In this edition:

It's Showtime!

Sportsman showtime that is... As we quickly approach August and the dog days of summer, this is a friendly reminder that there are only 65 days till the beginning of deer season! This year deer season begins with a special Youth Deer Hunting Day on Saturday September 29th. This follows National Hunting & Fishing Day. How appropriate to celebrate our great hunting traditions and values with a special hunting day established to provide youngsters a unique opportunity to participate in deer hunting.

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

There's still plenty of good fishing action thru the Fall. The Outdoor Report is full of fishing and boating tips and information to make your outing more productive, enjoyable, and safe. To learn more about fishing and boating in Virginia, including where to fish, how to identify fish species, guides to lakes and rivers, fishing and boating regulations and much more, read on...

David Coffman, Editor

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.

Next Edition to Post Early on Friday August 3rd

The Outdoor Report is regularly posted on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, but due to some production team schedule changes and preparation for the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show in Richmond August 10-12, the next edition will be posted five days early on Friday August 3, 2012. We look forward to getting your photos and stories of your outdoor adventures with friends and family for the early August edition a little earlier next week. Deadline for stories for this early edition is Wednesday August 1st. The second August edition will return to the regular 4th Wednesday posting August 22nd.

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.

Friends of Phelps Wildlife Management Host Events in July - August

The Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA have a scheduled Work Day on August 25 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 pwood12@earthlink.net or friendsofcfphelpswma@gmail.com.

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 : www.trackingsurvival.com or call 877-614-5289.

New Features for 29th VA Outdoor Sportsman Show in Richmond 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. 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 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. The new Wildlife K9 Team will be there to demonstrate their unique skills assisting officers in wildlife investigations and search and rescue. Celebrity guests include Lee & Tiffany, hosts of The Crush on the Outdoor Channel. 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.

Family Forestland Short-course: Focusing on Land Transfer to Generation "NEXT" August 14 & 21 in Staunton

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: slillard@vt.edu.

Lynchburg Hillcats NASCAR & OUTDOORS Night Benefits Hunters for the Hungry August 23

Lynchburg Hillcats Baseball presents NASCAR & OUTDOORS NIGHT to benefit Hunters for the Hungry on August 23, 2012. Come and enjoy an evening of Hillcats Baseball while helping to make a difference in people's lives in the Lynchburg and surrounding areas and all across Virginia. Gates open at 6 pm with game time at 7:05 pm. General admission - $8.00 with everyone wearing any type of NASCAR or camo apparel getting in for half price!!! For tickets or information on SPONSOR OPPORTUNITIES with some great incentives contact (434) 528 – 1144 or visit www.lynchburg-hillcats.com or contact Hunters for the Hungry at 1-800-352-4868.

Farmville Outdoor Festival August 25th

Are you looking for an opportunity to get outdoors and learn some exciting Outdoor Skills! Riverside Community Church is hosting their Annual Outdoor Festival in Farmville at the Five County Fairgrounds Saturday, August 25, with many fun filled activities and events planned. VDGIF will be offering shotgun training with the opportunity to try your skills at simulated hunting scenarios with clay throwers, as well as fishing skills at the kid's fish pond. Other activities include a turkey call seminar with Pro-Staff Jim Burns from Quaker Boy followed by a Turkey Calling Contest for youth and adults! The judging will be conducted by the NWTF High Bridge Strutters. Bugg's Island Archery is hosting a 3-D archery contest. This event is for all ages, so come out and bring your family and friends for a day of fun in the outdoors!

For more information, view flyer Farmville Outdoor Festival (PDF), or contact Riverside Community Church at 434-547-6770.

Page Valley Sportsmen Host Annual Youth Shooting Event August 25

The Page Valley Sportsman Club in Luray is hosting their Annual Youth Shooting Event (Jakes Event) on August 25, 2012 from 8:30 AM until 3:00 PM. Event is free and lunch will be provided. Event size is limited to 35 students (youth ages 7 to 17) and their parents or guardians. Event encompasses all aspects of the shooting sports. Skeet, trap and sporting clays, air rifle, archery, .22 rifle, and muzzleloader shooting. All firearms and ammunition will be provided. No center fire ammunition is allowed. If a participant brings a personal firearm (shotgun or .22 rimfire), it must be presented to the Event Chairman for approval. Ammunition provided will be 20 gauge shotgun shells, .177 caliber air rifle pellets, .22 caliber long rifle rimfire, and .50 caliber patched round ball for muzzleloaders. There will be some non shooting events for children under age 7 and a non shooting event for participants ages 7 to 17 presented by two Virginia Master Naturalists. For more information, contact Art Kasson at 540-622-6103 or artkasson@yahoo.com.

Waterfowl Hunting Workshop at Holiday Lake September 28-30

The Virginia Waterfowlers' Association, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, is sponsoring the Virginia Waterfowling Workshop the weekend of September 28-30 at the 4-H Camp near Appomattox. The Virginia Waterfowling Workshop provides novice, intermediate and experienced hunters skills training beyond a basic education course.

The workshop will provide participants of ages 12 through 90+, the opportunity to participate in 18 hands-on classes including: Beginner & Intermediate Wingshooting Techniques, Duck & Goose Calling, Duck & Goose Decoy Placements, Decoy Carving & Restoration, Waterfowl ID & Game Laws, Retriever Training, Waterfowl Blind Design & Construction, Waterfowl Nesting Structures, Waterfowl Game Care & Cooking, Waterfowl Habitat Management, and Predator Management.

Todd Cocker, Virginia Waterfowlers' Association Executive Director, notes that last year the weekend workshop was rated by participants 96% Excellent. The workshop is designed to introduce beginners and improve experienced hunters knowledge, skills and confidence. Cocker notes, "We have arranged for some of the most respected and experienced instructors the state offers. Instructors are confirmed from program supporters including the VDGIF, Holiday Lake 4-H Center staff, Virginia Hunter Education Association, Tidewater Retriever Club and Virginia Waterfowlers' Association. This event and the Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend event are two great opportunities to improve your waterfowl hunting skills and other outdoor adventure opportunities."

For more information and to register for this upcoming workshop or to find out about similar opportunities in the future, visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website or the VAWFA website. Come join us for a fantastic weekend at the Holiday Lake 4-H Center near Appomattox.

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 info@rockfishvalley.org 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

Wheelin' Sportsmen Hosting Dove Hunt September 7th in Warsaw

Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen will be hosting their Warsaw Ultimate Dove Hunt on Friday, September 7th just outside of Warsaw, VA. This first-time hunt will be held on a 2,000 acre plantation along the Rappahannock River. The owner has planted long strips of land with corn, sunflowers and millet specifically for dove hunting, and doves are plentiful. Each participant is allowed to bring one person with them and that person may also hunt. We can accommodate 50 disabled participants, up to 100 shooters total! Water, soda and snacks will be provided throughout the day. Please wear camo and bring your shotgun, dove ammo of choice, Virginia hunting license, and HIP number from VDGIF. If you have a disability and are interested in joining us for this hunt, please visit our website for more details and the application. The deadline for applying is August 25th. First-come, first-serve to the first 50 applicants so get yours in now!

Opportunities for Public Comment

Editors note: One very important "partner" we acknowledge in determining the conservation and management of our wildlife and natural resources is "the public"... yes, YOU! Whether you fish, boat , hunt, trap, hike, camp, observe, photograph, or participate in outdoor activities, or not- your voice is important as wildlife belongs to all of us. There are currently five management plans and regulation proposals open for public comment. This is your opportunity for input into the management of our wildlife and habitat resources and the regulations that guide our efforts. Click on the live links below for details on how you can participate in the Public Comment process and let your views be heard. DC

Fishing, Wildlife Diversity (Nongame), and Boating Regulation Proposals

A public comment period is open, May 1–August 4, 2012, regarding proposed amendments to fishing, wildlife diversity (nongame), boating, and ADA-related land access regulations. Learn more & comment »

Draft Black Bear Management Plan, 2012–2021

A public comment period is open, June 11–August 1, 2012, on the Draft Black Bear Management Plan. The revised plan will guide bear management across the Commonwealth through 2021. Learn more & comment »

Frameworks & Staff Recommendations: Webless Migratory Gamebirds, Falconry, September Canada Goose, and September Teal

Your comments are solicited on the 2012-2013 federal frameworks and staff recommendations, to be presented to the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries at its July 10, 2012 meeting.

Hunting & Trapping Public Input Period

Through November 1, 2012, during the Hunting and Trapping Public Input.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Developing Wild Turkey Management Plan

VDGIF has partnered with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech to develop The Wild Turkey Management Plan, which will provide guidance on how to address the complex management challenges and issues related to desirable population levels, recreation (including hunting), human-turkey conflicts, and habitat conservation. To effectively manage wild turkeys over the next decade, VDGIF is using a process that affords multiple opportunities for public input as means to incorporate the diverse values of different stakeholders. Technical guidance from wildlife professionals also will be incorporated to develop planning goals, objectives, and strategies. Do you have questions or suggestions regarding the project? Please contact Gary Norman, VDGIF Wild Turkey Project Leader, at gary.norman@dgif.virginia.gov, or Holly Morris, Virginia Tech Graduate Student, at hnmorris@vt.edu.

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."

VA Waterfowlers Assoc. Creates "Traveling Duck Blind" To Promote Educational Workshop

Not many waterfowl hunters think of using a duck blind on the highway or in a parking lot at a local sporting goods retailer. Most duck blinds can be found over water or on the shores of a river or lake. This year Virginia Waterfowlers' Association (VAWFA) began promoting the Virginia Waterfowling Workshop September 28-30 at Holiday Lake 4-H Camp near Appomattox, by using "the Traveling Duck Blind" as a portable billboard and exhibit. The Traveling Duck Blind is a large duck blind installed on a trailer emblazoned with images and logos about the educational workshop. The exhibit interprets details about the workshop and its sponsoring supporters.

On June 29, 2012, the Traveling Duck Blind began its tour to various sporting goods retailers in the state by appearing at Hampton Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and Dance's Sporting Goods in Colonial Heights. This summer and fall, the exhibit is scheduled to be at the Virginia Outdoors Sportsman Show at the Richmond Raceway Complex August 10-12, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Ashland, other retailers and outdoor conservation events. Check the VAWFA website for dates and details.

Waterfowl Hunting Workshop at Holiday Lake September 28-30

The Virginia Waterfowlers' Association, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, is sponsoring the Virginia Waterfowling Workshop the weekend of September 28-30 at the 4-H Camp near Appomattox. The Virginia Waterfowling Workshop provides novice, intermediate and experienced hunters skills training beyond a basic education course. The workshop will provide participants of ages 12 through 90+, the opportunity to participate in 18 hands-on classes including: Beginner & Intermediate Wingshooting Techniques, Duck & Goose Calling, Duck & Goose Decoy Placements, Decoy Carving & Restoration, Waterfowl ID & Game Laws, Retriever Training, Waterfowl Blind Design & Construction, Waterfowl Nesting Structures, Waterfowl Game Care & Cooking, Waterfowl Habitat Management, and Predator Management.

Todd Cocker, Virginia Waterfowlers' Association Executive Director, notes that last year the weekend workshop was rated by participants 96% Excellent. The workshop is designed to introduce beginners and improve experienced hunters knowledge, skills and confidence. Cocker notes, "We have arranged for some of the most respected and experienced instructors the state offers. Instructors are confirmed from program supporters including the VDGIF, Holiday Lake 4-H Center staff, Virginia Hunter Education Association, Tidewater Retriever Club and Virginia Waterfowlers' Association. This event and the Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend event are two great opportunities to improve your waterfowl hunting skills and other outdoor adventure opportunities."

For more information and to register for this upcoming workshop or to find out about similar opportunities in the future, visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website or the VAWFA website. Come join us for a fantastic weekend at the Holiday Lake 4-H Center near Appomattox.

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

Crystal Spooner Inspired to Give Back Through Volunteering for Conservation

Editors note: Last year I met a very special young hunter at the Hunters Helping Kids program fundraising event. Crystal Spooner is a student at Louisa County High School and a real "go-getter"! I have run several stories on Crystal and her hunting adventures in the Outdoor Report the past 2 years, but until I met her and her mom Jackie Spicer in person, her life story of struggling with a medical disability and remarkable spirit of, "I want to try and do that!" prompted me to offer her some unique opportunities to be more involved in the outdoors. Crystal is interested in a career in outdoor activities and conservation programs, so I arranged for her and her mom to assist with the VDGIF Complementary Work Force volunteers to staff the Agency's exhibit at the OCHS Sportsman Expo last February in Orange. The only condition I placed on her 'opportunity' to work with VDGIF staff was to write an article for the Outdoor Report on her experience as a volunteer and to describe what hunting means to her and suggestions for her classmates to get involved in conservation programs. The following story from Crystal is inspiring as she describes what deer hunting and volunteering have meant to her.

I wish to acknowledge and express appreciation to the many VDGIF volunteers- Complementary Work Force, Boating Education and Hunting Education Instructors and staff who welcomed Crystal and mentored and encouraged her while volunteering at events or during hunter training and actual hunting experiences. These young people are the future of continuing our treasured hunting heritage and traditions. Mentoring and guiding them and providing opportunities for them to participate and get involved is imperative. Crystal is a great example of the positive impact our volunteers, staff and partners have on thousands of impressionable teens each year. Take someone new hunting or fishing, you will both be better for it! I'm looking forward to having Crystal and her mom and a friend as a guest to hunt with our club this fall... The special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 29th would be a great time to start for those under age 16. An Apprentice license for a novice interested is another option to consider. Read "It takes a hunter, to make a hunter" in the Hunting News You Can Use section for more ideas.

My First Deer – Honoring Memories of Hunting With My Stepdad by Crystal Spooner

On February 18, 2012 I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Orange County High School Anglers Club Sportsman Expo, working as a volunteer at the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries exhibit booth. I met some new people who were also volunteers, and we all worked together as a team. We organized the information table, registered people for the newsletter, and handed out information on Virginia Wildlife magazine. I also got to assist in the Boating Safety Booth, and was part of a life jacket demonstration that showed people the proper way to use a life jacket. I also had a chance to visit the Virginia Trappers Association Booth, and enjoyed looking at all the taxidermy mounts. The opossum hanging from a branch was really cool. I like to volunteer with things related to the outdoors, and I thank Mr. Coffman for giving me this opportunity, and hope to have others. There are many opportunities for teenagers to participate in conservation projects to benefit wildlife and learn new outdoor skills and met interesting new people and learn from their experience.

I got my first deer last year in Windsor, NC, with the Hunters Helping Kids Program. I shot a 4 pt. buck, which now hangs with my Stepfather's first deer that he also shot when he was my age. The story behind my first deer is that this hunt was the first hunt I had ever been on without my Stepdad, as he died in September 2010. I dedicated this hunt to him and his memory, as he would have been really proud of my hunt. I always hunt or attend outdoor events in his honor, and I am grateful to Hunters Helping Kids for mounting my first deer, which I named "Windsor", and keeps my Stepdad's memory alive.

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.

New 2012-13 Hunting & Trapping in Virginia Regulations Available

VDGIF is distributing the new 2012-13 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Regulations digest. This year's hunting seasons will be very similar to last year. One new change that is sure to be popular with sportsmen is multi-year resident hunting and trapping licenses for two, three and four year periods are now available at reduced prices (see pages 13-14). Another noteworthy change this year is the addition of Service –connected totally and permanently disabled resident veteran lifetimee license is now available at no cost. This also includes the freshwater fishing license.

The 70-page booklet is available free of charge from license sales agents, Regional VDGIF offices, upcoming sportsman shows, and the Richmond Headquarters office. You can access the new regulations booklet on the VDGIF website. Also you can download the Regulations through the new HuntFishVA app. To offset printing costs, paid advertisements with valuable money saving coupons have been included again this year.

2012-13 Managed Waterfowl Lottery Hunting at Crow's Nest Natural Area Preserve

This is an opportunity to hunt Waterfowl at Crow's Nest Natural Area Preserve in Stafford County, Virginia. Hunters will be selected by lottery. Successful applicants will be responsible for reconditioning or in some cases for constructing their own blinds at two assigned locations along the shoreline and marshes at Crow's Nest. Hunting will be on Fridays only from ½ hour before sunrise to sunset during the September 2012 early goose and teal seasons, the October 2012 early duck season, and the general duck season beginning in November 2012 and ending in January 2013.

How to Apply:

  1. Hunters must be 16 years of age or older to apply for this hunt. Complete and mail the following application along with your $5.00 application fee (check only) payable to NAPF (Natural Area Preservation Fund) to:
    Attention: Crow's Nest Waterfowl Hunt
    Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
    Division of Natural Heritage
    217 Governor Street
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
  2. Applications will be accepted until the close of business (5:00 PM) on Friday August 17, 2012. A computerized random drawing will be conducted on Tuesday, August 21, 2012 to select hunters and assign blind sites.
  3. Only successful applicants will be notified – within one week of the drawing. Selected hunters must return the $100 per hunter Natural Area Preserve permit fee (maximum $300) by 5:00 PM on Friday, September 7, 2012 to the above address.

Questions about this hunting opportunity should be directed to Rick Myers at 804-371-6204.

Stationary Waterfowl Blind Sales for Nonriparian Previously Held Begin July 1

The nonriparian license sales period for a stationary waterfowl blind previously licensed during the year before is July 1 through August 15. As this session is limited to last year's licensed locations, the previous year's license number will be required to purchase this year's license. The license will be issued to the same licensee as the previous year. Although the license will be issued to the same licensee, the licensee's address may be updated. If location coordinates are incorrect or missing, they will be required before the license can be issued.

Licensees will have a choice of providing missing or incorrect location coordinates in decimal degrees, degrees and decimal minutes, or degrees, minutes, and seconds.

License decals will be mailed separately and must be affixed to a stake or blind within 15 days after the end of each sales period. Please confirm that licensees have provided a current mailing address.

Nonriparians who have not purchased a license previously may obtain licenses between September 1 and October 15. Nonriparians are limited to two Stationary Waterfowl Blind licenses in any one season.

More information on waterfowl blinds can be found on our website.

If you have any questions regarding licenses, contact DGIF License Accounting at 800-282-0757 or via email at LicenseSales@dgif.virginia.gov.

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

"It Takes a Hunter to Make a Hunter"

Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...

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

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

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

David Coffman, Editor

We want you to send us pictures like these showing smiling kids hunting with a friend or relative who took the time to mentor and guide these new hunters and make memories to last a lifetime. Take a young hunter to one of the sportsman shows and check out the new gear and new places available for your next outdoor adventure.

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!

In May 2011, the County of Goochland passed an ordinance to allow the use of rifles from a stand more than than 10 feet above the ground. The following article explains the relative risks of hunting with rifles versus shotguns and provides information to promote the safety and welfare of hunters and others enjoying the great outdoors. With deer hunting season just 10 weeks away, many sportsmen are thinking about purchasing or upgrading their hunting firearms. VDGIF will have Hunter Education Instructors and Conservation Police Officers at the upcoming Sportsman's Shows in Richmond, Franklin and Harrisonburg if you want to stop by our booths to review the pros and cons of rifle vs. shotgun for your particular hunting situations. Also your local licensed firearms retailers can offer professional guidance for this important purchase to enhance your hunting experience.

Are Rifles More Dangerous than Shotguns?

Sgt. David L. Dodson

Virginia Hunter Education Coordinator

Are rifles more dangerous than shotguns for hunting deer? It is really a trick question. The true answer is that neither is dangerous if used properly. The Law Enforcement Division of the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries investigates all hunting-related shooting incidents in Virginia. Each year, deer hunters using firearms injure approximately 15 other people. The overwhelming majority are other hunters. To keep this in context, there are about 225,000 licensed hunters in the state. It would be incorrect to say that the use of any type of hunting firearm is statistically unsafe, with such a low incidence of injuries.

There is no conclusive data available on how many hunters currently use rifles vs. shotguns in Virginia. A reasonable estimate may be obtained by looking at the areas where rifles are legal and where they are not. The eastern part of the state generally does not allow the use of rifles, while the western part of the state allows their use. Most hunters choose to use rifles where they are legal, because they are more effective at a greater distance. For our purposes, we will assume that the number of Virginia deer hunters using rifles and shotguns is about equal.

One of the biggest concerns about rifles is that their projectiles will travel a long distance. Fired upward at a perfect angle, a deer rifle bullet may hit the ground two or three miles away. Many people do not realize that buckshot fired from a shotgun will travel over one-third of a mile, with nine to fifteen pellets released for each shot. In reality, however, deer do not fly and typical shots with both types of firearms are parallel to the ground or lower. This means that both rifle bullets and buckshot usually hit the ground within a few hundred yards.

In Virginia, during the last five years there have been 60, two-party hunting-related shooting incidents involving shotguns, while rifles contributed to 13 of these incidents. There were five fatalities that involved the use of shotguns and three with rifles. Remember, this is out of more than 225,000 licensed hunters each year. These numbers would seem to indicate that shotguns are more dangerous than rifles. However, the numbers may have more to do with the way each firearm is used. A shotgun is often chosen for making fast shots in thick cover, while rifles are more suited for making deliberate, aimed shots when there is more time.

So are rifles more dangerous than shotguns? Either can pose a risk if used improperly. All hunters should follow basic safety rules, such as, "Be sure of your target and your line of fire," and, "Keep the muzzle of your firearm pointed in a safe direction." Hunters should also plan a safe zone of fire before their quarry shows up. Because of the small number of hunting injuries, we know that hundreds of thousands of hunters practice safe hunting in Virginia every year. Most hunters are safe, whether they choose shotgun or rifle. If you would like more information about hunting and hunting safety visit www.HuntFishVA.com.

From The Waterways To The Highways, Virginians Are Advised To Play It Safe This Summer

State Law Enforcement Launch New Anti-BUI/DUI Safety PSA

With Virginians seeking out ways to keep cool in the extreme heat during the summer months, drivers are reminded to play it safe both on the waterways and highways across the Commonwealth. To reinforce this critical safety message, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) Conservation Police and Virginia State Police (VSP) are launching a new, joint public service announcement on the deadly and illegal consequences of BUI - Boating Under the Influence - and DUI - Driving Under the Influence: DGIFYouTube.

"This public service announcement reminds people of the importance of being safe while having fun on the water. Boating under the influence is not only dangerous to watercraft operators, but endangers everyone who enjoys Virginia's waterways," according to VDGIF Chief of Law Enforcement, Col. Dee Watts.

Nationwide recreational boating is one of the fastest growing outdoor activities, and Virginia is no exception. The number of registered boats in the Commonwealth exceeds 250,000 and Virginia is a prime boating destination for out-of-state visitors. This figure does not include kayaks, canoes or non-motorized sailboats. In 2011, 57 percent of boating fatalities nationwide involved alcohol. To learn more about boating laws and boating education in Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Website.

"Virginia's law enforcement have zero tolerance for drunk and drugged drivers because it's their actions that cost lives on our roads and waterways," said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, VSP Superintendent. "No matter what you drive - a passenger car, pickup, motorcycle, or boat - if you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested."

Some Common Sense Comfort & Safety Tips To Make Your Outing More Enjoyable... Blackwater and Nottoway Riverkeeper Jeff Turner provided some good, common sense safety tips in his Fishin' Report to use while canoeing and wading to make you outing more comfortable. Jeff advises, "Be sure to take plenty of bug spray and suntan lotion, you don't want to end up like me with melanoma popping up every now and then. That's a by-product of me running up and down the river in my youth with nothing on but cut-offs. Make sure everybody wears flip-flops or old tennis shoes or something. There are so many things out there on the bottom that can ruin your trip it just makes sense to sacrifice the Nikes. You can go to Wal-Mart and get a pair of slip on water shoes for $10, that is unless you have 5-E wide feet like I do. It's why I swim a lot better than I walk! A small first aid kit is also a good idea. All you need is a zip-lock. Toss some band-aids and Neosporin in there along with your cell phone and fishing license and you are done. And last but not least, especially if you're leaving a vehicle at one ramp and putting in upriver of that, be sure someone knows where you're going and when you're expecting to be back. By taking a few precautions and following these tips you can expect a wonderful family adventure on the river."

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!

Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!

This summer boating season VDGIF reminds all boaters to boat smart, boat sober, and boat safe while out on our waterways. All boaters should:

Remember safety and courtesy are free, share them generously!

"Green Tips" for Outdoor Enthusiasts

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

Newly Released 2012-2013 Federal and Junior Duck Stamps Offer Everyone An Easy Way to Help Protect Wetland Habitat Across the Nation

The 2012-2013 Federal Duck Stamp went on sale July 1, 2012, across the United States, giving hunters, stamp collectors and anyone who cares about migratory birds and other wildlife an easy way to help conserve their habitat. Ninety-eight percent of proceeds from sales of the stamp are used to acquire and protect vital wetlands supports hundreds of species of migratory birds, wildlife and plants.

Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and VDGIF Director Bob Duncan joined representatives of the U.S. Postal Service, Bass Pro Shops and other conservation partners at the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World retail store in Hampton, VA, on June 29, to celebrate the first day of sale of both the $15 Federal Duck Stamp and $5 Junior Duck Stamp. The new stamps are now available at thousands of post offices, Bass Pro Shops and other sporting goods stores and retail locations across the country, and can also be purchased online.

Since the program's inception in 1934, Federal Duck Stamp sales have raised more than $750 million to acquire and protect more than 5.3 million acres of habitat for hundreds of units of the National Wildlife Refuge System in all 50 states and U.S. territories. These refuges benefit the public by providing access to outdoor recreational activities including hunting, fishing, birding, photography, environmental education, and interpretation.

All migratory bird hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry a valid Federal Duck Stamp while hunting, but conservationists, birders, and others also buy the stamp to support habitat conservation. Anyone who holds a current Federal Duck Stamp may also obtain free admission to any unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System that charges admission fees.

Stamp collectors, in particular, prize Federal Duck Stamps as miniature works of art. This year's Federal Duck Stamp features a single wood duck painted by Joseph Hautman of Plymouth, Minn. The Junior Duck Stamp features a northern pintail painted by Christine Clayton, a 17 year old from Sidney, Ohio.

Federal and Junior Duck Stamps can be purchased at U.S. Postal Service locations nationwide, as well as through the Postal Service's online catalogue. Stamps may also be purchased at Bass Pro Shops locations and hundreds of other sporting goods stores and retailers. Electronic Duck Stamps may be purchased online at www.duckstamp.com. The electronic validation may be used to hunt or obtain free admission to a refuge immediately, while a physical stamp is mailed to each customer.

Learn more about the Federal Duck Stamp Program online, or on Facebook at USFWS_Federal Duck Stamp. Learn more about the Junior Duck Stamp, or on Facebook at Federal Junior Duck Stamp.

Remember as of July 1, that a Virginia 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. This is in addition to the Federal stamp. 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. For more details read the feature article in the Green Tips section of this edition of the Outdoor Report.

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 August:

Answers to July 11th edition quiz for nature events for early July...

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

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...

Region I - Tidewater

CPO Thomas Creates Boating Safety Radio Public Service Announcement... On June 22, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Josh Thomas wrote and recorded a radio public service announcement (PSA) to inform the boating public of the next phase of the mandatory boater education requirement. The PSA will be aired on WIGO-FM 104.9 White Stone and WNNT-FM 107.5 Warsaw from the last week of June until the end of July.

CPOs Seize Coolers Full of Undersized Red Drum... On the evening of July 14, 2012, Conservation Police Officers Bumgarner and Rollings conducted a shore patrol in Mathews and Gloucester Counties. Upon arriving at Bethel Beach in Mathews County just ahead of a severe thunderstorm the officers encountered two persons walking from the beach back to the parking area carrying two coolers and fishing rods. Upon contacting the fishermen, the officers asked if they had any luck fishing. The officers then asked the fishermen to see their catch. Upon opening the first cooler, 38 undersized red drum were observed. The second cooler contained 25 undersized red drum. A total of 63 undersized red drum were seized from these two fishermen, and two summonses were issued.

Region II – Southside

PWC Operators Charged With BUI and Operating After Legal Hours... On July 4, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Dallas Neel and Senior CPO John Koloda were on boat patrol on Smith Mountain Lake in Franklin County. At 2105 hours, approximately 25 minutes after sunset, the officers noticed two personal watercraft operating after sunset. Officers attempted to stop the two when the watercraft fled in two separate directions. Officers were able to stop one of the personal watercrafts and speak with the male operator. While speaking with the operator, CPO Neel detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage on or about his person. CPO Neel asked the operator to come aboard his patrol boat and perform several field sobriety tests. During this time the other personal watercraft returned to the area and was subsequently stopped by CPO Koloda. While Koloda spoke with this operator, he detected an odor of alcoholic beverage on or about his person. Koloda then offered field sobriety tests to this operator. CPO Neel subsequently arrested the first PWC operator and charged him with OUI, operating a PWC without boater education, and operating a PWC after legal hours. CPO Koloda charged the companion PWC operator with operating a PWC without boater education, operating without registration, and operating after legal hours.

BUI Detected After Fireworks Event... On July 4, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Joe Williams and Sergeant Bryan Young were on boat patrol on Smith Mountain Lake in Franklin County. At approximately 2230 hours the officers noticed a pontoon boat leaving the annual fireworks event without a green bow light displayed. Officers stopped the pontoon and spoke with the operator. While speaking with the operator, Officer Williams detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage on or about his person and asked him to perform field sobriety tests. Officer Williams subsequently arrested the operator and charged him with OUI and operating after sunset without required navigation lights displayed.

CPO Conducts Boating Education for Roanoke Youth Group... On July 5, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Joe Williams conducted a water safety program for a youth group in Roanoke City. The group of children ranged in age from 4 to 7 years old and most had no experience with boating or water safety. Officer Williams was able to provide an opportunity for the children to sit in a patrol boat and practice the "Throw Don't Go" life saving method. The children had a great time and the program coordinator expressed her appreciation for this worthwhile event.

Reckless Operation Results in 2 BUI Arrest... On Saturday, July 7, 2012, District 23 Conservation Police Officers Dewayne Sprinkle and Eric Rorabaugh arrested two Personal Watercraft (PWC) operators that were "spraying each other" on Leesville Lake. The two operators were charged with OUI and failing to have met boating education requirements.

CPOs Assist Stranded Boaters During High Heat... On July 7, 2012, District 21-22 Conservation Police Officers provided assistance for six disabled boaters and occupants. The daytime temperature was 104 degrees with the heat index nearing 108 degrees.

Region III - Southwest

CPO Harris Conducts Boat Safety Week Checks at New River Landing... On July 4, 2012, as part of Boat Safety Week, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Harris conducted a courtesy boat inspection at Byllesby Boat Landing on the New River in Carroll County. Officer Harris checked for proper boating safety equipment and spoke with boaters entering and exiting the water at Byllesby. Officer Harris gave out packets of information concerning safe boating practices, boating under the influence, boating safety equipment and information on personal flotation devices.

Reckless Night Skiers Caught... On July 4, 2012, at 2200 hours, Senior Conservation Officer Dan Hall and Sergeant Jamie Davis were patrolling on South Holston Lake in Washington County when they encountered a ski boat towing a skier in a narrow channel. Upon encountering the officers' patrol boat, the operator of the ski boat started flashing the lights attached to the tow bar of the boat. The officers observed the skier turn loose of the ski rope and drop into the middle of the channel. The motorboat and operator continued on down the channel. The officers activated the emergency blue lights stopping the operator of the motorboat. After stopping the motorboat and obtaining the operators identification, Senior Officer Hall was able to locate the skier upstream by the use of lights. Both subjects advised that they were aware of the skiing restriction at night, but wanted to try it anyway. Senior Officer Hall charged the subjects for reckless operation of a motorboat and skiing after lawful hours.

Large Wake Leads to OUI Arrest... On Friday, July 6, 2012, Conservation Police Officers Troy Phillips and Jim Anders were on boat patrol on Claytor Lake when they observed a PWC creating a large wake in the no wake zone of Hidden Valley Cove. Upon contact with the operator of the PWC, an odor of alcoholic beverage was detected coming from the operator. The operator was placed in the patrol boat, and sobriety tests were conducted. The subject failed to complete the tests satisfactorily, and the PBT showed a BAC level of .099. The subject was placed under arrest for OUI and transported to the New River Valley Regional Jail where he was processed.

First Youth River Camp Big Success for Grayson County... On July 13 and 14, Conservation Police Officer Jason Harris participated in the first annual Youth River Camp on the New River in Grayson County. The camp was started to give youth that would not normally have the opportunity to go to a summer camp, that opportunity. Officer Harris, area churches, businesses and volunteers planned and coordinated the event. Camp activities included a canoe trip on the New River, hiking on the New River Trail, a visit to Matthews State Forest, a shooting range, magic show, and a critter guy from Smyth County with his collection of critters. Virginia Conservation Police K9 Officer Wes Billings, and K9 Josie attended, and provided a demonstration. Local businesses provided the food and supplies for the event .

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

Personal Watercraft Violators Nabbed on Aquia Creek... On Wednesday, July 4th, at approximately 2113 hours, Virginia Conservation Police Senior Officer Boulanger and Officer Eller were on boat patrol on Aquia Creek when they observed a PWC operating after sunset. Boulanger and Eller stopped the vessel in the No Wake Zone and made contact with the operator who stated he was on his way back from a local bar. Senior Officer Boulanger had the operator perform several field sobriety tests, all of which the operator failed to complete satisfactorily. Boulanger placed the operator under arrest for operating a motorboat (PWC) while under the influence of alcohol. The subject's final BAC result was 0.08. Senior Officer Boulanger obtained and served an arrest warrant for operating a motorboat (PWC) while under the influence of alcohol and issued the subject summonses for operating a PWC after sunset, and for operating a PWC with expired registration.

Spear Gun Illegally Used to Take Fish... On Sunday, July 08, Virginia Conservation Police Sergeant Carl Martin and Officer Ian Ostlund worked a special operation with VA Department of Conservation & Recreation Officers Widmer, Davis, and Clawson. The officers patrolled a 3-mile section of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River in Warren County bordering the Shenandoah River/Andy Guest State Park. Sergeant Martin, Officer Ostlund, and DCR Officer Clawson worked the South Fork in plain clothes by kayak. DCR Conservation Officers Widmer and Davis provided a uniform presence while patrolling the park along the river and conducting surveillance. The officers observed three individuals, one wearing goggles, close together in the river. A spear gun and a stringer were viewed being possessed by the group. The officers charged one individual with fishing by illegal methods. This subject used a commercially manufactured spear gun to take 20 game fish (4 within the slot limit). Officers recovered the stringer among the aquatic grass on the river bottom, tied to a rock.

K9 Team Update

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: www.vawildlife.org/k-9.html.

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.

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

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

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

Fishin' Report

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

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

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

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

The new 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.

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 steve.kesler@dgif.virginia.gov, office phone (804) 561-1447, or cell phone (804) 840-9493

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 schwarzw@odumagazine.com.

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!

Hot Summertime Fishing

The hot months of summer can present some challenging fishing days. Not only is the heat difficult to bear, but the fish are not cooperating as well as they did so recently when it was cooler in the spring. Don't give up; there can be some hot fishing action in the summer.

Summer is a time of extremes which can be a great advantage to anglers. The hot temperatures can narrow your focus and eliminate 80% of the water before you begin fishing. Fish are motivated by survival instincts and they will be looking for optimal water conditions that present the best opportunity to live and feed. Look for the coolest, most oxygenated water, shade and the windiest areas. Follow these tips to help narrow your focus while fishing in the heat.

Fishing Early: Beat the heat, by setting the alarm early and getting on the water before sun-up and fishing until mid-morning. Fish are tuned into the time of day and night and they know the sun is coming up soon. Sunrise is a time of high activity as the environment changes from darkness to light. Fish during the pre-dawn hour are ready to feed and they just might be at their most aggressive state of the day in the morning period. Come off the water by 11:00 in time for a siesta!

Night Fishing: One way to escape the heat of the hot summer sun is to avoid it all together. Time your trip to take advantage of the activity before sunset and/or the "magic sunrise hour."

Go Deep: Deeper water is cooler and can provide comfort for fragile baitfish and larger predators will follow. A depthfinder/GPS is a helpful tool to find deeper hotspots and schools of fish and baitfish. Fish will typically be found at unique places in the topography near a creek or river channel.

Current: Moving water is like a fresh breeze to fish. On a lake this might be in the form of run-off from a recent rain, wind, hydropower generation from the dam or the current in the headwater/river section that feeds the lake. It might be a good idea to leave the lake and fish a river. Wade or kayak fish a river above the fall line; the smallmouth will be right in the riffles during the hot months and wading helps keep you cool.

Shade: Capitalize on the shade at every opportunity. Fish the shady side of the body of water or target large over hanging trees, bridges or docks.

Stay Hydrated: Regardless of what approach you take to summertime fishing; taking care of your body is paramount. The greatest threat is overheating and becoming dehydrated. It is important to consume plenty of fluids, especially water. Maintaining proper hydration begins before the trip; begin drinking fluids an hour before you get on the water to stay ahead of dehydration. Drink water and sports drinks during the heat and stay away from the soda.

There is a silver lining to the dog days of summer: many anglers will choose to stay at home and watch TV in the A/C which means less competition on the water for you. Staying at home seems like a nice option, but fish feed frequently in the summer and there are great opportunities to take advantage of some hot summertime fishing!

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 HuntFishVA.com, 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 fishing_report@hotmail.com.

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, hhhatlcr@aol.com. The lake is at full pool with a water temperature at 89 degrees, and a visibility of 14 ft. Good numbers of 1 to 4 lb. bass, mostly in 15 to 20 ft of water. Drop shot, and Carolina rigs seemed to work best; finesse worms on that drop shot rig in green or brown. The crappie bite is still good; most fish are in 12 to 15 ft. of water with larger fish coming from 18 to 20 ft. One team boated over 40 on Wednesday. Some very nice yellow perch were hanging out with the crappie. Gills are biting but they are small. We are finding lots of striper at 30 to 40 ft. A very large one broke off at the boat dock. The fisherman was trolling crankbait in white shad. Cats were caught off the pier, so, starting now, show us your big cat and the first fish over 6 lbs. gets you a FREE soda or ice cream bar. One fish for adults per week, youth under 12 catch a fish, show it to us, and you get a free Bomb Pop. The offer is until school starts. It must come off the pier, no boats. Have fun and take a kid fishing!

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Contributed by Park Ranger Eddie Hester. Fishing at Beaverdam Lake was slow due to the hot weather. Not much pressure was put on the lake. The lake received 4 in. of rain on the weekend. A few bass in the 1 to 3 pound range are being caught early in the day in 8 to 12 feet of water. Bream are biting well; however, there's not much activity with catfish. Dennis Haynes caught a 1 lb. 4 oz. 13 ¼ in. yellow perch early in mid week. The water is slightly stained, at full pool and 86 degrees. Beaverdam will host the next Big Bash series tournament on September 15th. The next night fishing event will be held on Friday, August 3rd. For more Information visit our website or call the Ranger Station at (804) 693-2107.

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

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. According to Captain Jim, cobia are at York Spit and are taking cut bunker. Flounder are at the cell and at the islands around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and are going for live spot and bull minnows. To find croaker and triggerfish try the Seagull Fishing Pier and the Ocean View Pier, they will go for Fishbite and cut squid. The water is clear and 78 degrees.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams reports that bass action is good in the morning hours. Try chatterbaits. Crappie are biting well on minnows and jigs. Bluegill are really hot for worms and jigs. No big cats have been brought in. No word on perch. The water is slightly stained and 86 degrees.

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 were in the mid 80s over the weekend. The lake level was about 6 inches above the top of the dam and rising due to the heavy rains. The water was brownish green and moderately murky in the lower lake and up the major creeks. Most major and minor creeks are filled with hydrilla, except in the channels, and hydrilla beds extended out from the shoreline of most areas of the main lake. Small to medium crappie with a few large crappie were widely scattered on shallow and mid depth flats in the lower parts of creeks and in the main lake. Mid depth wood cover frequently held some crappie. 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 around shorelines in the main lake. Most larger bluegill had moved off shorelines and were on shallow or mid depth 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 a few next to shoreline vegetation and in channels in the creeks and others along the shorelines and mid depths in the main lake. Bass were most active at sunrise and were hitting live minnows, creature baits, soft plastic stick baits, crankbaits, and plastic worms. Fishing with Capt. Conway, Tom Porter had 35 bluegill on the fly rod. Malcolm Turnbull and Hollis Pruitt had 50 bluegill and 2 crappie.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins says that lots of bass are being landed with top-waters, spinners and cranks. Crappie action is "awful slow", but a minnow or jig may prove successful. Lots of blue and channel cats are coming in from 1 ½ to 3 lbs. Cut bait is a good bet. Stripers are coming in, but most are too small to keep. The big boys are sure to be there soon, however. To land your striper, try cranks. Bluegill are being very cooperative and are biting worms, crickets and popping bugs. The water is clear and in the mid to high 80s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon told me that bass are going for top-waters, cranks and plastics. Many crappie are being fooled by minnows and jigs. The cat bite is good with just about anything you care to use. No word on perch. Bluegill are responding well to crickets and worms. The water is clear and in the low 80s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com.

Some comfort /safety tips to make your outing more enjoyable... Be sure to take plenty of bug spray and suntan lotion, you don't want to end up like me with melanoma popping up every now and then. That's a by-product of me running up and down the river in my youth with nothing on but cut-offs. Make sure everybody wears flip-flops or old tennis shoes or something. There are so many things out there on the bottom that can ruin your trip it just makes sense to sacrifice the Nikes. You can go to Wal-Mart and get a pair of slip on water shoes for $10, that is unless you have 5-E wide feet like I do. It's why I swim a lot better than I walk! A small first aid kit is also a good idea. All you need is a zip-lock. Toss some band-aids and Neosporin in there along with your cell phone and fishing license and you are done. And last but not least, especially if you're leaving a vehicle at one ramp and putting in upriver of that, be sure someone knows where you're going and when you're expecting to be back. By taking a few precautions and following these tips you can expect a wonderful family adventure on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike reports that some big cats can be found in 28 to 30 feet of water. During the day, use eel; at night try cut shad. Bass fishing is good near Dutch Gap. Try cranks and plastics, pumpkin seed is a good color. For bluegill, fish along the banks with crickets and worms. The water is slightly stained and 84 to 89 degrees.

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.

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.

Region 2 - Southside

Holliday Lakee: Contributed by our man in the boat, Willard Mayes. (Welcome back Willard!) Old Blue just sitting there looking so sad and I have had a hydraulic ram being repaired in a machine shop in Farmville for over three weeks, so that was all the excuse I needed to head for Holliday Lake. I had the ram and was on the lake by 11:00 that morning with the thoughts of catching some of those over size bluegill that call that place home. Still unable to cast the fly rod that far out but far enough to catch a fish, I fished the shore line some ways form the dock only picking up a few normal size bluegill and since I was a little late getting there, I headed straight for where I knew the big boys hang out. I picked up some normal ones before grandpa latched on. People, that was a rude awaking, I thought it was going to pull my ribs apart again, no way I wanted to lose that fish, but no way I could hold it, so the rod went to the left hand and I was able to land that 9 incher. It felt much bigger than that. I fished left handed for a while, catching a few before giving up and fishing the spinning rod and the 2 inch twister tails. I fished the shore line some before deciding the water was just too hot for the fish to hang out there all the time. I started fishing the middle of the lake on the way back to the dock around 4:00 and, wouldn't you know it, the first thing to hit was a bass at least 20 inches long, no I did not try to land it, or should I say, I could not land it. It left with about 50 ft. of my line. Fishing the middle of the lake was the right choice because I picked up about five 8 to 9 inchers on the way in. I may have done better than the 17 I brought home, if I had stayed in one place in the middle and fished but I was on the tired side by then. I caught most of them on my purple twister about 6 to 8 feet down.

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

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. It has been hot and humid the past couple of weeks. The water temperature has gotten into the 90s a few days. The smallmouth continue to look up and take top-water baits. Tiny Torps, Zarro Spooks and Skitter Pops have all produced quality fish. Fly anglers throwing size 4 or 6 poppers also have had nice fish netted. We have boated several fish over the 19 in. mark the past two weeks. Look at the shade lines and undercut banks for fish.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow told me that the bass have gone deep, so try plastics in green pumpkin or cranks. The fish should be hanging out 15 to 20 ft. down. Crappie are about 15 to 30 ft. down near brush and bridge pilings. Not many crappie have been landed lately, but those that have been were good sized. The slabs will take minnows and jigs. Cat action is fair, with cut bait and live shad and bream proving effective. No word on bluegill. White perch can be had off points with minnows and jigging spoons. The water is clear and in the upper 80s.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Doug Lane says that the smallmouth action is "terrific". Try crayfish patterns or Custom B R Buggers. Fishing for rainbows and browns in the Jackson is good as well, with caddis nymphs getting results. The water in the mountain streams is too low to fish just now, but a good rain could fix this. If it does, try a caddis imitator. The water is clear and "seasonably warm".

James near Lynchburg: Contributed by Jared Harker, owner of Confluence Outfitters, (434) 941-9550. No report this edition.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Craig Karpinski told me that bass fishing is good early and late and at night. Early and late try top-waters, during the day drop down 8 to 10 ft. and use a Carolina rig. At night, use black buzzbaits and top-waters. Crappie are down about 20 ft., and may go for minnows and jigs. Many cats are brought to boat with clam snouts, chicken livers and bait shrimp. Local bluegill anglers are having a great time on the dock, with red worms being the bait of choice. The water is clear and 86 degrees.

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

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

Bass: Fishing continues to be good. Several anglers recently reported success using both spinnerbaits, small swimbaits and Alabama rigs off the sides and ends of deep water docks and along secondary points early in the morning. This time of year the heavier shad imitating Alabama rigs and spinnerbaits (¾ ounce) are good choices as they allow you to keep the lure deeper and vary the retrieve speed. Currently there are a lot of smaller baitfish in the food chain, so using spinnerbaits with smaller blades and smaller plastic lures on the Alabama rig not only imitates the available forage, but also reduces the resistance and lift of the lure when retrieved. The spinnerbait skirt color and color of the lures on the A-rig should represent the shad in the forage base, so pearl, chartreuse shad or white with light blue flecks are all good colors and with clear water small silver or silver holographic blades are a good choice. Small shad colored crankbaits and traditional crawfish imitating crankbaits are also working around docks, rock ledges and submerged structure. Other good lures when fishing deepwater docks include the shakey head jig, Texas rigged plastic worm with a relatively light sinker and the wacky rigged Yamasenko worm. When fishing the wacky rigged Senko worm good colors include green pumpkin with black or purple flake and watermelon with black or red flake. When fishing Senko's wacky style I suggest you keep the lure in the shaded side of deep water dock pilings or other vertical structure and let the worm fall naturally, without any tension on the line or other resistance and watch your line for any unusual movement. A number of bass have moved into deeper, cooler water where they can be found.

Stripers: Fishing was also good over the past several weeks, especially once the schooled fish were located. Anglers using live bait on downlines and shot lines reported the most success as they found schools of striped bass in numerous locations in the middle sections of the lake. Schooled stripers were often found from 20 to 60 feet below the surface. Small shad are starting to produce good numbers of stripers when they are found deep, in or near submerged timber. Sometimes, in the summer, the very small shad will produce stripers when a larger, beautiful alewife or "money maker" gizzard will not. When fishing with the smaller shad this time of year I suggest downsizing both hooks and leaders. Anglers who locate schools of stripers using electronics also report success vertical jigging for them with small jigging spoons and flukes rigged on quality custom jigheads. Attaching a small quality swivel to the jighead with a split ring will help eliminate line twist when vertical jigging with flukes. When schools of stripers are marked using electronics they can also be caught by casting out, counting down and retrieving these lures as well as the conventional bucktail. Trolling is another effective technique this time of year as it allows the angler to cover significant amounts of water. Stripers are being caught by anglers trolling a variety of different lures including Sutton spoons, plastic swim shad, sassy shad, crankbaits, diving jerkbaits and Umbrella rigs. Some anglers also report success trolling with the popular Alabama rig. Many anglers will troll while using their electronics to search for schooled stripers and then once located will switch and put out live bait on downiness or jig with spoons and flukes on jigheads.

Catfish: The catfish bite continues to be strong. Flatheads are hitting live shad and panfish under floats at night. Flathead and channel cats are both being caught by anglers using night crawlers, shad, cut bait and a variety of different stink baits on the bottom during the day.

If you have photographs or information you wish shared with others who read the Smith Mountain Eagle, please feel free to join the many anglers who support this report by emailing the information to me at virginiaoutdoorsman@gmail.com.

Tight lines and stay safe on the water.

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 says that lots of smallies are coming in, but most are on the small side. They are going for Gitzits and flukes in green pumpkin. Muskie action is really hot, with anything you would use for bass serving equally well for muskies. In fact, it's not unusual to find a bass angler accidentally getting into a struggle with a muskie!. The water is stained, at full pool and hot.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. New River Charter clients have been enjoying great fishing for all species as of late. Smallmouth are hitting top-water, plastics and crankbaits. The walleye have been very active for hot, summer water on crankbaits and the muskie fishing is excellent. The river turned a nice green for us last week but is back to its brackish brown color now and the water temp is still a warm 81.5 degrees. Life is good on the Upper New! Don't forget to wear you PFD!

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash told me that smallie fishing has been "lights out". They are biting everything. Muskies are slow, but the night bite is good with inline spinners, to-waters and live bait. The water is clear and in the low to mid 70s.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. Afternoon showers have cooled off the water in the Top New (Mouth of Wilson to Fries). Water clarity is about 4 to 5 feet. The scattered showers also mean that the skies are partly to mostly cloudy, which helps the top water fishing, and makes the day more comfortable on the water. Scattered showers are predicted for most of this week. We've been catching some nice smallmouth using top-water flies and lures. If that doesn't work, go to plastic lures or crayfish or baitfish flies.

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

Region 4 - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Harry says that the smallmouth streams in both the North and South forks of the river are giving good fishing just now. It's best to fish the surface. Good flies are: the Shenandoah Chartreuse Chuggar, size 4; and the Shenandoah Damsel Popper, size 4. The water is clear, at a good level and 76 degrees.

The streams in the Valley are giving good fishing as well. Due to the warmer weather, it's best to fish below the springs. Good flies are: the Shenk's Cressbug, size 16 and the Murray's Shrimp, size 16.The water is at a good level, clear and 76 degrees.

Brookie fishing in the mountain streams is "fair". Good flies are the Mr. Rapidan Ant, size 16; and the Murray's Flying Beetle, size 16.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. Lake Moomaw is living up to its reputation as a tough summertime fishery during daylight hours. Some decent largemouth bass can be caught with some type of floating worm (Senkos) around standing timber during the early morning and late evening hours. Top-water lures such as a Pop R can also deceive some schooling bass if the shad are active. Can't quite explain but it seems that cloudy weather has a detrimental effect on the bite. The one constant is night fishing. Smallmouth and largemouth bass continue to be active during the nocturnal time frame. Be patient and wait for the fish to get really active after about 10:00 p.m. There is a transitional period between the day and night feeders. Successful lures continue to be jigs, creature baits, drop shot, and spinnerbaits. Rocky shorelines are your most consistent producers. Water temps are in the low 80s and the lake level is starting to drop; about 5 feet below full pool.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Visit Puff's website for latest news on fishing conditions.

Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker of Confluence Outfitters LLC, (434) 941-9550. Fishing continues to be exciting throughout these summer months. The water levels, though down, have held on enough to float. These afternoon thunderstorms have helped. If you're tryin' to catch big smallmouth, stick with soft plastics fished slower and slightly weighted in strong currents. If you've never fished "wacky" style before, now would be a great time to give it a shot! Let it float with the current and bounce it along. Hit the deeper pools and eddies near rapids. The shallower water will mostly hold smaller fish, but hit the deeper churnin' water just below that shallow water. The shallow ledges and riffles are still holding fish, they are just smaller in size. Pound for pound they will still give a good fight! Keep your ultra light tackle rigged and ready for these sections of the river! Beetle Spins, rooster tails, small crankbaits will all produce! For other up to date fishing info and reports check out www.confluenceoutfittersva.com or like our page on Facebook! We keep our Facebook page updated weekly with our fishing results!

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.

Piedmont Rivers: Local author Steve Moore (Wade Fishing River Guidebooks covering the: Rappahannock, Rapidan, Upper Potomac, North Branch Potomac; Blog: CatchGuide.com) Ken Penrod warns that at the current low river levels, the Upper Potomac is becoming unsanitary. His recommendation is that anglers take precautions when coming in contact with the water. The primary precaution, other than cleaning up when you get home, is to not wade if you have any open sores or cuts. If you decide to wade, wear long pants rather than shorts to provide a thin layer of protection against rough rocks or anything else that could open a cut. In terms of the fishing, the low water and tall grass are making fishing difficult. For fly anglers, the White Miller hatch has begun in the evening. Use small top water plugs with spin gear or grab a fly rod to participate in the fun! The Rappahannock and Rapidan are fishing okay, nothing spectacular with the best times being, as expected, early or late. The mountain trout streams are in bad shape as result of the lack of rain. Without a surge of water, the temperatures will rise and catching the trout will add unnecessary stress to their challenging lives. I recommend you pursue smallies until the weather cools down or the water levels improve.

Quantico Bay: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. No report this edition.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The water is clear with a surface temperature in the upper 80s. Largemouth bass are continuing to surround schooling bait fish creating some phenomenal top water action. On Sunday, Craig Wright of Quantico brought in a 21.5 in. lunker largemouth bass. The crappie bite remains strong around the fishing pier and fish attractors in 12 ft of water. Crappie seem to only be hitting small minnows. Catfishing is good throughout the lake with the mid-section bringing in the larger strings of fish on chicken liver and night crawlers.

Occoquan Reservoir: Contributed by local angler Jim Thomas. Fishing up here has been good when it is not too hot to venture on the water. Both the lake and the river are showing 82 degrees. Still, the largemouth bass are biting remarkably well on Occoquan Reservoir, especially early in the morning. Top- water and shallow crankbaits are doing very well. By late morning the bite is over and it seems to be advantageous to put the bass tackle away for the day. On the Occoquan River the catfish bite is about as hot as it gets with many fish running better than 5 pounds. The preferred bait has been chicken livers however many nice fish can be caught trolling crankbaits around the bridges.

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: HOT! Although the weather may be hot this month fishing for stripers will be even hotter. The water temperatures in July range between 85 degrees up to 92 but the incredible live bait bite that we experienced in June will continue through July. Last month we were averaging 30 to 50 stripers a morning with catches getting increasingly larger toward the end of the month. (View our catches online at www.JimHemby.com) Stripers are schooling chasing baits to the surface early in the morning and on cloudy days then sounding to depths of 25 to 40 feet deep, making live bait fishing and trolling very effective. Schools can be found from the Splits down to the dam in the main lake regions of the lake. By far the most productive way to catch stripers this month will be to use herring rigged on downlines presenting the baits at the exact depth that you see them on your depth finder. When using this method it is difficult to keep up with the constant and frantic action and this method usually produces the larger fish. When fishing with live bait it is common to take 250 hits a morning providing plenty of action for everyone. Lake Anna stripers are excellent table fare with the creel limits being 4 fish per angler over 20 inches per day.

Bass: The Bass are in their summer patterns and are predictable in their feeding habits. Early in the morning it is hard to beat working primary points nearby deep water with top-water baits such as Spooks, Chuggars, Prop Baits, etc. Many bass will school in the mouths of creeks on structures especially humps and ledges where baitfish are present. Once the sun gets bright, bass will retreat back to the depths using stumps, rock and brush piles, bridge pilings and ledges as cover. Use deep diving crankbaits, Carolina, Texas and drop shot rigs to catch these bass. Throw a huge 9 to 13 inch Texas rigged worm into deep cover to catch fish that are pressured with conventional baits. Later in the month, if we get rain, bass will turn on in the backs of creeks on ledges of the channels in water depths ranging from 2 to 10 feet deep.

Crappie: Most crappie have moved to deeper water and are feeding heavily on 2 inch bait fry. Structures in 15 to 30 feet can hold schools and should be fished vertically using your depth finder to keep you on your target. Night fishing can be excellent for crappie, find deep dock with lights on them for some summertime action.

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

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

View video about the snakehead

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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

Whether fishing, boating, hunting, camping hiking, or a trip to the beach, outdoor adventure shared with family members can create lasting memories. For 17 year old Natasha Laramie, a Junior at Dominion High School in Sterling, her most memorable outdoor experience was a weekend trip to the Natural Bridge. The interaction with people and nature made for a lasting impression and inspiration to seek new adventures in the outdoors. Natasha submitted her story in the 2010-11 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Writing Competition and placed in the Top 10.

Horizon From Above

By Natasha Laramie

The wind gathered and rose, brushing my skin and blowing my hair behind me. I could feel the breeze going into my blood, swirling and flashing through my veins. The beads of sweat on my forehead dripped down and my muscles urged me to rest, but I could see my goal in sight. The Natural Bridge loomed before me, so vividly present that I could feel it in every nerve of my body. I glanced further down the beaten path and saw my family ahead of me, traveling deep into the hills that surrounded them like an embrace. My father looked back and smiled at me, seeing the excited grin that was certainly present on my face. Urging my feet forward, I entered the dense shrubbery that awaited me.

I was instantly greeted by a cascade of sound that poured into my ears like flowers falling from the sky. Smooth stones surrounded a rushing stream blooming with life. Frogs croaked vividly and bees buzzed by rushing to the flourishing vegetation. The beauty of the moment was as strong and unquestionably as delicate as intertwined branches of a tree. My body filled with eagerness and my eyes darted forward. The narrow path continued on and seemed to get smaller. I hopped over the quaint stream and smiled. Using my eyes to trace the path ahead of me, I could see that the path hugged the side of a mountain. On the other side of the path was a drop off. My sense of adventure poured out like something liquid, something that had flooded and could no longer be held back. Nothing good ever came from waiting, so I hugged the smooth stone of the mountain face and scooted along the path. The shuffling sounds of my feet resonated through the dense forest and seemed to get lost in the sounds of Nature.

I crossed the final feet of the narrow path and my two brothers turned to look at me, their cheeks flushed with noon sun. Further ahead I could see my mom. She had already crossed the narrow portion of the path and was moving like lighting; flashes of white and red seeping through the crevices of the trees. We were nearly to the top, and I felt a rush of excitement. It almost felt as if time paused on moments like these, the sun forever in the sky and the dry leaves remaining crisp under my feet. I started forward and I could now see the Natural Bridge before me, an overwhelming presence. Following the trail I continued my hike, concentrating on my breathing; in and out, in and out. The light fell through the trees and made patterns along the forest floor, suddenly revealing the steps to the Natural Bridge. I climbed the steps and realized that I had made it. My six mile hike with my family had led me here, the highest point in the whole area. Standing hundreds of feet above the forest on this rock bridge, I just felt surreal. It made me aware that the rock I stood on was a part of the planet, which turned in space, shifting the world no matter how hard you tried to hold it still. It felt odd to place so much love into a moment that had come so unexpectedly, and from such an unexpected source. I stood there, above the world, and for the first time that day, felt contented. I heard voices swelling in the background and knew it was time to hike back home. I glanced one more time at the small world beneath me and headed back home.

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: www.vowa.org.

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: