In this edition:

Autumn Offers Bountiful Outdoor Adventure Opportunities...

Autumn has officially begun! With doves flying and the Special Youth Deer Hunting Day this Saturday, September 29th now part of the fall hunting traditions, how appropriate and timely that Virginia's hunters and anglers have good reason to continue to celebrate National Hunting & Fishing Day. Be sure and review the Wild Events You Don't Want To Miss section for the numerous youth and family opportunities for hunting and fishing related events, skill building workshops, and sportsmen's events that offer something for beginners as well as the most experienced hunters. Visit your sporting goods retailer, treat yourself to a new piece of hunting, fishing, or shooting gear, then get outside and enjoy it. Remember, it is YOU, America's sportsmen and sportswomen, who have funded and lead the fight for conservation, restoration, and management of our treasured wildlife and natural resources. Be proud that through self imposed licenses and excise taxes, sportsmen generate the funds that support the management, protection, and conservation of fish, wildlife and habitat programs—benefiting all citizens who appreciate wild things and wild places. As you participate and celebrate in any outdoor activities this fall, be mindful of the rich traditions and heritage you enjoy and the responsibility to be a good representative of your sport. Remember safety and common courtesy are free—use them generously. Keep your outdoor adventures safe, successful, and fun.

David Coffman, Editor

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

"Hunt Fish VA": Hunting & Fishing in Your Pocket

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries app for your iPhone®, iPod touch®, and Android™ is as useful as any other "must have" hunting or fishing gear. This easy to use app is perfect for:

Best of all, it's absolutely FREE!

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Hunters for the Hungry Host Annual Golf Tournament in Lynchburg October 3

Team Slots Still Available... Hunters for the Hungry (HFTH) has announced they are holding their 11th annual David H. Horne Memorial Golf Tournament Wednesday October 3rd at London Downs Golf Course near Lynchburg and they still need teams, donated items, and SPONSORS.

HFTH Special Projects Coordinator, Gary Arrington notes, "This event has been so special in several ways, first it is an opportunity to honor our program founder David Horne who lost a battle with cancer in February of 2002. It is a time we recognize David's vision and his wish to see the program grow and touch more lives each year. Secondly it is a chance to enjoy some wonderful fellowship as we raise the MUCH NEEDED FUNDS that will be needed to process and distribute high protein low fat venison to needy men, women, and children all across Virginia this year.

While we so realize that times are tough and the economy in decline and we are uncertain about what the future holds. However, we here at HFTH face a two edged sword as we have experienced a steady increase in the number of feeding programs that have contacted us requesting assistance, with some of these programs advising they have seen an increase in those coming in for help having increased as much as 300%. On the other side we have felt the struggle of raising the funds as there are so many who are unable to provide donations to our charity right now. And yet we need the funds and the deer more than ever!

Sportsmen and citizens can help HFTH by putting a team in this event or maybe donating merchandise or something we can use for our live and silent auction, or a sponsorship, we have levels ranging from $100 to $6,000. Visit the HFTH website for a TEAM registration sheet and SPONSOR sheet. All sponsorships and support are tax deductible and we will provide recognition for all in the event program, our press releases, at the staging area for the event, through sponsor signs, and on our website! If you have any questions or need any additional information please contact Gary at (434) 665-7658.

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 is a great opportunity to improve your waterfowl hunting skills and other outdoor adventure opportunities."

Portable Duck Blind Special Door Prize: The workshop's participants will be eligible for door prizes being given away at the workshop including a 5ft. X 8 ft. duck blind. The blind is a modular unit that can be taken apart and reassembled at desired location by the winner. The blind can also be installed on a raised platform in the marsh or attached to a skid platform and be used in afield.

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.

Spread Your Wings and Fly to the 20th Annual Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Festival October 5 - 7, 2012

Based in Cape Charles, Virginia, the Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Festival is the perfect opportunity to experience the wonders of wildlife—from the keynote presentation by America's leading ornithologist/illustrator and author of the Sibley Guide to Birds - David Allen Sibley - to unparalleled guided tours, boat trips, nature hikes and much more. It's an incredible chance to catch sightings of species you've never seen before. As one of the most important migration stop-overs on the East Coast, millions of songbirds and butterflies and thousands of raptors will converge here on their long journey south. With the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge and Kiptopeke State Park nearby, this is a migration celebration you'll always remember. With the festival headquarters' easy accessibility from many major mid-Atlantic metropolitan areas, what's stopping you from celebrating this fabulous fall migration? Register Now!

Limited Archery Deer Hunting Open on Princess Anne WMA October 9-20

The Whitehurst and Beasley tracts of the Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area will be open for archery deer hunting October 9 -20, 2012 (excluding Sunday October 14). These two tracts, which are primarily marsh and wooded wetlands, are approximately 700 acres combined and are located in the City of Virginia Beach just east of Creeds. Interested hunters must obtain a signed letter of authorization from the Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area Supervisor. No lottery approval or daily reservations are required. Successful hunters will be required to submit physical data from harvested deer. Hunters may scout the area prior to the season on Sundays and portable tree stands are welcome. Participants will be required to wear blaze orange. For more information contact Jason Waguespack at (757) 323 -1581 or at Maps of the area and directions can be viewed at

VA Cooperative Extension To Host 36th Annual Fall Forestry & Wildlife Field Tours

Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program, in collaboration with Virginia's natural resource agencies, companies, and associations, will be holding their 36th Annual Fall Forestry and Wildlife Field Tours starting October 8, 2012.

The tours will promote wise resource management on private forestlands and will focus on science-based forestry and wildlife management practices, public and private sources of technical and financial management assistance, and networking among landowners and natural resource professionals. There will also be demonstration stops on private, industry, and public lands that will center on multiple-use management opportunities and practices. Tours will be held:

Pre-registration is required, as space is limited on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration is $45/person for the Highland and Charles City County tours, $25/person for the Wise County tour and $30/person for the Prince Edward County tour. This fee covers lunch, refreshments and transportation and is due one week before the tour date. Registration is available online. Come participate in the longest running program of its kind in Virginia! For more information, contact Jennifer Gagnon at

Gourmet Gone Wild in Stafford October 21

Interested in the "original" organic? Hosted by Potomac Point Winery, this exciting event will include activities and outdoor skill stations with admission. This event features locally grown foods and wild game sampling, as well as storytelling and demonstrations by the Patawomeck Indians. Come learn about the Chesapeake Ray and the Virginia Oyster Growers! This educational event is designed for the entire family! See the flyer for details on all the activities! Cooperative partners for this event include: Department of Game and Inland Fisheries; Potomac Point Winery; Stafford Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities; Stafford Tourism; Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Virginia Oysters Growers; and the Patawomeck Indians. Parking will be available at Patawomeck Park with complimentary trolley transport to the event. Reservations are required. For ticket purchases, please call: 540-446-2107 or visit For more information, contact Potomac Point Winery at 540-446-2107.

Riverine Virginia Master Naturalists Host Open House October 18

The Riverine Virginia Master Naturalists will train their seventh class of volunteers beginning Thursday, January 10, 2013. Participants provide education, outreach, and environmental stewardship to the greater Richmond area. An open house to explain the Master Naturalist Program will be held at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, October 18 at the Tuckahoe Library, Starling Drive off of Parham Rd. in Henrico County. For further information contact Emily Gianfortoni at or 804-741-9126.

Urban Survival Weekend Scheduled for NOVA November 3-4

The Urban Survival Weekend is scheduled for November 3-4 at the Northern Virginia 4-H Educational and Conference Center near Front Royal. This unique course will provide participants with practical, immediately relevant information to stay informed and prepared in today's dynamic world. This engaging, hands-on program is open to the general public and is packed with critical information designed to help keep you and your family safe in an emergency situation. Instructor Roy Hutchinson, founder of Wilderness Discovery, has extensive experience in survival on numerous trips in extreme environments. He is a volunteer instructor for the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, is a member of the International Society of Professional Trackers, and has lent his expertise to the U.S. Military, Law Enforcement, and Search and Rescue teams.

Course Topics:

REGISTRATION: Pre-registration is required by October 25th to guarantee your spot. Course fee is $145.00 and includes all instruction, meals, lodging, and materials. Website:

For information on the Northern Virginia 4-H Educational and Conference Center near Front Royal visit Website: Phone: (540) 635-7171

Thanksgiving Pheasant Hunt Near Charlottesville November 17-18

"Shoot to retrieve" style bird hunts and gundog competitions are fast gaining popularity in Virginia. Lack of available wild birds and limited access to good bird hunting tracts in Virginia has prompted bird hunting enthusiasts to look for other ways to take their dogs to the field. The Virginia Upland Classic Series along with the National Bird Dog Circuit, are scheduled to hold a "shoot to retrieve" style Pheasant Hunt November 17-18 at Liberty Corners Farms near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Upland Classic and Bird Dog Circuit events are organized and designed for bird dog owners to be a safe and sporting venue to hunt with their dogs for game birds and the events include bird dogs of every size, shape, and color; both the pointing breeds and the flushing breeds. These events follow a format that closely resembles an actual safe bird hunt.

Competitors are assigned to an appropriate field of about six to ten acres of good bird cover, and are scored for the performance of the hunter and his dog, as a team. Three live birds are randomly planted out of sight of the upcoming participants and the hunter and his dog are then given twenty minutes to find the birds. Once the "find" is established, the hunter (who is allowed six shells) flushes and shoots the bird, and the dog then relocates the down bird and marks it or retrieves it. A simple point system is in place for each hunting activity, and bonus points are given for using less than six shots and any unused minutes of the twenty minute time allowance. A scorekeeper goes along with the hunter to tabulate the score and maintain the rules. It is strictly about getting three birds, safely, with fewer shots and in less time. It is a fair competition between bird hunters using dogs to find and retrieve the game.

Separate events are held for experienced "Open" dogs (Flushing & Pointing breeds over three years old) and experienced "Amateur" dogs (Flushing & Pointing breeds less than three years old). Also, there are doubles events for a team of two dogs and two hunters working together, and is considered by many to the most fun of all.

For First Time participants a special "Novice" event following the exact same rules as the Open and Amateur participants is held separately to introduce newcomers to the sport. The scorekeeper for the novice events goes along with the hunter and coaches the new participant, and assists them during the hunt. The competition is lots of fun for all levels of experience, hunting for birds and working with bird dogs. Six separate events keep everybody competing within their own experience level to make it a fair game/sport.

Virginia Upland Classic hunts are open to all bird hunters and their dogs. If you think you might be interested, you may contact the following to receive more information:

B.G. Norris, Box 430, Dutton, Virginia 23050 Phone 804-694-5118

People and Partners in the News

VA Wheelin' Sportsmen Host 19 Deer Hunts for Mobility Impaired Hunters -- Application Deadline October 1, 2012

Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen is proud to offer 19 quality deer hunts to MOBILITY-IMPAIRED hunters in all areas of the state this fall. We are an outreach program of the Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation providing outdoor opportunities to sportsmen with disabilities. Our NWTF Chapters, State agencies and private hosts have hunts planned from Bentonville to Wytheville, from Galax to Southampton, from Albemarle to Warsaw! Our hunts are free of charge, but are only open to hunters with physical disabilities. If you have a mobility-impairment disability and would like to participate in any of our hunts, please visit our website, and return the Fall Hunt Application by the October 1st deadline. You can also find more info on our Facebook page.

Franklin County Longbeards Provide Outdoor Adventure for 220 JAKES

Reported by VA NWTF Franklin County Longbeards Chapter President and JAKES Coordinator, Billy Thurman

The 13th annual Franklin County Long Beards JAKES event started Friday evening, September 7th, with the Extreme JAKES, 11 – 17 age group, at the Franklin County Rod and Gun Club with range safety training and trap shooting, turkey calling lessons and a turkey calling contest. A pizza supper followed with the $100, $75 and $25 prizes awarded to the calling winners and door prizes were passed out.

Saturday morning all of the JAKES, all 220 of them, were grouped by ages, up to 7, 8 to 10 and 11 to 17 for a day of outdoor activities that included archery, pellet guns, shot guns, canoes, first aid training, trout fishing, tree stand safety, turkey calling, a climbing wall, driving safety, wildlife and conservation education, a snake exhibit and a demonstration of the new VDGIF K9 team by CPO Richard Howald and his amazing dog 'Scout'. We learned that we humans smell a hamburger, but the dog smells a bun, mustard, tomato, cheese, beef, salt, lettuce and pepper and keeps up with them separately! The threat of rain loomed over us all day, but it held off until the event concluded and we enjoyed dry and sunny weather.

Each JAKE was given a back pack at registration and all enjoyed a pizza lunch. Many parents accompanied the JAKES and served as group leaders, as well as having a good time too. This event could not be possible without the support of local businesses, state and local government agencies, especially the Franklin County Parks and Recreation, the Franklin County Sheriff's Dept., The Rocky Mount Police Dept. and the VDGIF, plus the numerous volunteers who donate their time to prepare and run the event for the youth attending the JAKES event. Thank you to all who helped make it a special day for the youth.

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. Two sessions will be offered for students to work directly with natural area professionals.. The 2012 conference is being coordinated by staff from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). 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.

Mark Taylor Elected President of Outdoor Writers Association of America

MISSOULA, Mont. - At its 85th annual conference, the Outdoor Writers Association of America elected Mark Taylor as president of the association for 2012-13. Taylor will serve one year as president of the OWAA Board of Directors.

"I'm delighted to be working with Mark for the next year. His no nonsense dedication to getting things accomplished will serve the board, and ultimately the association, well," said OWAA Executive Director Robin Giner. "He has a vested interest in seeing OWAA grow and prosper."

A member of OWAA since 1999, Taylor is the outdoors editor for The Roanoke Times, and a freelance writer focusing on hunting, shooting and fishing. He was elected to the OWAA Board of Directors in 2008 and subsequently elected to the Executive Committee in 2010.

Taylor is also a dedicated member of the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, and an avid triathlete. He lives in Roanoke, VA, with his wife, Mary, and their twin daughters.

OWAA is The Voice of the Outdoors®. The Outdoor Writers Association of America is the oldest and largest association of professional outdoor communicators in the United States. It was organized in 1927 by members of the Izaak Walton League of America and includes professional communicators dedicated to sharing the outdoor experience. OWAA's professionals include writers, photographers, outdoors radio- and television-show hosts, book authors, videographers, lecturers and artists. The association is headquartered in Missoula, Mont. For more information, contact Robin Giner, executive director, Outdoor Writers Association of America, 615 Oak St., Ste. 201, Missoula, Mont. 59801; 406-728-7434,;

Editor's note... For a special personal report on Mark Taylor and his impact and accomplishments on outdoor sports media coverage, check the recent posting of Outdoor Report contributor Bill Cochran's Website: Look on the left side of the home page for mention of Mark Taylor.

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.

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."

73rd Western Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest

Editors note... For details on Malcolm Grahm's hunting story and the results of other championship entries read the special feature on the State Championship Contest at outdoor writer Bill Cochran's Outdoors Column at to be posted Thursday September 27th.

The 73rd Western Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest held September 22-23 at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg was the place to be for sportsmen on National Hunting & Fishing Day. This official State Big Game Contest is sponsored by the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Izaak Walton League and the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen's Association in partnership with VDGIF. This is the official VA State Record Contest. The two organizations alternate each year in hosting the State Championship the 4th weekend in September. This year trophy entries of all deer and bear were given Boone & Crockett Scores along with the official Virginia Score. Specially trained and experienced VDGIF staff and volunteers from the VDGIF Complementary Work Force and VPSA and IWLA handled the official scoring of an estimated 205 plus trophy entries at the East Regional and another 209 deer, 30 bear and 27 turkey entries in the West Regional and State Championship. To view score results at the East Regional Contest visit:

IWLA Contest Director Linda Tobin notes that this year's event had a bigger variety of exhibitors and activities for the 3000 hunters and their families attending the show. Notable was the NRA Great American Whitetail Collection sponsored by Blue Ridge Power Sports. Also 6 Guided Youth Hunts for deer and spring gobbler were given away to young hunters attending the show. VDGIF Conservation Police Officers answered questions and provide information on new VDGIF programs and hunting opportunities. K9 Senior Officer Wayne Billhimer and his partner Justice, amazed the crowd with demonstrations of this Labrador retriever's specialty training to assist law enforcement officers in wildlife detection, tracking, and evidence discovery and article recovery. Over 60 exhibitors filled the hall with the latest in gear, supplies, artwork, taxidermy, and more. A special feature this year was Clealen Dove from Rockingham County displaying his full mount of his State Record black bear weighing 592 pounds!

Running these contests takes more than 100 organization volunteers and VDGIF staff to administer the Contests, set up show displays, score trophy entries and award certificates to the contestants. If you are interested in assisting one of these organizations in their efforts to promote our hunting heritage traditions and recognize the exceptional game trophies found throughout the Commonwealth, visit their websites and contact one of their officers and GET INVOLVED. For Contest results, rules, and information visit either of the sponsoring organizations websites:, or

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

Wheelin' Sportsmen Host "Ultimate Dove Hunt" in Warsaw

Virginia Wheelin' Sportsmen hosted their "Ultimate Dove Hunt" on Friday, September 7th just outside of Warsaw. This first-time hunt was held on Sabine Hall, a 2,000 acre historic plantation along the Rappahannock River. The owner had planted long strips of land with corn and sunflowers specifically for dove hunting, and doves were plentiful. Each participant was allowed to bring one person with them and that person could also hunt. VA NWTF State President and Wheelin' Sportsmen Program participant Robin Clark from Charlottesville commented, " This first of its kind event for disabled sportsmen was more successful than we could have dreamed thanks to the generosity of Sabine Hall landowner, Carter Wellford, and the many volunteers and sponsors that pitched in to make this a fantastic experience for everyone involved."

Award winning outdoor writer and frequent contributor to Virginia Wildlife magazine Ken Perrotte covered the event at the request of the Outdoor Report and the Wheelin' Sportsmen organizers and posted this heartwarming story in his weekly column in the Fredericksburg Free Lance Star newspaper. The Outdoor Report gratefully acknowledges permission to reprint Ken's article and link to the on-line outdoors column.

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.

Safety First - Time To Take Your Hunter Education Class

September has arrived and the fall hunting seasons will begin soon. Are you ready?!?! 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.

Limited Archery Deer Hunting Open on Princess Anne WMA October 9-20

The Whitehurst and Beasley tracts of the Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area will be open for archery deer hunting October 9 -20, 2012 (excluding Sunday October 14). These two tracts, which are primarily marsh and wooded wetlands, are approximately 700 acres combined and are located in the City of Virginia Beach just east of Creeds. Interested hunters must obtain a signed letter of authorization from the Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area Supervisor. No lottery approval or daily reservations are required. Successful hunters will be required to submit physical data from harvested deer. Hunters may scout the area prior to the season on Sundays and portable tree stands are welcome. Participants will be required to wear blaze orange. For more information contact Jason Waguespack at (757) 323 -1581 or at Maps of the area and directions can be viewed at

Just 3 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.

Youth Fall Turkey Hunt Day October 20

The Youth Fall Turkey Hunt Day, established for youth 15 years of age and younger, is on Saturday, October 20, 2012. With the growing popularity of spring gobbler hunting, fewer hunters are turkey hunting in the fall. To provide added opportunities for fall turkey hunting, the Youth Fall Turkey Hunt Day was established, and the starting and ending dates for the late segment for fall turkey have changed in most counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Youth hunters between the age of 12 and 15 must have appropriate valid hunting licenses. Hunters under the age of 12 are not required to have a license, but they must be accompanied by a licensed adult. Adult hunters supervising youth must possess a valid Virginia hunting license, may assist with calling, and shall not carry or discharge a firearm. Fall turkey hunting has some unique methods and restrictions:

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

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days: October 20, 2012 and February 2, 2013

Youth 15 years and younger may harvest the allowed daily bag limit of ducks (as specified above), coots, mergansers, gallinules, moorhens, 2 Canada geese (except in Canada Goose Zones where the bag limit is higher, see page 14) and 1 tundra swan (if the youth possesses a tundra swan permit) on the designated youth waterfowl hunting days. Youth 12 years of age and older will need a valid Virginia state hunting license. All participating youth must be HIP registered and accompanied by a licensed adult at least 18 years of age or older. The accompanying adult may only hunt for those species for which there is an open season on these dates.

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

Gabe Jenkins Uses Birthday Gift to Bag First Muzzleloader Buck

Jennie Jenkins sent us this great story on her son's first muzzleloader buck.

Gabe Jenkins, age 12, harvested this buck November 14, 2011. The seasoned 8 pointer was discovered rooting around for acorns under a large oak tree behind the Jenkins' home near Rice, in Prince Edward County. While this wasn't his first deer ever, it was his best and the first kill with a black powder rifle. Gabe's dad, Mark Jenkins, had taken the day off from work to take him hunting. First thing that morning the two went outside to assess the weather and felt the day may turn out to be too windy to settle into a tree stand. A glance behind their house under an old oak tree promised something better. At a distance, the buck was first thought to be a previously seen 5-pointer, but a look through the scope confirmed he couldn't be passed up. While the unsuspecting buck grazed, Gabe dropped him with one shot. Just to make this youngster's day even better....the tape measure registered a 19 inch spread. What a wonderful way to break in that muzzle loader he'd just received for his birthday 6 weeks before!

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

Ruffed Grouse Society Members Improve Woodcock Habitat

On Saturday, September 8, the James River Chapter of The Ruffed Grouse Society, in conjunction with VDGIF, conducted a workday on the Powhatan WMA. The seven person crew enhanced woodcock habitat on four acres, using herbicide to suppress mature tree growth in favor of protective shrub cover. Tom Pratley, Habitat Chair, for the James River Chapter notes that similar habitat enhancement labor intensive work projects are slated to be performed next year.

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, 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.

September Update: VDGIF staff continues to monitor elk activity in the release area. Most elk remained in the acclimation corral area through the third week in July. However in early August, most of the released elk moved about a mile north to a new foraging area. One of the yearling bulls lost a collar, which was retrieved from a brier thicket in a logging area. One of the two year-old bulls lost its plastic ear tags.

The elk rut has begun. The released elk have separated into several smaller groups. One of the two-year old bulls is tending a group of six cows with their calves. Other cows have left that main group and moved 1 to 2-miles away. We have had not yet confirmed any other elk associating with those that we released in May, although anecdotal reports suggest there may be some in the area.

DGIF staff has begun working with our Kentucky and Missouri partners on the capture and quarantine of elk in 2013. We will send staff to Kentucky in October to make repairs to the quarantine facility. Veterinarians from the three states are evaluating and revising quarantine procedures. Trapping will begin this coming January.

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

For more information on elk restoration in Virginia:

Secretary of Natural Resources Domenech Views Elk Restoration in Buchanan

Joining with VDGIF staff from the Marion Regional Office, Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech and Asst. Secretary Moore traveled to Vansant to view elk that have recently been released. Buchanan County is the location of the pilot program to reintroduce elk to the region and with the hopes that this will be a tourist draw and will result in significant economic benefits. With the support of Buchanan County and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, VDGIF brought in 16 elk from Kentucky. After being quarantined for a period and being fitted with tracking collars, the elk were recently released. From preliminary observations, it seems as though the elk move as a herd, but do not move very far from where they were released, usually staying within a five mile area.

New Quail Forever "Lake Country" Chapter Formed in Halifax / Mecklenburg Area

On Friday August 31st Quail Forever hosted an information and chapter start meeting at the Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Department. The meeting was attended by 70 quail enthusiast from the surrounding area, where they learned more about Virginia's Quail Plan from Marc Puckett, VDGIF Co-Project Leader for the Quail Recovery Initiative (QRI) and the process for starting a new chapter of Quail Forever. A new chapter was formed covering Halifax and Mecklenburg Counties, and will be known as the Lake Country Chapter of Quail Forever, this is the third Quail Forever Chapter in the state. Hudson Reese was elected as president for the new Chapter and will play a key role in shaping its future. The Chapter is already excited to help host a youth event next summer, as well as looking at holding their first banquet this coming March. The Chapter is meeting regularly the second Tuesday of the month, with locations rotating. Please contact Hudson Reese at 434-579-0073 for more information about the Chapter, or Charlie Payne at 614-632-8393 for more information about Quail Forever, or if you are interested in starting a chapter.

NOVA Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation Signs MOU for Quail Recovery Initiative

The Northern Virginia Chapter # 16 of the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF) became the most recent signee of the MOU in support of the Virginia Quail Recovery Initiative. They join a long list of our NGO partners that have signed at both the State and National level, including QUWF, Quail Forever/ Pheasants Forever, Quail Unlimited, and the National Wild Turkey Federation. This brings to 24 the number of organizations and individuals that have signed on in support of the Virginia QRI. Many thanks to all our NGO partners at the State and National Level. Without team work, our successes will be limited.

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 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!

Early Warm Season Deer Hunting Safety Tips

If you're planning to get an early start deer hunting during the special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 29, 2012 or the archery deer season beginning October 6, you need to keep a few things in mind to ensure you have a pleasant and safe experience. If you're wearing camouflage, it should be lightweight. Keep hydrated – have plenty of water, sports drinks and salty snacks.

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

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

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

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

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.

Know the Law Regarding Feeding of Wildlife - Let's Keep Wildlife 'Wild'

Last year, on July 1st 2011, it became unlawful to feed wildlife in such a way that the food or attractant being placed creates a situation where the increased presence of wildlife causes property damage, endangers people or other species of wildlife, or creates a public health concern. Even though the effects of feeding wildlife can seem minimal to some, this behavior has the potential to create dangerous situations, as well as to have a significant impact on personal property. When wild animals are allowed to feed on human-related food sources, they can become dependent on people for food and lose their innate fear of humans, a situation which could be detrimental to both the animals and to people. Feeding also draws animals unnecessarily close to our homes, where they could cause damage to residential landscaping, decks and patios, gardens, and crops.

People who feed wild animals are often doing harm to the very animals they are trying to help. An artificial food source will often create unnatural concentrations of animals, increasing the potential for the spread of wildlife diseases. A pile of food meant for one species is going to attract many others, some of which may carry undesirable parasites or diseases such as Lyme disease and rabies that can impact humans and domestic animals. The spread of wildlife diseases is also a serious concern to wildlife management officials both here in Virginia and across the United States. Keep wildlife wild by not feeding them and by letting them live as nature intended.

Go to to learn more about responsible wildlife feeding practices. You can also find the telephone number for your nearest Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries regional office if you have any questions concerning feeding regulations and would like to talk to a wildlife biologist or conservation police officer.

Virginia regulation reads as follows: "It shall be unlawful for any person, as defined in § 1-230 of the Code of Virginia to place, distribute, or allow the placement of food, minerals, carrion, trash, or similar substances when it attracts any species of wildlife in such numbers or circumstances to cause property damage, endanger any person or wildlife, or create a public health concern. Upon notification by department personnel, any such person shall be in violation of this section if the placing, distribution, or presence of such food, minerals, carrion, trash, or similar substances continues."

Notes for Young Nature Explorers

This section features articles and tips of interest to youngsters to encourage them to get outdoors and explore nature. Observing and exploring the natural environment can be exciting, interesting, and fun: plus provide the types of experiences that cannot be found in books, the internet, or video games. The Virginia Wildlife calendar lists natural events that can serve as a "lesson plan" to get students outdoors exploring, observing, and having fun while learning about the woods, fields, and streams and the fascinating plants and animals that share these habitats with us. Each edition we will bring you ideas on topics, natural occurrences, and events to spark your interests in exploring nature. Make it a family adventure!

Virginia Naturally Website Link to School Environmental Learning Programs

Visit the Virginia Naturally website now for ideas on nature learning activities. Teachers, there are also ideas for workshops and training available for your continuing education and getting a start on environmental lesson plans for the next semester.

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

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

Hint: See Article on habitat improvement in the Wildlife Conservation Project Update section.

Answers to September 12 edition quiz for nature events for early September...

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...

Middlesex Sportsman's Hunt Club Hosts Hunters Education Class

On Saturday September 22, 117 hunters attended a Hunter Education class at the Middlesex Sportsmen's Hunt Club (MSHC) shooting range in Hartfield. According to Middlesex Conservation Police Officer, Dwayne Dunlevy, this was the largest Hunters Ed class that he can remember in Middlesex County and may be the largest class ever held here. The class was taught by volunteer Hunter Education Instructors from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The class focused on hunting safety, ethics and law, and, is required for anyone wishing to obtain a VA Hunting License. Instructors for the class included Roger Ammons, Jerry Ward, Officer Dunlevy, Chauncey Herring, Tony Carambia and Dawne Alexander. MSHC supplied ten volunteers, headed by Barbara Wallace of Hartfield, who parked cars, set up the classroom and served lunch and snacks. MSHC President, John Priest, stated "Our club is doing its best to make hunting and other shooting sports safe for our community." The next Hunters Ed class at the Middlesex range will be held in the spring just before Turkey Season. Contact Club Secretary, Macey White, at, for details.

Region I - Tidewater

Illegal Speargun Fishing Caught on the James... On September 1, 2012, Conservation Police Officers Kopelove and Shaw were conducting a plainclothes patrol looking for illegal goose and dove hunters. The officers received a call from VDGIF dispatch concerning illegal fishing in the James River in the City of Richmond. Responding to the area they were able to find the individual and put him under surveillance without drawing attention to themselves, as they were dressed in plain clothes. A problem that presented itself was that the suspect was almost on the other side of the river. While Officer Shaw was preparing to swim to the suspect, Officer Kopelove was able to borrow a kayak from a person who was nearby. Officer Shaw was then able to paddle out to the suspect, where a summons was issued for taking fish by illegal methods. Officer Shaw seized a spear gun and a 30+ pound flathead catfish that the suspect had illegally taken with the spear gun.

Hunting Safety Presentation to Young Farmers... On September 6, 2012, Senior Officer Ken Williams made a presentation to the Richmond County Young Farmers Association. The presentation provided the group with the latest information regarding the upcoming hunting seasons, safety, CWD and other DGIF programs.

Hunting Safety Presentation for Wheelin' Sportsmen Dove Hunt... On September 7, 2012, Officer Josh Thomas made a hunting safety presentation at the National Wild Turkey Federation Wheelin' Sportsmen Dove Hunt located in Richmond County. Senior K9 Officer Frank Spuchesi provided a demonstration of the abilities his partner Comet and the agency's K9 program. Approximately 80 hunters and volunteers attended the event.

Boating Safety Class Conducted in Middlesex... On September 11 & 12, 2012, District 16 Conservation Police Officers, Dunlevy, Dobyns and Rollings, conducted a boating safety class in Middlesex County. The Hartfield Fire Department allowed the use of their pavilion for the class. Twenty Two people attended the class and all received their certificate at the end of the class. Another class, at the same location, is being planned for this coming spring.

Region II - Southside

CPOs Provide Training for NWTF JAKES Youth Event in Franklin County... On September 7 and 8, 2012, The Extreme Jakes Event was held in Franklin County at Waid Park. Over 200 youngsters under the age of 18 participated in numerous outdoor events which included canoe and kayak instruction and riding, skeet shooting, tree stand safety and climbing stand instruction, trout fishing, bow and arrow instruction and shooting, fly fishing, muzzle loader instruction and shooting , sling shot instruction and target shooting. One of the most popular events for the youngest participants was the fishing simulator manned by Biologist Assistant Mark Frank. District 21 Conservation Police Officers assisted with many of the other events.

Canine Demonstration Impresses Kids and Adults at JAKES Event... Senior K9 Officer Richard Howald and Scout "stole the show" with a canine demonstration to a group of youngsters at the Extreme Jakes Event at Waid Park in Franklin County on September 8th. Scout found several hidden items that included car keys and shot shells with his keen sense of smell. Scout visited up close and personal with most of the youngsters gathered and will be on the top of the list for a return visit. The large group was amazed at the abilities of the canine team to find and locate evidentiary items.

MADD Award Recipient... Conservation Police Officer Dallas Neel received his fourth award at the annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving Award (MADD) ceremony on Wednesday, September 12th. Dallas was honored for his ability to detect alcohol and drug related offenses on and around Smith Mountain Lake for more than a decade.

Hunter Education Students Impacted by Testimony of Hunter Responsible for Fatal Shooting... Conservation Police Sergeant Karl Martin made a presentation to 79 hunter education students at the Franklin Center in Rocky Mount. This presentation included a talk by the shooter from a 2009 fatal hunting incident that occurred at Ferrum College which claimed the life of a 21 year old senior and wounded another student. Court mandated appearances by the shooter are required as a condition of probation for the next five years and has had an impact on all participates attending Hunter Education classes.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley – Northern Piedmont

DUI on Aquia Creek... On August 31, 2012, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Suders and Senior Officer Boulanger stopped a vessel for a navigation light violation while on boat patrol on Aquia Creek. Upon stopping the vessel, the officers made contact with the operator and after speaking with the individual, and observing his actions, determined that he was under the influence of alcohol. At this point, Officer Suders placed the subject under arrest. After arriving at the Stafford County Sheriff's Department, the subject was given a breath test with a result of .17 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. The subject was charged with Operating Under the Influence of alcohol and the navigation light violation.

Cub Scouts Earn Badges at Stafford County Hartwood Days... On 09/08/2012, Conservation Police Officer Daniel Eller participated in the Stafford County Hartwood Day's event. Officer Eller's booth consisted of wildlife mounts, posters, and materials needed to help Cub Scouts earn belt loops, pins, and merit badges. The Scouts demonstrated their ability to understand and explain processes regarding the conservation of fish and wildlife. Foot print castings were also made with the Scouts as well as other non-scout youth passing by. The event was a success with all earning knowledge to complete their belt loop and pin sections. The merit badge section was mostly completed, earning the participating Scouts partial credit.

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.

Mossy Creek Flyfishing Shop Adds New Fly Tying Section in Harrisonburg Store

Submitted by Robert Thomas, Editor, Flyfishers of Virginia Newsletter The Singing Reel, First Vice President, VA Outdoor Writers Association

ATTENTION ALL FLYTYERS---Mossy Creek Flyfishing, the state's premier fly shop is expanding its fly tying section by 300 square feet. That's over 35 linear feet of 8 foot tall slot wall. Stocking should be complete in early October, giving them an unmatched selection of the finest material to be found anywhere. If they don't have it, you probably don't need it. Shipping anywhere in the country is at no charge. They also conduct fly tying classes and regularly host "open houses" featuring many of the finest tyers in the state as well as some nationally known celebrities.

In their early thirties, Brian and Colby Trow, owners of Mossy Creek Flyfishing, are well known in Virginia flyfishing circles and are fast gaining a national reputation as leaders in the future of the flyfishing industry. Active in the Fly Fishers of Virginia and Trout Unlimited, they devote many personal hours as well as the flyshop's resources to the conservation and preservation of our State's natural resources.

The Brothers Trow are also heavily involved in Project Healing Waters and have been since its inception. Their annual outing for our injured servicemen, The Mossy Creek Invitational, has raised close to three quarters of a million dollars and they have been instrumental in securing many other grants and corporate donations. Founded in Virginia, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings.

The Mossy Creek Fly Shop is located in Harrisonburg, VA at 1790-92 East Market Street. They can be contact by phone at (540) 434-2444 or email at Visit their website: for the latest fishing reports and information on store events.

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!

The Right Knot

The fishing knot may be the most critical connection between you and fishing success. We may invest time and money into boats, rods, tackle, rigs, preparation and destinations, but if that one little component is not right – it doesn't matter. Knowing the best knots and tying them proficiently needs to be a priority if we desire to be successful anglers and put fish in the boat.

With the variety of line choices today, one knot will not do. The variety of line materials respond differently to various knots. Over the years I have tried many knots and have narrowed it down to a few that I have come to depend. Here are my favorites.

Palomar – this is probably the best overall knot around. It is easy to tie and super-strong! I teach it in all my angling education programs. It is great with monofilament and the best choice for braid. Tying it correctly is the key; be sure the lines are parallel around the eye of the hook to prevent breakage. The Palomar is not effective with fluorocarbon, especially 12 pound test and greater. I have also found it to break on the hook-set more frequently with low stretch lines such as Trilene XT.

Eugene Bend – This knot has been my answer to hook-set breakages with fluorocarbon. I use fluorocarbon 90% of the time and love it, so I was glad to find a knot that doesn't break. I have been using it for about three years now and have not broken it one time! I also use it for those low-stretch, super-tough monos.

King Sling – some baits and presentations demand a loop knot. I use a loop knot with topwater baits, balsa minnow baits, jighead/grubs and all my crappie and panfish jigs. This knot has been a faithful friend and super strong, I can't recall it ever breaking.

Double Uni-Knot – this has been a great knot for making line-to-line connections. I typically use this when I need to add a mono or fluorocarbon leader to braid. It can be a challenge to tie, so practice is imperative.

Regardless of what knot you use, tying it correctly is critical and practice is key. Sit down at the table or while watching TV and tie a knot about 20 times until you have it. It is primarily about learning the hand movements. The internet is a great tool for learning knots as well. Sometimes there are little tricks that make certain knots easier to tie and YouTube is a great resource for this. Find a good knot and tie it correctly for success!

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, No report this edition.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Contributed by Park Supervisor Patti McGrath. 7 year old Joey S., of Hayes, caught a good size brim off of the pier this past week. He was happy that he was the first one of the family to catch a fish. A 20 in. catfish was caught on chicken livers. The colder waters have brought the bass back to life. Fishermen have been catching them in the deeper waters. Beaverdam has canoes and kayaks available for rent. $5 per hour or $15 per day. We supply the paddle and the life jackets.

The next night fishing will be October 5th so don't forget to bring the family and come on out. We will be open till midnight for fishing only.

Beaverdam will host the Big Bash Bass Classic Tournament on October 21, by invitation only. For more information visit our website or call the Beaverdam Ranger Station at (804) 693-2107.

Cat Point Creek: Contributed by local guide Penn Burke of Spring Shad Charters (804) 354-3200. Gar fishing continues to be hot and provides a lot of excitement and good catches in Cat Point Creek, which is a tributary to the Rappahannock River. The fish are still taking live bait on a regular basis and always give a thrilling fight. Also in Totusky Creek (just downriver from Warsaw on the Northern Neck), the action is good. Oran Shea went out with his wife on Saturday,the 22nd. After securing bait fish with a number of casts from his cast net, he had a number of take downs before hooking into and landing a 44 inch gar that weighed 12.3 lbs. I must add that if you ever a need a cast or gill net, that Oran is the go to person. He makes and repairs all kinds of nets for fishing and takes a great deal of pride in his work. You can visit his website at Tell him that Capt. Penn sent you. See you on the water.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. According to Captain Jim, flounder are at Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets, and are taking cut spot and bull minnows. Speckled trout are hitting Mirrolures, and can be found at the Rudee, Lynnhaven and Little Creek Inlets and in the Elizabeth River. For red drum go to Sandbridge and use cut bait. Spot are attacking Fishbite and blood worms at Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets and all fishing piers. You will land croakers at the same places, and with the same baits. The water is 72 degrees and clear.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams said that the bass bite is "not great"; top-waters early and late are your best bet. Some small crappie are taking minnows off the pier. Cats are really attacking eel. No word on perch or bluegill. Some big gar have come in. One angler brought in a puppy drum. The water is 73 degrees and slightly stained.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475. Chickahominy Lake water temperatures at mid day at in the main lake were in the low to mid 70s on Monday (9/24/2012). Temperatures were slightly lower up the lake. The lake level was a few inches above the top of the dam. The water was brown, but relatively clear in the lower lake. The water was noticeably clearer in the channels up the 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. Some of the hydrilla mats were starting to break up. Small to medium crappie were widely scattered on shallow to mid-depth flats and on the channel edges in the main lake. Mid depth wood cover occasionally held some nice crappie. Crappie 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 some of 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. and Southern Pro 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 sunset and were hitting live minnows, frogs and toads, creature baits, soft plastic stick baits, crank baits, and plastic worms.

Fishing with Capt. Conway, Tom Porter, had 76 bluegill, 5 crappie, 4 shiners, and 1 bass. Capt. Bill Buck and Hollis Pruitt had 57 bluegill, 16 crappie, 1 yellow perch, 1 channel cat, 1 blue cat, and 2 bass.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins told me that the bass bite is good with cranks, spinners and dark colored plastics. Crappie are schooling up and biting more, try minnows, jigs or small spinners. Cat action is slow, but cut bait might work. White perch are schooling and will take night crawlers, beetle spins and small spinners. The water is clear and cooling.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon reports that bass are hitting soft plastics and cranks. Crappie are responding well to minnows and jigs. Cat action is really hot, with the whiskered ones taking "most anything". No word on perch. Bream are going for beetlespins and crickets. The water is clear and 80 degrees.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 20th through the 22nd on the Nottoway below Hercules. The water was 70 degrees, low and nasty. Air temps ranged from 58 to 85 degrees. This was my first land-based patrol since spring and I was sooo ready for it. Though it was still right hot for me, the nights were just about perfect. I was worried that the skeeters were going to kill us on this trip 'cause it still was so warm. Sure enough as soon as I got to base camp, the biggest bloodsucker I ever did see landed right on my knee. How big was it you ask? Well it was so big that when I slapped it, guts from this king size vampire bug went everywhere. In fact I kept its liver and fried it up for supper that night! But really, the bugs were actually not that bad and I only got bit once. The fishing on this trip was a mixed bag. I ran limb-lines for catfish but only caught 5 the whole trip. The biggest was a 10-pound blue. I caught 7 largemouth, all small on various lures from spinners to crank baits. The bluegill fishing, though, was fantastic, I caught all I wanted easily on the fly rod and casting. On one casting run I had 17 bites in 10 casts! It was a lot of fun.

Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker of Confluence Outfitters LLC, (434) 941-9550. No report this edition.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike says that bass are hitting cranks. Crappie are schooling up and will take jigs. The cat bite is good during the day, try eel. Plenty of perch are lurking in the shadows, waiting to be fooled by anglers bearing worms. The water is fairly clear and 71 to 75 degrees.

In the Pamunkey, cats are going for eel. Speckled trout are taking crabs, squid and clams. Croaker and spot are going for the same bait. Red and black drum are biting peeler crabs. Captain Mike reminded us that you need a saltwater license to fish below the West Point Bridge in the Pamunkey. The water is slightly stained and 74 degrees.

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

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

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock Temporarily Closed to Powerboats

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

Region 2 - Southside

Lewis Pond: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. It has been so long since I have been on the water that I was afraid all my bait had forgotten how to catch fish, so I thought it best to go somewhere that you had to smack the fish out of the boat with a paddle, so off to Lewis pond for the day. The water has cooled off a lot since the last time I had fished as well as turned green. I could only see about 18 inches down. I started fishing between middle of the lake to shore line and was not having much luck so out comes the fly rod and popping bug. Picked up a few bluegill before the wind and worthless popping bug made me stop. I hate these new bugs that barely float on the water because at any distance you cannot see them or when a fish strikes it. Caught several that I did not know were on the line until they set the hook themselves. Back to the spinning rod and twister tails until I finally found out how they wanted the bait. I started catching crappie about two feet off the bottom in 4 to 9 feet of water. The fish would only bite on a falling bait and it did not matter which color twistertail I had on. I ended up with 37 crappie seven to 10 inches and 22 bream from four to eight inches. I should leave it like this but there were only four 10 inch crappie and only a couple bluegill at 8 inches and they were they were long and skinny not those fat and wide ones either.

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. No report this edition.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow reports that bass are moving from their summer pattern to their fall pattern, so some are still deep, some shallow. They are responding to top-waters and plastics in green pumpkin. Crappie are also transitioning; look around bridge pilings, brush and underwater structures and throw minnows at them. Flathead cats are doing well at night on live brim or shad. No word on perch or bluegill. The water is clear, 4 feet below full pool and 80 degrees.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Doug Lane told me that the smallmouth action is "great", with BRBs and crawfish imitators being your best bet. The rainbow and brown action in the Jackson is also very good, especially with Purple Haze and Robopt, and Green Hornet. You may find the mountain streams too low to fish, but if you find fishable conditions try caddis dries. The water is clear and cooling.

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. Ron Karpinski says that the bass bite is "improving", try top-waters early and late. Not many crappie are coming in, but a minnow might get you one. Cats are going for cut bait. Some small perch have taken red wigglers. Bluegill are slow to strike, but may snap at a small worm. The water is clear and cooling.

Holly Grove Marina is closing for the winter and will reopen in February.

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: Fishermen and women continue to mark both large schools and small pods of fish. Early and late some stripers are being found closer to the surface using shotlines behind planer boards, but once the sun moves overhead most stripers are still being found in schools from 20 to 60 feet below the surface. Good areas for stripers include the mouths of most creeks in the lower and middle lake as well as the main river channel. Large schools are usually located by anglers using good electronics and while schooled fish are often found in open water, they can also be located in submerged timber. These deep water stripers are being caught using live shad or shiners presented on downlines and by vertically jigging or casting counting down and retrieving spoons and flukes rigged on lead headed jigs. Schooled stripers move quickly and huge schools can virtually disappear in just a few moments, so once located getting baits or lures down to the fish quickly is critical. Trolling continues to be a productive striper fishing technique and one that is particularly popular throughout the summer and fall when the fish are still deep and in schools. While several anglers continue to report success trolling with crankbaits and diving jerkbaits, most striper anglers trolling use a three-way rig or an Umbrella (Alabama) rig. Anglers using a three way rig typically attach a lightweight flutter spoon (Sutton spoon) to one side of a three-way swivel using a 4 to 7 foot fluorocarbon leader and either a heavy bucktail with trailer or a soft paddle tailed swimbait to the swivel using a shorter 2 to 4 foot leader. The remaining end of the three-way swivel is attached to the main line with a 6 to10 foot section of fluorocarbon leader. If neither lead core line nor downriggers are used, additional weights may be needed to get the lures to the appropriate depth. Depth control is critical when trolling so whether using lead core line, braid outfits or downriggers it is essential the angler know how deep their lures are running. If you are uncertain about the actual depth of your lures, I suggest you pull your lures at trolling speed over a structure free point 15, 20 and 25 feet below the surface, extending your lines, reducing speed or adding weight until your lure bumps the bottom. Then record the precise ground speed using your fish finder or automobile GPS and the length of line behind your boat for that particular weight rig. When schooled fish are located use these measurements to troll your lures several feet above the targeted species.

Bass: Fishing continues to be mixed and fish are being found both shallow and deep. Smallmouth and largemouth bass have been caught while chasing bait to the surface. In addition to the lures mentioned earlier, spinner baits, buzz baits, 'the Lucky Craft Sammy, Wake Tail, Pop'R, soft frog lure and the Strike King Sexy Dawg will also work when bass are feeding on shad near the surface. In clearer water, lures that are pearl, blue shad or white pearl, silver and light holographic in color are excellent choices. In stained or muddy water try chartreuse and gold colored lures. Some bass have moved out on the docks and the ends of laydowns and are being caught on spinner baits, crankbaits, wacky rigged worms (Senko's) and lightweight shakey head jigs. Bass are also suspending in deep timber, brush, next to creek channels and ledges inside the major creeks. Some bass are reported to be moving up into shallow water at night, early and late where they are being caught on crankbaits, jigs and Texas rigged plastics. Archery and crossbow hunting seasons start in two weeks on October 6th. Anyone who expects to be in the woods or other areas where there might be hunters is encouraged to wear a bright orange cap or vest.

Enjoy this great fall weather and tight lines.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Contributed by Mike Burchett of Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. Mike Burchett says that the bass bite is fairly slow; still you might try top-waters, drop shots or a 4½ to 6 in. Robo worm in Martin's Madness or Prizim Krawler. No word on crappie. Some stripers are being brought up by live bait. Cats are biting live shad. The water is 1 ft. below full pool, 70 degrees and slightly stained to clear.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius told me that some big smallmouth are coming in, as well as lots of smaller ones. Try jigs and tubes in a dark color. Muskies are unusually elusive; usually at this time of year, bass anglers will have an encounter with a muskie, but so far, very few have been seen. John says that this is very strange, and he has no explanation for it. The water is clear and cooling.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. Well, we had our first frost last night and it was a pretty good one. Water temperature on the Upper New River is in the upper 60s and will keep cooling as more frost is expected tonight. With heavy rains last week the river received some much needed water as the flow was extremely low, but it is back to normal for this time of year and clearing nicely; however, with no rain in the forecast it will be dropping again. The fall bite is in full swing so take advantage of it. Smallmouth, muskie and walleye are bulking up and there are some stray stripers in the river. Any shad imitation lure or plastic will prove useful right now and don't overlook the top-water bite which may not produce as many strikes but the fish will be bigger. I still have a few open dates for this prime fall fishing if you are considering getting a trip in. New River Charter may also be found on facebook. Please practice CPR everyone and be safe on the river.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash reports that recent flood waters have brought down some big bass, and the result is "phenomenal", especially on spinners. As the waters recede, the fish will get smaller, but should still provide good fishing. Muskies are down deep and not hitting well, but this should improve. The water is muddy and in the mid 70s.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. Much need rains of 2 to 5.5 inches in the Top New (Mouth of Wilson to Fries) watershed turned the river muddy last week and is only now becoming fishable. Before the rain the fishing was great; we got 50 fish on a half day trip the day before it started raining. As conditions improve this week fishing should be great by this weekend.

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 Lucky Harry is on a long vacation fishing in Montana. Let's hope he has fun and lots of hits.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. Lake Moomaw was on fire the last few weeks, then someone pulled the plug over the weekend. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass had their feedbags on and were striking a variety of presentations; from crankbaits and spinnerbaits, to drop shots and jigs. The majority of fish were in the 2 to 3lb. class with a couple over 6 lbs. Then the bass completely shut down over the weekend. Hopefully this will correct itself during the next few days and anglers can once again enjoy the action. Some, of course, are claiming that a fall turnover is starting but water temps in the 80s seem to discredit this. As anyone who fishes knows; fish have their own schedules and moods. The lake level is about 12 ft. below full pool. Night action is still good and should still be strong for the next month or so. A footnote; no reports of yellow perch being caught with regularity this year. Seems as though the yellow perch has fallen on hard times. The crappie have all but disappeared also. Some attribute the crashes on the explosion of carp that were illegally introduced in the lake some years ago. The traditional spawning grounds (used by yellow perch and crappie) are reported as now being inhabited by the carp.

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: And recent float trip sponsored by the Potomac River Smallmouth Club confirmed that the Upper Potomac is a fantastic early fall fishery. The section between the Route 340 bridge and Brunswick, over on the Virginia side, is fishing exceptionally well. Small black Senkos and green tubes seem to be the ticket. With plenty of floating grass, be sure to rig weedless. Fly anglers report decent success with the normal top water presentations. Down on the Rappahannock, the smallies are hitting the same selections. The action for trout in the Blue Ridge is more challenging as result of the low water levels. Don't bother with the small streams since you will walk a considerable distance to find a community pool holding fish. Instead, if you decide to go, focus on the larger venues. Pay attention to the weather and head back to your favorite small stream after we get a blast of rain.

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

Occoquan River: Contributed by local angler Jim Thomas. Bass fishing has been picking up on the Occoquan Reservoir with more fish moving towards the shallows. The abundance of bait on the surface is still amazing but I'm not seeing much busting on it yet. Fish are still taking soft plastics readily. Color seems to change from one end of the lake to the other however with muted colors closer to the dam and brighter colors in the upper reaches of the reservoir. Fish are still a little smallish but the numbers and action are making up for the size. There are a few nice fish being caught but I'm not finding them. The catfish bite remains good on both the reservoir and the river.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. No report this edition.

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

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

Stripers: Schools of stripers are busting throughout the lake this month, chasing primarily threadfin shad. In "low light" times of the day it has not been uncommon to see hundreds of stripers blowing shad out of the water advertising where the schools are working. Poppers (Pencil Popper, PopR's, etc), spooks and walking the dog style baits have been very successful in catching some of the nicer fish. Spoons retrieved extremely fast, as well as swim baits are catching fish not only when the fish are breaking but once they sound as well. Fish are breaking just about everywhere on the lake but some of the most popular locations are the first and third dike, across from the power plant, the mouths of the major creeks and all around the splits region. Sometimes the breaking fish are non-keepers with the nicer fish holding below the more aggressive smaller fish. We are catching our better fish running gizzards on boards and herring on down lines in and nearby the schools of stripers while my clients cast to the breaking fish. Fish are also in the back of the creeks and moving up into the river systems. We are also catching nice stripers up against clay banks.

Bass: The bass are schooling as well with schools hanging on or around the mouths of Contrary and Marshall Creeks, the railroad trestle at the splits, over old roadbeds and around the bridge in Contrary. Very nice fish are being caught in the backs of the creeks and up lake in the rivers just about as far as you dare to go on the small channel breaks and stumps in 2 to 5 feet of water on small crank baits and spinner baits. There are plenty of bass still in the main lake but with all the rain we have had lately the bait is headed to the backs of the creeks with the bass following it.

Crappie: Very nice slabs have been caught on all the bridges up lake as well as any well lit docks at night. Shallow brush in 3 to 10 feet of water are holding schools and docks with drop-offs nearby are producing well. Crappie are also scattered everywhere up lake over 2 to 5 foot flats. The fish are very fat and have been feeding very well.

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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

With the celebration of National Hunting & Fishing Day and dove and squirrel seasons in progress and deer archery season less than 2 weeks away, young hunters are already scouting and sighting-in their favorite, bow, muzzleloader, rifle or shotgun. These outdoor activities are available to persons with disabilities throughout the state. There is a feature in the "Been There... Done That" section on the 'Ultimate Dove Hunt' hosted by the NWTF Wheelin Sportsmen providing opportunities for persons with disabilities of all ages to enjoy the thrill and fun of a group dove hunt. Other youngsters relish the cooler temps of Autumn for hiking or fishing and enjoying the change of seasons. For James Cassar, a Junior at Tuscorora High School in Leesburg in Northern Virginia, completing a hike in the Colorado Rockies, overcoming his physical disabilities provided a most memorable outdoor experience. James' entry placed in the top twenty in the 2010-11 Annual Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) High School Writing Competition. Read about the many opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in outdoor hunting , fishing, wildlife watching and other outdoor adventures throughout each edition of the Outdoor Report. You will be inspired by James' story of perseverance with the encouragement of his family in the mountains and the rewards of an adventure accomplished when many said it could not be done.

Diagnose This! How One Kid Moved Mountains

By James Cassar

When I was young, I was predestined to move mountains. However, many hurdles and doubters stood in my way, mainly those clothed in ashen white and latex. They said I wouldn't be able to accomplish much, with the condition of my arms and legs being subpar, and the future seemed foggy, brooding and its glass half-empty. However, I proved them wrong, and in 2002, with aid from my extended family, hiked into a portion of the renowned Maroon Bells in Colorado. At eight years old, I had already turned the tables on those decorated with illustrious degrees and labeled as 'specialists' in their fields. Here was a special case who toppled their forecasts, and that was just the beginning.

At birth, I was diagnosed with having a physical disability known as cerebral palsy. While my diagnosis predicted an abysmal future, I smashed the crystal ball; at one, I began to talk, and at four, I took my first steps on the hardwood in my childhood home in Larkspur, Colorado. Coupled with daily intensive physical therapy and a wildly supportive family with a seasoned outdoor background, I was primed for adventure in the mountains.

This hiking trip was a part of a vacation out to Vail, Colorado with my cousins and my grandparents. We all lived in different states at the time and it was established from then on that we would convene somewhere in the western United States to explore all the pristine beauty it had to offer.

It was July, when the azure Colorado sky complemented the ancient grey of its plethora of peaks. My family woke me up promptly at six, jostling my comfortable sleeping schedule out of complacency. My family, by eight, piled into my grandparents' cavernous minivan and started off on our journey to (almost) climbing a 'fourteener' (a mountain that exceeds a height of 14,000 feet; many mountains in Colorado are crowned with this moniker). And by almost, I'm referring to the fact that we only hiked to a lake in the center of the Bells, but this is an arduous task nonetheless.

Geared up with our clichéd hiker garb complete with totally natural walking sticks, we were ready to begin our hike. Well, arduous for me, at least: my body was still less-than-perfect, even after years of constructive therapy. This didn't slow us down, because like the scenery of the world around us, I was willing to take in the ho-hum wear-and-tear of activity and still remain the same interesting spectacle that I came to be.

The first half of the hike equated to two miles. While my legs fought fatigue and the threat of collapsing, I took in the scenery. It was explicitly quiet, with the blasé rush of water and occasional chirp of an indigenous bird complementing my offbeat trudging. We stopped at a circle of gigantic boulders to rest, my family applauding me for having exceptional stamina. While my cousins ran around like caffeinated monkeys, I sat down between my grandpa and uncle, watching the scene play out: three kids running jauntily in the midst of something jaw dropping, gorgeous.

The second half was the return trip to the car, and as promised, to the park's store to get a revered Mountain Dew. My family must have been enthralled by my performance, because Mountain Dew was as forbidden as the fruit was to Adam & Eve. We moved more cautiously as we descended, as the trail was laden with copious amounts of roots and fallen branches. Near the end, I grew weary, and my hero of a dad and grandpa each took one of my arms and helped me end the climb less sapped.

At the end of the climb, both of my saviors turned towards me and smiled. "You did it," they exclaimed in unison. I did do it. I just hiked part of the Maroon Bells. I wasn't supposed to walk!

Much to my excitement, my dad extracted an orange Mountain Dew from the frosty cooler inside the park store. He opened it for me, and I let the high fructose corn syrup return some of the vigor to my bones. While it's ironic that Mountain Dew served as an adequate elixir, picture a time when YOU, yourself, stared adversity hard in the face, and proved all your naysayers wrong.

Ah, the sweet taste of accomplishment.

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: