In this edition:

Safety First - Time To Take Your Hunter Education Class

September is just a week away... which means the fall hunting seasons will begin soon. Are you ready?!?! On September 24th we officially celebrate and observe National Hunting & Fishing Day. Be sure and review the Wild Events You Don't Want To Miss section for the numerous opportunities for hunting and fishing related events, skill building workshops, and sportsmen's shows that offer something for beginners as well as the most experienced hunters. For new hunters, NOW is the time to take the required Hunter Education Class to qualify for your license. Our team of over 900 volunteer instructors have over 100 classes scheduled statewide. But don't wait, as classes fill up fast as deer season approaches. You can find the class schedules and locations by telephone or website. With the new Youth Deer Hunting Day September 24th, this is a great opportunity for a new hunter to schedule the class and take it together for a refresher. This is also a good time to get an Apprentice Hunting License for a friend or family member that wants to try out this rewarding sport this season. There are youth and family friendly events throughout September all across the state, where you can go to get information and the right gear to make your outdoor adventures safe, successful, and fun. Visit your local sporting goods store or sportsman event and properly prepare for a great hunting season with family and friends.

Neither earthquakes, nor hurricanes can keep us from getting you the news...

Speaking of safety... just prior to posting we have checked the latest forecast for Hurricane Irene and Virginia may still get a good wallop. Unlike the surprise earthquake yesterday, we have time to prepare for Irene. We have just added several articles in the “Be Safe” section and links to the VA Department of Emergency Management information site. So be safe out there and remember to check on your neighbors and put the pets out of harms way.

David Coffman, Editor

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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.

Public Comment Period Extended to September 5, on Wildlife Management Area Statewide Management Plan

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and researchers from Virginia Tech's Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation have extended the public comment period on a draft statewide management plan for Virginia's wildlife management areas (WMAs). The policy-level management plan is the culmination of a multi-year process to assess the use of and develop a statewide management plan for Virginia's WMAs.

This statewide management plan is available for public comment through Monday, September 5, 2011. Interested citizens may provide input to the draft management plan electronically or can mail written input to: Amy Carrozzino, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, 111 Cheatham Hall (Mail Code 0321), Blacksburg, VA 24061. A copy of the draft plan can be accessed on the VDGIF website.

Prior to development of the draft management plan, VDGIF and Virginia Tech conducted on-site interviews with nearly 4,000 WMA users, conducted a follow-up mail and web survey with a subset of interview participants, and held focus group meetings with key stakeholder groups, as well as open public workshop meetings. VDGIF used public input from all aspects of this process to develop the policy-level land use management plan that identifies goals and policies for all of Virginia's WMAs. This statewide plan will provide broad guidance for site-specific WMA plans to be developed later.

VDGIF currently owns and maintains 39 wildlife management areas totaling over 200,000 acres, as means to provide and enhance wildlife habitat and to provide a variety of wildlife-related outdoor recreational opportunities for the public. These areas were acquired and are maintained using Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Funds derived from excise taxes assessed on hunting and fishing equipment and supplies; hunting, trapping and fishing license revenues; and a variety of other funding sources including grants from partner organizations. To learn more about the Department's wildlife management areas, visit the agency's website.

Sportsman's Comments Needed for George Washington National Forest Plan by September 1

The George Washington National Forest (GWNF) covers nearly 1.1 million acres in 17 Virginia and West Virginia counties along the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. Several public meetings have been held in the past few months to address the decline of whitetail deer populations and suitable habitat for other game species in the National Forest, once famous for abundant trophy deer. Robin Clark, President of the Virginia State Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), notes, "One of the most important things that sportsmen in Virginia can do this year is to comment on the GWNF Forest Revision Plan to protect our hunting opportunities and improve habitat. The deadline for comments is September 1st. The NWTF Regional Biologists, Cully McCurdy has been working with USDA Forest Service staff regarding the plan for several months now and wrote a comprehensive article on what's at stake for sportsmen if they do not get active in making their voices heard for scientific wildlife management on these public lands. The full article is posted on the VA-NWTF website. President Clark urges his fellow sportsmen to, " Read the article, get informed, get involved and make your comments in a positive, constructive manner. Your future hunting opportunities on public lands are at stake." Read more on this important issue in the Habitat Tips section of this edition of the Outdoor Report.

Art Contest Commemorates 75th Anniversary of Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program

Celebrate 75 years of better hunting, fishing, boating and wildlife-related recreation through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) by sharing your nature with us. Enter the "WSFR 75-It's Your Nature" Art Contest today to have your artwork featured as a limited edition anniversary print in 2012 and win a $500 gift certificate to Cabela's and travel and registration to the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in March 2012. VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan is serving as the official Chairman of the WSFR 75th Anniversary Committee and is hoping for some great artwork entries from Virginia artists. The "WSFR 75-It's Your Nature" Art Contest is hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the nation's most successful conservation effort—the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. The deadline to enter the contest is November 14, 2011! For contest eligibility and entry instructions please visit the WSFR website.

Next Edition Two Weeks Away September 14...

Since we post the Outdoor Report on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, the next edition will be in two weeks, September 14. This 'extra week' in the calendar will be well spent celebrating the Labor Day weekend smokin' a venison tenderloin for the neighborhood cookout, or danglin' some crawdads at smallies on the James. We're busy at the hunt club getting the tree stands inspected and fall food plots planted. We look forward to getting your photos and stories of your outdoor adventures with friends and family for the September 14 edition. Have a safe and enjoyable end of Summer.

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, 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

Friends of Phelps Wildlife Management Area To Meet September 21, Work Day September 25

The Friends of C.F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area (WMA) have scheduled a meeting on Wednesday, September 21 at 7 p.m. The group will meet at the Sumerduck Ruritan Club at 5335 Sumerduck Road, Sumerduck, VA 22742. The Workday will be held at the C.F. Phelps WMA on Sunday, September 25 from 9am-noon. To view what the Friends group has been doing, visit the Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA on Facebook at Friends of C.F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area. For more information on the Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA or to be added to the distribution list for meeting reminders and notes, contact Patricia Wood at or

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.

Basic Trapper Training Courses Offered August 27 in Monterey

The Virginia Trappers Association is sponsoring a Basic Trapper Training Course Saturday, August 27 from 7:45 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at Steve Good's Welding Shop 5221 Potomac River Road ( RT. 220 h about 6 miles North of Monterey- shop is on your left. These hands-on classes are free, but pre-registration is required. All youths under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Lunch is provided by the local church. For information, contact Billy Price, tel 540-886-8014. For information on the many services of the Virginia Trappers Association visit their 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 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:

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:

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.

Ruffed Grouse Society Hosting Bird Dog Seminar in Goochland September 17-18

The James River Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS), in cooperation with Doug Deats and Don Parks of Kennels of Mill Creek Farm and Rasawek Hunting Preserve, will host a two-day bird dog training seminar for pointers, flushes and upland retrievers on Saturday-Sunday, September 17-18, 2011 at Rasawek Upland Game Preserve, end of Tori Lane (0ff State RT. 606) in Goochland.

