In this edition:

Celebrate Freedom Responsibly

This June 27th edition of the Outdoor Report posts just after Fathers Day and just before the 4th of July Independence Day holiday. These two holidays have special meaning to all of us who enjoy and appreciate our rich outdoor traditions of hunting, fishing, boating, and seeking adventure and inspiration in our wonderful wild places. We have some great stories of families sharing outdoor adventures that may give you some ideas for future summer outings. As we prepare to celebrate our Nation's birth of freedom July 4th, remember that with freedom also comes responsibility. Do your part to ensure our freedom to pursue our great outdoor traditions is not jeopardized by irresponsible actions of a few.

Safety and courtesy are free, use them generously as you share the outdoors with others. Our Conservation Police Officers will be concentrating efforts to enforce Boating Under the Influence (BUI) to protect responsible boaters and anglers from those who act irresponsibly and break the law. Remember they are there to protect your freedom to enjoy the outdoors - support them in their important work by setting a good example and seeing that others around you do their share to enjoy the outdoors safely and responsibly.

David Coffman, Editor

Two New K9 Teams Added to VDGIF Law Enforcement

To address the demands of the public in providing a comprehensive list of services, VDGIF developed a K9 investigative team within the Law Enforcement Division over a year ago. In partnership with the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia, three K9 units were placed into service in May 2011. The program was so successful in its first year of operation, with numerous arrests and lost/missing persons found, that two more K9 units were added this past May. The Department's K9 program officially grew by two units with a graduation ceremony on May 1, 2012 at VDGIF Headquarters in Richmond. Senior Conservation Police Officer Frank Spuchesi with his partner "Comet" and Senior Conservation Police Officer Wes Billings and partner "Josie" received their Certificates of Completion in Wildlife Detection, Tracking, and Evidence Recovery from Agency Director Bob Duncan. The two new K9 Teams will be assigned to Region 3 in Southwest Virginia and northeastern portion of Region 4 in Frederickksburg. With the addition of the two teams all geographical and administrative regions are covered more effectively thus reducing response time to incidents – time being a critical factor in many instances.

The first three K9 Team members introduced over a year ago included: from Portsmouth in Tidewater region, Conservation Officer Megan Vick and her partner Jake; from Appomattox County in Central Virginia, Senior Officer Richard Howald and his partner Scout; and from Rockingham County in Western Virginia, Senior Officer Wayne Billhimer and his partner Justice. All of the dogs are Labrador Retrievers, and underwent intensive training before joining their handlers working the woods and waters of Virginia. The K9 teams all focus on wildlife-related activity, including wildlife detection, tracking, and article recovery. They have had much success already, and will be invaluable to the law enforcement and educational efforts of VDGIF.

The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia has partnered with VDGIF on this special initiative. Your tax-deductible donation to the Wildlife K9 Team will help provide food and veterinary care for these great dogs. Make a Donation to the K9 Team at:

For more information visit the Law Enforcement section on our website. There is also a feature article in the June 2012 edition of Virginia Wildlife Magazine, "Canines On A Mission", by Clarke C. Jones. Watch for updates in the Outdoor Report on events where you can meet members of the new K9 Team and see demonstrations of their remarkable skills used in enforcement of wildlife laws and search and rescue. Their activities are featured in the K9 Team Update in the Virginia Conservation Police Notebook section of each Outdoor Report.

Get Updates on Elk Released in Buchanan County for Restoration

Virginia history was made on May 18, 2012 when a small herd of 11 elk were released in Buchanan County, by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries with assistance from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Another seven elk were relocated to Virginia from Kentucky on May 24th. VDGIF Region 3 Southwest Virginia Wildlife Resources Bureau Manager Allen Boynton reports, "There has been a lot of interest in this historic elk restoration effort from a large constituency of people and organizations from all over the United States. Especially members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, both locally and throughout the nation have called to get updates on the new Virginia transplants and how they are doing and how far have they moved from the release site near Vansant." Because of the volume of inquiries and requests for updates on the new elk herd, the Wildlife Bureau Staff will be preparing bi-weekly updates to be posted exclusively in each edition of the Outdoor Report. VDGIF Outreach Manager Lee Walker and Wildlife Bureau Resources Director David Whitehurst commented that using the Outdoor Report for posting the elk restoration updates is a more effective means to keep our constituents informed and allows for a single source of information that can be accessed through the website. The Outdoor Report also contains companion information on wildlife related subjects of interest to a broad array of readers.

Continue to the Habitat Tips section for this edition's update on the Elk Restoration Program in Buchanan County...

Grants Available to Localities for Public Boating Access Facilities

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries announces the availability of boating access grants beginning July 1, 2012 and is currently accepting applications. Eligible to receive grants are Virginia localities (counties, cities, and towns). The purpose of the grants is to assist localities in providing public opportunities for boating through new facilities development and/or renovations and improvements to existing public boating access facilities. For more details, go online to to download the following information:

Recreational boating is a popular activity and there are approximately 250,000 registered boats in Virginia. Many more boats—canoes and kayaks—that are not registered use existing facilities and are in need of additional sites. This grant program provides up to 75% of the approved project costs to construct or renovate boating access facilities for both trailered and smaller, hand-launched boats. Applications are due no later than October 1, 2012; grants will be awarded by January 1, 2013. Funds will be provided on a reimbursement basis.

For more information, contact Steve Kesler at, office phone (804) 561-1447, or cell phone (804) 840-9493

Boating Safety Education Law Requires All PWC Operators, Boaters Age 30 and Younger to Take Safety Courses

Before you head out on the water, take a boating safety course! Virginia's Boating Safety Education Compliance Requirement states boaters must take a boating safety education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and accepted by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF). The requirement has been phased-in by age group and category since 2009 and will continue to be phased-in over the next several years.

Currently, PWC (jet ski) operators age 50 and younger and motorboat operators 20 and younger who operate boats with motors of 10 horsepower and greater must complete a boating safety education course and have such proof in their possession while operating a boat or PWC.

On July 1, 2012, the law requires all PWC operators, and motorboat operators age 30 and younger who operate boats with motors of 10 horsepower and greater to have completed a boating safety education course and carry such proof in their possession while operating the vessel.

Boaters can take a classroom course, an internet course, or a challenge exam to meet the requirement. Classroom courses are taught by volunteer instructors throughout the state. There are several internet courses that are accepted by the VDGIF. Once you take a course, carry your course completion certificate or wallet card with you while operating a PWC or motorboat.

For boaters who have taken a boating safety course in the past, our optional Lifetime Virginia Boating Safety Education Card is available. This durable, driver's license-styled card is available for a fee of $10.00. You can get an application by visiting our website.

To learn more about boating laws in Virginia, and about boating safety education courses, visit the Department's website. Remember, everyone wants to have a safe, enjoyable day on the water. Do your part by wearing your life jacket and taking a boating safety education course. Be responsible, be safe, and have fun on the water!

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Kids Fishing Day Events Provide Family Fun

More than 40 Kids Fishing Days are being planned state wide by various organizations in partnership with VDGIF. These events are an enjoyable time for the family and a great opportunity to introduce kids to fishing in a fun atmosphere. There are events every weekend statewide through June. For detailed information on dates, locations, times and contacts, see the Kids Fishing Days schedule to find one near you! Catch the fun! Take a kid fishin'. For details, check the Kids Fishing Days calendar on our website.

Waterfowl Predator Management Workshops Scheduled Statewide in June

The Virginia Waterfowlers' Association (VAWFA), Virginia National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and Virginia Trapper's Association (VTA) in partnership with VDGIF will be hosting four Predator Management Workshops throughout the state this May-June. These educational component workshops are developed for the general public and will be conducted free at both Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain stores. These workshops will benefit sportsmen and landowners who want to know more about managing wildlife and reducing predator numbers. There will also be opportunities for HANDS-ON educational workshops with trapping equipment provided by the Virginia Trappers Association. Workshops are scheduled as follows:

For scheduled times and additional information visit the Virginia Trapper's Association website, or the Virginia Waterfowlers' Association website.

Todd Cocker, Executive Director for the VAWFA notes this is the third year for these unique, hands -on predator management workshops with over 320 participants thus far. Steve Colvin, President for VTA advises that one of the benefits of the workshops is that it gives non-hunting participants an opportunity to address their issues and concerns and gain education and training from professionals on the purpose/benefits of predator management. VDGIF Furbearer Biologist Mike Fies commented that these workshops provide a unique partnership among the four organizations to combine resources and reach new constituents and address concerns by trappers, landowners and concerned citizens. Volunteers from the VDGIF Complementary Workforce will be on hand at the workshops to distribute educational and training materials.

Friends of Phelps Wildlife Management Host Events in June - July

The Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA have a scheduled meeting on Wednesday, June 27 at 7 pm with a presentation on the snakes of Virginia. The group will meet at the Sumerduck Ruritan Club at 5335 Sumerduck Road, Sumerduck, VA 22742. On July 18 the Friends group will meet at 7 pm at the Phelps Work Center for a pizza dinner with Hiking and Orientation Class afterwards. On August 25 a Work Day is planned at Phelps Work Center at 8 am (rain date August 26). To view what the Friends group has been doing, visit the Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA on Facebook at Friends of C.F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area and see photos of our Work Day and Tour of Phelps. For more information on the Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA or to be added to the distribution list for meeting reminders and notes, contact Patricia Wood at or

Bowhunting Skills Workshop Hosted by Augusta Archers June 30
CANCELLED – Due to Low Registration and High Heat Advisory

The experienced archers from Augusta Archers Club and certified VDGIF volunteer instructors will offer sessions on the "Basics of Bowhunting" at the Augusta Archers Club in Staunton June 30 from 9 amto 5 pm. This exciting workshop is for youth and adults who want to learn the skills of Bowhunting. Topics covered include archery equipment and accessories, treestand safety, game animal ID, ethical shot placement, an archery challenge course on the 3-D range and many other exciting topics. Archery experience is not a requirement. Pre-registration is required. Contact Linda Layser to pre-register or for more information at 540-490-0353.

Virginia Trappers Host Annual Sports Show July 13-15 in Orange

The Virginia Trappers Association is hosting their annual Convention and Sportsmen's Show at the Orange County Airport, near the town of Orange July 13-15, 2012. Whether you are an experienced or novice trapper, this event is one that you won't want to miss. There are workshops, exhibits, trapping supplies for sale and lots of experienced trappers to share information with you. The VTA Convention is a great place to meet with other trappers and VDGIF staff to learn about trapping regulations and gain additional trapping skills. For details visit the Virginia Trappers Association website or contact Art Foltz;, (540) 630-1756 or Ed Crebbs;, (540) 832-270.

Land Navigation Workshop at Holiday Lake 4-H Center July 13-15

Learn to navigate the woods of Virginia with a Map & Compass, or GPS at the Land Navigation Workshop at the Holiday Lake 4H Education Center near Appomattox July 13-15, 2012. The event begins with the basics of navigation and progresses rapidly to more advanced electronic GPS. Gain the skills and confidence you need to venture into the wilderness and more importantly return home. All of this plus lodging and GREAT meals for $120.00 per person. To register contact: or 877-614-5289.

Woman's Outdoor Weekend "W.O.W." at Holiday Lake 4-H Center August 3-5

Come enjoy the weekend in a beautiful lakeside setting while learning the outdoor skills you've always wanted to master during the Woman's Outdoor Weekend "W.O.W.", August 3-5, 2012, at the Holiday Lake 4H Education Center near Appomattox. Each participant gets they're choice of 3 courses presented in a 4-hour session. Course options include: Hiking, Wilderness Survival, Outdoor First Aid, Kayaking, Outdoor Cooking, High Ropes, Canning, Canoeing, Rifle, Shotgun, Animal Tracking, Camouflage, Map & Compass, Wild Edibles, Nature Crafts, Archery, Bread Making, Climbing Wall, Stream Ecology and Amphibians & Reptiles. The entire weekend includes meals, lodging and all instruction for only $150.00 per person! This is the "DON'T MISS" event of the year! To register contact : or call 877-614-5289.

"Connecting People to Great Traditions" Natural Resources Night Out Celebrated at Richmond Flying Squirrels Game July 20

Come join The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia, Bass Pro Shops, Responsive Management and VDGIF at the Richmond Flying Squirrels vs. Akron Aeros baseball game on Friday evening July 20, 2012 at The Diamond. "Connecting People to Great Traditions" Natural Resources Night Out will celebrate the great outdoors through educational venues, on-the-field games, fan interactions, giveaways for all and more. It is also "sleepover night on the field" for the Scouts so the celebration gets even bigger! You don't want to miss this game with the introduction of the VDGIF's newest Wildlife K9 Units and The Floating Fishing School new pontoon boat sponsored by Bass Pro Shops and featured exhibits from Law Enforcement, Boating Safety, Hunter Education, Outdoor Report free subscription sign up, and much more. Also, Bass Pro Shops is providing 2,000 Kevin Van Dam fishing lures as a giveaway to fans attending the game.

So, "Let's root, root, root for the home team, If they don't win it's a shame. For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out, if we don't see you at the game!" Let's show our spirit and support those great American traditions like fishing, hunting and baseball! Visit the Richmond Flying Squirrels website for tickets or contact Tom Wilcox, VDGIF, at 804.367.6892 or for event details.

There is Still Room for the July 25 and August 8 Flatout Catfish Workshops - Register Today!

Would you like to learn the secrets of catching Flathead Catfish on the James River? Join DGIF Angling Education and Captain Mike Ostrander for a day of instruction and fishing on the James River at Pony Pasture in Richmond (8 AM - 4 PM). Workshop involves wading in the river and terrain can be challenging. Tackle, bait and lunch is provided. For ages 16 and older. To register, contact Chris Dunnavant by email,, or by phone, 804-367-6778. Provide participant names, address, email address, phone numbers, and date of birth. Cost is $35 per person. Payment instructions for credit card or check will be provided at time of registration. Registration is limited, deadline is July 11.

29th Annual Sportsman Show Returns to Richmond Raceway Complex August 10-12

The 29th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show features a lot of new, exciting exhibits and demonstrations this year returning to the Richmond Raceway Complex! There's plenty of parking, more space for the 300 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places and techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. At the three-day show August 10-12, 2012, Conservation Police Officers and Wildlife Biologists will be on hand to answer all your hunting, fishing and wildlife information questions. DMV Direct van will be on-site so you can conveniently purchase your hunting and fishing licenses, or the new 2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar, even title a boat or other DMV business. Pick up your free copy of the new 2012-2013 Hunting Regulations & Information booklet that features descriptions of new regulations and opportunities to enhance your hunting experience this season. The new Wildlife K-9 Team will be there to demonstrate their unique skills assisting officers in wildlife investigations and search and rescue.

Hunting SAFELY & RESPONSIBLY is always foremost when afield. Hunter Education Instructors will have exhibits and demonstrations on safe firearms handling, tree stand use, waterfowl hunting and safety reminders for both experienced and novice hunters. This is your chance to see the biggest bucks harvested in Virginia. Deer hunters throughout Virginia will bring their mounts to this prestigious contest, organized by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA). The Virginia Open Turkey Calling Championship will be held on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. sanctioned by the National Wild Turkey Federation. Celebrity guests include Lee & Tiffany, hosts of The Crush on the Outdoor Channel. Show Manager and Founder Hugh Crittenden notes he is giving away a special door prize- a 6-day pre-rut Kansas Bow Hunt valued at $2950 with Midwest Finest Whitetails! You must come to the Show to enter. Check the Show's website for information and to view videos on numerous seminars, exhibits, demonstrations, sportsmen celebrities, and contests.

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

Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center Now Affiliate of Virginia Museum of Natural History

The Living Off the Land exhibit opens Saturday June 16 at the Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center located on Rt 151 near Nellysford in Nelson County Learn how the Indians, early settlers, and present day hunters "live off the land." Meet Rocky, the bear, and his animal friends. Feel animal pelts and other hands on exhibits. Sit in a dugout canoe. See how the Indians and later 21st century hunters used camouflage to hide themselves as they hunted turkey, deer, and other wild game for food. For more information, contact or call 434-361-0271.

The Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center is now an affiliate of the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH), providing both institutions with a variety of partnership benefits and collaborative opportunities. The Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center is located in Nellysford, Nelson County, Virginia. As the state museum of natural history for Virginia, VMNH serves all citizens of the Commonwealth through exhibits, education programs, scientific research and collections, and partnerships with other institutions. The VMNH affiliation program further advances the museum's statewide mission. "This agreement allows VMNH to reach audiences with our exhibits and programs much more efficiently," said Dr. Joe B. Keiper, executive director of VMNH. "We can also bring to bear the state's natural history collections to support the missions of both organizations."

People and Partners in the News

13th Annual Children's Fishing Carnival Held in Botetourt

On Saturday, June 2, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Shannon Smith participated in the 13th annual Botetourt Children's Fishing Carnival. This event is organized by VDGIF and the Botetourt Recreation Department staff. Events, exhibits, and contests included: trout tanks for 6 and under, fishing on the James River, a casting contest, a fish facts quiz, coloring contest, goldfish eating contest [the cracker kind we hope!], Trout Unlimited with hands on fly casting instruction, NWTF with an airgun range staffed by 4H shooting sports members, Natural Bridge Zoo, Lowes with hands on project kits, local fire and rescue squad exhibits, and over 350 door prizes. The event, which was free of charge, included a hot dog lunch for all participants and accompanying adults. In attendance for the festivities were approximately 485 children and 632 adults.

Bedford County Kids Fishing Clinic Held at Smith Mountain Lake

On Saturday, June 2, 2012, at Smith Mountain Lake State Park, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries participated in the annual Bedford County Youth Fishing Clinic. Other sponsoring groups and organizations for this event are the Bedford County Parks and Recreation Department, Wal-Mart, Smith Mountain Lake State Park, Smith Mountain Lake Bass Masters, Smith Mountain Lake Stripers Club, Friends of Smith Mountain Lake State Park, and the Bedford Moose Lodge. The event was well received by the residents of Bedford County and City as over 120 kids, ages 6 through 14 years old, and their parents attended the free event.

CPO Beth Harold Assists Highland NWTF Wheeling Sportsmen's Event

May 19, 2012 Virginia Conservation Officer Beth Harold assisted at the Highland National Wild Turkey Federation Wheeling Sportsmen's Event. Over 100 fish were filleted by Officer Harold and NWTF member Jeff Hilbert for the handicapped fishermen and women. The other members and the sportsmen were very appreciative of the work Officer Harold had put into the event.

Bale Eagle Released at Rappahannock Valley National Wildlife Refuge

On Thursday, June 7, a rehabilitated bald eagle was released back into the wild at the Rappahannock Valley NWR. This was a 3-year-old juvenile bald eagle that had been rehabilitated at The Wildlife Center in Waynesboro, and the third in a series of 3 eagle releases held in June. Ed Clarke, President and Co-founder of the Center released the bird noted the great partnership between natural resource agencies, sponsors and rehabilitators that made these successful releases possible. For more information visit The Wildlife Center of Virginia website or VDGIF on eagles.

Public Comment Period May 1 - August 4, 2012 on Proposed Regulation Amendments

Proposed Regulation Amendments

The Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries, pursuant to §§ 29.1-103, 29.1-501, 29.1-502, and 29.1-701 of the Code of Virginia, proposed the below amendments to the Commonwealth's fisheries, wildlife diversity (nongame), boating, and ADA-related land access regulations.

A public comment period on the regulatory proposals opened May 1, 2012 and closes at 5:00 PM on August 4, 2012. The Board will consider the proposals for possible adoption as final regulation amendments at its August 14, 2012 meeting. Written comments on the proposed regulation amendments should be submitted online at, or may be emailed to or postal mailed to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Attn. Policy Analyst and Regulatory Coordinator, 4016 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23230, and received no later than August 4, 2012.

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 and skill building workshops throughout the year. 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

In recognition of the yearlong celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR), we are featuring the VDGIF partner organizations that support our Mission. WSFR is one of the most significant and successful partnership approaches to fish and wildlife conservation in U.S. history. The "WSFR 75 - It's Your Nature" celebration brings together federal and state fish and wildlife agencies; the hunting, shooting, angling, and boating industries; and conservation groups to mark a milestone of partnership success that has led quality wildlife-related outdoor opportunities. This also marks the beginning of a new era in wildlife conservation, during which the partners will establish new goals for fostering and maintaining partnerships to continue conservation and outdoor recreation into the next 75 years and beyond.

The VDGIF is pleased and honored to have the support of numerous non-profit conservation organizations, outdoor industries and local businesses 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, outdoor 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."

John Obolewicz Wins Duck Stamp Contest 2012 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Available July 1

On July 1, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) will begin selling the 2012 Virginia State Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp. The artwork for the stamp, painted by John Obolewicz, is entitled "Buffleheads at Cape Henry Light" and depicts a pair of bufflehead ducks arching up with outspread wings on the water, with the lighthouses at Cape Henry in the background.

Obolewicz's painting was selected by a judging panel made up of VDGIF staff and representatives from the Northern Virginia Chapter of Delta Waterfowl; Waterfowl USA; Virginia Ducks Unlimited; and Virginia Waterfowlers Association. All submitted entries were produced by Virginia artists.

John Obolewicz grew up in Sullivan County, New York, a place rich in woodlands, lakes, and near the Delaware River, which he describes as nature's schoolroom where he learned a love of the outdoors and a desire to capture its beauty in paintings. He is a graduate of New Paltz State College in New York, with an Honors Bachelor's of Fine Art degree in painting. His paintings have won numerous honors, Best in Show, First place awards, prizes and ribbons in shows from Connecticut to South Carolina. His paintings have been successful auction items for Ducks Unlimited, the Ruffed Grouse Society, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the North American Hunter Retriever Association. This is the second time that Obolewicz has been selected as the winning artist for the Virginia Waterfowl Conservation Stamp. In 2009 he won the Virginia State Duck Stamp Competition with a painting depicting a drake, ring-neck duck stretching its wings with a duck blind and decoy in the background.

Obolewicz specializes in watercolors, yet his versatility is shown in paintings of landscapes, old farms, hunting and fishing scenes, wildlife, and dog and horse portraits. Among his commissions he has done historic homes as well as the categories above.

In keeping with his love of the outdoors, John Obolewicz is an avid sportsman who enjoys fishing, hunting, golf, skiing, and boating. He and his wife Barbara and their daughter Haley reside in Powhatan, Virginia where he maintains his studio.

A Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp is required of all persons (unless license exempt) 16 years of age and older hunting or taking any migratory waterfowl (ducks, geese, brant and swans) within the Commonwealth.

The annual Stamp can be purchased for a fee of $10.00 (resident or non-resident) at license agents or clerks that sell Virginia hunting licenses or from the Department's website. Stamp collectors who would like the 2012 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Collectors Stamp and/or print with artwork by John Obolewicz can request it by contacting Mike Hinton at

The funds generated from sales of the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp are placed in the Department's Game Protection Fund and are accounted for under a separate fund designated as the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Fund. These funds are used for three specific purposes which include; to contract with appropriate nonprofit organizations for cooperative waterfowl habitat improvement projects; to protect, preserve, restore, enhance and develop waterfowl habitat in Virginia through the department's waterfowl program; and to offset the administrative costs associated with production, issuance of, and accounting for the Stamp. Last year, 22,464 duck stamps were sold bringing in $224,640.

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

Editor's note: In the June 13th edition we posted a number of photos of the bow hunting competition at the 2012 Hunter Education Challenge held at Holiday Lake 4-H Center on May 4, 5 & 6. There were a variety of skills tested at this year's "Challenge" and after discovering photos of some of the other contests, we wanted to share them with our readers and hopefully spark interest from other young hunters to get involved in this unique and intense competition event sponsored by the VDGIF Hunter Education program.

Hunter Education Challenge Tests Variety of Skills

Thirty teams, representing 10 different counties from across the Commonwealth participated in this year's Hunter Education Challenge event. A total of 152 young sportsmen and sportswomen competed this year, a significant increase from previous years. The overall team champion in both the junior and the senior division was Powhatan County. Overall individual winners included Tripp Smith from Powhatan in the junior division, and Casey Legg from Scott County in the senior division.

First place team award honors in the junior division go to Powhatan in Outdoor Skills, Archery, Rifle and Hunter Responsibility test, with Nottoway taking first in Shotgun. In the senior division Powhatan placed first in Outdoor Skills, Hunter Responsibility Test and Rifle, with Scott County taking first place in Archery and Shotgun.

Individual award honors in Outdoor Skills go to Colton Salyer from Scott County in the junior division and Cadis Bateman from Powhatan in the senior division. In Archery, Powhatan's Tripp Smith for the junior's and Anthony Schaapman from Powhatan for the senior's. Amy Adcock of Powhatan took first place honors in the Hunter Responsibility Test in the junior division, while Kelsey Kivikko of Powhatan took senior honors. Shotgun first place honors go to Jack Smith from Powhatan in the junior division, and Michael Jennings from Scott and Aaron Jarvis from Culpepper for the seniors. Tripp Smith from Powhatan for the junior's in rifle, with teammate Dana Thomas making a perfect score and winning first place for the senior's.

As we close the books on this year's Hunter Education Challenge, special thanks go to all of the volunteer Hunter Education Instructors and VDGIF Staff for making this a "safe "and "successful" Challenge.

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

"It Takes a Hunter to Make a Hunter"

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

Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...

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

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

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

David Coffman, Editor

License Options for Novice Hunters

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

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

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

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

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Snakes Alive! Leave Snakes Alone

Snakes have been the focal point of folklore for centuries. The word "snake" itself often yields a strong emotional response ranging from awe and wonder to shock or fear. These individual responses originate from the diverse values people associate with snakes. While some people find them fascinating, others are not very fond of snakes because they do not appear and behave like any other animals we know. Additionally, there are numerous deeply rooted tales and myths about the extraordinary powers and abilities of snakes. Regardless of the source of our response, misconceptions about snakes have made them among the most feared and misunderstood of all animals. Once we begin to learn more about snakes, our misconceptions usually fade with the facts and our fears give way to curiosity.

There are many different control strategies for dealing with snakes, whether in a residence, a business setting or other occupied space. Regardless of why a snake may have entered a residence or work area, most people just want to know how to remove it. How-to information and literature on dealing with snakes is available from different sources. Under Virginia law, snakes are classified as a non-game species and are afforded protection under non-game regulations. While killing snakes is not a permitted activity, they can be taken (along with certain other species of wildlife) when classified as a "Nuisance species" (29.1-100); when found committing or about to commit depredation upon agricultural or property damage, or when concentrated in numbers and manners to constitute a health hazard or other nuisance. For example, if a blacksnake is found in your chicken coop, you have the legal right to kill it; or if a copperhead is found in your garage, you have the legal right to kill it. Basically what this means is that, for example, if a snake crawls into a chicken coop or into someone's house, the individual is allowed to take some action to protect livestock or family.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), along with many other governmental, nongovernmental agencies and private citizens, has worked diligently to dispel the belief that "the only good snake is a dead snake." Snakes play a valuable role in nature and help control insects and rodents that damage crops and carry diseases harmful to humans. Millions of dollars in crop damage is avoided every year as a result of the free pest control service that many snakes provide. In order to help citizens better understand the ecological value of snakes and identify snakes in their areas, the Department has developed "A Guide to the Snakes of Virginia". This publication covers many interesting facts regarding Virginia's snakes including their contributions to the ecosystem. This publication is available for purchase at

If you do encounter a snake in the woods, simply leave it alone, it'll get out of your way or you can walk around it. SNAKES DO NOT CHASE PEOPLE. Here are a few tips to avoid the possibility of being bitten when hiking in the woods"

  1. Stay on the trail.
  2. Watch where you place your hands and feet, and where you sit down.
  3. Do not attempt to capture snakes.

Be Aware of Lyme Disease and Prevent Tick Bites

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

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

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock Temporarily Closed to Powerboats

The VDGIF would like boaters to be aware of a problem at Mill Creek Landing in the community of Wake in Middlesex County. The landing has become sanded-in to the extent that only small johnboats, canoes, and kayaks can safely launch. Signs warning boaters have been posted at the landing to alert them of the problem, as well as a notice on the VDGIF website. John Kirk, the Region I Boating Access Maintenance Supervisor for VDGIF, wants boaters to know that the Department will be working to fix the ramp as quickly as possible, but says capital project monies will need to be budgeted for and approved before doing so, and boaters will unfortunately have to use other landings in the interim.

"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.

Public Comment Period Through August 1st for Virginia Black Bear Management Plan

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is seeking public input on its Draft Virginia Black Bear Management Plan. The comment period will run June 11th, through August 1, 2012. The original Virginia Black Bear Management Plan, first developed in 2001, is now being revised through the involvement of public stakeholders and wildlife managers. Because VDGIF's mission is "to serve the needs of the Commonwealth," it's important the process used to develop and revise the bear plan incorporates both public values (e.g., economic, sociological, and political) as well as biological considerations.

Beginning June 11, 2012, the draft plan will be available online. Members of the public will be able to review and submit comments online. Comments may also be mailed to Jaime Sajecki BBMP, VDGIF, 4010 W. Broad St, Richmond, VA 23230. The comment period ends August 1, 2012.

Guided by the VDGIF mission, the Virginia Black Bear Management Plan includes four goals that specify general directions for: (1) bear populations, (2) bear habitat, (3) bear-related recreation, and (4) human-bear interactions. Specific objectives will help guide the attainment of each goal, and potential strategies will identify how each objective will be achieved. By clarifying directions for black bear management, this plan will assist the VDGIF Board of Directors, VDGIF wildlife managers, and the public in addressing black bear issues.

Family Forestland Short-course: Focusing on Land Transfer to Generation "NEXT"

You value your forest and/or farmland for multiple reasons such as wildlife, privacy, recreation, timber, hunting or the scenic qualities. Are you prepared to pass the environmental and heirloom values rooted in your forest to the next generation? Without breaking it up? The cost of not planning is "priceless" and future tax burdens may put your land's ownership in jeopardy. If you don't plan, the Government will plan for you. By researching and planning ahead of time, you can ensure your wishes are met and minimize the financial costs and emotional challenges while securing your woodland legacy!

Join us for a hands-on workshop with free legal guidance from professionals experienced in intergenerational land transfer and landowner testimonials of estate planning steps and strategies they have used. Land may be your biggest asset. Make sure your actions support the family's values. This award winning and nationally recognized program will get you started on the right path. The two-session workshop is being held at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center in Staunton, on August 14 and 21, 2012 from 12:30 - 7:00 p.m. Participation in both days is required. Speakers include legal and financial experts experienced in estate planning as well as natural resource professionals who work with landowners to conserve land and plan the future.

Application/Registration: deadline July 31, 2012

For registration and information contact: Northern District Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Program. Tel (540) 948-6881 email:

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.

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

Look at the 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for answers to these wildlife related questions for early July:

Answers to June 13th edition quiz for nature events for late June...

Get your copy of the 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

**Don't forget that June 16, 2012 is the deadline for submitting photos to the Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest

Habitat Improvement Tips

Editors note...

Elk Restoration Plan Approved by Board of Game & Inland Fisheries...

Since the 1990's, public interest to restore elk in Virginia has increased. In response to this public interest and the success of elk restoration programs in neighboring states, the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries approved an operational plan for elk restoration and management in Virginia with consideration of biological, sociological, economic, and environmental issues. This Elk Restoration Pilot Program Plan outlined the reintroduction of elk by stocking not more than 75 elk in Buchanan County only. The goal would be to have an elk herd not to exceed 400 animals. The elk management area would include Buchanan, Dickenson and Wise counties where elk hunting would be prohibited. Hunting of elk would begin in Buchanan County within 4 years of the last elk stocking. A reserve of 20% of elk hunting tags would be held back for hunters or applicants from Buchanan County. VDGIF would organize and coordinate activities of a damage response team made up of representatives from the management area, local chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF and VDGIF, with a goal to respond to damage calls within 24 hours.

First Release May 18, 2012...

Virginia history was made on May 18, 2012 when a small herd of 11 elk were released in Buchanan County, by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries with assistance from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Another seven elk were relocated to Virginia from Kentucky on May 24th. VDGIF Region 3 Southwest Virginia Wildlife Resources Bureau Manager Allen Boynton reports, "There has been a lot of interest in this historic elk restoration effort from a large constituency of people and organizations from all over the United States. Especially members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, both locally and throughout the nation have called to get updates on the new Virginia transplants and how they are doing and how far have they moved from the release site near Vansant." Because of the volume of inquiries and requests for updates on the new elk herd, the Wildlife Bureau Staff will be preparing bi-weekly updates to be posted exclusively in each edition of the Outdoor Report. VDGIF Outreach Manager Lee Walker and Wildlife Bureau Resources Director David Whitehurst commented that using the Outdoor Report for posting the elk restoration updates is a more effective means to keep our constituents informed and allows for a single source of information that can be accessed through the website. The Outdoor Report also contains companion information on wildlife related subjects of interest to a broad array of readers.

Elk Restoration Update for June 2012

Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) biologists brought 11 elk to Virginia from southeastern Kentucky on May 18, 2012. They returned to Kentucky and brought another 7 elk to Virginia on May 24th. Sixteen of these elk had been in quarantine for disease testing since February 7th and two were calves born in quarantine. All received a clean bill of health before coming to the release area near Vansant in Buchanan County. Once in Virginia, the elk were placed in an acclimation corral to calm down before release. All adult elk wore new GPS telemetry collars so that biologists could monitor their movements following release.

Biologists released the first 11 elk on the night of May 23rd. They released elk in the second group on three different nights due to the birth of two additional calves in the acclimation corral. Two pregnant cows were released on May 29th, a pregnant cow and two cows with calves were released on May 31st, and the last cow and calf were released on June 7th.

The telemetry equipment performed well in the rough terrain, providing three locations per elk each day. Following release, all elk remained within a mile of the acclimation corral for several weeks. Elk found plentiful forage due to the reclamation work completed by the mine operators and the abundant rainfall this spring. Cows with calves had the smallest activity areas, ranging from 90 to 364-acres. Yearlings and cows without calves had larger activity areas, ranging from 556 to 1,313-acres. The two 2-year old bulls had the largest activity areas, ranging from 7,255 to 9,133-acres.

While we have seen only one calf that was born outside the acclimation corral, the telemetry data suggests that several other calves have been born. It will be later in the summer when these calves are moving more that we get an idea of how many were born. At this time we have seen five different calves, four of which were born in captivity.

Look for exclusive updates in this section of future editions of the Outdoor Report.

For more information on elk restoration in Virginia:

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.

Reports from the field officer's notebook...

Operation Dry Water: June 22-24, 2012 Results in Safer Waters

As part of Operation Dry Water: June 22-24, 2012, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Conservation Police Officers intensified efforts to detect and deter boat operators who were operating under the influence of alcohol or dangerous drugs. Learn more »

VDGIF Law enforcement Director Col. Dee Watts reports that Operation Dry Water was very successful in raising awareness among the state boaters that Boating Under the Influence (BUI) of alcohol or drugs is illegal and dangerous to all on the waterways. ODW had a very positive impact on improving boating safety and removing dangerous violators from the water.

A total of 123 Officers participated in ODW with these results:

Remember always wear your life jacket and never operate a boat or any watercraft while drinking.

CPO Joyner Rescues Elderly Man from Burning Vehicle

On May 15th, 2012 while traveling home on I-95 South in Spotsylvania County, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Joyner noticed traffic was slowing and there appeared to be smoke ahead. He moved to the right lane and noticed a Subaru on the shoulder of the highway that appeared to be on fire. Smoke was billowing from underneath the vehicle. CPO Joyner noticed there were no law enforcement or EMS at the scene, so he activated his emergency lights and called the situation in to Dispatch. As he approached the vehicle cautiously, he was startled to see an elderly man with a walker getting back into the vehicle. By this time flames were coming out from the hood area and the entire vehicle was engulfed in black smoke. CPO Joyner quickly removed the disoriented man from the area of the vehicle and confirmed with him that no one else was in the vehicle. The subject said he was on his way to McGuire's Hospital when his car "made a funny sound." When asked why he was still in the vehicle, the subject said he needed to get his money out of the sun visor. Fire and EMS had already been notified and showed up soon after CPO Joyner had the subject back at his patrol vehicle.

Region I - Tidewater

Boating Safety Presentation at Ft. Eustis... On May 24, 2012, CPO BI Bell conducted a boating safety presentation at Ft. Eustis Army Base in Newport News. CPO Bell spoke to approximately 250 soldiers during this annual base safety training day. Soldiers received instruction on boating safety requirements, new Virginia boating laws/regulations, boating education requirements, PWC safety and BUI awareness. This annual training is presented in cooperation with the Ft. Eustis staff to reduce the number of boating related injuries/accidents and to increase awareness of boating laws/regulations.

Boating Under the Influence on the Chickahominy... On Saturday May 26, 2012, CPO's from Districts 14 & 15 conducted a Boating Under the Influence checkpoint on the Chickahominy River in James City County. Over 50 vessels were stopped and their operators screened for alcohol/drug use as a proactive effort in enforcing the state's BUI law. Nearly a dozen operators were determined to have consumed alcohol and were further tested to determine their blood alcohol levels and their ability to safely operate their vessels. One BUI arrest was made by CPO Bell of a female operating a 28' Cruiser. Her BAC level was over twice the state's prescribed minimum level of intoxication of .08 percent. She was delivered to the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail and remanded to custody after the .17 BAC level on the Intoxilyzer.

Wildlife Presentation at Petsworth Elementary... On May 29, 2012, Officer Dunlevy conducted a wildlife presentation for Petsworth Elementary School. Five 45-minute presentations were conducted for grades K-4. Local wildlife was discussed with information on preferred habitat, food and interesting facts about each animal. Also discussed was the process of antler growth in whitetail deer. Examples of each animals fur and deer antlers were available for the kids to examine. Over 250 kids attended the presentations.

Kid's Fishing Day in Southampton Hosted by CPOs... On June 2, 2012, District 14 Conservation Police Officers conducted the 11th annual Kids Fishing Day at the Southampton Prison Farm. Ninety children ages 5 to 13 attended the event and enjoyed great fishing with many families participating for the first time.

CPO Featured at Career Day... On Wednesday, June 6, 2012, Senior Conservation Police Officer Ken Williams participated in the Career Day Program at the Richmond County Elementary School. The program was attended by approximately 85 students over four classes. Senior Officer Williams discussed with the students the duties of a Conservation Police Officer and the requirements that a person must meet in order to become an officer.

Too Many Stripers... On Saturday, June 9, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Rush was notified by dispatch at 1:00 a.m. that four persons were witnessed fishing at the ferry dock on the Jamestown side of the James River and keeping large numbers of striped bass. The caller witnessed one group put the coolers of fish in a vehicle and leave going towards Williamsburg while the other group got on the ferry with coolers and headed towards Surry. Officer Rush responded to the Surry side of the river and awaited the arrival of the ferry. With a vehicle description and license number, Officer Rush stopped the car and questioned the occupants as it exited the ferry. A search of the vehicle revealed fishing gear, a cooler, a grey plastic tub filled with ice, and 49 striped bass. Of the 49 striped bass, only two were of the legal possession size limit. The possession limit is 2 fish per person, per day. It was also determined from Officer Rush's investigation that neither individual had a license to fish. Charges were placed for possession of undersize striped bass, fishing without a valid license, and transporting illegal fish.

Region II – Southside

Boating Safety Presentation... CPO Edgar Huffman and CPO Scott Terry participated in a Health Fair at Franklin County High School on May 24, 2012. They had a VDGIF Patrol Boat and ATV on display and made safety presentations to over 1,000 students.

Family Fishing Clinic... On Saturday, June 2, 2012, Master Conservation Police Officer Brett Saunders and Conservation Police Officer Ryan Gibson worked the Fort Pickett "Fishing Is Fun" event held at Twin Lakes on Fort Pickett. Co-sponsored by VDGIF and the Army National Guard (ARNG MTC) Fort Pickett, this event encourages families to bring their children and introduce them to the sport of fishing. Over 150 people attended and enjoyed great fishing, prizes and free food, all provided by local businesses and the Fort Pickett MWR.

Bald Eagle Rescue... On Tuesday, June 5, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Roy Morris was contacted by the Amelia County Sheriff's Office and advised that one of their deputies was on a traffic stop and had witnessed a minivan strike a Bald Eagle. CPO Morris responded to the location and secured the Bald Eagle in a carrier with the assistance of a local rehabilitator. CPO Morris took the eagle to The Wildlife Center in Waynesboro.

Region III - Southwest

CPO Phillips Develops First Annual Pulaski Wounded Warrior Fishing Day at Claytor Lake... On June 3rd, 2012, the first annual Pulaski Wounded Warrior Fishing Day was held at Claytor Lake State Park in Pulaski County. Starting in February of 2012, Conservation Police Officer Troy Phillips was asked to consider developing an event in Pulaski County that involved the Wounded Warrior Program. On the day of the event, twenty seven veterans were paired up with volunteers from the Virginia Bass Masters fishing club. The pairs went out on Claytor Lake and fished a few hours, then returned back to the Waterfront Conference Center at Claytor Lake State Park. Other Conservation Police Officers assisting in attendance were; Jay Dowdy, Jim Anders, Francis Miano, Lee Wensel, K-9 handler Wes Billings with "Josie", George Shupe, Hunter Ed. Specialist Jeff Pease, Sgt. Charlie Mullins and Capt. Clark Greene.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

Officer Harold Speaks at Career Day... May 23, 2012 Virginia Conservation Officer Beth Harold spoke to four groups of fifth graders, totaling over 80 students, for their Career Day. Officer Harold told them about her journey to becoming a CPO, as well as some of the opportunities it has created. The students enjoyed the presentation, asked a lot of questions, and many told her that this is what they want to be some day. Some of the teachers showed interest in becoming a CPO as well!

Wake violation Leads to BUI Arrest... May 25th 2012, while on boat patrol on Lake Anna, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Mark Shull and Senior Officer Beth Garrett observed a boat violating the no wake zone. While the officers had the vessel stopped and were inspecting for safety equipment, they noticed an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from the operator and a trash bag containing several empty alcoholic beverage cans and bottles. Field sobriety tests were administered and the operator was placed under arrest for Operating Under the Influence of alcohol and charged with the wake violation.

Multiple Charges Made for Illegal Deer Kill... On June 6, 2012, Virginia Conservation Police Senior Officer McFaddin and Sergeant Funkhouser responded to a call from the Alleghany Sheriff's office in reference to an illegal deer killed in Alleghany County. Sheriff's deputies asked for assistance after stopping an individual for DUID and who was in possession of a 17 caliber rifle with additional evidence of deer hair and blood in the back of the pickup truck. The individual would not admit to any illegal activity, but only that he had been squirrel hunting earlier. Upon the arrival of Officer McFaddin and Sgt. Funkhouser, the subject was interviewed along with a second subject later at the residence. During these interviews, one deer was found inside an outbuilding along with the deer meat which was located inside the residence. After confessions were obtained, it was discovered that the deer was shot from the vehicle on National Forest property in the Sharon area of Alleghany County. Both subjects will be charged with closed season, shoot from a vehicle and other game related charges.

CPOs Assist James River Cleanup Effort... On June 9, 2012, Virginia Conservation Police Officers Tim Dooley and Jeff Green participated in a river cleanup hosted by the James River Advisory Council (JRAC). The event took place on the James River between West View Landing and Maidens Landing in Goochland and Powhatan Counties. The officers patrolled the stretch of river, providing security for occupants of the dozens of canoes, kayaks, and jon boats who were engaged in the cleanup.

K9 Team Update

Take a Kid Fishing Event in Gloucester Introduces new Tidewater Region K9 Team... On June 2, 2012, District 16 officers conducted their annual Take a Kid Fishing Event at Beaverdam Park in Gloucester County. Prizes were awarded for the largest fish caught in four different age groups. A prize raffle was conducted and all kids in attendance received a prize as well as a bag of fishing materials and lures. The new K9 Team for the Tidewater region, K9 Officer Frank Spuchesi and "Comet" joined with VDGIF Fisheries Biologist Scott Herman to meet with the kids and demonstrate how the new Team conducts wildlife investigations, tracking lost people and recovering evidence. Scott Herman conducted a fish shocking for the kids to watch and a presentation about the different types of fish in the lake.

Marion Program Highlights New K9 Team in Southwest Region... On June 15, 2012, Senior Conservation Police Officer Dan Hall and K9 Senior Officer Wes Billings and partner "Josie" attended a Town of Marion Redevelopment Authority sponsored program. The program was organized to promote family oriented activities during the Father's Day weekend. Officer Hall gave hunting and fishing related talks and a furbearing animal exhibit to approximately 85 adults and children in attendance. The highlight of the event was Officer Billings and his K9 partner Josie demonstrating how Josie searches areas to finds wild game parts and other investigative and tracking skills.

Gordonsville Cops and Kid's Day... May 19th 2012, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Kevin Joyner, Senior Officer Beth Garrett and Senior K9 Officer Frank Spuchesi and partner Comet attended the Gordonsville Cops & Kids Day held at the Gordonsville fairgrounds. They displayed Conservation Police Officer patrol vehicles, a Maritime Skiff patrol boat, a kayak, and ATV's. In addition to their public outreach efforts, these Officers participated in a puppet show that highlighted safety in and around the water, as well as an introduction to K9 Comet.

YOU can help support the K9 Teams

Editors note... The overwhelming and continuing success to the VDGIF law enforcement and educational efforts of the three K9 Teams during the past year has not gone unnoticed. Although the K9 Teams focus is on wildlife-related activity, including wildlife detection, tracking, and article recovery, the educational and public relations value is priceless as noted in reports in previous editions of the CPO Notebook. In order to have enhanced coverage of all five administrative regions statewide, two additional K9 teams have been authorized and are undergoing an extensive and comprehensive training course leading to graduation and certification then a period of active "in the field OJT". These two new K9 teams will help reduce response time to incidents, which is usually a critical factor in the successful outcome of an investigation or search and rescue. Look for a feature on the two new K9 teams in the June 27th, 2012 edition of the Outdoor Report... We've gone to the dogs!! And we're proud and pleased as we can be!!

The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia has partnered with VDGIF on this special initiative. Your tax-deductible donation to the Wildlife K9 Team will help provide food and veterinary care for these great dogs.

Help support the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Wildlife K9 Team, by making a donation through the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia.

Make a Donation to the K9 Team at:

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

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

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

Fishin' Report

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

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

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

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 2012 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 2012.

White Perch Certified as New State Record -- May Be Considered For a Possible World Record

The State Record Fish Committee of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has confirmed a new state record white perch caught by Beau McLaughlin of Virginia Beach. The committee members reviewed the application, verified the location of the catch as well as the species, weight, length, and girth of the fish. McLaughlin caught his gigantic 3 pound, 2 ounce fish on June 13th in a private pond in the Virginia Beach area. What started off as an average day of bass fishing, using live minnows, turned into the catch of his life when the big perch hit. The fish was 17.75 inches long and had a girth of 13.25 inches. McLaughlin's catch will easily surpass the existing record, set in 1995, of 2 pounds, 8 ounces.

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) will review and possibly consider official certification of the trophy white perch as a potential new world record. If certified by the IGFA, McLaughlin's white perch will exceed the previous world record by one once which was set by Edward Tango from New Jersey on May 6, 1989.

For a complete list of the current State Record Freshwater Fish, visit the Department's website.

The Outdoors Unlimited Online Magazine Video Library: It's finally here!

Anglers now (and very soon hunters) will be able to go to the ODUMagazine™ website click on the "Video Library" tab choose a species of fish, choose a fishing technique and watch an ODUMagazine™ recommended video, on how to improve your time and success on the water. Larry Thornhill, Editor and Chief of the on-line magazine notes, "The " Video Library " is an easy way for anglers to find the video(s) that will hopefully impact their knowledge and fishing abilities. We have streamlined the process for you. You no longer have to search through hundreds if not thousands of videos that may or may not apply to the topic you are looking for. Wasting all your time and effort just to find out that it wasn't even close to what you were looking for. We have spent countless hours viewing and categorizing each video in an effort to make your search easier, by creating this easy to use library. For example; click on the "Video Library" tab, select Bass Fishing, a drop-down screen appears, select, " Carolina Rigs " click on the link and a list of per-selected videos will appear covering "Carolina Rigs". Then all you have to do is click on the video that you want to watch. It's just that simple."

Various manufacturer videos will be included in the library, so anglers can dive directly into how a specific bait is to be presented and fished. Our "Video Library" will be growing weekly with newly recommended videos.

Check back often to see what has been added. We will also be making announcements on ODU Fishing News when new sections are added. We are working in the library as we speak, finding the videos (see below) that help anglers improve their time on the water.

For further information, sponsoring a section, or possibly have your video added, contact Bill Schwarz, Assistant Editor at

Here's some links for bass and crappie...

Bass Fishing: Jigs, Carolina Rigs, Texas Rigs and Alabama Rigs.

Crappie Fishing: Bobber and Float Fishing, Crappie Rigs, Minnow Rigging, Cranking Crappie and Trolling For Crappie.

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock Temporarily Closed to Powerboats

The VDGIF would like boaters to be aware of a problem at Mill Creek Landing in the community of Wake in Middlesex County. The landing has become sanded-in to the extent that only small johnboats, canoes, and kayaks can safely launch. Signs warning boaters have been posted at the landing to alert them of the problem, as well as a notice on the VDGIF website. John Kirk, the Region I Boating Access Maintenance Supervisor for VDGIF, wants boaters to know that the Department will be working to fix the ramp as quickly as possible, but says capital project monies will need to be budgeted for and approved before doing so, and boaters will unfortunately have to use other landings in the interim.

FAQs Updated on VDGIF Website for New Access Permit

Effective January 1, 2012, an Access Permit is required when using any VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) owned Wildlife Management Area or Fishing Lake . Such permit shall not be required for any person holding a valid hunting, fishing or trapping license or a current certificate of boat registration issued by VDGIF or persons 16 years of age or younger. The Access Permit requirement does not apply to Department- owned boat ramps and segments of the Appalachian Trail on Department- owned land. The Access Permit fee is $4 for a daily permit or $23 for an annual permit. The Access Permit may be purchased online, over the phone, or at any license agent.

VDGIF is committed to an excellent customer experience as this new permit is introduced. We know that many people may be unaware of the requirement for the permit until they reach our property. That is why all of our properties have new signs explaining the permit and including a phone number and QR code to allow people with cell phones or smartphones to easily comply before enjoying the property. During 2012, our Conservation Police Officers will focus on educating any visitors not in compliance with this new rule and ask them to please purchase a permit before they return. We believe this is a respectful approach and we appreciate your compliance on your very first visit.

Due to the number of questions coming in from many individual constituents and groups regarding special circumstances for possible waivers and discounted Daily Group Permit rates and other questions and suggestions, the online information has been updated and supplemented. For more information, visit the Access Permit section on our webpage and the following applicable links:

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!

Pro Bass Tournament Returns to Richmond

The Bassmaster Northern Open returned to the James River this year, June 14-16. The Open series is akin to triple "A" baseball and provides bass tournament anglers opportunities to qualify for The Elite Series and the Bassmaster Classic. Last year, Williamsburg angler, Kelly Pratt, won the tournament and earned a berth into the world championship. This year, Virginia anglers proved their expertise on the James once again. DeWitt, VA angler, Joshua Wagy, scored a victory and will follow in Kelly's footsteps and compete in the 2013 Classic. In fact, the top 5 anglers and 9 of the top 12 were all from Virginia!

The 23 year old angler was shocked by his victory after a tough final day of the tournament. After a solid limit on day 1 and the largest bag of the tournament on day 2, weighing 19-11 lbs., Joshua only brought in 4 bass for 7-07 on day 3. However, it was enough to hold off Robert Whitehurst's solid three day performance. It was a close tournament with less than two pounds separating the top 5. Veteran angler, local favorite and former Classic champion, Woo Daves finished third, Kelly Pratt nearly made it a repeat with a 4th place finish and Linwood Boltz closed in 5th.

The final day weigh-in was held at the Ashland, Bass Pro Shops which included a musical performance and a special tournament weigh-in for a group of Wounded Warriors. Pro anglers who did not make the final-day cut volunteered to take these soldiers out for a day on the James for some fun competition. Bass Pro Shops awarded the winners with rod and reel and fishing tackle prizes. I was also able to join, BPS General Manager, Greg Bulkley on the stage and announce the new Floating Fishing School. Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats have donated a pontoon boat rigged with Lowrance electronics, Motorguide trolling motor and a Mercury outboard for use by the Angling Education Program for educational fishing workshops and outreach. Stay tuned to the ODR for more on the new Floating Fishing School.

Listen for "The Weekly Wildlife Segment" with Chris Dunnavant, Saturdays, 9-11 am during the "The Weekend" with Anthony Oppermann on Richmond Sports Radio 910 - WRNL -AM. Listen to the latest or past segments on the YouTube channel, theopps83.

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

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

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

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

Rules for submitting photos to the group:

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

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

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

If you have already purchased your 2012 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

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

The following is one of my Mom's favorite memories of fishing with her Dad, John Gartner, outdoor writer and conservationist.

You catch them, you clean them. One of my Dad's Mantras. In my memory all those cleaning tables blend together into one satisfying blur. It is hot, but a breeze is blowing in from somewhere cool. Conversations cheerful. Lots of laughing, lots of scales flying, rainbows in each separate one if you looked close enough. Exhilaratingly smelly, slimy fish guts running through my fingers as we rinse the filets, all ready to bring back to Mom. Looking forward to dinner. Perfect. Thanks, Daddy.

Region 1 - Tidewater

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock Temporarily Closed to Powerboats

The VDGIF would like boaters to be aware of a problem at Mill Creek Landing in the community of Wake in Gloucester County. The landing has become sanded-in to the extent that only small johnboats, canoes, and kayaks can safely launch. Signs warning boaters have been posted at the landing to alert them of the problem, as well as a notice on the VDGIF website. John Kirk, the Region I Boating Access Maintenance Supervisor for VDGIF, wants boaters to know that the Department will be working to fix the ramp as quickly as possible, but says capital project monies will need to be budgeted for and approved before doing so, and boaters will unfortunately have to use other landings in the interim.

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, The water temperature is at 89 degrees and the visibility is at a low 12 ft. All the rain may drop the temperature a degree or two, but I do not think that it will change the pattern we are seeing now. Bass on the creek tend to stay deep once they go deep. So continue to use drop shot, Carolina rigs or shakey head and down size your worms. Stay with the natural colors and fish very slowly. Look for bass along points, humps or ledges. Fish were caught last week with these methods. Another good method is to swim live bait along points. Top-water will produce bass early and late in those coves with 20 to 30 ft. of water coming in to them. Stripers were plentiful last week, look for multiple points with 30 ft. or more of water nearby. They will be there if bait is nearby. One fisherman caught some very nice fish drifting a bottom bouncer in 12 to 20 ft. of water with crawlers. He had perch, shellcracker and crappie. A couple cats in the 3 to 4 lb. size showed up, try small bluegills or large minnows. I am working on a catfish roundup late August or September, stop by the shop and give me your ideas.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Contributed by Park Supervisor Patti McGrath. We have seen a range of sizes of bass come out of the lake after Saturday's Bass tournament from 2lbs. 8 oz. to 6lbs. 8 oz. The bass are hanging in the deeper water and along the point across from the Ranger Station. People have had no trouble catching them, especially using a good old pink worm.

June 23rd Bass Tournament Results:

2012 Big Bash Tournament Schedule
Last Regular Tournament September 15th and Big Bash Classic is on Sunday, October 21st. For more information, visit our website or call the park at (804) 693-2107.

Cat Point Creek: Contributed by our new reporter Penn Burke of Spring Shad Charters (804) 354-3200. The gar are starting to swim on the surface and appear ready for their Summer action. July, August, and September are always the most active months for successful catching of these fun fish. There is nothing like having an over 40 inch fish trying to strip your reel while making jumps that often clear the water. They will eagerly attack medium to large minnows and provide lots of action on medium tackle. Cat fish action is also good in all areas of the creek.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. No report this edition.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. According to Alton Williams, local bass are going for spinners and top-waters. Crappie are taking minnows. The cat bite is "fair but not overly". Still, you might get lucky with cut bait. No word on perch or bluegill. The water is clear and warming.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475. Chickahominy Lake mid day main lake water temperatures ranged from the mid to high 80s last weekend. The lake level was about even with the top of the dam. The water was dark but more clear than usual in the lower lake, and moderately cloudy up the major creeks. Larger crappie and a few white perch were in mid depths around the creek mouths and on mid depth wood cover in the main lake. Small to medium crappie with a few large crappie were widely scattered along shorelines and on flats in the lower parts of creeks and in the main lake. Crappie and white perch were hitting live minnows, Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail jigs and tubes, small swimbaits, and Kalin crappie scrubs. Small to medium bluegill were scattered in the creeks and were moderately numerous around shorelines in the main lake. A few spawning clusters of larger bluegill were adjacent to several shorelines in the main lake, but larger bluegill had moved off most shorelines and were on shallow flats near shorelines. Bluegill were hitting live worms and crickets, flies, small Wright Bait Co. curlytail jigs, small swimbaits, Kalin crappie scrubs, and small spoons. Bass and bowfin were scattered, with some next to the shoreline vegetation in the creeks and others along the shorelines and mid depths in the main lake. Bass were hitting live minnows, creature baits, soft plastic stick baits, crank baits, and plastic worms. Fishing with Capt. Conway, Jon Baker had 55 bluegill and 4 bass on the fly rod. Tom Porter had 65 bluegill, 4 shellcracker, and 1 bass.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins says that the bass bite is good. Try buzzbaits, spinners, cranks and top-waters. Crappie fishing is "very slow", as the heat has scattered the slabs. Lots of eatin' sized cats have been brought up on cut bait and live eels. White perch action is hot, with a citation sized lunker that was over 2 lbs. and 14 in. Plenty of bluegill can be had with worms, crickets and top-water poppers. The water is clear and in the high 70s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon reports that lots of bass are being fooled by plastics and cranks. Crappie are cooperating as well, with the traditional minnows and jigs doing well. Yellow perch action is slow, but try a minnow or small spinner. Bluegill are plentiful and are taking crickets and worms. The water is clear and in the high 60s to low 70s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner Fishing continues to just be mediocre at this time on both the Blackwater and the Nottoway. Hotter than seasonal water temperatures are possibly at play here. Good catches of catfish and bream can still be had, but the largemouth hit is still slow to downright BAD! My advice is to hit the upper Nottoway in a small jon boat or canoe and just leisurely fish along and get in the water often. Up there the water averages on waist to knee deep and that can make a fun trip for children especially if the fish ain't a bittin'.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike reports that the bass bite is "so so"; but plastic worms in watermelon might be effective in the main river and near the openings of the barge pits. Local cats are off their beds and are attacking cut eel, live bluegill and white perch. The water is in the low 80s and fairly clear.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Contributed by Capt. Mike Ostrander, James River Fishing School, Discover the James, (804) 938-2350. No report this edition.

Swift Creek Reservoir: Contributed by local angler Archie Spencer. No report this edition.

Region 2 - Southside

Note: Our man in the boat, Willard Mayes, has been injured in a farming accident and couldn't go fishing. We are sure that you join us in wishing him a speedy recovery.

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, (434) 286-3366. The James has been in great shape the past couple of weeks. The smallmouth have been willing to take soft plastics on the current seams and around ledges. Fly anglers have been having success throwing top- water in the shade lines and tight to the banks.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Brandon Gray told me that the bass bite is picking up in deeper waters with cranks, jigs and plastics, with green pumpkin being a good color choice. Crappie have moved to their summer patterns, and can be found at bridge pilings and brush piles. They will take minnows and jigs. No word on perch, but they should show up soon. Stripers are being landed by trolling spoons and bucktails. Bluegill are slow to bite, but sometimes attack small worms or crickets. The water is fairly clear and in the mid 80s.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Tom Reisdorf reports that smallmouth are biting well on popping bugs, and crayfish and minnow imitators. The rainbows and browns in the Jackson are going for nymphs. Brookies are "on and off", but caddis and beetles are worth a try. The water is clear and in the low 60s.

James near Lynchburg: Contributed by our new reporter Jared Harker, owner of Confluence Outfitters, which offers guided fishing adventures on the James, Maury and Staunton Rivers. Visit his website or give him a call to check availability (434) 941-9550. Fishing on the James and Maury Rivers above Lynchburg has been very active over the past several weeks. The smallmouth have been quite active feeding on all types of patterns from baitfish to crawdads to hellgrammites and other river larvae. Being well past the spawn, and with river levels beginning to taper down to their summertime levels and very clear, the intense post spawn feeding will begin to taper some as well. The highest level of activity will be found in the mornings as the temperature is rising and in the evenings as the sun and temperature are falling. With the intensity level of the feeding slowing some into the summer months, you may notice the fish slowing on the strike some. The most luck for larger fish will begin to be had on soft plastics fished slower and unweighted or only slightly weighted. The small fish will continue hitting the faster moving crankbaits and spinners, but take note of how fish are hitting in your area and match your retrieve to their level of activity. Best of luck and most importantly have fun!

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Ron Karpinski says that bass action has been slow due to the heavy boat traffic. Still, you would do well to find a deep water point and throw some watermelon or pumpkin seed colored plastics. Crappie are deep and are taking minnows and jigs. Cats are going for jugged cut bait. Perch and bluegills are going deep like the crappie, and will strike the same lures. Stripers are near the Kerr Dam and will attack Cotton Cordells or shad. The water is clear and almost 80 degrees.

Lake Gaston Health Advisory: The Virginia Department of Health has issued an advisory on walleye fish consumption due to mercury contamination in Lake Gaston. Recent fish tissue sample results from the North Carolina Division of Public Health show mercury levels in walleye fish exceed the amount considered safe for long term human consumption. VDH advises the consumption of no more than two meals a month of walleye taken from Lake Gaston. Virginia's advisory stretches from John H. Kerr Dam downstream 18 miles to the Virginia-North Carolina state line. For additional details, visit the VDH fish consumption advisory page.

Smith Mountain Lake: Contributed by Mike Snead. Virginia Outdoorsman, (540) 724-4867,

Bass and Striped Bass: The alewive spawning activities are slowly coming to an end, but they continue to move up near the shoreline after dark to spawn. Bass as well as stripers and an occasional flathead catfish continue to move to the bank to feed on them at night. When these bait fish are near the shoreline at night there are a number of different lures including floating jerkbaits, chuggers, wakebaits and floating prop baits that can be used to catch both bass and stripers. While some striper anglers use the same floating jerkbaits used for bass, most prefer lures slightly larger with more substantial hooks. The F-18 size Original Rapala floating jerkbait in the Vampire, Bleeding Chartreuse Shad, Clown and Hot Steel colors is one of the most popular and effective lures for this technique. The alewives spawn does not seem to be as intense as in years past and it is often well after 11:00 pm before they move up next to the shoreline in significant numbers. Some evenings and in some sections of the lake it has been well after midnight before they made an appearance. When fishing for bass and stripers that are feeding on alewives at night, boat position is critical. It is important to get the boat as close to the shoreline as possible. This allows you to cast and retrieve your lure parallel to the shoreline when the fish are there, so you can retrieve it very, very, slowly right next to the bank and keep it in the strike zone as long as possible.

A plastic worm can also be a good choice at night for bass. The night worm bite is improving and should get better, especially if the fish move into or near submerged structure like brush piles. Ribbon tail plastic worms in dark night colors like black, redbug, black with blue flake and green pumpkin with blue or red flakes are all good choices in open bottoms and those with natural rock and stumps. Larger, ribbon tail plastics move more water and are easier for the bass to find than smaller worms. I should mention that many anglers' specifically targeting brush and submerged timber prefer straight tail worms to those with ribbon tails because they don't wrap around the limbs or hang up as frequently.

At first light, bass and stripers can often be found inside and toward the back of selected creeks anywhere schools of baitfish are located. Once the sun moves overhead, many of these fish move down in the water column into deeper water. The stripers often head out toward the mouth of the creek or they find a deep pocket or cove. Bass move into places where they can ambush prey including the shade found under deep water docks, deeper water off primary and secondary points or deep water where they can be found suspended.

Those fish found around docks will almost always be found in the shade and they can be caught on shakey head jigs, whacky rigged, sinking Yamasenko worms and drop shot rigs. Bass holding around docks can also be caught on Texas rigged worms and medium diving crankbaits. Those bass found suspended in deep water can be caught on drop shot rigs and small, jigging spoons. The traditional Carolina rigged plastic worm and creature bait continues to work, but a number of tournament anglers report that this bite has not been particularly strong this year.

There continue to be an incredible number of fishing tournaments held at the lake each week. A tournament that is open to any wishing to participate is being held by the Smith Mountain Lake Bassmaster Club at the SML State Park this Saturday, June 30th. The tournament will start at 7 p.m. and will conclude with a weigh-in the following morning at 4 a.m. This tournament features a $1000 guaranteed payout (with a minimum of 17 boats), 80% payout and an entry fee of $100. For additional information about this tournament you can contact member Tom Seaman on (540) 297-3584. If you are interested in this or any of the other fishing tournaments held each week, you can also contact one of the local tackle shops and they will be happy to provide you with details. There is one local tournament angler I wish to highlight in this report. Those of you who visited the Virginia Outdoorsman will remember meeting and being helped by Blaine Chitwood, our fishing manager. Blaine worked in the Virginia Outdoorsman for most of the time we owned the store, starting with a work permit when he was in high school and continuing as he progressed through several years of college. Blaine is currently attending Radford University and, as might be expected, he is fishing on the Radford University bass fishing team. Blaine and his Radford University partner Brett Meyn, recently won the Northern Conference Championship of the FLW College Fishing Tour, beating out the second place Ohio State team by one ounce. Blaine and Brett were one of forty competing teams from colleges that included Virginia Tech, Penn State, West Virginia, Central Michigan and Kent State. We join Blaine's wonderful family and many friends in congratulating him on this success and wishing him the very best of luck as he continues to compete in the college fishing series.

Catfish: The catfish have really turned on over the past several weeks. Both flatheads and channel cats are being caught on a variety of different baits presented on the bottom. Shad, stinkbaits and nightcrawlers have been good baits for channel cats. The flathead catfish have been hitting live shad, small panfish and even nightcrawlers.

Panfish: Bluegill and other panfish continue to feed aggressively on small hair jigs and plastics rigged on lightweight jigheads, tipped with pieces of a worm, imitation maggot or wax worm. Night crawler and red wiggler worms are also working well when presented on a standard split shot rig. Warmouth can be found hiding in the rip-rap along virtually any shoreline and bluegill can be caught in the shade under most any walkway or dock overhang.

Water temperatures are 70 to 79 degrees with the water fair to clear. Tight lines and have a safe and enjoyable July 4th.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Contributed by Mike Burchett of Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. No report this edition.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius told me that the small mouth bite is okay, with plenty of fish coming in, but no biggies. They are going for flukes and plastic swimmers in shad colors. Muskie will take anything you can land a bass with right now. In fact, many bass anglers are having their fish being eaten by muskies before they can bring the bass to boat! The water is clear and warming.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. Fishing for all species has been great on the Upper New as of late, but this recent hot weather has brought the water temperature up to 80 degrees, really slowing the bite down. Look for early morning and late evening fishing to produce better results right now and slow plastics during the day for the smallmouth. As the water temperature stabilizes or decreases the fishing should improve again. Use the top-water/jerkbaits for the a.m./p.m. muskie and smallmouth action. Remember to drink plenty of water while spending a day on the river to stay hydrated in this heat and practice CPR with your catch.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash calls the bass action his way "phenomenal", with the smallies biting "everything". Muskies are going for big inline spinners. The water is clear and in the 70s.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. Summertime smallmouth fishing is here on the Top New (Mouth of Wilson to Fries). Try top-waters during periods of low light; soft plastics and crankbaits at other times. Water clarity is about 5 feet. Enjoy the warm weather fishing.

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

Region 4 - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 Harry Murray says that the smallmouth fishing in both the North and South forks of the Shenandoah are producing well; with the water level ideal for floating or wading. Good flies are: Shenandoah Chartreuse Chuggar, size 6; and the Murray's Black Heavy Hellgrammite, also size 6. The water is clear and 79 degrees.

The water level in the stocked and delayed harvest streams in the Valley are is low, causing the fish to be wary. Your best bet is to fish below the springs or along the shaded banks. Good flies are: Murray's Betsy streamer, size 12; and Mr. Rapidan Emerger, size 10. The water is clear, low and 77 degrees.

The mountain streams are holding up well. The best fishing is at the headwaters which can be accessed from both the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. Good flies are: Murray's Dry Sulfur; sizes 16 and 18; Murray's Flying Beetle, sizes 16 and 18; and the Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry Fly, sizes 16 and 18. The water is clear, at a normal level and 59 degrees.

Attention Trout Anglers - Special Regulation Permit Cards Available Online

VDGIF is pleased to announce that special regulation written landowner permit cards to fish Mossy Creek, Buffalo Creek, and Upper South River are now available online. A link to maps of each of these areas is also new function on the agency website.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. Lake Moomaw is through the post spawn transition and is now in a full blown summer pattern. The daytime angler can expect an early morning bite (bass) to be aggressive with top-water lures producing some exciting action. Middle of the day patterns are pretty typical with bass holding off deep points and suspended off-shore. This makes for challenging fishing but use your electronics to find the shad and you can catch them with spoons and finesse worms. The most successful anglers are fishing after sundown. The bass, especially smallmouths, are taking advantage of the shad spawn and can be caught using a variety of lures. Spinnerbaits, jigs, creature baits, and crankbaits work effectively. I have not heard of anyone using an umbrella rig at night yet, but I am sure that it would work, considering the shad activity. Water levels are still pretty close to normal pool and temps are in the 70s.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, No report this edition.

Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore (Wade Fishing River Guidebooks covering the: Rappahannock, Rapidan, Upper Potomac, North Branch Potomac; Blog: Excellent conditions on the Upper Potomac! Water levels are great and the vegetation has not grown enough to interfere with the action. Good fishing along the shore, but don't ignore the deep holes near ledges. The levels on the Rappahannock and Rapidan may still be a bit high from the recent rain. Wait a few days for the mud to clear out. All reports are that topwater action is great. The mountain streams are holding up for trout with the recent push of rain. Dry flies are the way to go!.

Quantico Bay: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. I'm back at it, but still can't get onto my favorite fishing hole...Lunga Reservoir. My buddy and I headed out onto the Potomac River today, putting in to Quantico Bay around sun up as the tide was coming in. We fished for largemouth bass with top-water Pop'R initially, sticking to structure close to shore. The water was warm, over 80 degrees, with decent clarity. We caught a couple of small bass, but then when we got close to heavier vegetation my buddy was surprised to catch a small 13 to14 in. snakehead on a 1/8 oz. shad colored swim bait...his first ever! After tossing it in to an empty cooler to kill and filet later, we moved up the weed bed...where I was then treated with catching my first snakehead! This one was a much larger, an over 7 lbs. and 28 inch snakehead that just inhaled my top water Pop'R. Talk about a fun fight and a crazy set of teeth! I wasn't able to get my lure back until later, after we got to shore and had room/space enough to kill the bigger fish. I've heard snakeheads are good to eat and now I've a few nice meaty filets in the fridge ready for some batter and frying pan to test out that observation. Oh, I also remembered to check the VDGIF website when I got home to get the phone number for the Snakehead Hotline to properly report the catch. Later in the morning, right around high tide, we slid over to the north side of the bay and were able to catch several more largemouth bass in the 1 to 3 lbs. range on green Yamasenko wacky rigged worms, plus a silly 7 lb. catfish that took my sinking worm near a pylon for the railroad bridge over the bay. All in all it turned out to be a pretty interesting day of fishing, with our first ever snakeheads and a nice catfish on a wacky rigged worm of all things. Now that's fun! Hope everyone else enjoys the warmer weather...and good luck fishing!

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The water is stained with visibility around 2 ft. Largemouth bass fishing is excellent with the summer pattern in full swing. Soft plastics are the bait of choice for the bass bite with top-water baits drawing them in during low light periods. Crappie fishing has locked into their summer patterns on small minnows with the fish hanging out in 10 to 12 ft. depths of water around the fishing pier and fish attractors. Catfishing is literally off the charts, with numbers of 4 to 6 pounders being caught. Chicken liver is enticing the catfish bite all over the lake. A few nice walleyes have been caught by the dam in 12 to 14 ft. depths with live bait.

Occoquan Reservoir: Contributed by local angler Jim Thomas. No report this edition.

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.

Stripers: There are more stripers caught in June on the lake than any other month of the year. The fish are schooling and just about any method of fishing will produce nice catches this month. Stripers have migrated to the mid and down lake regions of the lake and are aggressively feeding on 25 to 45 foot flats gorging themselves on 4 and 5 inch herring. There are literally hundreds of schools of stripers roaming the lake now and good electronics are crucial in locating and staying on the schools.

Bass: The largemouths are in post spawn and summer patterns now and have retreated to deeper water to replenish their energy. They also are feeding aggressively and are suckers for top-water baits. Bass will rise out of 20 feet of water to hit a Pop R, especially in clear water. The deeper the water you fish over, the slower you should work your bait giving the bass time to locate and blow up on the bait. Spooks also work well fishing parallel to bluff banks like those in Contrary Creek. Carolina rigs tipped with your favorite lizard or worm also work well this month. Use heavy sinkers and cover water quickly till you feel structure, then hold on! Another good technique this month is to throw swimbaits counting them down using a slow retrieve.

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

Catfish: Cats are very plentiful this year and are feeding everywhere on the lake. Catfish are feeding aggressively on 4 and 5 inch herring using the lower third of the water column to feed. If you cannot catch herring, try large minnows rigged on downlines or use on fish finder rigs.

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

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

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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

Whether hunting, fishing, boating, camping or hiking, outdoor adventure shared with family members can create lasting memories. For 15 year old Kim Gibbons, a Sophomore at Oakton High School in Fairfax County, her most memorable outdoor experience was a weekend at the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox for the annual Mother & Daughter Outdoors event hosted by VDGIF Outdoor Education Program. Having attended this outdoors skill building workshop for several years, this year she would try something new- shooting clay pigeons with shotgun! Sharing time afield with friends and family, weather it is a workshop or other adventure, the rewards are priceless. Kim entered her article in the 2010-11 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Writing Competition and placed in the Top 10. In each edition of the Outdoor Report we promote skill building workshops and events for many different outdoor skills and skill levels all to enhance the fun, safety and success in your outdoor pursuits. Note the Woman's Outdoor Weekend "W.O.W.", August 3-5, 2012, at the Holiday Lake 4H Education Center scheduled for this year- get you Mom, sister, aunt or friend and sign up for a weekend of fun and you too may find a new outdoor passion to share with friends and family.

The Clay Pigeon

By Kim Gibbons

On Friday morning, the sun was barely up, but I was overcome with excitement for the three-hour drive ahead of me. My mom and I were heading down to the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center in Appomattox for the annual Mother & Daughter Outdoors event. This year being our seventh year in attendance, I was eager to meet old friends, make new friends and learn something new.

Upon our arrival, we checked in and looked at the sessions for which we were scheduled. My eye caught our third session: Shotgun Skills Development. We had never taken this session before, and although I had been shooting for years, I had very limited experience with a shotgun. I was sure that this would be a fun and educational experience, but I did not realize how enjoyable it would actually be.

When the time came for the shotgun session, my mom and I walked up the hill with a few of our new friends to the range where our instructors were waiting. After going over safety rules and equipment, our instructors taught us about sporting clays, trap and skeet. The layout of the field and the rules of the matches were very interesting, and the enormous amount of practice that it takes to become proficient in this sport fascinated me.

Once we reviewed all safety rules and how to shoot sporting clays, it was time to begin shooting. My instructor handed me a 28 gauge semi-automatic shotgun and five shot shells. My mom and I and the others in our class stepped up to our stations, the instructors following behind. "Say 'pull' when you're ready," said my instructor. I took a deep breath and prepared myself for the shot.

"Pull," I said, in my loudest voice.

Suddenly, a clay pigeon flew out of the trees, and I quickly pointed my gun at it and pulled the trigger. I watched as the fully intact pigeon fell to the ground.

My instructor gave me several tips on hitting the pigeon and asked me again to say 'pull' when I was ready. I took another shot, and once again, I watched as the pigeon flew through the air, unharmed. I repeated this process two more times, and finally, I was on my last shot. Although I had been getting closer and closer to reaching my target, I was not sure if I would be able to do it, but I was determined.

"Pull," I said.

I watched as the clay pigeon came out of the trees. As quickly as I could, I let the pigeon fall into my sights and pulled the trigger. What was left was a shower of small, blaze orange clay pieces. At last, I had hit my target!

We continued to shoot throughout the afternoon, becoming more proficient with each round. Although I wished it could have lasted forever, all good things must end. Nonetheless, this afternoon did not end without many more shots fired and many more clays blown to pieces.

The rest of the weekend was a blast, and I left on Sunday with many new things learned and many new friends made. Since then, my mom and I have taken every opportunity we could to practice clay pigeon shooting. That weekend offered an excellent opportunity for us to spend time with each other and escape the busyness of our everyday lives. We look forward to returning this summer and hope that we will be able to return to the shotgun range for another fun-filled and unforgettable weekend of shooting.

The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) annually sponsors a High School and Collegiate Writing Competition with the theme of "a memorable outdoor experience." The contests are opened in the fall and typically close in February. We encourage you to write your most memorable hunting, fishing or other outdoor adventure story and enter the contest. For information on the VOWA Collegiate or High School Youth Writing Competitions visit the VOWA website:

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: