In this edition:

It's Showtime!

Sportsman showtime that is... As we quickly approach August and the dog days of summer, this is a friendly reminder that there are only 65 days till the beginning of deer season! This year deer season begins with a special Youth Deer Hunting Day on Saturday September 24th. This is also National Hunting & Fishing Day. How appropriate to celebrate our great hunting traditions and values with a special hunting day established to provide youngsters a unique opportunity to participate in deer hunting.

To properly prepare for hunting season there are dozens of quality sportsmen shows and training events scheduled throughout August and September in every region of the state. These events all feature numerous exhibits, demonstrations, hands-on activities and seminars - something for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new, innovative equipment and learn from the experts about new places and proven techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. Detailed information and website links for each of these events is listed in this edition. All the events are unique and offer something different of interest to hunters of all skill levels. They range from one day hands-on workshops to three day shows with over 300 exhibits and demonstrations. Locate several of these events near you and take your family and friends and get ready for a safe and rewarding hunting season. I hope to see you all at the show!

David Coffman, Editor

4 of 5 Eagles Released at Berkeley Plantation Now Living in the Wild

One Going Back to Wildlife Center to Build Strength

A crowd of more than 1,000 eagle enthusiasts attended the release of five juvenile bald eagles at Berkeley Plantation today. All flew well, but one landed a short distance away, making it over the trees into a nearby field. Wildlife biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) at the eagle release monitored the flights of all the birds. VDGIF wildlife staff and wildlife veterinarians with The Wildlife Center of Virginia (WCV) were prepared for this type of situation.

The juvenile female was caught by Dr. David McRuer, wildlife veterinarian with WCV, and returned to a crate to rest. It was determined that the bird would be returned to the Wildlife Center to build her strength in their 100-foot flight cage. The Wildlife Center Cam will broadcast beginning tomorrow, July 28, 2011. The public is encouraged to visit The Wildlife Center of Virginia to follow the eagle's progress.

Overall, it was a great event with great eagle viewing opportunities with both the released birds and other eagles that circled overhead early in the day. Look for more photos in an upcoming issue of the Outdoor Report.

“Hunt Fish VA”: Hunting & Fishing in Your Pocket

Now Available for iPhone® and iPod touch®

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' new app for iPhone and iPod touch is perfect for:

Best of all, it's absolutely FREE!

Download the Hunt Fish VA app now »

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later. Some features require an active Internet connection and are subject to carrier service availability.

New Hunting & Fishing License Fees Go Into Effect July 1

Effective July 1, 2011, some hunting and fishing license fees will be increasing in Virginia. This was the first license fee increase since 2006 and only the second license fee increase for hunting and fishing since 1988.

The basic annual fishing and hunting licenses for adult Virginia residents will increase from $18 to $23 which includes the $1 license agent fee. Annual youth licenses will not increase. Non-resident fees for similar licenses were increased by the same percentage as the resident fees. For a list of fishing and hunting licenses and the fees to purchase them, including the cost for non-residents, visit the Department's website.

The Board of Game and Inland Fisheries enacted the fee increase at their May 3, 2011 meeting with an effective date of July 1. At that same time they created a facility use permit for Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) wildlife management areas or public fishing lakes that will go into effect January 1, 2012. Anyone over 16 years old who does not have an annual hunting, fishing, or trapping license or a boat registration will need this new use permit. Users will have the choice of paying $4 for a daily pass or $23 for an annual pass to all VDGIF facilities.

Sportsman's Show Features New Location and Attractions for the Whole Family August 12-14

The 28th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show features a lot of new, exciting exhibits and demonstrations this year plus a new location- The Richmond Raceway Complex! There's plenty of parking, more space for the 300 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places and techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. At the three-day show August 12-14, 2011, you can purchase your new Hunting and Fishing Licenses and 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar from the VDGIF booth and also subscribe to Virginia Wildlife magazine and the Outdoor Report at the Show. Biologists, conservation police officers, Complementary Work Force volunteers, and Hunter Education Instructors will be on hand to answer your questions. The new Wildlife K-9 Team will be there to demonstrate their unique skills assisting officers in wildlife investigations and search and rescue. Get your free copy of the new 2011-2012 Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information booklet featuring descriptions of new regulations and opportunities to enhance your hunting experience.

Hunting SAFELY & RESPONSIBLY is always foremost when afield. Hunter Education Instructors will have exhibits and demonstrations on safe firearms handling, tree stand use, waterfowl hunting and safety reminders for both experienced and novice hunters. The VDGIF Outdoor Report is sponsoring a "Young Hunters Wall of Fame" where young hunters age 15 and under are invited to bring a copy of a hunting photo showing their success to post at the booth near the entrance to the Show. Photos must be no larger than 8x10 size and be in good taste. Photos will not be returned and will be on display throughout the show.

This is your chance to see the biggest bucks harvested in Virginia. Deer hunters throughout Virginia will bring their mounts to this prestigious contest, organized by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA). Certified judges from the VDHA and VDGIF will be awarding ribbons and trophies in four antler classes. The Virginia Open Turkey Calling Championship will be held on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. sanctioned by the National Wild Turkey Federation. There are cash and prize awards with the first place winners in four Divisions eligible to go to the National Calling Contest. Celebrity guests include Pat Reeves and Nicole Jones hosts of popular TV show "Driven 24/7. Bone Collector, Travis "T Bone" Turner and Nick Mundt are returning this year to talk about what we all love, HUNTING! Also new is a fashion show featuring Haley Vine's Outdoor Collection of clothes for women. The Tidewater Dock Dogs will be set up outside on Saturday and Sunday to thrill you with their jumping, flying, splashing, swimming and leaping ability. This event is open to the public, with no admission fee. This is the third official sanctioned event of the year, open to any dog that likes water and fun—regardless of breed, size, shape, or ability. All dogs are welcome, and those new to the sport can introduce their dogs to this fast-growing sport, and get tips on coaching and encouraging their pooches from Tidewater Dock Dogs members.

Show Manager and Founder Hugh Crittenden notes with this new location and many new attractions for the Show, he is giving away a special door prize- a 6-day pre-rut Kansas Bow Hunt valued at $2950 with Midwest Finest Whitetails! You must come to the Show to enter. Check the Show's website for information and to view videos on numerous seminars, exhibits, demonstrations, sportsmen celebrities, and contests.

Take a Friend, Make a Hunter... This is the perfect event to bring a friend that is interested in the Apprentice Hunting License to talk with experienced sportsmen about the many opportunities for hunting and try out the latest gear to enhance your experience

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

The Memories Are Always Bigger Than the Fish
Buy your fishing license today.

Remember the excitement? The rush? A picture is worth a thousand words, but sharing the memory of catching that first fish with your family or friends is priceless. Why wait? Start your memories today and buy your fishing license.

Go to HuntFishVA.com, call 1-866-721-6911, or visit your nearest license agent.

If you have already purchased your 2011 fishing license, we would like to thank you for helping to support Virginia's wildlife and natural resources.

Don't miss out on a great fishing season.
Your License Dollars Support State Conservation Efforts

Kids Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun

More than 35 Kids Fishing Days are being planned statewide by various organizations in partnership with VDGIF. These events are an enjoyable time for the family and a great opportunity to introduce kids to fishing in a fun atmosphere. There are events every weekend state wide through June. For detailed information on dates, locations, times and contacts, see the Kids Fishing Days schedule to find one near you! Catch the fun! Take a kid fishin'. For details, check the Kids Fishing Days calendar on our website.

3D Archery Shoot to Benefit Hunters for the Hungry July 30 in Moneta

The Hunters for the Hungry Program and Spring Lake Archery Park invites everyone to come out and enjoy a day of food, fun, amp;& fellowship, while helping to provide for those less fortunate! The first annual 3D Archery Shoot will be held at the Spring Lake Archery Park in Moneta Saturday July 30 from 7:30 am to 5 pm. Your participation will help to provide food for those less fortunate while helping to spread more awareness about the Hunters for the Hungry Program! Event includes 3-D archery competition with 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place awards in 8 classes along with a variety of novelty shoots, raffles, and door prizes.

Entry Fee is $25.00 Adults; $10.00 12 & Under registration includes lunch, soft drinks, bottled water, entry for door prizes! To register or for additional information contact: Spring Lake Archery - David Merritt @ (540) 598-9907 Hunters for the Hungry - Gary Arrington @ (434) 665-7658. Come support the Hunters for the Hungry Program!

AKC Hunt Test Retriever Seminar for Judges & Handlers July 30 in New Kent

The Tidewater Retriever Club will host an AKC Hunt Test Retriever Seminar for Judges & Handlers at the New Kent Forestry Center near Providence Forge Saturday, July 30. The program will be presented by AKC performance event staff and utilize multimedia demonstrations, lecture and group discussions. Subjects covered include: The purpose of Hunting Tests, Performance Standard for Junior, Senior and Master, Hunt Test Scoring, Guidelines for Judges of Hunt /tests, How to Apply and Conduct a Hunting Test, The responsibility of Key Personnel Involved, Gun Safety AND How to Handle Misconduct. Registration begins at 8:00 am with classes completed by 4:30 pm. Registration $45 for members and $50 for non-members. Seminar price includes light breakfast and lunch. Motel room style lodging is available at the New Kent Forestry Center @ $ 65 per night. Google New Kent Forestry Center for details of their Nature Trails, etc. Contact Linda M. Downey, TRC Secretary H- (804) 794-8212 C - (804) 837-9308 or email linda.tidewater@hotmail.com in advance if you are interested in lodging. Although your retrievers will not be a part of the Seminar, if you have to bring them along, there are many shade areas for parking. Registration is due by June 30. AKC requires 20 attendees to schedule seminar - so register as soon as possible.

"Land + Link" Juried Photo Competition Focused on Preserving Our Landscape

The Western Virginia Land Trust, in conjunction with the O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke is sponsoring a juried photo competition. Land+Link is accepting submissions through August 12th, and this year's theme is "Preserving Our Landscape." This is the first time the Western Virginia Land Trust has worked with the O. Winston Link Museum and they're happy to provide an opportunity for photographers to document the landscapes of Southwest Virginia. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three winners, as well as the winner of a special "People's Choice" award. The top three winners and People's Choice award winner will be featured in the Roanoke Star Sentinel, on the websites of the Link Museum and the Land Trust, and in upcoming issues of the land trust's magazine Saving Land and the Link Museum's newsletter, Link News. Approximately 25 finalists will also be displayed at an exhibition at the Link Museum beginning September 7th, 2011 and at the Western Virginia Land Trust's Conservation Celebration on September 18th, 2011. The Western Virginia Land Trust is a community-based, private, non-profit organization formed to help protect local lands important to the quality of life and environmental health of their regions. 2011 marks it 15th anniversary as an organization. WVLT works to preserve our region's unique scenic, historic, agricultural, recreational and natural features. By educating landowners, elected officials, businesses and the general public we encourage respect for the environment and arrange voluntary conservation easements that protect land forever. For information on the Western Virginia Land Trust and the photo contest contact Dave Perry (540) 985-0000 or email: dperry@westernvirginialandtrust.org

Between 1955 and 1960, photographer O. Winston Link created unforgettable black and white images that documented the last days of Norfolk & Western's railroad steam giants and the people and places along its lines. The Link Museum's collection features more than 300 stunning photographs, audio listening stations, a documentary film, artifacts and recreations of Link's photographic settings. The Link Museum is owned and operated by the Historical Society of Western Virginia. To learn more contact: Erin Wommack (540) 982-5465 or email: programs@linkmuseum.org

The Wildlife Center of Virginia "On the Road" Rehabilitation Classes June-August

The Wildlife Center of Virginia Director of Outreach Amanda Nicholson announces the Center's "On the Road" wildlife rehabilitation classes for this summer as follows:

More information can be found on the Wildlife Center of Virginia website.

Registration for classes scheduled June 25 in Lynchburg and August 24 in Charlottesville are open, contact Amanda Nicholson at (540) 942-9453 or email ANicholson@wildlifecenter.org. Find more information on the Wildlife Center of Virginia website.

Catfishing Workshop on James Set for August 23

Would you like to learn the secrets of catching Flathead Catfish on the James River? Join VDGIF Angling Education and Captain Mike Ostrander for a day of instruction and fishing on the James River at Pony Pasture in Richmond. Workshop involves wading in the river and terrain can be challenging. Tackle, bait and lunch is provided. For ages 16 and older. 8 AM - 4 PM. For details and to register visit the Department's website. Cost is $35 per person. Payment instructions for credit card or check will be provided at time of registration. Registration is limited, deadline is August 16.

Hunter Skills Weekend at Holiday Lake August 26-28

The Virginia Hunter Education Association, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, is sponsoring the 4th Hunter Skills Weekend August 26th- 28th, 2011. The program is designed to help the novice hunter develop skills beyond the basic Hunter Education course with instruction in survival, shooting, game recovery and hunting techniques for a variety of species but also offers many skills to the seasoned hunter. Quotes from past courses included "Thought I was safe and doing things correct. But I was not and learned so many new proper ways to be safe in the stand" (Tree stand safety class participant) and "Great class. Military service member for 26 years and learned a lot in this class about shooting. Outstanding instruction and amount of range and time with rifles" (Rifle class participant) Come join us for a fantastic weekend at the 4-H Center near Appomattox, Va. For more information, contact the Center website.

Page Valley Sportsmen Host Youth Shooting Workshop August 27

The Page Valley Sportsman Club and the Skyline Strutters Chapter of the NWTF is hosting a JAKES Youth shooting event in Luray Saturday, August 27, 2011. This is a great opportunity for youth 7 -17 years of age and will offer a variety of live fire range activities including shotgun, .22 rifle and archery. This event is free and lunch is provided. Participants are invited to bring their firearms. Ammunition for 20 gauge shotguns, .22 long rifles, .177 air gun pellets and .50 caliber round ball muzzleloaders will be provided. Centerfire rifles are prohibited. There are non-range activities for youth under 7 years of age. Please contact Art Kasson at 540-622-6103 or email artkasson@yahoo.com to register.

Outdoor Festival in Farmville August 27

The Riverside Community Church will host the 6th annual Outdoor Festival to be held Saturday August 27. The festival will take place at the Five County Fairgrounds off of Business 460 on the West side of Farmville. Festivities go from 10 am till 7 pm. A delicious lunch and supper will be served. This is a family event to celebrate the outdoor heritage of Virginia. Thanks to the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Green Top Sporting Goods, High Bridge Strutters Chapter NWTF, Buggs Island Archery. Aylor's Guns & Ammo, Hunters for the Hungry, Appomattox River Kennels, Couches Creek Taxidermy and other sponsors this year's event is bigger and better. There will be a kid's fishing pond, BB gun range, hunting simulator, five stand sporting clays shooting, turkey shoot, turkey calling contest and a 3-D archery contest. There will be many taxidermy displays, outdoor vendors, live music and a big buck contest. Riverside Community Church sponsors this event simply to honor the community and welcomes all outdoor enthusiasts. All events are free except for the vendors. This year the organizers are asking for a $5 donation for each person over 10. So come on out and bring the whole family, friends and pets. For questions call Jeff (434) 607-7776, or Frank (434) 547-6770, or go to our website.

September Big Game Contests Promote New Hunting Opportunities

September 9-11, 2011: 72nd Western Regional Big Game Contest is sponsored by the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Izaak Walton League at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg in partnership with VDGIF. Registration: Begins Friday September 9 at 9 AM. Trophy Entry Deadline is 2 PM on Saturday September 10.VDGIF's exhibit will feature information on new VDGIF programs and hunting opportunities and the CWD surveillance plan for the northern Shenandoah Valley. Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors will teach safe gun handling and shooting with the laser shot range for youth attending the event. Exhibitors will be on hand with the latest in gear, supplies, artwork, taxidermy, and more. Come see the truly awesome trophy bucks harvested in Virginia. For Contest rules and information: www.iwla-rh.org

September 24-25: 72nd Eastern Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest, More than 3000 sportsmen and families are expected to attend the official Big Game Contest at the Southampton County Fairgrounds west of Franklin sponsored by the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen's Association in partnership with VDGIF. The VDGIF exhibit will feature subscription sign-up for the Outdoor Report and information on the hound hunting issue and new hunting opportunities of interest to sportsmen in the eastern regions of the state. The event will feature exhibitors with gear, calls, supplies and taxidermy as well as activities for youth. Biologists and Law Enforcement staff will be on hand to answer questions. This year the Eastern Regional is also the State Championship. For Contest rules and information visit: www.vpsa.org

Learn About Bees Role in Our Environment at Huntley Meadows Park September 14

The Friends of Dyke Marsh and the Virginia Native Plant Society, Potowmack Chapter, will sponsor a program on September 14 featuring Alonso Abugattas, Naturalist, Long Branch Nature Center, who will discuss bees, their status and importance.

The talk will explore why, without bees, many plants, including food crops, would die off and how bees are nature's most efficient pollinators. Abugattas will note that there are 4,000 kinds of bees in North America and probably over 450 in the Washington metropolitan area, that 95% of bees are solitary and do not live in colonies and that most bees are ground nesters.

Place: Huntley Meadows Park Visitor Center in Alexandria, 7:30 p.m. For information on attending call (703) 768-2525, or visit the Friends of Dyke Marsh website.

People and Partners in the News

Virginia Youth Shooting Team Wins Big at National Competition

On July 13-16 the Scholastic Clay Target Program {S.C.T.P.) Nationals were held at The World Shooting Complex in Sparta, Illinois. There were 2220 youth registered to compete in Skeet, Trap, and Sporting Clays from 39 states. The Ft. Lee Dusters from Virginia were victorious in their quest to be successful at the nationals. The Junior Varsity team won 1st place in Skeet and 2nd place in Sporting Clays. Lucas Meredith, the team Captain was High Overall Runner-Up in Skeet shooting a 196/200 . Alex Murray was 5th overall in sporting clays shooters. Team members are Alex Murray from Drakes Branch. Lucas Meredith, Corey Shornak, and Kevin Christiansen which are from Chesterfield. The team is coached by Jeff Atkins from Farmville and John Yakshe from Lanexa. "The boys did an outstanding job in representing Virginia and they should be PROUD!" states coach Atkins. For more information on the S.C.T.P. program go to www.shootsctp.org website.

Project Healing Waters Supporter Douglas Dear Finalists in LL Bean Outdoor Hero Award

Only 5 days left in internet vote to support Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Program

Douglas Dear of Rose River Farm in Madison County and Chairman of the Board for Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the national LL Bean Outdoor Hero award for his work as Chairman of the Board of PHW from it's founding to today. Dear was nominated by Ed Nicholson, the founder of Project Healing Waters (PHW) and selected as one of the 10 finalists from over 600 nominees. The winner will be determined by internet vote which closes July 31. If Dear is chosen the winner, PHW wins $5,500.

PHW helps injured active duty military and Veterans rehabilitate through fly fishing, fly tying and fly fishing outings. With Dear's commitment and leadership, PHW has grown from one location at Walter Reed to over 100 VA Hospitals, Military Hospitals and Warrior Transition Units around the country reaching over 2,000 soldiers since its start 5 years ago. At the prestigious 5th annual PHW 2-Fly Fishing Tournament hosted at Rose River Farm, Dear was honored with his site being named the Official Home Waters of PHW. Ed Nicholson noted, "Douglas has been critical to helping the PHW participants regain confidence and a sense of accomplishment. He takes an active and personal interest in the wounded warriors. He's kind, giving and altruistic – beyond what you'd expect for the chairman of any board." Dear also provides the facilities and pristine waters of Rose River Farm for other fishing opportunities and events for groups like Trout Unlimited, kids fishing days and VDGIF partnership programs. For more information about Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, visit projecthealingwaters.org. To view a photo feature on the Two-Fly Tournament and how you can support PHW, read the Been There, Done That... feature article in the May 25, 2011 edition of the Outdoor Report.

To learn more about Douglas Dear's leadership and service with PHW and view a 2 minute video of Douglas, shot at the Farm during the 2-Fly Tournament and vote in support of Project Healing Waters winning the $5,500 prize to support this great program, visit: LL Bean 2011 Outdoor Heroes Award.

Hunters for the Hungry Announces Two New Fund Raising Raffles for 2011

Hunters for the Hungry has announced their newest 2011 Raffles that are very different in nature and have some of the neatest prizes they have ever offered at the best price going! A single ticket is $5 and 3 chances for $10. Fund Raising Coordinator Gary Arrington expressed appreciation to the many folks and organizations that have supported and helped with the raffles and other fund raisers in past years. He noted, "These funds raised are critical in paying for the processing of the donated venison and supporters continue to be a blessing to our program and to all those whose lives are touched by what you do! For every $5 ticket we sell we can provide 25 servings of venison to needy men, women, and children."

The Electronics Raffle has 5 GREAT prizes and is topped off with a $3,300 dollar package which includes LG 55" LED LCD HD flat scrren TV and has with it a Samsung 1330 watt 7.1 3d Blue Ray Home Theatre System! IT IS AN AWESOME PACKAGE OVERALL! Check it out! The total retail value of this raffle is $6,350.00!

Our Outdoor Adventure Raffle has a first ever TOP PRIZE! It is an ALASKAN FISHING ADVENTURE FOR 2 - it is about 10 days with about 7 days of fishing, meals, lodging, and AIRFARE! To be scheduled in 2012! This trip package is over $6,000 in value!

The total value of the whole raffle including the hunts and the fishing trip is about $11,400! To view the actual photos of the electronics package items, check out the website at www.h4hungry.org and if you would like to purchase some of these tickets and / or would like to help us sell some of these please let us know! We could so use your support in these special fund raising efforts!

Luke Featured on 2012 Lab Calendar

'Luke', writer of the "Off the Leash" column in Virginia Wildlife Magazine has made the cover of the 2012 Black Lab calendar published by Brown Trout Publishers, Inc. Clarke C. Jones from Midlothian, who works with Luke announced the honor and photo credit to photographer Dwight Dyke of Blackhawk Productions in Goochland . Dwight is a frequent contributor to Virginia Wildlife and numerous other VDGIF publications. To get info on how to purchase a "Luke" calendar, log on to www.clarkecjones.com and a link appears to Amazon where you can purchase the calendar: www.clarkecjones.com.

Virginia Tourism Corporation Offers Popular Website To Promote Outdoor Events & Activities

With the summer vacation season heating up, thousands of visitors will be looking for outdoor adventures throughout the state. The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) encourages everyone who has an event, workshop or outdoor-related activity to post it to the official tourism website of Virginia -- www.Virginia.org. This is a free service offered by VTC. Virginia.org is very popular with both in-state outdoor enthusiasts and out-of-state visitors interested in vacationing and seeking outdoor adventures here in the Old Dominion. Dave Neudeck, Director of Electronic Marketing for VTC, notes that the Virginia.org website attracts approximately 500,000 viewers per month.

The events or workshops need to be open to the public and should be something in which the traveling public can participate. Log in to the new Virginia.org Administration Tool to submit a new listing or update existing listings.

Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen Host Events in Summer

If you have a disability and would like to participate, select your choice of fishing events and complete the Application available on the VANWTF website. Mail or email completed Application to Mike Deane wheelin4u@yahoo.com. On August 27 the VA Chapter NWTF Wheelin' Sportsmen will hold their Annual Fund Raising and Awards recognition event in the form of a Hawaiian Luau at Best Western Conference Center in, Waynesboro. For information or tickets contact Linda Layser at (540) 886-1761, email rglayser@gmail.com, or Sherry Engle, wheelin4u@yahoo.com.

Sportsmen and Conservation Organizations Hosting Annual Award and Fund Raising Events

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

Partner Organizations Working Together For Wildlife

The VDGIF is pleased and honored to have the support of numerous non-profit conservation organizations that are dedicated to wildlife conservation and education. Through the involvement of thousands of citizen volunteers, as well as a financial commitment to a variety of agency projects, organizations have supported wildlife conservation efforts that benefit all Virginia sportsmen and women. We encourage everyone to support these organizations and to become active participants in one or more of these groups. In this section of the Outdoor Report we spotlight one of these partner organizations, highlighting the groups programs and activities that support us in our Mission "working together for wildlife."

Editors note: This edition we wish to recognize the contributions of the outdoor writers as we remember Garvey Winegar, one of the best partners in communicating and promoting the best of our wild outdoors and the people who affect it's use and benefits to all of us. Garvey served as an exceptional example of the outdoor communication profession in their role keeping our constituents and the public informed on issues, opportunities, news and commentary that benefits all of us in gaining respect for our great outdoors and working for conservation of these treasured resources and continuing our hunting and fishing heritage and traditions. David Coffman, Editor

Remembering Garvey Winegar, Outdoor Writer, Singer and Friend...

On July 4th, those of us who treasure the wild critters and wild places where we find adventure and solitude, lost a good friend who inspired us with his writing, words and song... Garvey Winegar, died at his boyhood home on the banks of Holston River near Gate City where he had retired, it seems just a few years ago. He was 73.

In his Roanoke Times online outdoor column "Remembering my old friend", fellow outdoor writer, Bill Cochran posted, "Garvey wasn't your ordinary outdoor writer. His prose contained a certain elegance. In a whimsical way he could write about bluebirds and bluebells just as well as bluefish. He was gifted in describing nature with poetic grace, and that attracted loyal readers who never held a fishing rod, much less fired a shotgun." Garvey was a gifted singer and rhythm guitarist who performed with a Staunton group called The Kingsmen, which evolved into the Statler Brothers. Garvey left the group just before it gained fame, but never expressed regrets.

Garvey began writing outdoor columns for the Waynesboro paper in 1968,then moved to the Charlottesville Daily Progress, until he landed the position of Outdoor Columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch 1986. He also did numerous magazine articles, several guide books, speaking engagements and had a column in Virginia Wildlife magazine.

In October 2003, upon his retirement from the Times-Dispatch, the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries presented Garvey with a Certificate of Recognition. In making the presentation, the Board expressed its appreciation for the work Garvey had done through his column to provide the public with information about important meetings, regulations, programs, and services, many offered by VDGIF. The Board noted that he had served as an advocate for hunting, fishing, boating, and wildlife watching. His writings had provided Virginians with valuable information about the Commonwealth's natural resources and had inspired and encouraged participation in outdoor recreation and conservation.

On a personal note... I first met Garvey when I joined the VA Outdoor Writers Assoc. as a sponsor member representative for Westvaco Timberlands where I was the Public Affairs Forester and liaison with VDGIF, VA Wildlife Federation, VA Forestry Assoc., and other conservation groups. Garvey was always a reasonable and practical 'reporter' for controversial topics like clear cutting, pine plantations and controlled burning, He was a great educator on natural resources topics through his columns- explaining in country boy common sense both pro and con on issues. As coordinator for the annual National Hunting & Fishing Day Celebration for central Virginia held at River Ridge Mall in Lynchburg, I invited Garvey each year to serve as Master of Ceremonies to promote the good works of the sportsman groups participating with exhibits and demonstrations. He was perfect for the role, telling stories of his many outdoor adventures, and mis-adventures, often with a subtle life lessons learned. Then periodically pulling out his guitar on center stage and delighting the crowd with a song. I was both inspired and mentored by Garvey's talent for having you appreciate the natural world and individual responsibility to be courteous, safe, respectful and set a good example- especially for the next generation. He touches us still with the many communicators and conservation leaders he influenced to do good stuff. Thanks for the great memories, old friend, rest in peace. DC

Be sure and read the touching remembrances by Garvey's many colleagues and friends at the following links:

Bill Cochran "Remembering my old friend", Roanoke.com

Richmond Times-Dispatch By Bill Lohmann

Reprint of farewell outdoors column written by Garvey Winegar as it appeared in the Times-Dispatch on October 31, 2003

Jerry Ratcliff in the Charlottesville Daily Progress

Memorial donations may be made to:

Wildlife Center of Virginia
P. O. Box 1557
Waynesboro, VA 22980

Been There - Done That! Can't Wait to Go Again...

Editor's note: One of our New Year's resolutions was to get out in the field as much as possible and participate in a variety of the great events and activities that we write about each edition of the Outdoor Report. In this new Section called "Been there – done that! Can't wait to go again...", here's the 'rest of the story' from staff and partner observations participating in these memorable events...

Hunter Skills Weekend Provides Novice Hunters Skills Beyond Basic Education Course

The Virginia Hunter Education Association, in cooperation with Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, conducted the third Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend on May 14-15, 2011. Sergeant David Dodson, VDGIF Virginia Hunter Education Coordinator notes that the weekend workshop is designed to help graduates of the mandatory Virginia Hunter Education Course gain hands-on skills needed to succeed in their pursuit of game birds and animals. Classes on shooting skills, land navigation in wild areas, and preparing game for the table were some of those offered. More than 65 youth and adults, including several families participated in the weekend training. Participants were very complementary with one of the Tree Stand Safety Class students noting, " I thought I was safe and doing things correct. But I was not and learned so many new proper ways to be safe in the stand." A Rifle Class participant exclaimed, "Great class! I'm a military service member for 26 years and learned a lot in this class about shooting. Outstanding instruction and amount of range and time with rifles."

To learn about many of the skills and opportunities taught at the Hunter Skills Weekend, come to the 28th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show relocated to the Richmond Raceway Complex August 12-14. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places and techniques to enjoy hunting in Virginia's great outdoors. There are 300 exhibits showcasing new gear, demonstrations, seminars from the pros, effective game calls and Hunter Education Instructors showing tips on safe firearms handling, tree stand use, waterfowl hunting and much more.

These skill building events have become so popular the 4th Hunter Skills Weekend is scheduled for August 26- 28, 2011. Come join us for a fantastic weekend at the Holiday Lake 4-H Center near Appomattox. For more information and to register for this upcoming workshop or to find out about similar opportunities in the future, visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website or the VHEA website.

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

VA Sportsman Show is "Going to the Dogs!"

The 28th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show features a lot of new, exciting exhibits and demonstrations this year plus a new location- The Richmond Raceway Complex! Show Manager and Founder Hugh Crittenden notes that in addition to the new location that offers plenty of parking, more space for the 300 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- this years Show is just "going to the dogs!" The new VDGIF Wildlife K-9 Team will be there to demonstrate their unique skills assisting officers in wildlife investigations and search and rescue. The three specially trained Labs and their Conservation Police Officer handlers will be on hand throughout the Show to meet the participants and demonstrate how they aide officers in a variety of law enforcement activities. There will be a Seminar Saturday August 13th from noon- 1 pm featuring the new three dog K-9 Team.

As a result of recent legislation, one of the new Hunting Regulations for 2011-12 allows for the use of tracking dogs to be used to find wounded or dead deer. The dogs must be maintained and controlled on a lead to find a wounded or dead bear or deer statewide during any archery, muzzleloader, or firearm bear or deer hunting season, or within 24 hours of the end of such season, provided that those who are involved in the retrieval effort have permission to hunt on or to access the land being searched and do not have any weapons in their possession. CPOs and biologists will be on hand at the Show to answer questions about this and other new regulations and opportunities. Get your free copy of the new 2011-2012 Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information booklet and purchase your new Hunting and Fishing Licenses.

"Luke", the black lab that authors the "Off the Leash" feature column in Virginia Wildlife Magazine will be visiting the Show on Saturday and meeting his many fans. Outdoor Writer Clarke Jones and Luke will be visiting us in the Outdoor Report booth and giving tips on training your dog. You can purchase your subscription to Virginia Wildlife magazine and 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar from the VDGIF booth at the Show.

A special new feature event this year at the Show is the Tidewater Dock Dogs, who will be set up outside on Saturday and Sunday to thrill you with their jumping, flying, splashing, swimming and leaping ability. This event is open to the public, with no admission fee. This is the third official sanctioned event of the year, open to any dog that likes water and fun—regardless of breed, size, shape, or ability. All dogs are welcome, and those new to the sport can introduce their dogs to this fast-growing sport, and get tips on coaching and encouraging their pooches from Tidewater Dock Dogs members.

So if you have a dog, are thinking about getting a dog, or have a dog you want to see how far it can leap across water... come see us at the Show! You can also register for a special door prize- a 6-day pre-rut Kansas Bow Hunt valued at $2950 with Midwest Finest Whitetails! You must come to the Show to enter. Check the Show's website for information and to view videos on numerous seminars, exhibits, demonstrations, sportsmen celebrities, and contests.

Take a Friend, Make a Hunter... This is the perfect event to bring a friend that is interested in the Apprentice Hunting License to talk with experienced sportsmen about the many opportunities for hunting and try out the latest gear to enhance your experience.

Information on New Regs and Youth Hunters Photos Featured at Sportsman Show

Be sure and visit the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries booths at the 28th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show held at a NEW LOCATION this year, The Richmond Raceway Complex August 12-14, featuring 300 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. Conservation police officers, hunter safety instructors and wildlife biologists will be on hand to answer all your hunting, fishing, and wildlife information questions. It's also a great time to purchase your hunting and fishing licenses, or the new 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar. Get your free copy of the new 2011-2012 Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information booklet featuring descriptions of new regulations and opportunities to enhance your hunting experience.

With record deer and bear harvests last year, there are bountiful opportunities for pursuing big game, small game, waterfowl, and trapping. Sportsmen and landowners can get information on habitat improvement and the new quail restoration program. Hunter Education Instructors will have demonstrations on safe firearms handling, tree stand use, and safety reminders for all hunters. Complementary Work Force volunteers will show opportunities for volunteers to work side by side with professional staff in a variety of projects. The Department and partner organizations will have displays featuring specialized, innovative equipment, and opportunities for persons with disabilities and training in outdoor skills. Visit the Department's website for more information on Department programs and hunting opportunities.

Share your favorite youth hunting photos at the Show... Young hunters age 15 and under are invited to bring a copy of a hunting photo showing their success to post on the wall at the Outdoor Report booth near the entrance to the Show. Photos must be no larger than 8x10 size and be in good taste. Any firearms pictured MUST be pointed in a safe direction. For some good basic photo tips see the section below - Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us... Photos will not be returned and will be on display throughout the show. Prizes will be awarded for the Top Ten Photos and will be featured in the Outdoor Report and Whitetail Times, official magazine of the VA Deer Hunters Association.

Apply for 2011 – 2012 Quota Hunts July 1

For the 2011 – 2012 hunting season, there are 35 quota hunt opportunities to take black bear, feral hogs, quail, rabbits, turkeys, waterfowl, and white-tailed deer. Beginning July 1, 2011, hunters may apply by mail, telephone or online. For telephone application call: 1 - 877 - VAHUNTS (1/877-824-8687). For online application go to: www.HuntFishVA.com

VDGIF Board Approves Facilities Use Fee and Certain License Increases

At the May 3, 2011, Board of Game & Inland Fisheries meeting in Richmond, several milestone decisions were made that will benefit the Agency and its ability to continue to provide a multitude of services to all the citizens and visitors of the Commonwealth. The Board approved only the second increase in license fees in the past twenty-four years along with an exciting array of hunting and trapping regulation proposals. The adoption of a facilities 'Use Fee' is important well beyond the actual revenue derived since it provides the means by which folks who use these wonderful Wildlife Management Areas and state fishing lakes can contribute, on either a daily or annual basis, to their maintenance and management. Users with valid hunting, trapping or fishing licenses, boat registrations, 16 years old or younger, or hiking the Appalachian Trail will not have to pay the use fee. In order to educate the public sufficiently, the Use Fee will have a sunrise of January 1, 2012. Additionally, the Board approved license increases on some, but not all licenses with a special focus on basic hunting and fishing licenses, the trout license and the big game license. Nonresident licenses were increased in a manner that was proportional to the increase for resident sportsmen and women. Staff's recommendations and the Board's action reflected the general theme learned during the 120-day public comment period. The Board's decisions were made easier due to solid support from the Agency Advisory Group, which is made up of leaders of sportsman and outdoor enthusiast organizations that meet quarterly with the Director and Department staff to gain input and make recommendations on program management, operations, legislation and future services options. The details of the hunting and fishing regulations, license fee changes and facilities user fees are being reviewed by staff and will be posted on the VDGIF web site shortly and will be covered in more detail in future editions of the Outdoor Report.

Award winning outdoor writer and Outdoor Report contributor Bill Cochran has posted a review of the Board actions from the "sportsman's perspective" on his Roanoke Times online outdoor column. Bill's own insight and interviews with various sportsmen leaders on these Board actions will provide you with the background and projected program enhancements to be gained by these actions.

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 dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov for a caption including: names, age, hometown, location and date of harvest, county, private, or public land, first deer, doe or # antlers, turkey, coyote, bow or gun specifics, comment from the young hunter or mentor.

David Coffman, Editor

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.

Licensed adults who take a novice hunting with an Apprentice License should be vigilant to ensure that hunting safety rules are followed at all times. It is best if the licensed adult does not carry a loaded firearm, so that the focus can stay on the apprentice. Teach new hunters to be safe from the start!

There are youth and family-friendly events throughout the year 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.

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!

Volunteer VDGIF Hunter Education Instructors do much more than teach the required Hunter Education Courses, they also develop and assist with outdoor skills training events such as Becoming an Outdoor Woman workshops, sportsman show exhibits and other Special Youth Hunts throughout the year for deer, rabbit, waterfowl, squirrel and much more. To become involved as a Hunter Education Instructor, contact Sgt. David Dodson at david.dodson@dgif.virginia.gov. Please include your locality in the e-mail.

Be Safe... Have Fun!

What To Do With Nuisance Wildlife

Let's face facts... those cute and cuddly critters we see in the wild can also be a nuisance if they decide to move in with you or overstay their welcome. Vance Shearin, who staffs the Information Desk at the VDGIF Headquarters in Richmond, hears that complaint a lot. He notes, "We get a lot of calls on nuisance animals and nuisance furbearers especially in the spring and fall. Someone calls in and may have a fox in the yard, squirrel in the attic, raccoon in the garage, or beavers cutting down trees or flooding a road with their dam. Many of the callers are under the false impression that we will come and remove the wildlife for free as a public service. They are often unaware that they may have to pay a private trapper if they don't want to dispatch the animal themselves."

VDGIF Furbearer Biologist Mike Fies advises, "Nuisance wildlife laws and regulations are complex. Most of the complexity is due to the different Code [of Virginia] Sections that pertain to various wildlife situations. Landowners are permitted to trap and shoot some species of nuisance wildlife at any time. However, you should check with the VDGIF to make sure you are complying with all laws and regulations before taking action. The VDGIF provides assistance by instructing people how to handle their own problem depending on the circumstances, or putting them in contact with private individuals who can provide trapping services for a fee." Property owners need to be aware that it is illegal to capture and relocate wildlife without a permit. Relocating nuisance wildlife would simply move the problem to someone else's property. A list of trappers who handle nuisance animals is available on the VDGIF website. For information on non-lethal alternatives for nuisance wildlife problems visit The Center for Human-Wildlife Conflict Resolution.

The Code that is enforced by VDGIF states, "A landowner may shoot fur-bearing animals except muskrat and raccoons, upon his own lands during closed season. When beaver are damaging crops or lands, the owner of the premises, his agent, or tenant, may kill the animals, or have them killed. A landowner and members of his immediate family may kill rabbits or squirrels for their own use during the closed season. Fur-bearing animals include beaver, bobcat, fox, mink, muskrat, opossum, otter, raccoon, skunk, and weasel." Animals that are a threat to public safety, like a potentially rabid fox, or aggressive coyote should be reported immediately to the local animal control officer or police.

For more details on how to handle nuisance wildlife read When Wildlife Overstays its Welcome (PDF) by VDGIF Habitat at Home Coordinator Carol Heiser.

Be a Safe Boater - Remember Life Jackets Save Lives

First and foremost, boaters need to think about life jackets and plan to wear them. A significant number of boaters who lose their lives by drowning each year would be alive today had they worn their life jackets.

It is the law in Virginia that there must be one wearable (Type I, II, III, or V) U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved life jacket of the appropriate size for each person on the boat. In addition, no person may operate a recreational vessel on federal waters with any child under age 13 on the vessel unless each child is either wearing an appropriate life jacket approved by the USCG, or below deck, or in an enclosed cabin. This applies to waters in which the USCG has enforcement jurisdiction, and in Virginia that includes the Chesapeake Bay, Smith Mountain Lake, Lake Gaston, Kerr Reservoir (Buggs Island Lake), Claytor Lake, Lake Moomaw, and other inland waters that are considered navigable. VDGIF is asking boaters to make a commitment to wear their life jackets at all times while on the water.

Does Your Life Jacket Really Fit?

How do you know if a life jacket really fits you? First, check the label to make sure the life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable. Life jackets (or PFDs) come in a couple of basic sizes: infant, child, and adult. Within those basic sizes, there will be a range (Small, Medium, Large, etc.). The label will indicate the basic size and the size range, which will include a weight range and usually also a chest size range. After you check the label, make sure you move on to the second step, try it on!

Before every boating season, try on your life jacket. Make sure that it fits correctly. What does a correct fit mean? It should be snug, but not tight. Lift your arms over your head, can you turn your head left, right, and over your shoulder or has the life jacket ridden up and in the way of moving your head? For a child, have them stand with their arms to their sides. Lift the life jacket up by the shoulders. The life jacket should not move more than 3 inches, no higher that the child's ears. If the life jacket does move up more than 3 inches, it is too big and the child can slip right out – get a smaller life jacket! A younger child's life jacket should also include a crotch strap – this will help insure the life jacket stays on. Finally, practice using the life jacket in shallow water. Make sure it is snug enough to stay put and not ride up over the chin and ears when in shallow water. Have children practice in shallow water with their life jacket so they don't panic in case of emergency. Check out this informational video about properly fitting a child's life jacket.

For more information about life jackets, check out the U.S. Coast Guard's Boating Safety website.

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.

It is recommended for anyone who operates a boat to complete a boating safety education course is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and accepted by VDGIF. Virginia's Boating Safety Education Compliance Regulation is being phased in over the next several years. If you have previously taken a boating safety education course and have your card, you are in compliance with the new regulation. Visit the VDGIF website for course information and for information about how to get replacement cards. To learn more about boating laws in Virginia and about boating education courses, visit the Department's website.

Be Aware of Lyme Disease and Prevent Tick Bites

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

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

"Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts

This section in the Outdoor Report provides tips and articles on ways you as an outdoors enthusiast 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.

Recycle Your Used Fishing Line

You know how aggravating it can be to be pulling in you lure and you snag a wad of fishing line discarded by some discourteous angler into the water or strewn on the bank where some unsuspecting critter will get hopelessly entangled. In 2009, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) launched a monofilament fishing line recycling program across the Commonwealth. Both state agencies installed PVC pipe recycling containers at public boats launches at numerous lakes, rivers and coastal waters. Anglers and boaters are encouraged to deposit used monofilament fishing line into the PVC containers. According to VDGIF Fisheries Assistant Director Ron Southwick, who is coordinating the line recycling program for the Department, "Several conservation organizations and municipalities jumped on board as partners sponsoring sites for the containers across the state." Sponsoring groups include the Virginia Bass Federation, Fairfax County Park Authority, Suffolk-Nansemond Chapter of the Isaac Walton League, Northern Virginia Kayak Fishing Club, Orange County High School Anglers Club, City of Richmond Parks and Recreation, VA B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, and the Isle of Wight Ruritan Club. In addition to providing the monofilament fishing line recycling containers, the sponsors also help maintain the containers and collect the used line for recycling. Groups interested in participating in the fishing line recycling program can contact Ron Southwick at (804) 367-1292 or by email Ron.Southwick@dgif.virginia.gov. If you're out with a novice angler during the Free Fishing Days June 3-5, set a good example and make an effort to collect any litter and discarded fishing line from others and recycle in proper containers.

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!

Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest Winners Selected In Celebration of National Fishing Week

"It was hard to pick the winners for the annual Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest as so many great photos were submitted of kids with big smiles, laughs, looks of anticipation and excitement taken while fishing!" declared Chris Dunnavant, VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator and Angler Recognition Program Director. In celebration of National Fishing Week, this popular contest is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Green Top Sporting Goods, and Shakespeare Tackle Company. The winning pictures are those that best capture the theme "kids enjoying fishing." Children in the first through third place photographs of each category receive a variety of fishing-related prizes donated by the sponsors. Winning pictures are now posted on the VDGIF website and may be used in a variety of VDGIF publications.

Kids Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun

More than 35 Kids Fishing Days are being planned statewide by various organizations in partnership with VDGIF. These events are an enjoyable time for the family and a great opportunity to introduce kids to fishing in a fun atmosphere. There are events every weekend state wide through June. For detailed information on dates, locations, times and contacts, see the Kids Fishing Days schedule to find one near you! Catch the fun! Take a kid fishin'. For details, check the Kids Fishing Days calendar on our website.

Virginia Naturally Website Link to School Environmental Learning Programs

Visit the Virginia Naturally website now for 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 next semester.

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

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

Look at the 2011 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for answers to these wildlife related questions for August:

Answers to July 13th edition quiz for nature events for early July...

Get your copy of the 2011 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Workshops Scheduled for Native Warm Season Grasses in Forage-Livestock Systems

Virginia Working Landscapes has scheduled Warm Season Grass Workshops in two counties to cover establishment and management of warm season grasses on your farm to use as a forage crop, improve wildlife habitat and provide other potential marketing opportunities. Dr. Ben Tracy from VA Tech will discuss the value of native warm season grasses in forage-livestock systems through classroom sessions, field trips to working farms using warm season grasses and the distribution of information books, fact sheets and research articles. Both workshops are from 8:30am to 5:00 pm.

For more information and to register:
Email: crcecology@si.edu
Tel: (540) 635-0041
www.Vaworkinglandscapes.org

Quail Biologists Eager to Assist Landowners and Hunters

In January 2011 as part of implementing the VA Quail Action Plan (VQAP), five new pairs of field boots hit the wildlife habitat dirt. These boots belong to Virginia's first cooperatively hired Private Lands Wildlife Biologists. Marc Puckett, VDGIF Co-Project Leader for the Quail Recovery Initiative (QRI) reports that this unique program represents a joint hiring effort between the Conservation Management Institute at Virginia Tech, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, they are the first of their kind in Virginia. Similar, highly successful, programs have existed for several years in Missouri, Kentucky, North Carolina and other states. They represent the closest partnership ever between the cooperating agencies. Jack Bricker, State Conservationist for NRCS and Bob Duncan, Director of the VDGIF, signed an agreement formalizing the partnership December 2009. The new biologists work daily with partners in the agricultural community – one critical to wildlife nationwide. Their primary role is helping private landowners develop wildlife habitat through a variety of financial incentives programs.

VQAP was the impetus for this successful partnership. In its first year of implementation, the hiring of the 5 new biologists was a major goal of the VQAP. The biologists spend a great deal of their time working on early-successional habitat – a habitat type that benefits not only bobwhite quail but dozens of early-successional species including pollinating insects.

These wildlife biologists can be contacted for habitat assistance at the following USDA Service Centers:

Large-scale habitat restoration and education are the key elements of the VQAP. The Virginia Quail Council was established as a coordinating group of conservation organizations and agencies actively supporting the Virginia Quail Action Plan through the promotion and application of land management practices and programs that increase the quality and quantity of quail habitat on agricultural and forested landscapes.

A copy of the Virginia Quail Action Plan and Virginia Quail Council members can be viewed on the Department's website. For information on the bobwhite quail, read the feature article in the Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! section. View the new video, "Answering the Call: Virginia's Quail Recovery Initiative," featured in this edition of the Outdoor Report.

Habitat at Home© DVD Now Available

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

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

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

Region I - Tidewater

When operator and passenger switch places- BUI is suspected... On Sunday, July 3, 2011, Sgt. Rich Goszka and Officer Ken Williams were conducting a boat patrol in Hull Creek in Northumberland County. At approximately 1715 hours the officers observed a boat enter the creek from the Potomac River and when the operator observed the patrol boat he stopped and switched positions with a passenger on the boat. The officers stopped and boarded the boat and immediately detected that the first operator had been consuming alcohol. The suspect was placed on the patrol boat and field sobriety tests were conducted. A preliminary breath test was offered to the suspect and he was arrested by Officer Williams and charged with BUI and a safety equipment violation. His final BAC was .22% and he was lodged in the Northern Neck Regional Jail.

Drinking and reckless boating dangerous combination on the Chickahominy... On July 2, 2011, Conservation Police Officer's Adams, Wilson and Bell were on boat patrol on the Chickahominy River. At approximately 1814 hours, they observed a rented motorboat traveling downriver with a 6 year old boy and an adult male bow riding while the motorboat was on plane. While investigating the violation, Officer Adams observed empty beer cans, a partially consumed bottle of vodka and what appeared to be beer in a solo cup between the operator's feet. The operator of the vessel had a strong odor of alcohol about his person and extremely bloodshot eyes. Officer Adams had the operator perform several field sobriety tests and the operator was subsequently placed under arrest for boating under the influence. After transporting the suspect to jail, a breath alcohol test was conducted with a final blood alcohol level of 0.10.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley – Northern Piedmont

Citizen Tip Leads to quick discovery and accident prevention for overloaded pontoon boat... On July 9, 2011, Officer Garrett received a report of a severely overloaded pontoon boat on Lake Anna.  The call came in from a local tow boat company the officers of district 45 have a good working relationship with. The tow company received the report from a citizen describing a pontoon boat near the power plant that was overloaded with 20 plus children/young adults. Officers' Garrett & Spuchesi responded to the area and quickly located the vessel.  Upon approaching the vessel they observed a person lying on the rear deck of the vessel, which was out-of-sight of the operator. The pontoon was occupied with 21 persons and the Coast Guard placard showed it rated for 12 persons.  When the safety equipment was inspected the operator was only able to produce 16 correctly sized PFDs.  Charges were placed for allowing persons to ride on the deck of the vessel, and not having enough life-saving devices.

New Wildlife K-9 Team Pilot Program Needs Your Support

VDGIF Law Enforcement has introduced a pilot program K-9 Team with three Labrador retrievers trained in tracking, wildlife detection and evidence recovery. The dogs and their CPO handlers graduated from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' K-9 Academy in April. This was an intense and physically demanding eight week training course that all three handlers completed successfully with their dogs and returned to Virginia to begin their work. These K-9 units have already made an impressive start assisting CPOs and other state and local law enforcement and search and rescue teams with the dogs special skills and abilities. The members of the new K-9 Team are: from Portsmouth in Tidewater region, K-9 Officer Megan Vick and her partner Jake; from Appomattox County in Central Virginia, K-9 Officer Richard Howald and his partner Scout; and from Rockingham County in Western Virginia, K-9 Officer Wayne Billhimer and his partner Justice.

VDGIF Director of Law Enforcement Col Dabney Watts, Jr., has high expectations for this new versitle Team noting, "It is our hope to fund this new agency program through donations made by individuals, businesses and wildlife organizations. In fact all three of our original dogs, as well as the 2 dogs from Kansas, were donated either by individuals or animal shelters. Through the efforts of VDGIF Grants Manager Tom Wilcox and Jenny West, Director of the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia, the Wildlife Foundation has agreed to accept and manage monetary donations made to the Department's K-9 program. Information on how to donate is provided on both the Foundation and Department websites. In addition Lee Walker, Director of Outreach, arranged for the printing of trading cards with a picture of each canine unit on the front and a brief introduction of each officer and his or her dog on the back along with information on how to donate to the program. These cards will be handed out at all public events attended by one of our canine units. See the feature on the K-9 Team's introduction at the Richmond Squirrels baseball game in the July 13th editon.

Watch for updates in the Outdoor Report on events where you can meet members of the new K-9 Team and see demonstrations of their remarkable skills used in enforcement of wildlife laws and search and rescue. The Team will be featured at the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show August 12-14, 2011 at the Richmond Raceway Complex.

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

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

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

Fishin' Report

Anglers throughout Virginia and neighboring states want to know "how are the fish bitin'?" To provide some answers, more than 25 license agents, marinas, fishing guides, and bait shops have volunteered to serve as contacts for information on recent fishing conditions for primary rivers and lakes throughout the state. Sarah White, outdoor writer and regular contributor to Virginia Wildlife magazine, prepares this Fishin' Report from interviews with these contacts the week prior to publication of the Outdoor Report.

The Fishin' Report is only available as part of your free subscription to the Outdoor Report.

The rivers and lakes featured in the Fishin' Report are listed by VDGIF Administrative Regions so you can quickly locate the area in which you are most interested. Consult the regional location map to find the major river or lake you want to know about.

For regulations and conditions on saltwater fishing, visit the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) website. New Saltwater Fisherman Identification Program (FIP) Requires Angler Registration Starting January 1, 2011: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) will implement a free state saltwater angler identification program as of January 1, 2011. Purchasers of annual Virginia saltwater fishing licenses do NOT have to register. The Virginia Fisherman Identification Program (FIP) will require unlicensed saltwater anglers aged 16 and older to register and receive an identification number annually. Adult anglers who fish for anadromous or marine species in freshwater must also register. There is no cost for registration. Online registration is available on VMRC's website. To register by phone, call toll-free 1-800-723-2728. For more information, visit VMRC's website or contact VMRC at (757) 247-2200.

The new 2011 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. 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 2011.

Gear up for Summer! Wear your Life Jacket and Take a Boating Safety Class

Attention boaters, VDGIF has begun to phase in Virginia's boating safety education requirement. 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.

Review the article, "Does Your Lifejacket Really Fit?" in the Be Safe... Have Fun section.

Video Features Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting

Another great DVD is now being offered at the VDGIF store, this one a double-feature: Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy and Panfish Preparation and Filleting. If you want to learn 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, 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 & old.

Order your own copy today!

Got Pictures of Your Catch? Share Them With Us on Flickr!

How was your last fishing trip? Did you take pictures of your catch? Send them to us and share it with the world! Here's how:

  1. Email your photos to us and we'll post them on our "Virginia Fishing" group on the photo-sharing website, Flickr.
  2. Or, if you already have an account on Flickr, join the group and submit your photos. It's easy!

No matter how you send in your pictures, please remember to include the species, date, and location of your catch. If you know the length and weight, please include it.

Rules for submitting photos to the group:

  1. Photos must be of fish caught in Virginia.
  2. Photos must not depict unsafe practices.
  3. Please do not publish personal information (last names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, etc.).
  4. Please do include the species, location, and date of catch!
  5. Only submit photos for which you have permission to post online. For example, any minor pictured must have documented permission from his or her parent or guardian in order to appear in the group. By submitting a photograph of your child, you are giving VDGIF permission to post the photo on the Flickr "Virginia Fishing" group.
The Memories Are Always Bigger Than the Fish
Buy your fishing license today.

Remember the excitement? The rush? A picture is worth a thousand words, but sharing the memory of catching that first fish with your family or friends is priceless. Why wait? Start your memories today and buy your fishing license.

Go to HuntFishVA.com, call 1-866-721-6911, or visit your nearest license agent.

If you have already purchased your 2011 fishing license, we would like to thank you for helping to support Virginia's wildlife and natural resources.

Don't miss out on a great fishing season.
Your License Dollars Support State Conservation Efforts

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

Attention Readers – If your favorite body of water is not covered in the Fishin Report, and you are a guide, tackle shop owner, marina or just a devoted angler; please drop me a line and we will see about adding your bi-weekly or periodic reports in the e-newsletter by telephone or email contacts. You can reach me, Sarah White at fishing_report@hotmail.com.

Region 1 - Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. It's hot! But the fishing is good here. The water level has been steady and the fish have adjusted well to the temperature and are moving up and down in the water. So if it's windy or overcast you may find fish in 10 to 12 ft. of water. Some bass fell to crankbaits running 8 ft. and deeper. But one way to catch them is to drop shot a finesse worm into 15 plus ft. of water; another is a Carolina rig in the grass wall. These two methods caught several 1 lb. to 3 lb. fish last week. There are lots of bluegills in the coves with larger fish holding in 10 ft. of water; try wigglers, jigs and inline spinners. The big news is that stripers are biting well. Craig Eckenrod and family landed 9 on Sunday and went home by 11:00 AM. Baitfish are at about 20 ft. Some stripers fell to bluegills in over 30 ft. of water. Still more fell to long lipped cranks trolled along the long points .Try silver/black back, and perch colored lures. Don't forget we open at 6 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The water is only 1 ft. low which is good for mid July. The water temperature is 90 degrees with visibility of over 15 ft. See you on the Creek!

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107, www.gloucesterva.info. Wayne Ripley reports that there have been almost no anglers out lately due to the heat. The water is clear and 92 degrees.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim told me that the sheepshead are at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel pilings and are going for hermit crabs and fiddler crabs. Bluefish and Spanish mackerel can be found at Cape Henry and will take spoons. Flounder are at Buoy 42 and the cell. They are biting squid and bull minnows, but most that are brought up are too small to keep. Spot are at Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets and are attacking Fishbite and blood worms. The water is 82 degrees, clear and full of jellyfish.

Back Bay: New reporter and local angler Tom Deans. No report this edition.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams says that action has slowed to a halt because of high temperatures. The water is fairly clear and in the 90s.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins reports that things have been very slow, but some anglers are having success. Bass can be found around the grass beds and will go for frogs and Pop R's. Bluegill are hitting well on worms, crickets and popping bugs. The water is clear and in the low 90s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon told me that things are quite slow, but there is still a little action to be had. Bass are being caught early and late on top-waters. During the day plastics and cranks may work. Cats are going for cut bait. One citation sized shellcracker was brought in. The water is clear and 87 degrees.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. Actually I have not been fishing since my last report. The Nottoway and Blackwater both got pretty high on the upper rivers the last couple weeks due to heavy rain. I think the high water will really help the fishing though, as it flushed out a lot of stagnant water. I did go on the Blackwater the 7th to take some children from the Paul D. Camp Community College Kids College program on one of our Eco-Cruises. Eco-Cruise is a free service the Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeeper Program (BNRP) provides to groups and organizations interested in learning more about the two rivers. The BNRP pontoon boat is kind of like a floating classroom and gives people a chance to see what kind of wildlife roams the Blackwater and Nottoway. I also took a group of kids from the Upward Bounds program out on the 18th . It's just so hot right now though I'm having to cancel Eco-Cruise because of fear of heat related health issues that can come from being out in this kind of hot weather. Please remember to use extreme caution if you do decide to go on the water when it is this hot. Wear a hat, wear loose fitting light colored clothes, and you MUST drink a LOT of water. I also highly recommend that you go very early in the morning and come back early. Remember to leave off the water early enough to allow for getting the boat on the trailer etc. Trying to do that on hot pavement with the sweat rolling off of you can make one get in too much of a hurry to get in that air conditioned truck. That can cause you to be careless and forget things like strapping down your boat and securing tackle etc. like it ought to be. Also, before leaving home check things like tire pressure and grease those Buddy Bearings. A flat trailer tire this time of year could do you in. Make sure you have good gas and strong batteries. Being stranded on the water this time of year could be extremely unpleasant. Enjoy the summer, but be respectful of it also.

Recycle Your Used Fishing Line

You know how aggravating it can be to be pulling in you lure and you snag a wad of fishing line discarded by some discourteous angler into the water or strewn on the bank where some unsuspecting critter will get hopelessly entangled. In 2009, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) launched a monofilament fishing line recycling program across the Commonwealth. Both state agencies installed PVC pipe recycling containers at public boats launches at numerous lakes, rivers and coastal waters. Anglers and boaters are encouraged to deposit used monofilament fishing line into the PVC containers. According to VDGIF Fisheries Assistant Director Ron Southwick, who is coordinating the line recycling program for the Department, "Several conservation organizations and municipalities jumped on board as partners sponsoring sites for the containers across the state." Sponsoring groups include the Virginia Bass Federation, Fairfax County Park Authority, Suffolk-Nansemond Chapter of the Isaac Walton League, Northern Virginia Kayak Fishing Club, Orange County High School Anglers Club, City of Richmond Parks and Recreation, VA B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, and the Isle of Wight Ruritan Club. In addition to providing the monofilament fishing line recycling containers, the sponsors also help maintain the containers and collect the used line for recycling. Groups interested in participating in the fishing line recycling program can contact Ron Southwick at (804) 367-1292 or by email Ron.Southwick@dgif.virginia.gov. If you're out with a novice angler during the Free Fishing Days June 3-5, set a good example and make an effort to collect any litter and discarded fishing line from others and recycle in proper containers.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. I was crazy enough to have gone fishing lately and did okay with the catfish. We fished the James last Tuesday night and the Tuesday before. Not much of a bite till early morning both trips. We landed a 56 pound 48 inch blue catfish two weeks ago about 5 am and we caught a total of 3 fish. Last Tuesday, same deal, about dawn we landed a 38 pound blue cat and around 7 a.m. We landed 3 more in a 10 minute span and they were 28, 22 and 18 pound blue cats; but then we were forced to retreat off the water because of the extreme heat. We caught them on cut shad and live white perch. Water temperature was 84 to 87 degrees and stained.

Region 2 - Southside

Lake Gordon: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. Willard is still recovering from his heart surgery, so he hasn't been out; but I'm sure we're all keeping him in our thoughts. Get well soon Willard; we need you to make us laugh.

Sandy River and Briery Creek: Contributed by Longwood College Fishing Club's Jack Pollio. The fishing at Sandy River has been great! Fish are hitting just about everything. The bass are holding in the creek mouths/channels and off the ledges where the water can reach 12 or more feet. A football head jig around brush, rock, or contour change from 7 to15 feet has been great. Another good bait has been the Spro Little John Crank baits. Fish have been caught on these cranks around schooling shad and bait fish. Don't be afraid of open water situations. The shad have been holding on and around the surface on open points up to 15 to 17 feet. I recommend taking the crank baits and running them right into the school of bait and go to a slow pause and twitch cadence to draw those bass to your lure. You can sometimes catch 3 to 5 bass off of a little school of bait! As always, the old standards for summer days like the deep diver crank baits and Carolina rigs should catch some nice fish on ledges, channel breaks and points. I would use a Zoom Brush hog or Ol' Monster on the points with the Carolina rig to pick up those big bass!

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. Smallmouth fishing continues to be good. The river is clear and running around 2.5 feet with water temperatures in the 80s. The extreme heat this past week didn't seem to affect the fishing. Smallmouth up to 21.25 inches were boated. The fish are found anywhere from 10 feet out into the banks. Don't crowd the bank, in other words. Its best to stay out of the shade line as this is where most of the bigger fish have been hooked. Fly anglers are seeing the fish willing to take poppers slowly drifted and bait fish patterns stripped with a darting action. Conventional anglers using soft plastics such as flukes, swimbaits and grubs are enjoying great action. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids and take a dip every now and then.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow says that things have slowed due to the hot weather, but some anglers have fooled a few fish. Bass are going for cranks and Carolina rigs. The night bite is good for crappie, with some up to 3 ¼ lbs. coming in. Jigs are your best bet for these fat slabs. Cat action is "decent" with bream, crappie, goldfish and jumbo shiners being good choices. Some bream can be found around ripraps and bridge pilings, try red wigglers. The water is fairly clear and 85 to 90 degrees.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Doug Lane reports that things have been good. Rainbows and browns in the Jackson River are responding to a wide variety of patterns. Streamers, nymphs and caddis nymphs are all working well. Smallies in the James are going for baitfish patterns, Clawdads and popping bugs. The mountain brook trout streams are too low to fish. The water is clear and 80 degrees.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski says that the bass bite has been pretty good early and late. Top-waters have been getting good results, as have spinners and buzzbaits. Creature baits and lizards in green pumpkin are also getting hits. Crappie are holding at around 8 to 10 ft. down, try minnows and jigs. Cats are deep as well and will take worms, chicken livers and clam snouts. Bluegill can be found around docks and grass beds, red wigglers are a good choice here. Some stripers have been taken on plugs in around 15 to 20 ft. The water is slightly stained and in the low 90s.

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.

Bass: Fishing has slowed a little as is usual in the middle of the summer. Anglers are finding it harder to catch the larger fish. Bass continue to be caught very early in the morning on spinner baits and top water poppers. Once the sun moves over the horizon most bass will head for the shade and structure offered by deep water docks. Those on docks are being caught on wacky rigged worms and light shaky head jigs. Texas and Carolina rigged large worms, lizards and creature baits are good choices for deep-water bass in the daytime. So are heavy football head jigs with plastic trailers and deep diving crankbaits. Blaine Chitwood is back in the shop with us this summer as he takes a break from college. Blaine has been working for several weeks to build up and improve the quality of our crankbait lure selection. A "Bass – Mid-Summer Patterns and Techniques" workshop will be held on Thursday evening, July 28th. For information about this and our other summer workshops, go to our website.

Striper: Fishing was good this past week for anglers using live bait on downlines, but a little slower for most others. Many of the stripers caught were found in large schools near the mouths of deep water creeks in the middle and lower lake, often in deep water close to the bottom or in submerged trees. Small live shad, often referred to a "peanuts", continue to be the bait of choice when fishing for stripers in deep water as they are the same size as the baitfish they are keying on. When downsizing your bait, don't forget to do the same with your terminal tackle, especially your hooks. The key to success when fishing with live bait is to maintain the quality of your bait and that can be tough in the summer. It is critical to take care of your bait, use seasoned bait whenever possible, use a good bait tank with a filtration system, use an appropriate amount of salt and chemicals and change your baits frequently. Stripers were also caught this past week by anglers trolling Sutton spoons, plastic swim shad (Storm, Calcutta) and sassy shad with Lead Core Line outfits. Anglers trolling Umbrella rigs (Urigs) with braided line on line counter trolling rigs also had success. Captain Mack rigs, with chartreuse curly tailed grubs and the light blue and white sassy shad continue to produce. Anglers are also having success vertically jigging for stripers using Virginia Outdoorsman custom jigheads with flukes, spoons and other select lures. Others are catching stripers, located using their electronics, by casting counting down and retrieving similar lures.

Catfish: The bite continues to be good, although I have not heard of any large catfish lately. Channel cats are being caught using strong stink baits on bottom rigs using "spring hooks". Live shad on downlines are producing good results with the flathead catfish. If you just want to provide action for the kids, stop by and pick up a couple of packs of hair jigs, tiny crankbaits or a box of red wiggler worms and some small hooks. Add a small bobber to help keep the lures from snagging on the rocks and submerged sticks and you are ready for hours of "catch and release" fun.

If you have good quality pictures of nice fish and want to share them by having them published in the Smith Mountain Eagle, please send them to me. Often the images captured in low resolution on cellphones do not have the detail needed to be enlarged and printed in the paper, so the higher the resolution the better. Just send me an email with the name of the angler, size of the fish and details about the catch and attach your photo. My address is virginiaoutdoorsman@gmail.com.

The water is 84 degrees and clear. Have a great week and tight lines.

Remember with these nice sunny days comes a hidden killer, SUNBURN, and all the bad stuff that comes with it. Blackwater and Nottoway Riverkeeper Jeff Turner cautions, "Take it from me, 45 years of fishing with half of that done nearly naked in my youth is dangerous. We used to go get in the boat with just cut offs on, the muddy water was our sun block and it didn't work. I have already had one melanoma cancer removed from my neck that left an ugly 3 inch in diameter scar. So wear a hat or something that will cover your face, neck and ears. Put on a good high number sun block on the rest of you exposed to the world. It's not sissy to put on sun block; it beats having chunks of your face and arms/legs removed for cancer down the road."

Region 3 - Southwest

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

Bass: The fishing is getting tougher with each increase in the temperature. There is a decent early morning and late evening top-water bite with Lobina Lures Rico popper working well. Once the sun gets up, the fishing gets tougher. Drop shotting a 4 ½ in. Roboworm is the best way to finesse the finicky bass with the top colors being Oxblood Light Red Flake, Martins Madness, and Prizm Krawler. Gary Yamamoto double tail hula grubs in the green pumpkin color or smoke color, on a small jig head is a good lure choice to use to get a bite or two. After dark the action picks back up a little with a black/blue chatterbait or a dark colored Jolt spinnerbait being the best lure choices. Rock House Marina has a night tournament every Tuesday from 6:30pm to 10:30pm.

Striper: There is a little bit of schooling activity at day break. After the sun gets up, try trolling an umbrella rig in deep water. The key is finding the suspended bait on your depth finder.

Catfish: The cats are starting to turn on. Peak creek is has produced some good size and good numbers lately. Bottom fishing with live shad is the best technique.

Crappie/Yellow Perch: They have moved to their summer hideouts and are hard to find. I haven't heard anything on either species.

Bluegill/Panfish: Bluegill are plentiful in the back of coves around any docks or laydown trees. A night crawler is the best choice.

Water temperature is in the mid 80s and clear.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius says that the heat has slowed things down. Smallmouths are responding to Jolt Spinners after dark. The local muskies are also biting mainly at night and will take the same lure, as well as inline spinners and suckers. "Anything that makes noise." The water is low, clear and very warm.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash reports that the smallmouth action is very good, particularly at night. Try soft plastics in green pumpkin or brown. The night bite is also on for muskies. Inline spinners are a good choice. The water is clear and in the upper 70s.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. The Upper New River continues to suffer from muddy/dirty water syndrome making good fishing water opportunities sporadic. Try dark or chartreuse tubes and plastics for smallmouth during the day. Muskie (top-water) and walleye fishing is best at night. Catfish are doing well, especially at night. Please make sure to wear a PFD when night fishing from a watercraft and stay well hydrated during the day during this brutal heat.

Use common courtesy on the river and at landings... Blackwater and Nottoway Riverkeeper Jeff Turner advises if you're boating or fishing on the river this spring please remember that a lot of people fish anchored in the middle of the river this time of year. So, please slow down around those blind curves and don't wake people hard when they are fishing. At the boat ramps please don't prepare your boat to put in on the ramp or prepare your rig for going home on the ramp. There is usually lots of room in the parking lot. If you're in your boat waiting for the boat ahead of you to get out of the way, remember, don't make it harder on them by cruising back and forth in front of the landing at ¼ throttle and throwing a 3 ft. wake. You're only going to make him mad and take longer to get their boat on the trailer, plus it's against the law! Be courteous and respectful of others, after all we all want a safe and enjoyable trip to and from the river.

Region 4 - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Harry told me that the smallmouth streams are giving good fishing these days. The South Fork is good for both wading and floating. The best areas are from Luray downstream to Bentonville. The North Fork is best suited to wading. The best area is from Edinburg to Strausburg. Good flies are Murray's Chub Streamer, size 4; or Murray's Hellgrammite, size 4. The water is clear and 81 degrees.

The stocked streams in the Valley are not very productive due to the heat. The water is low, clear and 78 degrees.

The mountain streams are still fishable. Good flies are: Murray's Professor, size 16; the Flying Beetle, sizes 16 and 18; and Murray's Yellow Drake, size 14. The water is low, clear and 67 degrees.

New Reporter Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local anger Bill Uzzell. It has been hot, hot, hot, but not so the daytime bass fishing at Moomaw. The only consistent bass fishing is after sunset. A few bass are being caught during the day using drop shots in ten feet and deeper. No consistent top water bite as of yet. Night fishing is producing some decent smallmouth catches with an occasional largemouth. The most consistent baits are jigs and plastic creature baits. Crankbaits will produce from time to time as well as a drop shot. No word from anyone regarding the trout fishing on the lake. Warning: the majority of the parking lot lights at the Fortney Branch ramp are not working. The US Forest Service is working on the problem. Surface water temperature is 84 to 85 degrees. Water levels are six feet below normal pool. Boaters should be cautious of shallow water areas.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Puff is busy fishing, check his website for the latest news on fishing conditions and whats biting.

Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore (Wade Fishing River Guidebooks covering the: Rappahannock, Rapidan, Upper Potomac, North Branch Potomac; Blog: SwitchFisher.com) HOT! Sadly, that refers to the weather, not the action. With only the truly obsessed angler out fishing over the last week, my normal sources dried up. From what I can gather from others, smallmouth action is moderate with fish being found deep or in the shade of the banks. Normal assortment of plastics are the weapon of choice. With the hot weather, the mountain trout streams will start to get low and slow – I recommend you postpone fishing there until the water rises and gets colder with the onset of Fall weather. If you need a trout fix, head to one of the cold tailwaters like the North Branch of the Potomac or the Savage River in Maryland.

Northern Virginia Lakes: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. No report this edition.

Rappahannock - South of Fredericksburg: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. No report this edition.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The crappie bite is good with some nice stringers being caught around the fishing pier on small minnows and near brush piles in 10 to 15 ft. of water. The walleyes have moved up lake and are hitting on crank baits. Catfishing continues to be excellent throughout the lake on live bait and chicken livers. Largemouth bass have been feeding early and late in the day on top-water baits. During the middle of the day, soft plastics and live bait are your best options in water anywhere from 4ft. to 15 ft. deep. The water is clear with surface temperatures in the low to mid 80s.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service, (540) 894-9144.

Largemouth Bass: Good fishing early in the morning when you find feeding schools busting shad or herring. Try a large topwater like a Repo Man or Zara Spook retrieved quickly over main lake structure like points and humps. Three casts and move if you don't have a hit or follow-up because your early morning window is from dawn to about 8 a.m. on most mornings. When the fish go deep, you can follow them in to elicit strikes. You can also pitch slider or shakey head worms to the edge of willow grass, mostly found in the North Anna River side.

Striped Bass: Good to excellent fishing now for casters, trollers and mid lake region with a 3 inch Berkley Realistix Minnow on a drop shot fished around deep humps, ledges and brush piles. Up lake is a better region to fish in the mid day and later afternoon. Use a mid-depth diving crankbait above the first two bridges and try and scrape rocks. Striper are feeding heavily just about every morning now. Sometimes you can catch them busting on top, others your Lowrance lights up and it's time to troll, drop a toothache spoon or some live bait among them. Hot zones have been Pigeon Creek, Rose Valley, Big Ben and the mouth of Sturgeon. Surface activity has commenced in the afternoon, some as far up as the mouth of Plentiful Creek. Expect more and more small fish to travel into the lower lake region and break on the surface each morning and late in the evening. Make sure you have a small swim bait ready on a rod with six-pound test line if the fish are within range. Another good choice is a Crazy Blade because it casts a mile and the fish love to eat it when feeding on threadfin shad.

Crappie: Up lake bridge pilings and deep brush piles are loaded. You might have to cull out the "chips" 10 to 1 before you get a 10-incher, but a couple dozen minnows on a slip bobber will keep you busy.

Lake Anna: Contributed by Local Guide Jim Hemby (540) 967-3313.

Stripers: HOT!!! Not only has the weather been hotter this summer with water temperatures on June 1st being 87 degrees, but the striper fishing has been hotter than previous years. My clients are averaging 50 to 80 stripers a morning and the bite is getting progressively better. Stripers have migrated to the mid lake regions and are aggressively feeding on 25 to 40 foot flats, gorging themselves on blue back herring. There are literally hundreds of schools of stripers roaming the lake now and good electronics are crucial in locating and staying on the schools. Some good techniques to try this month are as follows: Top-water action can be excellent this month. In the low light times of the day the stripers will bust Spooks, Pencil Poppers and Redfins worked near the deeper banks and over humps. When the stripers back off to deeper flats Sea Shads, Sassy Shads and swimbaits will work well. Once the fish congregate nearby the bottom, jigging spoons and Super Flukes will also catch fish. Trolling is a good option this time of year. Deep diving Redfins with a bucktail or Sea Shad trailer are hard to beat when the fish are 25 to 30 feet deep. Once the fish go deeper, umbrella and drop rigs work best fished on lead core line. The absolute best way to catch stripers this month is to use herring or minnows rigged on downlines putting the baits in the stripers' face. It is important to get the bait to the exact depth to maximize your catches. Concentrate your efforts this month in the first and last 3 hours of the day.

Bass: The bass are post spawn now and have retreated to deeper water to replenish their energy. They will still feed in low light conditions and will hit top water baits with vengeance, a Pop R being a great example. Work these baits with slow rhythmic chuggs giving the bass time to locate and blow up on the bait. June is a great month to work the old Carolina rig with lizards or your favorite rubber bait, a lot of water can be covered quickly to locate bass. Swimbaits will also catch very nice bass this month.

Crappie: The slabs have pulled out and are being caught on deeper points with brush piles and on the deeper bridge pilings in the 10 to 20 foot ranges. They continue to hit small minnows and jigs. The fish are also stacking up on ledges in the rivers in the 8 to 15 foot depths. If you fish the "Hot Side" the fish will congregate much deeper under the bridges in 20 to 30 foot depths. Crappie rigs [two hook rigs] tipped with minnows are deadly this month. Simply lower your offerings to the depth of the fish and once you start catching doubles mark your line at that depth and fill your cooler up.

Catfish: These fish are plentiful and are feeding everywhere on the lake, usually just behind and below the schools of stripers. They can be located on a good depth finder showing up as arches on or very near the bottom.

Attention Readers – If your favorite body of water is not covered in the Fishin Report, and you are a guide, tackle shop owner, marina or just a devoted angler; please drop me a line and we will see about adding your bi-weekly or periodic reports in the e-newsletter by telephone or email contacts. You can reach me, Sarah White at fishing_report@hotmail.com.

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

View video about the snakehead

Get your kids hooked on fishing!

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

email your material to
fishing_report@hotmail.com
and it might get used in the Fishin' Report!

Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

As the weather warms and Spring approaches, thoughts of Summer vacation for many students begin to stir. Ironically now is the time when planning for summer vacation trips needs to begin. For 18 year old Mark Robertson, a Senior at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke, his most memorable outdoor experience was a summer adventure every Boy Scout dreams about- a ten day trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Hiking through this vast rugged landscape observing and experiencing the wonders of nature, learning self reliance, endurance, and learning new skills, can be a life changing adventure. Sharing such an outdoor adventure with fellow Scouts makes for lifelong friendships and gives a measure of your true character. Mark entered his article in the 2008-09 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Competition and his adventure story was awarded First place. Mark has captured the excitement, serenity, and fond memories that come with a week in the wild with friends of a common purpose of service and self improvement.

Philmont

By Mark Robertson

It's about 5:30 AM in Roanoke Regional Airport. A bunch of uniformed teenagers gather with oddly shaped camouflage patterned laundry bags and nervous looking parents on either side. Suddenly, an average-sized, geeky looking man rushes in, triumphantly holding a delectable chocolate chip cookie. The strange man raises the cookie into the air and slowly takes a large bite out of it. Was it the beginning of a two week reign of terror on the western United States? Was it a tremendous endeavor of twelve men and boys to do what had never been done before? Or was it the beginning of one of those terribly trippy science fiction novels that you just scratch your head after reading? The answer: all of the above.

Turns out that the strange man with the cookie was just Mr. Don Sipher, fearless Scoutmaster of Troop 236 of southwest Roanoke County. The uniformed boys were Boy Scouts, the most (insert preferred adjective here) of all living creatures. The camouflage packages were their backpacks; the medium with which they would carry all their worldly belongings in the next twelve days. This was the beginning of the magical journey referred to by many as Philmont Scout Ranch.

Soon after arriving on the ranch, the boys learned many useful skills, such as how to create a packline and where to find water in base camp. They met Ranger Wesley Johnson, the man who would hold their lives in hand for the next three days until suddenly but gently passing the responsibility back to the crew as a whole. The boys endured ranger training, learning the Philmont way of camping so as to avoid any bear maulings.

Over the next few days, the boys suffered the hard life of a Philmont hiker. They endured root beer from the tap at Abreu, team-building games, ghost stories, and blinding sunrises at Urraca, and scaled near vertical rock faces at Miner's Park. At Black Mountain, they became soldiers in the American Civil War, where they learned to shoot rifles from that era.

The boys' morale was lifted at Philips Junction, where a renewed food and water supply, as well as six or eight Toblerone chocolate bars apiece, helped to replenish their darkened spirits. At Crooked Creek, they braved the frontier as homesteaders, having to make candles to light their way in the dark New Mexico night and to ward off ferocious predators like mountain lions and bears. Only luck and prayer kept them from being mauled.

The next morning they visited Clear Creek, where they learned how to trap beaver, a skill that would come in handy the next few days, as they wouldn't see water again for 48 hours. This was the prelude to the conquest of Philmont's second highest peak at 11,771 feet above sea level, Mount Philips. From the summit, the view was breathtaking. The entire range of the southern Rockies was before their very eyes. Baldy to the north, Angel Fire to the west, it was pure beauty. Well, at least until the thunderstorm hit, hurrying the crew off of the peak. Camp that night was made on neighboring Comanche Peak where they experienced a beautiful sunset from chairs made of rocks.

Thus they began to descend. Down the ridge toward Sawmill, which held for them rifle shooting and a nice hot shower. They made their camp in Sawmill Canyon along a creek lined with tall aspens, the like of which you only hear in stories. In the morning, they made their way down the canyon and across a ridge to Ute Gulch, where they restocked on food for the last time and enjoyed another fifteen to twenty Toblerone bars apiece. Their travels then took them through Hidden Valley and into Cimarroncito, one of the more famous camps at Philmont. Cito was the location of the group's conservation project. They were lumberjacks for the day, chopping and stacking down wood as a means of forest fire regulation.

The crew then made their way down to Hunting Lodge, where they enjoyed one of the finest evenings of scouting they would ever experience. Hunting Lodge offers cobbler dessert to crews who entertain them, whether it be through song, skit, story, or another means. This fine crew chose all three, and so did their sister crew, which turned it into a sort of a competition. Songs, skits, and the like were all performed masterfully by the best entertainers ever to visit northeastern New Mexico. The next day, a short hike brought them to Clark's Fork, where they would spend the subsequent hours occupying themselves with a myriad of activities ranging from chess to guitar and horseback riding to branding irons before a chuck wagon dinner.

Up and over Schaffer's Peak they went; and down the ridge to Tooth Ridge, where they set up camp for the last time on Philmont. They enjoyed the view from the camp and in the morning they visited the legendary Tooth of Time. It was a long six miles back to base camp, but they all made it, and the lives of the boys and the history of the troop had never been richer.

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 deadlines for entries this year were closed February 25, 2011. Details of the Annual Awards presentations April 14 at Bear Creek Lake State Park are posted on the VOWA website. We encourage you to write your most memorable hunting, fishing or other outdoor adventure story and enter the 2011-12 contest. For information on the VOWA Collegiate or High School Youth Writing Competitions visit the VOWA website: www.vowa.org.

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: