In this edition:
- Demonstrate Respect and Appreciation for Veterans
- Hunting Benefits All Virginians
- Virginia Lottery and VDGIF Team Up For a "Wild" Scratcher Game
- VA Lottery Office In Abingdon Now Offering Hunting, Fishing Licenses and Other Services
- Revised Holiday Schedule for Posting the Outdoor Report
- Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
- Detailed Descriptions of Outdoor Events Across Virginia
- People and Partners in the News
- Sportsmen Making a Difference for Disabled Veterans
- Dominion Hosts Veterans for Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Trip
- CPOs, Sheriff and Federal Agents Partner to Catch and Prosecute Raptor Killers
- 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...
- License Options for Novice Hunters
- Looking For A Place To Hunt Or Fish?
- New CWD Management Actions Effective for Northern Shenandoah Valley
- Choosing A Quality Taxidermist Takes Pre-Planning
- Elk Hunting During 2010-2011
- Waterfowl Seasons Set
- Videos Available to Show Field Dressing Techniques
- Be Safe... Have Fun!
- Blaze Orange Is Not Just For Hunters! Be Safe, Be Seen!
- Drivers, Use Caution to Avoid Hitting Deer
- Tree Stand Safety is No Accident
- Recall Notice for Plastic Strap-On Tree Step
- Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!
- "Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts
- Deer Confiscation a Reminder of Why We Need to Keep Deer Wild
- "On the Trail"
- VBWT Site CES18 Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
- 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
- Endangered Mussels Released into the Clinch River, Largest Release in Eastern US
- Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar
- Outdoor Writers Association Announces Annual Youth Writing Competitions
- Habitat Improvement Tips
- Become a Quail Hunter Cooperator - We Need Your Help
- Habitat at Home© DVD Now Available
- Virginia Conservation Police Notebook
- Field Reports From Officers Protecting Natural Resources and People Pursuing Outdoor Recreation
- Fishin' Report
- Dominion Hosts Veterans for Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Trip
- 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
- "First Day Dove Hunting With Gracie" by Lee Donaldson
Demonstrate Respect and Appreciation for Veterans
This 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. Last Tuesday was Election Day when we were free to select representatives that make our laws and regulations that ultimately determine our ability to pursue hunting, fishing and, boating activities. Without the service and sacrifice by our veterans over the past two centuries, we may not have these freedoms - as my Dad, a Navy vet from WW II constantly reminded me, "Freedom isn't free!" Since he passed away just before hunting season several years ago, I now honor his military service each November by first voting and also show respect by sharing a hunting day with a veteran or new young hunter to carry on these valued traditions he fought for.
This 'holiday' we encourage you to do something more than just remembering – demonstrate your appreciation by taking time to do something meaningful in some way this year for our veterans and their families. You might volunteer for a hunting or fishing outing for wounded warriors, share some extra venison with a military family, or send 'goodie' packages to troops serving overseas. There are numerous veteran assistance organizations that can use your support featured in this edition.
With Thanksgiving coming in two weeks, we are thankful for the opportunity to partake of all these wonderful blessings that have been, and are preserved and defended by the service, courage, and sacrifice by our military veterans and their families. Showing respect for our wildlife laws honors our military heroes for their service by demonstrating safety, courtesy, and sportsmanship throughout the hunting season.
David Coffman, Editor
Hunting Benefits All Virginians
With the muzzleloading-black powder and archery deer hunting seasons underway, and the general firearms season opening next Saturday, November 13, hunters should pause to reflect on all the benefits that their participation adds to their lives and the positive impact on fellow Virginians. Recent economic downturns have many people thinking about how to simplify their lives, how to stretch their dollars, put food on the table, let go of stress, and still somehow give to others. Reports on obesity, concerns about food quality, and the footprint we are leaving on the planet, has people wondering what to do. An activity that addresses all that and more is hunting.
What benefits do all those hunters enjoy and what benefits do we all get from their activity? What benefits can you expect when you take up the tradition of hunting? Find the answers in various articles throughout this edition of the Outdoor Report that reveal the five benefits that hunting has been doing, and can do, for you...
- Boost the Economy
- Contribute to Conservation
- Wildlife Population Management
- Healthy Minds, Spirits and Bodies
- Sharing the Bounty
Hunt safely and responsibly.
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.
VA Lottery Office In Abingdon Now Offering Hunting, Fishing Licenses and Other Services
You might not normally think of the Virginia Lottery when you need a hunting license, a voter registration card or travel ideas, but now you can. The Virginia's Lottery's Southwest Virginia Customer Service Center in Abingdon has begun providing those and other services for Lottery players and non-players alike.
The customer service center is located at 408 East Main Street in Abingdon. In addition to regular Lottery functions at this office, you can now:
- Buy a hunting license
- Buy a fishing license
- Buy a temporary boat registration
- Register to vote
- Pick up information, catalogs and brochures from the Virginia Tourism Corporation
"We are seeing people come in with a winning Lottery ticket and leave with tourism brochures or 'Virginia is for Lovers' bumper stickers," said Virginia Lottery Executive Director Paula Otto. "We are happy to work with other state agencies to help provide these services."
In addition to these services, the Lottery and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries have teamed up for Virginia's Wildlife, a Scratcher game with cash prizes up to $100,000. The game also 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 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.
Revised Holiday Schedule for Posting the Outdoor Report
The Outdoor Report regularly posts to your email on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. With the various holidays observed in November-December, we will be 'tweeking' the posting schedule just a bit to accommodate both staff and subscribers holiday schedules and provide time to enjoy the season's festivities. Posting dates are revised as follows:
- Wednesday November 24 is a state holiday prior to Thanksgiving. The Outdoor Report will post on Tuesday November 23.
- The regular posting for Wednesday December 8 will be on schedule. This is the final Outdoor Report posting for 2010 as only one edition is posted in December due to extended Christmas / New Years Holidays
- The first edition of 2011 will post on the regular schedule of Wednesday, January 12.
Please send in stories, announcements, events, and photos you may want posted to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 10 days prior to the listed posting date.
Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss
Friends of Dyke Marsh Host Insect Workshop November 17
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.
Friends of Phelps Wildlife Management Area Schedule Events for November 17 and December 15
The Friends of C.F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area (WMA) have scheduled meetings on Wednesday, November 17 and Wednesday, December 15 at 7 p.m. The group previously met at the C.F. Phelps Work Center, but for these two meetings will meet at a new location, the Sumerduck Ruritan Club at 5335 Sumerduck Road, Sumerduck, VA 22742. During the November 17th meeting VDGIF bear biologist, Jaime Sajecki will be the guest speaker. During the December 15th meeting a pot-luck dinner will be included . To view what the Friends group has been doing, visit the Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA on Facebook at Friends of C.F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area and see photos of our Work day and Tour of Phelps. For more information on the Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA or to be added to the distribution list for meeting reminders and notes, contact Patricia Wood at email@example.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (434) 248-5444 Fax: (434) 248-6749, or visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website.
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.
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 Kids
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 email@example.com.
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
Sportsmen Making a Difference for Disabled Veterans
A portion of this article has been reprinted from an Outdoor Wire Feature by Editor, Jim Shepherd, to encourage support for veterans assistance organizations originally posted November 2009.
Pause and Remember to Say Thanks to Our Veterans
Veteran's Day is set aside to honor the brave men and women who have and are sacrificing for all of us demonstrating their willingness to serve and to go abroad, knowing that they will - at the very least - come home changed from the experience. Some will come home safely, others horrifically injured, and some in a box with an American flag draped across it. Taking time to recognize their service seems to be a pretty small sign of appreciation.
If you're like me, and think that's not really enough, there are many organizations that could use your help, your support and your money to help make lives easier for our veterans. Even if you think you're not in the position to give anything in support of our veterans and our military, walk up to the next uniformed serviceman or woman you see, look them in the eyes and say "thank you for your service". You'll see that it doesn't take much to make a difference, and both of you will feel better from that simple gesture.
There are numerous organizations that serve our veterans and active servicemen and women including: Paralyzed Veterans of America/Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund, Wounded Warrior Project, Project Healing Waters to name a few. These groups heavily dependant on volunteers and citizen donations include hunting, fishing and shooting opportunities for returning veterans who have been injured as a result of their military service. We are also proud that a number of VDGIF partner sportsman organizations host programs and events specifically for disabled veterans including VA Deer Hunters Assoc., National Wild Turkey Federation, VA Waterfowlers Assoc, The Wildlife Foundation of VA, and many more.
Today, there are far more veterans in need than there are volunteers and resources to help get them outside. And each of us know there's nothing to help get your juices flowing like a reconnection with an outdoor activity, especially if you've been injured and are struggling with recovery. As we recognize this special day, make a commitment to do things throughout the year to honor the brave men and women who have fought and died to protect our freedoms. 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. It is the least we all can do to honor and show appreciation to the veterans and their families for their service, courage and sacrifice.
Dominion Hosts Veterans for Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Trip
In mid-October the trout stocked waters of Back Creek below the Dominion Pump Storage Station provided valuable recreation and rehabilitation for a special group of anglers on a two-day trout fishing trip in the mountains of Bath County. 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. [See additional photos and information on the VDGIF demonstrations for the VOWA writers in the Fishin' Report section] 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 Mike Puffenbarger's Mapletree Outdoors BBQ made sure no one went away hungry. All the sponsors and volunteers expressed special thanks to these veterans for their service and sacrifice. Project Healing Waters and Dominion and other sponsors will be partnering for future events to be hosted in Virginia's Highlands. Visit the Project Healing Waters website to see how you can support this valuable program. For outdoor recreation opportunities in Bath County visit their website.
CPOs, Sheriff and Federal Agents Partner to Catch and Prosecute Raptor Killers
On October 18, VDGIF Conservation Police Officers Jason Honaker and Tosh Barnette assisted the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in serving warrants on seven members of the Tennessee-Virginia Beagle Club in Scott County. The warrants stemmed from an investigation started by Officer Honaker in March 2010 from a complaint about federally protected birds being illegally captured and killed on hunt club property. During the course of the lengthy investigation, Officer Honaker received help from Officer Barnette in finding pole traps located on hunt club property. Thirteen traps along with bait and feathers which were later determined to be from hawks and owls were located, photographed, and collected. Officer Barnette utilized the GPS coordinates of the pole traps to make an extensive map of the area. Officers Honaker and Barnette checked the area numerous times from March through August 2010 photographing and collecting evidence of the illegal trapping. The Scott County Sheriffs Office allowed Officer Honaker to use a special covert camera to videotape the area. Officers Honaker and Barnette also set up a groundhog surveillance camera late at night, because of the close proximity of houses in the area, and collected videotape footage of members in the area of the pole traps.
In August 2010 Officer Honaker acting on a tip from an informant went to the Tennessee-Virginia Hunt Club cabin with Officer Vandyke and two deputies from the Scott County Sheriffs Office to interview the members at a meeting. Seven members were in attendance and gave statements to Officer Honaker about their involvement in the trapping and killing of numerous federally protected birds on the property. One member admitted to Officer Honaker that he was checking the traps almost daily and said that he did not honestly know how many birds had been killed by the traps over the past year but said that it was quite a few. After interviewing the club members, Officers Honaker and Vandyke removed the traps. Officer Honaker coordinated his investigation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and sent them the information on the case. Agent French with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service met officers Honaker and Barnette to serve warrants for illegally killing federally protected wildlife. The warrants served on the seven hunt club members ranged in pre-payable fines from $525.00 to $1,525.00 upon each member. The U.S. Attorneys office in Abingdon, Virginia said that it is the largest case of illegal trapping of federally protected wildlife in Southwest Virginia.
For more information on this case contact Lt. Rex Hill at (276) 783-4860. For more information on protected, endangered, or species of special concern in Virginia, check out the Virginia Fish and Wildlife Information System. Read the feature on the northern harrier hawk in the Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! feature in this edition of the Outdoor Report.
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
Cody Woodzell, 10 years old, took this doe while hunting with his grandfather, John Pound (retired VDGIF Wildlife Management Area Manager), on their property in Bath County on Youth Day, September 25th. Cody and his grandfather were hunting from a tree stand when three does starting feeding toward them. Cody took one shot, with his Ruger .243 at about 60 yards. Cody said "Man I can't wait until regular rifle season, now Maw Maw can make me some jerky". Cody is the proud son of Sharrie and Tony Woodzell of Warm Springs. This was Cody's third deer in two years, all taken with his .243.
Jerry Michonski sent us the following story of hunting with a crossbow at Ft. Belvoir after a shoulder injury.
While riding on my bicycle at work to stay in shape, I wrecked and separated my shoulder. Wanting to get a new bow this season turned into getting a Parker Tornado crossbow and some Rage Broadheads. I used my Discover Card cash back bonus to get Cabbala's gift cards. No reason to miss the season, Right!?!
One day, while jogging around the military base at Ft. Belvoir where I work near Manassas, I noticed a big buck standing there looking at me while I jogged by. He sported a large rack with one long drop tine on his left side. He was in a designated hunting area that I have hunted for many years, but I have never seen him. I knew where I was going to hunt. Two days later, I hung a stand in the exact spot. It was a perfect location, due to the funnel it created. You need to look for a funnel to get the deer into bow range.
The next day, October 8, I got my chance to hunt him. My friend could not hunt that evening, and was excited for me. He said, hunting the stand for the first time is usually the best time. After working my way to the stand thru the marshy bottom and almost all the way to my stand, I noticed, I forgot my safety harness. My safety in not worth any deer, so back to the car I went.
Finally, getting to the stand hot and sweaty, I put out some Buck Bomb scent. After not seeing anything for awhile, I was thinking what I might text to my friend... My First text, "No drop tine." Next text, "but I did get this monster." Later, I was thinking the text might say, "did not see a deer!"
Then, at about 6 a.m. I see a deer. He was working his way towards me. He stops. He is looking for something. Did he smell me? Is he going to bust out? He is the one I am looking for. He continues to walk, I grunt to stop him at 30 yards. Wack! 'Down goes Frazier.' Wow, what a hunt.
Thanks to the crossbow license, I was still able to hunt with my shoulder injury. And thanks to Woody for helping me drag the big 14 pointer out of the woods. If you have a will, there is a way. Get out there and hunt! It truly helps your recovery in both body and mind.
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.
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.
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!
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).
Choosing A Quality Taxidermist Takes Pre-Planning
Editors note... As I found myself with a trophy buck the first day of muzzleloader season, I was unprepared as how to handle skinning the trophy without causing costly damage and what to look for in choosing a taxidermist. I personally know a dozen taxidermists with great reputations, so how do I choose? One of the first contacts I made was to Todd and Vickie Rapalee, of Rapalee Taxidermy in Goochland, who have an exceptional reputation for their stunning exhibits at major Sportsman shows featuring wild animal trophies from around the world. I had visited their amazing showroom and facility in Goochland several times - it is worth a visit even if you do not have a trophy to mount. I assumed Rapalee and several other well known taxidermists I knew from Sportsmen Show exhibits would be too expensive, yet Todd notes that the foundation of his business and that of most Virginia taxidermists, remains the whitetail shoulder mount. His prices and those I checked of other taxidermists of similar quality and reputation were competitive and affordable. I ended up choosing a taxidermist that was closer to home and a fellow member of several sportsman organizations. I learned a lot from consulting with Todd and asked him to share his advice in the Outdoor Report. Todd advises, "If you are looking to find a person to mount your hunting trophies in all of their former glory, here are some tips gathered from over 30 years of taxidermy experience."
Your search for a quality taxidermist should begin well before you have a trophy to be mounted. A good place to start is asking friends about their taxidermist. Are they satisfied with the quality and service provided? Another choice is visiting booths at hunting/sportsman shows. Here you can usually see a number of taxidermy booths at one location. Hugh Crittenden, Founder and Manager of the Virginia Outdoor Sportsmen Show in August in Richmond, and a retired taxidermist, provided similar advice and noted that the big Game Contests in Richmond hosted by the VA Deer Hunters Association, Izaak Walton League in Harrisonburg and VA Peninsula Sportsmen's Association in Franklin are good places to see numerous trophy mounts and the various taxidermists' skills. The Virginia Taxidermist Association website and the internet are also good resources to learn more about licensed taxidermists.
Take the time to go and visit taxidermy studios, even when you do not have a specimen to deliver for mounting. Look around their showroom and facility. If a taxidermist takes pride in their work and business it will show. In short, the mounts should appear alive and be of a quality that you would be proud to display in your home or office. This is the time to ask questions and prepare for when you do need a taxidermist's services.
Some questions you may want to ask:
- Do they offer taxidermy services for the species you may be hunting?
- How do they prefer the trophy prepared for delivery to their studio?
- Are the skins tanned? You want to avoid skins preserved with dry preservative powder. A quality taxidermist should be using a fully tanned skin.
- How secure is the facility? Does the studio have a 24 hour fire/burglar protection?
- How long is the completion time? Six to twelve months is a good average for most studios. You should use caution if the completion time is extremely fast or extremely slow.
- What is the price? The work involved in a quality mount is phenomenal and is usually reflected in the price. Do not make your decision based on price alone. Go visit the studio to see first hand the quality of the work you will be receiving. Remember, you get what you pay for!
If you have already had a bad experience with a taxidermist and have a horrendous creature that was intended for your den, but is now hanging in your basement or garage, keep this in mind, most taxidermist will remount old or poor quality mounts using a new cape. If the trophy means something to you, it will be well worth it! Hopefully, you'll follow some of the tips here and not end up with such an embarrassing creation in the first place.
Field care tips for a whitetail shoulder mount:
- Use care when dragging a deer out of the woods. Avoid dragging over rocks, logs, etc. that can rub hair off.
- When field dressing, stop your belly cut at the breast bone.
- To remove cape from body make a "Y" incision from the cut made field dressing at the breast bone, out the backside of each front leg. Follow the pattern where the brown and white hairline meets.
- Cut the front legs off at the knees.
- Continue peeling the skin forward towards the head.
- Cut the meat and bone of the neck leaving approximately 4 inches of neck meat with the head and cape.
- Cut the rear skin of the deer off midway on the rib cage.
- Place shoulder cape with head attached in a bag and freeze or pack in ice until you can deliver it to your taxidermist.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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. Take a few emergency items with you - snacks, water, safety whistle, a fold up space blanket, a method to light a fire, hands free headlight, sheath knife, extra batteries for radios or GPS and fully charge your cell phone. Have an extra dose of any medications you may require. Before you go out, let someone know where you will be hunting and when you expect to return.
Most importantly wear blaze orange - it's the law for a good reason - it can save your life!
Blaze Orange Is Not Just For Hunters! Be Safe, Be Seen!
Except for hunting waterfowl, wearing blaze orange during the general firearms hunting season is not only smart - it's the law! And a good one that saves lives each year. But blaze orange is not just for hunters. This high-visibility "safety orange" is recognized in the workplace, both indoors or out, so you can be seen. If you are a landowner, jogger, hiker, or walk your dog on woodland trails, you would be wise to wear a blaze orange hat, vest, or coat so a hunter can see you and not mistake your movement for game. Just like driving defensively, you should take the same precautions and awareness if you go to the woods for any reason during the hunting seasons from October through January. Dress defensively. Wear blaze orange to be safe and be seen. Also, if you should fall and get injured, rescuers will find you easier... time saved that could keep you from further harm. If you have dogs that "roam" out of the yard, put a blaze orange collar on them so they are not likely to be mistaken for a fox or coyote. Remember whether you are a hunter, or just enjoying the outdoors, cutting firewood or walking a woodland trail, wear "safety orange"- it's the woodswise thing to do!
Drivers, Use Caution to Avoid Hitting Deer
With shorter days, many motorists will be commuting in the dark, increasing the likelihood of their vehicle colliding with a deer. The VDGIF is encouraging Virginia's drivers to be more cautious as they travel the Commonwealth's highways this season.
Fall is the breeding season for deer, and consequently, deer are more active now than any other time of the year. One-half to two-thirds of all deer/vehicle collisions occur in the months of October, November, and December. While less than 1 percent of vehicle fatalities and injuries involve deer collisions in Virginia, hitting a deer can cause considerable damage to both people and property.
VDGIF estimates the population of white-tailed deer in the Commonwealth at this time of year to be approximately one million animals. Each year, hunters in Virginia harvest over 210,000 deer. The population has been stabilized at between 800,000 and one million animals for almost 10 years. Without hunting, white-tailed deer, due to their reproduction rate, could double their population within five years.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recommends the following tips to drivers to avoid hitting a deer.
- When driving, particularly at dusk and dawn, slow down and be attentive. If you see one deer, likely there will be others. If one deer crosses the road as you approach, others may follow.
- Deer habitually travel the same areas; therefore deer crossing signs have been installed by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Use caution when you see these signs.
- Drivers should apply brakes, even stop if necessary, to avoid hitting a deer, but should never swerve out of the lane to miss a deer. A collision with another vehicle, tree or other object is likely to be more serious than hitting a deer.
- Rely on your caution and your own senses, not deer whistles you can buy for your car. These devices have not been shown to be effective.
- Any person who is involved in a collision with a deer or bear while driving a motor vehicle, thereby killing the animal, should immediately report the accident to the Conservation Police Officer or other law enforcement officer in the county or city where the accident occurred.
- Drivers who collide with a deer or bear, thereby killing the animal, may keep it for their own use provided that they report the accident to a law enforcement officer where the accident occurred and the officer views the animal and gives the person a possession certificate.
If you have questions about white-tailed deer or deer behavior, please visit the Department's website.
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:
Recall Notice for Plastic Strap-On Tree Step
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Primal Vantage has issued a voluntary recall of the Ameristep Plastic Strap-On Tree Step, due to incidents of the plastic portion of the step breaking, causing a fall hazard. Stop using immediately! For return and refund information, contact Primal Vantage toll free at (866) 972-6168 or visit their website.
To see this recall, including a picture of the recalled product, please go to the CPSC's website.
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.
Deer Confiscation a Reminder of Why We Need to Keep Deer Wild
The confiscation of a crippled adult white-tailed deer from a small pen in western Rockingham County in late October demonstrates why the VDGIF takes illegal wildlife possession so seriously. In accordance with agency protocols, biologists humanely immobilized and removed the doe from its pen while law enforcement officers cited the property owner with breaking three laws - illegal possession of a wild animal, fencing with the intent to confine a deer, and illegally feeding a deer.
White-tailed deer are attractive animals that some people wish to rescue or keep as pets. However, keeping wild deer is illegal, and deer raised by humans can be dangerous. Moving tame or captive-reared deer may transmit harmful diseases to wild deer, livestock, and even humans. Holding deer in captivity without proper permits or training often results in improper care or inhumane conditions. Unfortunately, tame deer often must be destroyed.
Why Deer Must Remain Wild... White-tailed deer and other native wildlife belong to no one person. They are held in trust by the Commonwealth for the benefit of all Virginia residents. It is illegal for individuals to hold or to confine deer or other wild animals without a permit. The only facilities allowed to possess native or exotic deer in Virginia are permitted by VDGIF and are for educational or rehabilitation purposes. These facilities, operated by people trained in deer husbandry, are inspected annually for humane care and compliance with VDGIF requirements for marking, record-keeping, and disease testing.
Deer, like all wild animals, are potentially dangerous to humans when threatened or confined. Deer that are fed by humans or kept in confinement lose their natural fear of humans. Fawns that are bottle-fed by humans become particularly aggressive as they mature. Mature male deer are most likely to attack people during the fall breeding season. Since 1988, at least 45 deer attacked humans in the United States or Canada, resulting in 50 human injuries and 8 deaths.
Moving deer from one place to another and/or confining them within captive facilities increases the risk of disease transmission to other wildlife, domestic animals, and humans. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and bovine tuberculosis (TB) are two diseases that can be spread by confining or moving deer. VDGIF remains vigilant in its attempts to prevent further spread of CWD, currently found in Frederick County and adjacent Hampshire County, West Virginia.
VDGIF strongly discourages people from keeping wild animals as pets. Many people do not fully appreciate the care requirements of wildlife. To learn more about the agency's protocols for handling illegally held deer visit the Department's website.
"On the Trail"
VBWT Site CES18 Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Quick Quiz: What is the easternmost site on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail? If your first thought was "False Cape State Park", you could almost be forgiven, as that is indeed the easternmost site of the contiguous land mass of the Commonwealth. But residents of the Eastern Shore would surely chastise you for forgetting about the Delmarva Peninsula. In fact, 7 of the 18 sites on the Eastern Shore Loop of the VBWT lie east of False Cape. Easternmost of those is Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Site CES18. Located at the south end of Assateague Island, Chincoteague is the second most visited refuge in the national wildlife refuge system and with good reason as it is located within hours of Washington D.C., eastern Maryland, Delaware, and S. E. Virginia.
Chincoteague has been recognized as one of the world's premier sites for bird species diversity. More than 320 species of birds have been seen on the refuge's 14,000+ acres of beach, maritime forest, salt marsh and freshwater marsh habitats. Its shorebird diversity was ranked second among 450 international sites. Chincoteague is truly a year-round wildlife viewing destination. Now through March is an excellent time to see the thousands of ducks, geese and swans that spend the winter in the area's protected coves and bays, while spawning horseshoe crabs attract migrating shorebirds such as ruddy turnstone, red knot, dunlin, semipalmated sandpiper, and sanderling in spring. Chincoteague is also home to threatened and endangered wildlife, including Delmarva fox squirrel, piping plover, bald eagle, and Atlantic loggerhead sea turtle.
Chincoteague NWR is also famous for its ponies, first introduced to the island in the 17th century. The annual Chincoteague Wild Pony Swim attracts tens of thousands of visitors annually to watch over one hundred of the ponies that live on Assateague swim across Assateague Channel to Chincoteague Island in late July. Be sure to start your visit to Chincoteague at the refuge's award winning visitor center. Completed in 2003, this beautiful, eco-friendly center offers many informative, interactive exhibits about the history of the island, the refuge, and the plants and animals you will find there. The refuge maintains several miles of trails for either hiking or biking. Most popular is the 3 ¼ mile Wildlife Loop, which is also open to vehicles from 3:00 P.M. till dusk.
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!
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."
Endangered Mussels Released into the Clinch River, Largest Release in Eastern US
Biologists from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), and partners from Virginia Tech, the Nature Conservancy, and the USFWS stocked thousands of mussels into the Clinch River, Russell County. The Clinch River has more species of endangered freshwater mussels than any other river in North America. Elementary school students from Cleveland, VA, participated in the event, and learned about the many functions of mussels, including providing habitat for fish, becoming food for many other animals, and filtering and cleaning the water in our streams and rivers. Over 3,500 federally-endangered mussels were produced at the Department's Aquatic Wildlife Conservation Center in Marion, Virginia.
Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar
Look at the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for when these nature events occur in late November:
- What are the 3 main factors that affect antler size in a buck white-tailed deer?
- What game bird can be hunted on Thanksgiving? What does this bird eat in winter?
Answers to October 27 edition quiz for nature events in early November...
- When is the peak of the deer rut? Mid-November, usually coincides with the opening of general firearms deer season. See more information in the Be Safe…Have Fun section feature article on "Drivers, Use Caution to Avoid Hitting Deer," because they are in the rut chasing does.
- What waterfowl species begin to appear on large reservoirs? Loons, mergansers and numerous diving ducks. See more information in the Green Tips section feature "On the Trail", describing the numerous waterfowl that can be viewed on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on the Eastern Shore.
Get your copy of the 2011 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.
Outdoor Writers Association Announces Annual Youth Writing Competitions
The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, Inc. (VOWA) announces its 18th Annual High School (grades 9-12) Writing Competition for 2010-11. The goal of the competition is to reward young people for excellence in communicating their personal experiences in the outdoors. The competition is open to all Virginia students in grades 9 through 12, including home-schooled students.
The theme of this year's contest is based on "A Memorable Outdoor Experience". An experience by the student writer with hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, hiking, birding or other outdoor activity should be the predominant subject matter. No athletic event or competition is an eligible subject matter. Submissions can be submitted in a Microsoft Word or text file since the three top winners will be posted on the VOWA Web site, and may be in other publications or on web sites. E-mail submissions are encouraged - write the document and then attach it to an e-mail. The submissions can be made between now and the January 31, 2011, deadline.
Awards will consist of gift certificates and gear from outdoor sports businesses and Supporting Members of VOWA. Over $500 in prizes will be awarded. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the VOWA's Annual Meeting in mid-March – date and location to be announced in December.. The winner's parents (or mentor/teacher) will be guests of VOWA for the presentation event. There is also a separate competition for college level undergraduates interested in pursuing journalism or communication careers and interests.
For Competition guidelines, entry information and required entry submission form for both the High School and Collegiate Undergraduate contests, visit the VOWA website or contact VOWA High School Competition Chairman, David Coffman at email@example.com. For the Collegiate Competition, contact Marie Majarov at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winning entries are featured in each edition of the Outdoor Report in the Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers section. After reading these stories from exceptional young writers, we hope you will be inspired to write about one of your memorable outdoor experiences and submit it to the competition.
Habitat Improvement Tips
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.
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 II - Southside
Officers active in nabbing illegal hunters – baiters, spotlighters and poachers in remote locations...
On Friday night, October 29, at approximately 2330 hours, CPO Brandon Edwards arrested the operator of a pick up truck and charged him with DUI and attempting to take deer with the aid of lights attached to a vehicle. Two passengers were also charged with spotlighting deer. A .22 caliber rifle was seized. The three Franklin County residents will be arraigned in November.
On Saturday, October 30, CPO James Slaughter and CPO Eric Dotterer charged four Roanoke residents with hunting over bait. The charges were made on the side of Cahas Mountain in Franklin County and required a great deal of surveillance and two hours of "mountain climbing" to get to the illegal hunters that were using walkie talkies to communicate and prevent apprehension by the officers. The poachers used ATV's to access the steep terrain.
On Saturday, October 30, CPO Chase Meredith charged a North Carolina man with hunting deer over bait in Patrick County. The suspect was "surprised" to see officers on such remote property owned by his family.
On Sunday, October 31, CPO Chase Meredith received information from an informant about spotlighting the night before. He was able to locate two suspects that admitted to shooting at a deer at 1930 hours from the roadway. A .50 caliber muzzleloading rifle was seized and two Carroll County men were charged with attempting to kill deer with the aid of lights attached to a vehicle.
On October 9, CPOs Howald and Sandy were inspecting a piece of property in Brunswick County that was baited last hunting season. While searching the property, the officers found three baited sites. While the officers were gathering evidence, a vehicle approached their location. The officers quickly concealed themselves in the woods and observed two subjects exit the vehicle and enter the woods. The officers went to the vehicle and observed a bag of corn in the bed and camouflage clothing and two compound bows in the back seat. The officers then concealed themselves again to observe. After an hour of waiting, the two subjects came back to the vehicle and left the area. The officers decided to wait on the hunters to return. After approximately one hour, the vehicle returned and the two subjects exited the truck and walked past the officers carrying a climbing treestand and bows. The officers located the two subjects in separate treestands overlooking an active tripod feeder. Sandy and Howald interviewed the subjects and obtained written statements admitting to hunting without licenses, hunting over bait, trespassing, and some other relevant offenses from last hunting season. Twenty-one charges were made as a result of the ensuing investigation.
For more information on these CPO Activity Reports contact Lt. Tony Fisher at (434) 525-7522.
Region III - Southwest
Sportsman's groups partner with CPOs to host kid's fishing day... Over 300 youngsters participated in Kids Fishing Day at Waid Park in Franklin County on October 9, 2010. Local businesses donated prizes and trophies for all age groups. The NWTF, The Smith Mountain Lake Striper Club, Trout Unlimited, Franklin County Parks and Recreation and The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries sponsored the annual event on the Pigg River. For more information contact Lt. Rx Hill at (276) 783-4860.
Citizen tip leads to multiple illegal hunting charges... On October 14, 2010, Officer George Shupe received a complaint from Richmond dispatch in reference to a deer that was shot from the road. Officer Shupe met with the complainant and was advised that a doe was shot from the road on posted property and that two subjects entered the woods to retrieve the deer and had not exited. The third suspect had left the area in a red Chevy pickup. The two suspects were found hiding in a laurel thicket, apprehended and interview about the events. One of the suspects admitted to shooting a doe deer from the roadway with a .17 caliber rifle. The driver of the vehicle was identified from the interviews and as Officer Shupe was about to clear from the scene a maroon Jeep Liberty approached his location. The driver was identified as the third suspect. Upon interviewing the driver it was determined that he drove the red pickup to his house and switched vehicles to pick up his accomplices. The firearm was recovered at his residence. A total of nine charges were placed. For more information contact Lt. Rx Hill at (276) 783-4860.
Spotlighters pay big fines and lose hunting rights... CPO James Slaughter arrested two Henry County men on October 9, 2010 for attempting to kill deer with the aid of a spotlight. Both pled guilty at arraignment in Franklin County and paid fines and costs exceeding $1100 each, lost hunting privileges for one year, forfeited a rifle and had a 30 day jail sentence suspended on one years good behavior. For more information contact Lt. Rx Hill at (276) 783-4860.
These CPO reports show the value of concerned citizens, landowners and true sportsmen in providing tips to law enforcement officers on suspected violations by lawbreakers who give other hunters an undeserved bad reputation. Don't let the actions of a few outlaws tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen!
If you suspect or witness a violation, report it to the Wildlife Crimeline at
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.
Dominion Hosts Veterans for Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Trip
Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and Dominion biologists demonstrated an electro-shocking survey in mid-October on the trout stocked waters of Back Creek below the Dominion Pump Storage Station for a group of wounded warriors on a two-day trout fishing trip in the mountains of Bath County. Project Healing Waters, Dominion, 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 two-day fly fishing experience. VDGIF District Fisheries Biologist Paul Bugas and Fisheries Technician Jason Hallacher assisted by 40 plus volunteers from the sponsoring organizations, performed the electro shocking survey and also pitched in to make this event a great success serving as guides for the guests.
Members of the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA), participating in the event, were treated to a tour of the new Coursey Springs Trout Cultural Station with Manager Eric Wooding. . [See additional photos and information on the Project Healing Waters, Dominion sponsored event in the People & Partners section] 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 Mike Puffenbarger's Mapletree Outdoors BBQ made sure no one went away hungry. All the sponsors and volunteers expressed special thanks to these veterans for their service and sacrifice. Project Healing Waters and Dominion and other sponsors will be partnering for future events to be hosted in Virginia's Highlands. Visit the Project Healing Waters website to see how you can support this valuable rehabilitative program. For outdoor recreation opportunities in Bath County visit their website.
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 told me that things have been "slow" in general. Bass are going deep, but might go for a crankbait or a jig. No word on crappie, cats or perch. Not many bluegill are being landed, but try a worm or cricket. The water is slightly stained and 57 degrees.
Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. According to Captain Jim, stripers are biting around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. They are attacking live spot and bucktails. Speckled trout and puppy drum can be found at the Rudde and Lynnhaven Inlets. They like cut bait and Mirrolures. The flounder bite has slowed considerably, but some are getting lucky with minnows or squid. The water is fairly clear and 60 degrees.
Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown hasn't had many anglers come in lately, but a small bass tournament held recently did well. Indeed, the bass are out there and going for crankbaits. A few crappie are responding to minnows and jigs. Cats are biting on fresh eel. Some stripers can be had around the bridge; try rattletraps. The water is stained and 61 degrees.
North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Tom Hunt reports that local bass are going for plastic worms and top-waters. A few crappie are responding to minnows and jigs. The cat bite is good on cut bait. Bluegill action has slowed down. The water is clear and 60 degrees.
Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon reports that bass are attacking jigs with Silver Buddies and soft plastics. Lots of crappie are being brought to boat, some of them big 'uns. Try to get your lunker with a minnow or a jig. Some big cats are coming in too on cut bait, with cut eels being a particular favorite. Some white perch have gone for night crawlers. The bluegill bite has slowed down. The water is clear and cooling.
Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com Both the Nottoway and Blackwater are in good shape right now. Largemouth are biting good and the river is just gorgeous. The leaves are making fishing a little hard right now, but it's just part of the deal this time of year. My buddy Edwin told me they caught a pile of blue catfish last week on the Nottoway with the largest going nearly 30 pounds! All were caught on the primitive limbline. Please remember that limblines must be removed if you're not going to fish them daily. Don't leave them in the trees for wildlife to get tangled up in. It looks like the blue cat fishery is really taking off and we are indeed going to end up with some big fish residing in the rivers. We don't know yet what the effect will be on other species, I guess time will tell. Better get out on the river now and try them though, the warm days are 'bout over and soon the gloom of winter will be upon us.
Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike has been in the woods lately, but he does report that the cat bite is good, both blues and flatheads. Shad make good lures for the whiskered fish, as do cut and live eel. Crappie have schooled up and are going for minnows and jigs. Stripers have been landed in Hopewell and below. The water is clear and 60 degrees.
Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, John Garland, Screaming Reels Fishing Charter, (804) 739-8810. No report this edition.
Region 2 - Southside
Brunswick Lake: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. I hate to admit that I only managed to make it out but one time in two weeks but everyone must put in some work time each year. With the promise of wind of only 5 to 10 mph until noon, Cricket Man and I headed to Brunswick Lake. The lake is still at low level, but clear with a slight brown stain. It seems someone did not remove the crow's nest from one of his reels so I spent the first 15 minutes digging out knots and tangles while Cricket Man fished with his worms. Finally got the line unraveled and started fishing with my 1/32 lead head and 2 inch twister tail under the bridge. We spent about 15 minutes fishing there and only caught one 10 in. crappie on a purple twister, so we moved to the flats. Cricket Man started picking up some bluegill on his worms and I would get one every so often on the twisters. The wind was still, so I switched to the fly rod with popping bug and then things really picked up. I had to cast and let the bug just sit there before I would get a strike. I put 28 hand size bluegill and 6 bass the largest being 13 inches in the boat when we decided to head toward the upper end of the lake and try for crappie. Cricket Man caught 6 from 10 to 12 inches trolling along, or as I call it "boat fishing" with two rods, and I picked up three more before we called it a day. Cricket Man caught 21 bluegill, 2 bass and 6 crappie. Not that great a day, but we have had worse.
Sandy River and Briery Creek: Contributed by Longwood College Fishing Club's Jack Pollio. No report this edition.
James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. No report this edition.
Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. According to Devin Griles, things have slowed down considerably. Once things cool down the bite all around should be better. The water is clear in the main lake, and stained in the creeks and 60 degrees.
James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Tom Riesdorf told me that the smallmouth action is quite slow, but some are being fooled by crayfish imitations. The rainbows and brown bite in the Jackson River is okay, but should pick up soon. Try small nymphs or a hare's ear. The water is clear and in the high 40s.
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 there are always stripers distributed around the lake, many are currently being found and caught in the upper lake. Most anglers report good success fishing with live bait. Some stripers are being marked in small schools from 12 to 25 feet below the surface and being caught on downlines. Others are being caught off shallow points and flats in as little as 3 or 4 feet of water using planer boards and floats. Anglers casting, counting down and retrieving bucktails, flukes and lipless crankbaits are catching stripers. These same lures can be used to catch stripers feeding on the surface. Trolling is another technique that continues to produce the occasional striper. Many troll with lead core line outfits, as they are a very effective way to fish for striped bass.
Bass: Bass fishing continues to be mixed. Bass are being caught under docks using traditional pig and jigs with plastic trailers and floating finesse worms rigged on small shakey head jigs. Bass are also being caught on heavier jigs and Texas rigged worms in deeper water. There has been a very inconsistent top-water bite early, but bass have been hitting spinner baits off windblown points, the sides of floaters and around deep-water structure. Traditional crankbaits and lipless crankbaits continue to produce bass and the occasional striper as well.
Crappie: Crappie fishing continues to be excellent. The numbers and the quality of crappies being caught have been incredible over the past several weeks. Many anglers say they have been catching crappies well over 12 inches in length every time they go fishing. While most crappie anglers report the bait of choice is a small or medium minnow presented on a single hook below a split shot, several have also had success "dock shooting" and jigging with small jigheads and plastic trailers. Crappies are being reported at a number of different depths, but four to eight feet below the surface appears to be the most often identified range during the day.
The water is clear and 61 degrees.
Early black powder deer season continues through Friday the 12th of this week. The regular firearms season starts Saturday, November 13th, so if you don't hunt, but plan to be anywhere near where people may be hunting, I strongly suggest you wear a blaze orange hat or vest. (Read more about the importance of 'safety' orange in the Be Safe... Have Fun section feature "Blaze Orange Is Not Just For Hunters!")
This is a beautiful time of year. Have a great time and be safe while in the woods and on the water.
Region 3 - Southwest
Claytor Lake: Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. No report this edition.
Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius says that bass action is better now that the water level is up and folks can get around in jet boats. Bass are going for Senkos and little jerkbaits. Muskie action is so hot that "you're scared to stick your toe in the water". These aggressive lunkers are attacking big inline spinners and big jerkbaits. The water is clear and in the low 60s.
New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash reports that the bass bite is good, with one of his clients landing a 6 ½ pounder. They are going for cranks and jigs. Muskies are "fired up" and respond aggressively to inline spinners and big cranks. The water is clear and in the 50s.
Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. The upper New River is at all time historic low water levels. Water temps are cold and it is still crystal clear. Slow roll a big spinner or pig and jig for a shot at a big smallie. Muskie and walleye fishing are best on cloudy days. The striper never made it up the river out of Claytor Lake due to the low clear water level. This is pretty much the pattern on the river until the walleye spawn in late Feb. or March.
Region 4 - Mountain and Shenandoah Valley
North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Master of all things fly, Harry told me that the temperature of smallmouth streams in both the North and South Forks of the River had dropped quickly; but, that nymphs and streamers fished deeply would still get results. The best areas to fish are: from Edinburg downstream to Strasburg in the North Fork; and from Luray downstream to Front Royal in the South Fork. Good flies are: Murray's Olive Strymph, size 4; and Murray's Creek Chub, size 4. The water is clear and 54 degrees.
There is good action for rainbows in the stocked streams in the Valley. It is best to fish below the riffles and in the deep pools. Good flies are: Murray's Cranefly Larva, size 12; and Casual Dress, size 12. The water is clear and 52 degrees. The brookies in the mountain streams are spawning just now, and shouldn't be stressed any fur.
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 still not 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.
There Are 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 in mid- October 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! A special thanks to all our veterans for their service and sacrifice and to Project Healing Waters, Dominion, VDGIF and other organizations for hosting fishing and hunting opportunities for these true American heroes and patriots. Visit the Project Healing Waters website to see how you can support this valuable program.
Region 5 - Northern Piedmont
Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore (Wade Fishing Guidebooks covering the: Rapidan, Upper Potomac, North Branch Potomac) I am happy to announce that my book on Wade Fishing the Rapidan River has been released. It covers every access point on the river between the Confluence and Skyline Drive– 181 pages of information supported by 248 pictures and 162 GPS coordinates to get you to the right place to fish 34 miles of the river. We are at the height of the fall trout season with additional fish being inserted in the most popular rivers in the Piedmont. Last week, Locust Shade Park in Prince William County received a good stocking; building on the insertion of fish into the Hughes and Rose Rivers the previous week. By the time you read this, the trout in the Rose and Hughes will have started their acclamation to natural food; making the coming weekend a great one for fly rodders to hit that water. On the Upper Potomac, the water temperature continues to drop; reaching 51.4° this last week. As we move into the winter months, the warm outflow from the Dickerson Power Plant will make it the consistent "go to" place during cold weather. That said, the algae has died off and the water is exceptionally clear right now. If you fish the Upper Potomac, Ken Penrod recommends you stay low your boat and rely on long casts to keep from spooking the fish. The water levels are still low enough to wade in many places as long as you wear a PFD. One other point of interest on the Upper Potomac is that the Maryland DNR will recommend that the current catch and release regulation that applies to the section between Seneca Breaks and the mouth of the Monocacy River remain in place. Except for the most aggressive anglers, both the Rappahannock and Rapidan have shut down for the season. the few fish being caught are hanging deep. I received a report that the mountain brook trout are at the height of their spawn right now. This will continue over the next month - making it unwise to fish the mountains until after the eggs hatch in mid-January.
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. No report this edition.
Potomac: Outdoor writer and fishing guide, Charlie Taylor provides a weekly Fishing Report for the Potomac River and other NOVA lakes and rivers, which may be accessed at any time at: http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeqbewt/. This web-report is updated every Thursday afternoon.
Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service, (540) 894-9144. Welcome to the start of the fall fishing frenzy here on Lake Anna. With water temperatures ranging from 67 at Dike III to 64 up lake, anglers are poised to experience schools of heavily feeding striper, bass, crappie and white perch. Turn over is complete and the lake is ready for your visit. Here's what you can expect in the coming weeks.
Largemouth Bass: There is good fishing in the upper regions of the North Anna, Pamunkey Branch and Terry's Run. Anglers should use a mix of shakey head worms and Texas-rigged creature baits casted to hard cover to include rocks and docks. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are also worth using on high activity days. Lipless crankbaits help you cover water and connect with schooling fish when you encounter them. Mid lake bass fishing is fair. Down lake bass fishing is good when you can find the schools. In both cases you can always find bass on docks with the shakey head worm pattern.
Stripers: The feed began as the full moon of October began to fade. Hot spots include Rose Valley, the mouth of Plentiful Creek and the mouth of Terry's Run. As the season progresses, you will be able to find fish much further up lake in very shallow water. Yes, there are still fish schooled and feeding from Dike II to Dike III, but you will want to be up lake now from The Splits on up to the headwaters. Contrary Creek stripers won't turn on until after Thanksgiving. The hottest lure is the new Chartreuse Holoshad Toothache spoon and the Blue Holoherring Toothache spoon, though Crazy Blades and 3 in. swimbaits are now catching fish, too. Dragging live shad and jumbo minnows on planer boards and free lines is productive for some, but there are so many stripers, casting is king now.
Crappie: Good fishing on bridge pilings, up lake docks and brush piles in the upper end of the lake. Overall, size per fish is down, so you might have to work harder to catch a bunch of slabs but there is plenty of action for those fishing 1 in. jigs or slip bobbers and minnows now in 10 to 15 ft. of water.
White Perch: Vertical jigging with Crazy Blades and Toothache spoons at the mouths of mid lake creeks can be very productive now. Target fish in 25 to 30 feet down. You can also tip a drop shot with a small minnow and catch a fish just about every time you drop the bait when you find them.
Lake Anna: Contributed by Local Guide Jim Hemby (540) 967-3313.
Stripers: In November the most consistent action has been mid lake and the Dike 3 area. Stripers are schooling and are breaking in low light conditions from the splits down to the Dam feeding in the main lake concentrating themselves near the mouths of creeks and in the current at Dike 3. In the current, it is hard to beat the Pencil Popper worked on the surface. When the fish sound, convert to swim baits and spoons to catch the stripers. There are nice schools working the mouths of Sturgeons and Boggs and around the power plant.
Bass: To locate bass this month, start in the backs of the creeks next to the creek channels on structures like stumps or humps where bait is present and later in the month when the water cools down follow the schools of bait out of the creeks. Swim baits and crank baits worked under schools of threadfin shad regardless of structure will also catch feeding bass back in the creeks. If fish do not cooperate in the backs of the creeks move right to the primary main lake points and flats. Fish quick moving baits covering lots of water this month using crankbaits on structures, and suspending jerkbaits on points and breaking fish for larger bass. Bass will also visit docks this month being caught well on weightless worms.
Crappie: For the last month I have been catching citation size crappie, throwing for bait all the way up the rivers and creeks in 2 ft. of water or less. On warming trends they are moving up on the points with brush on them in 5 to 10 feet of water, on colder days the larger slabs can be caught on the deeper drops on primary points with structure (boulders or brush) on them. They will also move to the bridge pilings in the colder spells. Later this month once the water temps drop below 50 degrees the crappie will remain on the bridges and primary points. The points around Christopher Run and Hunters Landing will produce well this month. The nicer crappie are feeding on 3 and 4 inch threadfin shad, so try larger baits. It is not uncommon to catch crappie on 4 inch Storm Wildeye Shads or Sassy Shads. If the fish do not cooperate, downsize to traditional sizes of jigs and minnows.
NOTICE: All anglers are reminded to acquaint themselves with a good description of the northern snakehead fish. If you should manage to catch one of these exotic imports, please kill it immediately and report the catch to either the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers
Editors note... This section usually features stories from young writers on their most memorable outdoor adventures and the life lessons they learn from these compelling experiences. I received this heart warming story from a serviceman about his Dad and his recovery from a stroke due to his families love of hunting and the 'gift' of a new hunting dog. It seemed appropriate with our message this edition that "hunting benefits all Virginians'" that this story of a family who found recovery through hunting would serve as a perfect example. Thank you Josiah for your service and for sharing this wonderful story to honor your family this Veterans Day. DC
Serviceman Josiah Donaldson from Orange County, currently stationed at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, sent us this compelling story written by his ailing father about how hunting with his family and the training of a new puppy, helped with his recovery from a stroke. As we honor our military servicemen and women this Veterans Day, we also recognize the family members who also serve with dedication, courage and sacrifice.
Josiah Donaldson writes, "Attached is a story that involves my Dad, Lee Donaldson, and a novice hunter, "Gracie" his dog. After working most of his life, Dad had his second stroke at age 57. Needless to say, it was rough on him having to quit his job and deal with the effects of the stroke, most of which are slowly getting better. However, I believe that "Gracie" had a lot to do with his recovery. As soon as we found out he was in the hospital, my Mom, sisters and I started planning to finally get him a Boykin Spaniel puppy,-something he has always wanted. Along with some help from the Lord, raising and training "Gracie" has helped him to recover and take his mind off of his health and other difficulties. I wanted to share a story he wrote to remember his first dove hunt with Gracie. We hail from Orange County, but I am currently stationed at McGuire AFB, NJ. Training and hunting with a faithful dog brought our family closer together and helped my Dad recover in many ways. We wanted to share our story and let fellow sportsmen know that faith, family and hunting together with a good dog can work wonders.
First Day Dove Hunting With Gracie
By Lee Donaldson
After much trepidation, the first day of the 2010 dove season was here! All year long I had been preparing "Gracie", my female Boykin spaniel pup, for this much anticipated day. Gracie was just shy of her first birthday and a spunky dog at that. Even after hours of exercising, she was, and still is, full of energy. Chocolate brown with a slight luster in her coat, she reminds me of a yellow- eyed Hershey bar. She is short, stocky, and full of vim and vinegar. She is also somewhat of a trickster, often meaning that whenever I set a tool down, she steals it and buries it in the yard.
Back to the hunt, I considered that she is smart and has learned a number of tricks including how to dance, but could she retrieve? In the back of my mind I wondered if she would actually go after a real live bird or only after lifeless plastic decoys? Would live gunfire scare her off, even though I had prepared by firing a blank starter pistol behind my back, or would she wander away chasing a grasshopper? Most hunters rarely talk about the first day hunting a new pup. A little anxiousness is common; after all it's now time for her training and instincts to show for the first time. It's somewhat like your first date with a girl. In front of other hunters, you are trying to be calm but secretly anxious you'll mess up and embarrass yourself.
It was September the 4th in Virginia and cool, not a cloud in the sky, - a "blue bird" day. The summer had been hot and grueling; the cool breeze from a temperature change was a refreshing signal that fall was near. I was ready, my two buddies were ready, but was my dog ready? I asked Gracie, and her enthusiastic tail-stub wag told me "yes".
After loading up my feisty dog, trusty Remington 870 12 gauge and driving about 20 minutes, I met my good friends Larry and Robert at the farm. The landowner grows sunflowers each year and sometimes as many as 15 hunters show up on the first day, often making the hunting hit-or-miss. However, it is always safe since we are spaced out in lengthy intervals over a couple of hundred acres. Naturally, each hunter tries to anticipate which way the birds would come to plan a safe shot. One thing I've learned is that they always come in from the opposite direction you thought and that you always think some other spot would be better than what you have. Doves are always on you before you are ready, too. You usually wish you had practiced shooting more before this day.
My friends and I always set up in shade under trees (after a good sunburn taught us from years past) and bring a chair and lots of water. Unfortunately for Robert (who was parked under a black walnut tree), it wasn't long before a good breeze shook loose a big green walnut, bruising him on the chest with the velocity of a forty-foot fall. Needless to say, it woke him up from his nap. Who knew you should look overhead for falling branches or nuts when you sit down? After accusing his nay-saying brother Larry of throwing the walnut several times, Robert moved under a different tree while we all laughed. Gracie had a curios look, like "what are you guys doing"? All of sudden like a stealth fighter, a bird was on top of us. However, it was too late and the bird just kept cruising like it was invincible, until it was out of sight. No one hit a feather and we all expressed our theories on why we missed. Some comments were "I let that one go" or "I missed because the wind kicked up" or "the sun got in my eyes". We all knew the truth, we just missed because we weren't ready.
Soon another bird came in high enough and Robert made a good shot and downed him. Gracie rushed into the field for the first time. She had to find the downed bird in soybeans over her head forty yards away. She tried jumping up and down, po-going through them to see the bird. It was funny watching her jump up and down, and all the hunters were laughing at her ears flailing in the wind and her tail stub wagging a hundred miles per hour, until she finally found the bird and retrieved it a few steps. Unfortunately, she dropped it after getting the small breast feathers in her mouth and trying to shake them out. She did eventually bring the bird back, but clearly the feathers tickled. Afterwards, she looked up at me as if to say "I did good, didn't I"? By the end of the day she was retrieving with gusto like an old pro. I cannot tell you how proud I was of her. I loved seeing the pure joy expressed in her eyes with each retrieve.
By the end of the day with 13 birds combined and one walnut, us all feeling quite humble from the misses, but happy for the chances, the day was done. My pup was just a couple of days from a year old and proved herself as a genuine Boykin Spaniel with great instincts. A golden glow in the sky and a smile on my pup told me the number of birds bagged didn't really matter. The blend of blue sky and breeze, the friends, laughing and joking, watching the dog work, and a safe hunt created an unforgettable day for me and my dog. Memories were made and bonds deepened between my friends, my dog and I. I know I speak for both Gracie and myself when I say we definitely can't wait to do it again.
The November 23 Thanksgiving edition of the Outdoor Report will feature the second place winning story in the 2009-10 VOWA Collegiate Writing Competition by Robert Bodendorf, a senior at Hampden-Sydney College. Entitled "Up That Mountain," Robert describes his feelings for coming home to the mountain where he grew up to reconnect with the past. 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 November with a deadline of January 31, 2011. Details are posted in the Young Nature Explorers section of this edition. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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