According to Mark Joseph, reservations for this unique 5-principle training technique are $75 for RGS members or $100 for non-members (includes 1-year membership) for the one-day session; or $150/$175 respectively for both. Either way, reservations include a continental breakfast, training birds and lunch. Each session begins with a briefing on the technique and a Q&A at 8 a.m. For more information and/or registration contact Joseph at 434-296-4320 or by e-mail at:

Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) is the one international wildlife conservation organization dedicated to promoting conditions suitable for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and related wildlife to sustain our sport hunting tradition and outdoor heritage. Information on RGS, its mission, management projects and membership can be found on the web at:

Waterfowl Hunting Workshop at Holiday Lake September 30 - October 2

The Virginia Waterfowlers' Association, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, is sponsoring the Virginia Waterfowl Hunting Workshop the weekend of September 30 - October 2 at the 4-H Camp near Appomattox. The Virginia Waterfowl Hunting Workshop provides novice, intermediate and experienced hunters skills training beyond a basic education course. The workshop will provide participants of all ages, the opportunity to participate in 22 hands-on classes including:

Beginner & Intermediate Wingshooting Techniques, Duck & Goose Calling, Duck & Goose Decoy Placements, Decoy Carving & Restoration,  Waterfowl Boating Operation, Waterfowl ID & Game Laws, Retriever Training, Waterfowl Blind Design & Construction, Waterfowl Nesting Structures, Waterfowl Game Care & Cooking, Waterfowl Habitat Management, and Predator Management.

Todd Cocker, Virginia Waterfowlers' Association Executive Director, notes that the weekend workshop is designed to introduce beginners and improve experienced hunters knowledge, skills and confidence. Cocker notes, "We have arranged for some of the most respected and experienced instructors the state offers. Instructors are confirmed from program supporters including the VDGIF, Holiday Lake 4-H Center staff, Virginia Hunter Education Association, Tidewater Retriever Club, Webfoot Mafia Waterfowl Guides and Virginia Waterfowlers' Association. This event and the Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend event are two great opportunities to improve your waterfowl hunting skills and other outdoor adventure opportunities." To learn about many of the skills and opportunities taught at the Virginia Waterfowl Hunting Workshop, come to the 28th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show relocated to the Richmond Raceway Complex August 12-14. 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 VAWFA website. Come join us for a fantastic weekend at the Holiday Lake 4-H Center near Appomattox.

People and Partners in the News

Ed Crebbs Inducted Into VA Trappers Hall of Fame

At the Virginia Trappers Association Annual Convention and Sportsman Show held in Orange County in July, Steve Colvin, President, Virginia Trappers Association (VTA), presented Ed Crebbs, VTA Training Coordinator, a plaque signifying his induction into the VTA Hall of Fame. This award recognizes Ed's high ethical standards as a trapper and hunter, his longstanding commitment to carrying on the trapping heritage and traditions through education and training and denotes a lifetime of service to the association. Ed is a volunteer Master Hunter Education Instructor with nearly 20 years service and has taught business at Louisa County High School for 18 years after retiring from a 21 year career in the U.S. Navy. Ed is an active trapper in the central Virginia area working with many landowners to resolve nuisance and predator wildlife problems and is active as Vice President of Friends & Family Hunt Club in Louisa. As a history buff, Ed serves on the Foundation for the preservation of the Trevillian Civil War Battlefield. Congratulations to Ed for this well deserved honor and recognition of his dedication and commitment to his fellow sportsmen and the trapping community.

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 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, or Sherry Engle,

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

Hunters for the Hungry has announced the winners of their 2011 Electronic Prize Raffle with the official drawing taking place at the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show at The Richmond Raceway Complex, in Richmond, Sunday August 14th, 2011 at 6:00 pm. 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 had 5 great prizes, with the 1st place prize valued at $3,500 package which includes LG 55" LED LCD HD flat screen TV and has with it a Samsung 1330 watt 7.1 3d Blue Ray Home Theatre System!

This raffle was sponsored in part by: Central Virginia Soil Consulting, Inc. David B. Beahm, Forest, VA and HHGREGG Appliances & Electronics, Roanoke, VA

Tickets are still available for the Outdoor Adventure Raffle for 2012 that has a first ever TOP PRIZE of 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!

Drawing to take place on March 1, 2012, between 4 pm and 5pm at the Hunters for the Hungry Office located at the Sedalia Center, 1108 Sedalia School Road, Big Island, VA.

To view the actual photos of the electronics package items, check out the website 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!

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 -- This is a free service offered by VTC. 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 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 Administration Tool to submit a new listing or update existing listings.

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."

Rockingham-Harrisonburg Chapter of the IWLA Host Big Game Contest and More

The Rockingham-Harrisonburg Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) was Chartered in 1948, with the Chapter being organized by Lester Hoover who motivated 33 fellow sportsmen to become charter members and was elected the first president. Four years later, in 1952, a parallel organization known as "Peak Retreat Incorporated" (PRI) was formed with the stated purpose of acquiring title to a ninety-two acre tract of land east of Harrisonburg along U.S. 33, to protect and conserve the woods, waters, wildlife, and promote opportunities for outdoor recreation. Ironically a majority of the PRI members were IWLA members so PRI conveyed the property to IWLA to become headquarters for the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Chapter (R-HC).

The R-HC was considering development of a lake at their newly acquired property and the Virginia Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries ( now VDGIF), coincidentally, were seeking a suitable site for a public fishing lake in the area. The VCGIF would create a lake at the site of the present Lake Shenandoah if R-HC could raise $20,000 to purchase the land. Undaunted by what seemed an insurmountable financial obstacle, the IWLA membership raised the amount with help "…from just about everyone in the county and city." Through this partnership Lake Shenandoah became a reality. In 1956 IWLA purchased the lot and "red barn" at the edge of Lake Shenandoah which, today, serves as the Chapter's headquarters. The facility boasts a first class indoor small bore and archery range for members use, hosts "kids fishing day" and sponsors the Annual Virginia State and Western Region Big Game Trophy Shows. The IWLA also conducts hunter safety training and sponsors youth essay contests on conservation issues. The barn is also available for local events on a rental basis. Come see the R-HC members in action as they host the 78th West Regional Big Game Contest at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg, September 9-11. Visit the R-HC website for information on membership, officers, events and activities.

About the Izaak Walton League of America

The Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA), is one of the oldest conservation organizations in the United States, with a diverse group of 50,000 men and women dedicated to protecting our nation's soil, air, woods, waters and wildlife. The organization's strength lies in their grassroots, commonsense approach to solving local, regional and national conservation issues. Interests span the spectrum of outdoor recreation and conservation activities, from angling and birding to stream monitoring, wildlife photography and hunting. But all members share one major goal: to protect and use sustainably America's rich resources to ensure a high quality of life for all people, now and in the future. The Izaak Walton League is first and foremost an organization of active and dedicated volunteer conservationists who help protect and restore the country's natural resources at the local, state and national levels with volunteers, often referred to as "Ikes", representing 300 local chapters located in 32 states.

IWLA Mission:

To conserve, maintain, protect and restore the soil, forest, water and other natural resources of the United States and other lands; to promote means and opportunities for the education of the public with respect to such resources and their enjoyment and wholesome utilization. Visit the IWLA website for more information and to locate an 'Ike' Chapter near you.

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...

28th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsmen Show Big Success

The 28th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show attracted more than 20,000 sportsmen families to a new venue this year at the Richmond Raceway Complex August 12-14. With over 300 fun and exciting exhibits, interesting demonstrations and educational and entertaining seminars, experienced and novice hunters found lots to see and do. Hundreds of new Hunting and Fishing Licenses were sold and over 260 new subscribers signed up for the Outdoor Report. Current subscribers completed over 100 Reader Satisfaction Surveys verifying their satisfaction with the content and length of the newsletter and good comments and suggestions for improvements. Biologists, conservation police officers, Complementary Work Force volunteers and Hunter Education Instructors answered a zillion questions from constituents. The Tree Stand Safety Team collected nearly 1500 pledges from hunters to use proper treestand safety practices and participated in an important survey to determine the use of fall arrest systems by hunters. The Outdoor Report partnered with Whitetail Times magazine, published by the VA Deer Hunters Assoc., to host a Young Hunters Wall of Fame where kids brought in their hunting and fishing pictures to post on the wall at the entrance to the show. Hugh Crittenden, Show Founder and Manager noted that the staff and volunteers representing VDGIF and the quality of the various Agency exhibits gave a very professional and hunter friendly aspect to the Show.

Virginia Deer Classic Winners Posted on VDHA Website

The winners among the 300 plus trophy deer entries at the Virginia Deer Classic Contest are posted on the VDHA website. This popular annual deer trophy contest featured some of the largest bucks harvested in Virginia last season. The Classic was hosted by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA) and sponsored by Keystone Tractor Works Museum at the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show August 12-14 at the Richmond Raceway Complex.

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

Dove Season Opens September 3 - Labor Day Holiday Weekend

  • Dove hunters have a unique opportunity again this year with the opening day for Dove Season coinciding with the Monday Labor Day Holiday weekend. This is also a great opportunity to introduce a youngster, or adult friend to hunting with the Apprentice Hunting License. See details on this new license option in this section. A new regulation enacted last year states that dove hunters are no longer required to wear blaze orange during the deer firearms seasons. The first segment of Dove Season runs September 3 - October 10, and the second segment starts October 25 through November 5, 2011. So there's no excuse this year not to go afield... Wow, a holiday weekend opening day, good friends and family, ample dove fields and lots of birds. Remember safety first and have fun!
  • Floating Blind Licenses Now Available from License Agents and Online
  • 2011 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Available July 1
  • Remember to get a new HIP number.
  • Non-Toxic Shot Now Required for Hunting Rail, Snipe, Moorhen and Gallinule
  • Shotguns Need to be Plugged for Doves, Ducks, Geese and More...

New Seasons Set For Waterfowl and Webless Migratory Birds

New season dates for waterfowl were set by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries at their August 16, 2011, meeting in Richmond. The dates and bag limits for various migratory waterfowl and webless species are posted in the sidebar of the Outdoor Report under the "Hunting Season at a Glance" section, or can be found on the Department's website.

Top Ten New Hunting Regulations and Opportunities for 2011-2012

  1. License fees for hunting and trapping have increased slightly – only the second increase in 24 years… License fees for youth, crossbow, archery and muzzleloader did not increase
  2. Partially disabled veterans shall pay half of the resident or nonresident hunting license fee, Veterans must have at least 70 percent service-connected disability
  3. Tracking dogs maintained and controlled on a lead may be used to find a wounded or dead bear or deer statewide during any archery, muzzleloader, or firearm bear or deer hunting season, the retrieval participants must have permission to hunt on or to access the land being searched and cannot have any weapons in their possession.
  4. The Special Muzzleloader Season for bears will be a uniform 1- week statewide season. Firearms Bear Season dates have changed for many areas of the state.
  5. The Youth Deer Hunting Day will be open statewide September 24, 2011.
  6. Urban Archery Season has been expanded to include new areas.
  7. Beginning fall 2011-2012, all deer killed after the first Saturday in January must be checked by the telephone or Internet checking systems.
  8. Changes in the length of the fall turkey season in many counties- most new seasons are longer, some are shorter. Turkeys killed in the fall may be checked using the telephone or Internet.
  9. Turkey hunting in January is provided in many counties for the first time. Turkeys killed in January must be checked using the telephone or Internet.
  10. A Facility Use Permit has been established, effective January 1, 2012. Users with a valid hunting, trapping or fishing license, boat registration, 16 years old or younger, or hiking the Appalachian Trail are exempt and will not have to pay the Use Fee. The fee will provide the means by which outdoor enthusiasts who use the VDGIF Wildlife Management Areas and state fishing lakes can contribute, on either a daily or annual basis, to the stewardship, maintenance and management of these facilities and their natural resources.

Refer to the full description of these new regulations in the Hunting & Trapping in Virginia July 2011 - June 2012 booklet available at license agents, VDGIF Regional Offices and sportsman shows statewide, or view on our website:

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.

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:

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.

Just 31 Days Till the Special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 24th

Youth Deer Hunting Day - September 24, 2011

For more details visit the Department's website.

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 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 Please include your locality in the e-mail.

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Get Prepared for Hurricane Weather NOW!

With hurricane Irene forecast to be the first major storm of the season to hit the Southeast coast along the Carolinas, it is time to prepare NOW for your safety and protecting your property. The weather watchers are starting to mention the scenarios of past storms like Camille, Floyd and Isabel, as Irene gains strength and moves towards the East coast. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has timely and useful information on getting prepared for a hurricane or severe rain storm events:

Additional information and resources are available online at Ready Virginia.

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

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

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

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist from the USCG Auxiliary

If you need to secure your boat in a marina:

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

Choose the Right Tree Stand For You with Safety in Mind

With the Labor Day weekend fast approaching and sportsman stores and outdoor shows having fantastic sales on all sorts of hunting gear- especially tree stands, be an informed buyer so you get the right stand for you and your hunting conditions- think safety first! Comfort and convenience for use are important too!

The use of tree stands for hunting has increased dramatically in the past few years. Along with the increase in their use comes an increase in the number of serious or fatal injuries. While firearms-related incidents have declined tremendously since mandatory hunter education courses were instituted and blaze orange laws were passed, the number of treestand-related incidents has increased significantly.

Among the hundreds of volunteer Hunter Education Instructors, Dick Holdcraft stands out as the "tree stand expert," based on over 40 years as a career safety manager and Master Instructor since 1993. Dick has written numerous articles on tree stand safety and we appreciate his sharing his experience in this report. Whether you are an experienced deer hunter or this is your first time using a stand, Dick provides these tips to help you prepare and stay safe:

Tree stands are used by hunters who prefer to hunt from elevated positions to increase their field of view and to decrease the likelihood of detection by game animals on the ground. In several counties in Virginia, use of rifles, or muzzleloaders are allowed only if shooting from an elevated stand for safety purposes. Several styles of tree stands are available, such as an integral ladder and platform stand; fixed-position stands, and self-climbing stands. Unique features distinguish each of these three styles and they each have their advantages and disadvantages. What's the best stand for you depends on the terrain, users physical condition and type of hunting- bow, crossbow, or firearm. Stand features need to be thoroughly evaluated by the hunter before purchasing or erecting the stand prior to the season.

Hunters have a variety of features to choose from when selecting tree stands. These features include portability, bars, chains, straps and rails that affix the seating device to the tree, gun rests, bow rests, outward facing stands, forward facing stands, and multiple-occupancy stands that include a tree stand with a seating capacity for four individuals.

Recent surveys have determined that the most common reason for falls from elevated hunting positions was due to some type of structural failure. These types of failures included rotted wood, loose nails, nails pulling through boards, broken bands, bolts, ropes, or other attaching devices. However, according to Sgt. David Dodson, the Virginia Hunter Education Coordinator, "Staying attached to the tree through proper use of a high-quality full-body harness is your best protection against serious injury while using a tree stand. In almost all cases, those who were injured were not wearing a harness at all. Stay attached from the time you leave the ground."

For more information on tree stand use and safety, review other articles by Dick and the VDGIF Hunter Education Instructors Tree Stand Safety Team at: Also visit the Tree Stand Safety display at the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show August 13-15 in Richmond.

Remember: Always Harness Up - Before You Climb Up!

If you would like to learn more about opportunities on how to become a Hunter Education Instructor, or sponsoring a Hunter Education Course for novice outdoorsmen, visit our website. There are numerous Hunter Education Classes scheduled for this fall. The mandatory 10-hour course is offered free of charge in a variety of formats to accommodate student schedules. The classes are taught by trained volunteer instructors. To find one near you visit the VDGIF website or call 1-866-604-1122.

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.

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.

Guide to the Frogs and Toads of Virginia Now Available

A Guide to the Frogs and Toads of Virginia is a 44 page field guide that covers all 27 species of frogs and toads that inhabit Virginia. Species accounts, descriptions, biology, behavior, habitats and conservation issues are all described and illustrated through more than 80 photographs and drawings. Included is a complimentary CD of The Calls of Virginia Frogs and Toads. The price is $10.00 and is available through the VDGIF website.

Read the introduction to A Guide to the Frogs and Toads of Virginia »

VDGIF Hosts Japanese Ecosystem Conservation Society Delegation Tour

The Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) was honored with the opportunity for an international exchange of good will when a small delegation from the Japan Ecosystem Conservation Society visited Virginia in late June. Each year this Society sends a team of planners and biologists to a different country to learn about environmental education and conservation practices. This year their trip to Virginia was part of a two-and-a-half week itinerary which included Washington D.C. and Chicago. They had heard about the VDGIF Corporate Habitat program from the agency website and were also very interested in how we implement wildlife management practices. Staff in the VDGIF Habitat Education program and the Wildlife Bureau arranged a two-day agenda for six members of this Society.

While the Japanese were being hosted by VDGIF, they toured the certified Corporate Habitat site at Capital One in Goochland County to learn how we partner with private businesses. Through an interpreter, staff also provided presentations about the Habitat Partners© program and collaborative efforts with other organizations, as well as a review of the bald eagle monitoring program. At the end of the first day, the visitors were provided an impromptu chance to try their hand at archery, and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience. On the 2nd day they were treated to a trip on the Rappahannock River and were thrilled to see over 100 eagles and many more osprey.

The Director of the Conservation Society, who was part of the delegation, commented that in Japan, their natural resources have become extremely depleted through the course of urban development, and many wildlife species are now extinct there. Their focus on economic expansion was apparently done at the expense of the environment. They also do not hunt deer and therefore have many problems with overpopulation and habitat degradation.

A thank-you letter we received after their visit summed it up this way: "In the past half a century, Japan took economic growth as first priority but not nature conservation…As the result, we have largely lost precious nature…Keeping this in mind, we should make all the efforts to build a more sustainable and stronger society by coexisting with nature. All the things we learned from you would become assets not only for us but for future generations."

Notes for Young Nature Explorers

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

Virginia Naturally Website Link to School Environmental Learning Programs

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 September:

Answers to August 10th edition quiz for nature events for August...

Get your copy of the 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Sportsman's Comments Needed for George Washington National Forest Plan by September 1

The George Washington National Forest (GWNF) covers nearly 1.1 million acres in 17 Virginia and West Virginia counties along the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. Several public meetings have been held in the past few months to address the decline of whitetail deer populations and suitable habitat for other game species in the National Forest once famous for abundant trophy deer. Robin Clark, President of the Virginia State Chapter National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), notes, "One of the most important things that sportsmen in Virginia can do this year is to comment on the GWNF Forest Revision Plan to protect our hunting opportunities. The deadline for comments is September 1st. The NWTF Regional Biologists, Cully McCurdy has been working with USDA Forest Service staff regarding the plan for several months now and wrote a comprehensive article on what's at stake for sportsmen if they do not get active in making their voices heard for scientific wildlife management on these public lands. McCurdy describes what's at stake for sportsmen...

"Historically, hunters and sportsmen are not letter writers or driven to comment on various management plans and scoping notices offered up for comment from state and federal agencies.  This is evident from the few comment letters that are received by officials from hunters in comparison to environmental groups that prefer no management on our forested public lands.  Many individuals think it is enough that the conservation organization to which they belong will speak on their behalf.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Even though great effort and time is put into preparing comments by NWTF leadership to express the desire of the membership, nothing beats a personal letter from individuals.  When the NWTF state chapter sends a letter, it is counted as one letter.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, environmental groups are very well organized in their letter writing campaigns from coast to coast.  Not only did wilderness advocates from Virginia comment heavily on the first comment opportunity, but hundreds of letters were received from California alone.  If we want to see active management on the George Washington National Forest to benefit wildlife, now is the time to answer the call by providing comments that promote wildlife habitat management on the national forest."

The full article is posted on the VA-NWTF website. President Clark urges his fellow sportsmen to, "Read the article, get informed, get involved and make your comments in a positive, constructive manner. Your future hunting opportunities on public lands are at stake."

Quail Restoration With Warm Season Grasses Workshop Scheduled September 24

Virginia's new Quail Management Plan (QMP) aims to restore native bobwhite quail populations to the levels that existed in the 1970s. Learn about efforts to restore the population to the Catawba Valley by establishing native warm-season grasses on your property. The workshop is scheduled for Saturday September 24 from 10am to noon at the Catawba Community Center. VDGIF Biologist Andy Rosenberger will share information about programs and options, followed by a guided tour of the meadows established at the Catawba Sustainability Center. This event is co-sponsored by VA Tech Catawba Sustainability Center and the Catawba Valley Ruritans. Workshops are free of charge and open to the public. For more information, contact Paul Hinlicky at

Catawba Landcare is a group of residents and landowners in the Catawba and North Fork Valleys near Roanoke, dedicated to the care of the land and community. The group organizes workshops to share their stories about caring for the land and to learn from the experiences of neighbors and professional natural resource managers.

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

Deer killed by felon costly in fines and jail time... On November 27, 2010, Conservation Police Officer Dunlevy responded to a Crime Line call in reference to a deer being shot in a field on Waterview Road in Middlesex County. When Officer Dunlevy arrived at the location he found a small buck in the field with a small caliber gunshot wound to the neck. Officer Dunlevy found a location where he could observe the field and wait to see if someone would return to pick up the deer. Approximately two hours later a vehicle stopped and two people went into the field and retrieved the deer. A traffic stop was made on the vehicle and three occupants were questioned in regards to the deer in the truck. One of the passengers said they saw the deer lying in the field and picked it up to take home to eat. Officer Dunlevy then advised them the deer was too far into the field to be seen by just driving by and the only way they would have known the deer was in the field was if one of them shot it. They were then asked, "Who shot the deer?" Another passenger spoke up and admitted he was the one that had shot the deer. He admitted he shot from the road and it was after legal shooting time. The gun used, a .17 caliber rifle, was retrieved from his residence. After consulting with the Commonwealth Attorney and quite a bit of research in Circuit Court records it was also determined the suspect was also a convicted felon. He had stated that his rights had been restored but he could not provide any paperwork. On July 15, 2011, the suspect pled guilty to all charges. His fines, court and replacement cost totaled $1,386.00. His hunting privileges were suspended for a total of six years and the firearm used was forfeited to the Commonwealth to be destroyed. He also received six months jail time with five months and twenty days suspended and probation for three years. The Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon has been certified by the grand jury and sent to Middlesex Circuit Court.

"Night Out" in King George provides CPOs friendly interaction with citizens... On August 2, 2011, Senior Conservation Police Officer Frank Spuchesi participated in the King George County "Night Out" program. The program is designed to have citizens interact with law enforcement officers outside of their normal duties. There was a large turn out from the public and Senior Officer Spuchesi provided educational materials and had his department vehicle, ATV and deer decoy on display.

Region II - Southside

OUI arrest leads to safer public waterways... On July 12, 2011, Conservation Police Officer Nathan Bowling and CPO Michael Morris were on boat patrol on Smith Mountain Lake when they observed a motorboat with improperly displayed registration numbers. The officers initiated a stop of the motorboat and detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the operator. The operator admitted to drinking several beers and submitted to field sobriety tests. Officer Bowling subsequently arrested the operator and charged him with OUI and Failing to Properly Display Registration Numbers.

Missing navigation lights leads to OUI arrest and safer waterways... On July 31, 2011, Senior Officer John Koloda and Senior Officer Frank Neighbors were on boat patrol on Smith Mountain Lake when they noticed a pontoon not displaying navigation lights after sunset. Officers stopped the pontoon and contacted the operator. The officers immediately detected the use of alcohol by the operator and offered the operator field sobriety tests. Officer Koloda subsequently arrested the operator. He was charged with OUI, Refusal, and Operating a Motorboat Without Required Navigation Lights.


Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley – Northern Piedmont

Front Royal "National Night Out" provides opportunity for CPOs and biologists to meet public... On August 2, 2011, Conservation Police Officer Kevin Bilwin along with Bureau biologist Fred Frenzel set up a booth at National Night Out 2011 in Front Royal. The annual event is presented by the Front Royal Police Department and is intended to foster stronger relationships between the local community and local law enforcement personnel. There were over 30 vendors at this year's event with over 200 people in attendance. Officer Bilwin focused his information on hunting and fishing regulations, while Frenzel presented the public with information on bears. With Front Royal being a hot spot for bear activity, Frenzel was sought out by numerous attendees.

After dark tubers stopped before causing accident... On August 5th, 2011, Conservation Police Officers Shull and Eller were on patrol on Lake Anna working the evening shift. As they were headed up the lake, at approximately an hour after dark, they observed what they believed to be a tube being pulled behind a boat in the area of Christopher Run Campground, which is one of the busiest areas of Lake Anna. At this point they activated their blue lights and stopped the vessel. As they were approaching the vessel they observed one adult on a tube and another adult in the water holding on. Once the vessel was stopped they checked the condition of the riders and had them get into the vessel. They then followed the vessel into the marina where a summons was issued for towing after legal hours. Fortunately, these officers were able to detect this violation before someone was hurt.

Officers And Wildlife Resources Personnel Instruct at Sheriff's Youth Camp... On August 10, 2011, Conservation Police Officers Kevin Bilwin and Chance Dobbs, along with K-9 Officer Wayne Billhimer, instructed at the Warren Co. Sheriff's Office Youth Camp. Bureau of Wildlife Resources personnel Wayne Pence and Niles Beeler also assisted and stayed very busy baiting hooks, removing fish, and keeping the rod & reels working for the kids. The Warren County chapter of the Izaak Walton allowed the campers to spend the day at their facility to learn techniques for fishing; the campers also got out to drop a line in the water! K-9 Officer Billhimer also conducted a demonstration with his dog "Justice," and showed the valuable tool he can be for our Department. The 36 kids in attendance experienced a day full of fishing, while catching numerous fish and learning to be an ethical angler.

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. K-9 Justice will be featured at the Western Regional Big Game Contest, September 11, 2011 at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds.

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

If you suspect or witness a violation, report it to the Wildlife Crimeline at

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

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.

The Fishing Spot

by Chris Dunnavant, VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator

Greetings folks! My name is Chris Dunnavant and I am the Angling Education Coordinator and Director of the Angler Recognition Program here at VDGIF. My travels with the Agency as well as my personal fishing exploits have taken me all over the Commonwealth to experience great fishing and meet some really neat and talented people. In this new feature of the Outdoor Report, I will be sharing a variety of fishing information including fishing tips & hotspots, interviews, stories, program news and much more. I hope to pass along to you some of the wonderful opportunities afforded to me as an angler that may help improve your skills and at the least, provide some enjoyment. After all, Fishing is Fun!

Combo Fishing

Virginia has an abundance of productive rivers for float fishing or wading such as the James, New, Potomac, and Shenandoah to name a few. The upper sections of these rivers are characterized by shallow rocky waters with sections of riffles, rapids, and stretches of deep, slow moving water. Each can be accessed and fished from the bank, by wading or by boat. So, which is the best way to approach these bodies of water for fishing? I propose a combination approach.

Bank or wade fishing is the best way to fish an area thoroughly; you can really cast to every nook and cranny, but access to banks or places to wade may be limited since our rivers are surrounded by private land. Float fishing by kayak or canoe gives you the best access to the river, but floating quickly through some of the best areas is common. There may be a stretch that is loaded with fish and only one or two fish are caught because of a fast drift and the clock is ticking to get back to the ramp before dark!

Well, why not combine the two? Use your boat such as a canoe or kayak to get to the best areas and then park your boat to fish those areas thoroughly. John Copeland, DGIF Fisheries Biologist, reports that catch rates of wade anglers rate the highest, with boaters second and bank fishing last. "Get into the water, you'll do better," says John, "In the hot summer you can stay cool while wading and always wear a PFD." Begin considering your boat as a tool to get to the hot spots and get out and wade for higher fishing productivity.

There are a couple different approaches for "combo fishing." First, launch at an access point and fish within a couple miles up or down from the ramp. Second, go on a typical float trip and incorporate wade-fishing into the day. With this approach, time management is critical, so be sure to paddle quickly through unproductive water. I recommend learning a stretch of river well by taking a few float trips and mark the best areas on a map or with a GPS. Over time you will know where to slow down and fish and the best areas to just paddle and enjoy the scenery.

Doing some homework can really pay off too. Go to the "Where to Fish" section of our website to learn about the stretch of river you plan to fish, locate access points, see biologist reports and more. Satellite imagery is also available on the web with Google Earth being the most popular; you can get a birds-eye view of the river before heading out. There are also multiple publications available including "The Catch Guide Series" by Steve Moore. Steve provides maps, GPS coordinates and access points to some great fishing on the Potomac, Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers. Steve is one of our contributors for Sarah Whites Fishin' Report for the Northern Piedmont section. Visit his website at for more information on his books and fishing reports.

When wade fishing, beach your boat on the bank or some rocks, anchor it or attach it to your belt with a length of rope and a carabiner and pull behind you. I recommend only pulling your boat in slower moving and shallow water for safety. There are also some nice fisherman friendly PFD's with the floatation around the mid section and straps or mesh for the upper body and shoulders to provide mobility for casting and paddling.

There is some phenomenal fishing in VA's rivers and by applying the two most productive fishing methods with the combo fishing, float/wade approach, your success rate can only increase.

Concession Closed at Clinch Mountain Fee Fishing Area

Effective August 13, 2011, the concession is closed at Clinch Mountain Fee Fishing Area in Washington County. Anglers may purchase daily permits at any license agent or online. Tom Hampton, VDGIF Lands and Facilities Manager for the Region 3 Southwest in Marion, noted, "Trout stocking and all other operations at the Fee Fishing Area will continue through September 30th. We regret any inconvenience that the closure of the concession for purchasing licenses and supplies may cause."

The Clinch Mountain fee fishing area (Tumbling Creek) offers put-and-take trout fishing with the added advantage that trout are stocked several times per week throughout the season. The fee fishing program operates from the first Saturday in April through September at Clinch Mountain. During the fee fishing season, a daily permit is required in addition to a valid Virginia freshwater fishing license. After the fee fishing season, these areas revert to designated stocked trout waters and a trout license is required instead of the daily permit.

The fee fishing area is located within the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area in southwest Virginia, about 7 miles west of Saltville. The area consists of approximately 7 miles of Big Tumbling Creek and its two major tributaries, Briar Cove Creek and Laurel Bed Creek.

New Boat Ramp Opened on New River at Ivanhoe

The latest of 216 public boating access sites managed or developed by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is now open in Carroll County for hand-launched boats. Located just off Trestle Road near Ivanhoe, the site serves the New River. The facility consists of a gravel parking lot and gravel trail to the water's edge. Located on the north shore of the New River about one mile below Buck Dam and about four miles upstream from the VDGIF's boat landing at Austinville, the Ivanhoe boating access site should be popular with anglers wishing to fish from the shoreline or float to Austinville. The Ivanhoe Public Boating Access site is reached by turning east off of Route 94 south of Ivanhoe onto State Route 658 (Trestle Road). Continue on Route 658 under the New River Trail, and then take an immediate left to the boat landing. For information on fishing the New River, check the reports in the Fishin' Report- Sarah White's Notebook, or Visit the VDGIF website for New River fishing and boating access.

Gear up for Fall Boating! 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, 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

Region 1 - Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, The weekend saw bass at 4.8 lbs. Drop shoting is the best way to go, but live minnows and herring on the edge of the grass caught some nice fish too. Catfish were caught by several fishermen, bluegills, shad and herring worked well. Panfish bit wigglers and crickets; most were small, but good numbers were caught. Stripers are still available on secondary points and mid lake points. Trolling deep diving crankbaits caught some fish. Stop by the shop we may have some herring. The water temperature is 86 degrease with a visibility of 17 ft., water level is 6 ft. low.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107, Contributed by Park Supervisor Blair Evans. Bass fishing continues to be slow and the anglers that are catching bass are catching them in deeper water. Bass anglers have been reporting that the bass seem to be sluggish and are spitting out baits. Fishing for sunfish and catfish remains good and we are hearing of a lot of people catching nice channel and brown bullhead catfish. There were no notable catches from the past week.

This year's last moonlight fishing will be held on September the 9th; and the last open Big Bash Bass Tournament will be held on September the 17th. For more information, visit our website or call the park at (804) 693-2107. Park Hours: now thru September 5th: 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim told me that bluefish and Spanish mackerel are at Cape Henry; they are going for spoons. Spot are at Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets and will take Fishbite or blood worms. Sheepshead are at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and like fiddler and hermit crabs. Red drum are at Fisherman's Island and are attacking cut bait or crabs. Flounder can be found at Buoy 42 and the cell. They will take large minnows or squid. The water is 78 degrees and fairly clear.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams reports that bass fishing is good in his area. Plastics are your best bet. No word on crappie. Cat action is good with some lunkers coming in on eel. No word on bluegill. The water is slightly stained and in the mid 80s.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins says that bass are really biting. Try top-waters early and late and spinners and cranks during the day. Hot water has made crappie action slow, but some may go for a minnow or jig. No word on cats, the whiskered ones are there for the having, but not many anglers are going for them. White perch will take minnows, night crawlers, small jigs and spinners. Lots of bluegill are coming in on red wigglers and top water poppers. The water is clear and in the mid to high 80s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon told me that lots of bass are being fooled. Top-waters are best early and late, with plastics being more successful during the day. Crappie are being a little stubborn, but try a minnow or a jig. Cat action is good with cut bait or night crawlers. High water temperatures are making the bluegill hard to get, but a red wiggler just might work. The water is clear and in the mid to high 80s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner Spirit of Moonpie, Freezing Deer and I spent the 16th through the 17th on the Nottoway below Delaware. The water was pretty normal and 80 degrees. Trash was practically non-existent. The only water quality issue I saw was the normal summertime biological scum I usually see at some of the curves in the river. The bass fishing on this trip was pretty darn good. I talked to a fella that was coming out as we were putting in and he had caught a bunch of largemouth. I caught 8 to 2 ½ pounders on a little top-water lure. I also caught right many nice size bream on a tiny Rapala worked on the surface. We did pretty good with those fish, however, we still could not hook up on the catfish at night. In fact we were skunked! I just don't know what else to try. We fished as deep a water as there is in the river, then tried mid depth and even really shallow, like 8 ft. All we could muster was a few nibbles on cut bream and steak fat. We did not see that many critters on this trip. We saw some freshwater sponges that are pretty unusual to find. Those usually are a great indicator that the water quality is good. We also watched some ospreys as we traveled pushing them ahead of us. One had a fish and just was carrying it around it seemed. Every time we would see this osprey take off, it had this fish. Moonpie suggested that maybe the osprey was trying to smoke the fish. Ahh yes, the smoke, wow, I have never seen anything like that before on the river. We woke up the second morning close to the Bronco Club choking and crying. The smoke from that Dismal Swamp fire was so thick visibility was like an ocean fog. We couldn't stand it and took off back upriver trying to get out of it. Finally the wind shifted and cleared it out some. However after looking at the forecast I decided that we better pack it in rather than risk the smoke coming back like it was that morning. I just could not take that. But we still had a good trip it's just that we returned from this one smelling more like charcoal than fish from the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

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 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. Mike reports that it's too hot for good bass angling. Catfishing, though, is good with live bream, eels or cut shad. The water is 83 degrees and clear.

Region 2 - Southside

Ft. Pickett Reservoir: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. I got away with the trip to Nottoway Falls so I thought I would try Ft. Pickett Reservoir. I did not get to the lake until 10:45, to find that they had turned off the aerators, so I knew I was in trouble since I had all the spots with good fishing marked off on the boat according to the aeration lines. The water has cooled off some and had a dark brown stain with visibility to only about a foot. I fished the middle of the lake from about 100 yards of the dam all the way to the first flats using every color twister tail, only catching couple small bluegill and one 4 inch bass. I fished the shore line to about 75 ft. out in the first inlet picking up several 8 to 10 inch crappie before I just had to see if they were hungry elsewhere in the lake. I fished all the way up the 2nd inlet, catching few more crappie and one 12 inch bass and by now it was pushing 3:00, so I fished back toward the dock catching a total of 15 crappie and 10 hand size bluegill. I was loading the boat before 5:00 p.m. and the water had cleared up to about 2 feet. I caught some fish on all colors but caught the most on the purple twister tail and 1/32 lead head.

Sandy River and Briery Creek: Contributed by Longwood College Fishing Club's Jack Pollio.

Sandy River: Fishing has been up and down lately. Water temperatures in the past two weeks have cooled down with the recent rain and then warmed up again with all the sunshine, and that has thrown the fish back and forth. On the good days where the fish are biting well, fish can be caught just about anywhere. Schooling bass are chasing shad in the back of creeks all the way out to the main lake points. Running a crankbait through these schools will pick up plenty of nice fish! Fish are still being caught deep as well on Carolina rigs, shakey heads, and deep diving cranks. I have also heard of really nice fish being caught off of stumps and humps on Texas rigged plastics, slow rolling spinner baits and reflecting cranks off of the stumps in all depths. I suggest just fishing your strengths and you should have a very fun day.

Briery Creek: Fishing has been slow here. Most of the bass being caught are on a variety of baits just like Sandy River. A shakey head and crankbaits have been the number one baits with a wacky worm always being a good choice. I have heard that the lower lake has been producing a little better but I suggest fishing your strengths again and you should have a fun day with good numbers of fish.

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes, (434) 286-3366. The fishing continues to be good here on the James. Smallmouth up to 20 inches are being boated. Both fly anglers and conventional anglers are seeing better quality fish this year. The number of fish caught in a day may be down this year but the size and quality sure make up for it. Last week the river got blown out by the weekend storms. We received some much needed water but it kept us off the river until Friday. The fish were eager to please with catches of several smallmouth in the 15 to 17 inch range. Soft plastics were the hot baits for spin fishermen while top-waters keep the fly guys busy. Don't forget to look up every once in a while. On three different sections we saw seven different eagles-what a sight!

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. No report this edition.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Doug Lane says that smallmouths are going for Popping Bugs, Clawdads and Baitfish Patterns. The rainbows and browns are taking Hoppers and Baetis Patterns. The mountain waters are too low to go for brookies, so don't stress them by fishing for them. The water is clear, 59 degrees in the Jackson and warm in the James.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski reports that local bass are really hitting frogs. Crappie action is tapering off, but a small minnow fished about 5 to 10 feet down may produce. Cats are being cooperative; during the day, fish the bottom; fish 3 to 8 feet down during the evening. Good bets for bait are clam snouts, chicken livers or cut bait. Bluegill are going for red wigglers and small spinners. The water is clear and 82 degrees.

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,

Bass: Fishing continued to be mixed this past week. The patterns are essentially the same as they have been for the past several weeks. While most bass are being caught deep, there are some being caught on deep-water dock pilings on wacky rigged, Yamamoto Senko worms with ZAPPU jigheads. Bass on similar docks are also being caught on crankbaits and finesse plastics rigged on shakey head jigs. Those bass found suspended deep off the sides of humps and near natural rock are being caught on drop shot rigs, heavy jigs and deep diving crankbaits. Heavy jigs rigged with plastic crawfish imitating plastic trailers are a good choice when fishing deep as are Carolina and Texas rigged plastic worms, lizards and creature baits. These are particularly effective and are producing bass when retrieved from shallow to deeper water off deep-water points and the sides of submerged bluffs. Good colors for soft plastics used during the day include green pumpkin and watermelon, depending on the water clarity in the section of the lake you are fishing. At night, darker color plastics like black, black grape, black with blue fleck and red fleck will work better. Larger ribbon tail worms and creature baits move more water than the smaller straight tail worms and can be a better choice when visibility is limited.

Stripers: Results continue to be mixed. Stripers continue to be found inside and out near the mouths of the major deep water creeks in the middle and lower sections of the lake. Most stripers are still being found deep in the water column. Anglers using live bait on downlines from 18 to 70 feet below the surface are catching nice fish. Stripers are hitting small alewives and threadfin as well as the occasional gizzard shad. Stripers are also being caught casting, retrieving and vertically jigging spoons, bucktails and flukes rigged on high quality jigheads (1/2 to ¾ oz). Trolling continues to be very effective for striped bass. Anglers trolling three-way rigs on leadcore line outfits as well as 3 and 4 arm Umbrella rigs (Urigs) like those by Captain Mack, are catching nice stripers. Line counter reels allow the angler to easily control and quickly adjust trolling depth by accurately measuring the length of line out behind the boat. Depth control is critical when fishing for stripers. Their eyes are located on the top of their heads, so for best success you want your lures presented above and not below them.

Baitfish: Bright moonlight continues to make it a little more difficult to catch bait under lights at night. In the summer months, when the water has a green tint due to algal bloom and temperatures near the surface are high, I suggest anglers use a high power spotlight or a bright halogen light to attract baitfish. I find that turning my light off just before I throw my net increases the numbers of baitfish caught significantly. I also find bait is deeper in the summer months and is often out of sight, so I let my cast net sink as deep as possible. When catching bait deep in the water column, I also use a cast net with an extended handline to allow it to get deeper.

Channel catfish: These fish to be caught by those fishing with dough ball stinkbait. Using a spring hook adds to the effectiveness of the dough bait as it holds the bait on the hook far better than regular hooks and hides the barbs until the catfish takes the bait. Flathead catfish are hitting live shad and small panfish like bluegills. Catfish are also being caught on large night crawlers.

Water temperature is 81 to 85 degrees with clarity being fair to good. Good luck and good fishing.

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. No report this edition.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius told me that the river level was up, which makes for better fishing. The smallmouth bite has picked up, with tubes and Senkos in dark colors being your best bet. Muskie action is slow, but should improve soon. Try a J13 Rapala. The water is a good green color and cooling.

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

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. The Upper New still struggles with dingy water on and off but muskie fishing has been great on glide baits and top water depending on the time of day. Smallie fishing is slow, so plastics or small inline spinners are your best shot. Walleye and catfish are biting at night and we landed a 36 in. 15 lb. walleye (she was released) last week on a trip during the day, it hit a spinnerbait. The river is low and warm but fall is just around the corner so cooler water temps should really fire up the fishing before long.

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 Harry told me that the smallmouth streams are giving good fishing just now. Due to sunny days, evening fishing is best. The best areas in the South Fork are from Luray to Front Royal. In the North fork, the best areas are from Edinburg to Tom's Brook. Good flies are: Murray's Bass Cicada, size 8; and Murray's Bass Cricket, size 8. The water is clear, at a good level and 81 degrees. The stocked streams in the Valley are low, but fishable. The best action can be found downstream from the largest springs. Good flies are the Cranefly Larva, size 12; and Murray's Black Stonefly, size 12. The water is clear, at a low level and 78 degrees. The mountain streams are also low, but fishable. Use a cautious approach, using a delicate rod and a 6X or 7X leader. Good flies are: Murray's Housefly, size 14; Murray's Flying Beetle, size 16; and the Mr. Rapidan Ant, size 16. The water is clear and 68 degrees.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local anger Bill Uzzell. The bass fishing at Lake Moomaw continues to be challenging, but with moderating temperatures there seems to be an upswing of success, especially in the daytime bite. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are being caught but the larger fish continue to elude fisherman. Most fish are in the 1 to 2 lb. weight class with an occasional 3 lb. fish showing up. The night bite was tough last week, but should rebound this week. A variety of artificial baits and techniques are being employed. Most popular are drop shots with 4 in. finesse worms. Shakey head jigs tipped with a variety of plastics are also successful. Carolina rigs are a distant third. Top-water action continues to be a mystery to anglers, but with water temps falling into the low 80s, hopefully things will improve. Deep running crankbaits have seen an uptick this past week. Bass are responding to these baits 10 ft. and below. Please be careful when boating as dropping water levels expose points and flats. I witnessed several boats run in 3 ft. and less water that normally would be 13 to 15 ft. deep. If in doubt, stay away from the shoreline. Observe where boats are fishing as this will help to indicate where the shallower depths are.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, 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: Finally! A strong push of rain last week revitalized the Rapidan and Rappahannock and got the big smallies moving again. Unfortunately, since then, the river levels retreated back to levels far below normal, making it hard to predict where the fish will move. Right after the rain, we found them distributed widely across the river to include in the smaller holes at river center. I anticipate that they will scatter back to the deep holes with those under shade along the shoreline or highly oxygenated spots on the downstream side of any riffles being the most likely holding positions. As the water levels continue to decline, recognize that you must add additional standoff to keep from spooking the bass – especially as the water clears – take the long cast. The Rappahannock will run clear first, followed by the Rapidan several days later. Unless there has been additional rain, both rivers should be running clear and low by the weekend. Over on the Potomac, the impact of the low water levels is not as severe since there are more deep holding positions. According to Ken Penrod, Lander and Whites Ferry are the two best places to go right now with Stiks, tubes, and even top water lures like buzzbaits being productive during low light conditions. The mountain trout water is horribly low. You will waste your time if you head to the mountains; stick to the big rivers.

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. No report this edition.

Lunga Reservoir: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. After a break from the heat I was able to get out and enjoy a couple of quiet Saturday mornings on Lunga Reservoir on Quantico. As you might assume with the heat and fairly dry summer, I found the water level of the reservoir dropping another ½ foot or so, the surface temperature holding firm just shy of 80, and the clarity sticking to a cloudy green with visibility of only a couple feet. I'm happy to report the very early mornings, sunrise plus a couple of hours, were great for largemouth bass devouring my top-water shad imitating PopR plugs in only 1 to 2 feet of water. And while some were little guys, most were 1 to 2 pounders in the 14 to 16 inch slot range with a chain pickerel or two tossed in. Definitely a lot of fun! As the heat rose, I shifted to slow trolling a 'foxy' shad lipless crankbait in 8 to 10 feet of water while heading from spot to spot. I usually pick up a few largemouth bass, chain pickerel, or yellow perch that way as well. In fact, this past Saturday I also caught the largest yellow perch of the summer slow trolling this way at probably 1 to ½ to 2 lbs and about 15 inches. I definitely think it was VDGIF citation class worthy. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to confirm my estimates, because I also ended up sharing the crankbait's treble hooks with the lunker! Sad to say, but he flipped at the perfectly wrong time and I ended up with a hook buried deep into my right index finger. Ugh. Lesson learned, use your net when you're fishing alone and definitely keep some narrow wire cutters in your tackle box besides just your pliers to help separate the hook from the rest of the lure. It still took a couple more hours to get off the lake, load the truck, and find an emergency room with the proper tools to numb up the digit and remove the treble hook. Ugh number two. Oh well, I'm sure I'll be ready for more fishing next weekend!

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service, (540) 894-9144. As we slip into the latter part of summer, longer nights and shorter days will combine to lower water temperatures on Lake Anna and trigger bass, striper and, eventually, crappie to school up and feed heavily. Water temperatures throughout the lake have dropped into the mid 80s after heavy rains in early August. An outage at the North Anna plant will drop temperatures at Dike III, too. Here's what you can expect on your next visit.

Largemouth Bass: Fish are schooled and feeding in the early morning and late evening throughout the lake. Any other time, you'll have to pursue them on brush, docks or rocks using drop shot, shakey worm or crankbait. If you are looking for schooling fish, consider fishing main lake points like those in the Big Ben Flats area, near the Rt. 208 Bridge, around Dike III and the Splits. Anywhere you see baitfish in large schools, you could find schooled bass. At some point, these schools will move into creeks like Plentiful, Ware, Pigeon, Marshall, Levi and others. Try a 3 in. grub when the fish are on the main lake and switch over to a 1/8-oz. Tiger Shad spinnerbait or small crankbait when they move into the creeks. The upper portion of both the North Anna and Pamunkey Branch will begin to attract gizzard shad in the plankton-rich shallows and some bigger bass will follow them. Keep this in mind if you are looking for a bigger bite.

Striped Bass: Now is the time when hundreds of mini-stripers are schooled and breaking on the surface throughout the day. Pursuing them is maddening because they are small and feeding on tiny threadfin shad. You can jig Toothache spoons (the herring version) under them, but I recommend you avoid these "hail storms" and seek out bigger bait and bigger stripers. The better stripers have moved above the bridges in all areas of the lake in search of bigger food like herring and gizzard shad. Sea gulls have arrived in the upper North Anna around Sunning Island. And that means stripers are there, too. Terns are at Dike III, so the little fish are there. Make your decision as to what you want, big or little fish, and head north or south from the marinas. Expect good breaking action in the evenings by the end of the month, perhaps from The Splits to the first two bridges, but it appears most of the action might be up lake this year. The Dike III action won't produce many keepers until the fall.

Crappie: Some activity on up lake bridge pilings this month. The better fishing will begin in September around the up lake docks.

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

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

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

View video about the snakehead

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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

With the Special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 24th just 4 weeks away, there will be lots of youngsters hopefully getting a shot at their first deer, with the hopes of sighting a 'monster buck!' Whether it is a big buck, or just a day in the woods hunting with a parent or friends, doesn't really matter. For 14 year old William "Will" Welborne, who often went deer hunting with his dad, last falls deer hunt the opening day of muzzleloader season, turned out to be his most memorable outdoor experience. When Will killed his trophy buck that opening day the excitement was dampened somewhat as two of the antlers had been broken. Will's dad and brother he had been scouting this buck since late summer, as he showed prominently on their trail cameras. Thanks to a recent preseason trail cam photo, Will was able to get a local taxidermist to restore the antlers to it's original form.

Trail Cam Photos Help Lead to Success for Young Hunter

By Will Welborne

On the weekend of October 30th, my family and I were at our mountain house for the muzzleloader opener. In the past, we had not had much success in October, seeing most of the action in November. This weekend, however, was much different. Thanks to all of our hard work scouting and locating stands, I would kill a deer that was locally famous.

Our property is located in southwest Virginia in a small town called Troutdale. We have 250 acres that we manage for trophy bucks. Our property consists of all hardwoods with ample bedding for the deer. Thanks to the cooperation of many of the neighboring properties, we have recently noticed a major increase in the quality of the deer up there. Also, since we started using trail cameras religiously, we have been able to pattern the deer and hone in on their core areas.

It all started with two trail cam photos three weeks prior to the weekend of October 30th. Before setting eyes on the infamous photos, the biggest deer we had seen up there was a 130 class 8 pointer that my dad killed 8 years ago. So when we saw the pictures for the first time, we couldn't believe it. We immediately recognized the deer from photos from 2009. In 2009 he was a 120 class ten. Having also gotten several pictures of 3 other deer that score around 130, we were pumped up for the muzzleloader opener.

When October 30th finally rolled around, we had our strategy planned out. My brother, Jack, would sit our best spot called the driveway stand in the morning and I would sit it in the evening. This was also the spot where we had been getting all of the pictures of the huge buck. That morning yielded a few does but nothing with any headgear. After getting back to the cabin, I got a feeling that something good was going to happen. For that reason, I wasted no time in getting a scent free shower and getting into the stand an hour before everyone else.

The driveway stand is situated on an old logging road that makes a natural funnel down the mountain. Any deer coming through the draw would have to pass right by my stand. Also, a good acorn crop helped keep deer in the close proximity of the stand.

The evening started out slow. Seeing only squirrels and birds I began to loose focus. However, by reminding myself of the big deer that we'd gotten pictures of, I stayed alert. Around 6 o'clock, I was scanning the woods in front of me when I caught a glimpse of white antler about 100 yards away from me. It took a few seconds for me to realize what I was staring at. However, when it did, I began shaking like I never had before.

As the buck slowly made his way toward me I found myself in such shock and awe that I forgot to get the gun ready for a shot. When the buck got to 20 yards, he stopped and looked right at me, but thanks to my deer trance I was not in position to shoot. I was sure he was going to bolt any second but instead, he simply turned slowly and walked away from me in a diagonal line. It was then that I woke myself from my dream and got ready to shoot. At 40 yards he turned back towards me to have one last look and that is when I took him. He dropped in his tracks and with that the celebration began.

I began yelling and fist pumping immediately after I saw him fall. I yelled so loud that my dad who was two ridges over from me heard me celebrating. All I could say was, "thank you God" over and over again.

As I carefully came down the 20 ft ladder stand I hurried over to the buck and was in amazement. There was definitely no ground shrinkage with this deer. There was one thing that was strange however. He had broken off a good bit of his rack. His right main beam was broken off after his G-3 and a leaner point on his left was also broken off. This was strange because we had gotten pics of him two days earlier with nothing broken. Fortunately, because we had the recent trail cam photos, the taxidermist was able to rebuild the rack and restore it according to the trailcam pics.

My buck weighed 210 pounds and officially scored 162 2/8 gross and 151 1/8 net B&C. By far the biggest we or anyone that we know around our property, has ever killed. I want to give a special thanks to our taxidermist Mr. Stillwell for doing such a great job on the mount, my dad for introducing me to hunting and my brother Jack for letting me hunt the driveway stand in the evening and not that morning.

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:

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: