In this edition:

Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Thankful

This edition is posted on the eve of my favorite month - November. I like to think of it as the "Great American Heritage Appreciation Month," where we need to be especially responsible, respectful, and thankful. The early muzzleloader deer season begins the first two weeks in November. What a great time of year to get with friends and family. The smell of the powder charge and puff of gray smoke takes us back to bygone days and simpler times. For hunters, this is the most important time for us to be respectful. Common courtesy and safety are no accident: Be respectful of other hunters, landowners, and the wild game you pursue and harvest.

More importantly, this is a time for all sportsmen to "walk the walk and talk the talk." Election Day is November 3. Do exercise your precious right and responsibility as a free American citizen and VOTE! So many decisions that affect our outdoor pursuits are made by elected officials at both the local and state level. Let your sportsman's voice be heard through your VOTE.

The following Wednesday, November 11th is Veterans Day, honoring the brave men and women who have fought and died to protect our freedoms - especially the privilege to vote. Do something meaningful to show your appreciation to our veterans and their families in some way this year. You might volunteer for a hunting or fishing outing for wounded warriors, share some extra venison with a military family, or send 'goodie' packages to troops serving overseas.

And finally, be thankful for the opportunity to partake of all these wonderful blessings, for treasured friendships, for the service, courage, and sacrifice by our military, law enforcement and emergency services people and their families. I wish you a safe, rewarding, and peaceful Thanksgiving.

David Coffman, Editor

Hunting Benefits All Virginians

With the muzzleloading- black powder deer hunting season opening this Saturday, October 31, and the general firearms season November 14, hunters should pause to reflect on all the benefits that their participation adds to their lives and the positive impact on fellow Virginians. Recent economic downturns have many people thinking about how to simplify their lives, how to stretch their dollars, put food on the table, let go of stress, and still somehow give to others. Reports on obesity, concerns about what food quality and the footprint we are leaving on the planet, has people wondering what to do. An activity that addresses all that and more is hunting.

What benefits do all those hunters enjoy and what benefits do we all get from their activity? What benefits can you expect when you take up the tradition of hunting? Find the answers in various articles throughout this edition of the Outdoor Report that reveal the five benefits that hunting has been doing, and can do, for you...

  1. Boost the Economy
  2. Contribute to Conservation
  3. Wildlife Population Management
  4. Healthy Minds, Spirits and Bodies
  5. Sharing the Bounty

Hunt safely and responsibly.

Setting the example for others, Board Member Sherry Crumley sent us this family photo featuring her 12 year old grandson, Corey Simpson, with his first deer on Youth Deer Hunting Day...

The Crumley's are a family that is involved in all aspects of hunting and conservation activities. Sherry notes, "The new Youth Deer Day hunt was a family group effort! Corey's 7 year old sister, Kathryn, armed with my compact Zeiss binoculars, was the first one to spot the deer. Corey made a great shot and was excited to get a rare pie-bald buck." Congratulations Corey on a nice trophy buck!

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

Rabbit Hunting Workshop For Youth In Pittsylvania November 7

Join VDGIF Outdoor Education staff for an educational rabbit hunting workshop at Wayside Park in Pittsylvania County on November 7, 2009! Workshop includes eastern cottontail biology and habitat, firearms and hunting safety, game care, and ethics. Participants must be 17 years of age or under and must have successfully completed the Basic Hunter Education Course and meet all license requirements. A $20 refundable deposit is required to confirm registration. For more information, contact Jimmy Mootz at (804) 367-0656 or jimmy.mootz@dgif.virginia.gov.

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.

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

The Watchable Wildlife Program will host a 5th Anniversary Celebration event of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail at "The Link" (12018 Lee Hwy) in Sperryville in Rappahannock County on Friday, November 6. The celebration event will 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 Pheasant Hunting Workshop November 29 in Catlett

The VDGIF Outdoor Education Program in partnership with Sporty's Hunting Preserve in Catlett, will host a Pheasant Hunting Workshop for youth under the age of 18, on Sunday, November 29. The cost of the workshop is $90 and includes:

Participants:

For more information, contact Glenn Waleska at waleska@att.com, (540) 347-0998 or Jimmy Mootz at Jimmy.Mootz@dgif.virginia.gov, (804) 367-0656.

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.

Bedford County Hosts Youth Deer Hunting Workshop November 21

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), in cooperation with the Bedford County Economic Development Authority and the Virginia Hunter Education Association, Inc., are offering a Youth Deer Hunting Workshop on November 21, 2009, beginning at 6:00 a.m. This Youth Deer Hunting Workshop is an opportunity for area youth, specifically ages 12-15, to learn about deer, deer hunting and to hunt deer in a safe, controlled environment. Eight participants will be selected for this event. Selected youth must be accompanied by a properly licensed parent or guardian. Each team will be supervised by a certified hunter education instructor. To be considered for this unique educational opportunity, completed applications must be received by close of business on November 10, 2009. For more information, an application packet and rules, please see visit the VDGIF web site. For more information, contact VDGIF at the Regional Office in Forest (434) 525-7522.

People and Partners in the News

Virginia Receives National Archery in the Schools Program Awards (NASP)

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recently received two National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) awards. Karen Holson, VDGIF Outdoor Education Supervisor and Virginia NASP State Coordinator accepted "The 200 NASP Schools in Virginia Award" and the "NASP in 10% of Virginia Schools Award" on behalf of the Agency and the many volunteers and partners that helped reach this exceptional level of participation.

The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) is a joint venture between state departments of Education and State Fish &Wildlife Agencies. Several archery equipment manufacturers and conservation organizations are also partners. The program promotes student education and participation in the shooting sports. This archery education program started in Kentucky in 2002 and is spreading throughout the United States. Virginia started NASP in 2006 and VDGIF currently has trained over 297 schools, and 760 teachers. DGIF has provided and assigned NASP equipment sets to over 200 schools.

NASP program accomplishment highlights in Virginia include:

Congratulations to the VDGIF staff and many partners and volunteers that have made this program a great success throughout Virginia.

Governor Kaine Announces More Land Preserved Toward 400,000 Acre Goal

Governor Timothy M. Kaine highlighted the Virginia Outdoors Foundation's approval of 17,000 acres throughout Virginia to be placed under conservation easement. He also announced during a October 22 visit to Roanoke, that the Roanoke City Council has agreed to support plans to establish two perpetual conservation easements on Mill Mountain and the surrounding 600 acre park.

"One of the best things we can do for our children today is to preserve the environment for tomorrow," Governor Kaine said. "These actions will bring us even closer to meeting my goal of preserving 400,000 acres of open space by the end of the decade."

As part of Governor Kaine's land conservation efforts, three new wildlife management areas, six new state forests, two new state parks, , and 13 natural area preserves are being created.

For more information on Renew Virginia, visit www.governor.virginia.gov.

Wildlife Center Hosts Autumn Rehab Classes

On November 7-8, 2009, the Wildlife 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. 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."

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

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.

Myron Reedy, at the Rockingham Co-op called to tell us, "Because of the Youth Deer Hunting Day, we sold licenses here at the Co-op to people who were otherwise not going to purchase them. Many adults- dads, moms, grandparents, family members and mentors purchased hunting licenses for themselves and new young hunters so they could participate in this special youth hunting day."

David Slagle from Bristol sent us this email, "Although I love to hunt, I find it more pleasing to take my young son in the woods. It's a great time together and he learns things he'll remember for the rest of his life."

Joe Gilliand emailed this message, "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... She never did pull the trigger, but I think she's hooked on hunting and will be going again with me this season."

Nathaniel Fisher, age 12 from Fluvanna County, shot a doe at 8:30 a.m. Youth Deer Day with his 7mm-08.

He and his dad Craig had been scouting several groups of bucks and does in the woods and fields near their home. Nathaniel had planned to get one of the nice bucks he had been scouting that first morning, but they didn't show. When a yearling doe came out in the field 240 yards from his stand - Nathaniel had been practicing all summer with his 7 mm-08 on long range shots - his practice paid off. He dropped the doe with the first shot while dad confirmed the distance with his rangefinder. He skinned the doe and later brought it to his neighbor (Outdoor Report Editor, David Coffman from whom he had bought the rifle last year) where they butchered the tender venison and made 10 lbs. of jerky, and then shared the roasts with his neighbor where he shot the deer. Good practice leads to good shooting. Nathaniel plans to be going back after a buck during bow season!

Nathanial is also committed to sharing the bounty of his deer harvests. Along with his hunting pal neighbors, as they bring home more venison than they can use, they share their harvest with neighbors and friends that cannot hunt and donate both deer and processing funds to Hunters for the Hungry.

Steve Knizner sent in this great story about his son, Andrew's first deer with bow and arrow...

Andrew Knizner,age 15, took his first deer using archery tackle on Opening Day of Archery Season, October 3, 2009. Andrew lives in Arlington, and killed the deer on his Uncle's property in Louisa County. The massive buck has 8 points with a 20 inch spread and weighed in at 155 pounds dressed. Andrew climbed into his treestand and secured his safety harness at 6 a.m., then waited for daylight and legal hunting time. At 7:30 a.m., a nice eight point buck came up from behind him, but Andrew did not shoot because he heard another deer following that one and assumed it would be even larger. He was right! When the second deer was 18 yards away he let his arrow fly. The buck ran about 100 yards after being hit by the arrow and was easily tracked. Andrew said, "My heart was pounding while I waited for the second buck to get into my shooting lane, but I concentrated on holding my bow steady and having a clean release." Andrew won a Lifetime Hunting Licence (sponsored by the Safari Club) at last year's VDGIF Generation Deer Hunting Workshop at Occoquan Bay NWR and is putting it to good use. Congratulations Andrew!

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 926 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 January. 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 statistics below that have been adjusted after additional information was received since originally posted in the October 14, 2009 Outdoor Report.

Some basic initial statistics from the telecheck and internet records:

Weapon:Top 10 Counties:

Bucks 373
Does 496
Button Bucks 57
Total 926
Rifle 644
Shotgun 117
Muzzleloader 43
Bow 22
Crossbow 9
Pistol 1
1. Rockingham 46
2. Grayson 39
3. Smyth 36
4. Bedford 34
5. Wythe 33
6. Dickenson 32
7. Botetourt 31
8. Shenandoah 30
9. Augusta 21
10. Washington 21

VDGIF Begins Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance on October 31

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) will re-commence its active surveillance for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) during the 2009-2010 hunting season on October 31, 2009. To establish whether CWD occurs in Virginia, the Department has conducted CWD surveillance since 2002. Over 4,600 samples have been collected from deer in every county in the Commonwealth, and CWD has not been detected. However, since September 2005, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has detected CWD in approximately 45 white-tailed deer in Hampshire County, West Virginia. The closest case to Virginia was detected during 2007 near Yellow Spring, which is approximately 2.5 miles from the Virginia state line.

Because of the proximity of CWD to Virginia, VDGIF has established an active surveillance area that consists of the section of Frederick County west of Interstate-81 as well as Shenandoah County west of Interstate-81, and north of Route 675. The Department plans to sample as many road-killed and hunter-killed deer from this area during the fall as possible. Submission of deer heads for sampling will be voluntary in most areas. Department personnel and volunteers will be staffing 4 stations on 4 different dates (see below) to collect samples, as well as setting up "self-service" stations at 2 locations. More instructions can be found on the Department's website.

Mandatory Sampling in Effect for Specified Days in Parts of Frederick County

VDGIF has established a Mandatory CWD Sampling Area in southwestern Frederick County that consists of the area west of Route 600, north of Vance's Cove Road and Paddy's Cove Lane, and south of Fall Run Lane and Heishman Lane. Please see the accompanying maps. This is the area of Virginia closest to the CWD detection in Yellow Spring, West Virginia. Consequently, deer harvested in this area on the 4 dates below MUST be brought to one of the 4 stations.

Sampling Dates and Stations:

Graden's Supermarket (6836 John Marshall Highway, Lebanon Church), Gore Grocery (305 Gore Road, Gore), Stateline Store (1778 Bloomery Pike, Cross Junction), and T&R Deer Processing (691 Carpers Valley Road, Winchester) will be staffed for CWD sampling on the following days:

These check stations will be staffed by Department personnel on these designated days. Please note that the telephone or internet checking system may still be used to report the harvest, but the deer should still be taken to one of these check stations for sampling. For hunters who harvest an animal they wish to have mounted, the deer should still be taken to one of these check stations. We will work with the hunter and/or local taxidermist to obtain the samples we need. Hunters will be able to check the CWD test results for their submitted deer heads on the Department's website. Results should be available within 60 working days after collection.

VDGIF Deer Project Coordinator Nelson Lafon added, "Concerns over CWD should not keep hunters from enjoying the deer hunting season." Persons who have questions or need additional information about CWD should visit the Department's website, or contact Fred Frenzel, (540) 984-4101, ext. 130, or Nelson Lafon, (540) 248-9295

Choosing A Quality Taxidermist Takes Pre-Planning

Editors note... As I found myself with a trophy buck the first day of muzzleloader season last year, I was unprepared as how to handle skinning the trophy without causing costly damage and what to look for in choosing a taxidermist. I personally know a dozen taxidermists with great reputations, so how do I choose? One of the first contacts I made was to Todd and Vickie Rapalee, of Rapalee Taxidermy, who have an exceptional reputation for their stunning exhibits at major sportsman shows featuring wild animal trophies from around the world. I had visited their amazing showroom and facility in Goochland several times - it is worth a visit even if you do not have a trophy to mount.

I assumed Rapalee and several other well known taxidermists I knew from sportsmen show exhibits would be too expensive, yet Todd notes that the foundation of his business and that of most Virginia taxidermists, remains the whitetail shoulder mount. His prices and those I checked of other taxidermists of similar quality and reputation were competitive and affordable. I ended up choosing a taxidermist that was closer to home. I learned a lot from consulting with Todd and asked him to share his advice in the Outdoor Report.

Todd advises, "Just as important as scouting for game in the field, is scouting for a taxidermist to handle all of your taxidermy needs! Now is a great time to visit taxidermist's showrooms and web sites to decide on who will handle the preservation of your trophy, be it whitetail, bear, gobbler, bobcat, coyote, or waterfowl. Remember that you will take the trophy of a lifetime one day. Choose your taxidermist before the hunt."

Taxidermy Tips- Bear Field Preparation

With the new game regulations this season that have extended bear season over much of Virginia, more hunters will have the opportunity to harvest a bear. If you are one of the hunters lucky enough to take a bear this season your first question will be, "How do I prepare this animal for the taxidermist?".

Field dress the bear the same as you would a deer. Remember that black absorbs a lot of heat from the sun, so keep sun exposure to a minimum. As with all trophies, transport from the field with care. Hair is damaged easily by dragging over rocks, logs, etc.

The skinning procedure for a bear is very similar to a deer. However, if you have never skinned a bear and are planning to have it mounted, especially for a rug or life-size mount you should contact your taxidermist for skinning instructions. Every taxidermist has a preferred method of skinning a bear. Many prefer to have the bear brought whole to them to ensure all proper cuts are made during the skinning procedure. It is best that you contact the taxidermist that will be mounting the bear prior to your hunt for details.

If you cannot get your bear to the taxidermist soon after field dressing, photographing and/or skinning you will need to get the animal as cold as possible! You can either freeze the bear or keep it cool in a walk-in cooler until it can be delivered to your taxidermist. If neither of these options are available, as a last resort simply place the bear in a shady area out of the sun, elevating the carcass on boards to allow air flow under the bear for body heat to escape. Lay bags of ice on, in and around the bear and cover with a tarp.

There are numerous options available for bear mounts such as life-size, half life-size, rug, pedestal mount as well as a shoulder mount. Skull cleaning is also available. These steps are general guidelines in caring for your hide after a successful hunt. The most important thing is to get the bear to the taxidermist as soon as possible if you plan to have it mounted!

For additional information on taxidermist services visit Rapalee Taxidermy, Inc. website and the Virginia Taxidermist Association.

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!

Remember Safe Hunting is NO Accident!

Ultimately, every hunter is responsible for identifying their target and beyond before pulling the trigger. Most hunting fatalities are the result of careless gun handling, the hunter not making sure of his or her target, or shooting at sound or movement. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded and never point the muzzle at anyone- including yourself. Before you go afield, let someone know where you will be hunting and when you expect to return. Take a few basic 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

Most importantly wear blaze orange - it's the law for a good reason - it can save your life!

"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".

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

Video Available to Show Field Dressing Techniques

Whether you are a novice hunter who may not feel comfortable tackling the chore of field dressing and butchering a deer 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.

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!

On Halloween, as you make you way home from muzzleloader hunting or other outdoor activities, be alert for trick-or-treaters. Think safety first and make sure your little ghosts and goblins wear clothing with reflective markings or tape and carry a flashlight.

Drivers, Use Caution to Avoid Hitting Deer

With shorter days, many motorists will be commuting in the dark, increasing the likelihood of their vehicle colliding with a deer. The VDGIF is encouraging Virginia's drivers to be more cautious as they travel the Commonwealth's highways this season.

Fall is the breeding season for deer, and consequently, deer are more active now than any other time of the year. One-half to two-thirds of all deer/vehicle collisions occur in the months of October, November, and December. While less than 1 percent of vehicle fatalities and injuries involve deer collisions in Virginia, hitting a deer can cause considerable damage to both people and property.

VDGIF estimates the population of white-tailed deer in the Commonwealth at this time of year to be approximately one million animals. Each year, hunters in Virginia harvest over 210,000 deer. The population has been stabilized at between 800,000 and one million animals for almost 10 years. Without hunting, white-tailed deer, due to their reproduction rate, could double their population within five years.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recommends the following tips to drivers to avoid hitting a deer.

  1. When driving, particularly at dusk and dawn, slow down and be attentive. If you see one deer, likely there will be others. If one deer crosses the road as you approach, others may follow.
  2. Deer habitually travel the same areas; therefore deer crossing signs have been installed by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Use caution when you see these signs.
  3. Drivers should apply brakes, even stop if necessary, to avoid hitting a deer, but should never swerve out of the lane to miss a deer. A collision with another vehicle, tree or other object is likely to be more serious than hitting a deer.
  4. Rely on your caution and your own senses, not deer whistles you can buy for your car. These devices have not been shown to be effective.
  5. Any person who is involved in a collision with a deer or bear while driving a motor vehicle, thereby killing the animal, should immediately report the accident to the Conservation Police Officer or other law enforcement officer in the county or city where the accident occurred.
  6. Drivers who collide with a deer or bear, thereby killing the animal, may keep it for their own use provided that they report the accident to a law enforcement officer where the accident occurred and the officer views the animal and gives the person a possession certificate.

If you have questions about white-tailed deer or deer behavior, please visit the Department's Web site:

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

The days are getting shorter now with bow season ongoing, and early muzzleloading season starts October 31, 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.

Ultimately, every hunter is responsible for identifying their target and beyond before pulling the trigger. Most hunting fatalities are the result of careless gun handling, the hunter not making sure of his or her target, or shooting at sound or movement. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded and never point the muzzle at anyone- including yourself. Before you go afield, let someone know where you will be hunting and when you expect to return. Take a few basic 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

Tripod Stands Require Special Safety Consideration

Tripod stands are a good choice in areas where little elevation is needed, or for a quick set up in a new 'hot spot'. This style has a seat that swivels 360 degrees with a collapsible gun rest/hand hold. For stability the tripod should be secured to a small tree and 'feet' anchored with spikes. Clear all limbs that may interfere when swiveling in seat, or standing to get a clearer shot. Also clear around base for clean access. Even though a safety harness is not required, use 'common sense safety' – climb in and out carefully using steps and handholds, and if getting drowsy, climb down... even a six foot fall can hurt you!

Always wear blaze orange while in your tripod stand. Also tie an orange sash in a limb above your head and leave it there (see photo). The colorful marker will help you find the stand and more importantly mark your position for other hunters to see to avoid them shooting in your direction.

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.

Mountain Rose Inn Named in Top Ten B&B Destinations for Birders

Birds & Blooms, North America's #1 bird and garden magazine, has named the Mountain Rose Inn as one of the top ten bed & breakfast (B&B) destinations in North America for birders. The Mountain Rose was the only Virginia B&B to be chosen for this honor.

In its October/November 2009 issue, the national magazine recognized that B&Bs not only provide havens of peaceful rest, but that they are often located in great natural settings and provide destination vacations for birders interested in spending their time away watching nature at its best.

The Mountain Rose Inn, located in the Southwest Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains, is nestled along the banks of the beautiful Rock Castle Creek and is secluded on 100 acres of forestlands. Innkeepers Mike & Dora Jane Barwick have used the Inn's spacious porches, creekside hammocks, Adirondack chairs and benches to create a spectacular front-row seat for watching the birds as they go about their daily activities.

Several hiking trails have been developed on the Inn's property to give better access to the hardwood forests and creekside habitats that exist. While hiking along the wooded trails, birders may spot a scarlet tanager, hooded and Kentucky warblers, and Acadian and great-crested flycatchers. The pileated woodpecker and the barred owl also make their homes on the Inn's property. A local bluebird monitor has a box on the property where bluebirds routinely nest. The Rock Castle Creek is the fishing grounds for the Inn's resident belted kingfishers, and the green heron is also a frequent visitor.

The Inn has many bird feeders, hummingbird sippers, birdhouses, and bathing areas on the property. Innkeeper Mike Barwick stated, "We enjoy the birds as much as our guests and encourage birds to feed and live here on the property. They are fascinating creatures, and ones that we are always delighted to have as guests!"

Not only is the Inn's property attractive to birds, but the summer wildflowers on the property attract cabbage white, orange sulphur, eastern tiger and spicebush swallowtails and great spangled fritillary as well as large number of skippers. Along the creek such treasures as the spring peepers, green frogs, and salamanders may be found.

To celebrate the diversity of the many varied natural resources in the state, Virginia created the first state-wide program in 2003 of its kind - the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail - a trail that links wildlife viewing sites throughout the state. The Mountain Rose Inn is Site MSL10 on the Sweet Mountain Laurel Loop of this trail and is adjacent to the 600 acres of IC Dehart Park listed as Site MSL11.

The Inn is also located within 20 minutes of Rocky Knob outlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Every September, area birders gather at this location to watch the spectacular hawk migration, where 789 broad-winged hawks were seen in one day in Sept 2008.

For birders staying at the Mountain Rose, the Inn provides field guides, binoculars, walking sticks, and bird identification software on the Inn's guest computer. Tours of the area by local birding guides can be arranged for interested parties.

For information contact Dora Jane Barwick, The Mountain Rose Inn
(276) 930-1057, info@mountainrose-inn.com
www.mountainrose-inn.com

Autumn Leaf Color Viewing Tips

The autumn color in the Old Dominion this season looks like it will continue to 'peak' on into November- so there is still time to enjoy 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.

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 school year 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

An October Scouting Weekend in Fluvanna

No dampened spirits were found at Pleasant Grove Park in Fluvanna County where more than 1,000 Scouts participated in an activities-filled weekend. Jeff Gieser, Activities Chair for the Monticello District, Stonewall Jackson Area Council Boy Scouts of America, noted that several hundred Cub Scouts, with extended families, came prepared to brave the wet ground, breezy, overcast weather, and dropping temperatures, on Saturday, October 17, for an adventurous field day event.

Jack Bellamy and Marika Byrd, VDGIF Complementary Work Force Program volunteers, were part of the activities. Bellamy demonstrated archery and turkey calling to excited Cubs; some tried using the callers, as squeals abounded. He provided an exhibit of a fanned wild turkey tail, two beards, and several pairs of legs and feet, about a dozen sets of white-tailed deer antlers along with a big, mounted stag head, which delighted the small groups as they rotated through the stations.

Byrd showed and talked about the barn owl, northern river otter, tiny white-tailed fawn, and black bear cub mounts. After they attentively listened and observed the mounts, then eagerly went for the hands-on exhibit as family members photographed the "antlered dancing cubs."

Each pack set up games, which tested balance, agility, and dexterity skills; the troops gained knowledge for and about themselves as they rotated among the various stations.

Gieser reports that, "Parents spoke highly of the VDGIF involvement...by volunteers. The boys loved it."

Habitat Improvement Tips

Too Many Deer Can Damage Habitat

Hunting is an important wildlife management tool. Abundant population equals ample opportunity. This time of year in Virginia the deer population is up around one million animals. Hunters harvest about 250,000 each year, but deer are a renewable resource and the population rebounds. Hunters enjoy liberal seasons and abundant game here in the Commonwealth: archery, muzzleloader, general firearms seasons, fall turkey hunting, waterfowl hunting, hound hunting, mounted fox hunting, special late seasons and urban programs. There's good hunting in Virginia!

When deer are not dear - Farmers, landowners, drivers, and outdoor recreationists all benefit from hunters harvesting the white-tailed deer population in Virginia. Hunting reduces pressure on crops, protects expensive landscaping, cuts down on deer in the roadways, and prevents deer overgrazing an area and destroying habitat needed by other wildlife such as songbirds. Hunters help maintain that balance for Virginians.

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.

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.

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.

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

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Supervisor Robert Eveland. Water level is 23 ½ in. below full pool. Fish continue to move into shallower water; however larger fish remain on points in deeper water. Bass and pickerel catch is picking up. Spinner baits and plastic worms seem the preferred choice of the fish. Notable catches this week: Jim Pendo, Toano - 2 bass up to 4.4 lbs., on spinnerbait. Brian Haskin, Advance, N.C. - Striper, 24.3 lbs., 43 in. on long, live shad.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefiled (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim tells us that the spot are gone. (Out damn spots!) Speckled trout however have moved in, as have puppy drum. Both fish can be found at Rudee Inlet and Lynnhaven Inlet; and both fish will go for soft plastics and Fishbites. Some bluefish have been landed around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and will go for cut bait and spoons. Rockfish season is on and you can keep fish 18 in. or over, two per person. Try bucktails, small spoons or minnows. The water is very clear and 67 degrees.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown reports that things have been slow. A few anglers have come in with bass. Crappie are doing well though, hitting the traditional minnows and jigs. Cats are "turning on," and attacking cut bait. White perch are going for worms. The water is clear and cooling.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. According to Dewey Mullins, bass have been biting hard on top waters early and late. During the day, try spinners, crankbaits and plastics. Crappie are plentiful, with many fishermen catching the limit. Look around bridges, brush and old stumps and try throwing minnows and jigs. No word on cats. Bluegill are hitting on top water poppers and beetle spins. The water is clear and in the high 60s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Josh Winslow says that bass are hitting well on soft plastics. Crappie are also hot on minnows and jigs. No word on cats. Bream are really going for crickets and worms. The water is fairly clear and cooling.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. I was on the Nottoway the 19th through the 21st. The river was low the first day and high the last with the water temp at 57 degrees. I had a tough time the first day catching any fish, but by the second day I figured out what they wanted. The 4 in. AC Shiner was the ticket for both largemouth and (jack) chain pickerel. Largest bass was 3.6 lbs. and I caught a jack that was almost a citation at 3.8 lbs. The catfishing though was the best, with one cat going 9.5 lbs. All were caught on limb-lines. I'm not even sure how many I caught, but it was enough to make 4 catfish chowders! Yum, yum. I can't wait. All were caught on cut bream. Be sure if you fish limb lines you follow the rules and regulations for your neck of the woods. Most importantly be sure you have them tagged with your name and address and phone number and ALWAYS remove the line from the limb when you leave. Not many things get my goat like finding abandoned limb or cat lines with dead animals or fish on them. What's more it's against the law to abandon them.

Also believe it or not, I, as well as another fellow I talked to while out there, caught plenty of bream on the fly rod. Fishing is good, fishing is great, get out there and cast some bait!

Region 2 - Southside

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

Fort Pickett Reservoir: The temperatures in the 40s and almost raining kept me at home last week, but on Thursday, the 22nd, the weather made up for it. I grabbed the boat and headed for Ft. Pickett reservoir. The water has a brown stain, but is clear to about 3 ft. I think the water temperature is warm for this time of year, but I still would not want to fall in. I just took my time fishing along the aeration lines picking up a crappie occasionally. When I would catch one I would stop and fish that area trying to get lucky, but the most I caught in one area was 3. I caught a total of 6 bass, ranging in size from 5 in. to 12 in. The bass were all over, the smaller ones along the shore and the others in the deeper water. Caught 13 bluegill, 6 to 7 in., along the shore line and a total of 27 crappie between 8 to 10 in. I threw back 8, 6 and 7 in. crappie.

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. The river is running around 3 ft. with the water temperatures in the lower 60s. The smallmouth have migrated into the deeper holes. Jigs, tubes and lead head grubs have all been boating fish. Fly anglers should go with a sink tip line with a shorter 6 to 8 ft. leader. Crayfish patterns produce fish. Don't expect the fishing to be fast and furious. Slow down your presentations to fish the deeper holes. The DH section of the Hardware River has been stocked with trout. Woolly Buggers, San Juan Worms, small Throw Minnows and Kreelex have all netted fish. Fall is here and it's a beautiful time to be on the river. Get out and enjoy it.

Kerr Reservoir: Contributed by Bobby Whitlow, Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Taken from the website.

Striped Bass: Stripers are moving heavy now. They are starting to use major creeks like Rudd's, Island Creek, Grassy Creek and Clarksville area. Fishermen are using bucktails, super flukes with jigheads and live bait. They are finding fish in the shallows in the morning and deeper water later on in the day. Average fish are weighing in the 6 to 8 lb. range.

Bass: Fall patterns are in full swing now. Fishermen are finding fish in the backs of major creeks and main lake pockets. Fish are using wood and rock. Good baits are small crankbaits, rat-l-traps, spinnerbaits and plastic. Water temps are in the high 60s to low 70s and water color is stained to clear.

Crappie: Crappie fishing has picked up. Anglers are finding fish on deep brush, 15 to 25 ft. deep. Casting jigs and tight lining minnows seem to be working well. Good fall colors are black/chart, pearl, red/chart, blue ice and cajun cricket.

Catfish: Blues are being found in deeper waters around Goat Island and flatheads remain in the Clarksville area on main river channel bends and breaks. Most fishermen are anchoring and/or drifting using bottom rigs and free lines using large corks. Baits of choice are bream, large shad, goldfish and cut bait.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Tom Reisdorf says that the bass in the river are slow due to cold water, and advises anglers to try sub-surface flies. Crappie will take a White Wooly Bugger. No word on cats. Tom is hoping that the local trout streams will get needed rain. The water is clear and cooling.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina (434) 636-3455. James Brown (the hardest working man in fishing tackle) reports that the bass are a little slow, but will hit on Yamomoto Senkos in watermelon red; also on Strike King Red Eye Shads. No word on crappie. Cats are biting on frozen cut shad and Eagle Claw catfish bait. Stripers are hitting Cotton Cordell Deep Redfin lures. The water is slightly stained and cooling.

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

Striped Bass: Stripers continue to be found in many areas of the lake. They are still being caught in the lower lake near the dam, around Bull Run and the S Curve. Stripers have also run up both sides of the lake where they can be found as far up as Explorer Park on the Roanoke side and up near the Ponderosa on the Blackwater River. Huge schools of small shad continue to be found around the lake, making easy meals for hungry bass, flatheads and stripers. Striper fishing continues to be challenging with anglers using a number of different techniques to locate and catch fish. Anglers reported success fishing for stripers with live bait as deep as 60 ft. on downlines and as shallow as 6 or 8 ft. on shot lines and freelines under Redi-rigs and planer boards, especially near the mouths of major creeks and off long points. Angers reported more success catching breaking stripers on larger swimbaits, Lucky Craft Gunfish and Heddon Spooks than when fishing with either flukes or bucktails. With all the small sized "peanut" bait in the lake, larger live baits and lures appear to be working better than smaller ones.

Bass: Fishing continues to be very challenging and anglers report catching a few fish "junk fishing" with a wide variety of different lures. Several reported catching bass on pig and jigs (Cheeseburger) and shaky head jigs (Shakee2, Gambler, Owner) under and around docks. The "wacky rigged" Yamasenko worm is also producing bass near dock pilings and under docks, as are small floating worms rigged on drop shot rigs. Loco-motion worms, Roboworms and ZOOM finesse worms in greens, browns and laminates are all good choices for shaky head and drop shot rigs. Spinner baits produced bass for several anglers as did crankbaits and Carolina rigs, but almost all fishing for bass last week reported that conditions were really tough and that they were just picking up an occasional fish while using different lures. Last week's U.S.A. Bassin Virginia Regional Tournament was won by the team of Giles and J.D. Perdue with a total four fish weight of 14.87 lbs.

Crappie: Fishing has been excellent for the past several weeks and many report catching crappie from 4 to 8 ft. below the surface around docks and in coves. Crappie continue to show up as the water gets cooler and good quality crappie are being caught in significant numbers using small, live, "crappie" minnows and lead headed jigs with grub and tube trailers. Channel catfish continue to be caught using prepared baits, cut bait and nightcrawlers fished on bottom rigs.

After keeping the lake near full pond all summer, the Power Company has been pulling the lake water level down for several weeks. It is currently running between 2 and 3 ft. below full pond. All boat ramps are operational. The water is clear and 64 degrees. Have a great week on the water and in the woods.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Rock House Marina (540) 980-1488. Wyatt Blevins says that bass angling is picking up. Try any shad imitating lure. Crappie are slow, but you might get lucky with a minnow or a jig. Local cats are biting on live shad and night crawlers. Striper action is really picking up. They are going for live shad. If you can see a group of shad jumping around the surface because they are being pushed up by stripers, try throwing a plug. The water is clear and in the low 60s.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius told me that a crawfish imitating crankbait will tempt bass in the river. Crappie angling is spotty, with minnows and jigs proving successful occasionally. Cats are going for Hopkins type spoons. The water is clear and 60 to 63 degrees.

Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. When I talked to Harry, he said that smallmouth fishing in the North and South Forks of the river is good. Try a sinking tip line with a Shenk's White Streamer, size 6; or a Murray's Heavy Hellgrammite, size 6. The water there is clear and 56 degrees. The stocked streams in the Valley are also good places to fish just now. Good areas are Big Stoney Creek, West of Edinburg and Passage Creek, East of Edinburg. Good flies are the Betsy Streamer, size 12; and the Casual Dress, size 12. The water is clear and 52 degrees. The mountain streams are too low for good fishing . The water is clear and 46 degrees.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenberger (540) 468-2682 www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Mike says that the lake is down. Bass are starting to bite well. Look for them on rocky points in the morning. They will go for shallow running plugs and stick baits. Trout are also biting well. Crappie are not as cooperative. Cat fishing is "so so," with cut bait being the best thing to try. The water is clear and in the 60s.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Piedmont Rivers: Local blogger and author Steve Moore, SwitchFisher.com / Fishing the North Branch of the Potomac. Steve reports that the trout stocking truck has been slow to come to the Piedmont. Passage Creek and the Robinson River have been stocked so far. To assist anglers in reviewing the stocking progress and frequency, here is a link to the page where Switchfisher.com posts a consolidated table of all the stocking results. It allows you to see what has been stocked and when it was stocked in one document rather than having to click through the historical weekly stocking reports. The mountain streams are still running low although volume improved slightly after the rain a week ago. The spawn in the mountains has started, so anglers should focus their attention on the stocked water. Penrodsguides reports good fishing on the Upper Potomac above White's Ferry, Edwards Ferry and Lander. Tubes, Case Magic Stiks, crankbaits and Penrod Special spinners are working. 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 tells us that bass angling is "okay;" with cranks and shaky jigs being a good bet. Crappie are hitting well around structures; try minnows or jigs. Some big cats have come in, but over all they are hit or miss due to fluctuating water temperatures. Try cut shad. Mike's clients have nabbed some big stripers around Hopewell. Try soft plastics. The water is clear and 60 to 61 degrees.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, John Garland, Screaming Reels Fishing Charter, (804) 739-8810. John told me that the cats are in their winter pattern; which means they are heading for deeper water. To find them, try underwater structures off the main channel. Try throwing shad or eels. The water is clear and in the 60s.

Mid Point Potomac: Warbird Outdoors (703) 878-3111. Terry Olinger reports that the bass bite has slowed considerably. Soft plastics are the lure of choice. Crappie are hitting well on minnows and jigs. Striper are attacking cut shad. The water is stained and 53 degrees.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, Editor-In-Chief, Woods & Waters magazine, (540) 894-5960, www.woodsandwatersmagazine.com. C.C. says that bass are moving to shallow structures; while the baitfish are moving to the backs of creeks. Good stuff to throw is small crankbaits, top waters and spinners. Crappie are hitting well up lake around shallow structures, and are responding to the traditional minnows and jigs. No word on cats. Stripers are doing well also, schooling up around Dike 3 in the morning where they will respond to small swimbaits. The stripers are in transition, moving to shallower waters daily. The water is fairly clear with the temperatures being 54 degrees at the extreme headwaters, 62 degrees mid lake and 78 degrees by Dike 3.

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

View video about the snakehead

Get your kids hooked on fishing!

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The one that got away?
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email your material to
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and it might get used in the Fishin' Report!

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

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

Region 1 - Tidewater

Striper fishermen go over the limit and get caught... On October 20, 2009, Conservation Police Officer Ken Williams was conducting surveillance in the Little Wicomico River in Northumberland County. Officer Williams was hidden in a wooded area in the jetty when he observed a boat catch their limit of striped bass. The boat left and returned an hour later and continued to fish. When Officer Williams determined that the boat had exceeded their limit of striped bass he attempted to stop the boat, which was 10 feet away from his position. The boat ignored his order to stop for inspection and fled the scene. Sergeant Rich Goszka and Senior Officer Frank Spuchesi assisted with the investigation. The fishermen were later located in Richmond County and admitted to exceeding their daily limit of striped bass. For more information contact Lt. Scott Naff at (804) 829-6580.

Region 2 - Southside

Spotlighters on ATV apprehended with aid of night vision goggles... On October 10, 2009, Master Officer Greg Funkhouser organized a special operation to combat illegal night hunting in the Catawba area of Roanoke County.  Senior Officer John Koloda, Officer Shannon Smith, Officer Francis Miano, and Officer Tony McFaddin participated in the operation. Around midnight, officers witnessed two cars and a pickup truck pulling a trailer enter a field and initially stop at a camper located on the property. The individuals began riding an ATV and Polaris Ranger around the fields on the property. At approximately 1:30 a.m., Officer McFaddin witnessed two occupants using the headlights on the Polaris Ranger fire one shot from a high caliber rifle. At this time, Officers Koloda and Miano arrived on foot to assist. With the aid of a night vision goggle, Officer McFaddin witnessed the ATV stop in front of his location and one subject retrieved part of the deer that had been shot. The officers surrounded the camper and made contact with the individuals. A search of the camper uncovered fresh deer meat, .380 pistol, and a .243 rifle. Statements were taken from the individuals and the ATV and Polaris Ranger were confiscated. In all, 23 criminal charges were placed against the individuals. For more information contact Lt. Tony Fisher at (434) 525-7522.

Region 3 - Southwest

Landowner using illegal bait busted on numerous violations... On September 16, 2009, Senior Conservation Police Officer Gene Wirt and Officer Mark Brewer found a location baited with corn and salt in Giles County. The illegal bait had a trail camera on a post watching the corn.  On October 3, 2009, Sgt. Charlie Mullins, Officers Brewer and Wirt were at the location shortly after daybreak and observed a doe hanging in the garage. They searched the property for hunters and when the officers returned to the garage, they witnessed the owner's pickup truck leaving with 2 buckets of deer parts. One bucket contained fresh parts and the other bucket contained parts that were obviously old and dried. He admitted to killing a deer the previous day from his pickup truck. Senior Officer Lee Wensel and Officer Troy Phillips were working in the area and were called to assist. When the officers went back to the garage, now 2 deer were hanging. The second deer had been killed that day by a friend of the landowner. During the interview of the second individual, he stated he shot his deer from the truck with a crossbow. He was charged with hunting without a crossbow license, kill deer from a vehicle, and failing to check deer. During the search of the garage, more deer meat was found in a refrigerator and a 6 point deer rack in velvet was found. The landowner was charged for take/attempt to take from a vehicle, possess illegal game, unauthorized feeding of deer, and kill deer during closed season. 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 Youth Turkey Hunting Day last weekend and the fall turkey season beginning October24, there will be lots of youngsters hopefully getting a shot at their first wild turkey. Whether it is a big gobbler or short beard jake doesn't really matter. For a young teen who went turkey hunting with his dad on the Youth Turkey Day last year, he came home with his most memorable outdoor experience. Taylor Gibson 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 30. Not only does the story keep you interested in what will happen next, but as you read about Taylor's encounter with two turkeys, note that he and his dad use good safety practices and just enjoy spending time together in the wild woods. Getting a gobbler was not the most memorable part of the hunt- it was the total experience of the trip with his dad.

Click

By Taylor Gibson

Hunting is an activity that is important to me, and one of the most memorable moments of my life was in the woods beside Daddy. On the first Youth Turkey Hunting Day,{ in October 2007} I got a chance to get up early in the morning and go hunting with my dad. We got to the area where we were hunting and set up. After being patient for a while, I got the opportunity to kill a turkey. It was such a fun morning.

It was about five o'clock in the morning when my alarm started buzzing for me to get up. This was the first year I was getting to go on 'Youth Day'. I started out by putting on my thermal pants and thermal socks. Next, I put on camouflage sweatpants, a solid black sweatshirt, and my big camouflage coveralls. I slid on my boots and grabbed my hat. Daddy was ready to go. I put my stuff in the green truck, hopped in, and we left for Easley's farm.

We arrived at the farm and looked for a place to hunt so we could get ready. Daddy parked the truck on the dirt road and we started walking towards the fence. It was an electric fence. Daddy took the rubber part at the end of his gun and sat it on top of the fence. He pushed the wires down so I could cross. Now, all we had to do was find a good place to hunt. Usually, we just hunt at the bottom of a tree. If it rains, we bring a little stool or something to sit on, but today was a pretty day. Daddy found a big tree to sit at the bottom of and started putting everything in position. I laid the gun across my lap and pulled my face mask down. Meanwhile, Daddy was getting out all of his calls. We were ready to hunt; therefore, all we had to do was sit and wait.

Daddy hit call after call as we sat for about an hour. We heard rustling leaves in the woods. Daddy hit the box call, which is a call with a box shape that sounds like a turkey clucking. A turkey answered from a long distance. He took out the diaphragm mouth call to lure him in. As we called, the turkey got closer.

It was the first time I had gotten the chance to shoot at a turkey. It turned out to be two turkeys and they were in my shooting range. I put my gun up and rested my arm on my Daddy's arm. Daddy just smiled at me and told me to hit the safety button, but not shoot quiet yet. My heart felt like it was about to jump out of my chest and my whole body started to shake. I heard Daddy say okay and I put the sights on the biggest turkey. I just wanted to hit him so I finally found courage to pull the trigger back with my index finger. I was so nervous that I started to squint. All I heard was a clicking sound. The sound of giggling and chuckling came from my daddy sitting beside me. I started to laugh, and realized I had forgotten to load the gun.

Spending time with my Daddy is my favorite thing about hunting, and that day was one of the best days of my life. I didn't get the turkey, but I still bonded with my father. Hunting means the world to me. It gives Daddy and I something in common. Maybe I will get one next season.

This entry in the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) 2007-08 High School Youth Writing Contest by Taylor Gibson of Tunstall High School, placed in the Top 30 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: