In this edition:

Safety First - Time To Take Your Hunter Education Class

September is just a week away... which means the fall hunting seasons will begin soon. Are you ready?!?! On September 22nd we officially celebrate and observe National Hunting & Fishing Day. Be sure and review the Wild Events You Don't Want To Miss section for the numerous opportunities for hunting and fishing related events, skill building workshops, and sportsmen's shows that offer something for beginners as well as the most experienced hunters. For new hunters, NOW is the time to take the required Hunter Education Class to qualify for your license. Our team of over 900 volunteer instructors have over 100 classes scheduled statewide. But don't wait, as classes fill up fast as deer season approaches. You can find the class schedules and locations by telephone or website. With the Youth Deer Hunting Day September 29th, this is a great opportunity for a new hunter to schedule the class and take it together for a refresher. This is also a good time to get an Apprentice Hunting License for a friend or family member that wants to try out this rewarding sport this season. There are youth and family friendly events throughout September all across the state, where you can go to get information and the right gear to make your outdoor adventures safe, successful, and fun. Visit your local sporting goods store or sportsman event and properly prepare for a great hunting season with family and friends.

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

Early Dove Season Opens September 1 - October 13

Dove hunters have a unique opportunity again this year with the opening day for Dove Season coinciding with the Monday Labor Day Holiday weekend. Many hunters took the opportunity to introduce a youngster, or adult friend to hunting with the Apprentice Hunting License. See details on this license option in the Hunting News You Can Use section. A new regulation enacted in 2010 states that dove hunters are no longer required to wear blaze orange during the deer firearms seasons. The first segment of Dove Season runs September 1 - October 13, and the second segment starts October 17 – 27, 2012. Remember safety first and have fun!

Here's some reminders of things to do before going hunting for migratory species:

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

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

New season dates for waterfowl were 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 are posted on the Department's website and listed in the Outdoor Report under the "Hunting Season at a Glance" section.

New Section Features Updates for Wildlife Restoration and Management Projects

Based on recommendations from our field staff, conservation organization partners and readers, we are 're-naming' the "Habitat Tips" section in the Outdoor Report to better reflect the featured articles placed in this section. Habitat Tips was originally used to announce habitat management workshops for landowners, new wildlife restoration initiatives like the quail project, or black bear studies and provide tips on habitat improvement practices like prescribed burning, food plot preparation, etc. After 5 years of evolving and doubling in size of the overall scope of topics in each edition of this e-newsletter, it is time to revise our content to feature news items and not duplicate detailed information that is found in other newsletters and websites. We will continue to provide links to habitat management information from accredited sources, but just the links- not the details. In the past two years VDGIF has established restoration programs for bobwhite quail, mussels, elk and other species. Our readers have noted great interest in updates on these programs in particular and other species that are "in the news" and subject to special management considerations by VDGIF staff and partner agencies and organizations. So we are renaming the section "Wildlife Conservation Projects Update". We also changed the layout order of Sections and moved the new “Wildlife Conservation Projects Update" section just below Hunting News You Can Use. Let us hear from you on how we can continue to improve this e-newsletter. For updates on the Elk Restoration in Buchanan County, the VA Quail Action Plan, Habitat Partners© training opportunities and landowner habitat workshops, check out the new Section...

Next Edition Three Weeks Away September 12...

Since we post the Outdoor Report on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, the next edition will be in two weeks, September 12, 2012. This 'extra week' in the calendar will be well spent celebrating the Labor Day weekend smokin' a venison tenderloin for the neighborhood cookout, or danglin' some crawdads at smallies on the James. Also don't miss the outdoor events in Farmville, Appomattox, Middlesex, Luray, Franklin, Halifax and others listed on the Events Calendar. We're busy at the hunt club getting the tree stands inspected and fall food plots planted. We look forward to getting your photos and stories of your outdoor adventures with friends and family for the September 12th edition. Have a safe and enjoyable end of Summer... DC

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

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 or contact Hunters for the Hungry at 1-800-352-4868.

There's Still Spaces Available for Hunter Skills Weekend August 24-26

The Virginia Hunter Education Association, in cooperation with VDGIF, will sponsor the Hunter Skills Weekend at the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox this coming weekend, August 24-26, 2012. Designed to help the beginning hunter develop skills beyond the basic Hunter Education course, as well as teaching experienced hunters who may be interested in a new hunting discipline like archery, muzzleloader, etc., the program offers instruction in shooting, woodsmanship, and hunting techniques for a variety of species. For ages 11-90+, children under 18 must attend with parent. Hunter Education class a plus, but not required.

Here's what last year's participants had to say...

"Thought I was safe and doing things correct. But I was not and learned so many new proper ways to be safe in my tree stand."
— Tree stand safety class participant

"Great class. Military service member for 26 years and learned a lot in this class about shooting. Outstanding instruction and great amount of range and time with rifles."
— Rifle class participant

Come join us for a fantastic weekend at the 4-H Center near Appomattox, VA!

For more information, visit the 4-H Center website Or call (434) 248-5444 or email:

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), go to the Festival's website, 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

Dove Hunting Clinic in Middlesex August 25

A Dove Hunters Clinic is being sponsored by the Middlesex Sportsmen's Hunt Club in Hartfield in Middlesex County. Refine your shooting and hunting skills before the start of dove season. The clinic will consist of a 50-minute classroom segment by VDGIF and VHEA and two 50-minute hands-on shooting exercises on moving targets. The clinic is Saturday August 25 with check-in at 8:30AM, Class ends at 12:30PM. Any student 17 years old and under should have a parent or guardian accompany them to the class. The cost is $30 and covers targets and materials. The clinic was developed in partnership with VDGIF and the classroom portion will be led by a wildlife biologist from VDGIF and a hunter safety instructor from the Virginia Hunter's Education Association (VHEA). VDGIF and VHEA cover dove biology/behavior/habitat and hunting strategies, as well as dove hunting safety and hunting etiquette in the dove field. The shooting segments include a 50-minute session on the skeet field and a 50-minute session on the wobble trap. Bring your ear and eye protection, shotgun and 100 shells with 7 1/2, 8 or 9 shot. To attend contact John Caperton at or 804-725-7267.

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 or

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:

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 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:

Wildlife Foundation Offering Hunting Permits for Albemarle Property- Application Due September 15

The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia is accepting hunting permit applications for the upcoming season on the Foundation's 2,000 acre property in southern Albemarle County. Hunt permits are free of charge, but you must attend an on-site safety and orientation briefing in order to receive your permit. Permit applications, as well as additional information about the property, can be found on the Foundations' website. Applications must be postmarked by September 15. If you have questions or need additional information, you can call Jenny West, Executive Director, at 757-566-4000.

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

Outdoor Skills Sampler Workshop at York River State Park September 22

Ever wanted to try a new outdoor skill, but weren't sure where to start? This event is for designed for beginners who like to spend time in the outdoors and have the desire to learn new outdoor skills! VDGIF certified instructors will offer courses in activities to include: basic fishing skills, introductory archery skills, mountain biking, outdoor cooking, fly fishing, kayaking and more! There will be opportunities to try your hand at geocaching or the hiking trails in the Park. The event will be conducted in the beautiful York River State Park. Pre-registration is recommended to secure your space. Event fee is $10 per person if registered before August 31st, which covers the Park fee. Event fee is $15 after September 1. This event is in cooperation with York River State Park and the Amber Nease Outdoor Education Foundation. Scholarships are available. Come join us for a fun filled day in the outdoors! For more information, contact Karen Holson at 804-367-6355 or

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.

Fall Forestry & Wildlife Bus Tour in Highland County October 8

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. Visit online for more information and registration.

People and Partners in the News

VDGIF to Host Outdoor Open House in Montross September 15

The VDGIF is hosting an Outdoor Open House Saturday, September 15, 2012 at the A.T. Johnson Building 18849 Kings Highway in Montross, Virginia 22520. This is an opportunity to come speak with local Agency law enforcement officers and biologists to get your questions answered. Delegate Margaret Ransone, Director Bob Duncan, and Colonel Dee Watts will be present to hear from you on Agency matters. The DMV 2 GO Mobile Service Unit will be on site to sell hunting and fishing licenses, register boats and trailers, renew driver’s license, and more. For information contact: Sgt Rich Goszka at 804-313-5100 or

Quail Forever Organizes New Chapter in Southside August 31

Quail Forever and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will be conducting a meeting on August 31st from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Scottsburg Vol. Fire Dept. in Halifax County east of South Boston. This meeting will act as the initial chapter meeting for the first southern Virginia chapter's of Quail Forever and will include a presentation by VDGIF about their quail restoration plan. The meeting will be open to the public, and we encourage anyone who is interested in quail, Quail Forever, or habitat restoration to attend.

We will be hosting a pork barbeque dinner as well as some small raffles with great prizes, so feel free to bring family and friends to enjoy camaraderie and talk about the future of quail in southern Virginia. Please RSVP to Hudson Reese tel 434-579-0073 to plan for dinner.

Quail Forever is a national non-profit, and QF chapters are able to decide how to spend 100% of the funds that they raise! This allows the money to stay local and have a positive impact on the surrounding community and its wildlife resources. For more information about Quail Forever visit or contact Charlie Payne at 614-632-8393. You can find out more about VDGIF's quail restoration plan online.

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

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, or Holly Morris, Virginia Tech Graduate Student, at

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."

29th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsmen Show Big Success

The 29th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show attracted more than 20,000 sportsmen families to the Richmond Raceway Complex August 10-12. With over 300 fun and exciting exhibits, interesting demonstrations and educational and entertaining seminars, experienced and novice hunters found lots to see and do. VDGIF was represented by nearly 100 staff and volunteers [ including 4 canines] staffing the Bureau of Wildlife Resources, Law Enforcement, Hunter Education, Boating Safety, and Tree Stand Safety information booth as well as selling hunting and fishing licenses and scoring deer heads for the Virginia Deer Classic. Hundreds of new Hunting and Fishing Licenses were sold at the DMV 2 GO mobile service van in partnership with VDGIF. In addition sportsmen were able to subscribe to Virginia Wildlife Magazine, purchase items from the VDGIF store and receive information about wildlife laws, hunting and boating safety, wildlife biology and habitat. VDGIF Complementary Workforce Volunteers signed-up several hundred new subscribers for the Outdoor Report using a direct internet hook-up to the VDGIF website. Many current subscribers expressed their overall satisfaction with the e-newsletter and we greatly appreciate their feedback and complements. Biologists, Conservation Police Officers and volunteer Hunter Education Instructors answered a zillion questions from constituents. The Tree Stand Safety Team collected over 1100 pledges from hunters to use proper tree stand safety practices.

The Virginia 2011-2012 deer hunting season produced some quality bucks as indicated by the 324 deer heads that were entered into the Virginia Deer Classic. The top scoring deer was 175 inches using the Boone and Crocket System. Hugh Crittenden, Show Founder and Manager noted that the staff and volunteers representing VDGIF and the quality of the various Agency, organization and vendor exhibits gave a very professional and hunter friendly aspect to the Show. VDGIF Executive Director Bob Duncan commended 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 mid-Atlantic region and now in its 29th year, it gets bigger and better each year. The move to the Richmond Raceway Complex in 2011 provided 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 which promotes and showcases the great variety of opportunities in Virginia for hunters of all interests and skill levels."

Virginia Deer Classic Winners Posted on VDHA Website

The winners among the 330 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 was 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...

First Buck Scores Big in VA Deer Classic Contest

When the Apprentice License was introduced five years ago, it was meant to allow persons, both youth and adult, who may be interested in hunting to "test drive" the sport by being mentored by an experienced hunter before investing the time in taking the required Hunter Education Course prior to actually hunting. The program has been very successful with nearly 30,000 Apprentice Licenses sold and new hunters added to our sport. Glenn Carter sent us a great story last December of the success of the Apprentice License for his grown daughter, Amanda and what it meant to both new hunter and mentor in continuing a family tradition with Dad and Daughter. This has become a continuing feature on how to make the most of this program to safely and successfully introduce hunting to a novice and creating lasting family bonds and memories.

Outdoor Report Editor David Coffman created a 'continuing feature' on Amanda since the initial trophy buck story last December, when in May, we continued with "the rest of the story" feature when Amanda bagged her first spring gobbler- also a trophy! Amanda is a great example on the success of getting an Apprentice license and now is an avid hunter after memorable hunting trips with her Dad. Her first buck was a trophy 8 pointer and Coffman encouraged her to enter it in the VA Deer Classic at the 29th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show (VOSS) at the Richmond Raceway Complex August 10-12. This contest attracts many of the largest bucks killed in Virginia during the previous season and is hosted by the VA Deer Hunters Association and sponsored by the Keystone Tractor Works Museum.

Coffman met with Amanda and her Dad, Friday evening when she entered the buck in the 'Classic' and followed them through the scoring process with the assistance of Glen Askins, VDGIF Regional Biologists and Certified Scorer. The dad-daughter duo were amazed at all the intricate rules and measurements that go into scoring the trophy antlers. Glenn explained the measurements and how they affected the final score throughout the process. After scoring was completed and the final results entered in the computer, Amanda then went to the VDGIF booth and purchased her "very own" VA Hunting License, Big Game License and Duck Stamp as she now wants to try waterfowl hunting.

On Sunday when Amanda returned to pick up her buck, she was thrilled to find her buck ranked #1 in the Women's Division: 7-8 Points – Typical with a score of 125 [Boone & Crockett].

Take a Friend, Make a Hunter... This great success story of a young lady wanting to hunt with her dad is a good example of how an Apprentice License or an opportunity to mentor a young or novice hunter can lead to family bonds and friendships that last a lifetime, creating wonderful memories. Amanda now also encourages her friends to get involved with hunting. There are numerous events listed in this edition of the Outdoor Report which are perfect for bringing a friend or family member 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. It sure worked for Amanda and her Dad.

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:

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.

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 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 39 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 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!

Wildlife Conservation Projects Update

Editor's note... Based on recommendations from our field staff, conservation organization partners and readers, we are 're-naming' the "Habitat Tips" section to better reflect the featured articles placed in this section. Habitat Tips was originally used to announce habitat management workshops for landowners and habitat management tips, but has evolved to feature, new wildlife restoration initiatives like the Elk Restoration in Buchanan County and the VA Quail Action Plan. We will focus on news items and not duplicate detailed information that is found in other newsletters and websites. We will continue to provide links to habitat management information from accredited sources, but just the links- not the details. In the past two years VDGIF has established restoration programs for bobwhite quail, mussels, elk and other species. Our readers have noted great interest in updates on these programs in particular and other species that are "in the news" and subject to special management considerations by VDGIF staff and partner agencies and organizations. So we are renaming the section "Wildlife Conservation Projects Update". Let us hear from you on how we can continue to improve this e-newsletter to better serve your interests. DC

Elk Restoration Update

Elk Release in Buchanan County Makes History... 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. The Elk Restoration Project is the result of a long term partnership between VDGIF, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation- Va Chapter and Buchanan County. 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. In July and August, cows with calves had the smallest activity areas, ranging in an area encompassing approximately 1000 acres while the two 2-year old bulls had the largest activity areas, ranging an area over 9,000 acres. Radio collars and trail cameras located at frequented areas have provided detailed information on movements by the herd.

June Update: 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.

July Update: 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.

August Update: The elk released in May in Buchanan County remain in the release area. All 16 elk released are still alive, although two telemetry collars are not regularly communicating with the satellite. The 10 adult cows released have produced 8 calves and another calf may drop soon.

The elk appear in great condition. The plentiful rainfall since late June has produced ample forage in the release area. During hot weather, elk have spent a good deal of time around a large spring and vernal pools at the mine reclamation site. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteers have used trail cameras to capture some great images of the elk.

One notable change in elk behavior began in late July. Elk that had dispersed 1 to 5-miles from the release area returned. These returning elk were two 2-year old bulls and several adult cows that had dispersed to calve. These elk are now in two groups, one of 12 adult elk with 5 calves and another of 3 adult elk with 3 calves.

No wild elk have appeared, although they may when rut begins in September.

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

For more information on elk restoration in Virginia:

Quail Forever Organizes New Chapter in Southside August 31

Quail Forever and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will be conducting a meeting on August 31st from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Scottsburg Vol. Fire Dept. in Halifax County east of South Boston. This meeting will act as the initial chapter meeting for the first southern Virginia chapter's of Quail Forever and will include a presentation by VDGIF about their quail restoration plan. The meeting will be open to the public, and we encourage anyone who is interested in quail, Quail Forever, or habitat restoration to attend.

We will be hosting a pork barbeque dinner as well as some small raffles with great prizes, so feel free to bring family and friends to enjoy camaraderie and talk about the future of quail in southern Virginia. Please RSVP to Hudson Reese tel 434-579-0073 to plan for dinner.

Quail Forever is a national non-profit, and QF chapters are able to decide how to spend 100% of the funds that they raise! This allows the money to stay local and have a positive impact on the surrounding community and its wildlife resources. For more information about Quail Forever visit or contact Charlie Payne at 614-632-8393. You can find out more about VDGIF's quail restoration plan online.

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!

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Choose the Right Tree Stand For You with Safety in Mind

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

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

This article was researched and prepared by Dick Holdcraft, a former volunteer Hunter Education Master Instructor and Coordinator for the Tree Stand Safety Team. He is a recognized "tree stand expert," based on his extensive Hunter Education experience and more than 40 years as a career safety manager. Dick has written numerous articles on tree stand safety and we appreciate his sharing his experience in this report. Whether you are an experienced deer hunter or this is your first time using a stand, here are valuable tips to help you prepare and stay safe:

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

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

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

For more information on tree stand use and safety, review other articles by Dick and the VDGIF Hunter Education Instructors Tree Stand Safety Team at:

Remember: Always 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.

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.

VA Hosts 39th Annual Natural Areas Conference in Norfolk October 9-12

Nature's caretakers are invited to the 39th Annual Natural Areas Conference Oct. 9-12, 2012, in Norfolk, VA. The conference is hosted by the Natural Areas Association, a nonprofit that supports the work of natural areas professionals worldwide. Each year, hundreds of lands managers, scientists, educators and other professionals from a variety of fields and backgrounds attend this conference. They come to learn new conservation strategies, sharpen their skills and network with peers. This year's event will cover a range of topics related to the theme, "Keeping Natural Areas Relevant and Resilient." Session topics include coastal and marine systems, rare species conservation, climate adaptation, volunteer management, invasive species control, social marketing and communications and more. Workshops will offer attendees opportunities to recertify in burn management or pesticide application. Other highlights include mid-conference field trips to a variety of coastal natural areas, a Phragmites symposium, social events and student activities. Two sessions will be offered for students to work directly with natural area professionals. These opportunities will allow the students to better understand the workplace and will provide ideas to help them launch their careers. The 2012 conference is being coordinated by staff from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

"We're excited that the Natural Areas Conference is coming to Virginia and are working hard on what will be an outstanding program," said conference chairman Larry Smith, natural area protection manager for DCR. "We look forward to bringing in first-time attendees from the mid-Atlantic region. If you have an interest or work in the fields of land conservation, natural area management or research, this conference is for you." A plenary session will open the conference on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Scheduled speakers include:

Noted naturalist Thomas Jefferson will make a special appearance to share his thoughts about Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery. The conference site is the Norfolk Waterside Marriott, and a number of rooms have been reserved for attendees. Daily registrations also are available. Register or sign up as a sponsor or exhibitor online.

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 September:

Answers to August 3 edition quiz for nature events for late August...

2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar Now Available

It's time to purchase the 2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar! For more than 23 years the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has been publishing one of the most visually stunning and informative wildlife calendars in the country. The 2013 edition highlights many of the most sought after game and fish species in the state. Virginia hunters, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the rich colors and composition of the 12 monthly photo spreads. Each page is full of useful tidbits for the outdoors lover -- including wildlife behavior, preferred fishing and hunting times, hunting seasons, state fish records, and much more! Life history information is provided for each species featured. Virginia Wildlife Calendars make great holiday gifts and are being offered at the bargain price of only $10 each. Quantities are limited, so order yours now!

Get your copy of the 2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

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

CPOs Use New Navigation Unit to Aid Boat in Distress... On August 02, 2012 at 20:30hrs, Conservation Police Sergeant Atkins received a call from dispatch about a boat in distress on the Rappahannock River. The lone boater had been caught in a storm about an hour earlier and the high winds sent his boat up onto a shallow shoal. Upon speaking with the subject by cell phone it was learned that the subject did not have any lights on his vessel. Sgt. Atkins called out CPO Cameron Dobyns who responded with his patrol boat. Utilizing the new FLIR electronic navigation unit, the two officers were able to easily locate the stranded subject. The grateful subject waded to the deeper water and handed the officers a strong rope which was used to pull the vessel free after several attempts. Chemical lights issued by the Department were placed on the subject's boat and he was able to safely motor back to the marina at 22:30 hours.

CPO Avoids Collision and Makes DUI Arrest... On August 04, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Jeff McCuistion had completed a scheduled boat patrol and was almost home shortly after 23:00 hrs when he met an oncoming vehicle which crossed into his lane. McCuistion swerved to avoid a collision and turned his vehicle around and caught up with the swerving vehicle. After initiating a traffic stop and administering field sobriety tests, the subject was placed under arrest for Driving Under the Influence. Upon taking a breath test at the Mathews' Sheriff's Office, the subject blew a .19 BAC.

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:

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

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

Fishin' Report

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

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

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

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

The new 2012 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia (Fishing Regulations) book has been published and a copy can be obtained at the upcoming fishing and hunting shows, all license agents and Department offices. This publication not only contains the fishing regulations, but an extensive 'Let's Go Fishing' section, with information about major sport fish, public fishing lakes, major fishing rivers, and the trout stocking program. Also, you can find information about fish citations, state records, angling education programs, exotic species, and more." The Freshwater Fishing Regulations section, including the complete Trout Fishing Guide, on our website have also been updated for 2012.

Grants Available to Localities for Public Boating Access Facilities

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

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

For more information, contact Steve Kesler at, 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!

Combo Fishing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rules for submitting photos to the group:

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

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

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

If you have already purchased your 2012 fishing license, we would like to thank you for helping to support Virginia's wildlife and natural resources.

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

Sarah White's Notebook

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

Region 1 - Tidewater

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock Temporarily Closed to Powerboats

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

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, The lake is at full pool with a water temperature of 87 degrees and a visibility of 15 ft. The fishing is very good at Little Creek, with bass up to 4 ½ lbs. coming in. Drop shot is the way to go, but don't be ashamed to use live bait. I caught some nice fish last week on live gills. Stripers are very hot. Live bait is the best choice but some have come in by trolling. We saw 4 eyes in the last 2 weeks caught on live bait and crank baits. Large bream in the 7 to 8 in. size were caught in fair numbers. Lots of cats are being caught even off the pier. Shrimp, livers, and hot dogs all worked. On September 21st, 22nd and 23rd , we will have a catfish rodeo. You can win a season pass, youngsters can win a spin combo. One cat from each division wins it all. Stop by the shop for info; I will also post more by weekend or check it out on facebook under Andy Priestley.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Contributed by Park Ranger Eddie Hester. The weather this weekend was nice and comfortable, but not many anglers came out to fish. Most Park visitors were walking the trails, biking and canoeing. The few anglers that did fish said it was tough fishing and you really had to work for the bass that you did catch. A pair of anglers did report catching a nice stringer of crappie in the deep water. As the water temperature starts to drop and we get into September with cooler nights I think fishing should pickup. The water is slightly stained, at full pool and 83 degrees. Don't forget the next Night fishing will be on September 7th so come on out and enjoy the fun.

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. All is well on the Rappahannock River and the gar fishing activity continues to be good in Cat Point Creek. Hans deKoning had his son over from Holland for a visit and they managed to catch a few trophy gar. Hans reported the fish being quite healthy and very fat throughout their entire girth. These fish provided lots of fight and fun while landing. I fished a couple of times recently and have managed to catch gar on each outing. Action should continue to be good through the rest of August and into September. See you on the water!

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. According to Captain Jim, the flounder bite has really picked up. Look near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, also at the cell and at Buoy 42. They are taking cut squid and cut fish strips (Fish strips? Shades of elementary school lunch!). Croaker are at the Ocean View Pier, the mouths of the York and James and the Eastern Shore Barrier Islands. They are going for Fishbite and squid. Spot are biting blood worms and Fishbite at Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets, and also at the Ocean View Pier. The water is 78 degrees and clear.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown reports that that the bass bite is good on deep running cranks and top-waters early and late. Crappie are being difficult, but will occasionally take minnows and jigs. Some good "pan sized" cats have come in on cut bait and live shad and eel. No word on perch. Bluegill are going for red wigglers and crickets. The water is slightly stained and cooling.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475. Mid day main lake water temperatures were in the mid 80s on Saturday. The lake level was even with the top of the dam. The water was brown and moderately murky in the lower lake and less murky up the major creeks. Most major and minor creeks were filled with hydrilla except in the channels, and hydrilla beds extended out from the shoreline of most areas of the main lake. Many hydrilla beds had fairly distinct weedwalls along their outer edges. Small to medium crappie with a few large crappie were widely scattered on mid depth flats in the main lake. Mid depth wood cover occasionally held some nice 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 along weedwalls and around shorelines in the main lake and up the major creeks. Most larger bluegill had moved off shorelines and were on shallow or mid depth flats or along deeper weedwalls. 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 32 bluegill, 7 crappie, 1 pickerel, 3 blue cats, and 2 bass. Tom Porter had 34 bluegill, 2 crappie, and 1 shiner. Bruce Birdsey had 29 bluegill, 2 shiners, and 1 bass.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins says that the bass action is hot. A recent tournament brought in 115 lbs. To get your lunker, try top-waters early and late; during the day, try spinners and cranks. The crappie bite is "slow", as the slabs have not schooled up and are scattered. Still, you might get lucky with a minnow or jig. No word on cats, but they are out there. Lots of white perch are coming in on small spinners, small cranks, shiners and night crawlers. Bluegill are being quite responsive to crickets, red wigglers and small poppers. The water is clear and in the mid 70s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon told me that bass are biting top-waters early and late and cranks during the day. Crappie are going for minnows and jigs in good numbers. Cats are taking cut bait. No word on perch. The bluegill bite is quite good with crickets, red wigglers and small spinners. The water is clear and in the low 70s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner Well, the summer is slowly winding down and it's none too soon for me. Water levels in the upper rivers are still very low which makes it very difficult to fish or boat up there. Lower rivers are in fair shape. Fishing though is just still so-so. Fly rod fishing still doing pretty well with the bream and some catfish can be had with patience. Largemouth are slow with big ones being really hard to find. It's okay though, relax, fall is on the way and the bite will, as always, start picking up.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike reports that bass are hitting plastic worms and tubes in motor oil and pumpkin seed. Top- waters are also proving effective. Gar are going for red fin shad and minnows. Cat action is good, try cut shad and live white perch. Bream are being landed with worms fished along the banks. Some small stripers are being brought to boat at night near the lights of the Appomattox and Benjamin Harrison Bridges. Try top-waters and white grubs. The water is 84 degrees and slightly stained.

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

Lewis Pond: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. It is hard to work when the temperature is in the mid 90s, but old blue does not mind sitting in the sun at some lake, so we headed to Lewis pond on Ft. Pickett. If you read the last report you may have remembered me mentioning the gully washer I had to drive through on the way from Lake Gordon. Only had about 3 inches of water in the bottom of the boat and since the bilge pump will not get the last inch out, I pulled the plug so it would drain while under the shed, yes, you guessed it, the first I thought about it, the boat was floating in Lewis pond. Nothing to do but spin the boat around, walk into the water and put the plug back in. The day is starting out where almost anything will be an improvement. The water is almost hot and has a greenish almost brown stain with visibility about a foot but I still started out using my favorite purple twister right down the middle of the lake. You would think I was in Twin Lake, because I only caught one 6inch bream on the way down the lake. I fished about half way from the middle of the lake to the shore on the way back up the lake and started catching real fish about 4 to 6 feet down on the chartreuse and purple all the way up and back down the other side too. I ended up with 56 bream between 5 and 8 inches and 28 crappie up to 10 inches. Don't get excited, I only had one 8 inch bluegill and two 10 inch crappie. Most of the bluegill were around 6 inches and the crappie in the 8 and 9 inch slot.

Fort Pickett Reservoir: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. The weatherman said the temperature would only be around 93 for the day with winds 5 to 10 mph. so there was no way the wife could find anything that important that had to be done, so old blue and I headed to the reservoir on Pickett. It was 11:30 by the time I got the boat on the water and was fishing. Water temp had cooled off a lot and would make you take a big breath if you tried to swim but I thought I would still fish down one of the aeration lines. It was 12:30 by the time I caught a little 7 inch crappie so I headed to the flats or not so deep areas. I just let the wind drift me around fishing as I want picking up one crappie or bream here and there. Again, as it was at Lewis Pond, I only caught them on chartreuse and purple somewhere around 4 ft. deep. I fished until about 5:00 and only had 7 bream and 6 crappie, the bream about hand size and the crappie from 7 to 10 inches. Caught one 11 inch bass on a 2 ½ brown twister so I stopped using that one right away. It was in about 6 ft. of water 100 yards off shore. I'm not sure what would have happened if I had fished the shore line but I saw plenty of action along it. I thought it was bass, so that is why I did not fish it, but on the way back to the ramp I caught a 10 inch crappie, so shame on me.

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

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes, (434) 286-3366. The fishing on the James is hot! The past couple of weeks have seen the water temperatures drop into the mid 80s which has really turned on the fish. Fish over 20 inches have been boated along with several in the 18 to 20 inch range. Fly anglers should be armed with Clawdads and Todds Wiggle Minnows. Conventional angles throwing soft plastics will be rewarded with quality fish.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow says that the bass bite is good with deep cranks and big plastics is green pumpkin. The crappie action is not as good; but some have been landed near structure 20 to 30 ft. down. Try minnows and jigs. Cats are really going for cut bait and live shad and bream. No word on perch. Stripers are off the main lake points, about 20 ft. down. Jigging spoons, bucktails and umbrella rigs are getting fish. The water is slightly stained to clear, 4 ft. below normal pool and cooling.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Tom Reisdorf told me that the smallmouth fishing has slowed, but they may take popping bugs or crayfish imitators. Rainbows in the Jackson are responding well to olive hare's ear nymphs. The mountain brookie streams are too low to fish. The water is clear with temperatures holding steady.

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. According to Craig Karpinski, the bass bite is "so-so"; try top-waters and buzzbaits. Crappie can be found in 5 to 10 feet of water off points and around structure. A small minnow should get you a slab. Lots of cats are coming in, they are taking shrimp, clam snouts, cut bait, "anything that stinks". Perch are in the shallows and going for small worms and small spinners. There are plenty of bluegill that would be happy to take your small worm. The water is clear and 82 degrees.

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

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

Stripers: Most stripers are currently being found from 20 to 65 feet below the surface. Most anglers and virtually all guides use live bait rigged on downlines this time of year. As those who regularly fish with live bait already know, catching live shad and keeping them alive and healthy can be challenging this time of year. Shad continue to be drawn to lights that shine into deeper water at night and can be caught using a larger cast net, but the bait is deeper and less concentrated during the summer months. Additionally, the shad are more sensitive to stress and handling when the water is warmer, so adding salt and chemicals (shad keeper, better bait) to bait tank water is essential this time of year. Live (large or jumbo) shiners, available at local bait and tackle shops, are a viable alternative for those who want to head out for a couple of hours of live bait fishing and do not have the ability to catch and properly maintain shad from the lake. Shiners are hardy baitfish that don't require specialized bait tanks and equipment. Those who prefer to fish with artificial lures or who are not equipped to maintain live bait also have success vertically jigging flukes rigged on jigheads and jigging spoons. Another popular and effective technique for striped bass this time of year is trolling. Most use their gas motor to troll this time of year. This technique allows anglers to cover a lot of water while presenting lures to stripers. In the summer months, lure depth control is critical, as you want to present them directly above the fish. A number of anglers use traditional downriggers as this is one of the most effective ways to control the depth and presentation of trolled lures. Unfortunately, there is a lot of submerged timber in this lake. When trolling in unfamiliar waters with downriggers it is necessary to closely monitor conditions below the surface to avoid snagging a cannon ball in one of the many trees. Good areas for striped bass this time of year include Gills Creek, Bull Run, Craddock Creek, Becky's Creek, the State Park, S curve, Mariners Landing, major creeks below the Hales Ford Bridge and the areas in front of and around the dam.

Bass: Fishing has been challenging, especially in the day. Bass continue to be caught both shallow and deep, but the better fish continue to be found deeper in the water column. Largemouth bass continue to be caught under deepwater docks around shaded pilings on 4 and 5 inch wacky rigged Senko worms. Small worms, craws and plastics rigged on Texas rigs and shakey head jigs are also producing bass holding on docks. Bass are also being caught off humps and deep-water points on Carolina rigged plastics and crankbaits. Many of the most recent reports suggest the most productive lure for bass holding in or around submerged structure is the crankbait. Several report being unable to catch bass marked on electronics with anything other than crankbaits.

Catfish, Carp and Bream: Catfishing continues to be good. Flatheads and channels are both being caught in good numbers during the day and at night. Live shad presented on bottom rigs (Carolina rig) appear to be most productive when targeting flatheads. I suggest hooking the shad in the top of the back as it will allow them to swim upward and they will not hang up in the bottom structure as frequently. Channel cats are also hitting shad, but night crawlers and stinkbaits on bottom rigs are a better choice. Carp continue to be caught on quality canned corn and sweet flavored dough baits. Small panfish, warmouth and bluegills are holding in the shade under walkways and shoreline rip-rap. Small hair jigs, worm pieces, Berkley imitation maggots and trout nibblets are all good baits for these fish. They will also hit small poppers, flies and spinners.

Tight lines and stay safe on the water.

Region 3 - Southwest

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

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius says that while the bass coming in are on the small side, there are lots of them. Try small Senkos in black or green pumpkin. Lots of good muskie action, with even bass anglers having encounters with the monsters! They are extra hungry just now, and will take, "anything you throw at them". Your best bets are tubes, Senkos and big inline spinners. The water is clear and "hot".

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. Starting to get a hint of fall in the air (for the time being) here on the Upper New, and the smallies, muskie and walleye are responding. It is a great bite right now for everything and doesn't seem to matter what you throw at them. The fish are spreading out and away from the heavily oxygenated rapids. Water level is still low as rain has been scarce so it is clear and green. Water temp is 71 degrees. Remember to practice CPR please!

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash told me that the smallmouth bite is good on Senkos and flukes in dark colors. Muskies are not as responsive as they were, but should get lively as the water cools. The water is clear and 75 degrees.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. The water levels on the Top New (Mouth of Wilson to Fries) are the lowest they have been this year. This is producing beautiful, clear water; visibility of 7 to 8 feet. The fish are a little spooky, but can be had using top-waters and plastics. Showers are expected early this week, so water levels should be coming up. Water temperatures are cooling off in the low 70s now. Late summer and early fall is a great time to fish the New. The fish are starting to feed up for the winter.

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

Region 4 - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 Harry says that the smallmouth bass streams in both the North and South Forks of the river are good with deep streamers and surface bugs. Fish along the shaded banks. Good flies are: Murray's Magnum Creek Chub, size 4; and the Shenandoah Blue Popper, size 6.The water is clear, 80 degrees and at a good level.

The stocked streams in the Valley are hot, so fish below the springs and in heavily shaded areas. Good flies are: Murray's Dark Stonefly Nymph, size 12; and Murray's Betsy Streamer, size 12. The water is clear, 78 degrees; and at a good level.

The brookie streams in the mountains are low, making the fishing "tough". Use a cautious approach, a 7X leader and small flies. Good flies are: Murray's Flying Beetle, size 18; and Murray's Bronze Stonefly, size 18. The water is 64 degrees, low and clear.

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

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

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: The recent rain pushed water levels up on all of the local rivers. In addition to helping to clean out some of the suspended vegetation, the rain also dropped the temperature several degrees, sparking increased fish activity. Unfortunately, the river vegetation remains thick and the fishing is best at the edges or in gaps. Use Senko type lures rigged weedless in those locations; tubes are good everywhere else. Stick to the bottom for best results and dead stick if you have the patience for it. The mountain trout streams are fairly low and warm right now. Fishing could improve with additional rainfall, with a noticeable spike in activity as the water level rose following the recent rain.

Potomac at Quantico Bay: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. I've been lucky enough to get out onto the Potomac at Quantico Bay one day each of the past 2 weekends. Last weekend, I can honestly say, I had my best day on local waters so far this summer! It turned out there were several factors that played out in my favor. A cold front was moving through, but it didn't rain, the water temperatures were dropping back into the mid to high 70s and the tide was heading out. I headed back in the bay where the water was about a foot or two over the grass and not too cloudy (from the moving tide). I started throwing my favorite top-water popper plug in a shad colored presentation and the bass were all over it. I was casting to the weed lines, letting the current drift the plug along the edge and then slowly moving the plug along in brief spurts. It was very successful from early after sunrise all the way to almost noon. The bass kept it up! There were spans of 10 to 15 minutes where I was catching a bass on every cast. I think I caught about 20 to 30 bass, with many in the nice chunky 2 ½ to 3 ½ pound range. Ton's of fun to be sure! And, as an added bonus, I also hooked into at least three snakeheads. Unfortunately one of them tossed the lure while in the net and then was able to work his way out of the net to freedom before I could get it under control. Still, I had two for the cooler and a great dinner the following night.

This weekend I headed out with a buddy and we tried to replicate the success of last weekend, but alas the results were far different. The outgoing tide didn't start until later in the morning and the cool weather front had already passed. We worked to fish above the weeds with shad colored top-water poppers, white based spinner baits, and silver colored soft plastic Senkos...but didn't have any takers except for one small bass, a bluegill, and a decent snakehead of about four pounds. All in all it was a pretty morning visually, but not successful at all. Hope everyone else had a good day on the water.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The water is clear, and with the recent rains and cooler air temperatures the lake is starting to cool off a little with water temperatures in the low 80s. The fish are starting to show signs of moving out of the deeper water and heading up lake for the fall feed. Largemouth bass are readily taking top-water lures early and late in the day. During the middle of the day, you can catch the largemouth bass schooling on balls of bait fish at the top, as well. Crappie are active in 8 to 12 ft. range being taken on small minnows and jigs in brush piles and around the fishing pier. Catfishing is strong throughout the lake, with the upper end being more productive especially when using live bait and chicken livers.

Occoquan Reservoir: Contributed by local angler Jim Thomas. Fishing on the Occoquan Reservoir has become a little slower in the last two weeks. Catching bass during the day requires scaling down to smaller baits and slowing one's fishing pace tremendously. There is so much bait in the water right now that one wonders how you'd ever find a concentration of feeding fish. Early morning and late evening will find top- water baits still producing, but the bite has slowed. While many fish are small, there are enough 2 to 4 pound fish to make life interesting. Several anglers are having success with imitation frogs in and around the grass. Catfish continue biting on the reservoir as well as the river. I am hearing nothing on brim or crappie right now.

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

Lake Anna: Contributed by Local Guide Jim Hemby (540) 967-3313.

Stripers: Fishing has slowed way down as it usually does in August. The fish are thin and weak due to the lack of oxygen in the water this time of year. Bait are migrating to the backs of the creeks and the stripers are following the bait to cooler waters. Rain and cooler weather will turn the fish back on and we will convert from fishing deep with downlines to pulling boards with herring and gizzard shad rigged behind Water Bugz planner boards. Stripers are now in the current at the third dike but are generally small.

Bass: These fish are turning on in the backs of the creeks and up the rivers. You can't go too far or shallow to catch the better fish. Shallow running crankbaits are catching nice fish where bait is present. Shallow drop offs next to the shallow channels, humps, stump beds and bridges are all holding fish.

Crappie: Slabs are all over the bridges from the splits up. Deeper docks and brush in 10 to 20 feet of water are also holding nice crappie.

Catfish: They love this time of year and can be caught just about everywhere with consistency. Live minnows are producing action just about any time of the day.

Water temperatures are 85 degrees up lake, 87 mid lake and 88 down lake.

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

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

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

View video about the snakehead

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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

As students plan to head back to school from summer vacation many families head to the outdoors for one last mini-vacation to camp, fish, canoe, hike or just enjoy time exploring wild Virginia. State Parks and retreats are getting ready for the Fall season. For 16 year old Megan McCracken, a Sophomore at John S. Battle High School in Bristol, her most memorable outdoor experience was an annual camping trip with her best friend to a rural family retreat in Washington County in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. There she enjoys the fresh air, campfires under the stars, outdoor cooking and spending time with family and friends without the "techno distractions" when home. Observing and discovering the wonders of nature, learning new outdoor skills and sharing life stories with grandparents can be a life changing, memorable experience. Megan entered her article in the 2010-11 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Competition and placed in the Top 10. She has captured the excitement, serenity, and fond memories that come with a week in the wild camping with her family and friend, leaving the distractions of everyday life at home.

My Home Beneath The Sky

By Megan McCracken

It is summertime, mid-July. The air is humid and the sky is ocean blue. My heart starts beating fast the second I slip off my sandals and feel the cool grass dancing beneath my toes. The feeling is irreplaceable as I run beneath the sun in this familiar place that has taught me so much. The land and all its fond memories overwhelm me. I realize that this is not just another joyful time with friends or another family gathering, but that this is home.

I remember the first time I ever went camping. It was in Eighth grade with my best friend, Katlyn, at her grandparents' home in Mendota, Virginia. Ever since then, it has been a summer ritual. I had never really been the type to stay outside for a long period of time, but I fell in love with the area and all that came with it. During the day, Katlyn would take me around and show me every spot that was special to her. One spot I clearly remember was the forest a distance from the house. Everything was so quiet and secretive up there; it felt as if we had our own little world filled with animals and trees. That is where I felt closest to Earth.

Another thing that I always admired about camping is the simplicity it brings. In a new world of electronics and every-day work, it is nice to be in an area where cell-phone service and constant demands do not exist. With little clothes and small tents to sleep in, people are not worried about their "social status" but dwell on the happiness of coming together with others underneath the warm sunlight in enjoyment for a short period of time. The music of ring tones and video games cannot be heard, but only the heavenly sound of birds chirping from a distance. That is the sound that flows with the rhythm of my heart.

When the sun disappears and the moon arrives, a campfire is built. The heat coming off of the wood is my blanket as I lie beneath the stars, making shapes and figures out of them. There is so much more to the sky than what appears. Its mysterious qualities overwhelm me as I try to imagine what more could possibly be beyond this small piece of land and how marvelous that mystery may be. The sound of crickets, the campfire crackling, and light conversations come together like a lullaby. Before long everyone falls asleep harmoniously underneath the beautiful sky.

The sunrise awakens me the next morning. I am always filled with disappointment at this time because I know that my outdoor experience is at the tip of its conclusion. I do not take those last few moments for granted. I walk through the area slowly retracing excellent memories from the day before. I breathe in the fresh morning air and realize that the promise of this new day is all I could ever desire. As I gather my belongings and load them into my family vehicle, I wish Mendota fair well until our next lovely time together.

The anticipation of the campout, yearly, never vanishes from my mind. Sometimes when I am lying in bed at night, I look up at my bedroom ceiling and reminisce about the stars twinkling above my head. With my life so hectic, I become jealous for the serenity that that campout brings to my soul. I will never forget those times of mine that were spent with nature. Like an old friend, Mendota waits for my arrival each year.

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

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: