In this edition:
- Demonstrate Respect and Appreciation for Veterans
- Hunting Benefits All Virginians
- Revised Holiday Schedule for Posting the Outdoor Report
- Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
- Bedford County Hosts Youth Deer Hunting Workshop November 21
- Youth Pheasant Hunting Workshop November 29 in Catlett
- Youth Rabbit Hunting Workshop in Bedford December 5
- Youth Deer Hunting Workshop at Claytor Lake State Park December 18-19
- Wheelin' Sportsmen To Host Numerous Deer Hunts November-December
- Holiday Lake 4-H Center Offers Hunters Convenient Lodging
- People and Partners in the News
- Sportsmen Making a Difference for Disabled Veterans
- Jeff Turner Wins Wrangler Outdoor Writer Essay Contest
- Adventure Stories by Young Outdoor Writers Featured in Whitetail Times
- Hunting News You Can Use
- Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...
- VDGIF Continues Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance
- Deer Hunters Must Follow Carcass Importation Laws When Crossing State Lines
- Choosing A Quality Taxidermist Takes Pre-Planning
- Hunters - Are You Ready?
- "What's New" for 2009-2010 Posted on Website
- New Migratory Waterfowl Regs and Seasons
- Video Available to Show Field Dressing Techniques
- Be Safe... Have Fun!
- Blaze Orange is Not Just for Hunters
- Drivers, Use Caution to Avoid Hitting Deer
- Tree Stand Safety Tips
- "Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts
- Outdoor Writers Association Announces Annual Youth Writing Competitions
- All Outdoor Users Be Careful With Fire - Be Alert
- Notes for Young Nature Explorers
- Outdoor Blogs Provide Nature Adventure Info for Kids
- Nature Observations from The Byrd Nest - Red-Breasted Mergansers
- Habitat Improvement Tips
- Turkey and Grouse Brood Reports
- New Habitat DVD Available
- Fishin' Report
- Attention Anglers -- Nottoway Lake Bass Regulation Change January 2010
- Virginia Angler Hector Sara wins world championship carp tournament from Virginia waters.
- Lake Whitehurst Fishing Station and Boat Ramp to Close November 1
- Got Pictures of Your Catch? Share Them With Us on Flickr!
- Safe Boating is No Accident - Wear your Life Jacket and Take a Boating Safety Class
- Sarah White's Notebook
- Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions
- Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
- Field Reports From Officers Protecting Natural Resources and People Pursuing Outdoor Recreation
- Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers
- Student articles from the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association annual writing contests
- "Monarch of the Pines" by Scott Rollins
Demonstrate Respect and Appreciation for Veterans
This 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. Last Tuesday was Election Day when we were free to select representatives that make our laws and regulations that ultimately determine our ability to pursue hunting, fishing and, boating activities. Without the service and sacrifice by our veterans over the past two centuries, we may not have these freedoms - as my Dad, a Navy vet from WW II constantly reminded me, "Freedom isn't free!" Since he passed away just before hunting season several years ago, I now honor his military service each November by first voting and also show respect by sharing a hunting day with a veteran or new young hunter to carry on these valued traditions he fought for.
This 'holiday' we encourage you to do something more than just remembering – demonstrate your appreciation by taking time to do something meaningful in some way this year for our veterans and their families. 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. There are numerous veteran assistance organizations that can use your support featured in this edition.
With Thanksgiving coming in two weeks, we are thankful for the opportunity to partake of all these wonderful blessings that have been, and are preserved and defended by the service, courage, and sacrifice by our military veterans and their families. Showing respect for our wildlife laws honors our military heroes for their service by demonstrating safety, courtesy, and sportsmanship throughout the hunting season.
David Coffman, Editor
Hunting Benefits All Virginians
With the muzzleloading-black powder deer hunting season underway, and the general firearms season opening this Saturday, 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 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...
- Boost the Economy
- Contribute to Conservation
- Wildlife Population Management
- Healthy Minds, Spirits and Bodies
- Sharing the Bounty
Hunt safely and responsibly.
Hunters get huge rewards from time spent in the outdoors– Spending a day afield, whether still hunting alone or following a pack of hounds in pursuit of their quarry, releases hunters from their day-to-day stress. Being outdoors and active builds strength and improves your overall health. Nothing clears the mind and brings on a better sense of feeling alive and part of the environment than a day in the woods. Hunting builds self-esteem as you gain outdoor skills and the satisfaction of being able to participate in the age-old need to pursue and to provide food.
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:
- In observance of Veterans Day Holiday on Wednesday, November 11, the Outdoor Report will post on Tuesday, November 10.
- Wednesday November 25 is a state holiday prior to Thanksgiving. The Outdoor Report will post on Tuesday November 24.
- The regular posting for Wednesday December 9 will be on schedule.
- This is the final Outdoor Report posting for 2009 as only one edition is posted in December due to extended Christmas / New Years Holidays.
- The first edition of 2010 will post on the regular schedule of Wednesday, January 13.
Please send in stories, announcements, events, and photos you may want posted to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 10 days prior to the listed posting date.
Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
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 website. For more information, contact VDGIF at the Regional Office in Forest (434) 525-7522.
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:
- Professionally guided pheasant hunt
- Shooting coaches
- Firearms safety instruction & basic wingshooting skills
- Upland game bird biology & habitat training
- "Field side" lunch
- Must have completed the Basic Hunter Education Course
- Must have a current Virginia Hunting License or Preserve License
- This workshop is great for new, novice, or inexperienced hunters
- Pre-registration is required
Youth Rabbit Hunting Workshop in Bedford December 5
On Saturday, December 05, VDGIF Outdoor Education Program will host a Youth Rabbit Hunting Workshop in Bedford County. 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 successfully complete the Basic Hunter Education Course, and meet all license requirements. Registration is limited! For more information, contact Jimmy Mootz at 804-367-0656 or email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wheelin' Sportsmen To Host Numerous Deer Hunts November-December
The schedule for 16 Wheelin Sportsmen sponsored deer hunts from November through December has been set. For details on these and other events and hunt event applications visit the VA NWTF website. Are you interested in volunteering to assist with an event or have a friend that is interested? Visit the Virginia National Wild Turkey Federation Web site to find numerous links to opportunities and information.
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:email@example.com. Visit the website for information on the Center's programs: holidaylake4h.com.
People and Partners in the News
Sportsmen Making a Difference for Disabled Veterans
A portion of this article has been reprinted from today's Outdoor Wire Feature by Editor, Jim Shepherd, to encourage support for veterans assistance organizations.
Pause and Remember to Say Thanks
Veteran's Day is set aside to honor the brave men and women who have and are sacrificing for all of us demonstrating their willingness to serve and to go abroad, knowing that they will - at the very least - come home changed from the experience. Some will come home safely, others horrifically injured, and some in a box with an American flag draped across it. Taking time to recognize their service seems to be a pretty small sign of appreciation.
If you're like me, and think that's not really enough, there are many organizations that could use your help, your support and your money to help make lives easier for our veterans. Even if you think you're not in the position to give anything in support of our veterans and our military, walk up to the next uniformed serviceman or woman you see, look them in the eyes and say "thank you for your service". You'll see that it doesn't take much to make a difference, and both of you will feel better from that simple gesture.
The Outdoor Wire is going to be participating in a new Paralyzed Veterans of America/Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund's "100,000 Patriots" initiative - a program to raise funds that will permanently support the PVA's outdoor initiatives. Those include hunting, fishing and shooting opportunities for returning veterans who have been injured as a result of their military service.
Today, there are far more veterans in need than there are volunteers and resources to help get them outside. And each of us know there's nothing to help get your juices flowing like a reconnection with an outdoor activity, especially if you've been injured and are struggling with recovery.
But there's also the recognition that times are tough for many of us. A struggling economy and the uncertainty that creates in all of us doesn't do much to create a giving mood. That's why the goal is "100,000 Patriots" - to help fund this program - and give it the permanent resources it needs to keep doing its good work - will only take to give twenty bucks from 100,000 of us. To put that in perspective, twenty bucks is less than what many of us spend for a few cups of fancy coffee.
The graphic displayed here is a reminder that 100,000 Patriots are needed to help get our wounded veterans back outside. And we're going to be tracking the progress toward that goal.
We hope that many of you will take advantage of an opportunity that shouldn't put an undue financial burden on anyone. Neither are we suggesting this is the only opportunity that exists to help - there are a number of great programs that are working toward the same goal - saying thanks and welcome back to our veterans. We encourage you to get involved with any -or all of them - if you can.
This program, however, puts an opportunity to make a difference into the financial reach of all of us. And we all know that Americans pulling together can reach any goal.
Tomorrow, make it your goal to say thank you to every veteran you meet.
Editor's Note: To learn more about the PVA/ORHF's 100,000 Patriots program, you can visit www.pvaheritagefund.org. If you want to donate hunting or fishing trips or other opportunities, you can contact Lt. Col. Lew Deal, USMC (ret) at Lew4vets@aol.com. To get your media organization involved, contact Chris Chaffin at Chris@chaffincommunications.com.
Jeff Turner Wins Wrangler Outdoor Writer Essay Contest
Virginia outdoor writer, Jeff Turner, won the Wrangler Rugged Wear® Adventures Essay Contest in September for his account of surviving a near drowning experience in a frigid river thanks to the Wrangler brand's strong belt loops.
In his essay "Nottoway River Release," Turner described what happened one cold night on the river when he was fishing alone and fell into the water while one leg remained stuck in the boat. After several attempts to free himself, Turner was finally able to dislodge himself and make it to shore. He discovered then the only thing that had kept him and the boat from disappearing into the dark was a root from shoreline vegetation stuck through his Wrangler jean's belt loop.
Turner is a member of the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) and employed by the Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeeper Program as its designated Riverkeeper to patrol the river and guard against pollution violations. His winning essay, posted at www.wranglerruggedwear.com, earned the writer three jeans and shirt outfits courtesy of Wrangler and will be retired from the remaining 2009 competition. Jeff is also the reporter for the Blackwater/Nottoway Rivers in the Fishin' Report each edition of the Outdoor Report.
All members of an association of outdoor communicators in the U.S. or Canada are eligible to submit one essay, of 150-200 words, per year recounting their favorite outdoor adventure in which clothing played a successful role. Outdoor writers may obtain contest entry instructions and rules by e-mailing Bill AuCoin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adventure Stories by Young Outdoor Writers Featured in Whitetail Times
Winning articles from the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, Inc. (VOWA) High School Writing Competition the past two years have been featured in the past two editions of Whitetail Times (WT) magazine, the official magazine of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association. VDHA Executive Director and WT Editor, Denny Quaiff, wanted to feature hunting stories by young hunters in the magazine to encourage more youngsters to participate in the sport. Having seen the winning articles in the Outdoor Report from the VOWA youth competition, he is coordinating with VOWA and the Outdoor Report staff to select articles for the magazine throughout the year. WT is published five times a year with a circulation of over 15,000. Recently the popular hunting magazine expanded its circulation beyond just members and supporters of VDHA to selected newsstands throughout Virginia and surrounding states.
The October edition featured the second place winner in 2008-09, Scott Rollins' story on his encounter with a big buck, "Monarch of the Pines." Scott's biographical information and story are also featured in this edition of the Outdoor Report to usher in the firearms deer season!
The November-December edition contains a two page spread and photos of Michaela Bryant, a Junior at Bishop Sullivan High School in Virginia Beach. Michaela's story, "Attack of the Does" won first place in the 2007-08 Competition. This family hunting story is especially appropriate for Veterans Day as Michaela's Dad, U. S. Navy Commander Mike Bryant is deployed several months of the year as a nuclear engineer on an aircraft carrier and his two daughters look forward to the quality time they can spend with their Dad hunting deer and doves, when he returns home from sea duty.
As the First Place winner in the 2007-08 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Competition, Michaela was awarded several prizes including outdoor gear and a gift card from Bass Pro. She decided to use the gift card to purchase a new slug gun from Bass Pro to go hunting with her dad during the upcoming deer season. Michaela and her family along with other youth award winning writers presented seminars at the Bass Pro "Next Generation" youth weekend in Hampton last August 22-23. She was real excited to select her new slug gun that weekend with the expert advice of the store pros. Read more in the WT November-December edition feature. We'll keep you posted on her further adventures hunting with her Dad.
To find out where you can get a copy of WT, visit the VDHA website.
Winning entries from the Virginia Outdoor Writer Association, Inc. (VOWA) youth writing competitions are featured in each edition of the Outdoor Report in the Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers section. After reading these stories from exceptional young writers, we hope more students will be inspired to write about one of their memorable outdoor experiences and submit it to the competition.
For VOWA Competition guidelines, entry information and required entry submission form for both the High School and Collegiate Undergraduate contests, visit the VOWA website or contact VOWA High School Competition Chairman, David Coffman at email@example.com. For the Collegiate Competition, contact Marie Majarov at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com 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
On Youth Deer Hunting Day September 26, 8 year old Cole Conley (on left) shot his first deer, an 8 point buck while hunting with his dad Chris Conerly. He used a .243 rifle. Hunting buddy, Hunter Hensley, also shot his first buck, an 8 pointer, while hunting with his dad Bob Hensley. He used a .243 rifle also. Both hunters are from Elkton. Congratulations on your triple-doubles!
VDGIF Continues Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has continued its active surveillance for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) during the 2009-2010 hunting season beginning 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 3 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 (2009 CWD Surveillance Area PDF and Mandatory CWD Sampling Area PDF). This is the area of Virginia closest to the CWD detection in Yellow Spring, West Virginia. Consequently, deer harvested in this area on the 3 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:
- November 14, 2009 (opening of general firearms season)
- November 16, 2009
- January 2, 2010 (last day of deer season)
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
Deer Hunters Must Follow Carcass Importation Laws When Crossing State Lines
To prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) into Virginia, regulations were adopted in 2006 which prohibits the importation or possession of whole deer carcasses, or specified parts of carcasses originating from a state or Canadian province in which CWD has been confirmed.
Hunters should learn whether or not the state in which they intend to hunt deer or elk has CWD, a fatal neurological disease affecting deer and elk. The disease has been found in 14 states and two Canadian provinces. These include Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Alberta and Saskatchewan. If you're going to be hunting in a CWD-positive state, be sure to check that state's regulations for proper handling of deer and elk and if samples are required.
For more specific information about the carcass importation requirements, visit the Cervid Carcass Importation Regulations FAQ.
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 learned a lot from consulting with Todd and Vickie Rapalee from Goochland who shared this advice for 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. The most important thing is to get your trophy to the taxidermist as soon as possible if you plan to have it mounted."
See the full story in the October 28, 2009 edition. A feature on preserving birds and waterfowl will be posted in the November 24th edition. For additional information on taxidermist services visit Rapalee Taxidermy, Inc. website and the Virginia Taxidermist Association.
Hunters - Are You Ready?
The muzzleloader deer season has begun for deer, bear, turkey and several other species. The general firearms deer season opens 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 on 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Be Safe... Have Fun!
Blaze Orange Is Not Just For Hunters! Be Safe, Be Seen!
Except for hunting waterfowl, wearing blaze orange during the general firearms hunting season is not only smart - it's the law! And a good one that saves lives each year. But blaze orange is not just for hunters. This high-visibility "safety orange" is recognized in the workplace, both indoors or out, so you can bee seen. If you are a landowner, jogger, hiker, or walk your dog on woodland trails, you would be wise to wear a blaze orange hat, vest, or coat so a hunter can see you and not mistake your movement for game. Just like driving defensively, you should take the same precautions and awareness if you go to the woods for any reason during the hunting seasons from October through January. Dress defensively. Wear blaze orange to be safe and be seen. Also, if you should fall and get injured, rescuers will find you easier... time saved that could keep you from further harm. If you have dogs that "roam" out of the yard, put a blaze orange collar on them so they are not likely to be mistaken for a fox or coyote. Remember whether you are a hunter, or just enjoying the outdoors, cutting firewood or walking a woodland trail, wear "safety orange"- it's the woodswise thing to do!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
Tree Stand Safety Tips
Now that Daylight Savings Time is over, the days are getting shorter and with bow season and early muzzleloading season ongoing, 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...
- Let other hunters in your party know where your stand is located. Leave a map on the dashboard indicating the time you will return.
- 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.
- Carry an extra flashlight, one of them being the headlight or cap bill type that allows hands-free operation.
- Wear full-body safety harness at all times maintaining three points of contact at all times.
- 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.
- Always use a hauling rope for your gear. Tie hauling rope to belt or stand when climbing to keep hands free.
- Unload gun or bow before climbing or descending stand.
- Wear blaze orange in stand. Let other hunters in area know where you are.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Outdoor Writers Association Announces Annual Youth Writing Competitions
The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, Inc. (VOWA) announces its 17th Annual High School (grades 9-12) Writing Competition for 2009-10. The goal of the competition is to reward young people for excellence in communicating their personal experiences in the outdoors. The competition is open to all Virginia students in grades 9 through 12, including home-schooled students.
The theme of this year's contest is based on "A Memorable Outdoor Experience". An experience by the student writer with hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, hiking, birding or other outdoor activity should be the predominant subject matter. No athletic event or competition is an eligible subject matter. Submissions can be submitted in a Microsoft Word or text file since the three top winners will be posted on the VOWA Web site, and may be in other publications or on web sites. E-mail submissions are encouraged - write the document and then attach it to an e-mail. The submissions can be made between now and the January 31, 2010, deadline.
Awards will consist of gift certificates and gear from outdoor sports businesses and Supporting Members of VOWA. Over $500 in prizes will be awarded. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the VOWA's Annual Meeting in Charlottesville, on March 17, 2010, at the Double Tree Hotel. The winner's parents (or mentor/teacher) will be guests of VOWA for the presentation event. There is also a separate competition for college level undergraduates interested in pursuing journalism or communication careers and interests.
For Competition guidelines, entry information and required entry submission form for both the High School and Collegiate Undergraduate contests, visit the VOWA website or contact VOWA High School Competition Chairman, David Coffman at email@example.com. For the Collegiate Competition, contact Marie Majarov at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winning entries are featured in each edition of the Outdoor Report in the Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers section. After reading these stories from exceptional young writers, we hope you will be inspired to write about one of your memorable outdoor experiences and submit it to the competition.
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:
- Build campfires in an area away from flammable materials and clear leaves, grass, and other debris for 10 feet around the fire pit.
- It is recommended that you not smoke in the woods, but if you do, be careful when lighting and extinguishing cigarettes. Never throw a cigarette butt from your vehicle window or leave burnt cigarettes behind.
- Do not park on dry grass or leaves. Your vehicle's exhaust and catalytic converter can easily start a fire.
- Keep spark arresters on chain saws and on off-road vehicles.
- Carry an extra water bottle in case you need it to extinguish a small fire or sparks.
- Keep your cell phone charged and call 911 to report fires.
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.
Looking for the perfect gift for the outdoor enthusiast?
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.
- Kids Discover Nature by Jodi Valenta
- Virginia Naturally newsletter
Nature Observations from The Byrd Nest by Marika Byrd
Red-breasted Mergansers (Mergus serrator) are expert diving and underwater swimmers of about 23 inches found along coastal waters and lakes in groups of six to 12 birds. Their red-orange serrated bill is long and slender, and they have a spiked head crest. The male is black, rust, and gray, a white ring around the neck with a dark green, iridescent head. The female is gray, a rusty, ragged, double crested head with a white throat and foreneck. They dive so fast when shot at that it can allegedly avoid the flint-lock shots coming at it. When traveling a great distance this species can well sustain itself. Known as the "Shell-drake," these waterfowl like and rely on a freshwater habitat; small fish are their food choice, along with aquatic insects, frogs, and crustaceans. They greatly overeat and then are not able to take wing until time passes or it ejects some of the eaten volume.
Red-breasted nests are located short distances from freshwater ponds, in grasses or even low bushes. Using dry weeds and various mosses, females make a nest and then line it with breast down, known as feathers. The eggs are a plain, dull yellow cream color and in size are compared to small chicken eggs. Shortly after birth, the babies take to the water as though they are expert swimmers and divers at such an early age.
The female call is "prrak, prrak," with the male giving a hiccup-and-sneeze type of call. Red-breasted are said to be shy; the male is ever vigilant and very suspicious once leaving the female to watch over the incubation. There are claims of a red-breasted merganser reaching 80 mph at level flight.
Habitat Improvement Tips
Wild Turkey and Ruffed Grouse Brood Reports
VDGIF Forest Game Bird Project Leader Gary Norman reports that the wet spring was undoubtedly a welcome relief to farmers across Virginia who suffered through last year's droughty conditions. Unfortunately, it appears that those wet conditions may have led to reduced reproductive success for both turkey and grouse populations. Every reproductive index for both turkey and grouse declined in 2009. Furthermore, observations of adult birds also declined. Combined, these data suggest a decline in turkey and grouse numbers this fall. One caveat to this statement is that we received virtually no reports from Regions 1- Tidewater and Region 5- Northern Piedmont, so these data are not truly statewide and may reflect some bias towards those Regions that participated in the survey. Furthermore, several individuals report good numbers of turkeys in certain local areas, so the poor production may not be uniform across the state.
On top of the poor reproduction, we saw very spotty mast conditions across most of the state. Low mast conditions translate to higher harvest rates. So while the populations have apparently declined in 2009, the fall harvest may not drop as sharply because of higher harvest rates. This is somewhat of a double-edged sword as we might anticipate similar fall harvests this year, but it will be because of poor mast conditions rather than a population increase. Higher harvest rates in years of poor reproduction may negatively impacts turkey populations unless we have better reproduction and mast crops in the coming years.
This year will mark the third year we've collected observation data along with mileage. By presenting these data on a per mile basis, we are able to overcome problems with changes in personnel and participation rates in the survey. I would like to personally thank those individuals that took the time to report observations. Thanks also to Jay Howell, VDGIF Data Analyst and Quail Project Coordinator, for his support of the database.
Table 1. Statewide observations of wild turkeys by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries staff from June through August, 2007-09. These data primarily reflect observations from Regions 2- Southside, 3- Southwest, and 4- Mountain and Shenandoah Valley.
|Observation Per 1,000 Miles|
¹Poults/Hen includes hens with and without poults.
Table 2. Observations of ruffed grouse by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries staff from June through August, 2008-09. These data primarily reflect observations from Regions 3 and 4.
|Observation Per 1,000 Miles|
¹Chicks/Hen includes hens with and without chicks
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!
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.
Attention Anglers -- Nottoway Lake Bass Regulation Change January 2010
Effective January 1, 2010 the largemouth bass length limit at Nottoway "Lee" Lake will be changed to a 14-18 inch slot limit. All bass between 14 and 18 inches must be released unharmed. The five (5) largemouth bass/day creel limit will remain the same. Nottoway Lake has always been a very good bass fishery with very high bass numbers and also a high percentage of quality bass over 15 inches – not usually something that most systems can maintain. Unfortunately, conditions have shifted in the past 2-3 years with fewer of these quality fish sampled in the population; potentially due to harvest. While the 18-inch upper limit won't protect all big fish it does fit the average growth potential of Nottoway Lake. An index commonly used by VDGIF to measure the relative abundance of bass in Virginia waters highlights this decline in bigger largemouth bass; this is the measure of the number of bass greater than 15 inches collected in one hour of sampling effort:
CPUE - Preferred
2005 24.5 f/hr
2007 15.8 f/hr
2009 5.0 f/hr
Overall total numbers of bass in the Nottoway population remain very high so the number of young bass entering the system is definitely not a concern at this time. The new slot limit will serve a dual purpose at Nottoway Lake. First, it will allow for the harvest of some larger fish up to 14 inches. Second, it will reduce the number of smaller largemouth bass competing for limited prey resources which should provide more available prey for the larger bass in the population. We are confident that this regulation change will be very beneficial for anglers and for the bass population at Nottoway Lake.
Virginia angler Hector Sara wins world championship carp tournament from Virginia waters.
While competing in the Autumn TOKS Big Four International Tournament September 25 - October 31, 2009, Hector Sara of Virginia took First Place by landing four carp weighing a total of 134.02 lbs. Hector Sara caught these carp from undisclosed waters in the state of Virginia, the heaviest weighing 41.08 lbs. Hector competed against anglers from all over the world to claim the title. Visit www.Big4Carp.com for more details about the tournament.
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:
- Email your photos to us and we'll post them on our "Virginia Fishing" group on the photo-sharing website, Flickr.
- 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:
- Photos must be of fish caught in Virginia.
- Photos must not depict unsafe practices.
- Please do not publish personal information (last names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, etc.).
- Please do include the species, location, and date of catch!
- 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 remains at 21 inches below full pool. Fish have entered fall patterns, clinging to structure and deep off the points. Reports of small bass, pickerel, and crappie are being caught. Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) stocked 132 walleye of various lengths and weights, wearing orange tags to identify growth, catch, and exploitation rates. If a tagged walleye is caught, please notify Park management so that it can be recorded. If fish is released, leave the tag intact, and if harvested, turn in the tag to Park management. There is no reward for catching tagged fish. VDGIF expects to stock 18,000 walleye in the spring of 2010, and each year thereafter. Notable catches this week: Jim & Ben Randolph, Prince George Co. - 21 crappies up to 1 ½ lbs., minnows.
Scott Hermann, VDGIF Fisheries Manager reports that, "Of 132 walleyes that we stocked into Little Creek Reservoir, we had 21 walleyes that were in the 12 to 21 inch range. All fish were stocked at the boat ramp after receiving an orange colored floy tag with black print, inserted just below the dorsal fin on the left hand side of the fish's body. These tags have DGIF and the specific tag # printed on them as well as the Region 1- Tidewater office phone number (804) 829-6580. There is no reward for these tags. These tags will assist our efforts in determining growth and survival rates along with catch frequency and movements. Any future information collected from tagged walleyes will depend on assistance from anglers and future DGIF sampling efforts. A catch log was given to the James City County park staff to record any possible walleye catches. Anglers are encouraged to leave the tag in place if releasing the fish. This will hopefully allow for future collection of data in the years to come."
Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by Eddie Hester. Anglers have been few this week, but the ones that have fished here are catching fish. Bass are being enticed with crankbaits, soft plastic baits, and some on spinnerbaits. The bass that are being caught are in the 1 lb. to 5 lb. range. I do expect to see some bigger bass weighed in before the weather gets real cold. The crappie fishing is good right now and I have had reports of anglers catching 15 to 20 a day. Chain pickerel are being caught everywhere on everything, if you know what I mean. The water is clear, at full pool, and 57 degrees.
Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. According to Captain Jim, rockfish are back. They are in season now with a limit of 2 per person, and a minimum of 18 in. per fish. Try bucktails, soft plastic grubs or cut bunker. Speckled trout and puppy drum are also there for the fishing around Rudee Inlet and Lynnhaven Inlet. They like Fishbites and mirrolures. Around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel lurk big bluefish. They go for spoons. The water is clear and 62 degrees.
Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown (does he go fishing with Lucy?) reports that some stripers have shown up. They are going for redfins, bucktails, and cut bait. No word on bass, but there should be plenty there. Crappie have been moderate, with the traditional minnows and jigs being your best bet. Some cats have been landed on cut bait. The water is fairly clear and cooling.
North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins told me that the bass are plentiful and going for topwaters, spinners and shallow running crankbaits. Crappie are not showing up as much, but try a jig or a minnow. Lots of big channel cats, up to 3lbs. have been landed, with cut bait and nightcrawlers being the preferred baits. Some small stripers have shown up, and the big boys should be here soon. When angling for them, try rattletraps and crankbaits. The water is clear and in the low 60s.
Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon reports plenty of bass attacking plastic worms. Crappie are also plentiful and going for minnows and jigs. Not much word on cats, but try your luck in the Nansemond and use cut bait. Stripers are there in numbers and are favoring large shiners. There are still some bream to be had in local private ponds, but remember to get the landowner's permission. Once you do, crickets are a good bait, as are jigs and small spinners. The water is clear and in the high 50s to low 60s.
Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com I spent the 3rd through the 5th on the Blackwater River below the VDGIF ramp on Rt. 603, the Steel Bridge. The water was LOW at 3.60 on the USGS gauge, clear and 59 degrees. Air temps ranged from 33 to 65 degrees and it STORMED on us the last night. If you're planning a trip on that part of the river remember that unless the water is at 4 ft. on the USGS gauge, you cannot get across the City of Norfolk's pipeline that crosses the river at Burdette. Also, there was a terrible log jam right at the pump house. I spent two hours clearing part of it that is hung up in the small overhead pipeline support structure, but it will take a lot more than what I can do to untangle all that mess. The fishing was fair this trip. I caught 8 largemouth bass to 2 lbs. and a mess of nice bream. The bass were caught on topwater and a Mepp's #3 Minnow, and the bream also were caught mostly on the large Mepp's. A few of the bream were caught on a jig. I also caught a coon tail perch. The leaves on the river have just about peaked and they are a sight to behold. If you can, you should get out there and have a look before Mother Nature wipes her canvas clean.
Region 2 - Southside
Lake Nowhere: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. It finally happened! Our man was too busy harvesting to fish! Don't worry; we're sure to hear from him next time.
James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. The James is running at 2760 CFS with the water temperature around 57 degrees. As the river dropped from last week's high and muddy conditions, it has left the banks and ramps layered in mud. Use caution when entering and exiting the river as the mud is slick! Fishing conditions should remain stable. Just remember to go slow and deep. Jig-n-Pigs along with lead head grubs should produce a fish or two. You may also want to try a deep running crank bait slowly rolled along the bottom. Fly anglers should go with a heavy sink tip line with a 6 to 8 ft. fluorocarbon leader. Continue to fish crawfish patterns along with schulpin patterns on the bottom in the deeper holes. You may also want to try out the delayed harvest section of the Hardware River as it has been stocked lately with trout. Try wooly buggers and small streamers in size 8 and 10.
Kerr Reservoir: Contributed by Bobby Whitlow, Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Taken from the website.
Stripers: Stripers are moving heavy now. They are starting to use major creeks like Rudds, 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. Doug Lane says that they are "rockin'" on trout up there. Both stocked and native species are responding well. Good flies are: the C K Nymph, sizes 10 to 14; Caddis Nymph, sizes 12 through 16 and the Caddis in the same sizes. Doug reminds us to be careful when fishing to avoid stepping on the spawning beds. The water is at a good level, clear and in the mid 40s.
Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski says that bass will go for Carolina Rigged lures and rattletraps. Not much word on crappie, but small minnows may get you somewhere. Cats are in the Roanoke and like clam snouts, stinkbaits and calamari (with squid ink pasta). Stripers are also in the river. Try to find them schooling and throw a bucktail; or try drifting cut bait on the edge of the shoals. The water is slightly stained and 62 degrees.
Region 3 - Southwest
Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius reports that due to a warm spell that made the crawdads come out, bass fishing has been good on the river. Fish the shallows with a crankbait or jerkbait. Bass angling on Claytor Lake has been "tough". No word on crappie. Cats are heading for their winter holes, so fish deep. Try cut bait. The water is clear and cooling.
Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley
North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Harry says that the smallmouth fishing in the North and South Forks of the river is good. In deep pools use a sinking tip fly line. Good files are: Murray's Strymph, size 6; and Murray's Roadkill Nymph, size 6. The waters are 55 degrees and clear.
The stocked streams in the Valley are also good places to go fishing just now. Good flies are: the Betsy Streamer, size 10; Casual Dress Nymph, size 12. The water there is clear and 52 degrees. The delayed harvest trout streams are also providing good angling. Try a Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly, sizes 16 and 18; or a Casual Dress Nymph, size 12. The water is clear and 48 degrees. Harry reminds us to avoid fishing in the mountain streams, as the trout are spawning and should not be disturbed.
Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenberger (540) 468-2682 www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Mike reports that things are much the same as the last report; but does add that local trout streams are giving good fishing to those who try them.
Region 5 - Northern Piedmont
Piedmont Rivers: Local blogger and author Steve Moore, SwitchFisher.com / Fishing the North Branch of the Potomac. Steve reports that trout fishing picked up with the stocking of Accotink Creek and Holmes Run as part of the Urban fishing program. To assist anglers in reviewing the stocking progress and frequency, Switchfisher.com posts a consolidated table of all the stocking results. With the start of the cold weather, fishing pressure dropped off dramatically. For anglers impervious to the cold, the Occoquan Reservoir is producing well above the Fountainhead launch. Smallmouth remain active on the Upper Potomac above White's Ferry, Edwards Ferry and Point of Rocks (fish the Maryland side). Pig and jig and small crankbaits are the weapon of choice for both large and smallmouth bass with the smallies also taking tubes. The mountain streams are running at a higher flow with crystal-clear water demanding a cautious approach. Mountain anglers may want to dig out a pair of strap-on kneepads to make it more comfortable to stay low. If you fish the mountains, do not wade as you may disrupt the results of the spawn. For directions to these and many other locations, visit Switchfisher.com.
Upper and Lower Tidal James: Contributed by Captain Mike Ostrander of James River Fishing School, (804) 938-2350. Fishing on the lower James River is starting to heat up. Catching citation-sized blue catfish up to 54 lbs., flatheads to 24 (I weighed a flathead for a guy that weighed 38 lbs.!). Catching them on cut shad fished in the main river channels. Crappie and striped bass are starting to heat up.
Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, John Garland, Screaming Reels Fishing Charter, (804) 739-8810. Big John told me that his customers are landing big cats and the "bite is cranking", with up to 54llb. blues being brought to boat. They are also getting small stripers when they are trying for cats, and the big stripers will be here soon. Best bait is cut gizzard shad for both fish. The water is clear and cooling.
Lake Anna: Contributed by Jim Hemby, Lake Anna Stripper Guide Service, 540) 967-331. The Lake is still low but the water temperature is cooler than normal. With a lot of sportsmen in the field hunting this month the fishing pressure should be less than previous months. November brings some of the best fishing of the year with all species of fish gorging themselves, fatting up for the winter. Fisherman can pattern fish easily this month with just a little understanding of the fish's movements. November weather fluctuates from cold nights to warm afternoons, warm spells to cold fronts, and the fish move and feed with the weather. When the temperatures are warming fish move up onto the flats, points, heat absorbing clay banks and rocky structures feeding aggressively and conversely when the cold fronts hit the fish follow the bait right back to the first breaks in deeper water nearby their feeding areas and still feed but their strike zone is much smaller. Use larger baits in warming trends covering large areas of water quickly and when the fish pull back to the break lines slow down and downsize your offerings. Fishing this month is usually more productive in the afternoons once the water has warmed a little.
Stripers: Fish are feeding from one end of the lake to the other now with numerous patterns being productive. Choose a pattern that fits your style of fishing and cash in on some great action. Stripers are schooling and are breaking in low light conditions from the splits down to the Dam feeding in the main lake concentrating themselves near the mouths of creeks and in the current at Dike 3. In the current, it is hard to beat the Pencil Popper worked on the surface. When the fish sound convert to swim baits and spoons to catch the stripers. There are nice schools working the mouths of Sturgeons and Boggs and around the power plant. Mid lake fish are turning on strong with the gulls exposing the numerous schools of stripers. The stripers are schooled well around the splits chasing bait to the surface in low light conditions and schooling deeper in the 20 to 30 ft. flats during the day. Run live bait on downlines or jig spoons and flukes at the depth you see the arches on your depth finder to catch these stripers. Try Redfins on the points in low light conditions to catch large stripers. Traditionally the stripers are found later this month in the Christopher Run and Terry's Run regions of the lake. Hot spots this month will be the mouths of the creeks with fish feeding on the points, flats and humps nearby. Follow the bait migrations and you will stay on the stripers this month. The pattern that produces the best this month is running big gizzard shad behind planner boards in the upper water column over water depths ranging from 25 ft. right up to the bank. The fish want to fatten up and will attack the larger baits driving the shad up to the surface with explosive strikes. It is not uncommon to catch 15 to 20 stripers a day using this technique. If the stripers don't receive too much pressure up lake flats will also produce this month.
Bass: To locate bass this month start in the backs of the creeks next to the creek channels on structures like stumps or humps where bait is present and later in the month when the water cools down follow the schools of bait out of the creeks. Swim baits worked under schools of Threadfin Shad regardless of structure will also catch feeding bass back in the creeks. If fish do not cooperate in the backs of the creeks move right to the primary main lake points and flats. Fish quick moving baits covering lots of water this month using spinnerbaits in the grasses up lake in the North Anna, crankbaits on structures , an throw Suspending Jerkbaits on points and breaking fish for larger bass. Bass will also visit docks this month being caught well on weightless worms. Always fish where you see baitfish nearby!
Crappie: The crappie are also moving with the weather conditions. For the last month I have been catching citation size crappie throwing bait all the way up the rivers and creeks in 2 ft. of water or less! On warming trends they are moving up on the points with brush on them in 5 to 10 ft. of water, on colder days the larger slabs can be caught on the deeper drops on primary points with structure (boulders or brush) on them. They will also move to the bridge pilings in the colder spells and congregate in large numbers. Later this month once the water temps drop below 50 degrees, the crappie will remain on the bridges and primary points. The points around Christopher Run and Hunters Landing will produce well this month. The nicer crappie are feeding on 3 and 4 inch threadfin shad so try larger baits. It is not uncommon to catch crappie on 4 in. Storm Wildeye Shads or Sassy Shads. If the fish do not cooperate, downsize to traditional sizes of jigs and minnows.
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.
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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 1 - Tidewater
Landowner tip leads to arrests for muzzleloader hunting over bait... On October 31, 2009, while working from information they received from landowners in the area, Conservation Police Officers Steve Bratton and Sarah Druy worked a baited area in Accomack County on opening day of muzzleloader season. After taking concealed surveillance locations, the officers observed and charged 3 individuals for hunting over bait. Also, one of the individuals was charged with illegally taking deer after he killed a deer over the baited area. After speaking with an adjoining landowner, it was also determined that the individuals were also trespassing on posted property. For more information contact Lt. Scott Naff at (804) 829-6580.
Region 2 - Southside
Alert CPO nabs hunter with shotgun during muzzleloader season... While on patrol in Cumberland County on October 31, 2009, Conservation Police Officer Jessica Jennings spotted a hunter walking in the woods with a gun. After turning around to approach the hunter, he was not holding the gun anymore. Officer Jennings asked the hunter if he had any luck, he told her that he was "just walking". Officer Jennings told the hunter that she had seen the gun and wanted to know where it was. The hunter finally admitted to hunting and took Officer Jennings to the shotgun he was illegally using for deer hunting during muzzleloader season. He told Officer Jennings the reason he wanted to hide the gun was because he is a convicted felon. There were four charges placed on the suspect including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. For information contact Lt. Tony Fisher at (434) 525-7522.
Region 3 - Southwest
Black bear poaching tip also leads to stolen boat... On October 29, 2009, Virginia Conservation Police Officers Jason Honaker and Tosh Barnette investigated a tip regarding a black bear that had been killed illegally in Scott County. The officers arrived at the residence to interview the suspect. Officer Honaker noticed a jon boat that appeared to be hidden in tall grass. Officer Honaker observed the boat number and recalled the number belonging to a stolen boat reported to him a few weeks earlier by the Scott County Sheriff's Department. Officer Honaker confirmed the boat was indeed stolen. As Officer Honaker walked around to the other side of the boat he noticed a black bear hide hanging at the back of a small shed. As the officer approached the bear hide he discovered the property baited with corn and mineral blocks. Officer Honaker was able to interview the suspect about the boat and black bear. During the course of the interview, the suspect admitted to killing a black bear illegally and stealing the boat. Officer Honaker's interview also uncovered that the suspect had killed a deer illegally. Officer Honaker then interviewed a second individual who admitted to putting out the bait for the deer. The suspects told Officer Honaker that the bear (which was found to be a small cub) kept coming to the back porch of their residence to eat the cat food they had placed there. Officer Honaker's investigation revealed they did not have cats. Charges were placed for Grand Larceny of a Boat, Killing a Deer Illegally, and Killing a Black Bear Illegally. The recovered stolen boat was returned to the owner. For more information contact Lt. Rex Hill at (276) 783-4860.
These CPO reports show the value of concerned citizens, landowners and true sportsmen in providing tips to law enforcement officers on suspected violations by lawbreakers who give other hunters an undeserved bad reputation. Don't let the actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen!
If you suspect or witness a violation, report it to the Wildlife Crimeline at 1-800-237-5712.
To learn more about Virginia conservation police officers visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.
Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers
With Muzzleloader season on-going and the firearms deer season starting November 14, there will be lots of youngsters hopefully getting a shot at their first deer, with the hopes of sighting a 'monster buck!' Whether it is a big buck, or just a day in the woods hunting with his Dad, doesn't really matter. For a teenager who often went deer hunting with his dad, one day last season, he came home with his most memorable outdoor experience. Scott Rollins was a senior at King George High School, when he entered his article in the 2008-09 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Writing Competition. His story won Second Place and not only does the story keep you interested in what will happen next, but as you read about Scott's encounter with a 'monarch buck,' note that he and his dad use good safety practices and just enjoy spending time together in the wild woods. Getting a big buck was only part of his most memorable - the total experience of the hunting trip with his dad was the real memorable day. Scott's article was recently chosen as the first VOWA High School Writing Competition entry to be published in "Whitetail Times", the official magazine of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association.
Monarch of the Pines
By Scott Rollins
For as long as I can remember, I've been in love with hunting. From the time when I was just a little boy standing beside my father hunting deer, to wading out in a waist deep swamp gunning for ducks as a teenager. Even if all I took home that day was a pocketful of dirt and some scratches, I loved being out there in the wild.
Many of my friends enjoy hunting or fishing, but I would say for me it's an obsession. I enjoy spending hours in the woods or out in the fields chasing whatever quarry is in season. But there is one experience that will never fade from my mind. I remember it as if it happened a few hours ago.
I was sitting in a patch of open pines on a drab foggy morning. A dim light was just starting to peek through the treetops. There I sat motionless, quiet as the breeze. My eyes were open wide; constantly scanning the woods around me. My ears were alert to the slightest murmur. It was early black powder season. I was waiting for a decent buck to pass by in hopes of beating my father to the first bag of the season. As the sun attempted to shine through the clouds, the pines around me began to come to life. Birds were fluttering from branch to branch, serenading me in their flights. Squirrels were scurrying along the forest floor and there were hoots from an owl as he settled in for his daytime slumber. The fog rolled through the woods, and it was truly heaven on earth.
As dawn broke, a slight drizzle came down and I vividly remember the branch above my head dripping water directly on my nose. I didn't bother wiping it away for fear my eyes would not be the only eyes scanning for movement. I settled comfortably into my stand. Somewhere deep in the pines I could hear the sharp bark of a fox as he searched for his breakfast. It was at that moment that I heard a branch break on the wooded floor. I searched every inch of the woods around me. I heard another faint snap. I looked high and low, but the pines gave me no help in finding the source. I decided to blow a short note on the grunt call located around my neck. Within a split second, there was a crash. The specter had revealed himself. I could clearly see the buck coming towards me as he trotted down the winding creek. My heart began to race, and my senses became almost superhumanly acute.
I watched as my "decent" buck turned into a wall of tines. His eyes were glaring as he made his way to confront his unseen adversary. His ears were constantly swiveling, hoping to pinpoint this mystery buck's location. He stood there in an opening, his head held high; shoulders locked firm. When he saw there was no real contender, almost in a disappointed fashion, he lowered his head and continued to walk along the creek. Slowly I raised the rifle and trained the crosshairs behind his front shoulder. I eased the hammer back. My palms were sweaty and my heart thudded against my chest. Time seemed to stand still. All of my focus was on him. I slowed my breathing, tightened my grip, and squeezed the trigger. The woods instantly became silent. No birds were singing, no squirrels dancing; just the echo from my shot and the rain pitter pattering on my clothes. The monarch of the woods had fallen where he stood. As the world around me returned to normal, I quickly climbed down from my perch and became as giddy as a boy on his first day of school. I had finally taken that trophy buck that so many hunters wait years for the opportunity to shoot. There he lay at my feet in all his glory. All I could do was smile as I looked over his rack. I ran my fingers through his coarse fur. He was about as mature as they come with his thick, heavy tines and a few broken point tips.
That buck now hangs above my bed. To this day I catch myself staring at it; replaying the scene in my head. I can still hear the breeze whispering in the pines and the rain softly falling and that old king as he strolled along his domain.
This entry in the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) 2008-09 16th Annual High School (grades 9-12) Writing Competition by Scott Rollins, King George High School, placed Second in the statewide competition. For information on the VOWA Collegiate or High School Writing Competitions 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: email@example.com
In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for:
- Taxidermy Tips for Waterfowl
- Making Winter Bird Treats
- Gift Ideas for Sportsmen