In this edition:

Youth Hunting Days Create New Traditions

As you read the testimonials from parents, mentors, and the young hunters themselves in this edition, who went on their first dove hunt, or the Special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 29th, or bow hunt, we are confident that you will be inspired by the comments from the record number of young hunters who took advantage of good weather and took time off from other routine fall Saturday activities to give these youngsters a memorable day afield and create a new tradition. I'll bet you remember your first deer hunt, or a special day afield sharing the traditions, skills, and character building experiences that can last a lifetime. The creation of these new traditions are especially important in this fast paced society that tends to keep us from taking the time and effort to spend a day in the wild - appreciating the wonders of nature and spending real "quality time" with one of "tomorrow's conservation leaders." Despite the many competing activities and not being disappointed whether they harvested a deer or not, if you took a young hunter out this season, you created a unique memory and hopefully started a "new tradition" these youngsters can pass on some 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 shows that offer something for beginners as well as the most experienced hunters. Read all the great stories from these young hunters in this edition and if you missed the special Youth Deer, Turkey, or Waterfowl Hunting Days this year, be sure and take a young person out before the seasons ends - the future of our sport and hunting heritage traditions depend on it.

David Coffman, Editor

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

Special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 29th Sets Another Record

4th Youth Deer Hunting Day Record Success

A total of 1,316 deer were checked electronically on Saturday September 29th, 2012 during the 4th Youth Deer Hunting Day according to Matt Knox, VDGIF Deer Project Coordinator. This is up 9% from the 1195 checked electronically last year. Knox noted that after the first two consecutive years of terrible deer hunting weather on the annual youth deer hunting day, we finally got a break last year and set a record nearly doubling 2010. This 2012 Saturday was not perfect, but it was much better than the rain of 2009 and the heat of 2010 and the increase trend continued this year.

Last year the final youth day total, including those deer checked at check stations, ended up being 1,124. If this pattern holds, it is safe to assume that 2,000 or more deer were taken by youth deer hunters this past Saturday. The success of this special hunting day is credited to the adult mentors who took time off from other routine fall Saturday activities to give these youngsters a memorable day afield and create a new tradition. If you took a young hunter afield that special day you created a unique memory and hopefully started a "new tradition" for the last Saturday in September to coincide with National Hunting & Fishing Day.

There's over 16 weeks of big game hunting left this season, so be sure and take a young person out for a hunting adventure before the seasons end – the future of our sport and hunting heritage traditions depend on it.

See the stories and photos of young hunters success in the Hunting News You Can Use section.

Youth Day Deer Kill Statistics
Year Electronic % Total
2009 951 0.52 1842
2010 657 0.58 1124
2011 1195 0.64 1864
2012 1316

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

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 Jason.Waguespack@dgif.virginia.gov Maps of the area and directions can be viewed at www.dgif.virginia.gov.

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 jgagnon@vt.edu.

Hawk Migration Approaching Peak in September - October

The annual fall hawk migration is once again upon us. The migration begins in early September and lasts through November with peak numbers from late September to mid-October. During this time, thousands of raptors leave their breeding grounds and make their way south to their wintering grounds. Most follow geographical features such as mountain ranges and coastlines. Raptors take advantage of updrafts along mountain ranges and rising thermals along coastal areas, allowing them to travel great distances while reducing their energy expenditure," according to VDGIF Wildlife Biologist Steve Living. Hawk watch sites are set up throughout the Commonwealth to view and count the migrating raptors. Raptor species that can be viewed from these platforms include Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, Northern Goshawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, American Kestrels, Merlins, Peregrine Falcons, Northern Harriers, Osprey, Bald Eagles, and Golden Eagles. Black and Turkey Vultures are usually counted at these sites as well.

Friends of Phelps Wildlife Management Area Host Annual Meeting October 17

The Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA have a scheduled their Annual Meeting on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 7 pm with a presentation on VDGIF programs, volunteer recognition and a pot-luck dinner.. The group will meet at the Sumerduck Ruritan Club at 5335 Sumerduck Road, Sumerduck, VA 22742. RSVP by October 15 to Patricia Wood if you plan to attend and bring a dish. To view what the Friends group has been doing, visit the Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA on Facebook at Friends of C.F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area and see photos of our Work Days and projects. For more information on the Friends of C.F. Phelps WMA or to be added to the distribution list for meeting reminders and notes, contact Patricia Wood at pwood12@earthlink.net or friendsofcfphelpswma@gmail.com.

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 Bay 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 www.potomacpointwinery.com. For more information, contact Potomac Point Winery at 540-446-2107. A limited number of spaces are still avaiable. Call today to reserve your space.

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 riverinechapter@verizon.net or 804-741-9126.

Tappahannock Moose Lodge Sponsors Kid's Fishing Tournament October 20

The Tappahannock Moose Lodge #2133 in partnership with the VDGIF King & Queen Fish Hatchery is hosting a Kid's Fishing Tournament Saturday October 20 from 9 a.m. to noon. The event is being held at the Moose Lodge fishing pier which is adjacent to the VDGIF boat landing on Hoskins Creek off the main Rappahannock River. Awards will be given to age 10 and under and 11 to 15 for Biggest Fish, Most Fish, and Most Diversified Catch. Rods and tackle will be provided to those who may need them. For more information contact Chris Dahlem, Superintendent King & Queen Fish Hatchery (804) 769-3185. We hear the catfish are bitin'! Take the kids and go catch some great memories.

A Day of Photography in the Garden October 20

at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia

Saturday, October 20, 2012 from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM, join us for a fantastic event of live demonstrations and presentations on macro, bird and landscape photography, how to get great exposures, how to archive and catalogue your digital images, capturing awesome pet portraits in the studio and more! Professional photographers and local camera clubs will be on hand to talk about their work and/or clubs and Virginia Wildlife magazine staff will be promoting their annual photography contest. Coffee and lunch are included in the registration fee. Door prizes!

Visit our website for more information and to pre-register.

Basic Trapper Training Course October 20 in Louisa

The Virginia Trappers Association (VTA) is sponsoring the Basic Trapper Training Course, Saturday, October 20, from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm at 175 Waldrop Road, Gordonsville, VA 22942 in Louisa County. This class is free, but pre-registration is required. All youths under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Lunch is provided. Chairs are in short supply so if you have a folding chair you might want to bring it. Students should also bring boots for the water section. Class is limited to the first 30 registered. You must attend all parts of the class to become certified For directions and pre-registration contact: Ed Crebbs at ed.crebbs.1949@gmail.com, or online. For information on VTA and other training and trapping opportunities, visit their website.

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: www.trackingsurvival.com

For information on the Northern Virginia 4-H Educational and Conference Center near Front Royal visit Website: www.nova4h.com 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 bgnorris@cox.net

People and Partners in the News

Casting For Recovery To Hold 4th Annual 2Fly4Hope Fishing Challenge and Alumni Reunion October 28in Madison

You are invited to join the Casting for Recovery Mid-Atlantic Program for the 4th Annual 2Fly4Hope Fishing Challenge and Alumni Reunion at the beautiful Rose River Farm in Madison County near the village of Syria, on Sunday, October 28, 2012. Twelve teams of two anglers will fish for bragging rights and exciting prizes. It's always a spirited event, complete with good-natured ribbing and perhaps a side wager or two. In addition to the 2Fly itself, participants from past retreats are invited back to reunite with other alumni, retreat leaders, and River Helpers. They will gather to fish on the ponds of Rose River Farm and with the help of professional instructors, will hone their skills or learn all over again. There will also be other activities for those ladies who don't wish to pick up a rod.

All are welcome not only to cheer on the 2Fly anglers and alumni, but to simply enjoy a wonderful day on a beautiful piece of property. There will also be a silent auction full of terrific items from those for the home to experiences to (of course) fly-fishing gear and rods. Topping the day off will be a BBQ catered by Gentry Catering (mmm...fried chicken), music, and the awards program.

While it's always quite a fun day, the reason for being there and why we are raising funds are never lost on those in attendance; to support the Casting for Recovery Mid-Atlantic Program and the retreats that are offered at NO cost to the women who attend. We are fortunate to have sold out of 2Fly registrations, but please come to enjoy the rest of the fun. To register for the event and BBQ, click on the following link: 2Fly4Hope Fishing Challenge.

General Event, 2012 2FLY SPONSORSHIPS, or Auction/Raffle information: Mollie Simpkins 410-336-1175 or MOLLIE.SIMPKINS@GMAIL.COM

2Fly Fishing Challenge and Stream Monitor information: Kiki Galvin: 703-899-6793 or ANGLA56@MSN.COM

Alumni information: Teresa Rodriguez: 703-597-8304 or TRODRIGUEZMONTEROSA@COX.NET

We are BIG believers in supporting those who support us, so please click on the logos to learn more about our sponsors and donors! Learn more about the available sponsorships 2012 2FLY SPONSORSHIPS. Special thanks to Douglas Dear and Rose River Farm for allowing us the use of this spectacular venue for this event. Do yourself a favor and reserve a rod and a cabin!

Meet the volunteers...

Kiki Galvin of "Ms. Guided " fishing guide service from Northern Virginia is one of the many volunteers that help make programs like Casting for Recovery and Project Healing Waters successful in therapeutic recreation and recovery for wounded military service members and outdoor enthusiasts battling cancer. Kiki notes that people she and other volunteers meet at these fishing events create friendships that enrich these experiences and benefit both volunteer and recovering angler. Come join Kiki and other volunteer fishing enthusiasts at the CFR Annual event at Rose River Farm in Madison. See photo below from Project Healing Waters event at Rose River Farm last April. Fishing is FUN and MORE...

Wildlife Center Holds 17th Call Of The Wild Conference November 12-13

The Wildlife Center of Virginia invites you to the 17th Annual Call of the Wild conference on wildlife rehabilitation November 10-11, 2012 at the Best Western Inn & Suites Conference Center in Waynesboro. Wildlife rehabilitators, veterinary professionals, wildlife biologists, environmental educators, and wildlife enthusiasts from Virginia and beyond will share ideas and knowledge that can benefit wildlife, the environment, and the continually evolving field of wildlife rehabilitation. Amanda Nicholson, director of outreach for the Wildlife Center notes that the conference is sponsored by The Wildlife Center of Virginia, the nation's leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. More information can be found online.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine located in Waynesboro, admitted more than 2,400 animals for treatment during 2011 – injured, ailing, and orphaned wildlife from all across Virginia.

Project Healing Waters Recognizes Support of Duck Down Inn

Project Healing Waters Flyfishing VA/WV Regional Coordinator Phil Johnson presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Lisa and Lewis Powell, owners of Duck Down Inn in Hanover County, for their hosting of several fishing trips for the wounded veterans from McGuire Veterans Hospital in Richmond. For additional information on Project Healing Waters programs and opportunities contact Phil at pnjohnson5@msn.com (804) 748-0881, or visit the PHW website: www.projecthealingwaters.org.

Dominion Employees Dedicate Monument to Honor Veterans and Project Healing Waters Volunteers... Look for a feature in the October 24th edition of the Outdoor Report on a recent event in Bath County hosted by Dominion Resources and Project Healing Waters for 10 active duty military personnel and veterans for a two -day fly fishing event. In addition, the employees at the Dominion Bath County Pumped Storage Station have erected a monument to honor active duty military personnel and veterans recovering from injuries through the efforts of dedicated volunteers with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Inc. The monument will be dedicated at noon October 10th joined by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, an avid fly fisherman himself and representatives of VDGIF.

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."

Editor's note... The future of our hunting heritage and traditions is in the hands of the sportsmen that take the time to mentor new hunters- especially children, creating memories and a passion for the sport to continue to a new generation. Family members and friends, hunt clubs, and numerous sportsmen organizations all have a part in this important mission, "It takes a hunter, to make a hunter". Here is a collection of success stories we have received recently from young hunters that have gotten the passion for hunting due to the time spent with a fellow hunter who took the time to mentor them and instill the passion for the treasured hunting traditions.

Hunt Club Encourages Youth to Get Involved in Special Seasons

Neal Turner, President of the Christiansburg Hunt Club in Buckingham County brought this great story to our attention of one of the Club members first turkey hunt last spring. Neal note that it is important to have opportunities for the kids to hunt and participate in all aspects of the hunt club- both work and fun. The kids are going to be our newest club members if we keep them active and involved. During last spring gobbler season, one young hunter and his dad had a hunt to remember...

Wes Epperly sent us this story of his son, Brayden on his first gobbler hunt...

"It was April 7,2012, Youth Spring Gobbler Day. My Son Brayden Epperly, and I got up before sunrise and went to our favorite hunting spot for my sons first quest for a spring gobbler. The morning was not working out- we heard no gobbles, and extreme wind was not helping either. The day before, we talked to a local land owner, and he said two gobblers had been strutting in a field across from his house. So, in a last ditch effort we left our spot, and went to where the land owner had seen the birds. This was behind the hay barn at Christiansburg Hunt Club in Buckingham. When we arrived- sure enough they were there, not only two, but six gobblers! But they were with hens.

We crawled on our bellies over to the edge of the field against some pines to get into position. We set up the decoys so they could see them, and started calling. Not one Gobbler even looked up at the decoys, or would answer us. We called for about 1 1/2 hours with no activity. I told Brayden that he "might" be able to sneak down the wood line and get close enough for a shot. I also told him to only move tree to tree as the wind blew so it would mask his sound and movement. He handled it masterfully, moved slowly and quietly from tree to tree like an Indian. They never knew he has there. Then I heard POW- From his Browning 12 Ga. shotgun! He shot and killed a big gobbler weighing 18 lb., with 10 1/8 inch beard, and 1 1/8 inch spurs. Perfect head shot! WOW, It worked! ( I never thought a wild turkey could be snuck up on.) Who says you can't learn from kids? Congratulations Brayden for your Trophy Gobbler, and Thank you for one of the best days of my life that I will never forget."

Taylor Broyles has a Blast on Her First Dove Hunt with Granddad

Russ Williams sent us this great photo of his granddaughter, Taylor Broyles, from Danville, VA, on her first dove hunt September 1st. Taylor is 13 years old and attends Tunstall School in Danville. Russ notes, "We hunted on a private farm in Pittsylvania County and harvested the birds with granddads 12 gauge Benelli SBE II. Taylor and I had a great time, she is already an accomplished shooter, and sharing the experience together was very special. She was so excited about this hunt that she sent pictures to all of her relatives as soon as the hunt ended.

Taylor Fischer Bags Citation Black Bear on First Hunt

Edward Fischer sent us this great story about his daughters first bear hunt with the Feedstone Hunt Club in Rockingham County. On Jan. 7th, 2012 my daughter Taylor and I were hunting with members of the Feedstone Hunt Club of Fulks Run, VA. Taylor had the opportunity to harvest her first black bear. We have been hunting with this Club as guests for the past 3 years. Needless to say this hunt club is what the sport is all about. It's not always about the kill, but the hard work, the dedication and the members time invested into the sport of fair chase hunting is tremendous. This club consists of several elder members, and they take the time and initiative to encourage the youth to become involved in the sport of hunting, not just bear hunting... I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank the members of the Feedstone Bear Hunt Club in making a memory of a lifetime, and we look forward to many more.

Blue Ridge School Students Participate in VDGIF Explore Bowhunting Program

On October 6, 2012, students from the Blue Ridge School participated in a youth deer hunt as part of the VDGIF Explore Bowhunting Program with the VDGIF Outdoor Education staff, volunteers and their teachers. The archery hunt was conducted on private land in Stafford County and was part of the schools' Outdoor Education Adventure Program. The youth learned skills during the program that teaches the students to interact with their natural world, which teaches skills that focus on getting close to animals and many ageless hunting skills as well as archery. It was a great experience for the students to put the components together for planning and participating in bow hunting. For more information on deer management, the VDGIF Explore Bowhunting Program and archery, plan to attend the Gourmet Gone WILD event scheduled for October 21. Call today to reserve your space!

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

VDGIF and 4-H Sponsor Annual Southampton Youth Dove Hunt

VDGIF Wildlife Resources Bureau Terrestrial Biologists Aaron Proctor and Todd Engelmeyer and Wildlife Management Area Supervisor John Randolph assisted in the annual Southampton County 4-H Youth Dove Hunt on September 22, which takes place at Deerfield Correctional Facility Farm. Twenty-two youths and their guardians participated in the hunt this year, with none needing to be turned away from the 30 slots available. After a pre-hunt cookout and safety briefing in early afternoon, the hunt took place under sunny skies and fairly windy conditions. While doves were in smaller numbers than years past, plenty of shooting and fun was had by all. Most importantly – more than one youth harvested their first dove and everyone remained safe. Many thanks to Teisha Evans with Southampton 4-H and Allen Applewhite, Farm Manager at Deerfield Correctional for their hard work in pulling off our 10th consecutive dove hunt at the prison farm. Deerfield Correctional Facility is part of the state prison system and now primarily houses inmates to run the agricultural initiatives that contribute to the state prison system. Bountiful dove fields and sporting opportunities for dozens of area youth benefit from the farm's activities annually.

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.

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.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days »

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

"It Takes a Hunter to Make a Hunter"

Share your Hunting Photos and Stories With Us...

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

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

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

David Coffman, Editor

Nathan G. Lucas, 12 years old, from Christiansburg, harvested his First Deer in Montgomery County, during the special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 29th. The trophy 10 pointer, was killed with a Remington 308 bolt action rifle. Nathan says, "I was amazed at the size of the deer. It felt good to finally get a deer after trying for three years. His dad, Michael Lucas, says, "I couldn't be more proud of Nathan, I was so excited for him. It isn't very often a young hunter gets a chance at a buck this size."

Dad Shares Special Hunt Day with Both Kids Individually

Jared Carlton sent us this story of his son and step-daughter's hunting success during the special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 29th. Dylan Carlton, age 7 from Churchville in Augusta County killed his first deer, 3 point buck, shot with a Rock River Arms 6.8 spc with an Eotech red dot scope. First thing he said was, "Did I get him!?!", because as soon as he shot the buck ran from the food plot into the woods. It was a great shot right behind the shoulder and the buck only went about 75 yards. Dylan was very excited because we had seen the 3 pointer on the trail camera for the first time on September the 24th and never saw him again until the 29th. A great memory and family tradition were established that morning.

In the afternoon Jared Carlton took his step-daughter, Livie Mundy hunting on their property in Churchville . Livie let Dylan go out in the morning since she had already gotten her first deer. This is her second deer and she shot it with the same Rock River Arms 6.8 spc that Dylan used. She was too excited when the deer came out of the woods and she rushed the shot and missed. The deer never moved and Dad coached her to stay calm, take aim and shoot again... she pulled the charging handle back and reloaded the long route on the semi-auto rifle. Having her step-dad there as a mentor was the difference in a safe and successful hunting experience. As soon as Livie took the second shot it was maybe 5 seconds and we heard the doe crash and Livie's first words were, "I got her! Let's go get her!!" Livie was very excited and she gave a big high five and we went swiftly to collect her doe and get photos. Livie showed great sportsmanship and consideration for her step-brother in letting him hunt first and she was rewarded with a successful hunt in the afternoon. Also a special note of commendation to Jared for taking the time to hunt with each child individually where he could give his full attention to coach and mentor each young hunter and make memories for each and for all to last a lifetime.

Hunters: Check the Regulations Before Taking Your Deer Carcass Out of Virginia

Since Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a progressive neurological disease of deer, has been detected from four deer harvested in Frederick County, Virginia, deer hunters must follow carcass importation regulations in other states when they transport a deer carcass out of Virginia (see the following website: http://www.cwd-info.org/).

Hunters anywhere in Virginia transporting a deer carcass into an adjoining state must meet the following restrictions:

Kentucky Hunters anywhere in Virginia must bone-out or quarter their deer carcass so the brain and spinal cord are removed.
Maryland Will accept whole deer carcasses from Virginia except those originating from Virginia's CWD Containment Area.
North Carolina Hunters anywhere in Virginia must bone-out or quarter their deer carcass so the brain and spinal cord are removed.
Pennsylvania Will accept whole deer carcasses from Virginia except those originating from Virginia's CWD Containment Area.
Tennessee Whole deer carcasses are allowed except those originating from anywhere in Frederick County and Shenandoah County, where carcasses must be boned-out or quartered so the brain and spinal cord is removed.
West Virginia Will accept whole deer carcasses from Virginia except those originating from Virginia's CWD Containment Area.

For Virginia deer hunters hunting in neighboring states where CWD has been detected, whole deer carcasses from select counties are prohibited from entering Virginia. These counties include Hampshire, Hardy, and Morgan in West Virginia, and Allegany in Maryland. For more information regarding other carcass-restriction zones in the rest of the country and deer parts allowed to be brought into Virginia from these zones, please visit the VDGIF website.

VDGIF is continuing several management strategies in the northern Shenandoah Valley (Frederick County and the City of Winchester west of I-81 and the portion of Shenandoah County west of I-81 and north of Route 675) in response to the detection of CWD. These strategies include the following:

All deer killed by hunters within the CWD Containment Area on November 17 and 24 and December 1, 2012, must be brought to a designated sampling station for CWD testing. CWD sampling stations include Cather's Market, Crossroads Grocery, Gore Grocery, Shawnee Springs Market, and T&R Processing in Frederick County and Larkin's Store and Graden's Supermarket in Shenandoah County. Hunters can still check their deer via telephone or internet but must bring the deer to a designated CWD sampling station on the dates above.

Special hunting season regulations will continue to apply on private lands in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties and the City of Winchester, including: daily bag limit of two deer per day, full season and either-sex early and late muzzleloading seasons on private lands in Shenandoah County, and Earn-A-Buck. No changes have been made for public lands in any of these counties. Additionally, feeding of deer is prohibited year-round in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties, and the City of Winchester, and rehabilitation is prohibited for any deer that originates from within the CWD Containment Area.

Special hunting season regulations will continue to apply on private lands in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties and the City of Winchester, including: daily bag limit of two deer per day, full season and either-sex early and late muzzleloading seasons on private lands in Shenandoah County, and Earn-A-Buck. No changes have been made for public lands in any of these counties. Additionally, feeding of deer is prohibited year-round in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties, and the City of Winchester, and rehabilitation is prohibited for any deer that originates from within the CWD Containment Area:

CWD has been detected in 21 states and two Canadian provinces. The disease is a slow, progressive neurological (brain and nervous system) disease found in deer, elk, and moose in North America. The disease ultimately results in death of the animal. Symptoms exhibited by CWD-infected deer include staggering, abnormal posture, lowered head, drooling, confusion, and marked weight loss. There is no evidence that CWD can be naturally transmitted to humans, livestock, or pets. Anyone who sees a sick deer that displays any of the signs described above should contact the nearest VDGIF office immediately with accurate location information. Please do not attempt to disturb or kill the deer before contacting the VDGIF. More information on CWD can be found on the VDGIF website.

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!

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 the Department's website 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."

Wildlife Conservation Projects Update

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

Elk Restoration Update

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

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!

Crossbow Safety Tips

Virginia is among a growing number of states that have allowed all hunters the opportunity to use a crossbow for deer hunting. Formerly just reserved for handicapped individuals, now allowing all hunters to use a crossbow during archery season has become the fastest growing new hunting option. While crossbows are considered in the same regulations that apply to archery equipment, there are several key differences to handling a crossbow safely. Recognized "tree stand expert," Dick Holdcraft, a former volunteer Hunter Education Master Instructor and Coordinator for the Tree Stand Safety Team advises whether you are an experienced deer hunter or this is your first time using a stand or crossbow, you need to be aware of these special safety guidelines.

Always use the manufacturer's recommended arrow weights and specifications. Be sure and practice, before the season, using your crossbow in field situations, and treestands keeping in mind the safety tips noted above. Perfect practice makes perfect.

Dress for Success - Fall Turkey Hunts Require Different Tactics and Safety Precautions

The best hunt is a SAFE hunt! Both novice and experienced sportsmen should continuously review basic safety practices. The fall turkey season requires different tactics and safety precautions from the spring gobbler season. Dressing right is the key to both safe and successful turkey hunting. With the special Youth Turkey Hunting Day Saturday October 20 and the firearms turkey season starting October 27, now is the time to be planning your hunting strategy and special safety precautions. While sitting still is most important, full camouflage helps hunters blend into the surroundings, and elude the turkey's keen eyesight. But, those aren't the only eyes that could be fooled. Other hunters could mistake a hunter dressed in full camouflage using a turkey call for a wild turkey. Hunt defensively- keep in mind, when you hear a turkey call or see movement, it could very well be another hunter. Assume you are not alone in the woods and act accordingly. Your firearm, clothing, and turkey calls are all-important equipment, but thinking safety is the best tool a hunter can use.

The National Wild Turkey Federation and VDGIF Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors teach these rules to dress for success and safety:

  1. Never wear bright colors, especially not red, white, blue or black because these are the colors of a wild turkey.
  2. Wear dark undershirts and socks, and pants long enough to be tucked into boots.
  3. Camouflage your gun.
  4. Keep your hands and head camouflaged when calling.
  5. Select a spot that is in the open woods rather than thick brush: wearing camouflage clothing and eliminating movement is more critical to success than hiding in heavy cover.
  6. When using a camouflage blind or netting, maintain a clear field of view.
  7. Dress in dark colored layers to adjust to temperature changes.
  8. Wear blaze orange when walking to and from calling positions and when setting up or moving decoys. Wearing blaze orange is always recommended. However, if you choose not to, tie a strip of blaze orange to a nearby tree to alert others of your presence.

Ultimately, every hunter is responsible for identifying their target and beyond before pulling the trigger. Most hunting fatalities are the result of the hunter not making sure of his or her target, or shooting at sound or movement. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Before you go out, let someone know where you will be hunting and when you expect to return. Take a few emergency items with you - snacks, water, safety whistle, a fold up space blanket, a method to light a fire, extra batteries for radios or GPS, and fully charge your cell phone.

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.

Critter Corner by Marlene A. Condon

Walkingsticks

There are many species of walkingsticks, insects that are so named because of the adult's resemblance to leafless twigs. This camouflage helps to conceal them in plain view from predators.

Time of year to see them and where: Although you may spot a small, green, immature walkingstick (called a nymph) close to the ground in summertime, you are much more likely to see this insect in late summer and fall when the large brown adults descend from the treetops to mate. A nymph is usually green to resemble the leaves it feeds upon all season. Adults are usually brown to resemble twigs just as leaves will be falling from the trees.

Food: Walkingsticks feed upon the leaves of deciduous shrubs and trees. The most commonly seen species in our area, the Northern Walkingstick, prefers oaks (Quercus spp.) and hazelnuts (Corylus spp.).

Environmental function: Walkingsticks are an important food source for animals that inhabit treetops, such as birds, as well as animals closer to the ground, such as lizards and praying mantis.

Personal observation: I've seen walkingsticks sway when disturbed, looking very much like a twig gently pushed by a breeze! But that deceptive movement did not keep a Carolina Wren on my deck one day from recognizing a walkingstick as food. I watched as the bird hit the walkingstick against the deck railing many times before eating it.

Nature-friendly garden tip: I highly recommend that you plant a hazelnut shrub. Every year I know when walkingsticks are mating because I see them on the hazelnut near my carport.

Naturalist Marlene A. Condon is the author/photographer of The Nature-friendly Garden: Creating a Backyard Haven for Plants, Wildlife, and People (Stackpole Books; information at www.marlenecondon.com). If you have a question about plants or animals, or gardening in a nature-friendly manner, send it to AskTheNatureLady@aol.com and please watch for an answer in this publication.

Hawk Migration Approaching Peak in September - October

The annual fall hawk migration is once again upon us. The migration begins in early September and lasts through November with peak numbers from late September to mid-October. During this time, thousands of raptors leave their breeding grounds and make their way south to their wintering grounds. Most follow geographical features such as mountain ranges and coastlines. Raptors take advantage of updrafts along mountain ranges and rising thermals along coastal areas, allowing them to travel great distances while reducing their energy expenditure," according to VDGIF Wildlife Biologist Steve Living. Hawk watch sites are set up throughout the Commonwealth to view and count the migrating raptors. Raptor species that can be viewed from these platforms include Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, Northern Goshawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, American Kestrels, Merlins, Peregrine Falcons, Northern Harriers, Osprey, Bald Eagles, and Golden Eagles. Black and Turkey Vultures are usually counted at these sites as well.

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 late October:

Answers to September 26 edition quiz for nature events for early October...

2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar Now Available

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

Get your copy of the 2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

To increase awareness of the activities of our dedicated Conservation Police Officers, previously called game wardens, the "Virginia Conservation Police Notebook" provides an overview of the variety of activities encountered by our officers who protect natural resources and people pursuing outdoor recreation in the fields, woods and waters of Virginia.

Reports from the field officer's notebook...

Region I - Tidewater

Middlesex Sportsmen's Hunt Club Hosts Hunters Education Class... On September 22, Conservation Police Officer Dwayne Dunlevy, Volunteer instructors Roger Ammons, Chauncey Herring, Tony Carambia, Jerry Ward and Dawne Alexander conducted a Hunter Education Class at the Middlesex Sportsmen's Hunt Club in Middlesex County. A record 117 people attended the class. MSHC provided volunteers to park cars, set up the classroom and serve lunch. Another class for the spring of 2013 is being planned.

Safety Presentation for VDOT Employees... On September 26, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Josh Thomas gave a safety presentation related to VDGIF's mission to 75 VDOT employees from the Northern Neck District at Belle Isle State Park in Lancaster County. He answered numerous questions regarding hunting, fishing and boating laws and programs.

Region II - Southside

Dove Hunters Charged With Hunting Over Bait... On Saturday morning, September 22, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Matthew Silicki had been sleeping a short period of time after working a late night spotlighting complaint. He had his bedroom window open and was awakened by the sound of very close and numerous gun shots. After putting his uniform back on, he located four persons who were dove hunting. He discovered that they were hunting over bait and made the appropriate charges for this unlawful activity.

Illegal Distillery Found During Foot Patrol... On Youth Hunting Day, September 29, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Edgar Huffman and a Ferrum College ride-a-long were on foot patrol in the mountains of Franklin County. They found what appeared to be a well used trail and soon stumbled onto an illegal distillery. ABC Agents were notified and were able to locate two suspects near the site. CPO Huffman and CPO Chase Meredith assisted with the investigation that led to a consent search of a residence and a confession. Illegal whiskey and firearms were seized and the distillery was destroyed. Evidence will be presented to the Grand Jury in Franklin County in November concerning the felonious manufacture of alcohol and possession of firearms by convicted felons.

Region III - Southwest

Drug Manufacturing Site Found on National Forest... On September 20, 2012, Senior Conservation Police Officer Dan Hall was on foot patrol in National Forest near the town of Marion inspecting prior baited sites. While on patrol, Senior Officer Hall found evidence of an illegal methamphetamine manufacturing site near a U.S. Forest Service road gate. Officer Hall notified Smyth County Sheriff's Office and stood by at the site until their arrival at the scene. The Sheriff's Office personnel documented and cleaned the site, which is an area that sees heavy hunting pressure during the Fall Hunting season.

JAKES Event in Lee County... On September 22, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Tosh Barnette helped coordinate, and participated in, the third annual JAKES event held in Lee County at the Horse and Hunting Club. The Lee County Strutters Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation sponsored the event, with assistance from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and many other community organizations. Well over one hundred people, including fifty-five children attended the event. The youths had the opportunity to rotate through six stations including air rifle, shotgun, archery, turkey hunting/calling, local law enforcement, wildlife, mussels and fishing education. Participants had the opportunity to safely and properly operate shotguns, air rifles and compound bows shooting at a variety of targets including balloons, clay targets, and 3D targets. Officer Barnette, Mussel Recovery Specialist Amanda Duncan, several volunteer Hunter Education Instructors, the Lee County Sheriff's Office, the Department of Conservation and Recreation and community volunteers manned the stations and provided lunch and t-shirts to participants. Conservation Police K9 Officer Wes Billings and his dog "Josie" answered questions and did a short article search demonstration with each group. All participants were excited to see the event grow and look to continue the trend in the future.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley – Northern Piedmont

Spotlighting in Page County Leads to Additional Charges... On 09/21/2012, Conservation Police Officers Ian Ostlund and Owen Heine joined forces in an attempt to curtail spotlighting and road hunting in Page County. At approximately 9:00 pm, both officers observed a suspicious vehicle travelling slowly down the roadway in their direction. The vehicle ultimately spotlighted a field with its headlights adjacent to Officer Ostlund's location and again in the area of Officer Heine. Officer Heine then initiated a vehicle stop. The vehicle had two male occupants. An unloaded, scoped bolt action .22 Magnum rifle was propped between their seats. Several loaded magazines of .22 Magnum ammunition were found within arm's reach of the occupants. A single, live .22 Magnum round was also discovered on the passenger-side floorboard. Multiple sharp-edged weapons were recovered from the vehicle's interior along with numerous rifle and handgun rounds. A cache of five antique, Civil War-era long guns and handguns were also discovered in the rear of the vehicle. The driver was intoxicated and his driver's license was revoked (DUI related). He was placed under arrest for DUI, 3rd offense in ten years. He was also charged with Refusal of Breath or Blood Test, Driving while Revoked, Spotlighting with Weapons, and Possession of Marijuana. The passenger was released on a summons for Spotlighting with Weapons. All six firearms were seized and the driver's truck was impounded for the 30-day mandate for driving on a revoked license (DUI related).The five antique firearms are suspected to be stolen and are currently being investigated.

K9 Team Update

Josie Tracks Hunters Over Bait... On September, 29, 2012 Senior K-9 Conservation Officer Wes Billings, Josie, and Officer George Shupe were checking a baited area that the officers found the day before in Wythe County. At the first baited site the officers located a mother with her 8 year old son. Officer Shupe proceeded to the second site and located the father and 12 year old daughter also hunting over bait. It was determined after interviewing the suspects that a third party was also on the property. K-9 Officer Billings and Josie quickly tracked the subject down in just a matter of minutes to another baited site. The third site was occupied by a father and daughter. The father also had a concealed pistol on his person and did not have a concealed weapons permit. As all three parties were taking advantage of the Youth Deer Day, the three parents each were charged with hunting over bait, and one received an additional charge of a concealed weapon violation.

The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia has partnered with VDGIF on this special initiative. Your tax-deductible donation to the Wildlife K9 Team will help provide food and veterinary care for these great dogs. Make a Donation to the K9 Team at: www.vawildlife.org/k-9.html.

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

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

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

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

Fishin' Report

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

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

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

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

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

Where did all of the water come from?

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Fly Fishing stories, information, and news from Virginia and around the world.

Submitted by Robert Thomas, Editor, Flyfishers of Virginia Newsletter The Singing Reel, First Vice President, VA Outdoor Writers Association from a posting by Brian Trow on the Mossy Creek Outfitters website.

If you are like the guides here at Mossy Creek you are always watching the weather and the stream levels. A big part of our success guiding and leisure fishing revolves around stream flow. The early fall is typically one of the driest times of the year here in the Shenandoah Valley. Unless we get a tropical system, or have an unusually wet summer, water levels usually bottom out in September. Not to worry, the water will return.

It has been said that the average deciduous tree drinks 3 to 4 hundred gallons of water a day. The forested mountains that flank the valley act like a giant sponge, sucking up the ground water. By mid-October the leaves are changing color and by late October they are falling. All of the seasonal vegetation dries up and dies back. This means less transpiration, and more water left in the ground. The October sun is lower in the sky, the nights are longer, and the days are shorter. This means less direct evaporation of water. Additionally, human activity changes and less water is used for gardens and yards, and farmers are done pumping and irrigating.

Fishing with leaves on the water can be a pain, but all of those leaves jam between the rocks and really help to dam up those nice trout pools we love to fish. An added 2 to 3 inches of depth can make all the difference for a feeding, or more importantly spawning Brook Trout. All of these factors lead to the ground water level rising, and streams flowing better. Even without rain, water levels always rebound in late October and early November.

Fortunately this year we have had above average rainfall. Let's put that water in the bank and save some for next summer.

Here is a quick link to watch the seasonal change of groundwater in the Valley.

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!

Tribute to the Weekend

About a year ago Lee Walker and Tom Wilcox of DGIF walked into my office and presented me with an opportunity. "How would you like to be on the radio?" they asked. "Yes" just seemed like the right answer. Within a few days, we met with Anthony Oppermann of the Richmond Flying Squirrels and the Weekly Wildlife Chat came to be and we were on the radio! Now, a year later, the show has come to a close.

DGIF had participated in sponsoring a night at the Flying Squirrels AA Baseball game along with the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia that summer. Through that relationship and a radio interview between DGIF Director, Bob Duncan and Anthony during the game - an idea was born. Bob demonstrated an assortment of his wild game calls during the on-air conversation and it made an impression!

At the time, Anthony was handling media operations with the club and calling a portion of the team's games. His real passion and love is with radio broadcasting and he was looking for more opportunities to develop his craft. Richmond Sports Radio 910 AM offered Anthony a two hour slot on Saturday mornings and The Weekend with Anthony Oppermann was born.

Anthony desired his show to be more than scores and stats and to be about the people of sports and to have a local flair. He knew that outdoor interests such as fishing, hunting and wildlife were important to central Virginians and he figured if DGIF would participate in a wildlife spot on the show – it would be something unique and resonate with listeners.

The Weekend was a light-hearted, fun two hour sports show and Anthony and I covered many topics during our 15 minute Weekly Wildlife Chat. We talked about a variety of fishing related topics such as shad, crappie, and bass, fly fishing, ponds, bass tournaments and much more. We called in expert guests from DGIF and beyond to cover wildlife topics and even had two of the top professional bass anglers in the world join us: David Dudley and Scott Martin. Our final show even covered a recent fishing trip with Anthony where he scored a few nice bass – a good way to end!

Recently, Anthony announced his plans to leave Richmond to move to Colorado to join his soon-to-be bride and devote his efforts to pursue broadcasting in baseball exclusively. We had a great time with the show and I hope you had an opportunity to tune in. However, if you didn't, the segments are still available via YouTube. Check out theopps83 and tune in anytime. In the meantime, keep your eyes and ears out for Anthony; he is a real talent with a work ethic and attitude that will take him far. But for now, happy trails Anthony, until we meet again.

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

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

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

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

Rules for submitting photos to the group:

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah White's Notebook

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

Region 1 - Tidewater

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock Temporarily Closed to Powerboats

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

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. I went AWOL over the weekend, so I do not know the water temperature or visibility. But some of the largest bass of the year came in, three fish over 5 lbs. and more at 4 lbs. So that means that the fishing is going to be HOT until we have ice. Try crankbaits ,spinner baits, and flukes. Crappie are starting to show some signs of moving, we saw fish as shallow as 10 ft. Small minnows, jigs or tubes will work, with minnows being the number one choice. Large gills and yellow perch were taken, but not in good numbers. Now is the time to fish and fish hard, and often. Start throwing that Alabama rig along those points and shelves.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Contributed by Park Supervisor Patti McGrath. The crappie have been surfacing around the pier. Conditions are also excellent for anglers looking to catch nice sized catfish and sunfish. People have been using worms to bring them in. Brady F. of Callao caught a 4lb. 2 oz. catfish last Monday. Those looking for bass will need to fish the deeper side of transition areas and deep holes of the lake.

The Big Bash Classic Tournament will be on Sunday October 21st. 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. Some days you go "fishing" and some days you go "catching". Friday the 5th of October was a "catching" day. I had the pleasure of taking Mr. James Taylor of Stafford out for an afternoon of gar fishing. I picked up 18 extra large shiners from the bait shop and we took off for an afternoon of fishing around 1p.m. It was a beautiful fall day, low humidity, light breeze and low 80s. We managed to catch 9 gar and 5 catfish off of these 18 minnows. Of the nine gar, three were citations, measuring 42 ½, 43 ¾, and 44 inches. This is 3 more citations to add to Mr. Taylor's impressive record book. I am not sure how much longer the gar will be active and hitting but it has been a great season. I am getting reports of a few small to medium rockfish being seen in the middle section of the Rappahannock. See you on the water.

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

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams reports that the bass bite is fairly slow. Still, you might try a plastic worm in red shad color, cranks, spinners and top-waters. Crappie are slow as well, but minnows and jigs still occasionally fool them. Now for the good news, cats are biting well on eel. Some puppy drum are going for squid. No word on perch or bluegill. the water has a greenish tint and is cooling.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475. Chickahominy Lake mid day main lake water temperatures were in the low to mid 70s on Saturday and were dropping due to the current cold front. The lake level was about even with the top of the dam. The water was brown and slightly cloudy in the lower lake. 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, surface lures, creature baits, soft plastic stickbaits, crankbaits, and plastic worms. Fishing with Capt. Conway, Capt. Bill Buck and Hollis Pruitt had 53 bluegill, 15 crappie, 1 shiner, and 1 bass.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Dewey Mullins told me that bass action is hot, especially with cranks, spinners and dark plastics. Crappie have yet to school up, but should soon, which should improve the bite. For now try minnows, jigs and night crawlers. Dewey hasn't heard anything about cats, but they are there for the taking. White perch are schooling up and are attacking small spinners, small jigs and worms. No word on bluegill, but, as with the catfish, they are out there waiting for you. The water is clear and in the low to mid 70s.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. According to Drew Dixon, the bass are readily going for cranks and spinners. Lots of quality crappie are coming in on minnows and jigs. Cats are also cooperating, particularly with cut bait. No word on perch. Brim are doing well on cranks and worms. The water is clear and in the mid 70s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 26th through the 28th on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was normal, clear and 67 degrees. Air temperatures ranged from 57 to 83 degrees. Skeeters were terrible on this trip. The fishing on this trip was very good. I caught 5 catfish on limblines using cut bream. The bluegill fishing way upriver was very good to outstanding. The Mepps minnow in a number 0 size was the ticket. The bass fishing was good also, but the fish were all pretty small. I guess I caught 12 all in all but the largest was only bout 15 inches. Again, the Mepps Minnow and a Snagless Sally ruled.

Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker of Confluence Outfitters LLC, (434) 941-9550. With the occasional late summer/fall rains, water levels have continued to remain healthy enough for floating on the James River above Snowden. The smallmouth bass bite has slowly tapered down, but we are still catching around 25 to 30 fish each on a good day. The size of the fish caught this time of year is typically medium to large. About a week ago we boated one right around 20 inches, but it was an easy 5 to 5.5 lbs; the average fish being in the 14 to 15 inch range. This time of year we are catching fish in the deeper pools below rapids that hold at about 2 to 5ft. deep. Drifting soft plastic worms, tubes, or crawdad imitations in natural colors is bringing the most success. For other up to date fishing info and reports check out www.confluenceoutfittersva.com or like our page on Facebook! We keep our Facebook page updated often!

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. No report this edition.

Non Tidal James: Contributed by Capt. Mike Ostrander, James River Fishing School, Discover the James, (804) 938-2350. The non-tidal James River is currently running very clear. Fishing for all species is very good, including smallmouth bass, sunfish and all species of catfish. The recent rains may decrease the clarity of the river some, but if it remains as clear as it has been, be sure to wear your polarized sunglasses when you head out to fish. It will enlighten you to a new world of the James. The river does not run this clear very often and you can see around twelve feet below the surface (with polarized glasses, which takes the glare off the surface of the water allowing you to see deeper into the water column). Good luck!

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

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock Temporarily Closed to Powerboats

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

Region 2 - Southside

Lake Gordon: Contributed by our man in the boat Willard A. Mayes. No report this edition.

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

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. Crayfish patterns are the "go to" patterns. With the CK Clawdad in a size 4 either brown or olive producing the best. A brown and gold size 4 is another good color at this time of year. Conventional anglers throwing a soft plastic crayfish pattern and grubs are the ticket. Pig&Jigs are starting to give us fish along the deeper clay banks. The leaf fall will soon begin which will make the fishing a little tough. Get out and enjoy some great October fishing!

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow says that bass are to be found both deep and shallow, try top-waters, cranks and plastics in green pumpkin. Crappie are hovering near structures, so move from structure to structure, using minnows and jigs. The cat bite is "hit and miss", but you could get lucky with live shad or brim or cut bait. No word on perch or bluegill. The water is clear and in the low to mid 70s.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Tom Riesdorf has not been out smallie fishing, so no word on them. The rainbows and browns in the Jackson have been biting well on Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymphs and Prince Nymphs. Water is low in the brookie streams, but some anglers are landing the little fish with caddis imitators and small nymphs. 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. 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, www.virginiaoutdoorsman.com.

Stripers: Schools of fish continue to move up both arms of the rivers and are currently being found anywhere from the dam to the upper sections of the Blackwater and Roanoke Rivers. Currently stripers are being caught in the middle and upper lake sections of both the Roanoke and Blackwater Rivers, but most reports and my personal experience suggest the larger stripers are still being caught in the lower lake. Many of the stripers caught in the upper lake are small to medium size fish and while some are great eating size, they are generally smaller than those still being caught in the lower lake near Craddock Creek, the State Park, Bull Run, the S Curve, Gills Creek, Sportsman's Cove and Walden Creek. Stripers continue to be caught on live bait rigged on both downlines and shotlines. While shotlines pulled behind planer boards are producing striped bass very early in the morning, once the sun moves overhead most of the stripers caught are still coming deep on downlines. Those fishing with larger planer boards report success pulling shotlines behind boards early and then adding downlines to the boards and boat rod holders as the morning progresses. Planer boards with shot and float lines will become more productive as the water continues to cool and more of the shad spend more time closer to the surface. Fish continue to chase schools of baitfish to the surface and break on them. Recently most striper breaks have been near the mouths of the major creeks and over the deep open water found in the main channel. While small short breaks can be seen early in the morning or late in the day, many of the more significant and longer lasting breaks have been occurring in late morning and early afternoon. That may change with the current moon as a darker night sky might improve the surface bite early in the morning. When stripers are breaking the Lucky Craft Gunfish, Sammy, large Cotton Cordell Chug Bug, Spook and Spook Junior are all good choices. Surface feeding stripers and those found feeding on alewives below the surface can also be caught on bucktails, flukes and swimming flukes rigged on lead headed jigs. I have had great success with the Donkey Rig over the past several years. I use standard EWG and belly weighted hooks when the fish are feeding on or near the surface. When the fish are deeper I use light weight jigheads and a cast, count down and retrieve technique. This still works well for bass as well as stripers even with the advent of the Alabama rig alternative.

Crappie: Fishing continues to improve and based on recent reports both the numbers of crappies being caught and the quality of the fish has been getting better each week. While the crappies are reportedly moving up in the water column, submerged brush in deeper water continue to be good spots. Anglers report success using both small lead head jigs with minnow imitating plastic trailers and small "shiners" rigged on gold, thin wire hooks. One crappie angler recently reported having continued success "shooting", counting down and retrieving small lead headed jigs with plastic trailers around and under selected deep water docks. He did say the low water levels had altered the traditional patterns and high producing locations from years past.

Bass: Fishing continues to be mixed and fish are being caught both deep and shallow. There were several recent reports of smallmouth bass being caught in the lower lake while schooling on shad near the surface. Good lures include topwater lures, poppers and flukes. Topwater poppers include the popular Rico by Lobina Lures, the small Chug Bug by Storm, the Rebel Pop'R and the Gunfish by Lucky Craft. Several anglers reported success using Carolina rigs on points and humps while others said they caught bass using jigs off rock ledges and in deeper water. Bass are also being caught on shad colored spinner baits when skies are overcast and the wind is blowing, especially when presented over and along deep water points. Bass are also being caught in deeper water around submerged natural rock, bluffs and stumps on Texas rigged plastics, shakey head jigs rigged with finesse worms and skirted jigs. Deep water suspended bass are being caught by vertically jigging spoons (Hopkins, CC, Kastmaster), weighted shaky wacky rigs (ZAPPU) or drop shot rigs. Carolina rigged worms are also a good choice and have been producing an occasional bass when used on rocky deep water points.

Early archery season started this past weekend and muzzleloader season is just around the corner, so remember to wear a blaze orange cap or vest anytime you are out working or playing near wooded areas or places being hunted.

Tight lines, stay safe and enjoy the wonderful fall weather.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Contributed by Mike Burchett of Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. According to Mike Burchett the bass are starting to school up, try top-water using walking baits. No word on crappie. A few cats are coming on live shad in Peak Creek. No word on perch. Bluegill are becoming scarce but can still be found around docks. Try crickets or minnows. The water is clear and in the upper 60s to low 70s.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius told me that the bass bite is quite slow. A few are coming in on little flukes and Pig & Jigs. Muskies are also few and far between. John says that this is one of those "slow periods that happen every once in a while." The water is in the low 70s and clear.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. The river has finally cleared from the heavy rains in NC they delivered down river to us. Walleye, smallmouth and muskie are all on the bite and while we had the clear water we were seeing several stripers in the river but, as usual, they are reluctant to hit. Water conditions are fairly clear, green and in the mid 60s. Fishing should remain excellent for the next few weeks but the smallie bite will wane as the river drops into the low 50 degree range. With the dry season we have had, think of booking a trip during the peak of the fall foliage as it will be a gorgeous display and the fishing hot! My best tip would be to not concentrate of fishing the banks, the small mouth are scattered from one side of the river to the other. Work eddies, current seams, ledges, etc. wherever they might be located in the water.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash reports that smallies are doing well on spinners, cranks, jigs, jerkbaits and plastics in all colors The muskie bite is improving and should get even better, try big soft plastics. The water is slightly stained 64 degrees and cooling.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. Fall weather is definitely here on the Top New (Mouth of Wilson to Fries). The river is coming down and clearing from recent rains. A cold front will keep temperatures down early in the week, but gradual warming should make for some good fishing this weekend. On trips this week we had a good bite on crankbaits and plastics; for the fly anglers, baitfish and crawfish flies worked well. Fall colors are beautiful, but the leaves in the water can be a problem. Carroll county had 2 trout streams stocked this week. It's getting that time of year to transition from smallmouth fishing to trout fishing.

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

Region 4 - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Harry is still in Montana, but should be back soon!

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. Moomaw is going through the fall transition period and the slower fishing results are indicative of this phenomenon. However, there are always some fish biting, you just have to be at the right spot at the right time. Most folks are locating forage and fish on their electronics and then employing some of the deeper techniques to be successful i.e. drop shot small worms, drag a jig, or deep crankbaiting. Colors don't seem to be as important but anglers seem to be throwing more natural shad colors than bright ones. Bow season has started and most guys and gals are in the woods right now, but there are still us diehards out on the lake so hopefully I will have some updated information next report. I usually don't report my personal results but I have to be proud of the six pound largemouth bass I caught on a drop shot last week! Be safe and wear your life jacket.

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

Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker of Confluence Outfitters LLC, (434) 941-9550. 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: CatchGuide.com): With the cold front that moved through over the weekend, the race is on as fish scramble to feed heavily in preparation for the colder weather to come. Now's the time to use faster moving baits. Buzz baits and cranks are the go to choice for smallmouth bass. Hopefully, the remaining floating grass will die off in the near future. wash down river and make it easier to deploy these two lures. Where the grass still exists, continue to go weedless using tubes or Senko type plastics with dark colors – black or green – being the pattern of choice. The cold weather has energized the mountain brook trout. Most of the key hatches have concluded, so rely mostly on nymphs where the current moves fast enough. For those who insist on dry fly fishing, BWO patterns are still working. Of course, Harry Murray's "Mr. Rapidan" fly always works. My personal opinion, after doing a 7 mile hike up the lower part of the Rose River this week is that the brookie fishing is not as good this year as it used to be. We did see trophy size brookies in the large holding pools a grueling 3 miles upstream, but did not scare up any significant action prior to getting to the deep water. My unscientific assessment is that the last two dry summers have really impacted the quality. At any rate, if you want to take a good, strenuous hike and enjoy some beautiful scenery with the opportunity to catch colorful fish, now's the time to hit the Blue Ridge.

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

Occoquan River: Contributed by local angler Jim Thomas. Fishing on the Occoquan Reservoir has been good to great. The only problem is that it is hard to tell which kind of day it will be when you launch the boat. Without question, the quality of the fish is rapidly improving. The average largemouth bass is 2 to 3 pounds. Some days there is a good mix of five pounders to be had. Other days the mix includes a lot of 12 in. fish. Successful anglers that I have talked to seem to be doing best with crankbaits and swimbaits. The catfish bite remains good and I've also seen the quality of these fish improve over the last two weeks. The lake is covered with surface bait in the evenings but I'm still not seeing a lot of feeding action on the bait schools yet.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. Angler's Landing will be closing for the season, and will reopen on St. Patrick's Day. Darrell wishes you all a good fall and winter.

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

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

Don't forget to send me your tips, tricks and recipes for our next edition! Just send them to fishing_report@hotmail.com.

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

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

View video about the snakehead

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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

With the celebration of National Hunting & Fishing Day and dove, squirrel and deer bowhunting seasons in progress and deer muzzleloading season less than 3 weeks away, young hunters are already scouting and sighting-in their favorite, bow, muzzleloader, rifle or shotgun. With a record number of young hunters having participating in the special Youth Deer Hunting Day September 29th, there are lots of youngsters who hopefully got , or will get a shot at their first deer this season. Whether it is a buck or doe doesn't really matter. For a young teenage deer hunter, his first "really big buck" was a memorable experience with a lesson of patience and scouting paying off. Hunter DeVall is a sophomore at Tunstall High School in Danville. He is a member of the varsity football team and wrestling team. Hunter is an avid outdoorsman. He began hunting and fishing with his father, brother, and grandfather at a very early age. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends. Hunter spends many hours during summer evenings observing and photographing the does and bucks in his area. His article was inspired by a memorable hunting experience in the fall of 2010.

Hunter's entry won Second place in the 18th Annual Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) High School Writing Competition. Not only does the story keep you interested in what will happen next, but as you read about Hunters big buck, note that he uses good safety practices both in handling his firearm, being sure of his target before firing, and staying in contact with his dad during the hunt. Although he does not mention it in the article, Hunter notes that wearing a safety harness while in his tree stand is an important safety practice. The tradition of hunting is in good hands with responsible and respectful young sportsmen like Hunter. Good luck this season and thanks to your dad and granddad for teaching you safety and the values of our hunting traditions.

The Wheat Field Giant

By Hunter DeVall

It all started one hot summer evening when I was sitting on a hill overlooking this wheat field. I sat there like I did almost every summer evening watching a few smaller bucks and does when this huge buck stepped out at the very far end of the field. I watched in amazement until it got dark then I rushed home to tell my family what I had seen. The next day I anxiously waited to see if the giant would come out so I could get a look at him through my binoculars. To my surprise, just before dark he came out at the same spot as the night before. When I looked through my binoculars I couldn't believe my eyes as I could count fourteen visible points. I was ecstatic that I would even have the chance to hunt the area with so many nice bucks as I had never really harvested a big buck. From that day on I counted down the days until hunting season, but as the summer progressed I only saw the buck a couple of times.

Finally after a summer long wait it was the night before opening day. I set my clock for six a.m. and went to bed. When I woke up I looked outside and it was misting. I climbed in my stand just before daybreak and as soon as I got in my stand I saw a tree shaking about 100 yards away. I looked through my binoculars and saw that it was a little 6 pointer rubbing a tree which was kind of interesting because I had never seen a deer do that before. I sat there about five minutes then I saw 2 does headed from the wheat field right down the oak ridge to my deer stand. They walked right by my stand into the thicket behind me. About 15 minutes later I saw a really nice 8 pointer and a six pointer skirting around the edge of the wheat field. I threw my gun up and looked through my scope and let them pass. I sat there watching the two bucks eating acorns when I saw a 10 pointer. I had made up my mind that I was going to wait for the wheat field giant that I knew lurked around those woods. I watched those bucks eating about 50 yards in front of me and I saw this monster buck step in the wheat field. It wasn't 'the giant' but it had points everywhere so I slowly raised my gun and pushed my safety to fire. I put the crosshairs on the deer's shoulder, but just as I was about to squeeze the shot off this huge buck stepped in front of the other buck. Then I realized it was the giant! It felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. I was so excited but I knew I had to hold it together in order to make a clean lethal shot. I waited for the buck to turn broadside so I could shoot. I decided to take the shot right when he stepped in the opening between two forks of a tree. As he took that last step, I squeezed the trigger. Boom... I was so nervous, I didn't see whether I had hit the deer. Anxiously, I walked about halfway to where I shot at the deer and I could see the giant's enormous rack sticking up off the ground. As soon as I saw the deer I almost started crying because I couldn't believe that I had harvested him. I had thought and dreamed about killing this deer for the entire summer. I knew that the deer was big, but when I walked up to the deer, it looked like the buck had doubled in size. It was huge!

After I had calmed down my brother and I field dressed and loaded the deer up in the back of his truck. We went to the check station where people gathered all the way around the truck admiring the giant's horns. My summer evenings scouting the fields had paid off. I actually harvested the "wheat field giant." I now can't wait for the taxidermist to finish my mount. I will never forget that wonderful day in the great outdoors.

The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) and Bass Pro Shops annually sponsor a High School and Collegiate Writing Competition with the theme of "a memorable outdoor experience." We encourage you to write your most memorable hunting, fishing or other outdoor adventure story and enter the contest. The goal of the competition is to reward high school and college students for excellence in communicating their personal experiences in the outdoors.

Submissions can be submitted in a Microsoft Word or text file, since the three top winners will be published on the VOWA Web site, and may be in other publications or on web sites. E-mail submissions are encouraged. The article should be written in WORD format and attached to an e-mail. The submissions can be made between now and the February 7th, 2013, deadline.

Bass Pro Shops has agreed to again cosponsor the contest, and is providing gift cards of $150, $100, and $50 for purchasing any merchandise at Bass Pro Shops. There will also be gear from outdoor sports businesses and Supporting Members of VOWA. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the joint Mason Dixon â€" Virginia Outdoor Writers Association Annual Meeting on March 14 -17 in Staunton, VA.

For information and General Competition Guidelines for 2012-13 on the VOWA Collegiate or High School Youth Writing Competitions visit the VOWA website: www.vowa.org.

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: