In this edition:

Youth Hunting Days Create New Traditions

As you read the testimonials from parents, mentors, and the young hunters themselves in this edition, who went on their first dove hunt, or the Special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 24th, or bow hunt, we are confident that you will be inspired by the comments from the record number of young hunters who took advantage of good weather and took time off from other routine fall Saturday activities to give these youngsters a memorable day afield and create a new tradition. I'll bet you remember your first deer hunt, or a special day afield sharing the traditions, skills, and character building experiences that can last a lifetime. The creation of these new traditions are especially important in this fast paced society that tends to keep us from taking the time and effort to spend a day in the wild - appreciating the wonders of nature and spending real "quality time" with one of "tomorrow's conservation leaders." Despite the many competing activities and not disappointed whether they harvested a deer or not, if you took a young hunter out this season, you created a unique memory and hopefully started a "new tradition."

Be sure and review the Wild Events You Don't Want To Miss section for the numerous youth and family 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. Read all the great stories from these young hunters in this edition and if you missed the special Youth Deer, Turkey, or Waterfowl Hunting Days this year, be sure and take a young person out before the seasons ends - the future of our sport and hunting heritage traditions depend on it.

David Coffman, Editor

Big Woods WMA Dedication Celebrates Unique Partnership—Three Adjacent Tracts to be Cooperatively Managed

In 2010, the Department of Forestry (VDOF) and Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) acquired 4,400 acres of pine forest in Sussex County, commonly known as Big Woods, creating a new State Forest and Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The property is adjacent to the 3,200-acre Piney Grove Preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The three organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the dedication ceremony on September 26, 2011, and the three properties will be managed cooperatively.

VDOF and VDGIF purchased the property from The Nature Conservancy in 2010. Funding for the $6.4 million acquisition came from a variety of sources, including a Virginia land conservation bond ($4.1 million). Grants were awarded through the U.S. Forest Service's Forest Legacy Program ($900,000); the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Recovery Land Acquisition Grant Program ($550,000), and the Virginia Land Conservation Fund ($850,000).

What makes this land so significant is that it is considered to be one of the best locations in eastern Virginia to restore a functional pine savannah system capable of supporting a wide diversity of plant and animal life, including red-cockaded woodpeckers and bob white quail.

To learn more visit these website:

2011-2012 Fishing, Boating, and Wildlife Diversity (Non-Game) Regulation Review and Amendment Process Underway

What Changes Would You Like to Virginia's Fishing, Boating, and Wildlife Diversity (Non-Game) Regulations for 2013?

Stage 1: September 1 - November 30, 2011 Scoping Period

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries review and amend all of the Virginia regulations governing wildlife and boating biennially. The regulations are reviewed in two separate biennial processes, with different regulations being under review in alternating years.

September begins the 2011-2012 Regulation Review and Amendment Process for Virginia's regulations governing fishing, boating, and wildlife diversity. "Wildlife diversity" includes regulation of those wildlife species not hunted, fished, or trapped. In this earliest, scoping stage of the current regulatory review process VDGIF staff is soliciting the public's views on what changes in regulations citizens would like to see. During this period, staff also collects and analyzes biological and sociological data relevant to regulatory issues. Such information typically includes constituent satisfaction survey results, conversations or meetings with constituents in groups and individually, and other forms of feedback from the public that occurs continuously including before the scoping period.

VDGIF strongly encourages the public's participation in the regulation review process. You are invited to use this online comment submission system to submit your views.

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Hawk Migration Approaching Peak in September - October

The annual fall hawk migration is once again upon us. The migration begins in early September and lasts through November with peak numbers from late September to mid-October. During this time, thousands of raptors leave their breeding grounds and make their way south to their wintering grounds. Most follow geographical features such as mountain ranges and coastlines. Raptors take advantage of updrafts along mountain ranges and rising thermals along coastal areas, allowing them to travel great distances while reducing their energy expenditure," according to VDGIF Wildlife Biologist Steve Living. Hawk watch sites are set up throughout the Commonwealth to view and count the migrating raptors. Raptor species that can be viewed from these platforms include Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, Northern Goshawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, American Kestrels, Merlins, Peregrine Falcons, Northern Harriers, Osprey, Bald Eagles, and Golden Eagles. Black and Turkey Vultures are usually counted at these sites as well.

Friends of Phelps WMA Meeting October 26th

Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA will be having its annual meeting on Wednesday, October 26th at the Sumerduck Ruritan from 7-9pm. It is a pot-luck dinner with a Halloween theme. We will celebrate our accomplishments of 2011 and conduct strategic planning for 2012. We will also have guest speakers from the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program. Please RSVP to Patricia Wood at pwood12@earthlink.net if you will be attending and bringing a dish. Everyone is welcome!!

There are 2 Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days for 2011-12

Youth days are no longer required to be consecutive hunting days, so Virginia is able to provide two Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days this season. The first Youth Hunt Day has been set for October 22, similar to when it has been held in the past, and the second day has been set for February 4 after the close of the regular duck season. See Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days.

Explore the Outdoors Through Archery at Bear Creek Lake State Park

Since ancient times, the bow and arrow has been one of human beings' most important tools for survival and recreation.. Beginning Saturday October 1, 2011, Bear Creek Lake State Park will offer the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Outdoor Education Program "Explore Bowhunting." The curriculum was developed by the Archery Trade Association, but this program is much more than archery alone. There will be five consecutive sessions, each with a different class focus. In these sessions, participants will learn valuable wilderness skills, such as animal tracking, shelter making and the secrets of camouflage. They will develop an understanding of animal communication done by grunts, purrs, or snorts. There will be hi-tech tools, too, such as range finders and motion detecting cameras. The archery component will include basic instruction in compound, recurve bows and crossbows. This instruction will cover safety and maintenance as well as technique.

Each two- hour session will be split between archery and outdoor education. All equipment will be provided. There will be five sessions held on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. from October 1 through October 29, 2011. A maximum of twelve participants may register for the course. This program has been developed for student age participants, but even older adults may find the activity rewarding. Minimum age is ten years old. There is a $10.00 per person fee, payable upon registration.

To register for this exciting new program, call the Bear Creek Lake State Park Office, at (804) 492-4410, or contact Park Ranger Tom Kneipp at Thomas.kneipp@dcr.virginia.gov.

Heritage Festival Celebrates Prince William Forest Park 75th Anniversary October 15

Prince William Forest Park's Heritage Festival 2011 will take place at Cabin Camp 3 on October 15th from 11 am to 4 pm. This year's Heritage Festival is even more special as it is the park's 75th anniversary! Stephanie Pooler, Visitor Use Assistant for Prince William Forest Park, has arranged for numerous exhibitors including VDGIf which is being staffed by Complementary Work Force volunteers. Heritage Festival highlights the history and heritage of Prince William Forest Park and the surrounding region. Though specifically targeted toward the 1930s and 1940s eras in which the park was founded, the festival will feature all aspects of our shared heritage from American Indian, Colonial, and Civil War era history to sustainability, wildlife, and watershed protection.

For more information contact the Parks website or call 703-221-4706 ext.224

VA Cooperative Extension to hold 35th Anniversary Fall Forestry & Wildlife Field Tours

Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program, in collaboration with Virginia's natural resource agencies, companies, and associations, will be holding their 35th Anniversary Fall Forestry and Wildlife Field Tour Programs starting October 13. The four tours will promote wise resource management on private forestlands and will focus on science-based forestry and wildlife management practices, public and private sources of technical and financial management assistance, and networking among landowners and natural resource professionals. There will also be demonstration stops on private, industry, and public lands that will center on multiple-use management opportunities and practices.

Tours will be held in Pittsylvania County on Oct.13, Spotsylvania County on Oct.21, Sussex County on Oct. 25 and Washington County on Oct. 28. Participants should arrive at sites by 8 a.m. Pre-registration is required, as space is limited on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration is $45/person except for the Washington County tour, which is $30/person. This fee covers lunch, refreshments and transportation and is due one week before the tour date. Registration is available online. Come help celebrate the 35th anniversary of the longest running program of its kind in Virginia!

For more information, contact Jennifer Gagnon at jgagnon@vt.edu. For a printable registration brochure and on-line registration, please visit www.cnre.vt.edu/forestupdate.

Special Youth Deer Hunting Workshop at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge December 10 -- Application Deadline October 14

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, in cooperation with Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, is sponsoring a Novice Youth Deer Hunting Workshop on December 10, 2011 (8:30 AM - 6 PM) on the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Woodbridge, VA. This workshop is designed for youth 12-18 years of age and provides the novice hunter an opportunity to develop skills beyond the basic Hunter Education course with instruction safe firearm handling, deer biology and hunting techniques for deer. The workshop includes lunch and an afternoon hunt with their mentor. Registration applications and required copies of their license must be received by October 14, 2011 to be considered for this workshop. Applications will be randomly selected to fill the available openings and will be notified by October 31, 2011. For more information, contact Karen Holson at (804) 367-6355 or Karen.Holson@dgif.virginia.gov.

Wilderness and Urban Survival, Tracking and Camouflage Workshops Offered by Wilderness Discovery School October-November

Do you want to know the basics of wildland survival, or increase your knowledge and advance your outdoor skills for tracking and camouflage to avoid detection? Are you just looking for a fun get away to challenge yourself and put your skills to the test?

The Wilderness Discovery School led by Professional Instructor Roy Hutchinson is hosting a series of workshops on these topics at various locations through October and November. The programs includes professional and expert instruction with participation limited for a better instructor: participant ratio. Optional classes include: Basics of Survival - What to think about to stay alive,  Primitive Shelter - Space Blankets to Debris Huts, Water & Wild Edibles - Finding Water and Food,  Situational Awareness – Use and detection of camouflage, Fire Craft - Making and maintaining a fire without matches,  Managing Hypo/Hyperthermia. Each participant will learn how to build their own survival kit.  Learn knowledge and skills to last a lifetime! Cost of workshops vary as to length and topics covered. Pre-registration required. Contact Roy Hutchinson, email: roy@trackingsurvival.com,  For information on other wilderness survival and outdoor skills related classes visit the Wilderness Discovery website, the Holiday Lake 4-H Center website, or the VDGIF website on upcoming Outdoor Education classes.

Oct.21-23 Wilderness Survival weekend at the Holiday Lake 4H center near Appomattox, VA. Registration is being handled by the center. Contact Bryan Branch at (434) 248-5444 or bbranch@vt.edu I can send you the flier on request. This is the only survival class you'll ever attend where the biggest danger is gaining weight. That's right, gaining weight. Meals and Lodging are included in the price of $145.00 and oh yes, the meals are great!

Oct. 29 9 am to Noon Recreational Animal Tracking (critterin') at Dorey Park in Eastern Henrico. Henrico County Parks and Rec. are handling registration go to www.henricorecandparks.com Click on Adults, then click on Nature and Outdoors.

Oct.  29 1 pm to 7 pm Urban Survival in Eastern Henrico. Remember no power during Irene? This class has been set up recently, so contact Roy details. Cost will be $35.00.

Nov 1 – 6. The TEOTWAWKI Survival challenge. This is the week a lot of you asked us for. We will do a segment each on Urban & Wilderness Survival, Land Navigation, Camouflage & Awareness, Wild Edibles and Tracking (Human and Animal). For those who choose to participate this class will conclude with a test of your newly acquired skills. We will have professional man hunters that will give you the opportunity to try and evade them in a human hunt. NO weapons, bragging rights only. The total cost is $375.00 which includes a primitive campsite. Contact me to register. Spots are very limited, so don't wait too long.

Nov. 11 – 13 Camouflage and Awareness at the Holiday Lake 4H center near Appomattox, VA. Registration is being handled by the center. Contact Bryan Branch at (434) 248-5444 or bbranch@vt.edu Meals and Lodging included for only $90.00, cheaper than one night in a motel.

Nov.18 -20 Human Tracking in Cumberland, VA.. Cost is $100.00 and includes a primitive campsite. Contact Roy for info or to register.

Upland Classic Pheasant Hunt Scheduled in Albemarle November 12-13

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Cooler weather is here with Autumn leaves splashing color all over the Virginia landscape. It's a great time to go bird hunting! The Virginia Upland Classic Series is holding a "THANKSGIVING PHEASANT HUNT" near Charlottesville, at "Liberty Corners Farm" in Esmont, just two miles south of State Route #6, and five miles west of Scottsville. The National Upland Classic Series (NUCS) is an association of gundog enthusiasts and a division of the National Kennel Club (NKC) that caters to all pointing and flushing dogs used for bird hunting. Here in Virginia the association has been holding successful Winter Quail Hunting events at Keysville for several years now, and this year the club is holding its' first " Thanksgiving Pheasant Hunt" and gundog competition, November 12-13 at Liberty Corners Farm. All Bird hunters and their favorite dogs are welcome and invited to come participate in the fun.

Upland Classic hunts are based on as close to actual, safe hunting conditions as possible and are scored for the performance of the hunter and his dog as a team. Three pheasants are randomly planted out of sight of the upcoming hunters and then the hunter and his dog are then given twenty minutes to find the birds. Once the "find" is established the hunter (who is allowed six shells) flushes and kills the bird and the dog retrieves it. A simple point system is in place for each hunting activity, and bonus points are given for using less than six shots and for any unused minutes of the twenty minute time allowance. A scorekeeper goes along with the hunter to tabulate the score and maintain the rules. It is strictly about getting three birds safely, with fewer shots, and in less time ...it is a lot of fun.

The hunting will take place in separate fields of bird cover. Mature dogs, three years old and older, hunt in fields with dogs of similar age and experience. Younger, less experienced dogs (under three years) hunt in separate fields and compete only against each other as "amateurs". First time participants (Novices) are separated in a similar manner and the scorekeeper functions as somewhat of a coach for novices to help them learn the rules and enjoy the hunt. It is a great place to take your dogs and enjoy a day of bird work and shooting.

All flushing and pointing breeds used to hunt upland birds are welcomed in this hunt. Participants will vary from experienced field trial competitors, to first time hunters who just want to come out and shoot a pheasant or two over their dogs. The hunt is lots of fun and safe for all levels of experience hunting for birds and working with bird dogs. Prizes and Ribbons are awarded for each event.

To receive more information about participating contact: bgnorris@cox.net - VUCS, Box 430, Dutton, Virginia 23050 - phone 804-694-5118

People and Partners in the News

Wildlife Center Holds 16th Call Of The Wild Conference November 12-13

The Wildlife Center of Virginia invites you to the 16th Annual Call of the Wild conference on wildlife rehabilitation November 12-13, 2011 at the Best Western Inn & Suites Conference Center in Waynesboro. Wildlife rehabilitators, veterinary professionals, wildlife biologists, environmental educators, and wildlife enthusiasts from Virginia and beyond will share ideas and knowledge that can benefit wildlife, the environment, and the continually evolving field of wildlife rehabilitation. Amanda Nicholson, director of outreach for the Wildlife Center notes that the conference is sponsored by The Wildlife Center of Virginia, the nation's leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. More information can be found online.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine located in Waynesboro, admitted a total of 2,302 animals for treatment during 2010 – injured, ailing, and orphaned wildlife from all across Virginia. More than 2,400 have been admitted so far in 2011.

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.

Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen Host Events for Fall Hunting Opportunities

If you have a disability and would like to participate, select your choice of hunting or skill building events and complete the Application available on the VANWTF website. Mail or email completed Application to Mike Deane wheelin4u@yahoo.com.

Hunters for the Hungry Announces New Fund Raising Raffles for 2012

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, Sunday August 14th, 2011 at 6:00 pm (see the Hunters for the Hungry website for a list of the winners). 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."

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 -- www.Virginia.org. This is a free service offered by VTC. Virginia.org is very popular with both in-state outdoor enthusiasts and out-of-state visitors interested in vacationing and seeking outdoor adventures here in the Old Dominion. Dave Neudeck, Director of Electronic Marketing for VTC, notes that the Virginia.org website attracts approximately 500,000 viewers per month.

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

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."

VA Waterfowlers Association Volunteers Accomplish Mission Through Partnerships

The VA Waterfowlers Association (VAWFA) started as a simple idea back in early 2003; how to help improve the way of life of the waterfowlers here in Virginia. Todd Cocker who is one of the founding members has served as President and Executive Director of the organization since 2007 and sets the example of dedication, leadership, partnership commitment for accomplishment and volunteer service. Todd is a frequent contributor to the Outdoor Report and often found working as a volunteer at sportsmen's events most weekends; not only those in which VAWFA is participating, but events hosted by other VDGIF partners like NWTF and VTA to name a few. Todd relates the story of the beginning of VAWFA as follows... "A small group of fellow sportsmen and avid waterfowl hunters began to discuss the best way to implement the idea of creating a Virginia based organization to enhance and protect our sport. After many long hours and dedicated hard work, a fledgling organization was formed, the Virginia Waterfowlers' Association. As the name implies, we are an organization that strives to help in all aspects of the Waterfowler's sport. Our programs differ somewhat from national organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Waterfowl USA and Delta Waterfowl as we focus on local-regional partnership activities with other sportsmen and community groups. The VAWFA  Mission promotes all aspects of the waterfowlers' way of life, including educating sportsmen, protecting habitat and access, teaching our youth, and protecting our rights. We are all volunteers at the VAWFA, and no member receives any compensation for the work that they do."

VAWFA is always looking for worthy projects, and welcomes our members participation at all events. The VAWFA works closely with the VDGIF on numerous projects and programs year around. If you are interested in learning more about our organization, please contact us. If you want to help preserve the waterfowlers' way of life, please join the VAWFA today.

Annually VAWFA members volunteer to accomplish a wide range of service projects, training and educational programs that include:

In the past 2 years several new unique projects have been implemented:

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...

More Than Just A Dove Hunt...

In this fast paced society that tends to keep us from taking the time and effort to spend a day in the wild - appreciating the wonders of nature and spending real "quality time" with family and friends, it is great to get pictures from our readers of groups that take the time to plan and get together for a fun day afield hunting and enjoying the great outdoors. It is important that hunters and anglers set priorities and take time off from other routine fall Saturday activities to give youngsters a memorable day afield and create new traditions. Jeff Tomlin, one of the leaders in the Amherst-Nelson Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and his friends and family know the value of planning hunting and fishing days around busy schedules, especially for community and school activities as his wife Tammy is a teacher. Although the NWTF chapter members volunteer hundreds of hours to organize hunts for youth and disabled sportsmen, local hunting trips for groups that are not organized by organizations are important to the future of our sport. Jeff is an excellent example of successfully getting together with family, friends and neighbors to make sure there is a good balance of hunting, fishing and school/community activities. His focus is passing on the valuable character building and life lessons hunting provides to not only his children, but others in the area who may not have mentors or opportunities to participate in outdoor adventures.

Volunteers and mentors like Jeff are seeing to it that a new generation is being introduced to these time honored traditions. In reviewing the photos that Jeff sent on their recent "neighborhood" dove hunt for area friends and family; the photos of smiling kids and eager hunters- guys and gals of all ages only showed the hunt... there is so much more that goes into a successful and safe outdoor adventure. Days, weeks, months and even years go into one of these experiences. The 'hunt masters', the experienced mentors that put the days hunt together, have spent hours schooling and assisting everyone involved on that hunt, young and old alike, making sure everyone gets registered with their mandatory HIP number prior to taking to the field that very day. Often the mentors will need to work on one of the youngster's shotguns (sometimes the night prior and again that morning) dismantling and putting back together with one of their plugs to make the gun legal again for migratory birds.

Care must be taken to escort everyone safely to an appointed position with a predetermined "start shooting" time so there is no chance of a traveling hunter getting in anyone's zone of fire.

Equally important is the coordination and cooperation with the landowner and appreciation for the time, labor, and expense the landowner goes to in his plantings and maintaining the food plots to provide this opportunity to family and friends at no charge.  Many a "pay-to-hunt" farm exists as a business opportunity, so neighborly hunting agreements are to be respected and treasured.

In any hunting party there is usually a special moment that needs to be celebrated and shared by all- one of the young hunters gets a memorable "first"! In this story, Jeff's nine year old son Jake shot his first dove! This was a special memory for the family as sister Leslie who is 15 (ponytail in photo) and Dad were there to share in the moment. All of the hunting party were able to share in "Jake's first dove" moment after the hunt as the group shared tales of the days hunt and Jake, Jeff and Leslie all got to recount the 'great shot' made on the' lightening fast-flying' dove… but Jake made the shot and treasured memories were made. The stories of the group that evening as they counted up the individual dove kill and shared photos and stories of good shots and ones that got away, the talk turned to plans for the upcoming youth turkey day and dear season as Leslie is hoping for a shot at her "first deer".

As you read all the great stories from young hunters in this edition, remember that behind each one of the youngsters is a dedicated mentor who has taken the time and made the commitment to train a young person to carry on our treasured hunting heritage and traditions. If you missed the special Youth Deer, Turkey, or Waterfowl Hunting Days this season, be sure and take a young person out before the seasons end - the future of our sport and hunting heritage traditions depend on it.

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

Youth Fall Turkey Hunt Day October 15

The Youth Fall Turkey Hunt Day, established for youth 15 years of age and younger, is on Saturday, October 15, 2011. With the growing popularity of spring gobbler hunting, fewer hunters are turkey hunting in the fall. To provide added opportunities for fall turkey hunting, the Youth Fall Turkey Hunt Day was established, and the starting and ending dates for the late segment for fall turkey have changed in most counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Youth hunters between the age of 12 and 15 must have appropriate valid hunting licenses. Hunters under the age of 12 are not required to have a license, but they must be accompanied by a licensed adult. Adult hunters supervising youth must possess a valid Virginia hunting license, may assist with calling, and shall not carry or discharge a firearm.

Fall turkey hunting has some unique methods and restrictions:

Be sure and check the regulations booklet for season dates, bag limits and other details.

How Does a Young Hunter Without a License Check in a Deer or Turkey?

One of the most frequently asked questions during the early youth seasons or any hunting season is how do deer and turkey hunters that do not have to purchase a license and therefore do not have deer or turkey tags check in their game?

What licenses are required for youths?

Resident deer or turkey hunters under 12 in Virginia are not required to purchase a license or have taken a hunter safety course. Conversely, deer and turkey hunters 12 and above must be licensed and have taken a hunter safety course. An exception to this rule is that hunters 12 and over could go hunting with an Apprentice License without having taken a hunter safety course. If a young hunter is over age 12 and has had a hunter safety course, the Junior Combination Hunting License (under 16 years of age) for $16.00 is the best deal. It includes statewide hunting privileges, archery, muzzleloading, and bear, deer, turkey tags.

3rd Youth Deer Hunting Day Record Success

A total of 1,195 deer were checked electronically on Saturday September 24th during the 3rd Youth Deer Hunting Day according to Matt Knox, VDGIF Deer Project Coordinator. This is up 82% from the 657 check electronically last year. Knox noted, "that after two consecutive years of terrible deer hunting weather on the annual youth deer hunting day, we finally got a break. Saturday was not perfect, but it was much better than the rain of 2009 and the heat of 2010."

Last year the final youth day total, including those deer checked at check stations, ended up being 1,124. If this pattern holds, it is safe to assume that 2,000 or more deer were taken by youth deer hunters this past Saturday. The success of this special hunting day is credited to the adult mentors who took time off from other routine fall Saturday activities to give these youngsters a memorable day afield and create a new tradition. If you took a young hunter afield that special day you created a unique memory and hopefully started a "new tradition" for the last Saturday in September to coincide with National Hunting & Fishing Day. There's over 16 weeks of big game hunting left this season, so be sure and take a young person out for a hunting adventure before the seasons end – the future of our sport and hunting heritage traditions depend on it.

Youth Day Deer Kill
Year Electronic Check Stations Total
2009 951 891 1842
2010 657 467 1124
2011 1195

Share the Memories...

Below are photos and stories from several proud young hunters who represent our future. A special note of appreciation is expressed for the adult mentors who took time off from other routine fall Saturday activities to give these youngsters a memorable day afield and create a new tradition. The creation of these new traditions are especially important in this fast paced society that tends to keep us from taking the time and effort to spend a day in the wild – appreciating the wonders of nature and spending real "quality time" with one of "tomorrow's conservation leaders." The true meaning of a "successful hunt" is also well expressed in the Young Writers Section at the end of this edition. If you took a young hunter out that special day you created a unique memory and hopefully started a "new tradition" for the last Saturday in September. Ironically and fitting this special Youth Deer Day coincides with National Hunting & Fishing Day – what better way to celebrate than taking a youngster on a hunting adventure. If you miss the special Youth Deer, Turkey, or Waterfowl Hunting Days this year, be sure and take a young person out before the seasons end – the future of our sport and hunting heritage traditions depend on it.

David Coffman, Editor

The Tale of Stuart Anderson's First Deer

Stuart Anderson, age 10 from Dale City, VA, harvested his first deer, a nice big doe in Culpeper County on private land with a single shot .243 rifle on Youth Deer Hunting Day, September 24th. When Stuart's dad, Curt Anderson, asked how he feels about his first deer,he said." I'm just so happy!"

Curt relates the "rest of the story" as follows...

It's been a long and adverse road to this point for Stuart, several other hunting trips in the cold, snow, rain, with friends (Jax T. & Nicolas D.) and just plain boredom have resulted in no deer seen and only a couple shot at some squirrels, but he's a trooper and has never given up and continues to show the passion to go to the woods with me.

Our day started with a soccer game in McLean, up at 5:45 AM, after the game we headed home and loaded up the truck for the trip to Culpeper, stopped at the Snack Bar for lunch (a tradition as Don always says) and than headed to the farm, once there we headed to the woods to set up the blind and put our deer decoy out. About 20 minutes later Stuart says Dad there's a deer, me; thinking he's going to tease me by pointing at the decoy and I asked him really I'm not going to look at the decoy, he said no a real deer, I couldn't see the deer so I just handed him the rifle and tried to provide a rest for him, but the deer must have seen us as the back of the blind wasn't closed yet and off she went. My mistakes were not closing the back of the blind and not paying attention. The best thing was Stuart was prepared, ready and not disappointed, plus he got to see a deer in the wood while hunting (a first for us too), so we decided to shoot some squirrels, loaded up the 410 spotted one he pulled up the gun and snap, dud, reloaded and tried two more times, old 410 ammo no good, so we went to the truck to get more modern ammo and go to the other side of the farm to hunt squirrels and than go back to the blind to hunt deer the last hour and a half. Just after we crossed the creek I saw a deer and handed Stuart the 243 rifle and took the shotgun from him and pointed to the deer, I said you got him? He said yes, I reached over and cocked the gun and he said take the safety off, I did, he said the deer went behind the tree, I said wait for it to step out from the other side and than shot. He said there is another one, oh, than if you got it, shoot it if you want, the 243 roared to life and the deer kind of stood there and than slowly walked down the hill in the thicket. We waited a few minutes and than went to look for sign, I couldn't find any, but we weren't giving up, so we started making circle loops looking for sign and than Stuart yelled BLOOD & MEAT! Now the game was on. Stuart and I started tracking and I was explaining things on the go, finding more sign as we went, stopping and looking as we went and than Stuart said there it is! He was right, the best deer I have ever saw! His deer! A nice big doe right around 100 pounds. By this time the mosquitoes were taking advantage of us, so I gutted it and drug it out as fast as possible. I'm very proud of what he accomplished and in the skills he showed to recover his deer; there was never a doubt in his mind that he wasn't going to find that deer. He said he knew he hit it in the vitals and he did. It was a great off hand shot at 50 - 60 yards, one shot one kill. He is a very confident 10 year old shooter, and has always shot well every time we go to the range to practice and it has paid off nicely.

A special thanks to:
Domini: for always encouraging him to try new things.
Collis: for hosting us at his awesome farm.
Todd & Brandon: for lending us their youth 243 rifle.
Larry: for lending us a great tripod to use & giving Stuart a nice set of shooting sticks.
Everyone at the club, friends and family for supporting everything Stuart does.

Isaac Phillips First Deer Creates Special Memories For Family

Proud Dad Kevin Phillips sent us this photo of an 8 point buck taken on Youth Hunting Day, September 24th, 2011, by his 12 year old son Isaac Phillips. This was his first deer taken. This buck was taken in Floyd County around 5 miles from our home in Indian Valley. His weapon was a .308 caliber rifle. This deer was checked in at Willis Village Mart in Willis, Virginia (Floyd County). I know it's not a monster buck, but since it was my son's first buck I decided to have it's head mounted. I told him that when he looks at it mounted head, he will always remember our day together for years to come. My son attended the Virginia Hunters Safety course in March 2010 at Gander Mountain in Roanoke. I purchased him a combination youth hunting license this year.

My son and I hunt and fish together all the time. We target shoot as well. We are are a very tight-knit family. My wife and have been married for 30 years and have 3 children. Isaac is our youngest at age 12.

We had been sitting for quit a while before we seen our first deer. I was beginning to think that we were going to be skunked for the day. We finally saw our first deer shortly after 8:00am. My son shot this buck around 9:30 am. From the time that we had seen our first deer, until he killed this one, we had seen a total of 7 deer. The deer weren't moving at day break like usual, they were moving up in the morning. He shot the deer from an awkward position and when he pulled the trigger he was complaining the "scope bit him". I'm very proud of my son and know that he will carry on our family and hunting tradition for years to come.

Thank you for setting aside this special day for the kids! -Kevin Phillips

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: www.HuntFishVA.com

Hunters: Check the Regulations before Taking Your Deer Carcass out of Virginia

Since Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected from two deer harvested in Frederick County, Virginia, deer hunters must follow carcass importation regulations in other states when they transport a deer carcass out of Virginia (see www.cwd-info.org).

Hunters anywhere in Virginia going into Kentucky or North Carolina must bone-out or quarter their deer carcass so the brain and spinal cord are removed.

Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia will accept whole deer carcasses from Virginia except those originating from Virginia's CWD Containment Area in which case, carcasses must be boned-out or quartered so the brain and spinal cord are removed.

For Tennessee, whole deer carcasses are allowed except those originating from anywhere in Frederick County and Shenandoah County, where carcasses must be boned-out or quartered so the brain and spinal cord are removed.

For Virginia deer hunters hunting out-of-state, please make note of the following change to Virginia's carcass importation regulations. Whole deer carcasses from carcass-restriction zones, rather than from the entire state or province where CWD has been detected, are prohibited from entering Virginia. For example, only the counties of Hampshire, Hardy, and Morgan in West Virginia, and the county of Allegany in Maryland, are now restricted. For information regarding other carcass-restriction zones and deer parts allowed to be brought into Virginia from these zones, please visit the Department's website.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is continuing several management strategies in the northern Shenandoah Valley in response to the detection of CWD. These actions include:

Just as in previous years, hunters in the Containment Area should be aware of the mandatory sampling days (November 19, 26, and December 3) and be prepared to submit their deer heads for tissue samples. The Department will distribute additional information closer to those dates.

To assist with CWD surveillance, VDGIF is strongly encouraging hunters who harvest deer in the CA on days other than mandatory sampling days to voluntarily submit the head and neck from their deer for testing by bringing it to a self-service refrigerated drop station, which are located in the following places:

In addition to surveillance within the CA, VDGIF is collecting 1,000 samples this fall from across the entire state to assess the CWD-status of deer outside the CA.

CWD has been detected in 19 states and two Canadian provinces. The disease is a slow, progressive neurological (brain and nervous system) disease found in deer, elk, and moose in North America. The disease ultimately results in death of the animal. Symptoms exhibited by CWD-infected deer include, staggering, abnormal posture, lowered head, drooling, confusion, and marked weight loss. There is no evidence that CWD can be naturally transmitted to humans, livestock, or pets. Anyone who sees a sick deer that displays any of the signs described above should contact the nearest VDGIF office immediately with accurate location information. Please do not attempt to disturb or kill the deer before contacting VDGIF. More information on CWD can be found on the VDGIF 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.

Second Segment Dove Season October 25-November 5

VDGIF Conservation Police Lieutenant Scott Naff reminds dove hunters and other migratory bird hunters that keeping their daily harvest separated from that of other hunters in their party reduces confusion and the opportunity to find themselves in violation of the law. It is important to remember that it is required by law that the birds be tagged with the hunter's name, address, and total number of birds harvested prior to putting them in the custody of another person. More information can be found on tagging requirements of migratory birds on the Department's website.

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.

There are 2 Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days for 2011-12

Youth days are no longer required to be consecutive hunting days, so Virginia is able to provide two Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days this season. The first Youth Hunt Day has been set for October 22, similar to when it has been held in the past, and the second day has been set for February 4 after the close of the regular duck season. See Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days. To get prepared and learn the skills necessary to be a successful waterfowler, the VA Waterfowlers Association in partnership with the VDGIF and Holiday Lake 4-H Center are hosting a Waterfowlers Workshop September 30-October 2. 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.

Special Youth Deer Hunting Workshop at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge December 10 -- Application Deadline October 14

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, in cooperation with Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, is sponsoring a Novice Youth Deer Hunting Workshop on December 10, 2011 (8:30 AM - 6 PM) on the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Woodbridge, VA. This workshop is designed for youth 12-18 years of age and provides the novice hunter an opportunity to develop skills beyond the basic Hunter Education course with instruction safe firearm handling, deer biology and hunting techniques for deer. The workshop includes lunch and an afternoon hunt with their mentor. Registration applications and required copies of their license must be received by October 14, 2011 to be considered for this workshop. Applications will be randomly selected to fill the available openings and will be notified by October 31, 2011. For more information, contact Karen Holson at (804) 367-6355 or Karen.Holson@dgif.virginia.gov.

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

Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...

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

Keep sending in great photos of smiling young hunters. Also, any unusual pictures or stories from any hunters are considered for posting. The pictures need to be in good taste for publication—minimal blood, classic pose, etc. Our award-winning professional photographers offer a few tips on composition of your photos so as to capture the moment with a good photo—consider background, good light, contrast, and have both young hunter and mentor in the photo, especially father-daughter, or mother-son, etc. Any firearms pictured MUST be pointed in a safe direction.

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

David Coffman, Editor

License Options for Novice Hunters

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

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

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

Remember to make a donation to Hunters for the Hungry when you purchase your licenses through the convenient check-off option- give $5 to show you care for those in need!

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

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Early Warm Season Deer Hunting Safety Tips

If you're planning to get an early start deer hunting during the archery season beginning October 1, you need to keep a few things in mind to ensure you have a pleasant and safe experience. If you're wearing camouflage, it should be lightweight. Keep hydrated – have plenty of water, sports drinks and salty snacks.

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

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

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

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

Crossbow Safety Tips by Dick Holdcraft

Virginia is among a growing number of states that have allowed all hunters the opportunity to use a crossbow for deer hunting. Formerly just reserved for handicapped individuals, now allowing all hunters to use a crossbow during archery season has become the fastest growing new hunting option. While crossbows are considered in the same regulations that apply to archery equipment, there are several key differences to handling a crossbow safely. If you hunt from a treestand and are using a crossbow, you need to be aware of these special safety guidelines.

Always use the manufacturer's recommended arrow weights and specifications. Be sure and practice, before the season, using your crossbow in field situations, and treestands keeping in mind the safety tips noted above. Perfect practice makes perfect.

Thanks to Richard L. "Dick" Holdcraft for his safety tips. 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 guidelines to help you prepare and stay safe.

Dress for Success - Fall Turkey Hunts Require Different Tactics and Safety Precautions

The best hunt is a SAFE hunt! Both novice and experienced sportsmen should continuously review basic safety practices. The fall turkey season requires different tactics and safety precautions from the spring gobbler season. Dressing right is the key to both safe and successful turkey hunting. With the special Youth Turkey Hunting Day Saturday October 16 and the firearms turkey season starting October 23, now is the time to be planning your hunting strategy and special safety precautions. While sitting still is most important, full camouflage helps hunters blend into the surroundings, and elude the turkey's keen eyesight. But, those aren't the only eyes that could be fooled. Other hunters could mistake a hunter dressed in full camouflage using a turkey call for a wild turkey. Hunt defensively- keep in mind, when you hear a turkey call or see movement, it could very well be another hunter. Assume you are not alone in the woods and act accordingly. Your firearm, clothing, and turkey calls are all-important equipment, but thinking safety is the best tool a hunter can use.

The National Wild Turkey Federation and VDGIF Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors teach these rules to dress for success and safety:

  1. Never wear bright colors, especially not red, white, blue or black because these are the colors of a wild turkey.
  2. Wear dark undershirts and socks, and pants long enough to be tucked into boots.
  3. Camouflage your gun.
  4. Keep your hands and head camouflaged when calling
  5. Select a spot that is in the open woods rather than thick brush: wearing camouflage clothing and eliminating movement is more critical to success than hiding in heavy cover.
  6. When using a camouflage blind or netting, maintain a clear field of view.
  7. Dress in dark colored layers to adjust to temperature changes.
  8. Wear blaze orange when walking to and from calling positions and when setting up or moving decoys. Wearing blaze orange is always recommended. However, if you choose not to, tie a strip of blaze orange to a nearby tree to alert others of your presence.

Ultimately, every hunter is responsible for identifying their target and beyond before pulling the trigger. Most hunting fatalities are the result of the hunter not making sure of his or her target, or shooting at sound or movement. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Before you go out, let someone know where you will be hunting and when you expect to return. Take a few emergency items with you - snacks, water, safety whistle, a fold up space blanket, a method to light a fire, extra batteries for radios or GPS, and fully charge your cell phone.

"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.

Hawk Watching Fun Peaks in October - November

By Marie Majarov
Majarov Photography www.majarov.com

If you and your family are looking for exciting outdoor fall adventures, consider hawk watching! Virginia has some of the best locations along the east coast to view migrating raptors. "Hawk Watching Across Virginia," Virginia Wildlife Magazine September 2011, will help you become familiar with our Commonwealth's rich opportunities for seeing magnificent birds of prey.

Peak hawk watching happens early September through late November as thousands of birds make their way from Northern breeding grounds to wintering areas across Mexico and the tropics of Central and South America. Northern Harriers, Sharp Shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, Northern Goshawks, Red-tailed and Red-Shouldered Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, American Kestrels, Merlins and Peregrine Falcons can all be seen. You might also sight Bald and Golden Eagles, Osprey, and Vultures.

As you read this article huge numbers of migrants are tracing their way along our mountain ridges and coastline. One of the most outstanding spots this year is Snickers Gap in the Northern Blue Ridge between Winchester and Leesburg where record numbers of Broad-winged Hawks, over 38,000, have already been counted in the month of September! At the Kiptopeke Hawk Watch on the Delmarva big numbers of American Kestrels, Sharp-shins, Merlins, and Peregrines are being viewed.

When you are first learning about hawk identification and their travel patterns and thermals it is a good idea to choose one of the official sites all of which have counters and experts who are very willing to share their skills to help you learn. Read about raptors with your family, then grab some binoculars, folding chairs, dress for the weather, and get out there and enjoy the spectacular show that is going on over our heads!

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

Call VDACS to Get Regulations Before Digging Ginseng

National Forests and VDGIF Lands Closed to Harvest of this Threatened Plant

As the temperatures cool in September and ginseng diggin' season begins, Vance Shearin who staffs the VDGIF Headquarters Information Desk notes that numerous calls come in for information on harvesting ginseng on Wildlife Management Areas and other public wild lands. Since wild ginseng (Panax quinquefolius, American ginseng) is a threatened species where it occurs in the wild, harvesting this medicinal plant is regulated by the VA Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). and you can find detailed information and guidelines online. Interested 'sengers' can also call the VDACS Office of Plant and Pest Services at (804) 786-3515 for more details.

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

Effective September 1, it will be illegal to feed deer statewide in Virginia. The annual prohibition runs through the first Saturday in January. In addition, it is now illegal to feed deer year-round in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties and in the city of Winchester as part of the Department's chronic wasting disease (CWD) management actions established in April 2010.

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

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

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

Deer Feeding was Booming Along with the Population

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

According to Knox, many people feed deer because they believe it will keep them from starving, but this is not a legitimate reason to feed deer in Virginia. In Virginia, deer die-offs due to winter starvation are rare. In addition, according to Lafon, "We do not need more deer in Virginia. In fact, we need fewer deer in many parts of the state."

Nelson Lafon completed a revision of the Department's Deer Management Plan in June 2007. Based on his research, it appears that the citizens of the Commonwealth would like to see deer populations reduced over most of the state. Lafon noted that Virginia's deer herds could be described as overabundant from a human tolerance perspective and stated that feeding deer only makes this overabundance problem worse.

Is Your Birdfeeder Attracting Deer?

Supplemental feeding artificially concentrates deer on the landscape, leading to over-browsed vegetation, especially in and around feeding sites. Over-browsing destroys habitat needed by other species, including songbirds.

It is not unheard of for deer to take advantage of birdfeeders and begin to eat spilled birdseed. Individuals who inadvertently are feeding deer through their birdfeeders may be requested by VDGIF conservation police officers to remove feeders temporarily until the deer disperse.

Deer Are Wild Animals

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

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

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

Deer Feeding Congregates Animals, Increasing the Spread of Disease

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

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

Please Don't Feed Deer

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

To learn more about Virginia wildlife regulations visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website at www.dgif.virginia.gov.

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.

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 »

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

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

Answers to September 28th edition quiz for nature events for October...

Get your copy of the 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Habitat Improvement Tips

35th Annual Fall Forestry & Wildlife Field Tours Scheduled for October

Join fellow forest landowners and a host of natural resource professionals for a fun and exciting day in the woods learning about forest and wildlife management! On-site check-in for all tours begins at 8 a.m.; tours begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. All tours will finish no later than 5:00 p.m. Registration fees include a tasty lunch, refreshments, materials and transportation. Please register at least one week prior to the tour date.

Tours will take place rain or shine. There will be a limited number of scholarships for K-12 teachers to cover registration. First come, first served. Contact Jennifer Gagnon jgagnon@vt.edu at (540) 231-6391. Go online for a printable registration brochure and online registration.

Fall is Best Time to Establish Wildlife Plantings

Thinking about establishing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife? "Your timing is excellent," advises VDGIF Habitat Education Coordinator Lou Verner. "Fall is absolutely the best time to establish new plants, whether you're considering trees or shrubs, wildflowers, or if you have the space, a wildflower meadow. Remember to seek out those species that are native to your region of the state." Fall planting (September through early November) gives trees and shrubs 6-8 months to establish their root system under cool, moist conditions. This will greatly increase their odds of surviving their first hot, often dry, summer. One of the more common mistakes made in planting trees or shrubs is digging the hole too deep and not digging out two to three times the diameter of the root ball. Directions for properly planting trees and shrubs can be found on the Virginia Department of Forestry's website: How to Plant a Seedling. A list of native species and their benefits for wildlife habitat, erosion control and other benefits can be found on the VDGIF website.

Fall seeding of native wildflowers imitates natural reseeding. Changes occur to the seed and seed coat (stratification) during winter that enhances germination. Spring annuals may germinate and lie dormant through the winter, while most perennials and warm season grasses will germinate in the spring. Properly preparing the seedbed this fall will help develop a successful wildflower garden next spring.

One final thing to put on your fall "to NOT do" list: do NOT deadhead all your wildflower seed heads! Rudbeckia and Echinacea species (Black-eyed and brown-eyed Susans, many species of coneflowers) are especially valued seed resources used by many of our over wintering finches. Happy fall gardening!

For more information on the Habitat at Home© program, see the Department's website.

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, and activities and accomplishments of the Quail Recovery Team read the latest edition of The Bobwhite Bulletin (PDF). Also view the video, "Answering the Call: Virginia's Quail Recovery Initiative."

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

Bay anglers caught with undersized black sea bass... On September 11, 2001, Conservation Police Sergeant Rich Goszka and Officer Ken Williams were conducting a boat patrol in the Chesapeake Bay in Northumberland County. The officers were patrolling in an unmarked patrol boat when they observed a boat at the Smith Point lighthouse catching numerous small fish. The officers boarded the boat and found 2 subjects to be in possession of 16 undersized black sea bass. Both men were charged with possessing undersized black sea bass.

Citizen Tip leads CPOs to illegal baiting site... On Saturday September 3, Conservation Police Officer John Rush responded to a tip of trespassing to hunt in Surry County. He found a subject on the property with salt licks hanging from the trees, a bucket of corn, and a trail camera mounted to a tree. The ground was covered in corn as well. The suspect didn't know who owned the property, and admitted to not having permission to be there. Summonses were issued for baiting after September 1, and trespassing.

Checkpoint results in catching BUI offender on the Appomattox... On Sunday, September 4, 2011, District 14 officers performed a BUI checkpoint on the Appomattox River at Hopewell City Marina. Numerous boats were checked and several equipment and lighting violations were detected. At 2100 hours Officer Mitch Booden tested an individual operating after sunset without lights for alcohol intoxication. This resulted in the operator being arrested for boating under the influence with a final blood alcohol level of .11.

Region III - Southwest

Carolina Man Caught Hunting with Bow... On September 12th Conservation Police Officer Troy Phillips was on patrol near the Rt. 114 bridge construction area in Pulaski County. Officer Phillips noticed that there was a Ford pickup with North Carolina tags parked near a large crane. Officer Phillips noticed that the tailgate was down and there were two bow cases in the bed of the truck. Officer Phillips discovered a male subject standing in the woods not far from the pickup. The subject came out of the woods and was acting very nervous. The man explained that he was a construction worker that had just gotten off from work there at the bridge and had been given permission from the adjoining land owner to hunt. The subject took Officer Phillips to his truck and showed him a bow in one case and only arrows in the other explaining that he didn't have another bow. Officer Phillips was not convinced and tracked the man's trail into the woods where he discovered a fresh burlap camouflage net stretched between two trees. Officer Phillips continued to track foot prints into an old cemetery where he found a PSE Nova compound bow hidden behind an old tombstone. The bow had a carbon arrow with a razor tip broad head on the end loaded on the arrow rest. Officer Phillips went back to the suspect and obtained a complete written statement describing the man's attempt to kill a deer and how he lied to avoid getting charged. Officer Phillips charged the suspect with attempt to take deer during closed season and hunt without an out of state license.

Poachers caught following their ATV tracks... On September 24, 2011 Conservation Police Officer Mark VanDyke conducted a foot patrol for hunting activity on Newton Mullins Road in Dickenson County, Virginia. Officer VanDyke was responding to a call that was received through the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Crime Line on September 20, 2011. Officer VanDyke noticed ATV tracks that ran down the road and turned onto an old logging road. Officer VanDyke began to track the ATV by foot. Approximately half mile down the trail, Officer VanDyke came upon a parked Rhino side-by-side ATV. At this point Officer VanDyke tracked two hunters to a homemade ground blind. As he approached the blind he noticed two hunters inside. The two hunters were identified as an adult male and his 17 year old son. The juvenile son was in possession of a lever action rifle. A search of the area revealed a salt block with in close proximity of the blind. The adult male was issued summonses for hunting during closed season and hunting over bait.

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.

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

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

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

Fishin' Report

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

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

The rivers and lakes featured in the Fishin' Report are listed by VDGIF Administrative Regions so you can quickly locate the area in which you are most interested.

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!

Where Can I Go Fishing?

I attended the Fall Orvis Days Kickoff VIP event last week at the Richmond Orvis Retail Store at Short Pump Town Center. Fall Orvis Days takes place October 6 -23 and is the store's biggest retail event of the year with special offers, savings, free demonstrations, treats for your dog and more. The kickoff event last week included seminars and expert guests, a catered spread including sliders and barbeque and live acoustic guitar playing in the background.

The event was open to the public but participants of Fly Fishing 101/201 received a special invitation. The free 101/201 classes offered during the summer included instruction on fly fishing basics for the whole family, special in-store offers, free Trout Unlimited and Federation of Fly Fishers memberships and an instructor assisted fly fishing trip to local waters. Sales Manager, Duber Winters, reported there has also been follow up evening sessions held at the store to further the participants fly fishing education. Keep posted to the Richmond Orvis website for future educational events and look for Fly Fishing 101/201 next spring and summer.

I had the privilege of joining in with DGIF's, Lee Walker, as he presented a "Local Fishing Opportunities" seminar at the Orvis event. One of our most frequently asked questions is, "Where can I go fishing?" If you are looking for access to public waters I recommend beginning with our website, www.HuntFishVA.com, then click on "Fishing" where you will find the "Where to Fish" section. Here you can click on Lakes or Rivers & Streams and select the body of water by name or search by locality. The pages for each body of water include overview information, maps & directions, fishing opportunities, biologist reports, regulations, facilities and more. This is an invaluable resource to prepare for a fishing trip to a new location or to learn more about a place you have fished for years.

A mandatory item for anglers includes the DeLorme Virginia Atlas and Gazetteer. This topographic map book comes in handy for navigating to fishing locations, but also can reveal tough to find access points along a river or stream. Once you have selected your fishing spot, be sure to check it out on Google Earth. You will be amazed at how much you can learn about a body of water from an overhead view: sandbars, rocky shoals, riffles, laydown trees, docks and even shallow underwater stumps can be found with this tool.

The big key is to just go and get started and then go again! The more times you frequent a place the better you will learn it and figure out how to catch fish at that location. During down times or poor weather, take your map and do a reconnaissance trip, you will then be better prepared to return and fish when the conditions are right. Conduct an internet search of the body of water, you may find websites, forums or message boards that can be very helpful. You may also find a club or group that you can join in with; networking is a tremendous help in learning about fishing.

Now is a great time to ask, "Where can I go fishing?" There is less competition on the water as many are trading in the rod for the gun and the woods. Recreational boating has slowed down, the weather is cooling and the leaves are changing; it's a wonderful time to go fishing!

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

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

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

Sarah White's Notebook

Regional River and Lake Reports on Fishing Conditions

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

Region 1 - Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. Last week was slow on the creek, the water clarity has improved, it is at 15 ft. with a temperature of 82. Lots of pickerel were caught, along with small bass averaging 2 to 3 lbs. Most were holding on shore line cover; try worms or a crankbait. A couple fell to spinner baits, and some are still being caught trolling deep running crankbaits mid lake, with shad colors working best. The herring are still hard to find so don't plan on free swimming them on the points. Some bluegills were taken on red wigglers. Crappie were hard to find, but 2 or 3 showed up in the 10 to 12 in. range. With the dropping temperatures, the bass will get larger and numbers will improve. We have to fish till we find them.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107, www.gloucesterva.info. Contributed by Park Supervisor Blair Evans. Bass anglers have been reporting good fishing during the earlier part of the day. The lake still has a good amount of grass and it sounds like the best plan of action is to fish around the grass. We have not heard any reports from crappie anglers and there were no notable catches from the past week. The water is 75 degrees at full pool and slightly stained.

Beaverdam Park's last tournament of the year will be held on Saturday October the 15th. The top twenty teams from the Big Bash Tournament series will compete for top angler. For more information, visit our website or call the park at (804) 693-2107. Park Hours: October: 7:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., November: 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Cat Point Creek: Contributed by our new reporter Penn Burke of Spring Shad Charters (804) 354-3200. No report this edition.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. Captain Jim says that speckled trout can be found at Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets and in the Elizabeth River. They are going for Fishbite and Mirrolures. Rockfish season has started, but you may only keep 2 and they must be 18 inches or larger. They are hanging out around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel near the Islands and the Tubes. Bucktails are a good bet for these fish. Spot and croakers are at the mouths of the James and York rivers, and also Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets. They are attacking Fishbite and blood worms. Bluefish have come to Cape Henry and are hitting spoons. The water is 66 degrees and fairly clear.

Back Bay: Local angler Tom Deans. No report this edition.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown reports that bass action is good, with shadowlures, top-waters and Senko's Baby Bass being the lures of choice. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs. Lots of good sized cats are coming in on live eel and cut bait. Bluegill are being extremely cooperative when offered a red wiggler. No word on perch. The water is slightly stained and in the low 70s.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins told me that the bass bite is really good just now, with some 4 lb. lunkers coming in. Good lures are top-waters, cranks, spinners and dark colored plastics. Crappie action is starting to heat up and should get even better. Try minnows and jigs. No word on cats, but they are out there. Both white and yellow perch are going for jigs, small spinners and night crawlers. Bluegill are plentiful and easy to land with red wigglers, crickets and popping bugs. The water is clear and in the 60s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon says that bass are biting plastics and top-waters early and late. The crappie bite is picking up well, with the slabs biting minnows and jigs. Cats are hungry and will go for just about anything. White perch have gone. Bream action is slow, but try a small worm. The water is clear and cooling.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 2nd through the 4th on the Nottoway below the Narrows. The water was clear, fast, high at 9.5 on the United States Geological Survey gauge in Sebrell and 63 degrees. I saw no water quality issues other than the piles of trash. This was my first land-based trip of the year and I was so happy for the chilly cool weather which seemed to defeat the skeeters pretty well out there. The fishing on this trip was not good, at least for casting anyway. I only caught four really small bass. I did set limb-lines one night and caught two nice channel cats to 5 pounds. I also caught two blue cats, one was 19 pounds and the other was a monster 30 pounder!

I also found an abandoned turtle trap. The trap contained both live and dead turtles. I contacted VDGIF and was told to destroy the unmarked device and release the remainder of the live turtles, which I did. VDGIF Conservation Police Office Lt. Scott Naff advises, "Traps should be used responsibly and checked in accordance with regulations. Not abiding by the regulations can result in the unnecessary death of fish and wildlife. If you find one of these traps that does not have the trappers identification, or appears to be abandoned, call the nearest VDGIF office and report it as Jeff did so it can be removed so as not to harm wildlife not intended to be harvested."

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike reports that crappie are really hot just now. Glow head jigs and Triple Ripple Grubs (green with a chartreuse or white tail) have landed him some 13 inchers that weighed in at almost 2 lbs. They were caught 6 to 7 feet down. Cats are going for live and cut shad. Bass are taking top-waters in the evening. The water is 69 degrees and cooling, and is clear.

Region 2 - Southside

Lake Gordon: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. After the eventful trip to Brunswick Lake, I made sure the full charge light was on the battery charger before heading to Lake Gordon in search of something to put into the frying pan. I did take time to hook up the old charger to the spare battery to make sure it was at full charge before heading out. I arrived at the lake around 11:30 to find the lake water a brownish green with visibility to about 3 feet. I launched the boat and dropped the trolling motor in to the water and tried to head out, nothing happened, I had already had the battery go dead in the wireless control for the trolling motor once before so I was sure it had happened again. I spent about 10 minutes looking for the spare battery and installing it but still the motor would not come on. I was starting to feel a little disappointed about now and thought it was time to push the button on the trolling motor to see the state of the battery. I now know what happened on Brunswick Lake, the battery was totally dead, my fancy automatic battery charger had got me again showing full charge and cutting off and not charging. Only manual chargers for me from now on. I put the spare trolling motor in the water and tried fishing for the rest of the day. I said tried fishing, because I used almost every color twister tail I could think of as well as every technique I knew and only caught two fish, one 9 inch crappie and one 9 inch white perch. I am not sure if the fish were on holiday or they relocated or were lost when the water was lost out of the lake this spring. I may try the lake one more time before making up my final thought. I did see a lot of small fry along the shore line so there is hope.

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

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. The James is low and gin clear. It's running at 2.7 feet and 1170 CFS. The water temperature is 66 degrees. The smallmouths are still feeding on soft plastics, crankbaits and jigs. Fly anglers are having success with streamers and crayfish patterns. Start with the biggest streamer you have and work your way down if needed. Most of the fish are found off the banks in the shelves and ledges with some depth.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Brandon Gray told me that bass action is "decent", try small cranks in the shallows and near rocky points. The crappie bite is improving and should only get better. Your best bet is to try minnows and jigs around bridge pilings and brush piles. Cats are biting around the Clarksville part of the reservoir and like jumbo shiners, live bream, live crappie and cut bait. No word on perch or bluegill. Some stripers were landed near Clarksville on live bait. The water is in the high 60s to low 70s and clear.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. According to Tom Reisdorf, smallie fishing is "not too bad". The fish are going deeper and responding to minnow imitations. Rainbows and browns in the Jackson are active and going for cinnamon colored ants. Brookies in the mountains are going into their spawning pattern and should be left alone (I think we all want to be left alone while spawning.) The water is clear and cooling.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski reports that bass fishing is okay, with the backs of creeks and coves, around stumps and at the edge of grass being good places to try. Good lures are Carolina rigged plastic worms (green pumpkin is a great color choice), or top-water lures early and late. Crappie are biting well on jigs and small minnows about 5 feet down. Catfishing has been steady. Try clam snouts or chicken livers about 2 feet off the bottom. Perch are going for spinners off rocky points. Striper action has been slow, but should pick up, try trolling bucktails or silver spoons below Eaton's Ferry Bridge. Bluegill are all over the place and are attacking red wigglers. The water is clear and 68 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, www.virginiaoutdoorsman.com. No report this edition.

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 smallmouth action is good. Try pig & jigs or small jerks. Not many muskies are coming in, but things should improve soon. They will be foraging for winter so try big lures: cranks or jerks. The water is in the low 70s and clear.

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 has finally cleared and is a nice green color with about 6 ft. of visibility. Fishing has been good for everything. We boated 2 citation muskies on today's trip and one yesterday. Muskie are slamming everything. Smallies have been good on plastics and top-waters and the walleye bite is picking up with the water cooling. Water temp is 62 degrees. Get your fishin' fix in before old man winter arrives!

Top New River: We are pleased to welcome a new contributor for the New River. I'll let him introduce himself and give you his report. Hello, I am Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. I will be giving a fishing report on the sections of the New from Mouth of Wilson, Va. to double shoals (Fries). This includes 6 sections of the New (45 miles). I am a retired High School teacher and have been fishing these waters extensively for the past 6 seasons. Anything upstream of Claytor Lake is called the Upper New; we will call this section the "Top New" since it is upstream of the Ivanhoe section and the Buck and Byllsby dams. We did trips this past week on the Mouth of Wilson section and double shoals. Smallmouth were caught on Senkos, crankbaits, flukes, grubs and top-waters. Baitfish and popping bug flies are also getting the attention of the smallies. The water is remarkably clear and the autumn days have been beautiful. A couple more weeks of good smallmouth fishing can still be had. Trout stream stocking in the area started last week. These Creeks are Big Wilson, Elk, Fox, Cripple and Chestnut.

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

Region 4 - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. No report this edition.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local anger Bill Uzzell. Lake Moomaw is still in a fall transitional state with both largemouth and smallmouth bass relatively active although fishing was a little tougher this week due to the high pressure system that is hanging on. Great weather for humans but not as much for fish. Crankbaits seem to be getting more attention as the bass are aggressively feeding on the alewife shad that inhabit the lake. Dragging a jig is also getting some results; 3/8 to 1/2oz black/blue and pumpkin shades with some type of twin tail trailer. I did not hear of a strong top water bite this week; probably consistent with the weather conditions we had most of the week. On a personal note, I had some success with a drop shot near the 25 foot level. You can see the fish on sonar, just get some type of bait to them and they will eventually eat. The lake is 16 feet low, so again, be careful. Coles Point ramp is out of the water so you will have to launch at Fortney Branch (use the ramp closest to the dock) or Bolar ramp in Bath County. Water temperature is hovering around 65 degrees.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Puff is busy fishing, and getting ready for bow season starting October 1 in the Highlands. Check his website for the latest news on fishing conditions and what's biting. Also check his site if interested in a great deer or fall turkey hunting experience.

Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore (Wade Fishing River Guidebooks covering the: Rappahannock, Rapidan, Upper Potomac, North Branch Potomac; Blog: SwitchFisher.com) All of the area rivers continue to run high as result of the recent rain. The Upper Potomac and Rappahannock, as of last weekend, were both unsafe for wading, but okay for boating. Kayak and canoe enthusiasts should have a great time on the Rappahannock! The Rapidan is within margins. Looking ahead, the coming weekend should be pretty good as we draw down on the end of the smallmouth season. Those aggressive fish should be feeding vigorously as they start to move to their winter holes with the cooler weather. With the start of the trout stocking season, it's time to switch focus to that species. The Robinson River was stocked last week and I anticipate we will get more this week.

Lunga Reservoir and Rappahannock River: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. Lunga Reservoir water level continues to be high with the temperature dropping into the low 60 degree range and the clarity maintaining its relative murkiness with visibility from the surface only about one to two feet in depth. Another key note for Lunga is the "range flags" that have been flying for the last few weekends, which means boats have not been able to move beyond the safety buoys on the main reservoir due to range safety fans for the ongoing military training and contract demolitions. It's unfortunate, but our military's preparedness is paramount and one of the understandable trade offs for those who enjoy fishing on Quantico. However, my son and I were still able to enjoy some early morning fishing trips the last two weekends, where we found the fishing is definitely slowing down with the temperature drop. The chain pickerel are more active and cruising the weedy flats and drop offs where they are hitting our slow trolling shad-colored crank baits in about 5 to 8 feet of water, along with some nice crappie and a few small largemouth bass and yellow perch. Lastly, we have pulled in a few medium-size largemouth bass in some of the shallow bays on small top water Pop'Rs and slow moving small jerk baits...but it seems the lunkers are already moving to deeper water. Still greatly enjoyed the sunrise, waterfowl and critters moving along the shore...so a "bad" day fishing is just fine with me!

We took a quick trip south to try our luck on catfish on the lower Rappahannock River, south of Fredericksburg. We went in at sunrise at the Little Falls boat ramp on Columbus Day, but only caught one small catfish in three hours of fishing. The water was high and murky with what appeared to be a slow downstream tide flow...and plenty of debris throughout the river. We fished the bottom with shrimp and Power Baits (blood and liver), with the small cat taking one of the shrimp. Nice sunrise...but no good filets for the dinner table. Maybe next time!?

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. Angler's Landing is closing for the winter and will reopen in March.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service, (540) 894-9144. No report this edition.

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 fishing_report@hotmail.com.

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

View video about the snakehead

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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

This summer a recent Radford University graduate got the chance of a lifetime to compete at the 2011 Grand American Trapshooting Championships in Sparta, IL. Will Pearce competed as an individual in the Graduate category and scored two perfect 100 clay s broken in two consecutive rounds. Will is 22 years old and a recent graduate of Radford University. He has only been shooting competitive trap for about a year and a half, although he has competed in the shooting sports about 12 years. While at Radford, Will shot with the Skeet & Trap Club and competed in all the events at the ACUI Collegiate Nationals in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, Will earned "C" Class Champion at the Virginia Sporting Clays Championship and was a member of the NSCA Virginia All-State Team. He competed with the Appomattox 4-H Shooting Education Club in local, state and national events until he aged out at 19, and continues to support the shooting sports as a 4-H Shotgun Instructor volunteer. Will's parents Jon and Jaye Pearce from Red House are both volunteer Hunter Education Instructors and participate in many youth oriented programs to memtor a new generation of hunters and competitive shooters.

Passion for Shooting Competition Leads to National Championship for Will Pearce

In August, the Amateur Trap Association presented the 2011 Grand American Trapshooting Championships in Sparta, IL. This trap shoot consists of 22 events throughout the 10 days. The 2011 AIM Grand Championships, which is the ATA's youth group of shooters was held August 6h and 7th. This year, there were 1,026 young shooters from around the country. Virginia's own, Will Pearce competed as an individual in the Graduate category and broke 100 targets on Saturday of the event. After the day's shooting, the youth were treated to the Beretta exhibition shoot featuring Scott Robertson, nineteen-time All American. www.scottrobertson.biz. Robertson called the 5 shooters down from the bleachers that had run 100 straight that day, and introduced them to the crowd. Robertson signed each hat and then had their hat shot (a trapshooting tradition when a straight is shot). These shooters wore them proudly on Day 2 of the event.

On Sunday the temperatures soared and so did the intensity of the shooting. Will was able to continue his performance and again broke 100 targets. He became the Graduate Category National Champion and was the only competitor to shoot a perfect score, 200x200, in the 2011 AIM Grand Championships.

On Monday, the shooting continued and Will competed in 10 events throughout the week, landing him in three different shoot-offs. On Thursday, he shot in the Champion of Champions which is an invitational shoot. In July, he won the Virginia Singles Champion title in the Virginia State Trap Shoot making him eligible to compete in this exclusive event. He shot 99 out of 100 targets but was unable to place in the top three shooter spots.

At the end of the week, Will had earned the AA Champion title in International Trap. After two rounds of shoot-offs he became the Runner- Up Champion, for his yardage, in the Grand American Handicap event presented by Remington. It was an exciting week for a talented young man.

For information about the ATA or the AIM program, contact B. D. Wood at aimvirginia@yahoo.com or go to www.AIM4ATA.com, www.shootata.com, or www.vatrap.com

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: