In this edition:

Celebrate the Dog Days of Summer!

Yes, I know it's Friday and this edition of the Outdoor Report is five days early... Due to production team schedule changes and preparation for the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show in Richmond next week August 10-12, we've loaded this edition up with lots of info of upcoming events. As we suffer through the hot, humid dog days of summer, this is a friendly reminder that there are only 55 days till the beginning of deer season! This year deer season begins with the special Youth Deer Hunting Day on Saturday September 29th. This follows National Hunting & Fishing Day September 22nd. 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. Speaking of dogs... two new K9 units have been added to the VDGIF Law Enforcement Division to provide more effective coverage for all geographical and administrative regions, thus reducing response time to incidents – time being a critical factor in many instances. The K9 teams will be participating in the various sportsman shows starting with the VA Outdoor Sportsman Show in Richmond August 10-12 and the Regional Big Game Contests in September. Come out and meet these amazing dogs and their CPO partners.

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 the largest of the sportsman expos in the state, The Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show. 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.

Early Dove Season Opens September 1 - October 13

View the Regulations for Virginia Dove, Woodcock, Snipe, Rail, September Canada Goose, and September Teal on the Department's website (PDF).

New Seasons To Be Set For Waterfowl and Webless Migratory Birds at August 14 Board of Game and Inland Fisheries Meeting.

New season dates for waterfowl will be set by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries at their regular August 14, 2012, meeting in Richmond. The dates and bag limits for various migratory waterfowl and webless species will be immediately posted on the Department's website and listed in future editions of the Outdoor Report under the "Hunting Season at a Glance" section starting with the next August 22nd edition.

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

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.

September Regional Big Game Contests Feature Biggest Bucks, Bears and Turkeys

September 8-9, 2012: 73rd Eastern Regional Big Game Contest, More than 3000 sportsmen and families are expected to attend the official Big Game Contest at the Southampton County Fairgrounds west of Franklin sponsored by the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen's Association in partnership with VDGIF. The VDGIF exhibit will feature subscription sign-up for the Outdoor Report and information on the new hunting opportunities of interest to sportsmen in the eastern regions of the state. The event will feature exhibitors with gear, calls, supplies and taxidermy as well as activities for youth. Biologists and Law Enforcement staff will be on hand to answer questions.. For Contest rules and information visit: www.vpsa.org

September 21-23: 73rd Western Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest is sponsored by the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Izaak Walton League at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg in partnership with VDGIF. Registration: Begins Friday September 21 at 9 AM. Trophy Entry Deadline is 2 PM on Saturday September 22. VDGIF's exhibit will feature information on new VDGIF programs and hunting opportunities and the CWD surveillance plan for the northern Shenandoah Valley. Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors will teach safe gun handling and shooting with the laser shot range for youth attending the event. Exhibitors will be on hand with the latest in gear, supplies, artwork, taxidermy, and more. A special feature this year is Clealen Dove from Rockingham County will have the full mount on display of his State Record black bear weighing 592 pounds! You have to see this bruin up close to appreciate its enormous size and hearing Clealen's story is even more amazing. This year the Western Regional is also the State Championship. Come see the truly awesome trophy bucks harvested in Virginia. For Contest rules and information: www.iwla-rh.org

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. The art work of disabled Virginia artists Bruce Dellinger and other Virginia wildlife artists will be featured at the Festival with a free deer print suitable for framing available for the first 100 children under 12 attending the event. A portion of the proceeds from art print sales from Rustic Frames will be used to support Hunters for the Hungry. 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.

Friends of Phelps Wildlife Management Host Events in 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.

Migratory Birds and their Journey Subject of Program in NOVA September 12

"Taking Flight -- Migratory Birds and Their Journey" is the subject of a September 12 meeting sponsored by the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and the Friends of Dyke Marsh, 7:30 p.m., Huntley Meadows Visitor Center, 3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria 22306. Alicia F. King, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Migratory Bird Program will examine the mysteries of migration, migratory flyways, how and why birds migrate, current research addressing migration and more. The program is free and open to the public. For information on attending visit the Friends of Dyke Marsh website or www.audubonva.org.

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

Mouth Artist Bruce Dellinger Demonstrates Unique Style at Sportsman Shows

Bruce Dellinger, a self-taught artist from Timberville in Rockingham County, has been successfully drawing for over 15 years holding a pencil in his teeth. As a result of a farming accident in 1981 that left him a C5-C6 quadriplegic, he discovered that he could draw and write by manipulating pens and pencils with his teeth. This eventually led Bruce to the realization of how creating works of art can be enjoyable and therapeutic. Bruce's prints have been featured in gun shows and craft shows the past three years throughout Virginia through a partnership with aged barnwood frame crafter David Coffman of Rustic Frames. Come meet Bruce in person at the Richmond Raceway during the ">29th VA Outdoor Sportsman Show August 10-12, where he is the featured artist for 2012. Bruce will be demonstrating his unique drawing technique and selling his limited edition prints with custom framing available at the Show.

By using naturalistic scenes. Bruce feels that the finished composition is a reflection of his mood and adaptability to life. Bruce has worked with several types of mediums, but has found that using a no. 2 graphite pencil and working in black and white is representative of his personal character and style. The pencil allows for ease of use and gives the drawing an old-fashioned appearance and quality. An avid outdoorsman, Bruce enjoys hunting and fishing. Bruce has been instrumental in working with the National Wild Turkey Federation's Wheelin' Sportsmen Program to provide outdoor activities for persons with disabilities and participates in many of the volunteer led activities. Visit his website for more information and a gallery view of his drawings.

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 »

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.

Hunters for the Hungry Raise funds through Raffles at Sportsman Shows and Events

Hunters for the Hungry has announced their newest 2012-13 Raffles that are very different in nature and have some of the neatest prizes they have ever offered at the best price going! A single ticket is $5 and 3 chances for $10. Fund Raising Coordinator Gary Arrington expressed appreciation to the many folks and organizations that have supported and helped with the raffles and other fund raisers in past years. He noted, "These funds raised are critical in paying for the processing of the donated venison and supporters continue to be a blessing to our program and to all those whose lives are touched by what you do! For every $5 ticket we sell we can provide 25 servings of venison to needy men, women, and children."

Details on the raffles and prizes can be found on the Hunters for the Hungry and they will be set up at the sportsmans shows starting with the VA Outdoor Sportsman Show in Richmond August 10-12. We could so use your support in these special fund raising efforts!

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."

Hugh Crittenden Founder of Sportsman Show Gives Back to the Sport He Loves

For Hugh Crittenden outdoor sports are his way of life. Hugh resides in Chesterfield County, Virginia where he has been a noted taxidermist, owning Hugh's Taxidermy, for the past forty years. His quality workmanship, experience, and knowledge of animal anatomy is nationally acclaimed. Because Hugh is recognized as an expert in his field, creating the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show now in its 29th year, was a natural endeavor for him to pursue.

His lifetime of hunting experiences has brought him knowledge and skills to develop a quality show. Hugh has become a waterfowl expert through his nearly 50 years of hunting, calling, and attracting wildlife. Waterfowl and turkey hunting are challenges he enjoys, as well as muzzle loading for deer. He has enjoyed hunting with clubs, still hunting, and hunting with dogs. Over the years, Hugh's experiences have enabled him to recognize and appreciate the needs and interests of all outdoor sportsmen. Hugh combines his knowledge of hunting and enthusiasm for the sport, to create a professional show that truly has something for everyone.

VDGIF Director Bob Duncan commends Hugh on creating a quality, family oriented show which now attracts over 20,000 participants annually. Director Duncan notes, "This is the largest sportsman show in the state and now in it's 29th year, it gets bigger and better each year. The move to the Richmond Raceway Complex in 2011 provides added room for the many outdoor gear vendors, guides, sportsman organizations, seminars, demonstrations and the awesome display of the biggest bucks harvested in Virginia last season. The extraordinary success of the show is Hugh's strong partnership with VDGIF and the VA Deer Hunters Association who co-sponsor the three day event. Each year Hugh meets with our creative staff early in the planning process to develop themes, demonstrations, celebrity guests and promotions that help the Agency accomplish our mission to promote and showcase the great variety of opportunities in Virginia for hunters of all interests and skill levels."

Visit the Show's website for details on the many exhibits, contests, seminars, demonstrations and fun activities for the whole family. You can read about the many features of the show throughout this edition of the Outdoor Report. We hope to see you at this years Show August 10-12 at the Richmond Raceway. If you get the chance, look up Hugh at the Show- he is usually at the information desk making announcements and keeping things running smoothly... thank him for his 29 years of service to the sportsmen of Virginia, providing a fantastic venue for promoting and protecting our rich hunting heritage and treasured outdoor traditions. See you at the Show!!

VA Deer Hunters Association Key Partner in Success of VA Outdoor Sportsman Show

The Virginia Deer Hunters Association, (VDHA), is a volunteer, statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to responsible management of Whitetail deer as a valuable resource. VDHA serves as "the voice" of deer hunters while protecting the rights and traditions of deer hunting. Founded in March of 1985 by a few dedicated hunters who became concerned with the increasing threats to deer hunting, they recognized that it was critical for deer hunters to unite in a statewide organization in order to protect deer hunting from these threats. These few dedicated deer hunters used their own money to launch the organization. As the membership grew, VDHA actively spoke out on all hunting legislation at the state and local government levels and officers of VDHA lobbied at the Virginia General Assembly and worked with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries whenever there was a threat to hunting or when an issue arose which would affect hunting. By 1990, VDHA had recruited over 2,500 members and their newsletter had grown to become the Whitetail Times magazine, published four times a year. Executive Director Denny Quaiff also serves as Editor for the Magazine.

As a partner organization for The annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show and the celebrated Virginia Deer Classic, this major event provides an opportunity for all members to volunteer their time to promote the sport for the public to appreciate. Over 20,000 sportsmen families enjoy this great show each year. Other projects include "Youth Day Hunts" and the annual handicapped Veteran hunts. VDHA members were instrumental in getting the Special Youth Deer Hunting Day established the third Saturday in September. VDHA is also a primary supporter of Hunters for the Hungry which annually provides thousands of pounds of venison donated by hunters to feed our less fortunate neighbors.

VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan noted during the recent VA Outdoor Sportsman Show in Richmond that, "The VDHA is an exceptional partner with the Agency supporting initiatives and programs to benefit all hunters, landowners and non-hunters . Their support for legislation, new regulations to improve opportunities for hunters and efforts for habitat improvement and protection and hunter safety and ethics are invaluable to preserving our rich hunting heritage and traditions."

Virginia Deer Classic Winners Posted on VDHA Website

The winners among the 300 plus trophy deer entries at the Virginia Deer Classic Contest are posted on the VDHA website (PDF). This popular annual deer trophy contest featured some of the largest bucks harvested in Virginia last season. The Classic is hosted by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA) and sponsored by Keystone Tractor Works Museum at the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show August 10-12 at the Richmond Raceway Complex.

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

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

Nearly 6000 baseball fans joined The The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia, Bass Pro Shops, Responsive Management, Take Me Fishing™ and VDGIF at the Richmond Flying Squirrels vs. Akron Aeros baseball game on Friday evening July 20, at The Diamond for "Connecting People to Great Traditions" Natural Resources Night Out. VDGIF had nearly 30 staff and volunteers to help fans celebrate the great outdoors through educational exhibits like the new 26 foot pontoon boat provided to VDGIF by Bass Pro Shops (BPS) for the Angling Education program dubbed the "Floating Fishing School". Fans received goodie bags with Bass Pro Shops Kevin Van Dam fishing lures, Dodge Ram carabineers and Virginia Wildlife calendars and The Wildlife Foundation of VA stickers. On the field activities were provided by Bass Pro Shops (BPS) in Ashland and included a PFD and frozen t-shirt race/contest and Bass Pro t-shirts that were launched between innings. BPS gift cards were given to all contestants.

Under the leadership of VDGIF Partnership Coordinator Tom Wilcox, whose Dad played major league baseball, many staff and volunteers made the night a great success. Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech, threw out the first pitch. The VDGIF's two newest Wildlife K9 Units were introduced and interacted with the fans. Conservation Police Officer Wes Billings and 'Josie', Officer Frank Spuchesi and 'Comet' joined the other members of the K9 team, Major Mike Minarik, Officer Megan Vick and 'Jake' and Officer Wayne Billhimer and 'Justice'. Text message donations to support the K9 team via a cooperative effort with The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia (WFV) were accepted during the game. You can donate right now by going to: WFV Fund for VDGIF K9 Team. VDGIF Director Bob Duncan demonstrated his elk bugle call during a radio interview to 'call' attention to the new elk restoration project in Southwest Virginia. Allester Watts, VDGIF HQ Facilities Engineer led the fans in singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", ending in cheers for the home team who won the game 3-2. It was also "sleepover night on the field" for the Boy Scouts and they shared in the RBFF effort to promote angling among Scouts with the 'Take Me Fishing' Patch Program. Visit the Richmond Flying Squirrels website for tickets for future games.

This was the second annual 'celebrate the great outdoors night' and VDGIF is already planning with its many partners to host the event again next summer. The VDGIF and Richmond Flying Squirrels wish to thank the many sponsors, staff volunteers and fans who joined us for a great evening to celebrate great American traditions like fishing, hunting, boating and baseball!

Photos by VDGIF Outreach Division Manager Lee Walker and Morgan Dellamura, a Wildlife and Fisheries major from Clemson University participating in the WIN intern program at VDGIF this summer.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Flying Squirrels Wildlife Foundation of Virginia Bass Pro Shops Responsive Management Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF)

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.

Apply for 2012 – 2013 Quota Hunts ASAP – Deadlines Near in August & September

For the 2012 – 2013 hunting season, there are 35 quota hunt opportunities to take black bear, feral hogs, quail, rabbits, turkeys, waterfowl, and white-tailed deer. Beginning July 1, 2011, hunters may apply by mail, telephone or online. Note the application deadline for the Radford Army Ammo Plant Deer Hunt #211 is August 10. Most Application deadline for most Deer hunts is August 17, 2012 and for most Waterfowl hunts is September 28, 2012. Consult regulations digest for information. For telephone application call: 1 - 877 - VAHUNTS (1/877-824-8687). For online application go to: www.HuntFishVA.com.

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.

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.

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.

Just 55 Days Till the Special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 29th

Youth Deer Hunting Day - September 29, 2012

For more details visit the Department's website.

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!

Safety Team Promotes Proper Treestand Use at Sportsman's Shows

The use of tree stands for hunting has increased dramatically in the past few years. Along with the increase in their use comes an increase in the number of serious or fatal injuries. While firearms-related incidents have declined tremendously since mandatory hunter education courses were instituted and blaze orange laws were passed, the number of treestand-related incidents has increased significantly. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries supports a Treestand Safety Team composed of volunteer Hunter Education instructors who provide safety training to other volunteers and to the public. Whether you are an experienced deer hunter or this is your first time using a stand, the Team is providing exhibits, demonstrations and training at various sportsmen's events to help hunters properly prepare and stay safe while using treestands. We will be featuring treestand safety and use tips in each of the August – October editions in the Be Safe... Have Fun section of the Outdoor Report.

The Treestand Safety Team under the leadership of VDGIF Volunteer Hunter Education Instructor Ken Carter, will be in full force at the 29th VA Outdoor Sportsman Show at the Richmond Raceway August 10-12. Show goers will be given the opportunity to "take the pledge" to use proper treestand safety practices and enter a drawing for a Summit Ultimate Viper treestand donated by the Virginia Hunter Education Association and a Third-Hand haul line donated by Third-Hand Archery Accessories. Remember to harness up before you climb up.

Get Prepared for Hurricane Weather NOW!

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

While no major hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic this season, the derecho wind storm of June 29th was a reminder of the damage and danger that can be unleashed on our communities. With more than three months remaining in the traditional hurricane season , it is time to prepare NOW for your safety and protecting your property in case of a land fall event. The weather watchers are starting to mention the scenarios of past storms like Irene last year and familiar names like Camille, Floyd and Isabel, that warn us to be prepared. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has timely and useful information on getting prepared for a hurricane or severe rain storm events:

Additional information and resources are available online at Ready Virginia.

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

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

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

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist from the USCG Auxiliary

If you need to secure your boat in a marina:

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

Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!

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.

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!

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.

Emerald Ash Borer is Spreading Across State

Adam Downing, is the Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Agent for the Northern Piedmont District based in Madison County. He has submitted this update on an invasive insect which may potentially kill ash trees across Virginia. There are also announcements for workshops and field tours for landowners to learn how to manage their forest, wildlife and water resources.

The Emerald Ash Borer has graphically demonstrated it's ability to move hop-scotch across our Commonwealth. Until the last few weeks, it had only been known to be present in Northern Virginia and Frederick County. As of early this month, the exotic flat-headed borer has sprung up in nearly every corner of the State. It has been confirmed in Loudoun, Stafford, Caroline, Hanover, Prince Edward, Pittsylvania, Charlotte, Buchanan, Halifax, Mecklenburg, Giles and Lee.

Unfortunately, this probably means that the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is on its way to a tree near you. The larvae of this emerald green adult insect tunnels around inside an ash tree until it turns into an adult and crawls out of the wood to eat some leaves, have a family and do it again. This has the very likely potential to effectively kill every Ash (Fraxinus Sp.) in the state. This will change the composition of our urban, suburban and rural forests alike.

If you are not already familiar with this destructive pest, please check out the following sites: EAB info: www.emeraldashborer.info

A video called "A Lot of Mouths to Feed".

Upcoming Landowner Workshops

A one-day workshop coming to a location near you.

Culpeper - August 15th Hampton Roads – August 16th

Lynchburg August 17th Wytheville August 20th

www.treesvirginia.org for registration information.

Family Forestland Short-course: August 14 & 21 – Staunton

Focusing on Land Transfer to Generation 'NEXT'

APPLICATION DEADLINE July 31- extended

More information Online

October 6 – Madison, VA 8 - 12am

Natural Hardwood Charcoal Making Demonstration (Using Tree-of-Heaven!) An open-house demonstration occurring at the Madison Farmers Market next to the Madison Primary School. Cooking with real charcoal and taste-testing samples with local sausage! Flier and related information available online.

October 8 – Highland County, VA
Fall Forestry & Wildlife Bus Tour

The 36th Annual... in scenic Highland County! Enjoy an informative fall day with forest landowners, outdoor enthusiasts, and natural resource professionals. You will learn about options for sustainable forest and wildlife management and how then can complement each other. You will see a variety of practices on both public and private lands. Transportation, by tour bus, and a locally-catered lunch, will be provided.

Online registration opens August 1, 2012. Visit online for more information.

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 25th edition quiz for nature events for early July...

Get your copy of the 2012 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Habitat Improvement Tips

Elk Restoration Update for July 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

Illegal Deer Kill in Essex County... On July 16, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Dobyns concluded an investigation of deer being killed illegally when he charged two men in Essex County. CPO Dobyns began his investigation based on a Crime Line report through the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Crime Line in early July. The report indicated several subjects were spotlighting and shooting deer in the Essex County area, and leaving them in and around the fields. The reports of shooting started coming in during the month of June. The deer were shot with .22 long rifle ammunition, and after several interviews, confessions, and locating deer remains, it seems the men wanted to shoot the deer just for fun.

Region II – Southside

Illegal Bear Kill Investigation... On July 24, 2012, Senior Conservation Police Officers Daniel Ross and Brandon Harris concluded an eight month long investigation that led to the arrest of an individual for killing a black bear during closed season, transporting illegally taken wildlife and the subsequent confiscation of a taxidermy mounted black bear. This case came about as a result of information that was received by CPO Ross in December 2011.

"Touch-A-Truck" Program... On July 28, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Nathan Bowling participated in the "Touch-A-Truck" program at Green Hill Park in Roanoke County. Nathan displayed his patrol vehicle and a police patrol boat for the children to enjoy. Approximately 1,000 children visited CPO Bowling's exhibit throughout the day. Children and their families spent time taking pictures in the patrol boat and even enjoyed listening to the siren and seeing the emergency equipment work. Bowling spoke with the attendees about his job as a CPO and shared some safe boating tips along the way.

Region III - Southwest

Officers and K9 Present Program for Wal-Mart... On July 18, 2012 Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Harris and Conservation Police K9 Officer Wes Billings conducted a program for the Wal-Mart sporting goods managers from a five state area. The group also included store and marketing managers, buyers and representatives from Wal-Mart Corporate Headquarters. A presentation on the K9 program was given by Officer Wes Billings. Officer Harris presented information on firearms safety and contact information for the agency.

CPO is First on Scene to Car Crash in Clinch River... On July 21, 2012, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Honaker received a call from the Scott County Sheriff's Office concerning a vehicle that had run off of the road into the Clinch River. Officer Honaker was the first person on the scene. He found that a car ran off the road, rolled over twice, and landed in the river on its wheels in about three feet of water. Officer Honaker called down to the subject who responded that she was hurt. He pulled his state vehicle to the edge of the cliff and attached a tow strap to the front tow hook. Two bystanders held tension on the tow strap while Officer Honaker rappelled down the cliff. The tow strap was a few feet short but Officer Honaker climbed down from the ledge the rest of the way and waded to the car. He found that the woman had a neck injury and possible spinal injuries. Officer Honaker calmed the woman and waited with her until rescue personnel appeared on scene. Officer Honaker informed rescue personnel of the woman's conditions and they retrieved the necessary equipment for extraction. Two firemen and one of the rescue squad members rappelled down to the scene. Officer Honaker assisted in attaching an extrication collar to the woman's neck, and placing her onto a spine board and litter. Because of the steep angle of the terrain, the fire department hooked the litter to a winch and hoisted the victim to the top of the cliff. Officer Honaker waded back to the car and retrieved the woman's pocketbook and cell phone. She was transported to the hospital and admitted.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

Lake Moomaw BUI... On Saturday July 28th Conservation Police Officers Entsminger and Quesenberry were patrolling Lake Moomaw when they observed three persons fishing from a motorboat. Upon approaching the boat the officers began checking for safety equipment and fishing licenses. Officer Quesenberry detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from the operator of the boat and began questioning him concerning his alcohol consumption. Officer Quesenberry determined that the operator had been consuming liquor and had him perform several field sobriety tests. It was determined from his actions and the results of the tests that he was boating under the influence of alcohol and was arrested. The subject was transported to the magistrate's office in Alleghany County where he was charged with boating under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of .11.

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 Fredericksburg. 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.

American Eels Return to Mountain Streams After Dam Removal

Shenandoah National Park, VA – American eels are declining across their range but are showing indications of a population revival following the removal of a large dam in Virginia.

The removal of Embrey Dam on the Rappahannock River increased American eel numbers in headwater streams nearly 100 miles away, according to research just published by U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service researchers.

American eels undergo long-distance migrations from their ocean spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea to freshwater streams along the Atlantic coast from northern South America to Greenland. Dams may slow or even stop upstream eel migrations. However, prior to this research, little was known about American eel responses to dam removal.

The new study evaluated eel abundances in Shenandoah National Park streams before and after the removal of the large dam in 2004. The researchers found significant increases in eel numbers beginning 2 years after dam removal and continued increases nearly every year since. The rebounding eel populations in Shenandoah National Park present a stark contrast to decreasing numbers elsewhere throughout their range.

"Our study shows that the benefits of dam removal can extend far upstream," said Dr. Nathaniel Hitt, a USGS biologist and lead author of the study. "American eels have been in decline for decades and so we're delighted to see them begin to return in abundance to their native streams."

The American eel is currently being considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for listing as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Migration barriers such as dams have been recognized as a contributing cause to range-wide decreases over the last 50 years. The authors hypothesize that dam removal could have long-term benefits for eel conservation by increasing the reproductive success of females, which are typically found in headwater streams.

"This research shows the direct benefits of dam removal for American eel populations and demonstrates the importance of continued stream restoration work for east coast rivers," said Sheila Eyler, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and co-author of the study.

American eel recovery in Shenandoah National Park also represents an important achievement for management of Park resources. Additional fish population surveys from Shenandoah National Park in 2012 provide further support for the findings of the study.

"Eel populations in the Park continue to show recovery," said Jeb Wofford, a biologist at Shenandoah National Park and co-author of the study. "This research highlights the fact that ecosystems in the Park extend far outside Park boundaries and that downstream conservation can have important upstream benefits."

Embrey Dam was built in 1910 on the Rappahannock River near the city of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The dam measured 22 feet high by nearly 800 feet wide. Until the 1960s, the dam provided hydroelectric power for Fredericksburg. Recognizing the hazards presented by the dam and the potential for fish restoration, a coalition of state, federal, and non-governmental partners coordinated the removal of the dam in 2004.

"This study demonstrates that multiple benefits can be realized by removing obsolete dams such as Embrey," said Alan Weaver, fish passage coordinator for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. "Shad, herring and striped bass are also using reopened habitat on the Rappahannock River, so it's exciting to see a growing number of species benefitting from dam removal in Virginia."

The USGS, working with partners across the country, has been studying how dam decommissioning affects the physical and biological condition of streams and rivers. USGS's multi-disciplinary science helps decision makers answer fundamental questions about the effects of dams and whether restoration targets are being achieved with dam removal.

Study citation:

N.P. Hitt, Eyler, S., and J.E.B. Wofford. 2012. Dam removal increases American eel abundance in distant headwater streams. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 141:1171-1179.

A digital copy of the study is available from nhitt@usgs.gov.

About the American eel (Anguilla rostrata):

Additional information on Dr. Hitt's research.

Photos for this release:

Visit: http://gallery.usgs.gov/tags/NR2012_07_31 for all available photos.

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

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!

The Floating Fishing School

Virginia has wonderful fishing opportunities in a variety of forms; from large lakes and rivers to small streams and ponds to big water fishing in the Atlantic to Chesapeake Bay. There are great opportunities to fish from the bank, wade, kayak, canoe or powerboat. Since 2004 I have held fishing workshops all over the state and have been relegated to bank fishing or paddling small waters with canoe or kayak. With the introduction of The Floating Fishing School; all that has changed.

Bass Pro Shops of Ashland has provided DGIF, Angling Education with a 26' pontoon boat to venture out where Angling Ed. has not gone before. Now any water big or small, as long as there is a boat ramp, is available for a workshop or event. The generous donation included the boat rigged with a 115 HP Mercury Optimax engine, two Lowrance HDS depthfinder/GPS units with Structure Scan, wireless Motorguide trolling motor, trailer and a cover.

Partnerships are valuable and advantageous in any walk of life. The partnership between Bass Pro Shops and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries through The Floating Fishing School will open doors for new opportunities in fishing education. Look for the boat to be used for fishing workshops, events with the physically disabled and on display at outdoor events. Stay connected to the Upcoming Events page on the DGIF website for future events.

Flat Out Catfishing Workshop

Last week we held the first of two flathead catfish workshops at Pony Pasture on the James River in Richmond. Captain Mike Ostrander provides instruction and guidance as the participants wade in the river for big flatheads. 18 catfish were caught including two over 25 pounds! Next week's event is full; but mark your calendar for summer catfish workshops in 2013.

If you would like to get a feel for what the event is like; Captain Mike took some great photos and video of the event – Catfish Workshop. Also, a participant posted a YouTube Video of some of his fish catches.

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 water temperature is at 89 degrees with a visibility of 14 ft. Bass are holding in 15 to 20 ft. of water moving up into shallows on cool overcast days. Drop shot, Carolina rigs and wacky worms caught fish, or you can try a lipless or a blade bait. It should work if you mark fish on your depth finder. Striper were caught on deep points, live bait is the way to go. Some crappie were caught but not as many as last week. Try small minnows in 15 to 18 ft of water; that means you have to have your bait at 14 to 14 ft. below your float. We saw some 1/2 lb. gills, they came out of 12 ft. of water on red worms. They should also take grubs, inline spinners or tubes. I weighed a 22.6 cat caught on live bait, but they will take a number of baits, including hot dogs. We saw some nice cats off the pier too. Remember, now till the end of September, the first cat over 5 lbs. gets you a free drink. Kids, show us your fish and get a free Bomb Pop. I am still working on catfish derby second weekend September. Let us know how it sounds to you.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Contributed by Park Ranger Eddie Hester. Still a HOT one on the lake! Fishing at Beaverdam Lake has been decent in the early morning. Two bass 5 lb. and 6.5 lb were caught in 8 to 12 ft. down. Fishermen in the afternoon have really had to work at it to reel them in. With the slightly cooler temperatures predicted in the mid week, the fish should be back to biting. The water is 89 degrees and slightly stained.

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 action has picked up a little, they are at the cell and at the islands around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and are going for live spot and bull minnows. King mackerel are at Cape Henry and are attacking trolled spoons. 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 fairly clear and 79 degrees.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams reports that the bass bite is slow; but some will take frogs or top-waters. Lots of small crappie are coming in on minnows and small worms. Cat action is good with cut bait and eels. No word on perch. Many bluegill are being fooled by crickets and minnows. The water is slightly stained and in the upper 80s.

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 to high 80s last weekend. The lake level was about 6 inches above the top of the dam. The water was brown and moderately murky in the lower lake and up the major creeks, but had cleared somewhat since last week. 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 main lake. Mid depth wood cover occasionally held some crappie. Crappie were not biting consistently, but when biting, they 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. Bluegill were hitting live worms and crickets, flies, small Wright Bait Co. curlytail jigs and tubes, small swimbaits, Kalin crappie scrubs, and small spoons. Bass and bowfin were scattered 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, crank baits, and plastic worms. Fishing with Capt. Conway, Hollis Pruitt had 44 bluegill and 3 blue cats. Carolyn Conway had 29 bluegill, 1 crappie, 2 blue cats, 2 channel cats, and 2 bass.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins told me that bass fishing is great. A recent tournament brought in 121 lbs.! To get your lunker, try spinners, top-waters and shallow running crankbaits. It's too hot for good crappie fishing, but a "few" have been brought up with minnows and jigs. No word on cats, but they are out there for the taking. Lots of white perch are coming in on small spinners, small jigs and night crawlers. Bluegill are responding well to worms, crickets and top water poppers. The water is clear and in the high 80s to low 90s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon says that lots of bass are coming in right now. They are biting on top-waters and cranks. Your best time for fishing is early and late. Crappie are readily taking minnows and jigs. Lots of cats are coming in on cut bait. No word on perch. The bream bite is good with crickets and red wigglers. The water is clear and in the low to mid 80s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. Nothing much to report. Water levels in both rivers upriver remain really low and fishing on the lower rivers is really slow. DO oxygen levels continue to drop and the water is getting more stagnate by the day.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike told me that bass anglers should fish the main channels and use plastic worms in watermelon, pumpkin seed and purple or black fire tails. For cats try eel during the day, and shad at night. Bream action is good with crickets and worms. The water is 87 and clear.

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

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

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

Lake Gordon: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. After my rude awakening with full grown bluegill at Holliday Lake, I thought it was time to make the trip to Lake Gordon because I have never been bothered by monsters at that lake, it is just full of teenagers. Old blue and I did not get to the lake until a little after 11:00 Friday morning and spent some time talking with three people that were fishing from the bank making full use of the shade trees but not doing much with the fish. My intention was to fish the middle of the lake since that is where I had found some of the fish at Holliday Lake, so I started fishing as soon as I left the ramp and picked up a white perch within first 100 yards, just happened to hold it up so the people could see it from the bank, the devil made me do it. I fished the middle of the lake for about 4 or 5 hundred yards before turning around and fishing back to the ramp. The people wanted the fish and since I give them away, I thought may as well make someone happy. The trip took about 45 minutes and I had caught 2 white perch, 4 bluegill and 8 crappie. The crappie being 8 to 10 inches. I figured that was enough to make them use a large frying pan. I started back to fishing with the same plan as before but the sun made me head to the first cove and beaver lodge to see if any crappie were looking for any minnows that always seem to hang out in the forest that beavers always plant at their lodge. Not that that tree that hangs out over the water had any influence on me wanting to fish there. I picked up about a dozen crappie and a few bluegill before taking the fly rod and fishing around the lilies in that cove. I did rather well with the fly rod until I lost the size 12 popping bug and the wind starting blowing about 25 mph. The wind felt pretty good on an over 90 degree day, but I did put the fly rod down and headed back out to the deeper water. I fished until 3:56, using twin tail chartreuse, my purple and that tri-color one, pink, yellow and purple. I caught a 14 inch channel cat back in the cove on my purple twister and I am claiming I caught another 16 inch cat out in the middle of the lake even though it did not have my bait in its mouth. I took a picture of it showing my bait hooked into the line and cork that someone else had hooked it on. That is the 2nd time that I have caught another line and fish. No the cork was not above water when I hooked it. I was headed back in at 3:56 because the half gallon of ice water and the 20 oz. soda I brought with me was empty and a mighty nasty black cloud with lots of thunder and lightning was headed my way. No, I was not in a hurry, I just wanted to see how fast that 55 would push the boat. I kept all the bluegill which were 32 counting the 4 I had given away. Eight plus 17 gave me my limit of crappie with most being 8 to 10 inches and about six 11 inches. I had to throw back 15 crappie. I was on the way home when the storm hit me just south of Alberta.

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. No report this edition.

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 reports that the smallmouth bite is good. Try Clawdads, B.R. Buggers and C.K. Baitfish. The rainbows and browns in the Jackson are going for Copper Johns and Prince Nymphs. The mountain streams are too low to fish. The water is clear and 58 in the Jackson, and in the high 70s and clear in the James.

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 says that the night bite for bass is good, with buzzbaits working well. During the day, fish about 8 to 10 ft. down. Crappie action is slow; try 10 to 13 feet down with minnows and jigs. Cats are responding well to chicken livers, clam snouts, minnows and live shad. Perch can be found at the drop-offs, and will take small spinners and worms. Bluegill are in the same spots and like the same thing. The water is clear and 87 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 told me that smallmouths are attacking Gitzits and flukes in green pumpkin and pumpkin seed. Muskies are really biting, going for inline spinners. The water is clear, at a low level and "hot".

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. Dry weather is resulting in water levels dropping on the Upper New, so we could really use some rain here. Fishing for all species has been very good, but may become tougher as the water levels drop. Our last trip provided great action for clients on muskie, smallmouth, walleye and rock bass. Walleye have been hitting crank baits even in the middle of the day which is a little out of the ordinary for this time of year. Smallmouth fishing is best in the rapids and moving water right now and they are taking everything. I haven't noticed the big damselfly hatch this year so the top water bite has not been as productive for the smallies as of late. Scale down the size of your muskie lures for the next month. Water is brackish brown to greenish depending on the day and the water temperature is hanging around 80 degrees.

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

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. The New river upstream of Fries has some stringy algae in it, however, smallies can still be had with well placed top-waters and popping bugs; also plastics rigged weedless. Water temperatures have cooled off somewhat since the record heat of a couple weeks ago. Water clarity is 4 to 5 feet. Enjoy your time on the water.

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

Region 4 - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Harry told me that the smallmouth streams are giving good fishing. It's best to fish in the shade and around grass beds. Good surface flies are: Shenandoah Sunfish Slider, size 4; Shenandoah Gray Chuggar, size 4. Good underwater flies are: Murray's Magnum Hogsucker, size 4; Murray's Magnum Creek Chub, size 4. The water is 78 degrees, at a good level and clear.

In the Valley there are still some big rainbows lurking below the springs and in shaded areas. Good flies are: Mr. Rapidan Streamer, size 8; Mr. Rapidan Emerger, size 10. The water is 78 degrees, clear and at a good level.

Water in the mountain streams is getting low, making for wary fish. Try fishing when the sun is not on the water. Good flies are: Murray's Flying Beetle, sizes 16 and 18; Sprit of Pittsford Mills, sizes 16 and 18; Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry Fly, size 16. The water is 68 degrees, clear and low.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. No report this edition.

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. The smallmouth bite remains extremely active. With river levels hovering closely or just below 30 year averages according to USGS statistics it continues to be a great year for float fishing and wade fishing on the Upper James. Though it's always true, "we need the rain". I consider the Upper James to be from the headwaters of the Jackson and Cowpasture down to just above Lynchburg around the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you're heading out, and wondering when your best chances are, I would recommend anywhere from 10:30 a.m.to an hour or so after dark. Smallmouth bass are cold blooded and require more food as they heat up. This time of year is an excellent time to hammer some smallmouth with top-water. Whether you're fly fishing or throwin' tiny torpedos it can produce some exciting fishing.

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) No report this edition.

Quantico Bay: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. I've been pretty busy with work and family for the last several weeks, and of course it's been really hot out there on the weekends, but I found time this weekend to get out and fish – this time on the Potomac at Quantico Bay. There were plenty of boats out there too, so I wasn't the only one trying to get caught up with some time on the water. I fished during an outgoing tide Sunday morning and was pleased to find the water cooler (about 80 degrees) and with good clarity depending on your location within the bay. My goal was to fish above the weeds with shad colored top-water poppers, white based spinner baits, and green soft plastic Senkos...and the strategy worked fairly well. I boated several nice largemouth bass early in the morning on top-water, including one just shy of four pounds. As the sun rose higher I shifted to the spinner bait and once again found some success with several smaller bass deciding to "visit". I also had a nice snakehead in the five pound range give me a tussle, but unfortunately he got into the weeds and was able to shake off the hook before I could get the net out and under him. Pity...they sure are tasty! All in all, a pretty decent morning. Hope everyone else had a good day on the water...and I can't wait to see what next weekend brings.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The water is clear with temperatures in the upper 80s. Fish are still chasing balls of bait fish around the lake with good numbers of largemouth bass being caught with top- water lures and crank baits along with live minnows. Crappie are suspending in 10 to 12 ft. of water around brush piles with live minnows bringing on the bite. Catfishing is strong throughout the lake on live bait and chicken livers.

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

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

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

Tip of the Month: Contributed by Bob Simmons of Stuart's Draft. I put a dot of white paint every 12 inches on my fishing rod, starting where the rod enters the handle. Now when I catch a fish, I can get a quick measurement. With catch and release it allows the fish to be returned to the water much quicker.

If you have any tips, tricks or even recipes that you want to see as the Tip of the Month, please email me at fishing_report@hotmail.com.

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

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

View video about the snakehead

Get your kids hooked on fishing!

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

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

Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

With deer season less than two months away, young hunters are already scouting and sighting-in their favorite, bow, muzzleloader, rifle or shotgun. For the youngsters under age 16, they eagerly anticipate the participating in the special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 29th. There are lots of youngsters who hopefully got , or will get a shot at their first deer on this "opening day". Whether it is a buck or doe doesn't really matter. For a young teenage deer hunter, his first "really big buck" was a memorable experience with a lesson of patience and scouting pays off. Hunter Ashworth is a sophomore at Tunstall High School in Danville and an avid outdoorsman. He began hunting and fishing with his father at a very early age. His article was inspired by a memorable hunting experience on the Opening Day of deer season several years ago.

Hunter's entry placed in the top twenty in the 2010-11 Annual Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) High School Writing Competition. His English teacher, Adrian Nester, encouraged him to write the story and has several student entries place in the top winning entries each year. We apprc eciate her encouragement and mentoring her students to write about their wildland adventures. Not only does Hunter's story keep you interested in what will happen next, but as you read about his big buck, note that he uses good safety practices both in handling his firearm, being sure of his target before firing, and staying in contact with his Dad during the hunt. Although he does not mention it in the article, Hunter notes that wearing a safety harness while in his tree stand is an important safety practice. The tradition of hunting is in good hands with responsible and respectful young sportsmen like Hunter. Good luck this season and thanks to your dad for teaching you safety and the values of our hunting traditions.

Opening Day

By Hunter Ashworth

I'm out of bed, early in the morning, to beat the sunrise. I jump into layers of hunting clothes, to stay warm throughout the morning. I've been waiting for this day all year.

I grab my Savage .243 caliber rifle, four 150 grain Winchester bullets, slide on my blaze orange vest and head outside. As soon as I step outside, that cool, crisp air flows into my face. I could tell it was going to be a nice morning. It was calm and quiet. I make my way to my four- wheeler so I can be on my way to the stand.

In the darkness of the morning, I sit in my stand waiting for the sun to rise. I try to settle in and get quiet. As seven o'clock approaches, the sky begins to light up. I can hear each and every little squirrel as they rustle around in the leaves.

I got distracted as I watched a squirrel scatter from tree to tree. All of a sudden I hear leaves crunching in a distinct sequence, different than that of a squirrel. I whipped around quickly and she saw me. A doe, she darted off and blew at me the whole time she ran down the hill, as if she was warning all the others. I sat back in my stand thinking. How could I have been so careless? I finally convinced myself that I would have to shake it off and be ready for the next one that comes through.

It was nine o'clock and I hadn't seen or heard any more deer. I promised myself that I was going to see more action before I got out of the stand. However, it had been nearly two hours since I had seen anything, so I was getting discouraged. Thirty minutes later I decided to send a message to my dad and his two friends, asking if they were still in the woods. They replied, "No, we at tha house. It's too cold!" It was about nine-fifty when I decided to hit the grunt call one last time to see if I could lure anything in to me. I was almost positive I wasn't going to see anything else, but I said I'd give it five more minutes.

I looked to my left then to my right, when something caught my eye about 100 yards in front of me. Ghosting through the trees and shrubs, I could see a rack, a pretty nice rack. He was headed right in my direction. My heart started racing as if I was on a roller coaster being carried up the sharply inclined hill awaiting the drop off. I wanted a better look at him. So I pulled up my scope, nice and steady this time. He was huge! I figured he must weigh at least 150 pounds. He finally came into range with no obstructions about 70 yards away. He suddenly turned around as if he was heading back in the direction he came. I knew I had to take the shot. I blew at him loudly to make him look up and stop. I focused the cross hairs directly on his shoulder, took the safety off, took a deep breath, and slowly began to squeeze the trigger. He put his head down and started to inch forward. BAM! He jumped as soon as I shot and disappeared into the woods. It wasn't a perfect shot because he began to move, but I was still pretty sure I hit him.

I took a few minutes to cool down and answer the texts coming in from my dad because he had heard the shot. I got down from my stand and began to search for signs of blood. My dad and his friends arrived a few minutes later to help me search. We kept looking, without any luck, when finally I heard, "You got him!" My heart jumped. We tracked the blood that my dad's friend found for about 20 yards. There he was, lying peacefully against a fallen tree. It was the biggest buck I'd ever killed.

After all the doubt I had during the hunt, I found a way to persevere. I stayed confident in my hunt and my shot. My patience earned me the trophy that morning and I was proud. I'll never forget that hunt. It was my most memorable hunt ever and I hope to have many more like it throughout my lifetime of hunting adventures.

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: