In this edition:

Happy New Year... Welcome New Subscribers!

This January 13 edition is very special as it is the first edition of 2010 and begins our fourth year of the electronic Outdoor Report. As a result of our new subscriber invitation we sent out while many of you were snowed in over the holidays, we have grown to over 28,000 readers. For over 7,000 of you, this is your first Outdoor Report! We welcome you as new readers and greatly appreciate the continued interest of our regular subscribers. We hope you will be well informed, educated, and even inspired on occasion to do something new and different to enhance your outdoor experiences, or better yet, share with others. Sharing activities with novice outdoorsmen is a great way to "give back" to the outdoors you respect and cherish. You don't have to do this alone, find a group that shares your views and interests and join. Each edition of the Outdoor Report contains examples of organizations that partner with VDGIF staff to provide opportunities to get folks involved in outdoor activities, supporting conservation programs and making our wild Virginia a great place to live, and experience the bounty of our fields, streams and forests.

From all of us who work to bring you the Outdoor Report, we wish you and yours a safe, rewarding New Year full of outdoor adventures!

David Coffman, Editor

New Readers Guide to Your Outdoor Report...

Welcome. We appreciate your accepting our email invitation to subscribe to our electronic newsletter. The Outdoor Report is formatted in standard sections as outlined in the "In This Edition" contents listing at the beginning. There is also an events calendar, hunting season dates, and other program features in the sidebar. Our purpose is to provide you with timely, up-to-date, factual, short articles with links to more details on featured stories. This format allows you to quickly scan through the newsletter and read those articles of interest to you. If you prefer not to scroll through the entire newsletter, simply click on the Section in the "In This Edition:" list you want to view and the section will appear on your screen. The newsletter is emailed directly to you the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. We are especially proud that after three years we have grown this newsletter to routinely include news items from more than 35 partner organizations and agencies. At VDGIF we realize that the conservation, management, and stewardship of Virginia's bountiful wildlife and natural resources is best accomplished with all of us working together. The Outdoor Report is your newsletter, and we welcome your comments, news items, and suggestions for improvement. Read about what's happening, then get out there and participate, enjoy and respect the great outdoors! You can contact us directly at: dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov.

Hunters For The Hungry Out Of Money To Process Deer

During the last two weeks of the eastern deer season a most unfortunate circumstance occurred—Hunters for the Hungry informed its more than 70 meat processors not to accept any more donations of deer from hunters through January 2. The program had depleted its processing funds.

The December 24-January 2 shutdown came the final week of the busy east of the Blue Ridge deer season when vacationing hunters and liberal game regulations likely would have meant donations of another 1,500 deer to feed the needy. Laura Newell-Furniss, the program director, said the decision was made "with a heavy heart." The closure came at a time when there has been a dramatic increase in traffic at the food banks that receive much needed meat from Hunters for the Hungry. It costs on the average $40 to process a deer.

The setback should not mar the fact that Hunters for the Hungry has enjoyed a fabulous year, processing and distributing close to 400,000 pounds of venison, well beyond last year's record of 380,151 pounds. That's enough to provide 1.5 million quarter-pound servings of meat that is low in fat and rich in protein. The program has distributed 16.5 million servings of venison since its beginning in 1991. While no other state has matched that figure, it would be significantly higher had additional funds been available.

The program works this way: Hunters contribute deer and Hunters for the Hungry pays for processing and distributing the meat to feeding programs, such as church food pantries, the Salvation Army, and food banks. A mature deer will yield 50 pounds of meat making the processing cost per pound about 80 cents, well under the $3.50 or more for similar cuts of lean beef.

What has happened this year? Deer have been coming into the program at a faster rate than the money to process them.

Financial contributions come from a variety of sources - gifts from individuals, organizations, churches, civic clubs - particularly Ruritan Clubs - and businesses. Add to that, Hunters for the Hungry sponsors a number of fund-raising events, including an annual banquet in the Roanoke Valley, raffles, golf benefits, and sporting clays matches. A modest amount of money comes from a check-off system that encourages hunters to contribute $2 when they purchase a hunting license.

Still, all that hasn't been enough. The program has suffered continuous financial stress that could be eased by some major donors or more $2 license check-offs.

Here's how you can help:

We appreciate Outdoor Report contributor Bill Cochran in providing this update of a story from his internet column Bill Cochran Outdoors December 31 on funding needs for Hunters for the Hungry.

General Assembly Legislation of Interest to You

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

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

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Fishing Expo Returns to Richmond January 15-17

The Richmond Fishing Expo is coming to the Richmond Raceway Complex January 15-17, 2010. The family-oriented show is geared to be a fun and educational experience for all who attend. Whether you are a fly fishing enthusiast, a bass fisherman, saltwater, lake or river angler, this show has something for everyone in the family. Admission price for the show is $8.00 adult, $7.00 senior, $5.00 junior (6-12). Tickets are good for all three days of the show with free return pass, which is available at show exit. There will be conservation organizations represented and an incredible selection of outfitters, fishing charters, boating suppliers, and seminar presenters. Numerous nationally-known speakers will hold seminars to teach skills and share some great stories of their adventures and experiences. VDGIF staff will be on hand in the Commonwealth Building to answer questions on agency programs, angling education, special training events, and opportunities to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. The Outdoor Report will also have an exhibit in the Exhibition Hall featuring Fishin' Report contributing reporters answering your questions on where to get the latest "how are they bitin'" info on more that 25 primary lakes and rivers statewide. Volunteers from the VDGIF Complementary Work Force will be on hand describing opportunities for volunteers to assist in carrying out a variety of agency programs. For information visit the Show website.

2010 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia Book is Now Available!

The new 2010 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia (Fishing Regulations) book has been published, and a copy can be obtained at the upcoming fishing and hunting shows, all license agents and Department offices. VDGIF Fisheries Division Director, Gary Martel, notes, "This publication not only contains the fishing regulations, but an extensive 'Let's Go Fishing' section, with information about major sport fish, public fishing lakes, major fishing rivers, and the trout stocking program. Also, you can find information about fish citations, state records, angling education programs, exotic species, and more." The Freshwater Fishing Regulations section, including the complete Trout Fishing Guide, on our website have also been updated for 2010.

Attention Saltwater Anglers

The new National Saltwater Angler Registry was launched by the federal government on Jan. 1, 2010, and will require virtually all saltwater recreational anglers in the United States (including Virginia) to call each year and register. The program is an effort to build a complete and accurate "phonebook" to better contact anglers to obtain catch information directly from them. Registration can be done through a toll-free number, 1-888-674-7411, or online at CountMyFish.noaa.gov. Anglers will be required to provide their name, date of birth, address, telephone number, and the regions where they intend to fish, although they will not be restricted to fishing only in those regions and will not be required to register separately for each region in which they fish. There will be no charge to register until 2011, at which point an annual registration fee of about $25 a year will apply. All fees collected through this federal program will go to the U.S. treasury.

Those exempted from Registry requirements are: anglers under the age of 16; those who only fish on licensed charter, party or guide boats; hold a Highly Migratory Species Angling permit; or hold and are fishing under a valid commercial or subsistence fishing license or permit. The National Saltwater Angler Registry is a federal, not state, requirement. State fishing license fees will continue to be required. For more information on the Registry, please go to CountMyFish.noaa.gov. A Virginia Marine Resources Commission report to the General Assembly on the subject can be found in the following document: SJR Report (PDF)

Outdoor Sports Show at Dulles Expo Center January 22-24

The Nation's Outdoor Sportsmen's Show is returning to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly January 22-24, 2010. The family oriented show is geared to be a fun and educational experience for all who attend. Whether you are a fly fishing enthusiast, a bass fisher, an upland game hunter, or you dream of chasing elk in the wild West, this show has something for everyone in the family. Over 30 booths have been donated for use by nationally known conservation organizations for you to learn all about the great work being done by hunters and fisherman all across the country. These groups offer information on hunting lands, fair chase, stewardship management, migration maps, hunting and fishing seasons, and much more. There is an incredible selection of outfitters, fishing charters, boating suppliers, and seminar presenters. Hundreds of booths will be filled with some of the country's best outdoor gear, coastal and inland fishing guides, and outfitters from around the world. Numerous nationally-known speakers will hold seminars to teach skills and share some great stories of their adventures and experiences. VDGIF will have exhibits and staff to answer questions on agency programs, special training events, and opportunities to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. For information visit the Nation's Outdoor Sportsmen's Show website.

Richmond-Area Boat Shows to Combine February 19-21 at the Richmond Raceway

In an article in the January 12 edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch, Peter Bacqué reports that the Virginia Boat Show's producer has canceled the event, originally scheduled for January 22-24 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Affinity Events, the show's owner, will instead combine the downtown show with its Richmond Boat Show on February 19-21 at the Richmond Raceway Complex. The combined show at the raceway complex will showcase about 125 exhibitors, including about 25 boat dealers and attract over 8,000 boating enthusiasts. Read the entire Richmond Times Dispatch article at this link, or contact Peter Bacqué at (804) 649-6813 or pbacque@timesdispatch.com. An update on the combined shows will be posted in the January 27 Outdoor Report.

January—February Sportsmens' Shows Offer Something for Everyone

The six regional outdoor sportsmens' shows scheduled for January - March 2010 feature seminars, exhibits, demonstrations, and contests, promising fun and exciting new activities for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. All the shows feature activities for kids to spark their interest in outdoor adventures. See the latest in specialized equipment and partnership programs offered by sportsmens' organizations. VDGIF staff will be on hand to provide information on hunting and fishing opportunities and agency programs to manage fish and wildlife resources. Each show offers something different, so check each show's website for all the details.

Youth Rabbit Hunting Workshop Scheduled for January 16 in Pittsylvania

The First Annual Oliver "Route" Keatts Youth Rabbit Hunting Workshop, originally scheduled for November 7, has been rescheduled to Saturday, January 16, 2010. The workshop will be held at Wayside Park in Pittsylvania County. The workshop sessions include: Eastern Cottontail Biology & Habitat, Firearms & 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. A $20 refundable deposit is required to confirm registration.

Registration is limited. For information or to register, call Jimmy Mootz at (804) 367-0656 or email Jimmy.Mootz@dgif.virginia.gov

Wildlife Center of Virginia to Offer Rehabilitation Classes

Amanda Nicholson, Outreach Coordinator and Rehabilitation Supervisor for the Wildlife Center of Virginia located in Waynesboro, announces the upcoming "On the Road" classes:

Saturday, January 23rd at the Wildlife Center of Virginia
10:00 am to noon: Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm: White-tailed Deer Fawn Rehabilitation
More information here.

Virginia Beach Hosts Winter Wildlife Festival January 30

The wind may blow a bit colder and the leaves are off the trees, but there is still a wealth of wildlife throughout the Commonwealth. Get outside in Virginia Beach and attend the Winter Wildlife Festival on January 30, 2010, at the Kempsville Recreation Center in Virginia Beach.

This festival is sponsored by Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation with the support of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. There are outings to observe seals at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, see whales in the Atlantic, discover owls at First Landing State Park, and view other winter wildlife like shorebirds and waterfowl at beautiful locations throughout Virginia Beach. Learn how to identify a variety of animal species, while getting energized to go green! Get more information and festival registration here.

The festival will focus on environmental education and wildlife and will feature local excursions, educational sessions, and outdoor vendors. Stop by the exhibit hall at Kempsville Recreation Center and speak with our Winter Wildlife Festival partners, including the Virginia Aquarium, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, False Cape State Park, First Landing State Park, Lynnhaven River NOW, and the Virginia Audubon Society. You'll also learn ways to get involved with local efforts and see what conservation groups and businesses are doing.

The exhibit hall will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the educational sessions and excursions running at various times during the day. In order to participate in the educational sessions and excursions, you must first register for the festival's main registration. There is no cost to attend the festival, but some sessions and excursions do have a fee. Once registered, you can choose which sessions to attend.

Roanoke Valley Master Naturalists Holding Its First Class February 9

If you have ever wanted to know more about animals, plants, or geology of the Roanoke Valley, the newly formed Roanoke Valley Master Naturalists will hold their first training program February 9, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council on Peters Creek Road. The cost is $100 per person. The course includes 12 classroom sessions and four Saturday field trips. Topics in the curriculum include ecological concepts, biogeography, geology, soil science, wild flowers, trees and shrubs, birds, mammals, insects, amphibians and reptiles, fish and stream biology. Following completion of the class, students complete a take-home written exam and a practical exam. After accumulating 8 additional hours of advanced training and 40 hours of volunteer work, students are certified as Virginia Master Naturalists. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the wonders of nature that surround us here in the Roanoke Valley! For more information and to download an application for the class, please go to our website.

Application deadline is January 15, 2010. For more information, please contact: Denny McCarthy, (540) 387-5461, Dennis.McCarthy@dof.virginia.gov or Lynda Calkins, (540) 777-5108, lcalkins@gsvsc.org.

Alleghany Highlands Master Naturalists to Hold Class February 18

The Alleghany Highlands Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists will hold its fourth annual Master Naturalist Training Class at Douthat State Park starting February 18, 2010. The class will be held on Thursday evenings from 5-8:30 p.m. at the historic Douthat Lake View Restaurant. The cost is $125 per person and includes dinner before each class. In addition to the 10 evening classes, there will be 3 Saturday field trips. Topics in the curriculum include ecological concepts, biogeography, geology, soil science, wild flowers, trees and shrubs, birds, mammals, insects, amphibians and reptiles, fish and stream biology. Following completion of the class, students complete a take-home written exam and a practical exam. After accumulating 8 additional hours of advanced training and 40 hours of volunteer work, students are certified as Virginia Master Naturalists. The Alleghany Highlands chapter members participate in volunteer activities including environmental education in local schools as well as citizen science projects such as monitoring blue bird nesting and hawk watching. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the wonders of nature that surround us here in the Highlands and to help protect them. For more information and to download an application for the class, go to our website. Applications are also available from the Douthat State Park office. Application deadline is February 1, 2010. For more information contact Keith Carson at 474-2858.

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

Are you interested in learning the art of traditional duck decoy carving? Nate Mahanes, Program Director for the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, advises that a gift of a registration for this hands-on workshop March 7-11, 2010, is perfect for that special person who enjoys the outdoors. Registration deadline is February 19. Early registration is encouraged as courses fill quickly. Participation is limited to 15 students for a better instructor participant ratio!

An Advanced Wilderness Survival Course will be offered April 16-18, 2010, with a registration deadline of April 2. Ever wondered what you'd do if you were lost in the wilderness or stranded after an accident? Would you know how to survive? Join us for a fun weekend and learn how to SURVIVE and THRIVE in the wilderness! Come spend a weekend learning Wilderness Survival Skills from experts in the fields of wilderness survival, search/rescue, primitive skills, and tracking! Registration fee of $165 covers programming, survival kit components, meals, and lodging.

For details on these courses and other adult programs visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website, or contact by email: nmahanes@vt.edu, or call (434) 248-5444 Fax: (434) 248-6749

Sportsmen and Conservation Organizations Hosting Annual Award and Fund Raising Events

A number of sportsmen and conservation organizations that partner with VDGIF throughout the year are hosting annual award and fund raising events during the winter months. If you are a member of one of these groups we appreciate your support of our aligned missions and volunteer efforts to improve opportunities for all outdoor enthusiasts and conservation of our wildlife and their habitats. If you are not a member of one of these organizations, we encourage you to find an organization that shares your views and join and support them. It is the strength in numbers that will allow us to preserve and continue our treasured outdoor traditions, be it hunting, fishing, boating, or viewing wildlife. The following is a listing of events that our partners have asked us to post"

People and Partners in the News

New Coursey Springs Trout Rearing Facility Nears Completion

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held December 17, 2009 to kick off the completion of the Coursey Springs trout rearing facility's total renovation. The state-of-the-art facility will raise fingerling trout until they reach stockable size in large, circular raceways. It should have the capability of raising over one-half million trout annually. In addition to the new raceways, spring cover and buildings, the facility will be able to treat all its wastewater, improving water quality downstream. The Department will begin bringing in fingerling trout to the new facility in February with the hopes of having the fish reach catchable size for stocking by the end of 2010. The hatchery will be re-opened for public visitation as soon as all construction and testing has been completed.

Eric Brittle Recognized by Farm Bureau for Young Farmer Environmental Stewardship

Eric Brittle, Fisheries Biologist for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, was recently recognized as a State Finalist for the 2009 Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers Environmental Stewardship Award. This award recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship efforts by Young Farmers while increasing public awareness of the agricultural community's commitment to environmental stewardship. Through the use of cost-sharing programs, Eric has worked to establish over 20 acres of field borders for the improvement of quail habitat and water quality on his family's farm. To learn more on how landowners can improve water quality and quail habitat, which benefits numerous species, visit the VDGIF quail management website to find out how landowners can improve quail habitat and water quality.

With nearly 150,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, VFBF is Virginia's largest farmers' advocacy group. Farm Bureau is a non¬governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization committed to protecting Virginia's farms and ensuring a safe, fresh, and locally grown food supply. For more information about the Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers Environmental Stewardship Award or to nominate someone for the 2010 award, contact Ron Saacke at Ron.Saacke@vafb.com or 804-290-1032.

Bedford Youth Deer Hunting Workshop a Huge Success

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), in cooperation with the Virginia Hunter Education Association Inc., conducted a Youth Deer Hunting Workshop on Saturday, November 21, 2009. This workshop was conducted on property belonging to the Bedford County Economic Development Authority and was hosted by the New London Emergency Services Volunteer Fire Station, both located in the New London area of Bedford County. The partnership with the Economic Development Authority was instrumental in this event being offered. This workshop created an incredible opportunity for some area youth to experience hunting in a safe, controlled, and learning environment. Eight youngsters, ages 12 to 15, participated in the all-day event, beginning with a morning hunt. Following the hunt, there was an instructional session on deer biology, deer hunting techniques and firearms safety, and a demonstration in proper field dressing techniques. This was followed with each youth and parent sharing in a hearty lunch before heading back to the blinds for the afternoon hunt.

The hunt began at approximately 6:00 a.m. with each youth being accompanied by a parent/guardian and supervised by a certified Virginia Hunter Education Instructor. Each hunting location had been pre-determined, with ground blinds set up to accommodate all participates. The hunt continued until the close of legal hunting hours with five deer harvested, many deer seen, and smiles all around.

A hearty thanks go out to the VDGIF employees, the members of the Virginia Hunter Education Association and all other volunteers who were instrumental in successfully providing this youth deer hunting workshop. Additionally, thanks go out to the Association for their fund-raising efforts and to all the vendors who so graciously provided donations. The numerous donations received made it possible to provide lunch, snacks, and hunting related door prizes for all the youth participants at no charge.

The icing on the cake for the day has to be the participant's consensus that they can't wait for the next hunt. For additional information on these youth opportunities contact Lieutenant A.B. Fisher at (434) 525-7522.

Disabled Sportsmen and Wounded Warriors Participate in Numerous Deer Hunts

The Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation Wheelin' Sportsmen program, The Virginia Deer Hunters Association, Sunrise Hunt Club in Sussex, and Fort A.P. Hill sponsored deer hunts for disabled sportsmen, veterans and wounded warriors throughout December. For details on these and other events and hunt event applications for future programs, visit the VANWTF 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. The Virginia Deer Hunters Association also hosts hunts for Wounded Warriors and disabled veterans. Steven Sears with Sunrise Hunt Club in Sussex County reported their fifth annual wounded warrior and veterans hunt was very successful utilizing the VDGIF wheelchair accessible hydraulic lift stands for hunting week. All 8 hunters arrived and 7 deer and two turkeys were taken Visit the organizations web sites for photos and inspiring stories of sportsmen volunteering to give back and express appreciation in a special way to servicemen who have sacrificed for us

VAWFA Winter Handicapped Goose Hunt A Big Success

On November 21, 2009, the Virginia Waterfowlers Association held its 2009 winter handicapped goose hunt event. The event provided handicapped waterfowlers great opportunities of goose hunting at its finest in central Virginia. Because the event was held in Atlantic Population (AP) Hunt Zone—east of I-95, all the participants limited out with two birds a piece. For some of the participants, it was their first winter handicapped goose hunt. Before the hunt, the VAWFA set the tempo of the day by presenting the handicapped hunters with hunting accessories and souvenirs. The much appreciated donations were well used by the participants during the hunt. After the successful hunt, participants were treated to a breakfast prepared by VAWFA volunteers. A very special thank you goes to the VA NWTF Wheelin Sportsmen, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the many VAWFA volunteers who gave up their first Saturday of winter goose hunting, to provide the handicapped hunters with a very much appreciated event.

Deadline January 31 for Outdoor Writers Association Annual Youth Writing Competitions

The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, Inc. (VOWA) reminds students and teachers that the deadline for entries in the 17th Annual High School (grades 9-12) Writing Competition for 2009-10 is January 31, 2010. 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 DoubleTree 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 david.coffman@dgif.virginia.gov. For the Collegiate Competition, contact Marie Majarov at marie.milan@majarov.com.

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.

2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar Gives All Year Long

It's past time to purchase the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar! For more than 20 years the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has been publishing one of the most visually stunning and informative wildlife calendars in the country.

The 2010 edition highlights many of the most sought after game and fish species in the state. Virginia hunters, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the rich colors and composition of the 12 monthly photo spreads. Each page is full of useful tidbits for the outdoors lover—including wildlife behavior, preferred fishing and hunting times, hunting seasons, state fish records, and much more! Life history information is provided for each species featured

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

Hunting News You Can Use

The following notes are quick reminders of things you may have overlooked in getting ready for hunting season, or reports of interest compiled from numerous calls we received recently at our information desk.

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 who 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

Hunter Education Instructor Ed Crebbs, from Louisa, received this complementary note from the parents of one of his students...

"My daughter Crystal Spooner graduated from one of your Hunter Education classes in 2007. She was the little girl with disabilities. We wanted to inform you that she won a trip through Hunters Helping Kids out of North Carolina. We just returned this weekend. She was tickled to be chosen, with nine other kids from around the States.

She did get her first doe, but because it rained shortly after, wasn't able to locate it. It was a great experience, and she was able to use the skills she learned from you. Hunters Helping Kids is a great organization; you should look at their web site. We hope that one day we can start a Chapter here in Louisa. They are a great bunch of folks.

The Central Virginian should have an article on Crystal in this week's paper. It will also be televised through Appalachian Outdoors Television sometime shortly. We just wanted to pass on our story to you with a few photos."

Button Buck & 9 Point Buck

Jesse Carter, age 11 from Nelson County, killed his first deer hunting on private land on December 11th at 4:30 P.M. He was hunting with his Dad, Paul, and shot the button buck from 200 yards away using a .243 rifle. At the end of the day Paul presented Jesse with a Buck Lite Hunting Knife he purchased 8 years prior waiting for Jesse's Big Day.

On December 26th at 2:30 P.M. Jesse shot his 2nd buck from 150 yards away with the same rifle on private land. The 9 point buck had a 16 inch inside spread, 1 split brow tine, and double white throat patch.

First Buck is Belated Birthday Present for 10 Year Old Hunter

Bruce Gilliam sent in this photo of 'proud and smilin' Bryant Walker with this 6 point buck he bagged on December 23rd, in James City County, the day after his 10th birthday. Bruce notes, "We were in a double ladder stand with only a few minutes of shooting light left when the buck stepped out. This is his second deer, but the almighty important "first buck". A big thank you to the Outdoor Report for the opportunity to include stories like Bryant's in your newsletter and help keep his and other children's interest in hunting at a much needed level". Happy belated birthday Bryant, congrats on your first buck, and thanks for the complements—it's great to see the smiles from family time in the outdoors.

Young Rabbit Hunters Brave Harsh Winter Weather

Jeff Tomlin from Amherst sent in this story of a memorable winter rabbit hunt...

"With foul weather in the forecast for the end of the week, we decided to brave the windy conditions and take the kids on a quick afternoon rabbit hunt. We ran two in holes but managed to harvest two as well.  We had seven beagles on the hunt and hunted on beautiful Tye Brook Farm in Nelson County.

The hunt was organized by farm owner Bennett Saunders, photographer, and his son Marshall, pictured back row, left. Also pictured are Jacob Tomlin, 7, front row left, Denis Saunders, 11, front row right, Leslie Tomlin, 14, middle row, and Jeff Tomlin, of undetermined age, back row right.

The boys also enjoyed some plastic soda bottle target shooting at the conclusion of the hunt. Target practice for hunting those "wrascally wrabbits" is always a good way to close out the day.

As always, we had a "blast" and will probably be chasing bunnies again real soon somewhere."

Phillip Fore sent us this story and photo of a trophy black bear he hunted in Powhatan County...

"I had a very successful first day of Virginia's Bow season, October 3,2009. My first Virginia bear was over 400 pounds! This large boar will surely score in the Pope & Young record books with a skull estimated to score approx. 20 inches (Skull needs to dry before scoring). I bagged this trophy bear using my Mathews compound bow at 7:50 a.m. in western Powhatan County, hunting on Five Forks Hunting Club property on Cartersville Road. I used a climbing tree stand and was about 21 feet high and settled about 30 minutes before sunlight. This bear had been out all night eating corn & poke berry's and was traveling back to his bedding area when I was able to take the shot at 27 yards. In the pictures you can see the purple poke berries all over his face, not blood. We found 15 to 20 lbs. of berries in the bears stomach when cleaned. The most exciting hunt that I have experienced after 47 years of hunting in Virginia."

A Friendly Hunter's Challenge To HELP Hunters for the Hungry...

The buddies in my hunt club came up with an interesting challenge... As we made drives the last week of the season to get venison for all the club members, we agreed to donate any extra to Hunters for the Hungry. Well, I admittedly missed my one good shot, so rather than do the traditional "cut the shirt tail", I challenged my fellow hunters to donate $10 for every missed shot towards the cost of processing a deer. With all the shooting I hear during some of our hunts we should collect the $40 needed to pay for processing a deer donated to Hunters for the Hungry.

This year with the added drain on food banks from hard times, Hunters for the Hungry can use every donation whether it's cash or venison and helps show that sportsmen do positive things in their communities. If you had a successful hunting season, were fortunate to have harvested more deer than what you can use, and you use a 2009-10 Hunters for the Hungry participating processor, consider setting aside several packages of venison for donating to Hunters for the Hungry. Share and enjoy your harvest with those in need! If you don't have a deer to donate, how about $10 bucks for every one you missed!

Deer Hunting Opportunities Still Available

Late Antlerless-Only Firearms Deer Season January 4-March 27, 2010

Hunters are reminded of the special late antlerless-only firearms deer season January 4–March 27, 2010, in the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, and Prince William, except on Department-owned lands.

Urban Archery Season Runs Through March 27, 2010

Don't hang up your bow just yet—opportunities still exist for archery deer hunting across Virginia. To assist towns and cities with urban deer management issues, the Department established an urban archery season in 2002. This year, the season extends until March 27, 2010, in 21 localities. Due to these areas being more developed, there may be additional restrictions for safety measures that hunters must follow.

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

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

Venison is Healthy and Delicious

Venison, when properly processed and prepared, provides healthy-low fat meat and can be served in a variety of delicious recipes. For great venison cooking recipes, purchase the Hunters for the Hungry Cookbook containing 224 recipes and over 300 pages. You not only get a variety of delicious venison uses, but help support a great charitable program to help our neighbors in need.

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

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.
  • 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

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Preventing Frostbite and Hypothermia

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

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

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

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

How to prevent cold-related illnesses

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

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

"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.

The Nature-friendly Garden

Do you want to successfully grow vegetables, fruits, flowers, shrubs, and trees without using a drop of pesticide? Would you enjoy stepping out of your door each spring and summer morning to hear birds singing and frogs calling? Would you like to attract an adorable little Eastern Screech Owl to your property and watch it perched in the opening of a wildlife box on cold winter days or, even better, be treated to the sight of fuzzy owlets in spring?

As Crozet naturalist and gardener Marlene A. Condon knows, all of this—and more—is possible. And as an author and photographer, she shares her knowledge and photographs in The Nature-friendly Garden (Stackpole Books) which is in its second printing. The basic tenet of The Nature-friendly Garden—living in agreement with nature—is applicable wherever one lives. Here you will find the tools you need to create a backyard sanctuary that benefits the gardener as well as wildlife. You will learn how to take advantage of natural processes at work that make gardening an enjoyable endeavor rather than an endless war needing to be fought.

The color photographs "taken by the author" amply illustrate the concepts discussed in the text. In fact, this book is so filled with anecdotes drawn from decades worth of personal experience and documentation that it is as much a nature tome as a gardening book. The Nature-friendly Garden is available at bookstores, on the Internet, and from Marlene by visiting her website, where you may order an inscribed and autographed copy. If you have questions or would like Marlene to give a slide presentation for your group, please contact her at MARLENECONDON@aol.com.

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.

The Education Outreach Coordinator, Sheila Mary Barnett, with the Virginia Office of Environmental Education in the Department of Environmental Quality offers this gift idea for educators. If you are looking for a great, green gift for an educator and want to support environmental education in Virginia, consider a subscription to Green Teacher magazine.

Create a Holiday Tree for the Kids and the Birds

The large late-December snowstorm and frigid temperatures ushering in the New Year have proved a hardship for wildlife. Here are some ideas to help wildlife through severe weather that is certainly to return before spring. If you are wondering what to do with the kids if snow days keep them out of school, these activities will get them away from the video screens and outdoors exploring nature and helping our feathered or furry critters.

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

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

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

For more info visit the VDGIF website for "Bird Feeding Basics" (PDF)

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

Look at the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for when these nature events occur in January:

Get your copy of the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Snow Cover Offers Best Time to Track Wildlife

The record snowfall covering most of the state, and the East coast for that matter, just prior to Christmas provided a great opportunity to go out and track the movements of wildlife. With the frigid temperatures the snow stayed around for two weeks in many areas and offered a rare outdoor classroom for learning the movements, shelter and feeding habits of wild animals under harsh conditions. If you did not take advantage of this opportunity in December- here are a few observations and photos we made while deer hunting. Next time it snows, dress warmly and head out with your camera and a good wildlife track guide and learn the wonders of nature and how wild animals move about and survive in the snow.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Prescribed Burning Workshop February 6 in Bedford

Are you interested in learning more about using prescribed fire for wildlife habitat management? If yes, then you are invited to attend an educational workshop on using prescribed fire to enhance wildlife habitat scheduled for Saturday February 6, at the Claytor Nature Study Center, in Bedford County from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The hands-on workshop will cover the following topics:

Experts with the Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, along with partnering agencies will be on hand to provide information about these topics both in the classroom and afield. The format for the day will be classroom in the morning and a field demonstration in the afternoon, weather permitting. This workshop is free and open to the public and will take place rain or shine – please dress for a short walk outdoors. You must pre-register for this event as space is limited to 40 participants due to program effectiveness and safety. Directions and details will be made available upon registering. To register contact the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Office in Forest at (434) 525-7522.

Make a Special Bird Treat

The following recipe is a great food mixture for birds that can be smeared on tree bark, fence posts, the wood in a wood pile, or pine cones hung in the yard where they can be seen from your windows. This mix provides a supplemental source of fat energy and nutrients to the birds. Making the mixture is fun, inexpensive and something the whole family can join in.

First, in large bowl, stir together:

Then add 1 part of lard or peanut butter and stir until the mixture holds together in one big ball. (Or, you can substitute bacon grease that's been rendered and chilled, but do not use shortening.)

This mixture will attract nuthatches, chickadees, tufted titmice, brown creepers, woodpeckers, mockingbirds, and even bluebirds. Keep a record of the different species of birds you observe, it's fun, and educational for "children" of all ages. The birds will appreciate it too!

For more info visit the VDGIF website for "Bird Feeding Basics" (PDF)

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.

2010 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia Book is Now Available!

The new 2010 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia (Fishing Regulations) book has been published and a copy can be obtained at the upcoming fishing and hunting shows, all license agents and Department offices. VDGIF Fisheries Division Director, Gary Martel, notes, "This publication not only contains the fishing regulations, but an extensive 'Let's Go Fishing' section, with information about major sport fish, public fishing lakes, major fishing rivers, and the trout stocking program. Also, you can find information about fish citations, state records, angling education programs, exotic species, and more." The Freshwater Fishing Regulations section, including the complete Trout Fishing Guide, on our website have also been updated for 2010.

Attention Saltwater Anglers

The new National Saltwater Angler Registry was launched by the federal government on Jan. 1, 2010, and will require virtually all saltwater recreational anglers in the United States (including Virginia) to call each year and register. The program is an effort to build a complete and accurate "phonebook" to better contact anglers to obtain catch information directly from them. Registration can be done through a toll-free number, 1-888-674-7411, or online at CountMyFish.noaa.gov. Anglers will be required to provide their name, date of birth, address, telephone number, and the regions where they intend to fish, although they will not be restricted to fishing only in those regions and will not be required to register separately for each region in which they fish. There will be no charge to register until 2011, at which point an annual registration fee of about $25 a year will apply. All fees collected through this federal program will go to the U.S. treasury.

Those exempted from Registry requirements are: anglers under the age of 16; those who only fish on licensed charter, party or guide boats; hold a Highly Migratory Species Angling permit; or hold and are fishing under a valid commercial or subsistence fishing license or permit. The National Saltwater Angler Registry is a federal, not state, requirement. State fishing license fees will continue to be required. For more information on the Registry, please go to CountMyFish.noaa.gov. A Virginia Marine Resources Commission report to the General Assembly on the subject can be found in the following document: SJR Report (PDF)

Come Visit Us at the Richmond Fishing Expo January 15-17

The Outdoor Report will have an exhibit in the main Exhibition Hall featuring Fishin' Report contributors to answer your questions on where to get the latest "how are they bitin'" info on more that 25 primary lakes and rivers statewide. Volunteers from the VDGIF Complementary Work Force will be on hand describing opportunities for volunteers to assist in carrying out a variety of agency programs. Stop by our booth and tell us you are a subscriber and we will ask you to take a short reader survey or sign up a friend for their own free subscription and receive a carabiner. Also visit the VDGIF agency exhibit where we will have fisheries biologists, angling education specialists, and law enforcement officers to answer your questions. We hope to see you at the Fishing Expo—bring a friend and take the day to see all the interesting exhibits and seminars. For information visit the Show website.

NOVA Fishing Opportunities Featured at Dulles Expo Center January 22-24

The Nation's Outdoor Sportsmen's Show is returning to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly January 22-24, 2010. The family-oriented show is geared to be a fun and educational experience for all who attend. Whether you are a fly fishing enthusiast, a bass fisher, an upland game hunter, or you dream of chasing elk in the wild West, this show has something for everyone in the family. There is an incredible selection of outfitters, fishing charters, boating suppliers, latest outdoor gear, and seminar presenters. VDGIF will have exhibits and staff to answer questions on agency programs, special training events, and opportunities to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. Outdoor Report fishing information contributor, local blogger, and author Steve Moore, SwitchFisher.com / Fishing the North Branch of the Potomac will be in the VDGIF exhibit to demonstrate his website featuring weekly details on fishing conditions and reports on rivers and lakes across the region. Come see a snakehead and learn about new fishing opportunities. Pick up your free copy of the 2010 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia (Fishing Regulations) book. For detailed information visit the Nation's Outdoor Sportsmen's Show website.

Richmond-Area Boat Shows to Combine February 19-21 at the Richmond Raceway

In an article in the January 12 edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Peter Bacqué reports that the Virginia Boat Show's producer has canceled the event, originally scheduled for January 22-24 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Affinity Events, the show's owner, will instead combine the downtown show with its Richmond Boat Show on February 19-21 at the Richmond Raceway Complex. The combined show at the raceway complex will showcase about 125 exhibitors, including about 25 boat dealers, and attract over 8,000 boating enthusiasts. Read the entire Richmond-Times Dispatch article at this link, or contact Peter Bacqué at (804) 649-6813 or pbacque@timesdispatch.com. An update on the combined shows will be posted in the January 27 Outdoor Report.

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.

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.

Abingdon Angler Offers Tips for Winter Fishing Success

Andrew Kolb from Abingdon, in Washington County sent us this winter fishing success story.

I am an experienced smallmouth fisherman in all major smallmouth rivers located in the Mid-Atlantic region. But, lake fishing is something I just started in the last six months. I performed a large amount of research in the float-n-fly technique and decided to give it a try this year, and the results have been phenomenal! The first fish I caught (pictured here) on December 6, was a four plus pounder. The second smallmouth was even larger, a citation five-plus pounder and the trout, which I did not get a weight on, was 28 inches long! All three fish were caught on South Holston Reservoir on December 20.

All fish were caught using the float-n-fly technique using a 9 foot 6" pole and 1/16 oz duckfeather fly. The fly was set 8 to 10 feet below the float and sprayed with Shad Lure Attractant. The conditions for both days I caught the fish were overcast, cold, windy, and snowing. All three fish were caught off points where the depth varies significantly in a very short distance. The fish were located in roughly 30 to 40 feet of water when they were hooked.

Although fairly new to float-n-fly for wintertime fish, here are some tips that have led to my success:

  1. Safety and comfort first... Dress warm and always be prepared for problems which may arise out on the cold water—carry a spare change of clothes—wool coat or sweater gloves and knit cap in a dry bag in case you get wet. (see info on hypothermia and frost bite in Be Safe... Have Fun).
  2. Fish slow. Once water temps dip below 55 degrees, these smallmouth are suspended around the 10 to 14 foot depth range. Although not willing to chase a fast moving lure, if you slowly get the fly in the right location, they will strike as hard as they do in the pre-spawn/spawn time periods.
  3. Locate deep drop off points where fish congregate. Of all the days I have been out so far this winter, 100% of the fish were caught when the weather was cold, windy, snowing and overcast. Temperatures were between 20 and 30 degrees. Several trips on bright, sunny days yielded no fish.

So try a new winter activity—fishing! Dress for the conditions, be alert to weather forecasts, use common sense, think safety and have fun—catch fish!

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

Check Your Tackle Box for Antique Lures

Old man winter just isn't an angler. So many of us are staying home due to the freezing weather; but there are still things a fisherman can do. One good thing is to reorganize your tackle box. No doubt a lot has gotten moved around and tangled up.

If you have been lucky enough to inherent tackle from Dad or Grandpa, take a close look at what you have. If you have a lot of lures that seem ancient, you should try and look them up on the web. A book on antique lures may also be a good investment. If the lure is valuable you have some choices to make: you could try to sell it, try to use it, or save it for someone special to inherit someday. People buy and sell tackle on eBay, and there are online sites that also buy and sell. Just Google "antique fishing tackle." Using the antique lure is, in my opinion a dicey matter. Sure, fish haven't changed and what worked then will work now; but you run the risk of losing it. Passing it on is a wonderful option—your son or daughter will value these treasures.

Whatever you do, we wish you a good time doing it; and hope it keeps the angler in you going during these cold months.

Come meet us at the Richmond Fishing Expo this weekend...

The Fishin' Report Team will be "hangin' out" at the Outdoor Report booth in the main exhibit hall at the Richmond Fishing Expo at the Richmond Raceway this weekend January 15-17. Volunteers from the VDGIF Complementary Work Force will be there to "lure" you in to fill out a short satisfaction survey on the Outdoor Report and sign-up new subscribers-- we're about to reach the 30,000 subscriber mark!

Author and blogger Steve Moore, switchfisher.com, will be there to demonstrate his website and how to get up to date fishing info and river and lake conditions in the Northern Piedmont and Potomac River regions. Several other of our river and lake reporters will have booths and be participating in seminars, so be sure and look them up.

Most importantly bring the kids!! There are activities and door prizes all three days just for the young anglers.

Look forward to seeing you at the show!

See you January 22-24 at the Nation's Outdoor Sportsman Show in Chantilly

The Nation's Outdoor Sportsmen's Show is returning to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly January 22-24, 2010. VDGIF will have exhibits and staff to answer questions on agency programs, special training events, and opportunities to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. Outdoor Report fishing information contributor, local blogger and author Steve Moore, SwitchFisher.com / Fishing the North Branch of the Potomac will be in the VDGIF exhibit to demonstrate his website featuring weekly details on fishing conditions and reports on rivers and lakes across the region. Come see a snakehead and learn about new fishing opportunities. Volunteers from the VDGIF Complementary Work Force will be there to "lure" you in to fill out a short satisfaction survey on the Outdoor Report and sign-up new subscribers—we're about to reach the 30,000 subscriber mark!

Most importantly bring the kids!! There are activities and door prizes all three days just for the young anglers.

Region 1 - Tidewater

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim reminds us that rockfish season in the Bay is over. He reports that it has been too cold for good fishing. The water is 37 degrees and clear.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown told me that there has been zero action up his way. The water is in the lower 30s and clear.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins says they have been frozen in. The water is icy.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon reports that the frigid weather has kept anglers away. The only crickets he has sold have been for people to feed their pet lizards. The water is very cold and clear.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com I was on the Blackwater above Joyners Bridge this past week for three days. All the coves are frozen over so you can only fish in the river. I caught over 50 blackfish with one of them qualifying as a State Trophy at 11.9 lbs. and 31 in. I also caught eight white catfish with one of them going 5.1 lbs., which is big, considering the State record is 7.6 lbs. All fish were caught on a ½ oz. blade bait vertically jigged in 38 to 42 ft. of water. The big blackfish took me 12 minutes to land which does not sound like a long time but believe me it is when using ultra-light tackle. It is very cold out there right now. Be sure to dress very warm. The water temperature was 34 degrees, so ultra caution should be used while out there. With all those clothes on it makes one pretty cumbersome so minimize standing up in the boat and be sure you wear your PFD.

Region 2 - Southside

Brunswick Lake: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. A new year is upon us with promise of good things to come; however, my trip to Brunswick Lake and County Park at Great Creek did not look that great. Who turned the heat off? Let's say the water is very cold and hard. The ice on Great Creek is at least 2 in. thick and solid enough for this 240 lb. man to walk on without it cracking. I was not foolish enough to get any farther than knee deep water though. Brunswick Lake ice is thick enough for the little snow we had to stick on it.

Any fishing other than ice fishing is out for several weeks. However, you could use your time to get ready for better weather. I will impart some of my hints that have served me well for last few years. I am partial to lead heads that are more flat than round since there are not many round head minnows. If you take a pair of needle nose pliers and flatten the round lead head it looks more like a minnow head. To go one step farther you can sneak into your wife's supply of finger nail polish and paint the lead heads the same color of the grub you are using. I have also been known to paint different color eyes on them. Nail polish works well in replacing the paint on popping bugs when you have chipped it off hitting it on stumps and other hard things that seem to be in the way while fishing.

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. Happy New Year to all! The James is in pretty good shape. The gauge at Scottsville shows it running 5.27 and 4,830 CFS. Temperatures (water) are in the mid 30s. The ramp in Scottsville is covered with frozen mud preventing VDGIF from pushing it. There is good news as the debris pile against the bridge at Hardware has been cleared and it looks like work may begin repairing or replacing the damaged bridge. The New Canton ramp is clean. This section would most likely be the go to spot. The power plant just downstream with its warm water discharge will have more active fish than the colder water elsewhere. Throw Hair Jigs along with some Jig n' Pigs at this time fishing them slowly on the bottom. Hatchmatcher Guide Service can now be found on Facebook. Check it out and become a fan!

Kerr Reservoir: Contributed by Bobby Whitlow, Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow says that there has been no action; there is a skin of ice on the lake. The water is in the upper 30s to lower 40s and stained.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. No fishing out Doug Lane's way, as the river is frozen on its banks. The water is in the lower to mid 30s and clear.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina (434) 636-3455. Ron Karpinski reports that it has been too cold for angling. There is ice on the boat launch. The water is very cold and clear.

WHAT FOLLOWS IS AN IMPORTANT WARNING: The Virginia Department of Health has issued an advisory on walleye fish consumption due to mercury contamination in Lake Gaston. Recent fish tissue sample results from the North Carolina Division of Public Health show mercury levels in walleye fish exceed the amount considered safe for long term human consumption. VDH advises the consumption of no more than two meals a month of walleye taken from Lake Gaston. Virginia's advisory stretches from John H. Kerr Dam downstream 18 miles to the Virginia-North Carolina state line. For additional details, visit the VDH fish consumption advisory page.

VDH recommends the following precautions to reduce any potential harmful effects from eating contaminated fish:

Smith Mountain Lake: Contributed by Mike Snead. Virginia Outdoorsman, (540) 724-4867, www.virginiaoutdoorsman.com

Editor's note: We got a nice email from Bob Rowe (SMSC@smithmountainstriperclub.com) who is the new Editor of the Smith Mountain Lake Striper Club Bulletin newsletter on the value of the Outdoor Report to the Club's members. I appreciate his complements and will reciprocate kudos in that the Bulletin is full of great info on fishing at SML and the SML Striper Club is a valuable partner organization with VDGIF in promoting sound scientific management and conservation of this treasured fishery. I encourage you to view their newsletter and check into membership to support them in their mission. The Club recently elected new Officers and Directors. Congratulations to new President Roy Sammons and the other officers. Mike Snead, at the Virginia Outdoorsman is a sponsoring member of the Club and provides valuable information on how to get the most out of your fishing experiences at SML. We appreciate his contributions to the Fishin' Report each edition. The following report is an excerpt from Mike's report in the December-January edition of the Bulletin and contains some very valuable winter safety and fishing information. Read the full report on his website.

From the Smith Mountain Lake Striper Club Bulletin...
The surface water temperature has reached the magic 50-degree mark as we continue to move into the winter months. This and the appearance of sea gulls signal the start of some of the best striper fishing at the lake. Our baitfish appear to be abundant again this year, especially in the upper sections of the Blackwater and Roanoke Rivers. Huge schools of the very small "gill hangers" or "peanuts" have been a primary source of food for the past several months, providing stripers, bass and catfish with easy meals whenever they wanted one.

The stripers caught this fall have been healthy and have had huge bellies full of these little shad. They continue to "bulk up" as we approach the coldest months of the year. The sea gulls have arrived and can be observed all around the lake. When they are seen diving into the surface of the water retrieving baitfish they provide a very visible indication of potential striper feeding activity.

If we have a really cold winter, many of the stripers will move a little deeper for the winter seeking water that is more comfortable than that on and near the surface. The large schools will break up and stripers will suspend in smaller clusters, often near or on the bottom where they look like submerged timber of catfish. Vertical jigging with spoons, blade lures and flukes is an effective technique for these fish and is a technique that will work all winter long. If you need a little help getting started, ask another club member who fishes in the winter to take you along or stop by your favorite tackle shop and get a little assistance.

Some of the most enjoyable fishing the lake has to offer can be found out on the water on a calm winter day before a front moves in or when there is a light snow falling on the water. There will be few, if any other boats out so you can enjoy the serenity and peacefulness of the lake all by yourself….and the fishing can be terrific. So go ahead, get dressed, get your gear together and head down to your boat to enjoy the great striper fishing. Tight lines!

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. The marina is now open as of 9 A.M. January the 11th.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. Jenny Zienius told me that there has been no fishing her way. The water is very cold and clear.

South Holston Reservoir: Andrew Kolb from Abingdon, in Washington County, sent us some good tips on winter lake fishing using the float-n'-fly technique with a 9 foot 6" pole and 1/16 oz duckfeather fly. The fly was set 8 to 10 feet below the float and sprayed with Shad Lure Attractant. He caught several smallmouth, one a citation "five-plus pounder." He also boated a trout, which was 28 inches long! All the fish were caught on South Holston Reservoir on December 20. The conditions for both days he caught the big fish were overcast, cold, windy, and snowing. All three fish were caught off points where the depth varies significantly in a very short distance. The fish were located in roughly 30 to 40 feet of water when they were hooked. See Andrews 'cold water fishing tips' in a feature article at the beginning of the Fishin' Report.

Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. At last, a ray of hope! Harry reports that while it is too cold to fish the smallmouth streams of the Shenandoah and the mountain streams, you can get good fishing in the Valley! Anglers are landing rainbows in Big Stoney Creek, West of Edinburg, and in the Bullpasture River. Your best bet is to try streamers like Murray's Olive Strymph, size 10; or a Mr. Rapidan Streamer, size 8. The water is 37 degrees and clear.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Contributed by Captain Joe Hecht, Fat Cat Guide Service, (804) 221-1951. The catfishing on the lower James River is better than ever. In the past 3 weeks of fishing we have landed over 75 citation catfish over 30 lbs. with fish up to 70 lbs. These fish are actively feeding, and we are averaging around 15 fish per day. They are hitting fresh cut gizzard shad in 25 to 35 feet of water on channel edges and heavy underwater structures.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, John Garland, Screaming Reels Fishing Charter, (804) 739-8810. Big John reports that there is a good catfish bite for those who will brave the cold. He is landing some big blues. He reminds us to dress in layers to fight off the freezing weather. The water is clear and in the high 30s to low 40s.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Contributed by Capt. Mike Ostrander, James River Fishing School, (804) 938-2350. Fishing in the cold waters of the James is proving quite successful for blue catfish. Blue cats of all sizes are being caught by anglers using cut gizzard shad. Fishing old river channels when the river is high and just about anywhere you find without ice when the river is at a normal flow (based on the Westham Gauge on the non-tidal James). Lots of migratory eagles from the Northeast and Canada are all around the river and can be seen flying and perched in trees along the riverbanks. January is peak time for the winter migration of bald eagles on the James River.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, Local guide and Editor-In Chief, Woods & Waters Magazine, (540) 894-5960. We went from the coldest December on record to what could be the coldest January I can remember. With a number of days now not even offering above freezing temperatures, much has changed here on Lake Anna. Ice has formed down to the 208 region; however no marina is locked in. Consequently, most of the catchable fish have moved to below the 208 bridge. From this region down to Dike III is where you can bump into bass, striper, white perch, and crappie with the most likelihood this month. Water temps. are in the high 30s mid-lake and nearly 50 at Dike III. Here's what you can expect on your next visit:

Largemouth bass: A solid suspending jerkbait bite continues in the mid-lake region. Fish the mouths of main lake coves and main lake points early and late in the day with lures that dive to 10 ft. Jerk—jerk—long pause is the cadence if you want to catch fish. Swimbaits like the new Berkley Rippleshad and a Sassy Shad will also work if you have the patience and luck to find the fish. You can also try a soft plastic jerkbait on a jig head reeled and dropped around schools of bait. Largemouths are often under them. The Dike III region has plenty of largemouths, but you have to know how to pattern their daily movements around the current and bait. You'll find them shallow under birds one hour and 38 ft. deep the next. Soft plastic jerkbaits, suspending jerkbaits, swimbaits, Crazy Blades, and Toothache spoons are your top down lake lures now.

Stripers: A nice concentration of fish has followed bait through the 208 bridge into the deep region from the mouth of Contrary Creek down to the power plant. There are also fish in the Dike III region. For the mid-lake fish you'll have to try a little of everything now. Live herring, Toothache spoons, swimbaits, and suspending jerkbaits—they are all in play now. Don't fish in too much bait—it's usually little threadfin and better suited for white perch jerking. Instead fish the edges of the baitfish schools, and don't get too wrapped up in fishing 100-bird hives. Two to three birds working seriously are much better now. The Berkley Rippleshad is hot down at Dike III. Track the striper as they go from feeding on herring in the current to smaller bait in nearby coves and points, and adjust your bait presentation accordingly. Stay mobile and keep the party going is my motto in January.

White perch: These tasty fish are in the region between the power lines and up into Sturgeon Creek. The top lure is a 1/4 or 3/8- oz. Crazy Blade in ice blue. You jig right on the bottom in 30-40 ft. or yo-yo the bait back to the boat when you see large amounts of baitfish present on your depth finder.

Crappie: Not much going on now. These fish are with the bait and have gone deep. The only exception is in the down-lake region if you know where some deep brush is. Find some and you should still find crappie willing to take minnows on slip bobbers.

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

View video about the snakehead

Get your kids hooked on fishing!

Got Tips?
Got Tricks?
Adventure Stories?
The one that got away?
The one that didn't?

email your material to
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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.

"Thank You CPOs" from one of our loyal readers...

I would like to pass along my sincere appreciation for VDGIF's CPO force. When I receive the on-line Outdoor Report, I tend to skim past the majority of the report and head straight for the CPO report. I'd like to thank whoever is responsible for including this sub-report, as I have a vested interest in seeing some of these criminal clowns nailed to the courtroom wall, and I rejoice whenever I read these reports.

I've had to deal with them in the field at times, and it infuriates me to share the woods with them, especially when I have my children with me.

Most of all, though, I'd like to thank each CPO for his/her service in that capacity. In my eyes, you folks are the "bee's knees".......the "shiz-nit", and the pride of law abiding sportsman and women in our state. And I hope I'm not the only one to write and say: "Hey, thank you very much for what you do. I want you to know how very much I appreciate it, and whenever/wherever I get the chance, I will shake your hand with sincere gratitude." Please ensure this message reaches Captain Pajic and our force of CPOs.

With sincere gratitude and best regards, Ralph M. Huppert II

Region 3 - Southwest

Felons caught hunting illegally face multiple charges... On November 18, 2009, Senior Conservation Police Officer Gene Wirt and Officer Mark Brewer responded to a call in Giles County for illegal hunting. Officers Wirt and Brewer were able to interview the caller regarding the illegal activity. When the officers found the suspect's vehicle, they encountered an eight time felon with two loaded firearms. Upon interview of the felon, he admitted he was in the vehicle and told the landowner that they had shot a deer on his property. Two rifles were seized from the camp and later that night the driver of the vehicle was located and interviewed. The driver of the vehicle had a restricted license and the first suspect had no license to drive. Both suspects had notched tags on their license but had not checked a deer. Warrants were obtained for shooting from a roadway, trespass to hunt on private property, fail to check deer, drive on restricted license, and possession of a firearm after being convicted of a felony. For more information contact Lt. Rex Hill at 276-783-4860.

Region 4 - Mountain & Shenandoah Valley

Citizen complaint and good detective work leads to arrests of five poachers... On November 22, 2009, Virginia Conservation Police Officer E. W. Herndon received a complaint of an illegal deer kill on posted property by individuals spotlighting. The caller was able to provide a vehicle description and license plate information. CPO Herndon located the suspect vehicle and owner on the afternoon of November 22, 2009. CPO Herndon collected samples of blood from the suspect vehicle and photographed evidence. Officer Herndon interviewed the suspect and learned that four other individuals were involved. Officer Herndon discovered at the residence of one of the suspects a six point buck hanging in the garage, an eight point set of antlers and other deer meat in a freezer. He seized as evidence a Remington .270 caliber rifle. CPO Herndon located the other four suspects and took statements from them. A three point buck was seized from two of the suspects along with a Ruger 10/22 rifle. At the conclusion of all interviews, statements and evidence collection, Officer Herndon had written statements of deer being killed from October 6, 2009, thru November 22, 2009. Based on the information from the investigation, Senior Officer Herndon obtained 66 criminal warrants and magistrate summons on 5 individuals for killing deer by spotlighting, attempting to kill deer by spotlighting, shooting from a roadway, shooting from a vehicle, killing deer during the closed season, trespassing on posted property and conspiracy to violate wildlife laws. For more information contact Lt. Ronnie Warren at 540-248-9360.

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.

Editors Note: If you ever wondered what it would be like to be a game warden, spending your days in the great outdoors, retired game warden, Frank Mundy has written 3 books that can only be described as a very humorous look at one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Sgt. Mundy served as a game warden in Virginia for over 22 years retiring in 2009. In that time he has just about seen and heard it all when it comes to enforcement of the Commonwealth's wildlife, fishing, boating, and general laws. Frank will be sharing one of his tales periodically in the Outdoor Report to bring a smile to your face and teach a simple "life lesson" to help you avoid being the subject of one of his future stories.

Books in the "Game Warden Entertainment" series, by Frank Mundy, can be ordered directly from Frank G. Mundy, P. O. Box 22, Broadway, Virginia 22815 for $12.95 plus $3.50 shipping. Or visit his website: www.mundypublishing.com

"But officer I haven't had a drop to drink!"

Abbreviated Story line:

While investigating a hunting complaint during regular firearm deer season, I apprehended one subject and located a baited area. Later in the week, I found a man dressed in camouflage hunting clothes, holding a rifle at ready and sitting on his haunches overlooking the bait.

This was a dangerous situation. I was very deliberate as I approached the subject. The hunter was violating a number of state codes: hunting over bait, trespassing, not wearing required blaze orange. Second, sitting in such a position usually results in a person who, "fights, take flight or both". Dressed in camouflage and dark clothing, seemed to say he was prepared to do either or both.

Always there is a high possibility; someone in this set of circumstances is also a convicted felon, meaning that the person cannot legally possess a firearm. If found doing so, results in an additional felony charge.

I was very apprehensive as I approached the subject. I closed the gap between us very cautiously, with gun drawn. I got as close as I dared, I then commanded the subject to put his rifle down. Initially he did not respond. I really think he was contemplating running or shooting. It took three loud commands for him to lay his gun down.

I quickly took control of his firearm. He could not produce a hunting license and after four or five attempts was finally able to get his drivers license out his wallet. During this time, I detected an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from him.

I asked the hunter, "Have you had any alcoholic beverage to drink today?"
He replied saying, "He had not."
I escorted him to my vehicle where he was given a Breathalyzer test. The result was a B.A.C. of .212. (In Virginia, .08 is considered drunk when operating a motor vehicle.)
I asked him, "When was the last time you had anything alcoholic to drink?"
He said, he drank a good bit the night before but had not drunk anything since.
I knew this was wrong, it was five o'clock in the afternoon, a day later.
I arrested him for hunting under the influence, hunting over bait, no hunting license, no big game license and hunting without required blaze orange.

Fast forward several months, we are in the General District Courtroom before court started. An attorney came to me and advised he was representing the drunken hunter. As you might expect the attorney was dressed in a suit and tie and looked quite professional.

He asked if I would help his client by not prosecuting the "Hunting while intoxicated charge". Even though the attorney was one I liked and respected, I told him "No" because it was a serious charge. He walked back to the defense table and sat down with a frustrated look on his face. Several minutes later, he returned and asked if he could do anything to change my mind and drop the hunting under the influence charge? This time I noticed that his tie was slightly ajar and cockeyed to the left of his collar.

I answered again, "There was nothing, I could do."

He returned to his seat. Several minutes later, he walked back and spoke to his client. Afterwards he came back and advised me he was going to plead his client guilty on all charges and ask for mercy from the court. While he was talking to me, I noticed the top button of his dress shirt was unbuttoned and his tie was pulled to the side.

The attorney returned to the defense table and sat down, his appearance showed me he had concerns about representing his client.

It was a long day in court that day and the court session continued for three hours. My drunken hunter's cases were the last to be heard.

The judge called the case and I walked to the bench followed by the attorney and his client. The judge read the charges and asked the defendant how he pled, guilty or not guilty.
The attorney speaking on behalf of the drunken hunter replied "Guilty on all charges."
Before the judge could say anything else, the attorney started arguing a defense to the charges as if he had pled "Not guilty".
The judge questioned the attorney, "I thought you pled guilty to the charges and now you're arguing the case?"

The judge looked over at the Court Bailiff and said, "Take the defendant into the back and check his blood alcohol content.

While waiting for the bailiff to return, the judge looked at us and said, "I don't know if y'all could smell the alcohol on him but I could the moment he walked up."

When the bailiff returned, he advised he had given a Breathalyzer test and the results were .16. (.08 is drunk driving, remember the subject had not left the courtroom, meaning it had been at least 3 1/2 hours since he could have possibly drunk any alcohol.)

After hearing the test's results, the judge asked the attorney, "What do you have to say now in defense of your client?"
The attorney looked at his client, back at the judge, shrugged his shoulders, put his hands in the air, as if surrendering and said, "Judge, I got nothing!"

The judge found him guilty on all charges; a total of $1,300 in fines/costs and gave him 30 days in jail. He also found him in contempt of court for coming to court intoxicated; fined him an additional $250 and 10 more days in jail.

As the defendant was being taken from the courtroom, he said, "I don't want to go to jail." This reminded me of something, an old mountain man said in reference to one of his kinfolk, "Drinking a lot of alcohol had gotten him nothing and he still had most of it left???"

Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

With the snow and frigid temperatures ushering in the New Year, we wanted to warm your hearts with a wild hog hunting story in sunny Florida. This traditional annual family hunt afforded fond memories for one novice hunter. For 14 year old Jacob Baumeister, a sophomore at Stone Bridge High School in Leesburg in Loudoun County his most memorable outdoor experience was a successful hog hunt with family. Jacob entered his article in the 2008-09 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Competition and his moving story placed in the Top Ten. Jacob has captured the excitement and fond memories that come with a family hunting tradition. He also realizes that as a young , impressionable, novice hunter, the experiences and lessons he learned from his mentoring family members for ethics and safety are lessons that can only be learned in the "outdoor classroom". This particular hunt was even more special as he had had to wait for his father's return from his military service in Iraq so they could go together. Welcome home soldier. Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and continuing the tradition of hunting and sportsmanship with your son.

A Young Virginia Hunter in South Florida

By Jacob Baumeister

It is 5 o'clock in the afternoon and I've been in a tree stand since 3 o'clock with my dad waiting for a hog to turn the corner for a close shot. I am in south Florida with a family friend, two of my uncles, my cousin, my dad, and my grandfather and we are hunting wild hogs. Our group has killed 8 hogs over the last two days and I wanted to get a big boar hog for myself. After sitting patiently for about two hours, I see a huge boar hog turn the corner of some Cyprus trees at about 65 yards and I tap my dad's leg as he is looking in the other direction. He signals me to pick up the 30-06 and he whispers to me to wait for the hog to turn broadside before taking a shot. I aim well and think my first shot is true to the boar's right lung. The wild hog runs about 20 yards and I aim and shoot again. This time, the hog falls over in the tall grass. My dad immediately congratulates me on both of my shots, not knowing which shot was actually true. My dad then climbs down the tree stand, to go check the hog and ensure that he is dead and not in pain.

My first close up look at the wild hog I shot, came when we went out to pick it up in the swamp buggy and take it back to camp. We examined the hog at the camp and found that I had in fact hit the boar with both shots and the first shot had been a mortal shot to his right lung. After much talk, my grandfather said that he believed this was the biggest hog he had ever seen shot out of that area in his 45+ years of hunting for wild hogs. The boar hog I killed has a lot of character. It has a small white stripe running down its snout splitting his nose diagonally in half between white and black. His right ear is torn and he has a scar along the right side of his body which may have resulted from a fight with another hog. We estimated his weight at over 300 pounds. We used a wench on the swamp buggy to lift hogs onto the back to transport. When we hooked this hog to the wench, it actually bent the metal wench completely in half!

I am very glad that my dad taught me how to shoot well and showed me the proper spot to hit an animal so that it will die as fast and painlessly as possible. I would feel bad if I made a poor shot and the hog had to suffer and die slowly. I am a novice hunter and this was my first year down in Florida hunting hogs with my family. I would have started hog hunting 2-3 years ago, but my dad was deployed to Iraq during the annual hog hunting trips and I was not allowed to go without him for my first time. I had a lot of fun during this trip with the only downside being the drive from where we live in Virginia. The total driving time was 16 hours. Fortunately, my grandparents live in South Carolina which is halfway between here and where we hunt in Florida, so we don't have to do the drive all at once.

Although killing a large boar hog was really cool, it was not what made this a very memorable experience. The memorable part of this trip was sharing it with my family. This annual trip is a family tradition that I hope will continue for years to come.

This entry in the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) 2008-09 High School Youth Writing Competition by 14 year old Jacob Baumeister, a sophomore at Stone Bridge High School in Loudoun County, placed in the Top Ten in the Competition. For information on the VOWA Collegiate or High School Youth Writing Competitions visit the VOWA website: www.vowa.org, or contact VOWA Writing Competition 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: