In this edition:
- Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Thankful
- Virginia Lottery and VDGIF Team Up For a "Wild" Scratcher Game
- Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
- Detailed Descriptions of Outdoor Events Across Virginia
- People and Partners in the News
- VDGIF and Wildlife Foundation of VA Form New Partnership
- Become a Quail Hunter Cooperator - We Need Your Help
- Time to Browse Your Photo Files
- Wildlife Center Holds Rehabilitation Classes in November
- Wheelin' Sportsmen Host Numerous Events This Fall
- Sportsmen and Conservation Organizations Hosting Annual Award and Fund Raising Events
- Hunting News You Can Use
- Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...
- Lapsed Hunters... We Want You Back!
- Time to Take a Hunter Education Class
- New Legacy Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License Now Available
- Looking For A Place To Hunt Or Fish?
- New CWD Management Actions Effective for Northern Shenandoah Valley
- Elk Hunting During 2010-2011
- Waterfowl Seasons Set
- Videos Available to Show Field Dressing Techniques
- Be Safe... Have Fun!
- Clean Your Muzzleloader - Now!
- Tree Stand Safety is No Accident
- Dress for Success - Fall Turkey Hunts Require Different Tactics and Safety Precautions
- Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!
- "Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts
- "The Colors of Autumn" by Marie Majarov
- Autumn Leaf Color Viewing Tips
- "On the Trail"
- VBWT Site PGS02 Green Springs National Historic District - Bracketts Farm
- Save Time, Money and Gas - Plan Your Fall Outings in Virginia
- Reminder: Effective September 1, Feeding Deer Will Be Illegal in Virginia
- Notes for Young Nature Explorers
- Virginia Naturally Website Link to School Environmental Learning Programs
- Virginia's Endangered Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat
- Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar
- Habitat Improvement Tips
- 34th Annual Forestry and Wildlife Field Tours Scheduled
- Black Bears are Opportunistic Feeders Prior to Going Into Winter Dens
- Habitat at Home© DVD Now Available
- Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
- Field Reports From Officers Protecting Natural Resources and People Pursuing Outdoor Recreation
- Fishin' Report
- Largemouth Bass Virus Detected in Virginia Reservoirs...
- Safe Boating is No Accident—Wear your Life Jacket and Take a Boating Safety Class
- Got Pictures of Your Catch? Share Them With Us on Flickr!
- Sarah White's Notebook
- Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions
- Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers
- "To Kill a Grouse" by Owen Morgan
Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Thankful
This edition is posted on the eve of my favorite month - November. I like to think of it as the "Great American Heritage Appreciation Month," where we need to be especially responsible, respectful, and thankful. The early muzzleloader deer season begins the first two weeks in November. What a great time of year to get with friends and family. The smell of the powder charge and puff of gray smoke takes us back to bygone days and simpler times. For hunters, this is the most important time for us to be respectful. Common courtesy and safety are no accident: Be respectful of other hunters, landowners, and the wild game you pursue and harvest.
More importantly, this is a time for all sportsmen to "walk the walk and talk the talk." Election Day is November 2. Do exercise your precious right and responsibility as a free American citizen and VOTE! So many decisions that affect our outdoor pursuits are made by elected officials at the local, state and national level. Let your sportsman's voice be heard through your VOTE.
The following Thursday, November 11th is Veterans Day, honoring the brave men and women who have fought and died to protect our freedoms - especially the privilege to vote. Do something meaningful to show your appreciation to our veterans and their families in some way this year. You might volunteer for a hunting or fishing outing for wounded warriors, share some extra venison with a military family, or send 'goodie' packages to troops serving overseas.
And finally, be thankful for the opportunity to partake of all these wonderful blessings, for treasured friendships, for the service, courage, and sacrifice by our military, law enforcement and emergency services people and their families. I wish you and yours a safe, rewarding, and peaceful Thanksgiving.
David Coffman, Editor
Be aware that many localities are observing Halloween on Saturday October 30 and Sunday October 31. Be alert for trick-or-treaters on both days and evenings. Make sure your little ghosts and goblins wear clothing with reflective markings or tape and carry a flashlight.
Virginia Lottery and VDGIF Team Up For a "Wild" Scratcher Game
As lottery games go, this is definitely one of the wildest. The Virginia Lottery and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) are teaming up for Virginia's Wildlife, a Scratcher game featuring cash prizes up to $100,000. In addition, the game features a unique photo contest in which players can enter their photos of Virginia wildlife for great prizes and the chance to have the photo published in Virginia Wildlife magazine.
The Virginia's Wildlife Photo Contest will feature nine winners every week for 10 weeks. Amateur or professional photographers can submit color or black and white photos of living, native Virginia wildlife: mammals, birds, fish, reptiles or amphibians. By submitting the original photo with a non-winning Virginia's Wildlife scratch ticket, the photographer is eligible for great prizes like $100 gift cards and prize packs from Bass Pro Shops.
Qualifying photos will be displayed at www.valottery.com/wildlife, where visitors can vote for their two favorite photos each week. The photo receiving the most votes each week will become a finalist for the top photo prize. At the end of the contest a panel of judges will review the top 10 photos. The grand-prize winner will receive $2,500 and the photo will be published in Virginia Wildlife magazine, published by the VDGIF. The second-prize winner will receive $1,000 and the third-prize winner $500. The winners will be announced on January 18, 2011.
"Working on this project with the Virginia Lottery offers a great opportunity for Virginians to learn more about our native wildlife," said Game and Inland Fisheries Executive Director Bob Duncan. "We are fortunate to have habitat in the Commonwealth to support a wide variety of species, many of which can be easily observed and photographed."
"This is an exciting partnership for the Virginia Lottery," said Virginia Lottery Executive Director Paula Otto. "This game will appeal to lottery players, photographers and people who enjoy the wonderful beauty of wildlife in Virginia. Most importantly, it will help raise money for Virginia's K-12 public schools."
The Virginia Lottery generates approximately $1.2 million per day for Virginia's K-12 public schools. Operating entirely on revenue from the sale of Lottery products, rather than tax dollars, the Virginia Lottery raised more than $430.2 million for Virginia's public schools in fiscal year 2010. That represents about 8 percent of state funding for public education in Virginia. For more information, visit www.valottery.com. Follow the Virginia Lottery on Facebook and Twitter. Please play responsibly.
Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
Friends of Dyke Marsh Host Fall Educational Events October 23 and November 17
The Friends of Dyke Marsh are hosting a walk to enjoy the fall colors and observe the wildlife at the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve on October 23, at 10 a.m. The walk is co-sponsored by the Friends of Dyke Marsh and the Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society. It is free and open to all. The walk leader is Ed Smith, a biologist in the Amazonia Department of the Smithsonian National Zoo, focusing on amphibian conservation and husbandry. For a few weeks each year Ed serves as a Smithsonian Journeys Study Tour Leader taking groups to Central and South America. Ed is also a lecturer for Smithsonian Associates and an instructor for Smithsonian Scholars in Schools programs. To get there: Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, U.S. National Park Service, and is located on the western shoreline of the Potomac River about two miles south of Old Town Alexandria. On the Parkway, turn east at the sign, "Belle Haven Marina/Dyke Marsh" and park in the Belle Haven picnic area lot. Meet at 10 A.M. in the south parking lot of the Belle Haven picnic area. Rain or shine!
A hands-on workshop to learn all about insects will be hosted by the Friends of Dyke Marsh at the Huntley Meadows Park Visitor Center at 3701 Lockheed Boulevard, Alexandria, November 17, at 7:30 p.m. Georgetown University Professor Dr. Edd Barrows will give a talk and conduct a hands-on arthropod workshop using preserved specimens from the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, as well as specimens found in other areas. Dr. Barrows says that there could be 18,000 species in the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, from bacteria to beavers, and of these total species, 4,000 could be arthropods.
Holiday Lake 4-H Center Offers Survival Skills Workshops and Flintlock Rifle 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 both wilderness and urban survival and next spring building your own flintlock rifle! Early registration is encouraged as courses fill quickly. For details contact Nate Mahanes, Program Director, by email: email@example.com, or call (434) 248-5444 Fax: (434) 248-6749, or visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website.
November 12-14: Urban Survival Course. Would you know what to do if the power went out, the water stopped flowing and the grocery stores and gas stations were closed or inaccessible? When most people think of survival training they envision learning about outdoor wilderness outings gone bad, yet every year thousands of people endure survival situations in their own homes. Remember, if you are caught unprepared even a winter snowstorm can turn into a catastrophic event. This program includes professional and expert instruction with participation limited for a better instructor: participant ratio. Optional classes include: Finding Water, Preparing your Home, Family, and Pets, Controlling Hyper & Hypothermia, Outdoor Cooking, Identifying Security Issues, Personal Safety, Storing and Preparing Food, and many more. Cost of workshop is $150 and covers all programming and instructor fees, meals, and lodging. Register by October 22nd.
December 10-12: Awareness Workshop. Do you think that you are truly aware of your surroundings? Would you like to learn skills that will help you see and recognize what others often miss or overlook? This workshop although originally designed for law enforcement and search and rescue personnel, is applicable to hunters, sportsman, and anyone else who frequently visits and enjoys the outdoors. Come join us for an adult version of "Hide and Seek" and let our professional instructors teach you how learning to hide well can improve your ability to find the hidden. Cost of workshop is $90 and covers all programming and instructor fees, meals, and lodging. Register by December 1st.
March 6-11, 2011: Traditional Flintlock Rifle Workshop. Learn how to build your own custom Flintlock Rifle! Rifle building experience not needed. Instruction and kits provided by rifle builder Troy Roope of Stonewall Creek Outfitters. Kits also available from Jim Chambers Flintlocks. You will pay less for this workshop than you would pay a craftsman to build this custom rifle. The custom rifle you build and some tools from the workshop are yours to keep. The class size is small with lots of instructor time - 6 to 1 student/teacher ratio. Meals and lodging provided as part of this package. Visit Troy's website. The cost is $1,650. This covers all programming fees, instruction, the rifle kit, meals, and lodging. Click here for information or to register. Register by November 26, 2010.
Landowner Weekend Retreat at Twin Lakes State Park October 30-31
Join natural resource professionals and fellow landowners for a weekend in the woods October 30-31. This retreat will be held at Twin Lakes State Park in Green Bay in Southside region of Virginia. Participants will see forest management practices in action, learn about estate planning and passing their land on to their heirs, hone their tree identification skills and much more. Registration is $45 and includes all meals Saturday, breakfast and lunch Sunday, refreshments throughout, and transportation. Participants are responsible for obtaining their own lodging (RV camping and cabins are available in the park). For more information, contact Jason Fisher firstname.lastname@example.org (434) 476-2147. Registration brochure and on-line registration are available at www.cnre.vt.edu/forestupdate.
Hunters Helping Kids Hosting Annual Deer Hunt for Girls in NC November 6
Hunters Helping Kids (HHK) will hold an "All Girl Whitetail Deer Hunt" in Edenton, NC on November 6, 2010. This unique hunt is open to girls ages 10-15. Dennis Campbell, HHK Virginia representative and National Director of Chapter Development 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! We would like to especially invite Wounded Warriors and their daughters to attend this hunt as we already have several of our veterans registered and are looking for more. This would be a great opportunity for a soldier to have time to bond with his or her child while enjoying the great outdoors. If you know or are aware of a soldier who has been wounded, who has a daughter, and they would like to take theirs kid hunting, contact us as soon as possible." All motel expense, food, etc. will be paid by HHK and each girl will be given their very own rifle with which to hunt and to keep. HHK is a non-profit 501c3 organization of volunteers, dedicated to inspire and educate our youth in wildlife conservation and management. For more information on HHK hunting events in Virginia, 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, email@example.com.
New River Valley Trout Unlimited Hosts "Conservation Celebration" November 6
The New River Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited (NRVTU) is hosting a special event to celebrate its successes and ongoing efforts in regional cold water conservation. Hosted at the beautiful New River's Edge retreat in Giles County, Virginia, we promise outdoor enjoyment for folks of all ages! The ticket price ($15/adult, $5/students with ID, 16 and under free!) includes a delicious meal at noon, live music, fishing and conservation workshops, and automatically enters you into the event door prize giveaway! Enter additional raffles, fish a beautiful stretch of the New for trophy autumn smallmouths, and enjoy New River's Edge at your leisure. Contact Todd Lowe (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about attending the Celebration.
Claytor Lake State Park Youth Deer Hunt and Workshop December 10-11
This workshop and muzzleloader deer hunt is for youth ages 12 -17 on December 10 and 11, 2010. The workshop includes a Friday evening seminar on deer biology and management, hunting safety and ethics, and muzzleloader safety, and a Saturday either – sex guided hunt. Participants should be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, and must meet all licensing requirements. For more information and to register contact Jimmy Mootz (804)367-0656 or Jimmy.Mootz@dgif.virginia.gov. Registration deadline is November 15, 2010.
Wildlife Foundation of VA Hosting Deer Hunts for Vets and Kids
The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia is hosting a wounded warriors deer hunt on opening day of muzzleloader season, October 30, 2010, at their 2,000 acre property in southern Albemarle County. There are several handicapped-accessible hunting blinds located on the property, and they are available for public use throughout the season. If you are interested in participating in the Wounded Warriors hunt, or would like to take advantage of wheelchair accessible hunting opportunities, please contact Jenny West at email@example.com.
The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia is hosting a youth deer hunt on opening day of general firearms season, November 13, 2010, at their 2,000 acre property in southern Albemarle County. If you know of a youth age 16 or younger who is interested in participating, please contact Jenny West at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark your 2011 calendars to join with fellow sportsmen when The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia will be holding its annual fundraiser event on Thursday, February 24, 2011, at the Jepson Alumni Center at the University of Richmond. For additional information, please visit the Foundation's web site at www.vawildlife.org.
People and Partners in the News
VDGIF and Wildlife Foundation of VA Form New Partnership
Earlier this year, the Board of Game & Inland Fisheries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia (WFV), establishing a unique partnership that will help move VDGIF and the Foundation forward in achieving common goals. The purpose of the partnership is to develop new or enhanced fundraising opportunities in order to implement projects for habitat management, hunting, fishing, and boating.
The Foundation was established in 1997 to promote outdoor recreation in Virginia. WFV wants to make sure that those who want to hunt, fish, hike, or otherwise enjoy the Commonwealth's unique natural resources have the opportunity and land to do so. WFV owns 1,910 acres in Albemarle County which is managed for no-fee public use. Many of the educational and sporting events sponsored by the Foundation take place on this property. The Foundation's Board of Directors is comprised of sportsmen from around the state who are committed not only to the Foundation's mission, but to VDGIF's mission as well.
Over the past 13 years, the Foundation has worked with VDGIF on multiple projects, many of which involved leveraging private resources to acquire lands identified by the Agency as priority acquisitions. These acquisitions have added acreage to existing Wildlife Management Areas such as the Rapidan, Saxis, Game Farm Marsh, and Hardware River WMA's. Most recently, the Foundation worked with VDGIF staff to help establish the new Short Hills Wildlife Management Area, located in Rockbridge and Botetourt counties. The Foundation has provided scholarships to VDGIF staff for professional development initiatives, worked with Agency personnel on wildlife habitat improvement projects, and supported special events designed to raise awareness of the importance of our hunting and angling heritage.
While the partnership between VDGIF and WFV is fairly new, there are several important initiatives underway that will continue to strengthen both organizations. The Agency and the Foundation are committed to growing the partnership for the benefit of the sportsmen and women of the Commonwealth, and look eagerly to the exciting opportunities ahead. For more information on WFV programs visit their website: www.vawildlife.org.
Become a Quail Hunter Cooperator - We Need Your Help
VDGIF Small Game Project Leader Marc Puckett needs the help of Virginia's quail hunters. VDGIF biologists conduct a Quail Hunter Cooperator Survey annually that helps them keep track of hunter success, as well as the hatching dates and nesting chronology of wild bobwhites in Virginia. Puckett notes, "During its "hey day", we had over 200 quail hunter cooperators. Today that number has fallen to 58. We are in danger of losing this important survey. Please help us by becoming a quail hunter cooperator. All participants receive a free 2011 Virginia Wildlife Calendar and a report on previous surveys each year."
Cooperators are asked to report on each quail hunt via a reporting envelop. They are also asked to remove and include one wing from each quail harvested. They report on hunts whether quail are harvested or not. The postage is covered so there is no cost to participants. Each cooperator will receive between 5 and 50 quail wing envelops, one for each quail hunt they expect to go on annually. They are for wild quail hunts only and pen-raised quail should not be included.
To participate, send an e-mail to Marc Puckett at: email@example.com, or call him at (434) 392-8328. We will need your name and full mailing address, plus the anticipated number of hunts you would need an envelop for. Feel free to call or email with questions if you are unsure whether you want to help, or are unclear about anything.
Time to Browse Your Photo Files
Don't forget that entries for this year's Virginia Wildlife Photo Contest must be postmarked by November 2, 2010. So pull up your monitor, unwrap some blank CDs, and get comfortable while scrolling through the dozens (or hundreds?) of pictures you took outdoors this past year. Entry categories for the contest have not changed. You can refresh your memory on those, as well as all other contest rules, at the VDGIF website.
Now get going... November will be here before you know it!
Wildlife Center Holds Rehabilitation Classes in November
Amanda Nicholson, Outreach Coordinator and Rehabilitation Supervisor for the Wildlife Center, announces that the "On the Road" Rehabilitation classes scheduled for this fall:
- On November 13-14, 15th annual Call of the Wild conference will be held in Waynesboro. This conference is co-sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Wildlife rehabilitators, veterinary professionals, wildlife biologists, environmental educators, and wildlife enthusiasts from Virginia and beyond will share ideas and knowledge that can benefit wildlife, the environment, and the continually evolving field of wildlife rehabilitation. More information, including a schedule and registration, is available at www.wildlifecenter.org
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
- More than a dozen local VA NWTF Chapters will be hosting fund raising events and skill building workshops throughout the summer months. Funds raised at these events are used locally by the volunteers to enhance habitat, access to hunting lands, support law enforcement, the Wildlife Crime Line and Rewards Program and fund research to improve wildlife management. For details on these upcoming events and how you can participate visit their website: www.vanwtf.com.
- Hunters – Remember to donate to Hunters for the Hungry when you purchase your hunting licenses this season. The traditional $2 donation check-off option has been changed to allow you to donate any amount. Many sportsmen and hunt clubs are recommending at least $5. With all the news about the poor economy many of our neighbors are experiencing hard times. Show that hunters are supportive of those in need in our local communities. Not only share your deer harvest, but provide some much needed funds to pay for the cost of the processing of this abundant resource by donating $5 when you purchase your licenses. To learn more on how Hunters for the Hungry is helping neighbors in need feed their families with nutritious, high protein venison, visit their website: www.h4hungry.org. Also learn how you can help by donating deer, raising funds and the location of meat processors to donate your deer harvest. More than 4 million pounds of venison have been distributed since 1991. Help them raise the funds to process their goal of 500,000 pounds this year.
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.
Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously
Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...
We're looking for some good deer, squirrel, rabbit, bear, 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 email@example.com 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
Lapsed Hunters... We Want You Back!
Have you not hunted or purchased your hunting license the past few years? VDGIF Outreach Manager Lee Walker announced that the VDGIF has launched the first of two direct mail efforts to send postcard reminders out to over 60,000 lapsed hunters. The overall goal of this direct mailing effort is to notify former hunters of the many new hunting opportunities awaiting sportsmen and sportswomen with increased bag limits, abundant populations of game and outdoor adventure with family and friends to make new memories. This re-recruitment campaign aimed at lapsed hunting license buyers is based on the integrated marketing campaign that the Department initiated in 2009. The postcard direct mail effort has been funded through a grant by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Walker noted, "We appreciate the support of NSSF in funding this important campaign to re-connect with past customers, and are excited to have this opportunity to better serve our customers and let them know about positive hunter friendly changes that have been enacted in recent seasons, and we look forward to very positive results from this campaign."
If you received a post card from us and have any questions, please contact VDGIF Customer Service hotline directly 1-866-721-6911, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and knowledgeable, friendly agents will be glad to assist you. If you did not get a post card, consider this your invitation to join back with your fellow hunters and re-discover the many benefits that hunting brings to those who participate in our great hunting traditions. See information on license purchasing, new license options like the Legacy, or Apprentice licenses, new public hunting lands available and additional new opportunities.
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
Take a look at 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.
Remember to make a donation to Hunters for the Hungry when you purchase your licenses through the convenient check-off option- give $5 to show you care for those in need!
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.
New CWD Management Actions Effective for Northern Shenandoah Valley
Since VDGIF received laboratory results confirming Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a white-tailed deer killed by a hunter in western Frederick County in 2009, the agency has been working to develop appropriate measures to manage CWD in the area. Guided by the CWD Response Plan, a CWD Response Team, composed of staff from VDGIF and other state and federal agencies, considered a range of potential measures to manage CWD in the area. Management actions, endorsed by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries on April 20, 2010, include:
- Delineation of a CWD Containment Area (CA) in western Frederick and Shenandoah counties, including the City of Winchester.
- Mandatory disease testing of deer harvested by hunters in the Containment Area on November 13, 20, and 27, 2010, at seven designated sampling stations.
- Prohibition of deer feeding year-round in Clark, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties, and in the City of Winchester.
- Prohibit movement of deer carcasses and parts out of the Containment Area, with exceptions for certain parts allowed under the carcass importation law (e.g., quarters), and for parts going to meat processors, taxidermists, or landfills in Frederick or Shenandoah counties.
- Require meat processors, taxidermists, road-kill pickup crews, and waste management service contractors to dispose of all deer wastes from the Containment Area in a lined landfill in Frederick or Shenandoah counties.
- Prohibit rehabilitation and release of deer that originate from within the Containment Area and require that deer rehabilitated elsewhere in Frederick or Shenandoah counties not be released outside the county of origin.
- As a proactive measure to prevent spread of CWD, reduce the deer population in Clark, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties and in the City of Winchester by increasing the daily bag limit to two deer, activating an Earn-A-Buck requirement, and establishing all muzzleloader seasons as full-season either-sex.
The full text of management actions can be found on the VDGIF website, along with other information about CWD.
Anyone who sees a sick deer that displays any of the signs of CWD (see website for symptoms) should contact the nearest VDGIF office immediately with accurate location information. Please do not attempt to disturb or kill the deer before contacting the VDGIF. For additional information contact:
Hank Tomlinson, CWD Technician; (540) 290-9359; Hank.Tomlinson@dgif.virginia.gov
Tyler Urgo, CWD Technician; (540) 290-8158; Tyler.Urgo@dgif.virginia.gov
"What about taking deer carcasses out of Virginia?"
Now that Virginia has detected CWD, deer hunters must follow carcass importation regulations in other states when they transport a deer carcass out of Virginia (see CWD Alliance website). Hunters anywhere in Virginia going into Kentucky, North Carolina or West Virginia must bone-out or quarter their deer carcass so the brain and spinal cord is removed. Maryland and Pennsylvania will accept whole deer carcasses from Virginia except those originating from Virginia's CWD Containment Area where carcasses must be boned-out or quartered so the brain and spinal cord is removed. Tennessee will accept whole deer carcasses from Virginia except those originating from Frederick County and Shenandoah County where carcasses must be boned-out or quartered so the brain and spinal cord is removed.
* The restrictions listed above for Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Maryland have not been updated in the 2010-2011 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia digest or the 2010-2011 Question and Answers on Chronic Wasting Disease brochure (PDF).
Elk Hunting During 2010-2011
At its October 5, 2010 meeting, the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries did not place a moratorium on elk hunting. Elk may be hunted during the remainder of the 2010-2011 deer seasons. The information published in the Hunting & Trapping in Virginia 2010-2011 regulations booklet remains correct.
New Seasons Set For Waterfowl and Webless Migratory Birds
New season dates for waterfowl were set by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries at their August 17, 2010, meeting in Richmond. The dates and bag limits for various migratory waterfowl and webless species are posted in the sidebar of the Outdoor Report under the "Hunting Season at a Glance" section, or can be found on the Department's website.
- The first segment of Dove Season runs September 4 - October 12, and the second segment starts October 20 through November 6, 2010. Early Dove season is a great opportunity to introduce a youngster, or adult friend to hunting with the Apprentice Hunting License. See details on this new license option in this section. A new regulation enacted last year states that dove hunters are no longer required to wear blaze orange during the deer firearms seasons.
- Floating Blind Licenses Now Available from License Agents and Online.
- 2010 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Available July 1.
- Remember to get a new HIP number.
- Non-Toxic Shot Now Required for Hunting Rail, Snipe, Moorhen and Gallinule.
- Shotguns Need to be Plugged for Doves, Ducks, Geese and More...
- Fields Declared A "Crop Failure" Is Not A Normal Agricultural Practice--considered baited for the purpose of waterfowl hunting. For info: email@example.com
- VA Stamp
- Federal Stamp
- Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day October 23
Videos Available to Show Field Dressing Techniques
Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting
Whether you are a novice hunter who may not feel comfortable tackling the chore of field dressing and butchering a deer or squirrel themselves, or a more experienced hunter who would like to take their deer processing to a professional level, the VDGIF has a DVD to help you make the most of your harvest. VDGIF has two useful DVDs now being offered at the VDGIF store. One is a double-feature: Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting. This video will show you one of the best methods we've seen for skinning squirrels, former Game Warden John Berry teaches it in detail on the first video. This video has been extremely popular to walk-in customers at VDGIF headquarters, and is now available for ordering on-line for the first time. In the second video, VDGIF Outdoor Education Instructor Jenny West demonstrates various ways to prepare tasty panfish, including scaling, dressing, and filleting. Get both "how to" videos on one DVD for $8.00, shipping included. The DVD makes a great gift for sporting enthusiasts young and old.
For the deer hunter, "A Professional Guide to Field Dressing, Skinning and Butchering White-Tailed Deer" video begins with step-by-step instructions on how to field dress a deer, as demonstrated by VDGIF Wildlife Biologist Ron Hughes. Then, professional butcher and hunter education instructor Rob Bingel demonstrates the best way to cape out a deer for mounting. The video really gets good when he shows in detail how to de-bone and professionally butcher a deer using only a knife and a hacksaw. Sure, many of us think we know how to process a deer, but seeing the way Rob does it, with no wasted effort, is well worth the price of the video. By the end of the video you will learn how to make butterfly chops, de-bone a front shoulder, tie up a roast using a butcher's knot, be able to identify all the proper cuts of meat on a deer, and more! This is one video you will watch over and over! The price is only $12 each.
Be Safe... Have Fun!
Remember: Safe Hunting is NO Accident!
Ultimately, every hunter is responsible for identifying their target and beyond before pulling the trigger. Most hunting fatalities are the result of the hunter not making sure of his or her target, or shooting at sound or movement. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Before you go out, let someone know where you will be hunting and when you expect to return. Take a few emergency items with you - snacks, water, safety whistle, a fold up space blanket, a method to light a fire, extra batteries for radios or GPS and fully charge your cell phone.
Most importantly wear blaze orange - it's the law for a good reason - it can save your life!
Clean Your Muzzleloader - Now!
With the growing popularity of hunting with a muzzleloader and the advances with the new in-line models, there are a lot of you out there new to shooting black powder. I am one of them. Fortunately with the mentoring of a good hunting buddy, who has been shooting black powder for many years, I got off to a great start 3 years ago and have increased my hunting time each season since shooting my 'smokepole.' Normand McLaughlin from Augusta County, has been a volunteer with VDGIF and active in several sportsmen's organizations. I have learned a lot from Normand's experience while turkey hunting, target shooting and from his companionship during our hunting trips. To get me started right with my new gun, first we spent several sessions shooting the gun to "season" it, orient me to the differences from the more familiar rim-fire rifle shooting and sighting it in. Also practice, practice, and more practice target shooting in field conditions and learning the re-loading sequence all paid off when the early November opening came. I harvested several nice deer each season with the reliable new muzzleloader, proud and appreciative that my preparation and guidance by an experienced friend made the numerous hunting trips most enjoyable. Once a shooting session, or the hunting season was over, Normand was most insistent about one thing - clean your muzzleloader thoroughly!
Regardless of what type of propellant you use, without proper cleaning, corrosion and rust will quickly pit the barrel, jam the firing mechanism, or foul the nipple shut. Even black powder substitutes like Pyrodex and Triple 7 can foul up your gun. After cleaning thoroughly following the owner's manual directions, and tips from an experienced shooter like Normand, store your gun muzzle-down, particularly if you've used petroleum-based gun oil. This prevents the lubricant from gravitating down to those parts that could jam up. Clean and store your muzzleloader properly and it will remain reliable for you next season and for many seasons to come. Put off cleaning or cut corners and you may end up with a firearm that doesn't fire at all.
I learned a new tip last year while hunting in the deep snow the last 2 weeks in December. I had the expectation that my muzzleloader with it disk style cap would reliably shoot in rain, snow or other damp weather conditions. For Safety I was constantly taking off the cap to raise and lower my gun from my tree stand or when walking out of the woods after a days hunt. I was not aware of the moisture from melting snow dripping from branches or foggy drizzlely weather allowing moisture to seep into the uncovered nipple… the last day when a nice doe walked 30 yards from my tree stand when I pulled the trigger…bang!! Not BOOM and smoke- the powder did not ignite. Calmly I replaced the cap and fired at the doe looking at me not startled by the cap firing. Bang ! again!! Now the doe wanders off and I am wondering what has happened. I added a third cap and fired at ground- still powder did not ignite. At lunch I told my hunting buddies of the misfires. The consensus of the group was the moisture build up over several days of hunting in rain and snow with the nipple uncapped. After 2 more caps the powder finally ignighted- BOOM was a welcome sound. Normand gave me a simple and SAFE solution. When removing a live cap for safety in transporting the gun, REPLACE IT with a FIRED CAP to seal the nipple port keeping moisture out and from building up over time. I didn't get another shot opportunity that last day- but learned another valuable lesson from my buddy Normand. This season I will 'keep my powder dry', and avoid misfires. Glad I learned the lesson on a doe and not the "buck of a lifetime." If you have a good safety or muzzleloader handling tip send it to us to share with fellow hunters. Always be sure of your target and beyond.
David Coffman, Editor
Tree Stand Safety is No Accident
Tree stand accidents account for more injuries than most other hunting activities. Outdoor Report contributor, Bill Cochran in his recent internet column at Roanoke.com relates a compelling story about Chip Studer and his "last walk in the woods." In December 1991 a treestand accident left him paralyzed. The Franklin county sportsman now spends his time sharing his story, telling how God has blessed him and how a treestand can change your life, even take it, if it isn’t in good condition and used properly. READ this inspirational and life changing story before you harness up and climb up your tree stand this season!! Share it with all your hunting buddies too. Chip Studer wants you to learn from his mistake and have a safe and successful season hunting from your tree stand.
Review these two links on the VDGIF website for tips on how to stay safe and use tree stands effectively:
Dress for Success - Fall Turkey Hunts Require Different Tactics and Safety Precautions
The best hunt is a SAFE hunt! Both novice and experienced sportsmen should continuously review basic safety practices. The fall turkey season requires different tactics and safety precautions from the spring gobbler season. Dressing right is the key to both safe and successful turkey hunting. With the special Youth Turkey Hunting Day Saturday October 16 and the firearms turkey season starting October 23, now is the time to be planning your hunting strategy and special safety precautions. While sitting still is most important, full camouflage helps hunters blend into the surroundings, and elude the turkey's keen eyesight. But, those aren't the only eyes that could be fooled. Other hunters could mistake a hunter dressed in full camouflage using a turkey call for a wild turkey. Hunt defensively- keep in mind, when you hear a turkey call or see movement, it could very well be another hunter. Assume you are not alone in the woods and act accordingly. Your firearm, clothing, and turkey calls are all-important equipment, but thinking safety is the best tool a hunter can use.
The National Wild Turkey Federation and VDGIF Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors teach these rules to dress for success and safety:
- Never wear bright colors, especially not red, white, blue or black because these are the colors of a wild turkey.
- Wear dark undershirts and socks, and pants long enough to be tucked into boots.
- Camouflage your gun.
- Keep your hands and head camouflaged when calling
- Select a spot that is in the open woods rather than thick brush: wearing camouflage clothing and eliminating movement is more critical to success than hiding in heavy cover.
- When using a camouflage blind or netting, maintain a clear field of view.
- Dress in dark colored layers to adjust to temperature changes.
- Wear blaze orange when walking to and from calling positions and when setting up or moving decoys. Wearing blaze orange is always recommended. However, if you choose not to, tie a strip of blaze orange to a nearby tree to alert others of your presence.
Ultimately, every hunter is responsible for identifying their target and beyond before pulling the trigger. Most hunting fatalities are the result of the hunter not making sure of his or her target, or shooting at sound or movement. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Before you go out, let someone know where you will be hunting and when you expect to return. Take a few emergency items with you - snacks, water, safety whistle, a fold up space blanket, a method to light a fire, extra batteries for radios or GPS, and fully charge your cell phone.
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:
- wear your life jacket
- do not mix alcohol and boating
- take a boating safety course
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.
The Colors of Autumn
By Marie Majarov, Majarov Photography
Autumn colors can be seen anywhere there are broad-leaved trees: your neighborhood, parks, woodlands, countryside, and mountains. Shenandoah National Park has impressive vistas; our State Arboretum at UVA's Blandy Experimental Farm a spectacular grove of glittering ginkgoes; and back roads can provide opportunities for less traveled family outings and fun activities. Read Marie's full article on Autumn leaves in the October 13, 2010 archived edition.
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.
Autumn Leaf Color Viewing Tips
One of the great rewards of living in the Old Dominion is the blaze of autumn color as the leaves turn from summer green to the brilliant hues of gold, red, yellow, and orange. If you are looking for information on when and where to view the color change, the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) has developed VDOF-Recommended Fall Foliage Driving Tours. If you don't want to fight the traffic that clogs some of the best-known places, such as Skyline Drive, this site is for you. Each of these tours is designed by a local VDOF forester and is sure to exceed your expectations and fill your eyes with wide swatches of vibrant autumn colors. And, because these recommended drives are "off the beaten path," you'll be able to enjoy a leisurely trip without the hassles of a lot of traffic on the road or large crowds at vistas along the way.
To view the Fall Foliage Report and Driving Tours, see VDOF's "Fall Foliage in Virginia" website.
For Information by Phone:
- Fall Foliage Report - 1-800-424-LOVE
- Forest Service Fall Color hotline - 1-800-354-4595
- Shenandoah Valley - 1-800-434-LEAF (1-800-434-5323)
- Skyline Drive/Shenandoah National Park - (540) 999-3500 (press "7")
- Blue Ridge Parkway (between Waynesboro and the North Carolina border) - (828) 298-0398 (press "7")
- U.S. Forest Service Fall Color Page
- Fall Foliage Reports for the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Shenandoah Valley. Provided by the Weather Channel
- Fall In Virginia - information from the Virginia Tourism Corporation.
"On the Trail"
VBWT Site PGS02 Green Springs National Historic District – Bracketts Farm
This Trail visit takes us out of the highlands and into the rolling hills of Virginia's Piedmont. Piedmont, originally "piemont", was the term coined in 1755 to describe the fertile uplands on the eastern slope of the Appalachians. Of Italian origin (piede "foot" + monte "mountain"), it literally means "mountain foot" or as we would say today, "foothill". The foothills of Virginia are indeed fertile ground, none more so than the Green Springs National Historic District in Louisa Co, where some of the nation's oldest farms are interspersed with woodlots and lush bottomlands.
Bracketts Farm, Site PGS02 on the Green Springs Loop, is approximately 3 miles from the intersection of US 15 and SR 22 (Boswells Tavern) and is an ideal gateway to the area. Dating back to 1790, Bracketts Farm and its owners have figured prominently in Virginia's history. Today, the 450-acre working farm is run by the Elisabeth Aiken Nolting Charitable Foundation, whose mission is to encourage sustainable and responsible stewardship of land in a deep historical tradition.
VDGIF Watchable Wildlife biologists have worked closely with the Foundation to establish the Bracketts Farm Nature Trail. Over a mile in length, the trail begins behind the historic manor house and along 12-acre Nolting Pond. Be sure to bring your binoculars as the pond this time of year is host to many migrating ducks, geese and shorebirds, in addition to egret and heron residents. You might even see an osprey carrying off "the catch of the day". The thick cover of alder-dominated vegetation along the bank is now alive with northern water thrushes, catbirds, and a variety of migrating warblers. Beaver, muskrat, river otter and mink have all been sighted here. The trail continues along open fields and flanking upland trees and ends at the edge of a bottomland hardwood forest. These are great habitats to look and listen for woodpeckers, nuthatches, yellow-billed cuckoos, great-crested flycatchers and nesting summer tanagers. Come spring, keep your ears peeled for the drumming of male grouse!
Bracketts has recently begun to host a variety of family-oriented weekend activities and workshops from bee keeping and star gazing to open hearth cooking classes and nature walks, led by yours truly! Check the Louisa County Parks and Recreation website for dates and times.
The Virginia's Birding and Wildlife Trail (VBWT) features over 680 sites from every corner of the Commonwealth into 65 driving loops. The VBWT offers visitors the opportunity to discover and experience our incredible wildlife diversity throughout the coastal, piedmont and mountain regions. The best way to appreciate what the Trail has to offer is with the help of a Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail Guide. You can visit the website to download any or all of the 65 scenic loops that cover Virginia's 43,000 sq. miles. You can also call toll-free, 1-866-721-6911, to purchase the comprehensive guidebook featuring all of the sites statewide. Both the website and the guidebook provide detailed descriptions of the trail loops and sites, maps, driving directions and information about the wildlife you'll see.
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."
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 including:
- unnaturally increasing population numbers that damage natural habitats
- disease transmission, including tuberculosis as well as many deer diseases
- 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.
Please Don't Feed Deer - 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 or visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.
Notes for Young Nature Explorers
This section features articles and tips of interest to youngsters to encourage them to get outdoors and explore nature. Observing and exploring the natural environment can be exciting, interesting, and fun: plus provide the types of experiences that cannot be found in books, the internet, or video games. The Virginia Wildlife calendar lists natural events that can serve as a "lesson plan" to get students outdoors exploring, observing, and having fun while learning about the woods, fields, and streams and the fascinating plants and animals that share these habitats with us. Each edition we will bring you ideas on topics, natural occurrences, and events to spark your interests in exploring nature. Make it a family adventure!
Be aware that many localities are observing Halloween on Saturday October 30 and Sunday October 31. Be alert for trick-or-treaters on both days and evenings. Make sure your little ghosts and goblins wear clothing with reflective markings or tape and carry a flashlight.
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."
Virginia's Endangered Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat
It just wouldn't be Halloween without pumpkins, ghosts and bats! Join Department biologist J.D. Kleopfer on a survey of the state endangered Rafinesque's big-eared bat in a web video available on the VDGIF YouTube page.
This video highlights two of only three known nursery roosts of this species in Virginia — one roost is in an old general store, the other in a turn of the century one-room schoolhouse. This "swamp bat" traditionally nests in old growth trees in southeastern Virginia's wetlands, which constitutes the northernmost portion of their range, but will also roost in barns and outbuildings. These summer-time roosts are nursery colonies made up of mothers and "pups" or young.
Biologists are studying them to learn more in order protect them and the old structures they inhabit. Rafinesque's big-eared bats feed mostly on moths, found near agricultural fields. Bats eat millions of nighttime flying insects such as mosquitoes and are beneficial to humans.
Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar
Look at the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for when these nature events occur in early November:
- When is the peak of the deer rut?
- What waterfowl species begin to appear on large reservoirs?
Answers to October 13 edition quiz for nature events in late October...
- What migratory bird frequents bottomlands and what is the purpose of it's long soft bill? ? The American woodcock uses it's long soft bill to probe the sandy, moist, soft soils of stream bottoms for worms, grubs and other insects.
- What environmental factor triggers the color change in deciduous tree leaves in Autumn? Three factors influence Autumn leaf color change: the primary factor is increasing length of night with cooling temperatures and amount of rainfall varying the timing and duration of color change. As days grow shorter and nights grow longer and cooler, biochemical processes in the leaf begin to dissolve the green chlorophyll, unmasking the leaves natural pigment hues of gold, red, yellow, and orange.
Get your copy of the 2011 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.
Habitat Improvement Tips
34th Annual Fall Forestry & Wildlife Bus Tours Scheduled
Join fellow forest landowners, Virginia Cooperative Extension and a host of natural resource professionals for a fun and exciting day in the woods learning about forest and wildlife management. The Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program and Virginia Cooperative Extension are hosting the 34th Annual Fall Forestry & Wildlife Field Tours in three locations this fall. The popular day-long field trips are scheduled for:
- October 29 - Southwest (Russell & Wise Counties) $25
Contact: Bill Worrell firstname.lastname@example.org (276) 889-8056
- Nov. 10 - Eastern (King & Queen County) $25
Contact: Neil Clark email@example.com (757) 653-2572
Registration fee includes lunch, refreshments, and transportation. See individual tour descriptions on website for tour schedule, location and fees. On-line registration is now available!
Black Bears are Opportunistic Feeders Prior to Going Into Winter Dens
Eating both plant and animal matter, black bears are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders. More than 75% of the annual black bear diet consists of vegetative matter. The other 25% consists mostly of insects, insect larva, carrion, and very rarely, small rodents or other mammals. Bears consume a wide variety of foods including berries and fruits (soft mast), nuts and acorns (hard mast), grasses and forbs, insects and beetles, animals, and carrion.
When bears emerge from winter dens in spring, food is scarce. The spring diet of bears in Virginia consists primarily of succulent new plant growth; especially forbs, grasses, skunk cabbage, and squawroot. As spring progresses, bears find insects and larvae in snags and decaying logs and under rocks. Soft mast (fruits and berries) becomes an important source of nutrition during both summer and fall.
VDGIF Black Bear Project Leader, Jaime L. Sajecki notes this series of photos shows a lucky yearling black bear that, "Happened to be in the right place at the right time. With a high density of bears in the Blue Ridge Mountains, high protein food sources like a fresh road kill are sometimes in high demand. Bears very rarely take down an adult healthy animal of this size but are opportunistic feeders. Although this sequence may look brutal, without the bear's intervention the deer would have died a much longer and painful death from two broken front legs and internal injuries. The calories offered up by this meal helped this yearling make it through a time of year when other protein sources are scarce."
- For more information, watch the Living with Black Bears in Virginia video »
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
CPOs quick response save boat and passengers in rough water... On Saturday, October 16, 2010, CPO Tyler Bumgarner received a call from the Richmond County Sheriff's Office in reference to a boat in distress on the Rappahannock River near the Rt. 360 bridge. Senior CPO Frank Spuchesi and CPO Cameron Dobyns heard the call and responded to the area followed by CPOs Ken Williams and Bumgarner. The officers quickly located the boat that was taking on water and were able to secure the boat and take the three occupants safely to shore. The wind was blowing down the river at a steady 25 miles per hours causing very rough water conditions. . For more information contact Lt. Scott Naff at (804) 829-6580.
Region III - Southwest
Would be poacher confesses to shooting at deer out of season... On September 27, 2010, VDGIF Dispatch received a call on the Crime Line in reference to an illegal deer kill in Buchanan County. Senior Conservation Police Officer James Hale was notified and given the complainant's information. Officer Hale contacted the complainant and obtained information that a subject had gotten out of an S10 pickup truck in Barton Trailer Park with a shotgun and fired at three deer. The complainant gave Officer Hale the suspect's name and the location where he lived. Officer Hale went to the suspect's residence and met the suspect. Officer Hale asked the suspect for his name, identification, and the gun with which he shot at the deer. The suspect advised Officer Hale the gun was in the corner behind a bush. Officer Hale told the suspect "You know why I am here don't you?" The suspect immediately started confessing to shooting with a shotgun at a doe in the trailer park. The suspect gave a full confession to the incident. He was charged for attempting to take a deer during closed season. For more information contact Lt. Rx Hill at (276) 783-4860.
Intoxicated spotlighters get their guns confiscated... On October 2, 2010, Senior Conservation Police Officer Austin and Officer Walls received a call reference spotlighting and shots fired off Walden Road in Washington County. When the officers arrived subjects were off the road, back in a field spotlighting and shooting at deer. Senior Officer Austin went on foot patrol to observe with his night vision these subjects spotlighting and shooting at deer. Officer Walls was located at the entrance to the farm, blocking the gate the subjects had entered into the property. During communications with Senior Officer Austin he advised the subjects appeared to be intoxicated, and were shooting a pistol and a rifle at deer. Officer Walls contacted Sergeant Davis to assist with the incident. After approximately one hour the subjects approached the entrance gate. Senior Officer Austin was following the subjects on foot, Officer Walls was on stakeout in the woods above the gate entrance and Sergeant Davis was located across Walden Road. When the subjects got to the gate, Sergeant Davis pulled across the road with his blue lights on. Officers Walls and Austin came up to the rear of the suspect vehicle. The front seat passenger appeared to be very intoxicated and refused the PBT. Officer Walls found a .22 magnum revolver in the front passenger's pocket. The passenger in the rear seat consented to a PBT which resulted in a 0.239. The driver of the vehicle was eighteen years of age and he blew a 0.147. The driver also claimed the 30-30 rifle and 40 caliber semi-automatic pistol located in the cab of the vehicle. The suspects were charged appropriately, and three firearms and a handheld spotlight were confiscated. For more information contact Lt. Rx Hill at (276) 783-4860.
Bow hunter charged with carrying pistol illegally... On the opening day of archery deer season, October 2, 2010, Conservation Police Officer Tosh Barnette was joined on his patrol by Sergeant Steve Sutphin. During the patrol, Officer Barnette noticed a vehicle parked on the side of the road where he had never seen one parked. A bow case was located in the back cargo area, prompting Officer Barnette to locate the hunter. Officer Barnette checked along a trail from the vehicle that appeared to have been recently traveled. After crossing the railroad tracks and a large patch of kudzu vines, then into the adjoining woods, Officer Barnette observed a bow hunter exiting his treestand from a distance. The bow hunter appeared to be leaving the location as the officers approached, but was stopped and a license check conducted. Officer Barnette advised the hunter that he was going to look at his treestand and asked if he was going to find anything around the treestand. The bow hunter replied he had only put out some Acorn Rage this morning near the stand. The bow hunter also had a 9mm pistol on his belt with no concealed carry permit. The bow hunter was charged with hunting over a baited area and possession of a firearm during archery season. For more information contact Lt. Rx Hill at (276) 783-4860.
Alert Officer nabs hunters with illegal turkey and deer kills... On October 2, 2010, Conservation Police Sergeant Charlie Mullins was on patrol in the McCoy section of Montgomery County. Sergeant Mullins was passing a residence, when he noticed an individual cleaning a turkey by a vehicle parked in a driveway. While stopped to inquire about the turkey, another individual appeared from the near-by woods dressed in camouflage carrying a crossbow. Sergeant Mullins contacted Senior Conservation Officer Lee Wensel to assist. Two individuals were interviewed and statements revealed that the turkey and one deer was taken illegally. Officers issued a total of five summonses that included three license violations; fail to tag turkey, and possession of illegal deer parts. For more information contact Lt. Rx Hill at (276) 783-4860.
Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley
Officers promote importance of Blaze Orange with young hunters... On October 8th, 9th, and 10th Virginia Conservation Police Officers Josh Wheeler and Tony McFaddin assisted the Rockbridge Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation with their JAKES event. This JAKES event is the largest one in the nation and was attended by approximately 400 youths and took over 100 volunteers to make it happen. On Friday night, Officer Wheeler instructed at a Basic Hunter Education Class attended by 80 new hunters. On Saturday and Sunday, Officer Wheeler and Officer McFaddin set up an exhibit with other local law enforcement agencies and spoke with the youths about their unique role in public safety. The officers also provided a demonstration on the important role of blaze orange and its effectiveness when used properly while hunting. For more information contact Lt. Ronnie Warren at (540) 248-9360.
These CPO reports show the value of concerned citizens, landowners and true sportsmen in providing tips to law enforcement officers on suspected violations by lawbreakers who give other hunters an undeserved bad reputation. Don't let the actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen!
If you suspect or witness a violation, report it to the Wildlife Crimeline at
To learn more about Virginia conservation police officers visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.
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.
Largemouth Bass Virus Detected in Virginia Reservoirs...
No impact to people; impacts to fish normally are short lived and fish populations recover
Largemouth bass virus (LMBV) is a disease that impacts several fish species but only appears to cause death in some largemouth bass. First discovered in Florida in 1991, LMBV spread throughout the southern United States and was responsible for a number of largemouth bass deaths in the late 1990's. However, in some reservoirs LMBV only led to a decrease in survival and growth rates. When those declines occur, anglers catch fewer quality-size (greater than three pounds) largemouth bass. The good news is that impacts from the virus outbreak are normally short lived and largemouth bass fisheries recover in about three years.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) tested several reservoirs between 2000 and 2003 with most either having no occurrence of LMBV or very slight infection rates. However, in a few reservoirs in North Carolina almost 40% of the largemouth bass tested were positive for LMBV. One of those systems was Shearon Harris Reservoir, which continues to support one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in the state.
Recent virus testing coordinated by VDGIF this past August revealed that LMBV was present in about 40% of the bass tested at John H. Kerr Reservoir/Buggs Island Lake and is responsible for the decline in the bass fishery. Largemouth bass from Briery Creek Lake and Sandy River Reservoir (Prince Edward County) were also tested and the virus was detected and confirmed. A small largemouth bass mortality event which occurred at Briery Creek Lake in late June, 2010, was most likely the result of LMBV in the population.
Due to the popularity of the largemouth bass fishery at Kerr Reservoir/Buggs Island Lake, anglers have expressed concerns about the LMBV spreading to other area reservoirs. However, some of the area reservoirs already contain LMBV and fish have likely built-up an immunity to the virus. For example, largemouth bass in Lake Gaston tested positive for LMBV in 2000. However, recent surveys at Lake Gaston indicate that the largemouth bass population is doing well. Nevertheless, anglers should follow the precautions listed below to limit the spread of LMBV.
- Can we cure the disease? No, the virus will have to run its course and hopefully the fish will build up immunity to LMBV. So far, lakes affected by the disease in the southern U.S. have not experienced additional large LMBV outbreaks since the initial ones in the late 1990's.
- Are there any risks to humans from the virus? No, fish are safe to eat and the water is safe for drinking water supply and recreation. This virus cannot be passed to humans.
- What causes an outbreak of the virus? It is not fully understood what causes an outbreak of LMBV. It is likely that stressful conditions such as low reservoir levels, high water temperatures, or increased handling time make bass more susceptible to LMBV.
- How can you tell if a largemouth bass that you've caught has the disease? There are very few external cues that the bass might have the disease. Fish that are very sick from the virus may appear bloated and swim erratically due to the impacts of the virus on the swim bladder.
- How does the disease spread? Fish that come in close contact (like in a livewell) can easily infect one another. Transmission through the water and eating infected prey are also ways that the disease is spread.
What can anglers do?
- Limit fishing, especially tournament fishing, to cooler months. Bass with LMBV are more likely to suffer mortality in the heat of the summer due to stress related to the high water temperatures. Paper tournaments without weigh-ins are always on option that tournaments can explore for summertime tournament fishing.
- Cooling livewells with blocks of ice in summer months is highly recommended. But, do not decrease water temperature in livewells more than 20° F from reservoir water temperatures.
- DO NOT transfer fish or fish parts from one body of water to another. This can spread the virus.
- Land fish quickly and handle them gently to avoid exhaustion and capture stress. Return the fish quickly to the water if you do not plan to keep it.
- Sterilize bilge pumps and livewells with a bleach solution to kill the virus. Studies have shown that the virus can survive in water in livewells up to seven days. About 1.5 fluid ounces of bleach added to one gallon of water (1% solution) sprayed on livewell surfaces will kill the virus. Let the bleach solution stand for 5 minutes, rinse thoroughly, and let air dry as chlorine bleach is toxic to fish.
- Tournaments should adopt best handling practices at all events. Using release boats, resting stations with oxygen and/or recirculating water, and iced water are all important considerations when planning a tournament. Refer to the conservation pages of the TBF or BASS websites for more information on safe handling practices and tournament organization guidance.
For information contact:
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
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:
- Email your photos to us and we'll post them on our "Virginia Fishing" group on the photo-sharing website, Flickr.
- Or, if you already have an account on Flickr, join the group and submit your photos. It's easy!
No matter how you send in your pictures, please remember to include the species, date, and location of your catch. If you know the length and weight, please include it.
Rules for submitting photos to the group:
- Photos must be of fish caught in Virginia.
- Photos must not depict unsafe practices.
- Please do not publish personal information (last names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, etc.).
- Please do include the species, location, and date of catch!
- Only submit photos for which you have permission to post online. For example, any minor pictured must have documented permission from his or her parent or guardian in order to appear in the group. By submitting a photograph of your child, you are giving VDGIF permission to post the photo on the Flickr "Virginia Fishing" group.
Sarah White's Notebook - Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions
Region 1 - Tidewater
Little Creek Reservoir: (757) 566-1702. No report this edition - call for updates.
Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by C. Blair Evans, Park Supervisor, (804) 693-2107. Park Supervisor C. Blair Evans reports that things are slow in general. The bass have gone deep, but may respond to a crankbait or a heavy jig. For crappie, try trolling around grass beds. Some cats have been landed off the pier with cut bait. Yellow perch are slow too, but may go for a minnow. Not many bluegill have come in. The last bass tournament of the year was won by Quillie & Robert Countiss, 14 lbs. 7 ozs. Anglers of the year was taken by Rudy & Daniel Michaud. The water is clear and in the upper 60s.
Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim told me that things have "picked up". Speckled trout are really hot in the Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets. They will take Mirrolures and Fishbite. Tautogs are around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and are going for fiddler or green crabs. Flounder are in the same area. The bite is slow but improving, especially at the 1st or 3rd Islands. The spot and croaker bite is slow. The water is fairly clear and 64 degrees.
Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams says that the bass bite is slow should pick up soon. Crappie action is good on minnows. The cats have been on the small side, but try cut bait or eel. No word on perch, bluegill or stripers. The water is slightly stained and cooling.
North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. According to Dewey Mullins, lots of bass are there for the taking. They are fattening up for winter and are going for "anything": cranks, spinners, and topwaters. Crappie anglers are getting lucky too, with some up to 1 ¼ lbs. They are attacking minnow, jigs and spinners. No word on cats. Lots of white and yellow perch are biting too, try minnows, nightcrawlers, jigs and spinners. Bluegill are responding to poppers, worms and crickets. The water is clear and in the low 60s and falling.
Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon reports that lots of bass are going for plastics, with green being a good color. More crappie are coming in as the water cools. The cat bite is good, with some lunkers being landed with cut bait. Perch and bream action is "slacking off". Go deep with worms or crickets. The water is clear and in the low 70s.
Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com The fishing has been really good this week. With the dissolved oxygen levels back up and plenty of water in the river, the fish were feelin' really good. I was on the Blackwater above Burdette for 3 days this weekend. My Dad came the second day for an afternoon of fishing and we caught several largemouth. Most were caught on an A.C. Shiner and a number 3 Mepps Minnow. I also caught some nice big bream on a number 1 white tail Mepps. I set cat jugs (limb lines), but only caught one decent fish. The rest were little bullhead cats. We tried for blackfish also, but they have not really turned on yet it seems. The river is really pretty right now with the leaves changing. It's a great time to be on the river for fishing or just lookin'. I took a group of senior citizens out for an Eco-Cruise on the 19th on the Blackwater. They got to see a beaver swimming beside the boat and got a glimpse of a bald eagle. So whether you're fishing or taking pictures or just paddling around, fall on the Blackwater or the Nottoway is the ticket for a great outdoor experience.
Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. The bass are hitting and some big ones are being brought to boat. Try cranks, jigs and spinners. Crappie action is really good, some over 2 lbs. have been landed. They like white jigs with chartreuse heads. Cats are biting too, especially on cut or live perch or eels. Bear in mind that they may be lurking in the depths. Stripers are going for jigs, bucktails and deep diving redfins. Garr are attacking small minnows around the Dutch Gap area. The water is clear and 63 to 65 degrees.
Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, John Garland, Screaming Reels Fishing Charter, (804) 739-8810. No report this edition.
Region 2 - Southside
Fort Pickett Reservoir: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. With the temperature in the low 40s it took me a long time to get everything packed and headed to Pickett reservoir. The water is clear to about 2 or so feet, with a slight tan stain and not that cold. I had the boat in the water around 11 a.m. and started fishing along the aeration lines to no avail, only caught one 9 inch crappie. I tried the other places that they have been known to hang out with not much more luck either. It was about now that I thought it was time to change my fishing pattern so I headed to the shore line and using my 1/32 lead head of lime and purple and then things picked up a lot. I started catching bluegill, crappie and largemouth bass. I never caught over several in one place but had a fair day over all. I caught 28 bluegill from 6 to 10 inches, a shell cracker, 21 crappie from 9 to 12 inches and 22 bass with the largest being about 12 inches. I will say they must have spawned this year because I caught several less than 6 inches.
Sandy River and Briery Creek: Contributed by Longwood College Fishing Club's Jack Pollio.
Briery Creek: Try fishing main lake points with a concentration on bottom structures. The Club has had great success with a Texas rigged 3/0 to 5/0 offset worm hook with a 10 in. green pumpkin worm with a pegged ½ oz weight. Try dragging this worm and working it around bottom cover from 6 to10 ft. of water on the points. Also, you can catch nice bass on a ½ oz. Strike King Red Eye lipless rattle trap in blue and chrome bleeding shad color. These fish are being caught from 4 to10 ft. Shakey head worms in green pumpkin and black produced around visible and submerged cover. The lake surface temperature is around 65 degrees. The upper lake is a little murky and the lower lake is still fairly clear. A lot of fish being caught in the slot, some thin but the big fish are just waiting to be caught. Hope to see some of you out on the lake!
Sandy River: The Club has put a lot of time on Sandy River lately. The lake is around 65 degrees and it varies day to day with clarity. A lot of nice fish are being caught all over the lake. The most effective set up is a black finesse worm 8 to18 in. off the bottom fishing on the creek channels in 10 to18 ft. of water. If you get into clearer water you can use a green pumpkin with chartreuse tail and even a clear/translucent colored finesse worm to represent the shad that are moving into the back of the creeks. The other most productive pattern is fishing main lake structures at the mouths of the creek with deep diving crank baits. The most productive colors are shad with the clearer water and fire tiger/craw in the murky water. You can also duplicate this process with a lipless crank in the same colors. I hope that everyone can get out soon and catch some nice bass. If you need any more info just shoot me an email and I will try to help out!
James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. The James is in good shape. The water temperatures are in the low 60s warming into the mid 60s by mid day and early afternoon. Bait fish patterns have been the best producers. CK Baitfish-Rhodes' Grubby and Trow Minnows have all been boating fish. Husky Jerks and soft plastics have netted fish for conventional anglers.
The Albemarle County Lakes have been fishing well also. Largemouth, crappie, bream and pickerels have all been feeding. The best times have been 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The water temperatures in the lakes have been in the mid 60s.
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. Bobby Whitlow says bass angling has been hit or miss as the changing seasons affect the fish. Try plastics, cranks or topwaters. Crappie fishing is better with fish being found at all depths and biting minnows and jigs. Some big flathead and blue cats have come in. They like live shad and bluegill or cut bait. Stripers are taking topwaters early and late. No word on perch. The water is clear and in the mid 60s.
James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Jimmy Cheers told me that bass fishing is good, especially with subsurface crawdad patterns. Wooly buggers are also effective. Rainbow and brown trout are really hot, going for subsurface hare's ears, prince nymphs and pheasant tails. The water is clear and in the high 40s to low 50s.
Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Holly Grove is closed for the season, but will re-open in February.
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.
Stripers: While stripers are being found in all sections of the lake this time of year, there are large numbers being found in the middle and upper section of the lake where the shad are plentiful. They are also being found in the larger creeks and other areas where there are baitfish. Some anglers continue to have success trolling with lead core line and the popular Sutton spoon and a bucktail or swimbaits. Anglers trolling with Umbrella rigs are also having success, especially trolling 8 to 15 feet below the surface at from 1.5 to 3.5 miles per hour. Fishermen continue to fish with live bait and report success using medium gizzard shad when they can catch them, and smaller baitfish and large shiners. Stripers are also breaking on bait near the surface around the lake.
Black Bass: While black bass have moved up in the water column and have been observed chasing schools of shad close to the surface, most continue to be found near the structure they use to ambush their prey. In addition to shad, black bass also eat bluegill, other species of fish and crawfish and currently appear to be keying heavily on crawfish.
Crappie: Crappie fishing has been excellent for the past week or two as they have moved up in the water column and are close to the surface. While small and medium minnows are producing good results, many anglers report success using plastic trailers rigged on lightweight jigheads. It is a good idea to stock a selection of different types of plastic trailers in a variety of colors as crappies prefer one lures action and color over another at different times. Anglers are catching crappie by "shooting jigs" under docks and overhanging trees along the shoreline. Crappies are also being caught near the tops of submerged brush using live minnows and jigs with the plastic trailers during the day. At night, they are being caught under a 12 volt light suspended about 4 feet below the surface.
Catfish: Channel catfish continue to be caught using prepared stink baits, cut bait, shrimp and nightcrawlers fished in deep water on bottom rigs. Flathead catfish are being caught on bottom rigs using live shad, store bought "golden shiners", night crawler worms and small bluegills.
Bass: Bass fishing continues to be mixed as well. Anglers report catching fish with a variety of different lures including: pig and jigs, shaky head jigs, crankbaits, drop shot rigs and heavy football head jigs. The "wacky rigged" Yamasenko worm is also producing bass near dock pilings and under docks, as are small floating worms rigged on light weight shakey head jigs.
The water is clear and 65 degrees. Enjoy the season and have a great time while on the water and in the woods.
Region 3 - Southwest
Claytor Lake: Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488.
Bass: There is a good topwater bite bass fishing early in the morning and evening. Shallow to mid depth crankbaits are also producing some bass throughout the day. A drop shot with a 4 ½ in. Roboworm is always a great choice. Good colors are Prizm Krawler, Oxblood light red flake and Martens madness. 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. During cloudy or overcast conditions throwing a buzz bait is productive and exciting. If you can handle the colder weather at night time, the smallmouth bite will warm you up. Slow rolling a Jolt spinner bait or dark colored chatter bait will produce some violent bites. The water temperature is mid to upper 60s. For more info call Mike at (540) 980-1488.
Crappie: Haven't heard or seen anything on crappies.
Yellow Perch: Yellow Perch are starting to pick up using live minnow on a small lead head hook.
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. Reports are that the Light House Bridge is the hot spot for quantity right now. The quality stripers are being caught in Peak Creek. We have weighed in 4 over 20 lbs this week. Late in the evening or early in the morning is the best time.
Catfish: Peak Creek is producing good numbers of catfish. Live bait seems to be the choice for Mr. Whiskers.
Water is low to mid 60s and clear.
Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius says that the river is getting some more water, which is good news for anglers. Both largemouth and smallmouths are fattening up for winter. They will take tubes, jerkbaits and spinners. Muskies are more active also, try a large muskie bait. The water is cooling and clear.
New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. According to Shawn Hash, bass numbers are dropping off, but you can still land a big one. Try using big cranks and jigs. Muskie action is heating up and they will take a large inline spinner. The water is very clear and 57 degrees.
Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. "Same ol' same ol'" here on the Upper New. Extremely low crystal clear water is making for really spooky fish and a tough bite but we are still managing some nice citation smallies & muskie. Water temperature is 60 degrees. If we could get the water up a bit and some color in it, the fall bite would be wide open.
Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley
North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Back from a great trip to Montana, Harry says that the smallmouth streams in North and South Forks of the River are in good shape, with the bass in the deep pools. Good flies are: Murray's Magnum Creek Chub, size 4; and Murray's Olive Dace, size 6.
The stocked streams in the Valley are low, making the angling a little harder. The delayed harvest streams are making for the best fishing. Good flies are: Casual Dress, size 10; and the Bead Head Prince, size 12. The brookies in the mountain streams are spawning and shouldn't be further stressed by fishing. The water is clear and 54 degrees.
Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Puff reports that the Lake has not come up much with recent rains, but the fall color and warm temps make for some quality time fishing on Moomaw with great smallmouth action recently. The trout and yellow perch aren't very active yet. Water temperature is about 60 degrees and about 21 ½ feet low. Coles Point boat ramp is inaccessible and only one lane is open at Bolar Flat and Fortney Branch.
Dominion Hosts Project Healing Waters... Mapletree Outdoors and my family were honored and privileged last week to provide catering for a special group of anglers on a two-day trout fishing trip in the mountains of Bath County at Dominion's Pump Storage Station at Back Creek. Project Healing Waters, Dominion, Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and Fly Fishers of Virginia hosted a combination of 12 active duty military personnel and veterans recovering from wounds and injuries incurred while serving their country for a special rehabilitative and therapeutic fly-fishing experience. Another 40 plus volunteers from the sponsoring organizations pitched in to make this event a great success. VDGIF and Dominion biologists demonstrated an electro-shocking survey, and treated members of the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA), participating in the event, to a tour of the new Coursey Springs Trout Cultural Station. Roanoke TV station WSLS Channel 10 filmed the event along with members of the VOWA doing stories and photos for various publications.
With all that fishing, filming, and just enjoying the beauty and serenity of Autumn on Back Creek, the appetites were big and we made sure no one went away hungry! A special thanks to these veterans for their service and sacrifice and to Project Healing Waters and Dominion and other sponsors for hosting this wonderful event in Virginias Highlands. Visit the Project Healing Waters website to see how you can support this valuable program.
There is Still Some Trout Out There... Puff also notes special thanks is due Dominion for stocking a portion of Back Creek managed by Dominion Power as part of their Pump Storage Facility with over 2400 trout for the Project Healing Waters Event and is now open to the public for catch and release only, single hook, artificial lures fishing. This generous 'donation' by Dominion should make for some great fishing throughout the winter for the "it's never to cold for trout fishing" enthusiasts!
Region 5 - Northern Piedmont
Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore, SwitchFisher.com / Wade and Shoreline Fishing the Potomac River - DC to Harpers Ferry. The trout are back! The fall stocking program is in full swing with Fairfax County receiving a good dose of fish in the two delayed harvest areas that represent the best of urban fishing in the Washington metropolitan area. Both Accotink Creek and Holmes Run were stocked last week. In earlier weeks, Passage Creek and the Robinson River received stockings; making trout the fish of choice as smallmouth bass become more elusive. There is a common misperception that you do not fish stocked water the same week it receives the fish, everything will be "cleaned out." There have been a number of comprehensive studies over the years to address this suspicion. A British study discovered that only 40% of stocked fish were reported caught. Of those, 65% were caught within five weeks. That means that there are still plenty of fish finning happily in our streams waiting for your visit. The other interesting fact is that the fish will not hold where they are inserted. Rainbow trout will stick were planted for three days and then move – mostly downstream. Therefore, if you visit stocked water in subsequent weeks, fish upstream from the lower boundary of public water. One additional point for fly rodders is that it takes rainbow trout at least a week to begin to adapt to natural food with the full transition taking up to 50 days. Therefore, if you hit the water immediately after stocking, use brightly colored streamers instead of delicately placed dry flies. Visit this link for a summary of the studies. If you are still interested in smallies, others report that Point of Rocks, Whites Ferry and Edwards Ferry on the Potomac are still fishing well. Frankly, I was skunked when I fished Turkey Run Park earlier in the week and, like any angler, write it off to anything other than the truth – my personal level of skill. Likewise, both the Rappahannock and Rapidan are in the process of shutting down for the winter with the water volume continuing to run below seasonal levels. Anglers are encouraged to avoid the mountain streams since the fall spawning season is upon us. Since the mountain streams are still running low, it's better to visit the stocked water for now. For those who enjoy my detailed fishing guidebooks, I'm happy to announce that the next one, Wade Fishing the Rapidan River of Virginia, will be released in on November 1 and cover the river from the Confluence all the way up to Skyline Drive.
Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. Angler's Lane is closed for the season. Although the shop is closed, the Lake remains open for use.
Mid Point Potomac: Warbird Outdoors, (703) 878-3111. Chuck Perry says that the bass bite is slow. They can be found at the edge of the grass and will go for plastics, spinners and cranks. No word on crappie. Lots of cats are responding to minnows and worms. Striper action is fair, with minnows, jerkbaits, Sassy Shads and rattletraps being good choices.
Warbird is closing for good on the 30th of this month... Chuck and Terry we appreciate all the great fishing info you have provided our readers and for the support you have given to youth fishing events and angler groups. Much success and good fishin' in your future endeavors.
If you are interested in providing a report to help us cover this area, contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. Visit the website for updates.
Lake Anna: Contributed by Local Guide Jim Hemby (540) 967-3313.
Stripers: Stripers are being caught right up on the bank in the first few hours of the day before the shallow water begins to warm from the sun. They have also migrated with the bait to the backs of most creeks. Finally decent fish are being caught down lake around Dike 3 up to Rockland Creek. We are running very large gizzard shad on planner boards and having excellent success. Trollers are having only fair success catching smaller fish.
Bass: Bass have also moved to extremely shallow water. The better bass are being caught in less than 4 feet of water. All the way up the rivers and the back of the creeks are producing the better stringers.
Crappie: Crappie are gorging themselves on threadfin and herring in water depths under 10 feet. We are catching them under shallow bridges and any dock with night lights on them. They also are following the schools of bait and once located are easy to catch on 2 to 4 inch baits.
The lake has cooled down to the mid 60s and, coupled with the recent rains, fish have finally turned on for the fall.
NOTICE: All anglers are reminded to acquaint themselves with a good description of the northern snakehead fish. If you should manage to catch one of these exotic imports, please kill it immediately and report the catch to either the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers
With bow season underway and muzzleloader deer season beginning October 30th, some small game seasons don't get quite the attention. For a young Wythe County grouse hunter, that's just fine with him. His most memorable outdoor experience is grouse hunting the laurel thickets with his Dad, Uncle and best friend Sam, his English setter. Owen Morgan was a just twelve years old when he entered his grouse hunting tale in the Ruffed Grouse Society's essay contest. He won first place and a new shotgun! He is now a Junior at Wythe County High School. Last year he placed third in the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Contest. His story on making maple syrup will be run next March- maple tapping season. So for now with grouse season beginning, we wanted to share his keen observations on this engaging sport. Not only does the story keep you interested in what will happen next, but as you read about Owen's hunting adventure you learn he is wise beyond his years... expressing that a day afield with family and a good dog, no matter how arduous, can be very rewarding. Good luck this season and thanks to your Dad for teaching you the values of our treasured hunting traditions. Keep the great stories coming!
To Kill a Grouse
By Owen Morgan
I want to kill a grouse. I am tired of unsuccessful hunts that seem to go on and on. I am ready to succeed. Also with me are three other hunters wishing for victory. First there is Dad who has actually killed grouse in the past, and he seriously thinks he might do it again. Second off is Uncle Allen, he had at one time bird hunted extensively, but I don't know that he has hunted much of late. I do know that currently his back is in severe pain, and he isn't sure he can get out of the truck. And lastly, there is Sam, the English setter who has personally chased down a grouse on his own and killed it when he was 5 months old. Naturally, this isn't encouraged, but he definitely can do it.
Each of us has our firearms with us, with the obvious exception of Sam. My gun and Dad's gun really aren't that interesting, but Uncle Allen's is. He has an old double-barreled Savage he got in a Ruritan raffle when he was 12. Now, at 49, his gun has been used so long, and is so broken-down that the forearm must be held to the barrel with two pieces of black electrical tape. He actually has a newer, better gun he purchased a couple of years ago, but he still prefers his old Savage.
Uncle Allen drags himself out of the truck, and we find that we must address a certain problem, namely that we've got one hyperactive dog, and boy - does he want to hunt. Which presents a simple issue, specifically, "How on earth will we get that dog not to hunt two miles out?" But we are innovators, and we merely take him to a reasonably poor hunting spot so he can run off steam. After approximately 30 minutes of this, we return to the truck to go to the so called honey hole.
Well, in my opinion, for a honey hole, this place is just not the best. Of course, we've only hunted for half-hour, but owing to my short attention span, I think we should have already each gotten our limits. Then suddenly, without warning, a grouse flushes. I swivel around startled, and Dad watches it fly off into the distance, as it was out of our range when it flushed. Now at this point we are all thinking the same thought, "Why didn't that dog point?" The dog, normally good at smelling birds, never noticed this one.
Now it is important to note that while Dad and I saw and heard this bird, Uncle Allen did not, simply because Uncle Allen has poor hearing. We don't know just how bad it is, but we do know that getting his attention takes quite awhile sometimes, and he never seems to hear other wildlife, such as the deer we saw.
Two and a half-hours later, I'm done. I am so doubtful that we're going to kill anything I've ceased to try. I'm entering blank mode, in which I don't think, don't pay attention, and just walk. Approximately 30 seconds later, the last grouse of the day flies up. Or so I am told. It cannot be proven that it is real because I didn't notice it, and Uncle Allen - naturally - couldn't hear it. But Dad, who was carefully counting flushes, did see it, and that makes him the flush counting winner. I have one, Uncle Allen has none.
Finally, after an eternity, Dad and I unite in our desire to go home. We would prefer to take a direct route back to the truck. After all, we have hunted all day, seen only two grouse and not taken a single shot. But Uncle Allen is determined to hunt his way back to the vehicle. We grudgingly follow in our very tired state. I'm still not sure how Uncle Allen made it with his back and all, but he managed to out walk us.
Well that's it. We make it back to the truck, unload our guns, and rest. Leaning against the truck, I'm thinking what a bust this hunt was. But a couple of days later, I realize that is wasn't so bad. I got to be in the woods, hunt with Sam, spend quality time with Dad and Uncle Allen, and just get out of the house. However, I realize one thing still. One event wasn't accomplished. I didn't kill that grouse.
Special thanks to Anna Stubna, Editor Ruffed Grouse Society, for permission to run this story. Established in 1961 the Ruffed Grouse Society is the one international wildlife conservation organization dedicated to promoting conditions suitable for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and related wildlife to sustain our sport hunting tradition and outdoor heritage. To find out more and their conservation work and youth writing contest visit: www.ruffedgrousesociety.org.
The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) annually sponsors a High School and Collegiate Writing Competition. with the theme of "a memorable outdoor experience." The contests will begin accepting stories in October with a deadline of January 31, 2011. Details will be posted in future Outdoor Reports beginning in October. We encourage you to write your most memorable hunting , fishing or other outdoor adventure story and enter the contest. 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: email@example.com
In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for:
- Hunting Benefits ALL Virginians
- How You Can Support Hunters for the Hungry
- Fall Boating Safety Reminders