In this edition:

Be Proud To Be an Angler, or Hunter!

It is YOU, America's sportsmen, that have funded and lead the fight for conservation, restoration, and management of our precious wildlife and natural resources. For the past 39 years, National Hunting and Fishing Day has served as a public reminder that hunters and anglers are America's premier conservation supporters. The President, Congress, and state Governors annually proclaim this event to recognize the vital role of sportsmen in conservation. Through licenses and excise taxes, sportsmen generate the funds that support the management, protection, and conservation of fish, wildlife and habitat programs — benefiting all citizens who appreciate wild things and wild places.

Here are five ways to observe National Hunting and Fishing Day this month:

  1. Introduce a newcomer to the outdoors — purchase a Legacy or Apprentice Hunting License.
  2. Visit your sporting goods retailer, treat yourself to a new piece of hunting, fishing, or shooting gear, then get outside and enjoy it.
  3. Organize, volunteer, or attend a National Hunting and Fishing Day related event in your area. Many events are listed in the Outdoor Report and also posted at the National Hunting and Fishing Day website.
  4. Remember those whose service to our country and communities will prevent them from joining us afield this fall. Appreciate the freedoms that make hunting, fishing, shooting, and conservation possible.
  5. Log on to www.nhfday.org to learn more about the historic conservation leadership of hunters and anglers. Share the story with non-hunters!

Remember safety and courtesy are free use them generously...

David Coffman, Editor

Hardware River WMA Boat Ramp Now Open with Completion of New Bridge

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has officially opened the new bridge across the Hardware River leading to the boat ramp on the James River and improved the access road into the 1,055 acre WMA. The access road and boat ramp were opened on August 4 and officially dedicated September 2. The new bridge replaces the one originally constructed in 1932, and re-built by the Department in 1984. In the fall of 2008, the bridge failed is annual safety inspection and had to be closed to vehicular traffic. This made difficult the full use of the boat landing on the James River Access and a significant portion of the WMA. The Department and the Board recognized the importance of the bridge to restoring access to the boat landing and that portion of the WMA that lies beyond the Hardware River and made the replacement a priority project. Mattern and Craig from Roanoke, completed the design and Burleigh Construction Company of Concord, Virginia was selected to build the replacement bridge.

The Department invested boat registration fees to match Sports Fish Restoration Funds from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to re-establish the critical boating access to the James River. The cost was approximately $600,000. VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan noted at the dedication, "This bridge represents the sportsman and women's investment in hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, and boating. Without their continuing support, the boat landing would still be closed, and a portion of the WMA would remain inaccessible. Our partnerships with those who love wildlife and boating, with those such as our elected officials who supported this project, with local governments that support our activities in their jurisdictions, and many other partnerships is what keeps the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and its Board serving our customers."

Comment Period Open for Proposed Elk Hunting Moratorium Regulatory Amendment

The Board of Game and Inland Fisheries requested a moratorium be placed on hunting of elk in Virginia at the August 17, 2010 meeting in Richmond. The proposal is to (i) designate that the term elk refers specifically to Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus) and (ii) prohibit the hunting of Rocky Mountain elk in Virginia. The Department will be embarking on a pilot program to restore elk in southwest Virginia and until a viable herd is established the hunting of elk will be prohibited.

The Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries, pursuant to §§ 29.1-103, 29.1-501, and 29.1-502 of the Code of Virginia, proposed the amendment 4VAC15-90-85 (PDF). A public comment period on the regulatory proposal opened August 20 and closes September 20, 2010. The Board will hold a public hearing on the proposal at its meeting 9:00 AM October 5, at 4000 West Broad Street, Richmond, and will consider the proposal for possible adoption as a final regulation amendment at that time. Written comments on the proposed regulation amendment should be submitted online, or may be emailed to regcomments@dgif.virginia.gov or postal mailed to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Attn. Policy Analyst and Regulatory Coordinator, 4016 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23230, and received no later than September 20, 2010.

Public Comment Period Open for Board Proposed Changes to Fishing, Wildlife Diversity, and Boating Regulations

On June 8, 2010, the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries voted to propose a number of amendments to fishing, wildlife diversity (non-game), and boating regulations. A public comment period on these regulatory proposals opened July 16, 2010 and closes September 16, 2010. DGIF strongly encourages the public's participation in the regulation review process; for more information and to make comments on specific regulation proposals, go to the 2009-2010 Fishing, Wildlife Diversity, and Boating Regulation Review and Amendment Process webpage.

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Hunters Helping Kids Hosting Annual Banquet In Waynesboro September 17

The Waynesboro Valley Chapter of Hunters Helping Kids is hosting their annual Fundraising and Recognition Banquet in Waynesboro September 17. Hunters Helping Kids, Inc. (HHK) is a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to inspire and educate our youth in wildlife conservation and management. Virginia representative Dennis Campbell notes, "It is our belief that by involving our youth in outdoor shooting sports, the desire to preserve the conservation and hunting heritage will endure through future generations. It's all about the kids!" For more information on hunting events, or to volunteer to help with a hunt for kids, who may otherwise not have the opportunity to experience an outdoor adventure, visit: www.huntershelpingkids.com, or contact: Dennis Campbell (540) 529-2202, dmc-1@comcast.net.

JAKES Outdoor Day at Caledon State Park September 18

The 3rd Annual JAKES Outdoor Day at Caledon State Park in King George County will be held September 18 from 10 am to 2 pm. This is a great opportunity for youth 6-16 to be introduced to a variety of outdoor activities including turkey calling, archery, air rifle and outdoor photography. The Patawomek Indians will demonstrate flint arrowhead making, hide tanning and building a dug-out canoe. This event is free. Pre-register by calling Caledon State Park at (540) 663-3681. For more information call Buddy Fines at (540) 775-7294 or Bill Newman at (540) 361- 7824. The event is sponsored by the NWTF Fredericksburg Chapter, Fredericksburg/Northern Neck Chapter VA Deer Hunters Assoc., VDGIF, King George Sheriff's Dept. and Parks & Recreation.

Friends of C. F. Phelps WMA To Host "Kick Off" Work Day September 19

The Friends of C.F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will be hosting a "C.F. Phelps Kick Off" event/work day in Remington, VA on Sunday, September 19, from 8am to 12pm. If you enjoy spending time outdoors and meeting new people, come by and help out with three projects that will improve wildlife habitat and increase knowledge and enjoyment of the Wildlife Management Area. Volunteers are needed to install wood duck boxes, rejuvenate the various informational kiosks and help with maintenance at the sighting-in range. A lunch will be provided. Don't miss this chance to learn more about the Friends group! Advance registration is preferred; please contact Patricia Wood at (703) 282-9035 or at pwood12@earthlink.net by September 16 if you are interested in participating in any of these activities or if you would like to get more information on the Friends group.

Cavalier Sporting Clays Hosts Fall League September 19-October 28

The Cavalier Sporting Clays Shooting League is sponsoring a Fall Shooting League to improve your hunting and shooting skills from September 19 to October 28, 2010 at the Cavalier Rifle & Pistol Club, in Montpelier. The league is open to all competitors and offers six different courses – published in advance - 50 shots each. The League is limited to 50 competitors with a registration fee set at $5/course of fire plus cost of clays. For league rules, registration and schedule visit: www.CavalierSportingClays.com.

Visit the Natural Resource Pavilions at the State Fair - Opening September 23

Virginia's Natural Resource Agencies will once again be at the Virginia State Fair at its new location at the Meadow Event Park in Caroline County, located on Rte. 30 approximately two miles north of I-95 (exit #98), near Kings Dominion. Virginia's Natural Resource agencies will be sharing exhibit space in two new pavilions that were recently landscaped with native plants. The exhibits will feature the variety of ways we conserve woods, water, wildlife, and historic resources. New exhibits as well as perennial favorites like VDGIF's live fish tank and snakes exhibit will be sure to delight families. The Fair runs until October 3; details available on their website.

Holiday Lake 4-H Center Offers Powder Horn and Decoy Carving Workshops

The Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox is again offering a variety of popular fall workshops for unique outdoor related skills for building your own powder horn or carving a duck decoy.

September 19-22: Build your own powder horn! The powder horn that participants will be making is a common horn from the late 1700's or early 1800's. Registration is $210 and covers all programming and instruction fees, powder horn kit, meals, and lodging. Register by September 3rd.

September 19-23: Learn to carve your own traditional duck decoy or sharpen your carving skills! Beginners Welcome! Carving experience not needed. First time carvers will carve and paint a Canvasback, one of the most popular of all decoys. Returning students will carve and paint a decoy of their choice. Decoys will be carved from Tupelo, a favored decoy wood. Workshop price is $275 and includes meals, lodging, materials, and instructor fees. Register by September 3rd.

October 22-24: Basic Wilderness Survival and Outdoor Living Skills Weekend. Do you want to know the basics of wildland survival, or increase your knowledge and advance your outdoor skills? Are you just looking for a fun get away to challenge yourself and put your skills to the test? The Holiday Lake 4-H Education Center near Appomattox is hosting a Basic Wilderness Survival and Outdoor Living Skills Weekend October 22-24. The program includes professional and expert instruction with participation limited for a better instructor: participant ratio. Optional classes include: Land Navigation, Building Temporary Shelters, Locating and Collecting Water, Improving "Situational Awareness" Skills, Primitive Tools and Cordage, and Sleep Overnight in Temporary Shelters. Learn knowledge and skills to last a lifetime! Cost of workshop is $175 and covers all programming and instructor fees, meals, and lodging. Register by October 8th.

Early registration is encouraged as courses fill quickly. For details contact Nate Mahanes, Program Director, by email: nmahanes@vt.edu, or call (434) 248-5444 Fax: (434) 248-6749, or visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website.

On September 25th we officially celebrate and observe National Hunting & Fishing Day. Be sure and review the numerous opportunities for hunting-related events, skill building workshops, and sportsmen's shows that offer something for beginners as well as the most experienced hunters, trappers, and anglers.

September Big Game Contests Promote New Hunting Opportunities

Take a Friend, Make a Hunter... Be sure and visit the VDGIF exhibits at upcoming sportsmen's shows this fall. These are excellent opportunities to bring a friend who is interested in the Apprentice Hunting License to talk with experienced sportsmen about the many opportunities for hunting and try out the latest gear to enhance your experience. The trophy bucks on display can provide some inspiration too!

September 11-12: Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) Hunting & Fishing Expo, SVHEC is hosting a Hunting & Fishing Expo in Abingdon. VDGIF is participating by offering the Hunter Education Course, providing additional educational programs, demonstrating the fishing/hunting simulator, and SVHEC will provide computers for guests to obtain their license online during the event. Longbow legend, Byron Ferguson, is the featured celebrity guest who will be demonstrating bowhunting skills. Kim Stewart, Director for the event, noted that exhibitor spaces are still available for vendors, seminar presenters and all organizations/associations affiliated with hunting and fishing to participate. For information visit: www.swcenter.edu

September 11-12: 71st Eastern Regional Big Game Contest, More than 3000 sportsmen and families are expected to attend the official Big Game Contest at the Southampton County Fairgrounds west of Franklin sponsored by the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen's Association in partnership with VDGIF. The VDGIF exhibit will feature subscription sign-up for the Outdoor Report and new hunting opportunities of interest to sportsmen in the eastern regions of the state. The event will feature exhibitors with gear, calls, supplies and taxidermy as well as activities for youth. Biologists and Law Enforcement staff will be on hand to answer questions. For Contest rules and information visit: www.vpsa.org

September 25-26: 71st Western Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest is sponsored by the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Izaak Walton League at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg in partnership with VDGIF. VDGIF's exhibit will feature information on new VDGIF programs and hunting opportunities and the CWD surveillance plan for the northern Shenandoah Valley. Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors will teach safe gun handling and shooting with the laser shot range for youth attending the event. Exhibitors will be on hand with the latest in gear, supplies, artwork, taxidermy, and more. Come see the truly awesome trophy bucks harvested in Virginia. This year the Western Regional is also the State Championship. For Contest rules and information: www.iwla-rh.org

WSLS 10 Sportsmen's Banquet to Benefit Hunters for the Hungry September 25

Come enjoy an evening of food, fun, and fellowship while helping to make a difference in the lives of many less fortunate in our community and our state at the WSLS TV 10 Annual Sportsmen's Banquet to benefit Hunters for the Hungry September 25. The event will be held Roanoke Moose Lodge in Salem at 5:30 pm and includes dinner, dessert, and beverages, a variety of raffles as well as live and silent auctions of donated merchandise. Advance ticket sales ONLY! This event has been a sellout the last several years. NO tickets sold at the door! For tickets or additional information contact: Ralph and Lois Graybill (540) 427-5125 or Fred & Phyllis Wells (540) 992-3874.

Basic Trapper Training Course September 25 in Gordonsville

The Virginia Trappers Association (VTA) is sponsoring the Basic Trapper Training Course, Saturday, September 25, from 7:45 am to 5:00 pm near Boswell Tavern in Louisa County, south of Gordonsville. This class is free but pre-registration is required. All youths under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. If you have a folding chair it is recommended you bring it as chairs are in short supply. You should also bring boots which you may wear in a few inches of water. Bring your own lunch or take your chances with burgers and dogs provided by the instructors. For directions and pre-registration contact: Charlaine/Ed Crebbs: (540) 832-2708; email: ed.crebbs.1959@gmail.com. For information on VTA and other training and trapping opportunities, visit their website.

Bowhunters Tuneup Event in Spotsylvania September 26

Get ready for bow season and improve you archery skills Sunday, September 26 from 9 am to 1 pm when the, Manahoac Bowmen Archery Club is hosting a "Bowhunters Tuneup" at the Izaak Walton League Park in Spotsylvania. There will be 25 animal 3-D targets available in a woodland setting as well as a broadhead range. Crossbows welcome. Cost for entire day is only $10. For information contact Manahoac Bowmen:Jarrett Frame, cjmframe@aol.com, (540) 373-2278 or John Gamble, jg0326@comcast.net, (540) 972-3379.

Kayak Fishing Workshop at Bear Creek Lake State Park October 2

Learn the basics of kayak fishing at Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland County on Saturday, October 2. Kayak paddling and fishing instruction will be provided followed by fishing on Bear Creek Lake. Event is from 9-4 pm, bring your own lunch, for those age 12 and up, kayaks and fishing tackle provided. To register: send names of participants, address, day & evening phone numbers, email address, date of birth and a check made out to "Treasurer of VA", $15 per person to VDGIF Angling Education - P.O. Box 11104, Richmond, VA 23230. Informational mailing will be sent prior to the event. For additional questions contact Chris Dunnavant at (804) 367-6778 or chris.dunnavant@dgif.virginia.gov.

Hunter Skills Weekend Returns to Holiday Lake October 1-3

The first of its kind Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend held this past May was such a success that the sponsors have decided to offer a second event set for October 1-3 at Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox. This workshop offers expert instruction for participants to learn new hunting skills or hone the ones they already have developed.

The Virginia Hunter Education Association, in partnership with VDGIF and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, sponsor this unique training event. Designed to bridge the gap between the basic Hunter Education course and actual hunting experiences, the event will offer specialized training in the use of hunting firearms and archery equipment, hunting techniques for deer, turkey, waterfowl, and small game, and other useful woodsmanship skills. All instruction is provided free; participants pay only for meals and lodging. To find out more, or to register, visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website or call (434) 248-5444.

Women Exploring Loudoun Outdoors October 2

Women Exploring Loudoun Outdoors is an all-day event for women ages 14 years and older, offering various introductory outdoor activities: Archery; Intro to Fishing; Kayaking; Fly Fishing; Rifle, Shotgun and Handgun Shooting; Map and Compass; GPS; Intro to Hunting; Outdoor Survival Skills; Intro to Camping and Outdoor Cooking; Gourmet Cooking of Wild Game and Outdoor Photography. Fee for this one-day event is $50. Early registration discount applies. See registration form for details. Includes coffee and pastries, lunch, educational materials, equipment use and, an event commemorative item. For more information, contact Elizabeth at (540) 535-8891 or lcciwla_welo@hotmail.com.

Virginia State Duck & Goose Calling Championship October 3 at Green Top

The 2nd Annual Virginia State Duck & Goose Calling Championship sponsored by the Virginia Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will be held at Green Top Sporting Goods in Glen Allen Sunday, October 3, 2010. Pre-registration entry form deadline (State & Open) is September 22, 2010. Contestants must be present promptly at 9:00 am with the mandatory caller's meeting to begin at 9:15 am. Order of calls will be Youth Goose, Youth Duck, Open Goose, State Goose, Open Duck, and State Duck. The 2 winners of the VA DU Lower Chesapeake Open Duck and Open Goose Calling Contests will each receive $500 and a shotgun. For contest rules and pre-registration telephone (804) 836-6688 or email Derrick Davis,E. Virginia Regional Director ddavis@ducks.org.

Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary & Sustainability Symposium in Roanoke October 14-15

In celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a symposium entitled Imagining the Blue Ridge Parkway for the 21st Century-Sustaining Communities, Environments, and Economies is being held at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center (hosted by Virginia Tech), in Roanoke, October 14-16, 2010. What is the Blue Ridge Parkway's impact on your community? Are you capitalizing on that potential? Is there more that you can do to keep the Parkway's scenic views scenic, foster economic development and tourism initiatives, and be a good steward to this important natural resource? This symposium is designed to assist community leaders, businesses, economic development authorities, tourism offices, academics, and supporters of the Parkway in working together for a sustainable future for the Blue Ridge Parkway. A host of local and regional experts will present, including Carlton Abbott, son of original Parkway designer Stanley Abbott, as well as three national keynoters: Peter Jenkins, author of A Walk Across America, Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, and Gerard Baker, as seen in Ken Burns's film, The National Parks: America's Best Idea.

The Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Leadership sponsors include: Blue Ridge Parkway Association, Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Blue Ridge National Heritage Area North Carolina Tourism, Virginia Tourism Corporation, County of Roanoke. Register online here. Conference registration deadline is Friday, September 24, 2010. For information on the Blue Ridge Parkway 75th events call Blue Ridge Parkway Headquarters in Asheville, NC, (828) 271- 4779, ext 224.

People and Partners in the News

Tim Hall VDGIF Complementary Work Force Volunteer of the Year

Tim Hall, of Centreville is the 2009-10 Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) – Complementary Work Force (CWF), Volunteer of the Year. Tim is one of the most dedicated and actively involved members of the CWF, devoting most of his spare time, including evening, weekends, and holidays in a variety of volunteer activities. This exemplary volunteer's service standard is achieved while maintaining full time employment as a self-described "old school" auto body repair professional. Selection of the Volunteer of the Year takes into consideration service contribution to include; total hours, scope of service, and the volunteer's support across Department Divisions. An avid hunter and angler, Tim's interest in and knowledge of hunting, fishing, and boating span several decades, including a successful run as a professional on the Bass Pro Circuit. Whether conducting inspections for issuing deer damage kill permits, helping with an exhibit, working the VDGIF booth at the Virginia State Fair, or an Outdoor Recreation Sport Expo, Tim is likely one of the CWF volunteers you will meet. During the year, he has helped with the National Archery in the Schools Program Tournament, multiple Kids' Fishing Day events, creel survey at Leesylvania State Park, training and orientation of new volunteers to conduct deer damage kill permit inspections, transporting display booth materials to and from events, and attending scheduled CWF training classes. CWF Region 5 Coordinator Thomas Goldston complemented Tim saying, "If you are looking for an outdoor hunting, fishing, boating, conservation minded role model for today's youth; you will search long and hard to find someone with comparable enthusiasm, interest, and commitment like Tim Hall.

Wildlife Center Holds Rehabilitation Classes in August - October

Amanda Nicholson, Outreach Coordinator and Rehabilitation Supervisor for the Wildlife Center, announces that the "On the Road" Rehabilitation classes scheduled for this summer:

For more information, including class descriptions and costs, visit the Wildlife Center of Virginia's website.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine located in Waynesboro, admitted a total of 2,534 animals for treatment during 2009 – injured, ailing, and orphaned wildlife from all across Virginia. The 2009 caseload was the highest number of patients treated at the Center since 2004.

Wheelin' Sportsmen To Host Numerous Events in Fall

The new Fall 2010 Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen Newsletter is now posted on their website in .pdf format. Included in this issue you'll find articles about their exciting Spring events as well as the Outdoor Day VII. The Fall Hunt events schedule and Application is now available. Note that the application deadline is October 2. VA Wheelin' Sportsman Coordinator Mike Deane reports, "There are 14 deer hunts scheduled all over Virginia, and we encourage anyone with a disability to apply for these hunts. There is no charge for our events, and they are open to anyone with a disability. Our NWTF Chapters have worked hard to arrange these hunts, so please plan to participate. In addition, we are always looking for new hunt hosts or volunteers to help with our events." If you are interested in hosting or helping with an event, contact Mike Deane, tel (434) 996-8508 or wheelin4u@yahoo.com.

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 summer 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:

Information from VDGIF is featured on the new Mapping Virginia section on the Virginia government portal. VDGIF wildlife management areas, boat access sites, and Birding and Wildlife Trail sites are included. Check it out!

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.

Just 17 Days Till the Special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 25th

With the exceptional success of the first Youth Deer Hunting Day last year, we are confident that this second annual special day September 25, 2010, set aside just for young hunters, will be even more successful. We encourage you to read the special edition of the Outdoor Report we posted last October 14 and be inspired by the comments from those who braved the fierce rainstorms and took time off from other routine fall Saturday activities to give these youngsters a memorable day afield and create a new tradition. I'll bet you remember your first deer hunt, or special day afield sharing the traditions, skills, and character building experiences that can last a lifetime. The creation of these new traditions are especially important in this fast paced society that tends to keep us from taking the time and effort to spend a day in the wild – appreciating the wonders of nature and spending real "quality time" with one of "tomorrow's conservation leaders." Despite the torrential rain and whether they harvested a deer or not, if you took a young hunter out that day you created a special memory and hopefully started a "new tradition" for the last Saturday in September. Ironically and fitting this special Youth Deer Day coincides with National Hunting & Fishing Day – what better way to celebrate than taking a youngster on a hunting adventure. If you miss the special Youth Deer,Turkey, or Waterfowl Hunting Days this year, be sure and take a young person out before the seasons end – the future of our sport and hunting heritage traditions depend on it.

David Coffman, Editor

Youth Deer Hunting Day - September 25, 2010

For more details visit the Department's website.

Early Warm Season Deer Hunting Safety Tips... If you're planning to go deer hunting this September 25th during the special Youth Deer Hunting Day, or get an early start with archery season beginning October 2, you need to keep a few things in mind to ensure you have a pleasant and safe experience. If you're wearing camouflage, it should be lightweight. Keep hydrated – have plenty of water, sports drinks and salty snacks. See more tips in Be Safe... Have Fun below...

Time to Take a Hunter Education Class

Now is the time to enroll in a Hunter Education class for the upcoming fall hunting seasons. The Hunter Education course is designed to teach hunting safety, principles of conservation, and sportsmanship, and is mandatory for all hunters age 12 and older. There are numerous Hunter Education Classes scheduled for this fall. The mandatory 10-hour course is offered free of charge in a variety of formats to accommodate student schedules. The classes are taught by trained volunteer instructors. You can find the class schedules and locations by telephone or website. To find one near you visit the VDGIF website or call 1-866-604-1122. Our team of over 800 volunteer instructors have classes scheduled statewide. But don't wait, as classes fill up fast as deer season approaches.

If you would like to learn more about opportunities on how to become a Hunter Education Instructor, or sponsoring a Hunter Education Course for novice outdoorsmen, visit our website.

License Options for Novice Hunters

With the new Youth Deer Hunting Day September 25th, and the third year for the Youth Turkey Hunting Day on October 16, these are great opportunities for a new hunter to schedule the Hunter Education class and take it with a parent or mentor for a refresher.

Another option is to get an Apprentice Hunting License for a friend or family member that wants to try out this rewarding sport this season. Apprentice hunters are reminded they still have to comply with this education requirement before legally purchasing a state resident or nonresident basic hunting license. Be sure to check out the new Apprentice Hunting License video VDGIF has posted on YouTube. The video is an overview of how the Apprentice Hunter program works. Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, stars of the Outdoor Channel program, "The Crush with Lee & Tiffany," have a special video message to take the time to introduce a friend or youngster to the great outdoors with an Apprentice Hunting License.

There are youth and family-friendly events throughout September all across the state, where you can go to get information and the right gear to make your outdoor adventures safe, successful, and fun. Visit your local sporting goods store or sportsmen event and properly prepare for a great hunting season with family and friends.

New Legacy Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License Now Available

The new Legacy Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License which became available for sale July 1, is a great way of creating lasting memories with your family and friends. For more information or to purchase a Legacy Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License please visit the Department's website.

New 2010-11 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Regulations Available

VDGIF is distributing the new 2010-11 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Regulations digest. This year's hunting seasons will be very similar to last year. However, hunters in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties as well as in the City of Winchester will want to note the additional regulations for these areas based on the discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease in western Frederick County in November 2009. Another noteworthy change this year is the addition of a Legacy Lifetime License.

The 70-page booklet is available free of charge from license sales agents, Regional VDGIF offices and the Richmond Headquarters office. You can access the new regulations booklet on the VDGIF website. To offset printing costs, paid advertisements have been included again this year.

Fields Declared A "Crop Failure" Is Not A Normal Agricultural Practice

The US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Office of Law Enforcement in Richmond states that under existing definitions and case law, waterfowl cannot be hunted in fields that have been manipulated after being declared "crop failures due to drought". Many hunters incorrectly assume this practice is a "bona fide" agriculture practice. With widespread drought and crop failures this year throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, questions from hunters for what was legal prompted the USFWS to make the determination.

Citing regulation: 50 CFR 20.21(h)(i)(1)(i) allows the taking of migratory game bird, including waterfowl, on or over... lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, harvesting, post-harvest manipulation or normal soil stabilization practice. Using M.J. Farms vs. USFWS (Western District of Louisiana ruling dated 12/15/2008) for guidance, the shredding and discing of a standing crop, failed or not, is not a normal agricultural harvesting. Thus the area would be considered baited for the purpose of waterfowl hunting.

As a reminder, 50 CFR 20.21(h)(i)(2) allows for the taking of migratory game bird, except waterfowl, coots and cranes, on or over lands or areas... where grain or other feed has been distributed or scattered solely as the result of manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed in the land where grown. So a shredded and disced field would not be considered baited for hunting dove.

For information on this ruling contact: Dan Rolince, Resident Agent-in-Charge (WV - VA - DC - MD - DE) U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, Richmond, VA. Tel (804) 771-2883 office dan_rolince@fws.gov

Looking For A Place To Hunt Or Fish?

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

For persons with disabilities: a calendar of hunting, fishing and skill-building events, as well as areas designed for access to persons with disabilities can be found on the Department's online events calendar, as well as the VANWTF site.

2010 Hunting Opportunities on State Natural Area Preserves and State Forests

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is offering managed hunts for deer and waterfowl at state natural area preserves in 2010.

At Savage Neck Dunes Natural Area Preserve on the Eastern Shore, a lottery hunt is available for white-tailed deer. There are both Muzzleloader ONLY hunts in early November and shotgun or muzzleloader hunts in November and December. The application deadline is Oct. 1, 2010.

At Dameron Marsh and Hughlett Point natural area preserves on the Northern Neck, a lottery hunt is available for waterfowl beginning in November and running through January 2011. Hunts are on Mondays only during the last segments of the general duck season. The application deadline is Oct. 8, 2010.

Anyone 16 years of age or older may enter these lotteries by completing an application and returning it along with a $5 non-refundable application fee to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation – Division of Natural Heritage, 217 Governor Street, Richmond, VA 23219. As with all DCR hunting opportunities, proof of completion of a hunter safety course is required for each hunter. Hunter safety certificates must be in possession and presented along with licenses if checked during the hunt. For specific hunt dates and additional information and to download an application form, go to the DCR website.

Lottery Now Open for Conway Robinson State Forest in NOVA

The lottery is now open for the Conway Robinson State Forest hunt, consisting of three days only: November 15th, November 22nd, and December 13th. Hunters will be selected using a lottery system with the application deadline 12:01 am, October 4, 2010. Hunt information, rules, and an online lottery ballot can be found at www.dof.virginia.gov/stforest/index.htm (scroll down to Conway-Robinson).

Lots of Smiles Posted at Young Hunters Wall of Fame

The VDGIF Outdoor Report and the VA Deer Hunters Association official magazine Whitetail Times sponsored a "Young Hunters Wall of Fame" at the VA Outdoor Sportsman Show in Richmond Aug 13-15. Young hunters age 15 and under were invited to share their favorite hunting photos at the Show by posting a copy of their hunting photo from any past season, on the wall at entrance to the Show. The top ten best photos were selected by a panel of Outdoor Report photographers and contributors. These winning photos will be used in the Outdoor Report and Whitetail Times magazine throughout the Fall season. The winners received a new 2011 Virginia Wildlife Calendar and other hunting related items.

Virginia Deer Classic Winners Posted on VDHA Website

The winners of the Virginia Deer Classic Contest sponsored by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA) and Swedish Match at the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show August 13-15 at the Showplace in Richmond are posted on the VDHA website (PDF).

Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...

We're looking for some good deer and turkey hunting photos from youth, or novice hunters. Congratulations to those who have taken the time and commitment to mentor a young or novice hunter-- the dads and moms, uncles, aunts, grandparents, or friends for discovering the passion for the outdoors and providing this most important opportunity for developing new traditions, resulting in wonderful experiences and memories to last a lifetime.

Keep sending in great photos of smiling young hunters. Also, any unusual pictures or stories from any hunters are considered for posting. 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. Any firearms pictured MUST be pointed in a safe direction.

Send us the basic information to dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov for a caption including: names, age, hometown, location and date 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.

David Coffman, Editor

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Protecting Your Boat During Hurricane Season -- Berthing & Shelter Requirements

Considerations to remain in port during hurricane passage must include an evaluation of the amount of protection afforded by the port. The direction from which the strongest winds are forecast to blow along with the potential for storm surge must be factored in when deciding whether to seek haven pier side, at anchorage, or further inland to more protected anchorage. For instance, storm surge can pose significant problems to vessels tied pier side. Substantial rises in water level may place a vessel, previously in a protected wind/wave regime, into an area exposed to significantly greater winds and waves. Similarly, many port and dock facilities are fixed. Although sufficient to support the normally small tidal range of the region, they can quickly become submerged when exposed to even minimal hurricane related surge. Additionally, attention to the tying of lines is also of considerable importance. This is because the force on a moored vessel will nearly double for every 15 knots of wind from tropical storm force (34 KT) to hurricane force (64 KT). Therefore, a vessel tied to the pier under normal situations can quickly break from the pier in periods of higher winds causing substantial damage to itself or other vessels. www.nhc.noaa.gov.

Boat owners need to keep a close eye on hurricanes when they are approaching. Regardless of whether you own a trailerable boat or a boat moored in a marina there are some very important precautions you need to take. First and foremost: Don't wait until the hurricane hits to prepare!

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist from the USCG Auxiliary

If you need to secure your boat in a marina:

If you choose to take your boat out of the water, or have your boat on a trailer:

Early Warm Season Deer Hunting Safety Tips

If you're planning to go deer hunting this September 26 during the new Youth Deer Hunting Day, or get an early start with archery season beginning October 3, you need to keep a few things in mind to ensure you have a pleasant and safe experience. If you're wearing camouflage, it should be lightweight. Keep hydrated – have plenty of water, sports drinks and salty snacks.

You'll also want to put on some bug repellent to ward off ticks, chiggers, gnats, and mosquitoes. Stinging insects like wasps, bees, and hornets are still active. Pay close attention to where you are walking going to and from your stand. Check your treestand before climbing up for nests under the seat or in the foliage near your stand! Also, if you are allergic to bee stings, be sure and tell your companions in case you are stung, and have the appropriate medication with you – just in case. Snakes are also out and about with the warmer temperatures, so be alert.

Learn to identify poison ivy (leaflets three let it be!) and avoid contact with the shiny green leaves and hairy vines. Note that you can also get a rash from handling clothes that have come in contact with this abundant woods plant. If you have walked through a patch of poison ivy, wash those clothes to remove the oils which cause the itchy rash.

If it is a very warm day, it would be a good idea to field dress your harvested game as soon as possible and hang in the shade to cool the meat. If it is cold — below 40 degrees — after being field dressed, a deer can hang for several days to chill and age the meat. If temperatures are getting above 40 degrees, you need to skin your deer and cut it up into manageable pieces: shoulders, hind quarters, loins, and "scraps" for burger, jerky, or stew meat, then place in unsealed plastic bags, and ice down these bagged pieces, or place in a refrigerator. "Field refrigerating" a deer can be as simple as four or five bags of ice and an insulating blanket or tarp and cardboard box. The meat also handles much easier for processing when chilled.

As always, practice basic firearm safety. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded, clearly identify your game and what is beyond, and only aim at what you intend to shoot. If using a treestand, always stay attached with a full-body safety harness. So, spray on a bit of bug juice and take a youngster deer hunting in the early season when it's not freezing cold, or the deer have been alerted with increased hunter pressure. Spend some quiet time enjoying and appreciating the wild places. Be prepared, be safe, and have fun!

Remember safety and courtesy are free, share them generously!

Be Aware of Lyme Disease and Prevent Tick Bites

Remember summer is the time to be aware of ticks and the potential for Lyme disease.. Information about Lyme disease and what people should do if they are bitten by a tick can be found on the Virginia Department of Health website. Virginia Wildlife Magazine featured an article about Lyme disease prevention that can be read on our agency website.

The best way to avoid contracting Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Use insect repellant to prevent ticks from getting on you. There are many kinds of effective insect repellants on the market, so read up on benefits and precautions of the various kinds. Some may be applied directly to the skin, while others should only be applied to clothing. Read the label! Note the proper method to remove ticks (PDF) to prevent infection. Should you notice the target type ring around a tick bite or any of the symptoms of Lyme disease, seek medical attention immediately, as early detection and treatment will speed recovery in most cases. Be sure and check yourself, your children and your pets frequently whenever outdoors and after you return home for a few days.

Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!

The upcoming summer boating season is right around the corner, and VDGIF reminds all boaters to boat smart, boat sober, and boat safe while out on our waterways. All boaters should:

Remember safety and courtesy are free, share them generously!

"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.

Reminder: Effective September 1, Feeding Deer is Illegal in Virginia

Effective September 1, it is illegal to feed deer statewide in Virginia. The annual prohibition runs through the first Saturday in January. In addition, it is now illegal to feed deer year-round in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties as part of the Department's chronic wasting disease (CWD) management actions established in April.

This regulation does NOT restrict the planting of crops such as corn and soybeans, wildlife food plots, and backyard or schoolyard habitats. It is intended to curb the artificial feeding of deer that leads to negative consequences.

Problems with feeding deer include: unnaturally increasing population numbers that damage natural habitats; disease transmission, including tuberculosis as well as many deer diseases; and human-deer conflicts such as deer/vehicle collisions and diminishing the wild nature of deer.

Feeding deer has many law enforcement implications. Deer hunting over bait is illegal in Virginia. Prior to the deer feeding prohibition, distinguishing between who was feeding deer and who was hunting over bait often caused law enforcement problems for the Department's conservation police officers.

VDGIF Deer Project Coordinators Matt Knox and Nelson Lafon noted when the regulation first took effect in 2006 that, for more than 20 years, the practice of feeding deer had expanded across the eastern United States among both deer hunters and the non-hunting general public. The most common reason for feeding deer is to improve their nutrition and to supplement the habitat's ability to support more deer; in other words, to increase the carrying capacity for deer.

According to Knox, many people feed deer because they believe it will keep them from starving, but this is not a legitimate reason to feed deer in Virginia. In Virginia, deer die-offs due to winter starvation have been almost nonexistent. As a case in point, this past winter's harsh snowstorms apparently caused little deer mortality. In addition, according to Lafon, "We do not need more deer in Virginia. In fact, we need fewer deer in many parts of the state."

In their natural state, deer are wild animals that have a fear of humans because we have preyed upon deer for thousands of years. However, when deer are fed by people, they lose this fear, becoming less wild and often semi-domesticated.

Fed deer are often emboldened to seek human foods, leading them into conflict with people. Despite their gentle appearance, they can become lethally dangerous during mating season capable of goring and slashing with their sharp hooves and antlers. There are numerous cases across the country of individuals injured, and in some cases even killed, by deer they treated as pets.

People often treat the deer they feed as if they own them, even going so far as to name individual deer. Not only does this association diminish the "wildness" of "wildlife", it also leads to a mistaken notion regarding ownership of wildlife. Deer and other wildlife are owned by citizens of the Commonwealth and are managed by the Department as a public resource.

Deer Feeding Congregates Animals, Increasing the Spread of Disease

The increase in deer feeding that has taken place in Virginia over the past decade now represents one of Virginia's biggest wildlife disease risk factors. Deer feeding sets the stage for maintaining and facilitating the spread of disease.

Diseases are a big issue in deer management today across the United States. Feeding deer invariably leads to the prolonged crowding of animals in a small area, resulting in more direct animal to animal contact and contamination of feeding sites. Deer feeding has been implicated as a major risk factor and contributor in the three most important deer diseases in North America today. These include tuberculosis, brucellosis, and CWD. Virginia's first case of CWD was discovered in a doe killed during November 2009, in western Frederick County less than one mile from the West Virginia line.

Please Don't Feed Deer

It is clear that the negative consequences of feeding deer outweigh the benefits. If you are not feeding deer, you should not start. If you are currently feeding deer, you should now stop. Feeding deer is against the law between September 1 and the first Saturday in January. If anyone sees or suspects someone of illegally feeding deer during this time period, or observes any wildlife violations, please report it to the Department's Wildlife Crime Line at 1-800-237-5712.

To learn more Contact:
Deer Project Coordinator Matt Knox, 434-525-7522
Deer Project Coordinator Nelson Lafon, 540-248-9295
or visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.

Program on Dyke Marsh and Impacts on the Chesapeake Bay September 22

"What Happens in Dyke Marsh Doesn't Stay in Dyke Marsh," is the featured topic at the Friends of Dyke Marsh quarterly meeting, Wednesday, September 22, 2010, at 7:30 p.m., at the Huntley Meadows Park Visitors' Center, 3701 Lockheed Boulevard, Alexandria, VA 22306. The speaker is "native son" Chris Miller, President of the Piedmont Environmental Council. Miller will discuss how what we do in our community impacts Dyke Marsh, the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay and how the preservation and restoration of Dyke Marsh affect the larger environment. The program is free and presented by The Friends of Dyke Marsh and The Mount Vernon Group of the Sierra Club. For more info call (703) 768-2525. For directions: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks.

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve is a 485-acre tidal freshwater marsh on the Potomac River one mile south of Old Town Alexandria, administered by the National Park Service and part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The Friends of Dyke Marsh is a 30-year old conservation advocacy organization. Visit Friends of Dyke Marsh website.

Save Time, Money and Gas - Plan Your Fall Outings in Virginia

With rising gas prices, consider visiting Virginia on your fall outings this year. There is a good reason why our Commonwealth is a top tourist destination - there are thousands of attractions, outdoor adventure opportunities, and natural and cultural history opportunities to explore right here at home! Rediscover why Virginia is for Lovers!

To help plan your Virginia adventure, visit VirginiaGreenTravel.org, a website dedicated to environmentally friendly travel in Virginia. The new site has convenient links to Virginia state parks, outdoor adventure programs, the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, eco-friendly events, 140 green lodging facilities, restaurants, attractions, and travel tips. "Virginia Green is an important focus for our tourism industry, as we work to educate ourselves and improve upon how we treat the natural habitat that helps make Virginia a top travel destination," said Alisa Bailey, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. "It's smart business sense for Virginia and will help preserve and protect our natural heritage for future generations of citizens and tourists."

Outdoor Recreation Focus of New Website

Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech announced a new Virginia parks and outdoor recreation website. The Virginia Outdoors website will make planning summertime trip planning easier. The site content includes video tours of trails in all Virginia State Parks and audio podcasts with park staff and others who provide an insider's view on what our parks and open spaces have to offer. Also visit the VDGIF Birding & Wildlife Trail website for trail features and locations.

Encouraging visitors to enjoy Virginia's outdoors also has real benefits for the state's economy. In 2009, Virginia State Parks had a record 7.5 million visitors. This generated an economic impact estimated at $175 million. Donations from the Dominion Foundation helped develop the new website.

Notes for Young Nature Explorers

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

Virginia Naturally Website Link to School Environmental Learning Programs

Schools are back in session, but there's still a great time to get outdoors and discover nature. You can visit the Virginia Naturally website now for more ideas on nature learning activities. Teachers- there are also ideas for workshops and training available for your "continuing education," and getting a start on environmental lesson plans for the new semester.

Kids Discover Nature by Jodi Valenta also provides ideas for parents to get your kids "nature aware."

Monarchs: Featherweight Fliers

By Marie Majarov, Majarov Photography

Fall is the time of the year many birds and insects begin annual migrations to warmer climates to avoid the devastating cold of winter. Most incredible of all migrations is the 2000-mile journey of the ½ gram orange and black monarch butterflies that flitter amongst our summer flowers. These tiny pilots will average 28-plus miles a day by gliding on high-speed air currents and engaging wing-powered flight to reach the Transvolcanic Mountains of Mexico where their ancestors have always wintered. Toronto zoologist David Gibo puts this amazing journey in perspective, stating that an equal distance for a 6-foot tall person would be "11 times around the world." Wow!

Monarchs are tough and determined. It is imperative for the survival of their species that they reach Mexico. They stop only to eat, and rest at night. If you are lucky you might find an evening cluster of monarchs resting in a tree nearby your home. This is called a roost. Journey North has an excellent map, updated every couple of days, that enables you to follow the migration's progress and report you own monarch sightings. Many people also tag their migrant visitors to help scientists learn more about this amazing migration phenomenon.

Asters, Joe-Pye weed, Seaside Goldenrod, Ironweed, and Tithonia are among monarchs' favorite fall nectaring flowers. Resources of these flowers are limited this year because of our very hot and dry summer. If you don't have these flowers growing in your yard, you and your parents can get some potted ones at a local nursery and perhaps get to watch grateful migrants land to nectar. Be sure to put them in the ground later to continue growing for next year.

Fall is also time to collect and plant seeds from mature milkweed pods and plant them now to be ready The meadow areas of Shenandoah National Park and DGIF's Wildlife Management Areas are great places for family walks to view migrating monarchs. Enjoy!

Marie Majarov and her husband Milan are retired Clinical Psychologists nature enthusiasts, and members of the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association. They maintain a butterfly garden and bluebird trail at their home in Winchester, VA. Inspiring children, both young and old, about the wonders of nature and encouraging the preservation of our precious natural resources is their dream for Majarov Photography. More about their work can be seen at www.majarov.com.

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

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

Answers to August 25 edition quiz for nature events in Early September...

Habitat Improvement Tips

Quail Management Workshop in King and Queen County September 11

VDGIF Small Game Project Leader Marc Puckett has announced that as part of the Quail Management Plan a workshop on quail management will be held at the King and Queen Ruritan Club near St. Stephens Church, from 11 a.m. till 4 p.m. in King and Queen County on September 11. The workshop will cover topics of interest to landowners and natural resource professionals including: available wildlife cost share programs, small scale projects with large scale impacts, how to establish wildlife habitat, benefits to timberland owners and farmers, and quail population status in Virginia. The program will include lunch and a field tour of ideal habitat. Pre-registration is requested, but not required by contacting Private Lands Wildlife Biologist Mike Budd - 540-899-9492 ext 101, or michael.budd@va.usda.gov.

Invasive Plant Control Workshop Scheduled in Front Royal September 16-17

Virginia Cooperative Extension & the Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute in partnership with VDGIF and other conservation agencies and organizations across the Mid-Atlantic region is sponsoring a workshop for natural resource professionals, landowners and volunteer on "Good Green, Bad Green - Invasive Plant Control for Habitat Restoration". The workshop is scheduled September 16-17, 2010, at the Northern Virginia 4H Center and Smithsonian Conservation Ecology Center near Front Royal.

Topics to include:

This 2 day workshop is intended for Natural Resource Professionals, Master Naturalist, Consulting Foresters , Arborists , Master Gardeners, Green Industry Professionals, landowners and land managers. For registration and other information check out the event website.

Also check out "Tree Cookies Etc.", an electronic newsletter for forest landowners which contains information on additional educational events coming soon to various parts of the Northern half of Virginia. Whether you interests are urban forests, invasive plants, or conserving your land for future generations, there is something for everyone. Contact Adam K. Downing, Extension Agent Forestry & Natural Resources - Northern District in Madison Phone: 540.948.6881 for more information or questions about any of these workshops:

September 9 - Waynesboro
15th Annual Urban Tree Health Care Workshop

Agenda and registration details available soon at the Virginia Urban Forest Council website.

September 23 (Evening Public Meeting) & 24 (Day Conference)- Arlington
Valuing Urban Forests: Science, Application & Action

Details forthcoming on the Valuing Urban Forests website.

October 15 – Page & Rappahnnock Counties
34th Annual Fall Forestry & Wildlife Bus Tour

Through Forest Types, Across Geology and Over the Northern Blue Ridge. Agenda and registration details available soon at the Virginia Forest Landowner Update website.

Habitat at Home© DVD Now Available

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

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

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

Region I - Tidewater

Vacationing CPOs use training to save boat passenger from choking... What do CPOs do on their well-deserved vacations during the height of boating season? Go on a boat ride, what else? CPOs John Rush and Mitch Booden were enjoying a Caribbean cruise with their wives Patsy and Lesha earlier this month. Somewhere between Jamaica and Grand Cayman Island, the four were having dinner in the formal dining room with other guests when a commotion arose. There were lots of comments and pointing from ship's passengers directed at an elderly woman sitting at the table behind the officers. Just as Officers Rush and Booden looked up, Lesha said, "I think she's choking." Officer Rush got up and made his way to the woman who was now standing. She was displaying the classic hand-to-throat movement and was not breathing. Just as Officer Rush got his arms around the woman, she went limp. Rush locked his arms around the woman and tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver. She didn’t respond. Officer Booden got through the crowd and made his way to the left side of Rush and yelled, "Lower, go lower, John." Rush dropped down almost to the lady's abdomen and gave two more thrusts. It worked. The woman expelled a large piece of steak from her mouth. She then coughed a few times and started breathing again. After regaining her senses, the grateful woman came over to the officers' table, extended her thanks, and had her daughter take pictures of her with the two officers. For more information contact Lt. Scott Naff at (804) 829-6580.

Brothers charged for failure to take boating safety course after jet ski accident... On Friday, August 13, 2010, Sgt. Rich Goszka received notification from the Northumberland County Sheriff's Office of a PWC accident with injury. CPO Tyler Bumgarner was assigned the investigation and immediately went to the hospital to interview the victim. CPO Bumgarner determined that two brothers from Connecticut were riding borrowed PWCs in the Glebe River. They were riding together when one brother turned abruptly striking the other on the port side. The collision crushed the hull of one PWC making it a total loss. Two charges were placed for operating a PWC without the required proof of completing a boater safety course and one charge of failing to maintain a proper look out. For more information contact Lt. Scott Naff at (804) 829-6580.

Region III - Southwest

Over limit angler can't fool CPOs... On August 16, 2010, Sgt. Charlie Mullins and Senior Officer Gene Wirt were on patrol in the Parrott section of the New River in Pulaski County.  As they were exiting their vehicle for a license check, they observed the fisherman unhook a stringer of fish and let them float away as he walked away from the officers. Sgt. Mullins leaped down the bank into the water and retrieved the stringer and escorted the fisherman back to shore, where he was issued a summons for exceeding his limit of bass. For more information contact Lt. Rx Hill at (276) 783-4860.

These CPO reports show the value of concerned citizens, landowners and true sportsmen in providing tips to law enforcement officers on suspected violations by lawbreakers who give other hunters an undeserved bad reputation. Don't let the actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen!

If you suspect or witness a violation, report it to the Wildlife Crimeline at 1-800-237-5712.

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

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. Mandatory Saltwater Angler Registry: Effective January 1, 2010, there is a new requirement that saltwater anglers obtain a federal registry number by calling 1-888-674-7411, or online at www.CountMyFish.noaa.gov.

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.

Hardware River WMA Boat Ramp Now Open with Completion of New Bridge

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has officially opened the new bridge across the Hardware River leading to the boat ramp on the James River and improved the access road into the 1,055 acre WMA. The access road and boat ramp were opened on August 4 and officially dedicated September 2. The new bridge replaces the one originally constructed in 1932, and re-built by the Department in 1984. In the fall of 2008, the bridge failed is annual safety inspection and had to be closed to vehicular traffic. This made difficult the full use of the boat landing on the James River Access and a significant portion of the WMA. The Department and the Board recognized the importance of the bridge to restoring access to the boat landing and that portion of the WMA that lies beyond the Hardware River and made the replacement a priority project. Mattern and Craig from Roanoke, completed the design and Burleigh Construction Company of Concord, Virginia was selected to build the replacement bridge.

The Department invested boat registration fees to match Sports Fish Restoration Funds from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to re-establish the critical boating access to the James River. The cost was approximately $600,000. VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan noted at the dedication, "This bridge represents the sportsman and women's investment in hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, and boating. Without their continuing support, the boat landing would still be closed, and a portion of the WMA would remain inaccessible. Our partnerships with those who love wildlife and boating, with those such as our elected officials who supported this project, with local governments that support our activities in their jurisdictions, and many other partnerships is what keeps the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and its Board serving our customers."

Lake Thompson is Draining (Again)

Lake Thompson, a 10-acre lake on the VDGIF G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area in Fauquier County, is draining again – the first case occurring almost exactly two years ago. The drain near the lake bottom failed somewhere along its course upstream of the outlet pipe and, unfortunately, was not fixed before the failure became clogged (probably by mud) last time which allowed inadvertent refilling. VDGIF engineers, in consultation with contract dam safety engineers, will evaluate potential repair possibilities to the drain system and conduct additional assessments of the entire outlet structure and emergency spillway that need extensive renovations to meet current Department of Conservation and Recreation Dam Safety Standards.

As of August 23rd, the lake was down to about 2 acres of pool and was still draining rapidly. It is likely that the lake will be dry by the first of September given current flow rate. Anglers are advised to use caution when fishing the lake, as the exposed substrate is slippery and littered with debris. However, fishing is still allowed, and fish may be creeled (harvested) in compliance with State regulations. For updates check our website or contact the Region 5 office in Fredericksburg at (540) 899-4169.

Fish Virginia First - Your Fishing Vacation Planning Tool!

Fish Virginia First is an inter-jurisdictional marketing effort seeking to link Virginia's fisheries with anglers, travelers, outdoor television networks, and tournament organizers from across the nation. The initiative's goal is to better inform anglers, vacationers, and fishing tournament organizers of the outstanding fisheries available in the Commonwealth's rivers, lakes, streams, and reservoirs and to provide assistance with planning a fishing adventure in Virginia by linking visitors with local hotels, restaurants, guide services, campgrounds, state parks, and fishing related businesses that can make fishing trips easy and fun. Visitors are encouraged to visit the site and begin exploring the fisheries resources that are awaiting you whether you are planning a day trip on your next day off or a two week family vacation of a life time!

Visit the Department's website to learn more about this innovative fishing trip planner.

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 35 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.

Review the article, "Does Your Lifejacket Really Fit?" in the May 26, 2010 Outdoor Report Be Safe... Have Fun section.

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.

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

Region 1 - Tidewater

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Wayne Ripley says that some big smallmouths have been landed, but anglers are guarding their secrets and won't say on what. A few small cats have been brought up on the pier. Not too many crappie. No word on bluegill or perch. A couple of chain pickerel were brought to boat. Wayne told me that there is a lot of grass in the lake. The water is clear and 82 degrees.

Little Creek Reservoir: (757) 566-1702. No report this edition. Hurricane Earl dumped a lot of rain- call for update on conditions.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. According to Capt. Jim, high winds and rough seas have kept him from going out. He does expect good fishing once the water has calmed down.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown hasn't had many anglers out his way, in part due to stormy weather. Things should improve very soon, however. The water is slightly stained and cooling.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins reports lots of good angling. Plenty of bass are being landed with top waters early and late. During the day try dark colored soft plastics, cranks and spinners. Not many crappie coming in. White perch are going for nightcrawlers and red wigglers, small jigs and spinners. Lots of cats are there for the taking, try cut bait or nightcrawlers. Fly anglers are landing bluegill with poppers; for your spinning rod, try crickets and red wigglers – Dewey says they are biting pretty much anything you throw at them. The water is clear and in the high 60s to low 70s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew says that lots of bass are being landed. Top waters are good early and late; with plastics being your best bet during the day. Drew expects the crappie bite to pick up soon, with the traditional minnows and jigs being good options. Plenty of cats are going for cut bait in the lakes and rivers. Some perch can be found in the lakes, try red wigglers. Bluegill like crickets and red wigglers. Some big shellcrackers have been fooled by worms. The water is low, cooling and clear.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com The Blackwater and Nottoway continue to be in very low flow condition. Fish are being caught here and there, however. I got a report of some nice bream being caught on fly rods downriver from the Route 603 VDGIF ramp.  However the water was so low they could not go but about a mile before they ran into a log jam.  On the lower rivers, fish are being caught late and early in the day.  I'm hoping with some cooler nights in the next few weeks the fish will turn on.  October is usually a great fishing month and the river is very pretty also.  It is a great month to do a paddle trip up in the small creeks and go exploring.  Leaves peak usually around November 14.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Mike says bass fishing is good on the James. On both the Upper and Tidal James, gar are biting minnows (watch out for all those teeth!). Bream are attacking worms and crickets. The cat bite is really hot, especially on live and cut shad , bream and eels. Mike landed a 70 lb. blue that was 51 ½ in. long. The water is 81 and clear.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, John Garland, Screaming Reels Fishing Charter, (804) 739-8810. No report this edition.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Capt. Mike Ostrander, James River Fishing School, Discover the James, (804) 938-2350. No report this edition.

Region 2 - Southside

Brunswick Lake: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. I thought I would make the quick trip to county pond which the VDGIF insist on calling Brunswick Lake to see if any of the fish were inclined to eat artificial bait. I was in the water by 10 am and started out fishing at the bridge with 1/32 lead head and two inch twister tail. I fished there for about 20 minutes and did not get anything more than a few taps by small bluegill so I went under the bridge and pulled out the fly rod and size 12 popping bug and fished along the shore line all around the flats on that side of the bridge, I caught 31 bluegill and 4 small bass from 5 to 10 inches there and decided to fish with the spinning rod back to the bridge and beyond. Caught one 15 inch largemouth around the rock and what I knew was a 12 inch shell cracker. For a while there I thought I had another 15+ bass until I got it in the boat. I have one of those V DGIF rulers on the side of the boat and it shrinks fish as soon as you lay one on it or the inches stretch out under the fish so they seem smaller because as soon as I laid that fish on the ruler it only came up to 10 inches. Picked up several 8 inch crappie that I mistakenly put back because I did not think I would be catching anymore that day. I fished from the bridge to just beyond the island and back catching 7 more crappie from 9 to 12 inches. Ran out of liquids, so headed back to dock by 4:00 pm. The water is as low as I have seen it and is very brown in the flats. In the upper lake the water is slightly brown stain and clear to about 2 feet.

Fort Pickett Reservoir: Before I found out my battery charger wasn't charging I bought one of those fancy dry cell maintenance free batteries. I fished all day at Briery Creek, all day at County Pond and pulled out for Ft. Pickett reservoir without recharging the battery. I did make sure my spare battery was at full charge though. Since the TV had talked about nothing but a hurricane for days I kept waiting to see what was going to happen before pulling out that morning around 11:00. I was on the water by 11:45 and fished until about 5 that evening. Water is low there also but fairly clear to about 2 feet with slight brown stain and warm for this time of year. I picked up a couple of bluegill along the shore line from the ramp to the first aeration line . I caught a couple of crappie fishing along the aeration line toward the first cove, I fished around that cove and caught several more crappie and some bluegill on my favorite 1/32 lead head and 2 in. twister tails of chartreuse, purple and a combo black, blue and yellow tail .  I fished in the shallow area with the fly rod catching eleven 5 to 9 inch blue gill and 6 smaller ones that the cats enjoyed. I caught 19 crappie from 9 to 12 inches in the 4 to 6 feet of water. I never caught many in the same place, I would just pick one up as I drifted along with the wind. I did throw back 4, 6 and 7 inch crappie. I caught 5 bass along with the crappie with the largest being 13 inches and the smallest being 9 inches. Not a bad day but I have had better. By the way, the battery ran all day and still checked good when I got home.

Sandy River and Briery Creek: Contributed by Longwood College Fishing Club's Jack Pollio. No report this edition.

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. The fishing on the Upper and Middle James continues to be good. Fly anglers are having success throwing big poppers along the banks and shade lines. Longer casting and leaders are required at this time of year. The low clear water conditions do have the fish a little spooky. Conventional anglers are boating fish using Skitter Pops, Tiny Torps, and Pop R's. Soft plastics such as Flukes, Stick Baits and Grubs should also be rigged on another rod. The cooler nights of September will see the cicadas dying and falling onto the water - making for some of the best top water action of the year!

The bridge work at Hardware River landing has been completed opening up two sections of river that hasn't seen much traffic for close to two years. There is about a month of quality top water action left for the year. Get out if you haven't and enjoy the James. Give me a call if you want to book a trip or just talk fishing!

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

Striper: Size and numbers are starting to pick up as fish are moving back into the lake. Fishermen are finding fish in the Goat Island area and up to Eastland Creek. They are trolling bucktails, deep diving red fins and Capt. Mack's umbrella rigs with downriggers. Heavy jigging spoons in the 2 ¼ to 4 oz. range on main lake points in the Nutbush area will soon pick up.

Catfish: Fishing for cats remains good with blues in the 20 to 40 lb. range being caught and flatheads in the 30 to 40 lb. range. Fish can be found from the mouth of rivers to Goats Island. Fishermen are anchoring on main channel breaks fishing with shad, bream, and jumbo shiners. Noodling has also picked up in major creeks.

Crappie: Fish have moved to their summer hideouts. Deep brushpiles around main lake points in the 15 to 30 ft. range. Fishermen are reporting catching fish up to 1 ½ lbs. Most are casting jigs like Bobby Garland, Kalins and Southern Pro and are also using the slip cork method.

Bass: Fish are being found in all depths. Fishermen are reporting finding topwater fish early using Zara Spooks & Splash-It's. They are catching them around bridge poles with crankbaits, flick shake rig and shakey heads. Deeper fish can be found in the 15 to 25 ft. range using big worms 10 to 12 in., Carolina rigs, football jigs and deep crankbaits like Bill Norman DD-22, Spro DD Little Johns and Rapala DT's.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Tom Reisdorf reports that good smallmouths can be had with popping bugs sizes 6 and 4. The James up his way is too low for trout fishing. The mountain streams are also too low. This low water stresses the fish – and they don't need the further stress of being caught and released. In the Jackson, however, browns and rainbows can be fooled with hoppers, sizes 8 and 10. The water in the James is cool and clear.

Lake Gaston: Craig Karpinski says that bass action is pretty good early and late with top waters. During the day try Carolina rigs or shakey head jigs. The crappie are about 10 feet down and will take a minnow or jig. Cat fishing is "very good" near the drop-offs by main channels. Try chicken livers, clam snouts or stinkbaits. Perch are biting on small spinners and small minnows. Some anglers have pulled up a perch while trying to land another species! Bluegill are in the shallows and attacking small worms. The water is slightly stained, 87 degrees in the coves and in the high 70s to low 80s in the main lake.

Lake Gaston Health Advisory: 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.

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

The fishing continues to be mixed. Striped bass continue to roam in large schools and anglers trolling with umbrella rigs, swimshad, heavy bucktails and three-way rigs all reported catching good numbers of fish. While most anglers are trolling, some are pulling lures and Urigs and catching stripers much deeper above the old river and creek channels and areas that were open fields before the lake was flooded. Bass fishing continues to be challenging. Some bass are being caught shallow, others deep and some are starting to school up and chase baitfish. Topwater lures like the Lobina Rico, Lucky Craft Gunfish and Sammy, Rebel Pop'R and Spook Junior are good choices for schooling bass and those feeding near the surface. Panfish continue to be caught around most deep water docks on red wigglers rigged on small hooks or jigheads just a couple of feet below a small bobber. Small, live shiners rigged on gold hooks and very light jigheads are also a great bait for panfish and bluegill as well as crappie and white perch. Channel catfish continue to be caught on Magic dough stink bait rigged with a spring hook on a bottom rig. The water is 78 degrees and fairly clear.

Help VDGIF Monitor Striper Growth Rates...
This is the last month before the 26 to 36 inch striped bass slot limit goes back into effect. If you catch and decide to keep a striper this month weighing 10 pounds or more, you can help the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) biologist monitor the fishery. Just weigh the fish and measure its length. Cut off the fish's head behind the gills, place the head in a plastic (ZIP Lock) bag, along with information about the fish and your name, address and telephone number, and freeze it. Bring it to the Virginia Outdoorsman the next time you are in the Westlake area and I will insure the head gets to Dan Wilson, the VDGIF biologist for the lake. Dan will remove the otolith (ear bone) and use it to age your fish. Its age and the information you provide will allow him to establish and monitor growth rates. We have also changed our hours as we do every fall. Virginia Outdoorsman Sporting Goods is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and are closed on Sunday and Monday, unless by special appointment. Tight lines and have a great week on the water or in the woods.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. Contributed by Mike Burchett.

Bass: The weather has cooled down a little at night and that has started the baitfish moving. Unfortunately the bass haven't moved with them. Bass fishing is still slow. A drop shot with a 4 ½" Roboworm is the best bet to entice the non-aggressive bass. A 3/8 ounce Paca Bug Football finesse jig combined with a Paca chunk in any green pumpkin color combo is also a good lure for a slow deep presentation. The grass bite is still consistent. Throwing a buzzbait around the edges of the topped out grass is productive. If the grass is still below the surface try a small crankbait like the Lucky Craft B.D.S. Marty or S.K.T. Mini. As the water temperature starts to drop into the 70s the smallmouth bite will turn on during night time. Slow rolling a Jolt spinnerbait or dark colored chatterbait will produce some violent bites. Our weekly Tuesday night tournament at the Rock House Marina was won by Jason Adams and Chris "Bubba" Lewis with 11.96 lbs. For more info on the Tuesday night tournaments call Mike at (540) 980-1488.

Crappie: Haven't heard or seen anything on crappies.

Bluegill/Panfish: Get some night crawlers and head to any dock or back of a cove and you find plenty of action and fun.

Stripers: Stripers are starting to school up and bust on the surface after baitfish. Mid lake to the Light House bridge is the best area. Late in the evening or early in the morning is the best time.

Catfish: Peak Creek is producing good numbers of catfish, they are being caught at night time using live shad.

The water is in the upper 70s to low 80s and clear.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. Captain Forest reports that a bad drought has hit his part of the river hard. It's a "tough bite" all around. Smallmouths may go for a dark plastic like Watermelon or Pumpkin seed, but don't get your hopes up. Muskies will follow a lure, but rarely bite one. Still, you might try an inline spinner, but scale it down. Walleye are just too spooky to land during the day, so try at night either trolling or casting a jerkbait. The water is super clear and around 74 degrees in the morning and 78 to 79 during the day.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. Ty Burton told me that the bass bite is slow but improving. Small crawdad cranks are good; as are Senkos in dark colors like Green Pumpkin, Watermelon Seed or something with blue or red flecks. Robo worms are also good. At night try drop shots. Muskies are picking up too; bucktails, cranks and inline spinners might get you lucky. The water is cooling and somewhat stained.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. No report this edition.

Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Harry reports that cool nights have dropped the temperatures in the smallmouth streams and made for good fishing. Good flies are: Shenk's White Streamer, sizes 4 and 6; Murray's Magnum Creek Chub Streamer, size 4; Shenandoah Blue Popper, size 6. The water is at a good level, 78 degrees and clear.

The best stocked streams are the Smith River at Bassett and the Hidden Valley section of the Jackson River. Good flies are: Murray's Cranefly Larvae , sizes 12 and 14; and Murray's Flying Beetle, sizes 14 and 16. The water is at a good level, clear and 68 degrees. The mountain streams are too low to fish just now. The water is clear and 66 degrees.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Puff reports that the lake is lowering daily due to lack of rain. Fishing is a little slow with hot sunny days. Temps should begin to cool quickly with September's arrival and with some rain to fill in the lake the fishing will pick up dramatically within a week or two. Puff will be at the West Regional and State Big Game Contest in Harrisonburg September 25-26 with a full assortment of hunting supplies and wild game processing gadgets and spices from Mapletree Outdoors. Come see him for hunting and fishing tips and information for the Highlands area.

Region 5 - Northern Piedmont

Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore, SwitchFisher.com / Wade and Shoreline Fishing the Potomac River - DC to Harpers Ferry. Low and slow! Most of the Piedmont rivers are a shallow dribble compared to what they should be at this time of year. All are running far below the 20th percentile level with both the Rapidan and Rappahannock being in pretty bad shape. That said, the low water forces the fish into the deeper sections of the river. If you know where those are, you have a great shot at a superb day of fishing. On the Upper Potomac. The best areas continue to be around White's Ferry or Edwards Ferry. Since the grass is becoming thick, cast to the edges with weedless presentations. Between Lander and Point of Rocks, find the current and you will find the fish. Look for the ledges and target the holes that usually exist on the downstream side. A point to note is that the Upper Potomac is actually in Maryland and is regulated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. They are currently considering revoking the catch and release regulation on the Upper Potomac between Seneca Breaks and the Monocacy river. Please express your opinion by sending an e-mail to fisheriespubliccomment@dnr.state.md.us. On the Rapidan, fish upstream from the US 29 bridge; paying special attention to the section just downstream of the low water dam at 38.277206,-78.346673. One of the good places on the Rappahannock right now is to walk a half mile downstream from the Rappahannock River Campground (open weekends; day use fee of $7 to park plus $2 per person applies). At the end of the island, there is the deep stretch against the north bank that is good to fish in hot weather. Don't even think about trying to float a canoe in most of the river given the current levels. The Rapidan is almost a foot and a half below the recommended minimum level while the Rappahannock is a foot below. Count on wading/hiking if you drop your boat in the river at any of the access points under the bridges. If you want a birdseye view of the rivers in the Piedmont area, go look at the Google satellite view right now! Apparently, the last satellite pass occurred recently and it gives us a clear view of the river structure; making it easy to find the deep water areas that will hold fish right now. In spite of the recent thunderstorms, trout hunters need to avoid the mountain streams that are now just a trickle of water clawing down the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge. Instead, fish the cold tailwater of the North Branch of the Potomac, the Jackson or Smith River.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The water temperatures are beginning to cool down to around 80 degrees. With the shorter periods of daylight, the fish are moving from a summer pattern to a fall pattern. Largemouth bass are schooling on bait fish on the upper end of the lake. Live bait and shad like lures are the bait of choice for the bass bite. Catfishing remains strong throughout the lake with live bait and chicken liver. Crappie fishing is starting to pick up with small minnows in 8 to 10 ft. of water around the fishing pier and brush piles.

Mid Point Potomac: Warbird Outdoors, (703) 878-3111. No report this edition.

Potomac: Outdoor writer and fishing guide, Charlie Taylor provides a weekly Fishing Report for the Potomac River and other NOVA lakes and rivers, which may be accessed at any time at: http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeqbewt/. This web-report is updated every Thursday afternoon.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service, (540) 894-9144. See website for current information and Labor Day action reports.

Lake Anna: Contributed by Local Guide Jim Hemby (540) 967-3313. No report this edition.

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

View video about the snakehead

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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

With the upcoming special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 25th, there will be lots of youngsters hopefully getting a shot at their first buck- or doe for that matter. Whether hunting, fishing, camping or hiking, outdoor adventure shared with family members can create lasting memories. For 17 year old, Josh Kramer, a Junior at Lee-Davis High School in Mechanicsville, a young teenage deer hunter, his first deer kill was his most memorable outdoor experience. Josh has captured the excitement, serenity, and fond memories that come with a family deer hunting trip into the wild.

Be safe, have fun...

Not only does the story keep you interested in what will happen next, but as you read about Josh's 'first deer' adventure, note that he uses good safety practices both in handling his shotgun and rifle, being sure of his target before firing, and using his tree stand safely . Congratulations Josh on your first deer and more importantly promoting safety tips for other youngsters that will be soon be hunting for their first deer!

My Own Trophy

By Josh Kramer

The great outdoors is a wonderful place to be. If the there is one place where I can clear my mind and just relax, it is in the woods. I have been hunting since I was the tender age of four, walking the hilly power lines of Powhatan County with my father. I did not start carrying a gun until I was 10-years-old, so it took me awhile to harvest my first deer, but at the time, I did not mind because I loved being with family and friends enjoying everything nature had to offer.

After I got my hunting license, at twelve years old, everything changed. It seemed like I started to see more deer, and watching the Team Realtree hunting shows helped me become more educated in the field of hunting. I started to get more and more into hunting, and I was getting more shots, but I could never capitalize.

I remember this one moment clear as day; three years ago, at age 14, on Nov. 26, 2005, I saw one of the biggest deer in my life. It was 7:30 a.m. and it was a frigid 20 degrees when a faultless 10 point buck, 21 inches wide, walked out at 35 yards. I had a Winchester .270 rifle with 130 grains bullets and Remington 1300 shotgun with 3" with Number 1 Buckshot shells. I have always felt more comfortable with a shotgun, so I decided to use that. I slowly raised the shotgun, and took my time focusing my aim on his front shoulder. I took the safety off, and squeezed the trigger.

I have never seen an animal run so fast in my life, and I felt very comfortable about my shot. At 8 a.m., my father and grandfather heard my shot so they came down to my tree stand. So, we looked around and no blood was found where I shot at the buck. I was still optimistic that I had hit this deer, but no blood was found as we searched along the path where the deer ran so the search was ended with no trophy. Despite the fact that no blood was found, it does not mean I did not hit the deer, and I have not, nor will let my father forget that moment, because that buck would have been my first deer, first buck, and first mount all at once. How sweet would that have been?

The hunting season went uphill for the remaining part of the season. On Dec. 10, my luck had changed for the good. That morning was another especially cold morning. I saw a few deer, but I did not want to shoot because I was still waiting for a buck. The mid-part of the day had some action, but not much. We stopped for lunch the day at the Red Barn, which was a little gas-station off Route 60, near Route 522. I ordered a Bar-B-Que sandwich, a chilidog, and a Gatorade, and I would need at that energy for my evening hunt.

At 3 p.m., I slipped into the woods and set up on the intersection of three power lines, with a creek to my left and one down 60 yards in front of me. My tree stand was 20 feet high and enclosed with a big, ole, comfortable computer chair. Daylight was getting away from me when I finally started seeing deer. At 5 pm, I saw three does walked to my right 100 yards away, but I never was offered a shot.

Sunset that evening was at 4:53, so legal shooting time was over at 5:23 At, 5:21, I had just called my father, and said I was about to get down and walk to the truck. Then, a doe stepped out at 70 yards, and I said to myself, "She is mine." I raised my Winchester .270 rifle with the 130 grain bullets, and I centered the crosshairs of the Bushnell scope on her front shoulder. Next thing I know, I shot and she jumped, and ran into the pine trees.

I called my father and said, "I just shot a doe, and it's a good hit because she jumped like a mile in the air." He hurried down to where I was, and I climbed down onto the ground. There was a puddle of blood there, and we trailed her 20 yards from the power line and she was lying up against a tree.

I was swollen with pride of myself for finally harvesting my first deer, and I would not have traded it for the world. The doe was really healthy and she weighed 100 pounds, which was a nice size deer. Harvesting my first deer is my most memorable experience of the outdoors and of my life. Of course, the doe might not be a big trophy to a veteran hunter, but to me, she is and will always be a trophy/

This entry in the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) 2008-09 High School Writing Competition by 17 year old, Josh Kramer, a Junior at Lee-Davis High School in Mechanicsville placed in the Top 20. 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: