunting heritage traditions are at stake.

This note received from David Slagle from Bristol says it best...

I love to hunt and enjoy the outdoors in Virginia every time the opportunity presents itself. I can't think of a place I'd rather be than in Virginia approaching the fall of the year. I was very happy to find out that Virginia was offering a youth day this year on the last September Saturday. I enjoy taking my 10 year old son hunting and have done so for about 2 years now. Although I love to hunt I find it more pleasing to take my young son in the woods. It's great time together and he learns things that he'll remember for the rest of his life.

He got his first deer last November and it was more exciting to me than any deer I've ever killed. The only downfall was that there are a number of hunters out in the woods and I truly worry about his safety with other people in the woods. I've luckily had no problems, but it does stay on the back of your mind. It was great to find out that he would be able to hunt on youth day and not have worry about tons of people in the woods and it was limited to the kids.

We had a great safe hunt and I think that we were 1 of 2 kids in the woods where I hunt and not having to worry so much about his safety as opposed to days where any and all can hunt was absolutely wonderful. He shot a nice doe and is a very happy young man along with a very proud dad.

My son and I want you to know that we really appreciate you having the youth day and I hope it is something that you will continue to do. It's great to be able to have a day set aside just for the kids and knowing that they will have a safe, happy and ethical hunt is super rewarding. Youth day was a success in my household and you made my sons day. My thanks to the VDGIF.

Respectfully, David E. Slagle Bristol, VA

Greg Lewis sent this picture of his daughter Emily's first deer...

Emily Lewis, age 14, took her first deer on the Virginia Youth Deer Hunting Day September 26. She lives in Red Oak, and killed the deer in Charlotte County, shooting a .243 Remington model 7400. The buck has 9 points with a 17 inch spread. This was Emily's first shot at a deer! She sat in the rain for 2½ hours with her father Greg Lewis, before she got the shot. Patience and perseverance has its rewards.

Joe Gilliland expressed these sentiments...

"I just wanted to drop a line and say that even though it rained most of the day my two kids really enjoyed getting a chance to go hunting while the deer were in a relaxed state. I have a 12 year old son who has taken several deer in the past but was extremely excited for an opportunity to take a buck in velvet. He didn't get a shot at a buck but spent the afternoon watching four does feed in the oaks. He can't wait for crossbow season…maybe he can get one of those does. My daughter who is 9 spent the afternoon with me in a pop up blind which gave us a chance to spend some quality time together and she got to see 5 does and a small buck. She never did pull the trigger but I think she's hooked on hunting and will be going again with me this season.

Thanks again!! Joe Gilliland

See more photos and stories from the kids in the Hunting News You Can Use Section. Initial data from the telecheck system are also provided.

Revised Holiday Schedule for Posting the Outdoor Report

The Outdoor Report regularly posts to your email on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. With the various holidays observed in November-December, we will be 'tweeking' the posting schedule just a bit to accommodate both staff and subscribers holiday schedules and provide time to enjoy the season's festivities. Posting dates are revised as follows:

Please send in stories, announcements, events, and photos you may want posted to dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov at least 10 days prior to the listed posting date.

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Forestry & Wildlife Bus Tours Scheduled for Fall

Join fellow forest landowners, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and a host of natural resource professionals for a fun and exciting day in the woods learning about forest and wildlife management. The Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program and Virginia Cooperative Extension are hosting the 33rd Annual Fall Forestry & Wildlife Field Tours in four locations this fall. The popular day-long field trips are scheduled for:

See individual tour descriptions on website for tour schedule, location and fees (PDF).

Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center Offers Variety of Fall Workshops

The Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, near Appomattox, is again offering a variety of popular fall workshops for unique, outdoor-related skills for building your own flintlock rifle to wilderness survuval. For more information, contact Nate Mahanes, Program Director at (434) 248-5444 or nmahanes@vt.edu.

October 23-25: Wilderness Survival and Outdoor Living Skills Weekend includes professional and expert instruction with participation limited for a better instructor: participant ratio. Each participant will receive a "bow drill" and will build their own survival kit with special items included with workshop. Learn knowledge and skills to last a lifetime! Cost of workshop is $175 and covers all programming and instructor fees, primitive bow kit, meals, and lodging. Register by October 15th.

March 7-12, 2010: Traditional Flintlock Rifle Workshop. Learn how to build your own custom Flintlock Rifle! Rifle building experience not needed. Instruction and kits provided by rifle builder Troy Roope of Stonewall Creek Outfitters. Kits also available from Jim Chambers Flintlocks. You will pay less for this workshop than you would pay a craftsman to build this custom rifle. The custom rifle you build and some tools from the workshop are yours to keep. The class size is small with lots of instructor time - 6 to 1 student/teacher ratio. Meals and lodging provided as part of this package. Visit Troy's website at www.stonewallcreekoutfitters.com. The cost is $1,500. This covers all programming fees, instruction, the rifle kit, meals, and lodging. Click here for information or to register. Register by October 30, 2009.

Holiday Lake 4-H Center Offers Hunters Convenient Lodging

Are you looking for a place to stay during your hunting trip to the Appomattox/Buckingham State Forest? The Holiday Lake 4-H Center has a deal for you! The Center is located in the middle of the 20,000 acre Appomattox/Buckingham State Forest for quick access and just a short drive from Featherfin and Horsepen Lakes Wildlife Management Areas. Like a bed and breakfast, the 4-H Center offers inexpensive lodging ($15.00 per night, per person, provide your own linens) and a kitchen is available for preparing your own meals. Meal service is available for an additional fee for groups of 10 or more, or several smaller groups combined providing breakfast, a bagged lunch, and dinner. Accommodations are available weekdays from October 26– December 18, 2009. Call for weekend availability at (434) 248-5444 or email:bgoin@vt.edu. Visit the website for information on the Center's programs: holidaylake4h.com.

Orvis Hosts Hunting & Fishing Seminars in Richmond October 17

Fishing Manager Tye Krueger, for the Richmond Orvis Store at Short Pump Mall, invites area sportsmen to participate in the "Fall Orvis Days Celebration - Hunting and Fishing Seminar" scheduled for October 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Topics include: Traditional Canvas Decoys, North Carolina Inshore and Offshore Species on Light Tackle, Surf Fishing North Carolina's Outerbanks and the Virginia Eastern Shore. Representatives from ARK (Area Rehabbers Klub) will be on hand with live animals for discussion and demonstrations. ARK takes in the orphaned and injured native Virginia wildlife for rehabilitation and release it back into its natural habitat.

For details and seminar schedule times contact Tye Krueger, Orvis Store (804) 253-9000.

Birding Trail Celebrates 5th Anniversary at Local Trail Sites This Fall

The Watchable Wildlife Program will host several 5th Anniversary Celebration events of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail at local events in partnership with local birding clubs and tourism associations.

The Celebration events will each begin at 8 a.m. with a two hour bird walk along the trail site. There will be presentations by local bird clubs and tourism officials and exhibits on local attractions For more information contact Jeff Trollinger at (804) 367-8747 or jeff.trollinger@dgif.virginia.gov. Visit the website for information on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail.

Shenandoah Audubon Hosts Birding Festival November 7

Shenandoah Audubon will host their 9th Birding Festival November 7 at Jim Barnett Park in Winchester. Discover the birds of the Shenandoah Valley starting with a 8 a.m. morning bird walk in Abram's Creek wetlands. Everyone, especially scouts working on birding badges, is invited to a free "Bird Watching 101" workshop which starts at 9 a.m. The doors open at 10 a.m. There will be morning and afternoon presentations of live raptors and a Black Vulture. At noon there will be a "non-early bird" bird walk, and at 4 p.m. a "See the Woodpeckers" walk. There will be crafts for the children to make, conservation exhibits, and bird seed, books, and houses for sale. For more information call (540) 667-6778 or hagansan@yahoo.com

Forest Landowners' Retreat: Adding Value to Your Forest, November 6-8 at Holiday Lake

On November 6-8, join fellow forest landowners, the Virginia Department of Forestry and Virginia Cooperative Extension and other natural resource management agencies, associations, and professional managers for an interactive and instructional weekend learning about actively managing your woodlands. The three day Forest Landowners' Retreat: Adding Value to Your Forest, is held at the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox. Register by October 23. For cost, accommodations, and workshop topics contact Jason Fisher jasonf@vt.edu (434) 579-5689 or Neil Clark (757) 657-6450 x 406 southeast@vt.eduvisit. View brochure here (PDF).

Henrico County Parks Offers Outdoor Skills Workshops

The Henrico County Parks Department is offering outdoor skills workshops as follows:

Wilderness Survival
For ages 13-18. Have you ever turned around and noticed that all the trees look alike and you're not sure which way is out? Join us for "Survival for the Geographically Embarrassed!" Learn how to make good decisions, survive the night, and improve your chances of being found fast. Instructor: Roy Hutchinson. Information: Hallie Boisseau, 501-5807.

Two sessions: 3EJ.029609 Sun, Nov 8, 1-3 p.m. 3EJ.029610 Sun, Nov 8, 3-5 p.m. Dorey Park. $12.

Animal Tracking
For ages 8 and above. Registration of a paying adult is required with children under 13. Do you wonder what animals create the tracks you see in the woods, and what they were doing? Learn how to recognize and interpret tracks before going out into the field. You can also make a track cast. Instructor: Roy Hutchinson. Information: Hallie Boisseau, 501-5807.

3EJ.029608 Sat, Nov. 7, 8-11 a.m. Dorey Park. $12 per person.

Youth Deer Hunting Workshop at Claytor Lake State Park December 18-19

The Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation and VDGIF are co-sponsoring a Youth Deer Hunting Workshop at Claytor Lake State Park December 18-19. The workshop includes: Friday evening seminar, whitetail deer biology and game management, hunting safety and ethics, muzzleloader safety, and shot placement; Saturday is a guided hunt, lunch, game care, and much more! Participants must be 12 to 17 years of age, and never harvested a deer with a muzzleloading firearm; may be accompanied by a non-hunting parent or guardian; must have successfully completed the Hunter Education Course, and meet all license requirements. Muzzleloading firearms only are allowed. For more information, contact Jimmy Mootz at (804) 367-0656 or jimmy.mootz@dgif.virginia.gov.

People and Partners in the News

State Fair Exhibit Receives First Award of Excellence

Conservation Police Officers and Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors had the opportunity to work side-by-side at the 2009 State Fair of Virginia. The exhibit received the Award of Excellence from a panel of State Fair judges. This is a high honor and a first for VDGIF. Judges made their rounds at various times throughout the length of the Fair. They observed the displays and exhibits and the manner in which officers and volunteers interacted with the public. Comments were made which indicate personnel were extremely knowledgeable, friendly, courteous and helpful. Governor Kaine visited the exhibit on Thursday, October 1 and spoke with Officer Roy Morris from Amelia County, complementing the many educational messages displayed in the exhibit and thanked the officers and volunteer hunter education instructors for their important work on behalf of sportsmen and women throughout the Commonwealth.

Record Bucks Featured at 70th State Championship Big Game Contest

More than 2500 sportsmen and families attended the 70th Eastern Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest held September 26-27 at the Southampton County Fairgrounds, sponsored by the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen's Association (VPSA) in partnership with VDGIF. This year the Eastern Regional was also the State Championship. The list of both East Regional and State winners is posted at: www.vpsa.org. The list of Western Regional contest winners for deer, bear and turkey is posted at www.iwla-rh.org. Congratulations to Sean Huffman, a 40-year old from Buena Vista, who took First Place in the State for the biggest buck of the 2008-09 hunting season. VDGIF officials verified the massive 19 pointer scored 252 6/16 under Virginia's measuring system. The buck ranks 10th among the all-time monster bucks registered in the state. Read the "rest of the story" of this thrilling hunt and view photo of this record breaking buck on Bill Cochran Outdoors website titled, Kill a record-book buck on public land? It's possible, posted October 1.

Ken Pickin, President of the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen Association that sponsors the East Regional Contest joined with Jon Ritenour, President of the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Izaak Walton League Chapter that hosts the Western Regional Contest, noted that the success of the annual Contests relied on dozens of each organizations volunteers and partner organizations like VDGIF. VDGIF also relied on volunteers representing the Complementary Workforce and Hunter Education Instructors to work along side Conservation Police Officers and Biologists to staff exhibits to answer questions from sportsmen and assist in the scoring of the more than 500 deer bear and turkey entries. The volunteer spirit of giving back to the sport in some way is critical to the continued success of these events. Contact any of the participating sportsmen's organizations and volunteer some of your time to keep these events a source of pride to preserve and promote our hunting heritage traditions.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities with VDGIF, visit our website.

Virginia Trout in the Classroom Program Reaches 100 Classrooms

Trout in the Classroom, a national environmental education program of Arlington-based Trout Unlimited, has crossed a milestone in Virginia by reaching 100 classrooms for the 2009-2010 school year. The program now educates more than 15,000 students statewide, with about 46 percent in middle school, 32 percent in elementary school, and 32 percent in high school.

In the program, students work with local TU chapters to receive eggs in the fall, raise them in 55 gallon aquariums until they are two- to three-inch fingerling trout, and then release them in a coldwater stream in the spring. In the process, students learn about water quality, stream ecology, conservation ethics, and biology.

"Since our first TIC program in Martinsville five years ago, our volunteers have worked with teachers and students to raise and release more than 30,000 trout," says Richard Landreth, who is the program's statewide coordinator. "With a TIC program, students are engaged in a hands-on experience that helps connect them to real-life stream and watershed issues and challenges. Teachers find that having a TIC program makes students more interested in learning as the program is fun. When we can make the leaning experience fun, learning becomes pleasurable, and a long-lasting experience."

With each TIC program having a start-up cost of about $1,200, new projects are supported by cooperative partnerships between TU chapters, schools, local businesses and foundations that often provide funding assistance, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, which supplies eggs, educational and technical support, and helps with the releases. Over the last two years, these partnerships raised almost $50,000 in funding and in-kind services for TIC projects. This year's grants included a four-year commitment of $40,000 from the American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation to fund projects in Southwest Virginia, and $5,000 from Dominion to initiate 10 new TIC sites in the state.

Teachers interested in establishing TIC projects at their schools can start by visiting www.troutintheclassroom.org online or calling Richard Landreth at (540) 885-4209 for more information. The Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited is made up of 16 chapters and 4,000 members committed to conserving, protecting, and restoring the state's mountain streams, spring creeks, and the trout fisheries they support. Visit www.vctu.org.

"Shooting For The Stars" Fundraising Event Huge Success

The 2009 "Shooting for the Stars" Trap, Skeet, and Sporting Clays Fundraiser was a huge success. The event was sponsored by Whiting-Turner and raised over $14,000 towards the operations of the Hylton Performing Arts Center at George Mason University. The event was held October 3 at the Bull Run Shooting Center. The Shooting Center's staff was instrumental in making sure that everyone had a fun time throughout the day.

The day's activities included a morning "fun shoot" and afternoon competition. The station sponsors for the afternoon competition included Capitol Drywall, Inc.; ECS Mid-Atlantic, LLC; Gainesville Plumbing; Scott-Long Construction; and Valid Electric, Inc. Trophies were awarded to the winning teams by The Jeffrey Powell Company.

The barbecue awards reception included bluegrass entertainment provided by the Radford Brothers as well as a raffle drawing with many great prizes provided by local companies. The prize sponsors included Vino Curioso, The Marriott Ranch, Greenbrier River Retreat, Virginia Arms, Clark Brothers, HITT Contracting, Bristow Manor Golf Club, Raspberry Farms Hunt & Golf Club, The Flower Gallery, La Chapelle and beverage sponsor Pepsi.

Contact Kristy Sandlin Williams at (703) 993-8492 or email at kwilli7@gmu.edu for more information or visit the Hylton Performing Arts Center website.

Wildlife Center Hosts Autumn Open House Dates and Rehab Classes

Open Houses

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, the nation's leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, has four remaining open house dates for Autumn 2009. These are rare opportunities to see the inner workings of the nation's premier wildlife hospital, as well as meet some of the wildlife that serve as the Center's education ambassadors.

The open houses will be held on:

The Center will have three separate sessions each day - at 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Each session lasts about an hour. As a wildlife emergency room and hospital, the Wildlife Center is not usually open to the public. The seasonal open houses are the times during the year when visitors may tour the Waynesboro facility. There is no charge to participate in an open house; however, reservations are required by contacting (540) 942-9453 or wildlife@wildlifecenter.org. A limited number of spaces are available for each session.

During the open house, visitors will tour the Center's building, including the medical clinic [examination room, operating room, etc.] In addition, visitors will get to "meet" the Center's education animals, some of the 20 non-releasable animals that the Center's education staff uses in school assemblies and classroom presentations. Included in the Center's education "faculty" are a Golden Eagle, owls [Great Horned, Screech, and Barred], Red-Tailed Hawks, several different species of snakes, and Virginia Opossums. As most of these animals live in outdoor homes, these tours are offered weather permitting.

Every year, about 2,500 animals - ranging from bald eagles to opossums to chipmunk - are brought to the Wildlife Center for care. "The goal of the Center is to restore our patients to health and return as many as possible to the wild," Wildlife Center President Ed Clark said. "At the Wildlife Center, we treat to release."

On November 7-8, 2009, the Center will hold their annual "Call of the Wild" conference on wildlife rehabilitation in Waynesboro. The complete schedule and registration is up on the Wildlife Center's website.

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.

Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...

With the huge success of the first new Youth Deer Hunting Day, we encourage you to send us photos of new young hunters that get their first deer, wild turkey, or maybe the buck of a lifetime during the upcoming bow and firearms seasons. Also any unusual pictures or stories from any hunters are considered for posting. We encourage you to send us inspiring stories of novice or experienced sportsmen or mentors that we can share with our readers.

The pictures need to be in good taste for publication—minimal blood, classic pose, etc. Our award winning professional photographers offer a few tips on composition of your photos so as to capture the moment with a good photo—consider background, good light, contrast, and have both young hunter and mentor in the photo, especially father-daughter, or mother-son, etc.

Send us the basic information to dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov for a caption including: names, age, hometown, location of harvest, county , private, or public land, first deer, doe or # antlers, turkey, coyote, bow or gun specifics, comment from the young hunter or mentor.

We will send a Virginia Wildlife cap to the successful hunters whose photos we post. Good Luck, and smile for the camera!

David Coffman, Editor

Sherwood Londeree of Friends & Family Hunt Club in Louisa County sent in this early archery season hunting story with his 16 year old cousin Larry Londeree...

We were set up before sunrise in our pop-up tent blind in the oak woods along a good trail we had scouted earlier during a Club workday. At day break, Larry spotted a deer off in a distance, then a coyote came hauling tail about 50-60 yards away from our ground blind. About 30 minutes later, Larry spotted a deer, then I pointed out to him there was one closer to us. The closer doe acted spooky, so I gave Larry the OK to shoot—the doe high-tailed it out of sight. We searched where he shot and recovered the bolt which had a little fatty tissue and little blood. We searched the area further, not finding any other sign. The doe is still sore, but very much alive. Larry is still talking about the hunt with great excitement about getting a shot with his crossbow. Undaunted, he is anxious to go again for another chance. Maybe get a shot at that coyote!

Nine year old William Potter has been hunting with his Papa, Freddie Boatwright a member of the Pine Tree Hunt Club for the past couple of years. Last year William had the opportunity to shoot several deer and refused because he wanted his first deer to be a big one. In pre-season scouting, William had seen a big 10 pointer on several occasions and he eagerly awaited the new Youth Day so he could take a shot at this buck.

On Youth Day, William and his grandfather got into their tent blind at 3 p.m. and around 6:30 p.m. two 4 point bucks came out of the woods. William's grandfather suggested William go ahead and take a shot at one of the two 4 point bucks and William determined he would wait for the 10 pointer to come out. Within a few minutes, patience paid off as the 10 point buck came out of the woods. His grandfather asked him if he had the deer in the cross hairs and William said yes. Grandpa said "shoot"! William shot and hit the deer above his shoulder. The deer 'humped' up, and William shot again. This time William hit the deer in the other shoulder and it ran off into the woods. They could not track the deer that night due to the rain and darkness.

William's dad, Michael Potter and other Club members helped look for the deer around 7 a.m. Sunday morning. The deer was found within 100 yards of where William shot him. That Sunday was a work day for the members of the Pine Tree Hunt Club. It was a very exciting morning for the club and a great start to the season. The 'first buck' for William was a 10 pointer, weighing 168 lb. with a 25 inch outside spread. Needless to say, this trophy buck will be on display in William's home as soon as it arrives back from the taxidermist.

Telecheck Results Confirm Successful Youth Deer Hunting Day

VDGIF Deer Project Coordinator Matt Knox, is the person to go to when you want to know about deer management and statistics on deer hunting. The first special Youth Deer Hunting Day enacted on Saturday September 26th this year was debated around the state with some questions - as with any new special hunting day or season changes. But the initial results have put those questions to rest. After checking the telecheck and internet check results, Knox commented, "Of course we have nothing to compare it to, but I was amazed that 951 deer were telechecked that Saturday. I was expecting a couple of hundred given the stormy weather. It may have been the worst deer hunting day in history. We got 2½ inches of rain in many areas that Saturday. Plus, we will not know how many deer were taken to card checking stations till later. We have all been pleased with the "thank you" emails and telephone calls to the Regional offices from proud parents and very happy, "committed" new young hunters." See the sampling of stories and photos below.

Some basic initial statistics from the telecheck and internet records:

Bucks 373
Does 496
Button Bucks 82
Total 951

Weapon:

Rifle 644
Shotgun 117
Muzzleloader 43
Bow 22
Crossbow 9
Pistol 1

Top 10 Counties:

1. Rockingham 46
2. Grayson 39
3. Smyth 36
4. Bedford 34
5. Dickenson 32
6. Wythe 33
7. Augusta 31
8. Botetourt 31
9. Shenandoah 30
10. Washington 21

Youth Fall Turkey Hunt Day October 17

The Youth Fall Turkey Hunt Day, established last year for youth 15 years of age and younger, is on Saturday, October 17, 2009. With the growing popularity of spring gobbler hunting, fewer hunters are turkey hunting in the fall. To provide added opportunities for fall turkey hunting, the Youth Fall Turkey Hunt Day was established, and the starting and ending dates for the late segment for fall turkey have changed in most counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Youth hunters between the age of 12 and 15 must have appropriate valid hunting licenses. Hunters under the age of 12 are not required to have a license, but they must be accompanied by a licensed adult. Adult hunters supervising youth must possess a valid Virginia hunting license, may assist with calling, and shall not carry or discharge a firearm.

Fall turkey hunting has some unique methods and restrictions:

Be sure and check the regulations booklet for season dates, bag limits and other details.

For further information on harvest data and season changes contact Gary Norman at (540) 248-9389, or email gary.norman@dgif.virginia.gov.

Hunters - Are You Ready?

Bow season has begun for deer, bear, and turkey and several other species. The muzzleloader deer season starts October 31 and general firearms November 14. Bear firearms seasons have been expanded in many counties. There's a lot to do to get ready and there's always something overlooked… here are some items you need to check off your "TO DO" list...

Mandatory Hunter Education Course

If you are a first time hunting license purchaser age 16 or older, or age 12-15, you are required to complete a 10-hour certified Hunter Education Course. Classes are free and offered statewide. For a schedule of Hunter Education courses call toll free 1-866-604-1122, or check the Department's website to find a class near you.

Purchase Your Licenses

A Customer Service Center has been established at VDGIF to help purchasers of hunting and fishing licenses. Call 1-866-721-6911 or email customerservice@dgif.virginia.gov for assistance 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday, except holidays.

Sight In Your Gun or Bow

Now is the time to check your firearms for accuracy and proper working condition. Waiting until you have that big buck in your sights and having a problem with your firearm is both dangerous and shows poor sportsmanship. For details and rules of operation for public sighting –in ranges see the Department's website.

Where You Goin'?

If your favorite deer or turkey woods now has houses growing on it, or you are looking for a new place to hunt, do some scouting online through VDGIF's Find Game interactive Web-based map-viewer and public hunting lands information system.

Get the Kids Involved

The Apprentice Hunting License is a good option for a friend or family member who wants to try out hunting this season. Check out the new Apprentice Hunting License video VDGIF has posted on YouTube. The video is an overview of how the Apprentice Hunter program works. Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, stars of the Outdoor Channel program, "The Crush with Lee & Tiffany," have a special video message for you.

Review the safety tips and common sense precautions in Be Safe... Have Fun! section.

Always be sure of your target and beyond! Have a safe, successful, and rewarding hunting season!

"What's New" for 2009-2010 Posted on Website

Your free copy of the new 2009-2010 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Regulations digest is available at license sales agents, upcoming sportsman shows and VDGIF Regional offices. This booklet features many new hunter friendly regulations and expanded opportunities this season. The booklet is increasingly user-friendly with color-coded page tabs for the different sections including: What's New, Licenses, Regulations, Hunting Lands, Bear, Deer Turkey, Small Game, Trapping sections, and an Index. You can also access the information in the new regulations booklet on the VDGIF website along with feature articles on the topics listed in the digest. There is an entire page listing new regulations, expanded seasons, and other hunter friendly changes this year entitled "What's New".

"Top Ten" New Hunting Opportunities for 2009-10

  1. Youth Deer Hunting Day - September 26, 2009
  2. Number of Antlerless Tags Increased from 2 to 6 on Bonus Deer Permit
  3. Either-sex Deer Hunting Day Moved to 2nd Saturday of the Early Muzzleloading Season West of the Blue Ridge
  4. Antlered Buck Bag Limit Increased from 1 to 2 During the Early Muzzleloading Season West of the Blue Ridge
  5. Increased Either-Sex Deer Hunting Days in 48 Counties
  6. Increased Black Bear Hunting Opportunities for Archery, Muzzleloader, and Firearms Hunters
  7. Spring Turkeys Must be Checked using the Telephone or Online Game Check System. Fall Turkeys Must Be Checked at a Check Station
  8. Spring Squirrel Season June 5 - 19, 2010, Opens on All Private Lands and Additional Wildlife Management Areas
  9. Raccoon Chase Season Expanded in Southwest Virginia
  10. Otter Trapping Season Expanded to All Counties West of the Blue Ridge

Be sure and read the full details of these new
regulations, seasons and requirements in the
2009-10 Hunting & Trapping in Virginia Regulations Digest

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 18, 2009, 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. A new regulation this year states that dove hunters are no longer required to wear blaze orange during the deer firearms seasons. The first segment of Dove Season runs September 5 - 26, and the second segment starts October 7 through November 7, 2009.
  • Floating Blind Licenses Now Available from License Agents and Online
  • 2009 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Available July 1
  • Remember to get a new HIP number.
  • Non-Toxic Shot Now Required for Hunting Rail, Snipe, Moorhen, and Gallinule
  • Shotguns Need to be Plugged for Doves, Ducks, Geese, and More...
  • VA Stamp
  • Federal Stamp
  • Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day October 24

Videos Available to Show Field Dressing Techniques

New Video Available:
Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting

Whether you are a novice hunter who may not feel comfortable tackling the chore of field dressing and butchering a deer or squirrel themselves, or a more experienced hunter who would like to take their deer processing to a professional level, the VDGIF has a DVD to help you make the most of your harvest. VDGIF has two useful DVDs now being offered at the VDGIF store. One is a double-feature: Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting. This video will show you one of the best methods we've seen for skinning squirrels, former Game Warden John Berry teaches it in detail on the first video. This video has been extremely popular to walk-in customers at VDGIF headquarters, and is now available for ordering on-line for the first time. In the second video, VDGIF Outdoor Education Instructor Jenny West demonstrates various ways to prepare tasty panfish, including scaling, dressing, and filleting. Get both "how to" videos on one DVD for $8.00, shipping included. The DVD makes a great gift for sporting enthusiasts young and old.

For the deer hunter, "A Professional Guide to Field Dressing, Skinning and Butchering White-Tailed Deer" video begins with step-by-step instructions on how to field dress a deer, as demonstrated by VDGIF Wildlife Biologist Ron Hughes. Then, professional butcher and hunter education instructor Rob Bingel demonstrates the best way to cape out a deer for mounting. The video really gets good when he shows in detail how to de-bone and professionally butcher a deer using only a knife and a hacksaw. Sure, many of us think we know how to process a deer, but seeing the way Rob does it, with no wasted effort, is well worth the price of the video. By the end of the video you will learn how to make butterfly chops, de-bone a front shoulder, tie up a roast using a butcher's knot, be able to identify all the proper cuts of meat on a deer, and more! This is one video you will watch over and over! The price is only $12 each.

OOPS - Season Opening Dates For Fox and Bobcat Misprinted in Hunting Digest

Several of the furbearer hunting season opening dates are incorrect in the 2009-10 Hunting & Trapping in Virginia regulations digest since they list a Sunday starting date. Mike Fies, VDGIF Furbearer Project Leader, noted that the opening date for firearms seasons that traditionally open on November 1 should have been listed as November 2, since November 1 is on Sunday this year and you can't hunt on Sunday. Also, the October 4 date for archery bobcat season should be October 3. The opening date errors affect the fox and bobcat hunting seasons only. We apologize for these errors. See the Quick Glance at Hunting Seasons section in the sidebar of this Outdoor Report, or check the website for the correct season dates for these and other species.

Be Safe... Have Fun!

'Early Season' Tree Stand and 'After Dark' Safety Tips

The days are getting shorter now with bow season ongoing, and early muzzleloading season starts October 31 in 2½ weeks, with the end of Daylight Savings Time on November 1. More and more time is being spent by hunters in the woods before daylight and after sunset, getting to their favorite stand. Here are some special safety tips for the autumn hunt gathered from experience and conversations with fellow sportsmen around the campfire, tailgate, and skinnin' shed...

  1. Let other hunters in your party know where your stand is located. Leave a map on the dashboard indicating the time you will return.
  2. Pack emergency items including a whistle, horn, strobe, lighter/matches, 2-way radio, or cell phone in your pack. Make sure cell phone is properly charged or have fresh replacement batteries.
  3. Carry an extra flashlight, one of them being the headlight or cap bill type that allows hands-free operation.
  4. Wear full-body safety harness at all times maintaining three points of contact at all times.
  5. Practice using your tree stand during limited daylight and wet weather conditions, to be familiar with the particular safe procedures for getting up, in, and out of the stand safely and quietly.
  6. Always use a hauling rope for your gear. Tie hauling rope to belt or stand when climbing to keep hands free.
  7. Unload gun or bow before climbing or descending stand.
  8. Wear blaze orange in stand. Let other hunters in area know where you are.
  9. Have a clear travel and "staging" area around the base of your treestand, remove rocks, logs, and trimmed branches so you don't snag or trip over obstructions. Use reflective tacks or yellow flagging on trees that will give you a 'lighted' path to your stand.
  10. Pack Several Glow Light Sticks - VDGIF Videographer, Ron Messina knows the importance of light in filming a good video. An avid bowhunter, he offers this tip to deal with loss of sunlight if you shoot a deer just before dark and need to track it with the light fading. "Crack" a glow light stick and hang it at your stand to find your way back in the dark. Carry several of these inexpensive light sticks to hang along the trail to keep you on track.

Dress for Success - Fall Turkey Hunts Require Different Tactics and Safety Precautions

The best hunt is a SAFE hunt! Both novice and experienced sportsmen should continuously review basic safety practices. The fall turkey season requires different tactics and safety precautions from the spring gobbler season. Dressing right is the key to both safe and successful turkey hunting. With the special Youth Turkey Hunting Day Saturday October 17 and the firearms turkey season starting October 24, now is the time to be planning your hunting strategy and special safety precautions. While sitting still is most important, full camouflage helps hunters blend into the surroundings, and elude the turkey's keen eyesight. But, those aren't the only eyes that could be fooled. Other hunters could mistake a hunter dressed in full camouflage using a turkey call for a wild turkey. Hunt defensively- keep in mind, when you hear a turkey call or see movement, it could very well be another hunter. Assume you are not alone in the woods and act accordingly. Your firearm, clothing, and turkey calls are all-important equipment, but thinking safety is the best tool a hunter can use.

The National Wild Turkey Federation and VDGIF Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors teach these rules to dress for success and safety:

  1. Never wear bright colors, especially not red, white, blue or black because these are the colors of a wild turkey.
  2. Wear dark undershirts and socks, and pants long enough to be tucked into boots.
  3. Camouflage your gun.
  4. Keep your hands and head camouflaged when calling
  5. Select a spot that is in the open woods rather than thick brush: wearing camouflage clothing and eliminating movement is more critical to success than hiding in heavy cover.
  6. When using a camouflage blind or netting, maintain a clear field of view.
  7. Dress in dark colored layers to adjust to temperature changes.
  8. Wear blaze orange when walking to and from calling positions and when setting up or moving decoys. Wearing blaze orange is always recommended. However, if you choose not to, tie a strip of blaze orange to a nearby tree to alert others of your presence.

Ultimately, every hunter is responsible for identifying their target and beyond before pulling the trigger. Most hunting fatalities are the result of the hunter not making sure of his or her target, or shooting at sound or movement. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Before you go out, let someone know where you will be hunting and when you expect to return. Take a few emergency items with you - snacks, water, safety whistle, a fold up space blanket, a method to light a fire, extra batteries for radios or GPS, and fully charge your cell phone.

Remember: Safe Hunting is NO Accident!

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. 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. To find one near you visit the VDGIF website or call 1-866-604-1122.

"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.

Autumn Leaf Color Viewing Tips

One of the great rewards of living in the Old Dominion is the blaze of autumn color as the leaves turn from summer green to the brilliant hues of gold, red, yellow, and orange. If you are looking for information on when and where to view the color change, the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) has developed VDOF-Recommended Fall Foliage Driving Tours. If you don't want to fight the traffic that clogs some of the best-known places, such as Skyline Drive, this site is for you. Each of these tours is designed by a local VDOF forester and is sure to exceed your expectations and fill your eyes with wide swatches of vibrant autumn colors. And, because these recommended drives are "off the beaten path," you'll be able to enjoy a leisurely trip without the hassles of a lot of traffic on the road or large crowds at vistas along the way.

To view the Fall Foliage Report and Driving Tours, see VDOF's "Fall Foliage in Virginia" website.

For Information by Phone:

Time to Browse Your Photo Files

Don't forget that entries for this year's Virginia Wildlife Photo Contest must be postmarked by November 2, 2009. So pull up your monitor, unwrap some blank CDs, and get comfortable while scrolling through the dozens (or hundreds?) of pictures you took outdoors this past year. Entry categories for the contest have not changed. You can refresh your memory on those, as well as all other contest rules, at the VDGIF website.

Now get going... November will be here before you know it!

All Outdoor Users Be Careful With Fire - Be Alert

The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries are urging hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts to use extra caution while in the woods. Very dry weather conditions have prompted wildfire officials to caution landowners and sportsmen to be especially careful with any outdoor fire.

The Early Archery Deer Season is underway statewide, the Muzzleloader Deer Season begins October 31, and General Firearms Deer Season will be opening November 14. The agencies offer the following tips to hunters, campers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts:

Early detection of a wild fire and quick response by firefighters is critical to protecting lives and keeping damage to property at a minimum. For more information on fire safety and regular updates on wildfire danger rating, visit the VDOF website. For more information on hunting, seasons and regulations, visit the VDGIF website.

Effective September 1, Feeding Deer Is Prohibited in Virginia

Effective September 1, itis illegal to feed deer statewide in Virginia. The prohibition runs through January 2, 2010. 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 many 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. The negative consequences of feeding deer outweigh the benefits. 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. If you are currently feeding deer, you should now stop. 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.

Notes for Young Nature Explorers

This section features articles and tips of interest to youngsters to encourage them to get outdoors and explore nature.. Observing and exploring the natural environment can be exciting, interesting, and fun: plus provide the types of experiences that cannot be found in books, the internet, or video games. The Virginia Wildlife calendar lists natural events that can serve as a "lesson plan" to get students outdoors exploring, observing, and having fun while learning about the woods, fields, and streams and the fascinating plants and animals that share these habitats with us. Each edition we will bring you ideas on topics, natural occurrences, and events to spark your interests in exploring nature. Make it a family adventure!

Outdoor Blogs and Websites Provide Nature Adventure Info For Kids

For excellent information on getting youngsters interested in exploring and learning about nature there are several blogs and websites to review: EE Week and the school year may be behind us, but there are opportunities throughout the summer to engage students in environmental learning as well as take advantage of the time to reflect and deepen our own connection to nature and commitment environmental education. Read below for upcoming programs and opportunities for educators and students.

Nature Observations from The Byrd Nest by Marika Byrd

Virginia's Autumn Colors

When certain conditions of temperature, moisture, and the amount and strength of sunlight all come together, we get a treat from Mother Nature's wonderful color palette. Seasonal changes of shorter days and cooler temperatures bring about autumn's change in leaf color. A good growing season, plenty of moisture, and nighttime temperatures in the 40-50s gives us a gorgeous fall. Dr. John Seiler, the Shelton Short, Jr., Professor of Forestry, in Virginia Tech's Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation says, "Green leaves get color from the pigment chlorophyll, that makes sugar, using the sunlight, in the process called photosynthesis. The change to those bright yellows, reds, and browns comes from the breakdown of the green chlorophyll, revealing other pigments, such as yellow and orange." Not all leaves, or even each leaf, change at the same time—little by little we then really notice the new "dressing" on the trees. The fall changes mean the start of dormancy, or going to sleep for the winter.

Oaks turn red, brown, or russet; red maples turn brilliant red or yellow, and the sugar maples have orange-red leaves. All bushes, shrubs, and vines also change color and can be quite beautiful. Falling tree leaves and needles do two things: One, they die, decompose, and become humus, a part of the forest soil; second they help the soil to absorb and hold rainfall.

Make plans for an adventure walk, hike, or bicycle, including an adult, to explore trails in area public forests, wildlife management areas, the countryside, or ride along city streets. Bring back a leaf from different trees, bushes, or vines, and see if you can identify them. The more you venture out the more you learn about trees and nature. A good book is the National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Mid-Atlantic States. For colorful information from the U. S. Forest Service's Southern Region, check http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/misc/autumn/autumn_colors.htm.

For more information, visit the VDOF website.

For more information on tree identification visit the Va Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation website.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Quail Habitat Workshops Scheduled for October

Partner wildlife management and land stewardship organizations that are partners with VDGIF in the implementation of the Quail Management Plan have scheduled two workshops for October. Dates and contact information are as follows:

Get more information on the Quail Action Plan and the Quail Management Assistance Program »

Habitat at Home© DVD Now Available

The new Habitat at Home© DVD features the yards of four homeowners in different parts of the state who have removed invasive plants, reduced their amount of lawn, added water features, and planted flowering perennials and shrubs. VDGIF Habitat Education Coordinator Carol Heiser advises, "Native shrubs in particular are an excellent choice for wildlife, because they support native insects that make up a critical part of the food web. Native plants are better adapted to our growing conditions and are much easier to maintain than non-native ones. So many of our neighborhoods lack the kind of native plant diversity that wildlife really needs. You'll be surprised at the number of birds and other wildlife that use native shrubs. Although nurseries tend to sell shrubs in the spring while they're in bloom, autumn is actually the best time to plant shrubs if you want optimal survival. Visit our website to get your own copy of the 40-minute DVD!

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) website.

Search for Introduced White Perch Successful in Lovill's Creek Lake

On September 30, VDGIF fisheries biologist John Copeland met Brad Mawyer, an angler who recently caught a white perch in Lovill's Creek Lake, a flood control impoundment near Cana in southern Carroll County. The angler, a high school teacher from Grayson County, has fished this impoundment since it opened in 1994. He knew he caught an unusual fish there during an outing in early September, since he had never caught a white perch from the lake in the past. This astute angler reported his catch (with photographic evidence) to local fisheries staff via the VDGIF website.

White perch are a coastal species in Virginia, where they are native. In recent years, this prolific spawner has been introduced to inland lakes in Virginia. The most prominent introduction is at Kerr Reservoir, where introduced white perch could cause a decline in black crappie populations in this major impoundment, which is known for its top-notch crappie fishing. After discussing the potential impacts of white perch to the resident fishes in Lovill's Creek Lake, the fisheries staff, with assistance from the local angler, sampled the lake with an electrofishing boat to search for introduced white perch. After 45 minutes of shoreline electrofishing, a single 13-inch white perch was collected from the same area the angler caught his fish. The introduced fish was dispatched by the fisheries staff and secured for age analysis, which indicated it was 8 years old.

Follow-up sampling will be conducted this winter or next spring to see if white perch are established in this inland impoundment. Sources of the introduction are being investigated by fisheries staff. The topic of the impacts of introduced species in Virginia's inland waters was addressed by the fisheries staff in a Virginia Wildlife article published in July 2007. Copies of the article are available on request from John Copeland, contact him via email at john.copeland@dgif.virginia.gov.

Lake Whitehurst Fishing Station and Boat Ramp to Close November 1

On November 1, 2009, the Lake Whitehurst fishing station and boat ramp, located off Shore Drive in Virginia Beach, will close to public access. The property owner, Norfolk Airport Authority, has decided not to renew the lease agreement to the City of Norfolk, thereby restricting public access to Lake Whitehurst. Norfolk Airport Authority has cited future airport expansion and the runway protection zone needed for the construction of a parallel runway as the reasons for closing the facility. The lake itself will remain open for fishing and boating, however access will be extremely limited. Anglers should be reminded the Little Creek portion of Lake Whitehurst, located off Northampton Boulevard, will remain open to the public. Due to this decision and the elimination of public access, the VDGIF will no longer be able to justify current fisheries management activities, including fish stockings. VDGIF will be working with the local municipalities in an effort to locate a possible future public access site to Lake Whitehurst. For additional information pertaining to Lake Whitehurst please contact the City of Norfolk, Utilities Dept. at (757) 441-5678, VDGIF at (757) 465-6812, and the Norfolk Airport Authority at (757) 857-3351. Click here to see the City of Norfolk News Release.

Study to Assess Climate Change Impacts on Virginia's Brook Trout Resource

How will brook trout, Virginia's state fish, fare under climate change? That's the central question of a major cooperative study launched this summer by the Mark Hudy of the U.S. Forest Service and VDGIF.

"As air temperatures increase it is likely that water temperatures will also increase to levels that are lethal brook trout," said Hudy. Brook trout thrive in clean and cool water with temperatures averaging less than 70° Fahrenheit. "Under many of the most likely climate change scenarios, brook trout habitat is likely to be greatly reduced or eliminated in many portions of the state," he added. To assess the potential damage to brook trout habitat, a coalition of state and federal agencies, academia, and conservation organizations have embarked on a program to rank the susceptibility of Virginia's trout streams to adverse impact from climate change.

"All brook trout streams are not equal in respect to their responses to increased air temperature," Hudy explained. "Local watershed conditions, such as elevation, shade on the stream, presence of springs, and many other land use characteristics, can greatly affect the resiliency of individual brook trout populations to climate change." Hudy and his colleagues at the U.S. Forest Service, VDGIF, James Madison University, Shenandoah National Park, and Trout Unlimited have identified 272 brook trout watersheds that, potentially, could be damaged by climate change. They've placed water temperature monitors in and along 50 of those streams and expect to begin assessing results this fall.

The results of this study will enable Hudy and his partners to develop models that will forecast how the watersheds are impacted by warming air temperatures. The models will help state and federal agencies and conservation organizations set priorities for watershed protection and restoration.

For more information on the study contact: Mark Hudy
James Madison University
112 Sheldon Hall MSC 7502
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
Phone: work (540) 568-2704

Visit Trout Unlimited's website for more information on their habitat and conservation education programs.

2009-2010 Fishing, Boating, and Wildlife Diversity Regulation Review and Amendment Process

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries review and amend all of the Virginia regulations governing wildlife and boating biennially.

The regulations are reviewed in two separate biennial processes, with different regulations being under review in alternating years.

At its June 2, 2009, meeting, the Board completed its most recent biennial review of regulations governing hunting, trapping, and game species. The amendments it adopted June 2 went into effect August 1, 2009.

September begins the 2009-2010 Regulation Review and Amendment Process for Virginia's regulations governing freshwater fishing, boating, and wildlife diversity. "Wildlife diversity" includes regulation of those wildlife species not hunted, fished, or trapped.

In this earliest, scoping stage of the current regulatory review process VDGIF staff is soliciting the public's views on what changes in regulations citizens would like to see. During this period staff also collects and analyzes biological and sociological data relevant to regulatory issues. Such information typically includes constituent satisfaction survey results, conversations or meetings with constituents in groups and individually, and other forms of feedback from the public that occurs continuously, including before the scoping period.

VDGIF strongly encourages the public's participation in the regulation review process. You are invited to use this online comment submission system to submit your views.

For information on future stages in the periodic regulation review, see the Schedule for 2010 Fishing, Boating, and Wildlife Diversity Regulation Review and Amendment Process.

Got Pictures of Your Catch? Share Them With Us on Flickr!

How was your last fishing trip? Did you take pictures of your catch? Send them to us and share it with the world! Here's how:

  1. Email your photos to us and we'll post them on our "Virginia Fishing" group on the photo-sharing website, Flickr.
  2. Or, if you already have an account on Flickr, join the group and submit your photos. It's easy!

No matter how you send in your pictures, please remember to include the species, date, and location of your catch. If you know the length and weight, please include it.

Rules for submitting photos to the group:

  1. Photos must be of fish caught in Virginia.
  2. Photos must not depict unsafe practices.
  3. Please do not publish personal information (last names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, etc.).
  4. Please do include the species, location, and date of catch!
  5. Only submit photos for which you have permission to post online. For example, any minor pictured must have documented permission from his or her parent or guardian in order to appear in the group. By submitting a photograph of your child, you are giving VDGIF permission to post the photo on the Flickr "Virginia Fishing" group.

New Virginia Lifetime Boater's Card

Our new Lifetime Virginia Boating Safety Education Card is available to those who meet the boating safety education requirement. This durable, drivers license styled card is available for a fee of $10.00. If you meet any of the below listed requirements - you may apply for this card.

Click Here for Instructions and Printable Application (PDF) »

Pan Fishing and Squirrel Skinning DVD

New Video Available:
Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting

Another great DVD is now being offered at the VDGIF store, this one a double-feature: Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting. If you want to learn one of the best methods we've seen for Skinning Squirrels, former Game Warden John Berry teaches it in detail on the first video. This video has been extremely popular to walk-in customers at VDGIF headquarters, and is now available for ordering on-line for the first time. In the second video, VDGIF Outdoor Education Instructor Jenny West demonstrates various ways to prepare tasty panfish, including scaling, dressing, and filleting. Get both "how to" videos on one DVD for $8.00, shipping included. The DVD makes a great gift for sporting enthusiasts young & old.

Safe Boating is No Accident — Wear your Life Jacket and Take a Boating Safety Class

Attention boaters, VDGIF has begun to phase in Virginia's boating safety education requirement and wants to remind boaters that as of July 1, all operators of personal watercraft (PWC), including Jet Skis, Sea Doos, and other PWCs, age 14 to 20 will need to have proof of boating safety course completion onboard while operating the vessel. PWC operators must be at least 14 years old. To find out more about the boating safety requirement, the rest of the phase-in for Virginia boaters, or to find a boating safety course, visit the Department's website

Virginia's life jacket laws require that there must be one wearable (Type I, II, III, or V) USCG approved life jacket of the appropriate size for each person on the boat. All boats, except for personal watercraft, canoes, kayaks, and inflatable rafts, must carry one USCG approved Type IV throwable ring or seat cushion. In addition, if you are boating on federal waters where the USCG has jurisdiction, children under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket unless below deck or in an enclosed cabin.

For more information on boating water safety and the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water go to BoatUS.com. For details on Virginia's laws or to take a boating safety course, check out the DGIF boating website.

Sarah White's Notebook - Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions

Region 1 - Tidewater

Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by Park Supervisor C. Blair Evans. With weather and the water temperatures on a cooling trend, anglers are finding it a little more difficult to land bigger fish. However, the cooling water temperatures have been attracting more crappie anglers. Currently, fish are a little and more spread out while they transition into shallower water. Anglers are reporting catches of smaller bass, chain pickerel, and crappie. Beaverdam will host the Big Bash Classic bass fishing tournament on October 17, 2009. The water is clear and 66 degrees.

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Supervisor Robert Eveland. Fall weather continues to bring fish into shallower water. Winter patterns of fish seem to be starting. Reports of numerous pickerel and small bass being caught. Larger fish continue to hang in deeper water off the main and secondary points. Crappie bite is improving, along with other pan fish. No reports of exceptional catches this week.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefiled (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim reports that spot fishing is good just now; especially at Lynnhaven Inlet, Rudee Inlet, and around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Spot go for blood worms and Fishbite. Flounder fishing is good too, around Hampton Bar or Cape Henry. They are attacking cut fish or squid. The water is clear and 72 degrees.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams says that bass fishing is decent, but he does not know of any particular lure to try. No word on crappie. Some big cats have been landed with cut bait. He expects that things will pick up soon. The water is fairly clear and cooling.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. According to Dewey Mullins, bass are plentiful. Early and late, try a top water lure; during the day try soft plastics, spinnerbaits and shallow running crankbaits. Crappie action has been slow. The best places to try are bridge pilings and brush; try a minnow. Cats have been slow too, but those landed have been big. Eels seem particularly effective. Lots of white perch have been brought to boat with small spinners, beetle spins, and night crawlers.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon says that bass are hitting early and late on topwaters, with plastics being the best choice for daytime angling. Lots of crappie are biting; try minnows and jigs. Cats are responding in the Nansemond River, with cut bait being the preferred lure. Bream are going for crickets and red wigglers. The waters are clear and cooling.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. Well, I'm pleased to report the fishing on the Blackwater & Nottoway has vastly improved since our last report. I was on the Blackwater on September 29th and caught 11 largemouth weighing 3.6 lbs. All were caught on a four inch AC Shiner or a #3 Mepps Minnow. Yes, people still use those old tried and true lures. Believe it or not, fish don't care if you just bought the latest $15 Japanese made lure. Sometimes it's good to go back to basics. But, yeah, the fishing in both rivers for all species has really picked up. So get out there while the days are mild. Also in about the first week in November the leaves will be absolutely beautiful on the river. Take your wife or girlfriend out for a great look at the fall colors. Catch a fish and score some major points at the same time.

Region 2 - Southside

Southern Piedmont Area Lakes: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes.

Lake Gordon: On Monday October 5th, I hit the shore of Lake Gordon by 9:30 a.m. to find that the water has cooled off a lot and was clear to about 4 ft. Fished my 1/32 lead head and 2 in. twister tails of chartreuse, purple, pumpkin seed and yellow. I caught some on the purple, none on the yellow and most on the chartreuse including a 21 1/2 in. channel cat. All in all, it was a slowday. I got very few along the shore line and a total of 14 crappie around the 8 or 9 in. water from 4 to 8 ft. deep along with 6 hand size blue gill and 2 small bass of 12 in.

Brunswick Lake: On Saturday, October 10th, the TV promised upper 80s with wind gusts to 15 mph, I got to thinking that there wasn't anything I really needed to do around here, so I ended up on Brunswick Lake. Water level is down, due to the dry weather and is low and cooled off enough to make turtles sun themselves on the logs. I left the boat launch and headed to the bridge to see if I could find some hungry crappie under the bridge but did not catch the first one. I did find out why they were not there, seems a big bully had moved in on their playground, on the third cast I hooked one of those pesky largemouth bass of 21 ½ in. I guess if I wanted to hold the tail together I could have claimed it was 22 in.

Fished the flats on other side of the bridge and picked up some bluegill and one 10 in. crappie. I headed toward the dam, fishing as I went, and did not pick up but few bluegill until I got beyond the island. I ended the day with 12 crappie between 9 and 10 in.; 8 hand size bluegill; one 8 in. yellow perch; one warmouth and 4 bass, ranging from 5 in. to the 21+ in. Hate to have to admit it, but I lost about 10 crappie which I am blaming on the wind. I never knew a boat could spin the wrong way so easy. The only bait I used was the 1/32 lead head and 2 in. twister tails of chartreuse, purple, pumpkin seed and John Deere green. The bass and most of the crappie were caught on the chartreuse. The water has a slight tan stain and clear to about 4 ft.

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366, (434) 996-506. The James is low and gin clear. Water temperatures are right around 70. The smallmouth are moving to their winter holes, look for them in the deeper slots around ledge's drop offs and deeper tail outs. As the days warmed the past few days top water action could still produce fish. It's all but over for the year though. Flyanglersare still seeing action by throwing baitfish and crayfish patterns. When fishing the deep holes I go with a sink tip line. The fish do like movement so make sure you find the speed they want. Grub patterns in olive-white and gold are some good go to patterns as the water warms mid-day. Conventional anglers are seeing action using soft plastics (Senkos-Grubs and Flukes). The low water and grass make throwing crank baits tough. For top water action Tiny Trps and Skitter Pops are still boating fish. But like the "bugs" it's coming to an end.

Kerr Reservoir: Contributed by Bobby Whitlow, Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. According to Bobby Whitlow, bass are starting to move into their fall pattern, and are biting rattle traps and crankbaits in shallow water; For deeper water, try a plastic worm. Crappie are moving up. The best place to look for them is in brush. Minnows and jigs are effective. Cats are being cooperative too, with cut and live shad working well. The water is in the 70s and ranges from clear to slightly stained, depending on where you are in the reservoir.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Tom Reisdorf says that bass angling is slow. A minnow imitating lure is your best bet. No word on crappie or cats. The water is clear and cooling.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina (434) 636-3455. Ed Shuttleworth told me that there has been good striper action on live shad. Other than that things have been slow; with no word on crappie or cats. The water is clear and cooling.

Smith Mountain Lake: Mike Snead, Virginia Outdoorsman (540) 721-4867.

Stripped Bass: The striped bass are starting to adopt fall fishing patterns. They are moving up in the water column all around the lake and while fish continue to be caught in the lower lake, increased numbers are being found in the upper sections of both the Blackwater and Roanoke Rivers. Stripers continue to break on bait and feed near the surface. Schools of smaller stripers continue to break in front of the dam and at the mouths of major lower and mid lake creeks. Striped bass have also been rolling on the surface in the middle of the main channel early and late in the day. Good lures for surface feeding stripers include the Spook and Spook Junior, large Gunfish, Sammy, striper strike and fluke or swimbait rigged on a belly weighted hook. Bucktails and flukes on jigheads are producing stripers found feeding near or slightly below the surface. Casting and counting these same lures down or jigging with them will also produce when pods of stripers are seen on electronics. Most anglers are using 3/8 and 1/2 ounce jigs or bucktails and are casting, counting down and using a steady retrieve with these lures. Anglers trolling three-way rigs, weighted swim shad, bucktails and umbrella rigs behind boats powered by gasoline motors, are catching good numbers of stripers. All but the umbrella rigs appear to be most effective when pulled from 2 to 3 miles an hour. Striped bass are also being caught using live bait. Alewives, medium gizzard shad and large shiners are all producing on freelines, downlines and shotlines. The cooling water will bring stripers closer to the surface and as that happens, live bait pulled behind planer boards close the shoreline and over points will be a productive technique this fall. Inline planer boards like those by Water-Bugz, Outcast and OffShore all do a great job.

Crappie: The crappie fishing is really picking up. Anglers using live minnows appear to be having the best results although small lead headed jigs and plastic trailers are producing fish as well. Many crappie anglers reported catching good numbers of nice fish last week, but none reported a fish as large as the one caught by Howard Aldinger. Howard hooked up with an incredible "trophy" crappie that was 17.5 inches long and weighed 2 lbs. 9.4 ounces. The bass fishing continues to be challenging for most anglers and even the tournament anglers have been finding that good bass are currently hard to catch. The local dock pattern is always a good one on our lake this time of year. Bass have been schooling in selected areas and are occasionally being caught on topwater popping and walking lures. Massive schools of very small shad continue to be found in many sections of the lake, providing a ready meal for many species. There is a resurgence in the number of threadfin shad. They typically occupy the upper part of the water column and this has contributed to the increased amount of surface feeding we have seen this fall.

Catfish: Channel catfish continue to bite well on the "Magic" stinkbait doughballs on bottom rigs using spring hooks and on nightcrawlers. Flathead catfish continue to prefer shad, shiners (available at your local tackle shop) and small bluegill rigged on the bottom. At night shad, shiners or bluegill can also be presented under a bobber along points or near the shorelines for flatheads. The water is clear and 67 degrees.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Rock House Marina (540) 980-1488. Wyatt Blevins reports that bass have been hard to land as they are in the process of moving from Summer to Fall patterns. You might, however, get lucky with a shad imitating lure, a crankbait or a jerkbait. Crappie are hanging out around brush and will probably take a minnow. Cat fishing has been slow, but try cut bait or chicken livers. Stripers have been landed where the baitfish are schooling up at night. Try bucktails and plugs. The water is clear and in the upper 60s to low 70s.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius says that bass fishing is slow in the river; but you might have success with a crawfish imitating lure. No word on crappie. Cats have been slow, but some have been landed on cut bait. Those going for muskies are having a problem; the water is so clear that once the monster fish see the boat they swim away fast. The water is clear and in the 60s.

Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Fly guru Harry Murray tells us that smallmouth fishing in the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah is good. Your best flies are: Murray's Mad Tom, size 8; Murray's Heavy Black Hellgrammite, size 6; Murrays Olive Roadkill Nymph, size 8. Fish deeply on a 2x leader or a floating line. The water is very clear and 61 degrees.

The stocked trout streams in the Valley have been stocked recently and rainbow fishing is good. Big Stoney Creek West of Edinburg is a really good area to try your luck and skill. Good flies are: Peal Marauder, sizes 10 and 12; Black Marauder, sizes 10 and 12; Casual Dress, size 12 and Betsy Steamer, size 12. The water is very clear and 59 degrees. The mountain streams are too low and slow to be good fishing spots. They are very clear and 56 degrees. For more information, try Harry's website.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenberger (540) 468-2682 www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Good news from Mike! Bass fishing is picking up. Alewives and live minnows are your best bet. Action should get really hot when the lake turns over, which will be soon. Crappie have been hit or miss, with minnows as the bait of choice. Cats are slowing down, but might go for some cut bait or chicken livers. The water is clear and cooling.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Piedmont Rivers: Local blogger and author Steve Moore, SwitchFisher.com / Fishing the North Branch of the Potomac. Steve reports that anxious trout anglers will have to wait a bit longer. While Passage Creek was stocked on October 2nd, none of the other Piedmont streams received a dose of fish. The water tells the story. Many of the normally stocked rivers are still at low levels with very little water moving down from the Blue Ridge. In particular, the Rose and the Robinson are both in pretty bad shape right now. On the plus side, the mountain trout streams have become colder, 55 degrees at White Oak Canyon and anglers can fish if they are willing to walk long distances to find the few deeper pools that hold exceptionally spooky fish. However, the brookies will start to get on spawning beds in the near future and Steve recommends sticking with the stocked water to allow this critical natural event to complete. Even then, anglers should avoid wading to ensure the beds are not disturbed. On the smallmouth side of things, the Upper Potomac is good above White's Ferry although you should be prepared for the boating challenge offered by the persistent thick, grassy vegetation. Tubes, buzzbaits, crankbaits and spinners are working. The Rapidan and Rappahannock are running low and clear right now but the "sense" from locals is that the smallmouth season is over on those rivers. If you fish them, look for the deep runs and holes as that is where the smallmouth will be. With the fall feeding in full swing, if you can find a spot like that you will have a great day. For directions to these and many other locations, visit Switchfisher.com.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike has no word on bass. Crappie action around Richmond has been good; try a minnow. Some big cats (blues up to 35 lbs.) are being landed on cut shad. The water is clear and 68 to 70 degrees.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, John Garland, Screaming Reels Fishing Charter, (804) 739-8810. Cat angling has been good for Big John and his customers. The sturgeon are still jumping, which is always exciting to see. Cast around structures with gizzard shad or white perch, either cut or whole, and you may meet with success. The water is clear and 74 to 75 degrees.

Mid Point Potomac: Warbird Outdoors (703) 878-3111. Terry Olinger reports that bass have been slow, but soft plastics may be effective. Crappie action has been good on minnows and jigs. Cats are also good, with cut bait and eels being the preferred bait. Stripers are going for cut bait. The water is clear and in the low 70s.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, Editor-In-Chief, Woods & Waters magazine, (540) 894-5960, www.woodsandwatersmagazine.com. The fall feeding frenzy has begun on Lake Anna. Striper and crappie are feeding heavily and the largemouths are close behind. Water temperatures have dropped to 70 up lake, 74 mid lake and 79 at Dike III and this has trigged more predictable fall patterns for our gamefish. The lake is about a foot low. Here's what you can expect on your next visit.

Largemouth bass: Fishing is fair now with an upgrade to good coming soon. A reliable pattern is using shaky worms on docks in the mid and down lake region, however you must hit 30 docks to get a good number of bites. There are still fish in the Dike III region, but fishing pressure has made them spooky. Topwater is king for these schooling fish. In the mid lake there's still no sign of action in the back of creeks, the bass are instead on main lake points. This should change as the leaves come alive this month. Up lake, bass are hitting shaky worms on rocky banks, in willow grass and on docks. Sometimes you can get the grass fish to hit a spinnerbait or a soft plastic stickbait. Expect the extreme upper ends of the North Anna, Pamunkey and Terry's Run to turn on very soon for those that like shallow spinnerbait, lipless crankbait and jig fishing.

Striper: Good fishing right now in the Stubbs Bridge region where schooling fish can be found with consistency. There are also schools around Jett's Island and Dike III. The bigger fish are up lake. The Toothache spoons have been excellent, even when fish are breaking. Redfins and big topwaters are not working yet. The fish are feeding on 3 in. threadfin shad and are holding in 25-30 ft. of water, then breaking on nearby deep banks and mid depth flats. They are not yet on the shallow flats. This should happen later this month when the extreme up lake areas turn on.

Crappie: We have begun to catch the fall run of crappie in the upper ends of the lake. There are many small fish biting, but if you cycle through enough spots (docks and rocks) you'll find enough 10 in. fish to make a meal now. I am using 1/8-oz jig heads and the Tiny Bass Assassin as well as minnows on slip bobbers in 6-10 ft.

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

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Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

To increase awareness of the activities of our dedicated Conservation Police Officers, previously called game wardens, the "Virginia Conservation Police Notebook" provides an overview of the variety of activities encountered by our officers who protect natural resources and people pursuing outdoor recreation in the fields, woods and waters of Virginia.

Region 3 - Southwest

On October 3, 2009 Sergeant Rolland Cox and Senior Officer Wes Billings stopped to assist a motorist that had lost a portion of his load from his vehicle in the Fort Chiswell section of Wythe County. A large commercial type generator was being transported unsecured in the trunk and had fallen on the roadway blocking traffic. Sergeant Cox and Senior Officer Billings stopped traffic to assist the motorist with carrying the generator and its broken parts to the edge of the roadway. The officers noticed the operator appeared nervous and decided to investigate further. The vehicle was found to be stolen from Princeton, West Virginia and the operator was wanted for a probation violation in Tazewell County. The suspect was also operating the vehicle on a suspended driver's license. A prescription pill bottle for a muscle relaxer was found in the vehicle and the officers determined the suspect had taken 26 of the 30 pills in less than a 24 hour period.

The operator was arrested for driving on a suspended or revoked license, driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, possession of stolen property, and a capias for the probation violation in Tazewell County. Further investigation found the generator and pressure washer in the vehicle were stolen from a construction site in Wythe County and the suspect had stolen checks and credit cards in his possession. Total property recovery value was around $5000. 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!

Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

With bow season ongoing and the firearms seasons starting in two weeks, there will be lots of youngsters hopefully getting a shot at their first deer. Whether it is a buck or doe doesn't really matter. For a young ten year old who went bow hunting with his dad, he came home with his most memorable outdoor experience. Patrik Dalton was a sophomore at Tunstall High School, when he entered his article in the 2007-08 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Contest. His story ranked in the Top 20. Not only does the story keep you interested in what will happen next, but as you read about Patrik's encounter with a big eight pointer, note that he and his dad use good safety practices and letting someone know where they were going and when they would return. Getting a deer was not the most memorable part of the hunt- it was the total experience of the trip with his dad.

Peanut Butter Buck

By Patrik Dalton

My most memorable moment would be the time I went hunting with my dad when I was six years old. It was the October bow season. The weather had been pretty good that week, so the deer would probably be on the move. Me and my dad were bored sitting around the house, so we decided to go hunting. It was around lunch time when we went in the kitchen and fixed two peanut butter sandwiches and a thermos full of tea. My dad had called my mom to tell her that we were going hunting and we would be back later. That way if she called and we didn't answer she would know where we were. We put on our camouflage, grabbed his bow, and headed for the woods.

We walked to a spot where my dad had seen deer there before. We sat on a rock that was so big and flat that we could eat our lunch without making a racket in the leaves. We heard rustling in the leaves where my dad had laid down his gloves. As we glanced over we saw a glove moving and laughing when we realized there was a curious, little brown chipmunk beneath it. Ten minutes had flown by quickly and we had opened our sandwiches. We pulled out the thermos and two cups.

While we were eating I watched a squirrel hopping from tree to tree trying to find some acorns. There were birds chirping in the trees above our heads and crows were flying by hollering as loud as they could. Some of them had landed in a tall oak tree that was about fifteen yards away. They made me really mad because the crows wouldn't be quiet. I also thought that they would scare everything away. We heard a few acorns falling in the distance. There was a fence about twenty yards away with a field behind it. We could hear some cows mooing in the background. We were about halfway done with our sandwiches when we noticed some movement coming form the dirt road on the edge of the fence.

My heart started beating as buck fever had settled in. I watched a big eight pointer slowly made his way to us. He had jumped the fence and was steadily getting closer and closer. Everything had gotten quiet as he stepped onto the leaves. We didn't have time to even put our peanut butter sandwiches down.

As the buck got close my dad told me to be as still and as quiet as I possibly could. He put down his sandwich and picked up his bow. My dad was slowly backing up to the tree when the big eight pointer had gotten within ten yards. He stopped and slowly raised his head. He looked right at me because I had really blonde hair with a hat on. He was so big we nicknamed him "Muy Grande." Muy Grande turned and trotted off back to the fence. When he was running away my dad drew his bow in one big motion and let the arrow fly. BAM! The arrow smacked into the tree. As we watched the deer run away, he was furious that he had missed the large buck. We looked at each other and laughed because we knew that we would never forget Muy Grande, the Peanut Butter Buck.

This entry in the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) 2007-08 High School Youth Writing Contest by Patrik Dalton of Tunstall High School, placed in the Top 20 in the Contest. For information on the VOWA Collegiate or High School Youth Writing Contests visit the VOWA website: www.vowa.org, or contact VOWA Writing Contest Chairman:

David Coffman, Editor, Outdoor Report
VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries
POB 11104 Richmond, VA 23230
Telephone: (434) 589-9535, Email: david.coffman@dgif.virginia.gov

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: