In this edition:

Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Thankful

This edition is posted on the eve of my favorite month - November. I like to think of it as the "Great American Heritage Appreciation Month," where we need to be especially responsible, respectful, and thankful. The early muzzleloader deer season begins November 3rd. What a great time of year to get with friends and family. The smell of the powder charge and puff of gray smoke takes us back to bygone days and simpler times. For hunters, this is the most important time for us to be respectful. Common courtesy and safety are no accident: Be respectful of other hunters, landowners, and the wild game you pursue and harvest.

More importantly, this is a time for all sportsmen to "walk the walk and talk the talk." Election Day is November 6. Do exercise your precious right and responsibility as a free American citizen and VOTE! So many decisions that affect our outdoor pursuits are made by elected officials at the local and state levels. Let your sportsman's voice be heard through your VOTE.

The following Monday, November 12th we observe Veterans Day, honoring the brave men and women who have fought and died to protect our freedoms - especially the privilege to vote. Do something meaningful to show your appreciation to our veterans and their families in some way this year. You might volunteer for a hunting or fishing outing for wounded warriors, share some extra venison with a military family, or send 'goodie' packages and your already read copies of hunting and fishing magazines to troops serving overseas.

And finally, be thankful for the opportunity to partake of all these wonderful blessings, for treasured friendships, for the service, courage, and sacrifice by our military, law enforcement and emergency services people and their families. I wish you and yours a safe, rewarding, and peaceful Thanksgiving Season.

David Coffman, Editor

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

Hunting Benefits All Virginians

With the archery deer hunting season underway, and the fall turkey, muzzleloading-black powder and general firearms season opening in the next few weeks, hunters should pause to reflect on all the benefits that their participation adds to their lives and the positive impact on fellow Virginians. Recent economic downturns have many people thinking about how to simplify their lives, how to stretch their dollars, put food on the table, let go of stress, and still somehow give to others. Reports on obesity, concerns about food quality, and the footprint we are leaving on the planet, has people wondering what to do. An activity that addresses all that and more is hunting.

What benefits do all those hunters enjoy and what benefits do we all get from their activity? What benefits can you expect when you take up the tradition of hunting? Find the answers in various articles throughout this edition of the Outdoor Report that reveal the five benefits that hunting has been doing, and can do for you and your community...

  1. Boost the Economy
  2. Contribute to Conservation
  3. Wildlife Population Management
  4. Healthy Minds, Spirits and Bodies
  5. Sharing the Bounty

Read the full story on the Department's website »

Hunt safely and responsibly.

Lapsed Hunters... We Want You Back!

Have you not hunted or purchased your hunting license the past few years? VDGIF Outreach recruitment and retention coordinator Lee Walker announced that the VDGIF has launched the first of two direct mail efforts to send postcards, letters, emails and telephone reminders out to over 30,000 lapsed hunters. The overall goal of this direct mailing effort is to notify former hunters of the many new hunting opportunities awaiting sportsmen and sportswomen with increased bag limits, abundant populations of game and outdoor adventure with family and friends to make new memories. This re-recruitment campaign aimed at lapsed hunting license buyers is based on the integrated marketing campaign that the Department initiated in 2009. The postcard direct mail effort has been funded through a grant by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) titled Media in Motion: Developing an Integrated Marketing Campaign to Target Lapsed Hunters in Virginia. Walker noted, "We appreciate the support of NSSF in funding this important campaign to re-connect with past customers, and are excited to have this opportunity to better serve our customers and let them know about positive hunter friendly changes that have been enacted in recent seasons, and we look forward to very positive results from this campaign."

If you received a postcard, letter, email or friendly phone call from us and have any questions, please contact VDGIF Customer Service hotline directly 1-866-721-6911, or email: customerservice@dgif.virginia.gov, and knowledgeable, friendly agents will be glad to assist you. If you did not get a post card, consider this your invitation to join back with your fellow hunters and re-discover the many benefits that hunting brings to those who participate in our great hunting traditions. See information on license purchasing, new license options like the Legacy, or Apprentice licenses, new public hunting lands available and additional new opportunities like the special upcoming Youth Deer, Turkey and Waterfowl hunting days in the Hunting News You Can Use section.

Drivers, Use Caution to Avoid Hitting Deer

With the ending of Daylight Saving Time November 4th and shorter days, many motorists will be commuting in the dark, increasing the likelihood of their vehicle colliding with a deer. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is encouraging Virginia's drivers to be more cautious as they travel the Commonwealth's highways this season. Deer are more active during the fall breeding season than any other time of the year, and a majority of all deer/vehicle collisions occur in the months of October, November and December. While less than 2 percent of vehicle fatalities and injuries involve deer collisions in Virginia, hitting a deer can cause considerable damage to both people and property.

Deer populations are managed with regulated hunting. The Board of Game and Inland Fisheries sets hunting seasons, bag limits, and other wildlife-related regulations based on sound science through a process that includes considerable public input. Wildlife biologists with VDGIF estimate the white-tailed deer population in Virginia at this time of year to be at approximately 900,000 animals. Each year, deer hunters harvest more than 200,000.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recommends the following tips to drivers to avoid hitting a deer.

  1. When driving, particularly at dusk and dawn, slow down and be attentive.
  2. Deer typically travel in groups. If you see one deer, likely there will be others. If one deer crosses the road as you approach, others are likely to follow.
  3. Drivers should apply brakes to avoid hitting a deer, but should never swerve out of the lane to miss a deer. A collision with another vehicle, tree or other object is likely to be more serious than hitting a deer.
  4. Deer habitually travel the same areas; therefore deer crossing signs have been installed by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Use caution when you see these signs.
  5. Rely on your caution and your own senses. Deer whistles mounted on the bumper of a car have not been shown to be effective.
  6. Any person involved in a collision with a deer or bear while driving a motor vehicle should immediately report the accident to a law enforcement officer. Once properly documented, a driver may keep the carcass for their own use

Watch the new The White-Tailed Deer video »

Next Edition Three Weeks Away November 14...

Since we post the Outdoor Report on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, the next edition will be in two weeks, November 14, 2012. This 'extra week' in the calendar will be well spent celebrating the Veteran's Day Holiday and opening of deer muzzleloader season on Saturday November 3rd. We look forward to getting your photos and stories of your outdoor adventures with friends and family for Youth Waterfowl and turkey hunting days back on October 20th. Have a safe and enjoyable Fall season... DC

Revised Holiday Schedule for Posting the Outdoor Report

With the various holidays observed in November-December, we will be 'tweaking' our production schedule, but the posting schedule will remain the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays for November. Please send in stories, announcements, events, and photos you may want posted to dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov or david.coffman@dgif.virginia.gov at least 10 days prior to the listed posting dates to allow for holidays shortening our production time. Posting dates are scheduled as follows:

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Halloween October 31... Be aware that many localities are observing Halloween on Saturday October 27 and Sunday October 28. Be alert for trick-or-treaters on both days and evenings and the traditional date Wednesday October 31st. Make sure your little ghosts and goblins wear clothing with reflective markings or tape and carry a flashlight or glowstick.

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.

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.

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."

Dominion and Project Healing Waters Honors Veterans and Wounded Warriors

Editor's note... VDGIF is honored to partner with Dominion Resources and Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Inc. and the many volunteers from each organization to provide opportunities for active duty military personnel and veterans recovering from injuries to experience healing and rehabilitation through fly fishing. On October 10-11, 2012 Dominion hosted 10 wounded warriors for what has become an annual autumn fly fishing experience in the beautiful and tranquil Virginia highlands at Dominion's Bath County Pumped Storage Station and adjoining recreation area.

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 was dedicated at noon October 10th joined by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, an avid fly fisherman himself, and representatives of VDGIF. I was honored to be invited to participate in the event to take photos and interview the service members and volunteers for a feature in this edition of the Outdoor Report and future promotional materials for Project Healing Waters. Thanks to WSLS TV 10 in Roanoke for permission to repost the news story from their website and link to video. Also thanks to Dominion for their hospitality and recognition of our brave service members- a most fitting tribute with Veterans Day being observed November 12.

David Coffman

Bath County Monument Dedicated to Veterans and Wounded Warriors

By: WSLS-TV Staff Reports | WSLS-TV 10 Roanoke, VA
Published: October 10, 2012
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WARM SPRINGS, VA --

With wounded warriors and veterans clad in fishing waders and eagerly eyeing trout in the steam beside them, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling today [October 10, 2010] dedicated a monument in their honor at Dominion Virginia Power's Bath County Pumped Storage Station.

The monument is a gift from station employees to those who have been injured while serving in the military. It names Back Creek, which flows from power station's lower dam, as the "home waters" for all soldiers and volunteers who visit the creek as part of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Inc., a national, non-profit organization that provides mental and physical relaxation therapy to injured military personnel through fly fishing.

"This is an apt and fitting tribute to those who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States," said Bolling, an avid fly fisherman. "Yet this ceremony is not about dedicating a monument. It is about honoring those who have sacrificed so much for us and our country."

This is the third year that Dominion and the power station employees have hosted Project Healing Waters at its Back Creek Recreation Area. The area has more than a mile of trout waters that is managed jointly by Dominion and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Project Healing Waters brings a mix of active duty military personnel and veterans to the stream each fall for two days of fly fishing. The warriors are selected from Project Healing Waters program sites at military hospitals and Veteran's Affairs Hospitals in Virginia and West Virginia. This year's participants came from Fort Eustis and Veteran's Administration hospitals in Hampton, Richmond, and Salem in Virginia and Beckley, Clarksburg, and Huntington in West Virginia.

"We are honored to be able to partner with Project Healing Waters to help those who have been harmed while in the service of our country," said J. David Rives, Dominion senior vice president-Fossil & Hydro. "The employees here at the station came up with the idea of the monument, to let the men and women who served in the military and the volunteers who assist them not only know that they are welcomed here, but more importantly to say, 'Thank you.' "

The bronze plaque shows a volunteer teaching a soldier who is a double amputee to fly fish.

"This is a tremendous tribute to the men and women whom Project Healing Waters serves," said Ed Nicholson, a retired Navy captain who founded Project Healing Waters in 2005. "The monument captures the spirit of Project Healing Waters, the warriors who are seeking to recover from their injuries and the volunteers who assist them."

Nicholson also presented Rives with Project Healing Water's Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes the efforts by Dominion Fossil and Hydro employees on behalf of Project Healing Waters and the men and women who are serving or who have served in the armed forces.

Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 28,000 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com. View the PHW Monument Dedication video on Dominion website.

For more photos and stories on the Project Healing Waters – Dominion event in Bath County see the Fishin' Report, Lake Moomaw area report from Mike 'Puff' Puffenbarger in the Region 4 Mountain and Shenandoah Valley section.

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

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 our treasured hunting traditions.

First Outdoor Skills Sampler Big Success at York River State Park

On Saturday, September 22, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Outdoor Education educators held the first September Outdoor Skills Sampler event at York River State Park. Outdoor Education Supervisor Karen Holson noted, "The event was a huge success, drawing people from as far away as North Carolina. Over 100, first time outdoor enthusiasts, had the opportunity to sample a variety of exciting outdoor activities that included: kayaking, archery, mountain biking, outdoor cooking, target shooting, hiking, fly casting and a combination of salt and freshwater fishing." The educational sessions were taught by 14 VDGIF staff and volunteer instructors. This event was also in partnership with the Amber Nease Memorial Foundation, who provided over 20 volunteers who assisted with the day registration, as well as providing and serving lunch to all participants and instructors. A great time was had by all!

Dad Provides Son and Daughter Hunting Opportunities To Learn the Ropes and Enjoy Family Traditions

Paul Erwin from Chatham is serving as an excellent example and mentor for his son and daughter by providing pelnty of field experience and skill building and practice shooting and safety. His patience and guidance is creating great memories for his family and passisonate young hunters to cary on a treasured hunting heritage and family traditions. Paul sent us this account of his son Dixon, successful first duck hunt...

Dixon Erwin, age 9 from Chatham, VA harvested his first ducks on October 6 while hunting with his father, Paul and sister Mollie (age 7) at a local lake. Dixon has been going with his dad and friends hunting for 3 years to learn the ropes and this year is his first year shooting. Mollie is now learning the ropes and helping spot the ducks and work the dog, Sinead, a golden retriever. Dixon practiced shooting all summer with sporting clays and then dove and harvested his first two woodies with two shots.

Quality Deer Management Assoc. Hosts "Ultimate Youth Hunt"

The Rockingham Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) hosted their annual "Ultimate Youth Hunt"s for children between the ages of 9 and 15 that typically don't have the opportunity to hunt. QDMA Hunt Coordinator Keith Wilt noted, "These youngsters may not have the opportunity to hunt as they may be from a home with a single mother or father that just don't hunt; whatever the reason might be that prohibits that child from hunting. Since 2008 we have taken 42 children hunting with 28 of them killing their first deer and the rest of them having the time of their life. We take in applications, generally through the word of mouth, starting in April. We then have a panel that reads through the applications and chooses the participants based on who most suitably meets the criteria. Sometime in August we take them to the Rockingham Coop and outfit them from head to toe with hunting gear. Afterwards we go out to a firing range for firearm training, safety and target practice.

The hunt started on Friday, September 28th. The children arrived at the Ruritan hall after school and set up their sleeping quarters in the tents we provide. Conservation Officer William Herndon stopped by to say hello and talk with everyone about the importance of safety and how the officers are there for their help, not to intimidate them. Afterwards we treated them to a great meal and present them with their hunting gear. The next morning they woke up to pancakes, sausage, and cereal for breakfast before heading out to the hunting blinds.

By mid-morning the children had already killed three deer. Back at the Ruritan hall, David Kocka, district wildlife biologist for the VDGIF met the children for Deer Biology and management 101. He talked to everyone about how the VDGIF evaluates deer density and best management practices. He weighed, aged, and gave an overall view of how healthy the deer were.

After lunch the children and their guides went back out for an afternoon hunt. By early evening another young hunter had killed her first deer. There was one boy whose mother was guiding one of the young ladies that was able to go out with his father to one of the blinds that evening and was also able to kill a deer. The hunt consisted of 6 children; 4 boys and 2 girls. This year we held the hunt at the Tenth Legion Ruritan hall. We hunted on the Bernhart Jedamski and Wayne Phillips farms that adjoin the Ruritan property.

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.

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

How Does a Young Hunter Without a License Check in a Deer or Turkey?

One of the most frequently asked questions during the early youth seasons or any hunting season is how do deer and turkey hunters that do not have to purchase a license and therefore do not have deer or turkey tags check in their game?

What licenses are required for youths?

Resident deer or turkey hunters under 12 in Virginia are not required to purchase a license or have taken a hunter safety course. Conversely, deer and turkey hunters 12 and above must be licensed and have taken a hunter safety course. An exception to this rule is that hunters 12 and over could go hunting with an Apprentice License without having taken a hunter safety course. If a young hunter is over age 12 and has had a hunter safety course, the Junior Combination Hunting License (under 16 years of age) for $16.00 is the best deal. It includes statewide hunting privileges, archery, muzzleloading, and bear, deer, turkey tags.

"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

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 our treasured hunting traditions.

Family Tradition of Taking A Friend Hunting Creates New Youth Hunters and Memories

Curt Anderson sent us this great follow-up story on the tradition of their family in taking a friend of his son, Stuart hunting with them and the great memories and experience it creates.

Curt describes this years adventure on Youth Deer Day September 29th... "Just wanted to update you on Stuart Anderson, age 11, from Dale City, VA hunting prowess and continued tradition of taking friends hunting. Last season Stuart got his first deer and was posted in the Outdoor Report Oct 12, 2011 edition "The Tale of Stuart Anderson's First Deer". Stuart went hunting a couple more times, but wanted to take his friend Jax T. hunting and try and get him one too. So we did and it almost worked out for Jax, he got two shots at a deer, the deer didn't want to hang out for a third shot after that, we looked for sign and there was none. I asked Jax if he was disappointed and he said no way that was cool, but that gun kicked.

On to this season 2012-2013, Stuart's hunting buddy Jax moved way ( we missed you Jax) so I asked Stuart how did you want to work it this year? He asked could we take Jason P.? Sure, so we asked his parents and they said yes, so Stuart asked Jason (man to man you know) if he wanted to go hunt with us. He said yes. A week before the youth hunt day we took Jason to the range and went over the basics and safety as he had never shot before. The boys shot steel plate and the gong with .22 rifles and had a great time. September 29th we headed to Culpeper, first stop was to Baby Jim's Snack Bar for lunch. Then we headed to the farm and to our super secret spot to set up our pop-up. We trimmed some branches and opened some old shooting lines. Stuart and Jason brushed in the pop-up. Then we headed to the other side of the farm to climb in the hay barn, ride 4wheelers, play with the dogs and swing in the tree swing, you know kids guy stuff. It was now time to go hunting, we headed back to the pop-up.

On the way we put out some Tink's lure. We got in the pop-up, opened the windows, got the boys situated and shoes off for comfort moved the video games around and so on. After 10-20 minutes we saw brown moving and said deer, two young deer ran in to the Tink's with the closer one facing straight at us. I pulled Stuart over to the window I was at and handed him the .243 rifle, can you see them? Yes. If you want to you can shoot, ok. Kaboom, and the deer took off. Not one of the best shots, but we had blood and more. I had Stuart take the lead on tracking this one with Jason right behind him and Duke the dog showed up to help too? Not sure were Duke came from, but I guess he wanted to help too. The boys did a great job. After a little while of tracking sign, Stuart said there it is. Great! A nice button buck. Jason asked if we could make jerky, sure we can. Stuart enjoys hunting and bringing his friends with him. It makes me proud that Stuart ask his friends to go and they want to go hunting with us too. It's important to recognize Stuart for sharing his passion for huinting with his friends and passing it on. Jason for going with us and trying something new. And praise to Jason's Mom & Dad for letting him go and allowing us to be part of Jason's first hunt since this is something this family has never done, but let him go anyway. That's awesome. I have a blast hunting with my son and his friends, that's what it should be about. Good times with family and friends."

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:

Bill Cochran's Outdoors: An Update on Virginia's Elk Restoration Program

By Bill Cochran
Bill Cochran is a Roanoke Times outdoors columnist. xtrails@earthlink.net

"So, how are the elk doing?

That is a question Allen Boynton hears quite often these days. He is the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries wildlife biologist heading the state's elk restoration program. This spring, a small herd of these majestic animals was relocated from Kentucky to Buchanan County.

Boynton briefed the Tri-County Forestry and Wildlife Association in Roanoke County this week on how the program has progressed and what the future may hold:

Growth

Sixteen elk from Kentucky—five bulls and 11 cows—were released in Buchanan County late May and early June. All have survived. Ten of the cows produced eight calves, so now there are 24 animals in the restoration effort. The DGIF goal is to build a herd of 400 elk.

Habitat

The elk have access to a huge chunk of private land near Vansant, much of it meadows growing on recently reclaimed strip mining operations. Included are regenerating timber cutovers that the elk use to escape people and the hot sun.

Range

The movements of the elk are traced with telemetry collars attached to the adult animals. So far, the elk have utilized about 20,000 acres, and that is expected to increase. The animals split into two groups, with the cows and calves staying near the release area and some of the bulls straying seven miles during the summer, but returning as the mating season begins. One came back less an antler.

Problems

The DGIF plan called for releasing elk in Buchanan, Dickenson and Wise counties, but officials in Dickenson and Wise wanted nothing to do with it, fearing crop damage, accidents on roadways and disease to livestock and deer. Buchanan embraced the idea, envisioning elk as a source of tourism dollars. The county lobbied a decade for a stocking program before the DGIF gave in.

So far, there have been few problems in Buchanan County, which has a smaller agricultural base than the other counties. Acceptance has been positive. Even so, Dickenson and Wise continue a wait-and-see approach. Wise actually has better terrain for elk than Buchanan. A law passed by the 2012 General Assembly gives counties, not the state, the right to decide such issues.

Stocking

Virginia wildlife officials are heading back to Kentucky this week to prepare for a planned stocking in Buchanan County next year. The goal is to relocate at least 15 elk. Kentucky officials have put a 50-animal limit on the exportation of elk. Missouri is in line ahead of Virginia to get Kentucky elk, which explains why Virginia's quota is so small, well under the original goal of 75 elk stocked over a 3-4 year period.

Funding

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation donated $300,000 to the Virginia project, about 70 percent of which has been spent. The foundation challenged its Virginia chapters to help pay back the contribution and the Southwest Virginia Coalfield Chapter alone pledged $200,000. The DGIF likely has spent an amount equal to that of the foundation when the staff's time is factored in. Companies in the area have contributed materials.

Kentucky

The success in Kentucky, where the herd numbers more than 11,000 animals, played no small role in prompting Virginia to get involved in elk restoration. Some 900 hunting permits are being issued this season. Kentucky has a 16-county, one-million acre restoration area.

Difference

Elk are much larger then white-tailed deer. An adult female will weigh 400 to 450 pounds and bulls 700 pounds or more, while a 100-pound deer is considered large. The elk rutting period currently is underway, a month earlier than the peak breeding period for deer.

Elk tend to stick together in herds in open areas, while deer normally travel in smaller family groups, often in wooded or brushy areas. Elk aren't as prolific as deer. They have one calf per year and generally don't reproduce until age two. Twin fawns are common in deer. Elk are grazers that like orchard grass and clover, but also will eat coarser material, including autumn olive, young black locust and goldenrod, species common to reclaimed mining areas.

Hunting

The two major attractions of elk are wildlife watching and hunting. The availability of hunting will depend on how many animals can be obtained for stocking. When the herd reaches 150 to 200, some mature bulls can be removed through hunting. When the goal of 400 is obtained, 30 to 40 elk a year can be taken by hunters.

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!

Halloween October 31... Be aware that many localities are observing Halloween on Saturday October 27 and Sunday October 28. Be alert for trick-or-treaters on both days and evenings and the traditional date Wednesday October 31st. Make sure your little ghosts and goblins wear clothing with reflective markings or tape and carry a flashlight or glowstick.

Blaze Orange Is Not Just For Hunters! Be Safe, Be Seen!

Except for early muzzleloading and hunting waterfowl, wearing blaze orange during the general firearms hunting season is not only smart - it's the law! And a good one that saves lives each year. But blaze orange is not just for hunters. This high-visibility "safety orange" is recognized in the workplace, both indoors or out, so you can be seen. If you are a landowner, jogger, hiker, or walk your dog on woodland trails, you would be wise to wear a blaze orange hat, vest, or coat so a hunter can see you and not mistake your movement for game. Just like driving defensively, you should take the same precautions and awareness if you go to the woods for any reason during the hunting seasons from October through January. Dress defensively. Wear blaze orange to be safe and be seen. Also, if you should fall and get injured, rescuers will find you easier... time saved that could keep you from further harm. If you have dogs that "roam" out of the yard, put a blaze orange collar on them so they are not likely to be mistaken for a fox or coyote. Remember whether you are a hunter, or just enjoying the outdoors, cutting firewood or walking a woodland trail, wear "safety orange"- it's the woodswise thing to do!

Clean Your Muzzleloader - Now!

With the growing popularity of hunting with a muzzleloader and the advances with the new in-line models, there are a lot of you out there new to shooting black powder. I am one of them. Fortunately with the mentoring of a good hunting buddy, who has been shooting black powder for many years, I got off to a great start 5 years ago and have increased my hunting time each season since shooting my 'smokepole.' Normand McLaughlin from Augusta County, has been a volunteer with VDGIF and active in several sportsmen's organizations. I have learned a lot from Normand's experience while turkey hunting, target shooting and from his companionship during our hunting trips. To get me started right with my new gun, first we spent several sessions shooting the gun to "season" it, orient me to the differences from the more familiar rim-fire rifle shooting and sighting it in. Also practice, practice, and more practice target shooting in field conditions and learning the re-loading sequence all paid off when the early November opening came. I harvested several nice deer each season with the reliable new muzzleloader, proud and appreciative that my preparation and guidance by an experienced friend made the numerous hunting trips most enjoyable. Once a shooting session, or the hunting season was over, Normand was most insistent about one thing - clean your muzzleloader thoroughly!

Regardless of what type of propellant you use, without proper cleaning, corrosion and rust will quickly pit the barrel, jam the firing mechanism, or foul the nipple shut. Even black powder substitutes like Pyrodex and Triple 7 can foul up your gun. After cleaning thoroughly following the owner's manual directions, and tips from an experienced shooter like Normand, store your gun muzzle-down, particularly if you've used petroleum-based gun oil. This prevents the lubricant from gravitating down to those parts that could jam up. Clean and store your muzzleloader properly and it will remain reliable for you next season and for many seasons to come. Put off cleaning or cut corners and you may end up with a firearm that doesn't fire at all.

I learned a new tip 2 years ago while hunting in the deep snow the last 2 weeks in December. I had the expectation that my muzzleloader with it disk style cap would reliably shoot in rain, snow or other damp weather conditions. For Safety I was constantly taking off the cap to raise and lower my gun from my tree stand or when walking out of the woods after a days hunt. I was not aware of the moisture from melting snow dripping from branches or foggy drizzlely weather allowing moisture to seep into the uncovered nipple... the last day when a nice doe walked 30 yards from my tree stand when I pulled the trigger...bang!! Not BOOM and smoke- the powder charge did not ignite. Calmly I replaced the cap and fired at the doe looking at me not startled by the cap firing. Bang ! again!! Now the doe wanders off and I am wondering what has happened. I added a third cap and fired at ground- still powder did not ignite. At lunch I told my hunting buddies of the misfires. The consensus of the group was the moisture build up over several days of hunting in rain and snow with the nipple uncapped. After 2 more caps the powder finally ignighted- BOOM was a welcome sound. Normand gave me a simple and SAFE solution. When removing a live cap for safety in transporting the gun, REPLACE IT with a FIRED CAP to seal the nipple port keeping moisture out and from building up over time. I didn't get another shot opportunity that last day- but learned another valuable lesson from my buddy Normand. This season I will 'keep my powder dry', and avoid misfires. Glad I learned the lesson on a doe and not the "buck of a lifetime." If you have a good safety or muzzleloader handling tip send it to us to share with fellow hunters. Always be sure of your target and beyond.

David Coffman, Editor

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!

On July 1, 2012, all PWC operators, and motorboat operators age 30 and younger who operate boats with motors of 10 horsepower and greater must 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 fall boating season VDGIF reminds fisherman and duck hunters 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.

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!

Halloween October 31... Be aware that many localities are observing Halloween on Saturday October 27 and Sunday October 28. Be alert for trick-or-treaters on both days and evenings and the traditional date Wednesday October 31st. Make sure your little ghosts and goblins wear clothing with reflective markings or tape and carry a flashlight or glowstick.

Critter Corner by Marlene A. Condon

It's just not Halloween without a good bat story...

Eastern Red Bat

The Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis) is perhaps the easiest of the 16 recorded species of bats in Virginia to see. This beautifully colored flying mammal often migrates during daylight hours when its red coloring is quite visible.

It's not unusual for red bats to rest on buildings during migration. If you notice one resting, keep your distance so you won't scare it. You can get a good look by using binoculars. And, of course, never handle a bat.

Bright orangey-red fur indicates a male; a dull brick-red or chestnut pelage suggests a female.

Time of year to see them and where: Eastern Red Bats are often seen in late summer and fall, flying near woods and water as these animals move from northern states to southern ones.

Food: This bat feeds exclusively upon insects. Moths, beetles, plant and leaf hoppers comprise much of its diet in summer. In colder weather, flies and moths are its main sources of food.

Environmental function: The Eastern Red Bat helps to prevent overpopulations of a variety of insects so the environment can function properly. The bat is itself a food source for such animals as hawks, owls, and opossums.

Personal observation: Several times I've seen one or more red bats flying in December, usually on sunny days with temperatures in the 50s when there can be midge and stonefly hatches. When feeding, the bats swoop around in the same area for several minutes, providing great views.

Nature-friendly garden tip: Moths are an important food source for our bats in Virginia. You can help feed bats by allowing caterpillars to survive on your plants during the growing season. Don't worry! In a nature-friendly garden that supports numerous kinds of predators, caterpillar numbers are kept limited to a level that will not seriously harm plants.

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.

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 October 10 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

24 Venomous Snakes Recovered from Chesterfield Home... On October 2, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Kopelove assisted Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Biologists in the removal of 24 venomous snakes from the residence of the snakes' deceased owner in Chesterfield County. Chesterfield County Police and Animal Control requested help from DGIF as they had no means to identify and/or transport the snakes. The man was found dead with what appeared to be a snake bite to his finger. The snakes included 5 dusky pigmy rattlesnakes, 1 canebrake rattlesnake, 1 western diamondback rattlesnake, 1 northern Pacific rattlesnake, 2 sidewinder rattlesnakes, 4 adult copperheads, 7 juvenile copperheads, and 3 green tree pit vipers. Possession of venomous snakes is a violation of the Chesterfield County Code of Ordinances. The canebrake rattlesnake is listed as an endangered species in Virginia and is illegal to possess. DGIF personnel are currently working to find new homes for these snakes at certified and licensed facilities.

K9 Helps Detect Bait... On October 5, 2012 Conservation Police Officer Woodruff and K-9 Officer Vick followed up on a reported baited site in Southampton County. The officers detected multiple corn piles and areas with cameras throughout an 83 acre cutover. Through the use of her partner, Jake, K-9 Officer Vick was able to locate a granule protein substance that was well camouflaged in tall grass. On October 6, 2012 Officers Woodruff, Vick, and Popek returned to the baited area and waited for hunters to arrive. A total of four people hunted the property; three were issued summonses for hunting over bait.

Region II - Southside

Spotlighting Patrol leads to DUI Arrest... On September 27, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Ryan Gibson and Sergeant James Slaughter were on spotlighting patrol in Buckingham County. At approximately 2000 hours, Gibson observed a pickup truck parked on posted property on a gravel road with the driver's side door opened. Sergeant Slaughter and CPO Gibson contacted the individual and found him slumped over in the driver's seat. It was quite obvious that he had been consuming large quantities of alcohol. Noticing that the keys were still in the ignition and the engine was still warm, the suspect quickly tried to remove the keys. Gibson administered field sobriety tests to the individual and subsequently placed him under arrest for DUI. His final BAC was .14.

Poacher Cited for Using Deer Salad Bait... Conservation Police Officer Zach Adams received information and located a baited stand a couple weeks prior to opening day of archery season. He had continued checking the stand and found corn and fresh cut apples and suspected that someone was already hunting the stand. On opening day he found the individual hunting the stand. He had added carrots and turnips to the mixture of bait. The suspect admitted to putting out the bait and killing a doe a few weeks before season. Also, he had not purchased any hunting licenses.

CPOs Host Franklin County Kids Fishing Day... On Friday, October 12th, District 21 Conservation Police Officers stocked trout and patrolled the closed portion of Pigg River for the annual "Kids Fishing Day" that was held on the 13th. Prizes and trophies were awarded to the youngsters age 15 and under by Franklin County Parks and Recreation for the largest trout caught between 9 am and 1 pm in different age groups. Over 150 youngsters participated in this event and enjoyed a picture perfect day.

Hit and Run Incident Under Investigation... On Saturday, October 13, 2012, Conservation Police Sergeant Karl Martin received a call from a Smith Mountain Lake resident who stated that he had heard a loud noise at approximately 3:00 AM and at daylight had discovered that his neighbors dock had apparently been struck and damaged by a boat earlier that morning. Conservation Police Officer's from District 21 and 22 are investigating the incident that caused approximately $25,000.00 in damage to the dock. VDGIF divers, CPO Jeremy Hood and CPO Eric Dotterer, recovered evidence below the surface that will help identify the hit and run boat and that will help identify the occupants that fled the scene. This event is still under investigation.

Cooperative Spotlighting Patrol... On Saturday night, October 13th, Conservation Police Officer Joe Williams and Sergeant Bryan Young worked a spotlighting decoy operation in Roanoke County on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Officers from the US Park Service assisted with this operation. At approximately 2300 hours, a small pickup stopped in front of the decoy and the male passenger fired one shot from a 22 caliber rifle into the neck of the decoy. The pickup was subsequently stopped and the male passenger and female driver was charged with attempting to take deer at night, shooting from the roadway and other hunting related offenses. The 22 caliber single shot rifle was also seized.

Region III - Southwest

K9 Josie Locates Hidden Bait Leading to Arrests... On October 5, 2012 Conservation Police Officer George Shupe and K9 Officer Wes Billings followed up on a reported bait site located in Bland County. Officer Shupe had attempted to locate the bait the week before but was not successful. Senior Officer Wes Billings and Josie searched the suspected location and located the bait which was in the form of a commercially available horse treat, nuggets composed of corn, oats, barley, and molasses. The bait itself is well camouflaged when placed on the ground and among fallen leaves. On October 6th, Officer Shupe and Officer Keith Hagy checked the location and found two suspects hunting over the bait. The suspect stated to Officer Shupe that he hoped that he would not find his new bait. After charging both subjects for hunting over bait, the officers along with Sgt. Rolland Cox proceeded to another location on East River Mountain. Officer Shupe located one subject also hunting over bait. This subject has been under surveillance by Officer Shupe for the past year.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley – Northern Piedmont

Boating Safety Exhibit... On Saturday, September 15th, Conservation Police Officer Keith Crider participated in a boating safety exhibit at the 7th Annual Community Safety Fair sponsored by the Winchester Medical Center and the Winchester Police Dept. Many agencies were represented and provided information to promote safety to citizens in the community. An estimated 1,000 people were in attendance.

Poacher Nabbed for Killing Deer Out of Season... On Friday September 28th, Senior Conservation Police Officer Kester received information that a person killed a six point buck on a farm near the Augusta County Landfill. Officer Kester went and interviewed the suspect at his residence. The suspect gave a written confession to killing a six point buck with a crossbow on Tuesday, September 25th from a blind on a farm near the landfill. He did have permission to hunt the farm, however, the farmer was unhappy with this violation and has revoked the suspect's privilege to hunt there. The antlers and the deer meat were seized for evidence. The violator was charged with killing deer out of season.

Illegal Deer Kill... On Thursday, October 4, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Simmons was traveling along Graves Mill Road in Madison County when he observed a pick-up truck stop in the roadway and the passenger shoot at a deer standing in an adjacent field with a high-powered rifle. The truck sped away rapidly and then returned to the area a few minutes later, at which time Simmons activated lights and siren in an attempt to stop the suspect vehicle. The truck attempted to flee the area, accelerating in excess of 80 mph. Upon stopping the vehicle the occupants were ordered out of the vehicle and a .243 rifle was recovered. A post Miranda written confession was obtained from one of the occupants. When asked why they fled after seeing the officers lights and hearing the siren, the driver stated they were trying to get rid of the ammunition and spent shell casing prior to stopping. They also admitted to shooting at another deer farther up the road. The following day Officer Simmons returned to the scene with K9-12 and was able to locate both deer. Appropriate charges were placed.

Horseback Hunters Cited for Multiple Offences... On October 6, 2012, Senior Conservation Police Officer Tony McFaddin and Sergeant Greg Funkhouser were patrolling Rockbridge County near Goshen when they observed two individuals hunting from horseback on the National Forest. Both Officers approached the two individuals and observed one with a crossbow who admitted to deer hunting and the other with a 22 caliber rifle who was squirrel hunting. Upon checking both individuals each provided the appropriate hunting licenses with the exception of a national forest license. Upon further inspection of both hunters marijuana was found in one of the saddle bags of the hunters in which he admitted possession and was charged appropriately. After further inspection and questioning of both hunters it was determined that the squirrel hunter was a convicted felon and was not allowed to be in possession of a firearm. In addition he was intoxicated with a BAC level of .13%. He was arrested for hunting under the influence of alcohol and being in possession of a firearm after being convicted of a felony.

K9 Team Update

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.

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!

2012 Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest

One of the most difficult tasks of my job is sorting through the hundreds of entries for the annual Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest to select the finalists. Fortunately, I always have help to make those tough decisions with some talented and photo-savvy co-workers! There are so many wonderful and cute photos of children submitted – all excited about fishing. In fact, one of the best parts of my job is opening those envelopes as the entries pour in throughout the year.

2012 was no exception with some really great submissions. Once staff and I have narrowed down the selection to a group of finalists, they are posted for DGIF employees to cast their vote for their favorite photos. Our staff takes the contest very seriously and participation is high!

There are two age categories: 1-5 and 6-10. The top three voted contestants in each category are awarded a tackle package with prizes from Shakespeare Tackle Company, Green Top Sporting Goods and DGIF. Winners are also featured on our Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest webpage, Virginia Wildlife Magazine, The Outdoor Report and they may also be used in various DGIF publications including our annual Fishing Regulations Digest.

Be sure to take some pictures of your kids having fun fishing and submit your entries for a chance at great prizes this year. Congratulations to the 2012 winners – I hope you enjoy!

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

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

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

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

Rules for submitting photos to the group:

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah White's Notebook

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

Region 1 - Tidewater

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock Temporarily Closed to Powerboats

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

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. The water temperature is at 67 degrees and the visibility is 14 ft. We saw bass at 4 lbs., reports of larger fish have came in but no proof. White spinner baits, crank baits and top water baits, along windy points cough most of the fish as did large minnows. The grass has died off to about 5 ft. leaving a ring of clean water about 15 ft. from shore. Bass are holding under the edge of that grass, and will take top water baits and crank baits fished over that cover. Some nice pan fish are using that ring to feed on aquatic worms and other bottom dwellers, Use worms or jigs under small floats to get the job done. Yellow perch to 11 in. were taken using this technique. The size should increase as that ring resides into 8 to 10 ft. of water. Medium minnows are the bait of choice for those large perch. A couple of 3 to 4 lb. cats came off the pier. Chicken livers, crawlers, and cut gills worked well.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Contributed by Park Supervisor Patti McGrath. Pier fishing has picked up especially for crappie. People have been using minnows to get good size ones right off the dock. A catfish topping out at 5 lbs. was caught near the dam section of the lake. Bass have been hard to catch, mostly staying deep in the grass. People have been using jigs that look like frogs to catch the elusive bass. The water is slightly stained, at full pool and 69 degrees.

The Big Bash Classic Tournament concluded on Sunday October 21st. The results are as follows: First place went to Barry Brandt Jr. and Robert Brandt. Second place was awarded to Quillie Countiss and Robert Countiss. Third place was given to Jacob Hanson and Dustin Damron. 2012 Angler of the year went to Jerry Jenkins and Ricky West. Big Fish was awarded to Barry Brandt Jr. and Robert Brandt for a 5 lb. 11 oz. bass.

Beaverdam is open 364 days a year for all of your fishing fun. We have a new fishing kayak available for rent only $15 for the day. Come check it out! 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. Action for gar fishing in Cat Point Creek continues to be good with live bait. James Taylor went on another outing and picked up 3 more citation gar on October 12th. This brings his total citations in September and October to 7 (just 3 short of his Expert Qualification for this species). Also in the Middle Rappahannock, there are recent catches of puppy drum and small rockfish being reported.

I will be taking some time off from gar fishing and doing some sailing on the Chesapeake Bay but hope to get back up in the creek again this year. Yes, I will be dragging some lures behind the sailboat. See you on the water.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. According to Captain Jim, croakers can be found at Cape Henry, they will go for squid or Fishbite. Spot are at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and the Ocean View Pier, they are biting on Fishbite and bloodworms. Bluefish are attacking spoons at Cape Henry. The water is fairly clear and 67 degrees.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams reports that bass fishing has been "fair" with cranks and spinners. No word on crappie. Cat action has slowed a bit, try cut bait. No word on perch or bluegill. The water is slightly stained and 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 mid 60s on Monday (10/22/2012). The lake level was approximately even with top of the dam. The water was brown and very slightly cloudy in the lower lake. Most major and minor creeks were still 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 continuing to break up.

Small to medium and a few large crappie were widely scattered from the shallow flats to the channels in the main lake. Crappie were hitting live minnows, Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail jigs and tubes, small swimbaits, and Kalin crappie scrubs. Some small, and a few medium bluegill were scattered along weedwalls and on a few shallow flats near shorelines in the main lake and near the mouths of some of the major creeks. Most larger bluegill were in mid depths, especially near wood cover. 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, pickerel, and bowfin were scattered along the shorelines and mid depths in the main lake and up some of the major creeks. Bass were hitting live minnows, frogs and toads, surface lures, creature baits, soft plastic stick baits, crank baits, and plastic worms.

Fishing with Capt. Conway, Capt. Bill Buck and Hollis Pruitt had 35 bluegill, 4 white perch, 1 yellow perch, 1 flier, 5 crappie, 1 shiner, and 1 blue cat. Jim Jervis had 3 bluegill, 2 white perch, 6 crappie, and 3 blue cats.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. Brian Mullins says that the bass bite is good with spinners and cranks. No word on crappie. Some cats can be found in the shallow coves and will take cut bait. Bluegill are more than happy to bite small worms. Perch action is good with minnows and small spinners. The water is stained and from 63 to 70 degrees.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon told me that the bass bite is quite good on plastics, cranks and spinners. Crappie are responding well to minnows and jigs. Cats are going for cut bait. No word on perch. Bluegill action is hot on crickets and small worms. The water is clear and in the mid 70s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. I spent the 11th through the 13th on the Blackwater below the VDGIF ramp on Rt. 603. The water was clear, 60 degrees and 5.85 ft. on the USGS gauge at Burdette. That is 'bout as perfect a condition for the river to be in for fishing. I caught 11 bass to 2 pounds, a nice speckle and all the big bream I wanted. Bass were caught on an AC Shiner and a really small deep diving crankbait that I was catching the bream on.

Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker of Confluence Outfitters LLC, (434) 941-9550. The smallmouth bite continues to shift toward the slower colder weather bite. Don't misunderstand the "slower bite"; as the fish are still feeding and eating. In fact, some of the largest fish of the year will be caught from now until March. The "slower bite" produces fewer fish, but much larger in size. The bite is less aggressive and also harder to detect. But, once he's hooked these cold water fish fight even more aggressively than in summer months. They just don't bite as aggressively. Begin fishing tubes and jigs along the bottom. If you think you felt a bite set the hook immediately. That small nibble could be your 5 lb. hog! See our facebook page for the latest 20 inch hog caught this past Sunday! 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. No report this edition.

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

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock Temporarily Closed to Powerboats

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

Region 2 - Southside

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

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow Jr. says that the bass bite is "fair". Try spinners, cranks and top-waters. Seek crappie in the brush and around structures and throw a minnow or jig. Flathead cats are going for live bream. No word on perch or bluegills. the water is clear and cooling.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Doug Lane reports that smallmouth are going for baitfish and crawdad patterns. The rainbows and browns in the Jackson are responding well to nymphs. Brookies are about ready to start spawning and are "in full color". You might want to stop fishing for the little guys until they are done with their spawn. If you do go, be careful not to disturb their beds. Good flies for them are CK Nymphs and caddis patterns. The water is clear and in the low to mid 60s.

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.

Bass: Fishing has been a little tough for many anglers recently. The low water level has left much of the traditional structure under docks and walkways near the shoreline high and dry. It has also lowered the water on the ends of lay downs significantly and reduced the depth of water in the backs of creeks. There are still fish being caught under and around deep water docks and bluffs using traditional pig and jigs with plastic trailers and floating finesse worms and craw imitating plastics rigged on small shakey head jigs. Bass are also being caught on heavier jigs and Texas rigged worms in deeper water. Crankbaits continue to produce bass and as reported earlier the occasional striper as well. While bass continue to be caught on a variety of lures, anglers report lure selection and presentation is key to success, especially on the bass found in deeper water. For these bass, the drop shot rig has been the technique reportedly used most successfully by anglers able to locate bass on their electronics. The key is to use a very light tipped rod and to rig with a very high quality, small, ball bearing swivel to eliminate line twist. Visibility is currently very good in most sections of the lake, so it is also important to use a lightweight fluorocarbon line especially from the swivel to the sinker. Good drop shot lures include the Squirrel Worm (Big Bite Baits), Loca-motion (Basstrix), Straight Tail Roboworm and ZOOM Finesse worm. While many nose hook their plastic worms I suggest you try using a small extra wide gap hook on your drop shot rig. This puts the point further back in the plastic for better hook ups and helps reduce hang ups when fishing near wooded structure. You can also take a pair of pliers and open the hook slightly to improve performance. When you get a bite, you do not want to jerk up on the rod to set the hook, just keep the rod up to maintain pressure using the rod and light drag on the reel to absorb the pressure of the fish on the light terminal tackle and line being used.

Striped bass: Patterns are changing. Many of the larger schools of striped bass seen throughout the summer have broken up and most anglers report they are currently finding stripers in either smaller schools or small pods of between 10 and 20 fish. Many of the stripers currently being caught are being found in the middle and upper sections of both the Blackwater and Roanoke River sections of the lake. Anglers fishing with live bait report success and at a variety of different depths. Some anglers are marking stripers in small schools from 12 to 35 feet below the surface and catching them on downlines while others report success presenting live bait on free lines, shot lines and light downlines off the top and sides of shallow deep-water points.

Many anglers are using planer boards and floats to distribute their baits and cover a larger area in the upper portion of the water column, especially early and late in the day and on days when skies are overcast and the stripers are found in the upper sections of the water column. One technique that will work all year long and is especially effective this time of year is trolling. There are a number of boats trolling in areas from just below the bridge to Beaverdam Creek on the Roanoke side and from Gills Creek to the 4-H on the Blackwater side. There are a variety of different tackle combinations and lures that can be used to troll. Some anglers use downriggers, others lead core line outfits, braided line tackle as well as traditional tackle with deep diving crankbaits and jerkbaits. Umbrella rigs are a great and very effective lure for stripers and the the more recently introduced Alabama rig is also proving to be very effective. Check out your favorite local tackle shop for specific advice, assistance and tackle selection. The water temperature is 58 to 62 and clear.

Early archery and crossbow season continue and early black powder rifle season comes in on Saturday, November 3rd. If you plan to hunt during the black powder or rifle season and haven't already checked out your gear or the sights on your rifle, it is time to do so. If you plan to be walking or working in areas where people may be hunting, I strongly suggest you wear a blaze orange hat or vest to insure you are highly visible.

This past Sunday my son and I took my grandson, Christian Jack, out into the woods on his first educational "scouting" trip. We simply walked along the edges of local fields and into the edges of wooded areas where we found deer tracks. We took time to show them to C.J. and to explain little things many of us take for granted like in which direction the deer were walking and how to tell the difference between fresh tracks and older ones. We also located and examined fresh deer rubs and scrapes, turkey scratches, squirrel cut nuts and much more, explaining the purpose and significance of each. C.J. was fascinated by everything he learned and spent much of the late afternoon telling us about it. I often encourage anglers to take a kid fishing, but the "scouting trip" my son organized this past Sunday reminded me there is an equally important opportunity available to those of us who love the outdoors and that is to expose our kids, their kids and their friends to the woods, fields and animals that live there as well.

Tight lines and please be safe while in the woods and on the water.

Region 3 - Southwest

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

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius told me that the bass bite is difficult because the water is so clear. When the water is this clear, the fish have no trouble seeing you and won't take your lure; so don't wear bright colors. Try throwing a GitZits. Muskies are not being very cooperative, but will soon be fattening up for winter, making then easier to land. The water is 65 degrees and clear.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. The Upper New River is crystal clear and low, but the fishing is outstanding. Smallmouth are still aggressive on top-waters, plastics and jerkbaits. Walleye are really firing off, especially during the twilight times of the day. Muskie are on the feedbag, bulking up for winter. Just a great time to be on the river right now fishing, especially while we are still enjoying the fall foliage. Water temperature is 60 degrees but may increase this week with forecasted warming temperatures and sunny days. With everyone turning their attention to the woods and various hunting seasons you may enjoy the river all to yourself right now.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash reports that the smallmouth bite is very good. Try soft plastics, cranks and inline spinners. For muskie use a big inline spinner and land yourself a monster. The water is clear and in the low 60s.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. This upcoming week will be more like late summer than Fall on the Top New (Mouth of Wilson to Fries). Good smallmouth fishing should continue for a while longer due to the warm temperatures. Try subsurface lures and flies. Many of the trout streams in SW Virginia have been stocked so it's a good time of year to come up for both trout and smallmouth fishing. Water in the New is very clear with a visibility of 6 feet or more.

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

Region 4 - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Harry says that the smallmouth bite on both the north and south forks of the Shenandoah is very good. The key is to fish deeply, with streamers and nymphs. In the north fork the best areas to fish are from Edinburg to Strausburg. In the south fork, try form Luray to Bentonville. Good flies are: Murray' s Magnum Creek Chub, size 4; Murray's Hog Sucker, size 4; and Shenk's Sculpin, size 4. The water is clear, at a good level and 61 degrees.

In the Valley the stocked and delayed harvest streams are "excellent" places to fish. Try Passage creek and Back Creek. Good flies are: Casual Dress, size 10; and Betsy Streamer, size 10. The water is clear, at a good level and 52 degrees.

Harry advises anglers to back off and not disturb the brookies until they are done spawning.

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

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com.

Dominion Employees Dedicate Monument to Honor Veterans and Project Healing Waters Volunteers... On October 10-11, Outdoor Report Editor, David Coffman, was honored to participate as a photographer for the "Home Waters" Monument Dedication and fly fishing outing in Bath County hosted by Dominion Resources and Project Healing Waters for 10 active duty military personnel and veterans. With an inspirational ceremony, 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 was dedicated at noon October 10th joined by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, an avid fly fisherman himself and representatives of VDGIF and Dominion. Local hunting and fishing guide and Outdoor Report contributor Mike 'Puff' Puffenbarger and his family provided the hearty home style cooked meals for the two-day event served 'creek side' under tents in a beautiful autumn setting customary for the Highlands. See the feature in Partner Organizations section on the event.

Puff notes there is still good fishing in the Highlands on Lake Moomaw and other rivers and streams in the area. Check the Maple Tree Outdoors website for opportunities and 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): No report this edition.

Occoquan River: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. It's been a couple of weeks, but I finally found time to get out with my buddy John on the Occoquan River. We both love the sunrises on the water...and we weren't disappointed. It was pretty much dead low tide when we arrived at the grass beds at the mouth of the Occoquan River, with water temps at 57 degrees and decent water clarity. We tried several light colored presentations – top-water Pop'R, small twitch bait, and wacky rigged Senkos; but found the largemouth bass were only hitting the Senkos. Of course, John started off with a very nice over 3 pounder, with all of the 6 to 8 other bass we boated coming in between the 1 to 1 1/2 pound range. With the tide rising around 9 a.m., we decided to look for some crappie, and were happy to find them hitting small jigs with 1 to 2 in. swim bodies around several docks near the marinas closer to Occoquan. Nothing gargantuan mind you, most were in the 7 to 10 in. range, but there were one or two that squeaked into the 1 foot slot. Good thing for them we weren't looking to have a fish fry...so they were all released back into the river. All in all it was a very pleasant day on the Occoquan!

Occoquan River: Contributed by local angler Jim Thomas. With cooler weather the fishing has really picked up at Occoquan Reservoir. Quality bass are readily taking crankbaits along the shorelines and lay downs. There are still some good catfish to be had. Last weekend water temperatures on the lake varied from 57 to 61 degrees so if where you are is not loaded with feeding fish, try moving to another part of the lake. A move of a mere mile or two can really change things up!

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. Angler's Landing will be closed for the winter and will reopen on St. Patrick's Day.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service, (540) 894-9144. With water temperatures in the 70s throughout the lake and dropping we are poised to enter the next phase of annual fishing patterns here on Lake Anna. Once the water drops into the 60s you see a lot of fish movement. There will be vast areas of no fish and small areas of big schools of fish. You'll have to pay close attention to find these "Hot Zones" and when you find them, the fishing can be excellent! Here's what you can expect on your next visit.

Striper: Striper often move into the upper portion of the lake to feed on massive schools of threadfin shad at some point in late October. The "Hot Zone" is generally above the second bridges when this happens in both branches. Only later, when the water drops into the lower 50s and 40s does the Zone move down lake. Currently, however, the schools are from The Splits up to the first two bridges, around the Power Plant, Dukes Creek and Dike III. We are catching keepers on Toothache spoons under breaking smaller fish that will take a variety of small, plastic swimbaits. Multi-arm rigs with 3 in. baits are working well now, too.

Largemouth Bass: Largemouth bass are less prone to be caught in the shallows when the water drops into the 60s, though they will be feeding heartily in the shallows for part of the day - usually in the mid afternoons. The backs of mid lake creeks often hold herring then and the bass school up and corral them for a buffet style smashing. You can also catch fish in the upper, flats sections of the lake using baits that allow you to cover a lot of water like a spinnerbait or lipless crankbait. The biggest limits/catches come when you slow down and pitch creature baits or jigs to willow grass lines in the upper portions of the North Anna and Pamunkey Branch. Currently, you can consistently catch bass pitching worms and creature baits to docks in the mid and up lake regions and along willow grass lines in the upper sections.

Crappie: Crappie have been on docks, shallow brush piles and rocks in the upper section of the lake since late last month. The average size will get larger and the fish will slowly move toward deeper and deeper holding areas, including bridge pilings until the water falls into the low 50s when they will begin to school off shore and follow threadfin schools.

Good luck on your next visit. Contact us if you want a trip and we hope to see you November 4th at the Lake Anna Cup at Anna Point Marina.

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

Get your kids hooked on fishing!

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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

With bow deer season underway and many youngsters 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. Whether it is a buck or doe doesn't really matter. For a young teenage deer hunter, his first shot at a doe on a hunt with his dad was his most memorable outdoor experience. Obaid Rehman was a sophomore at Centreville High School, in Clifton, Virginia when he entered his article in the 2009-10 Virginia Outdoor Writers Association High School Youth Writing Contest. His story ranked in the Top 10. Not only does the story keep you interested in what will happen next, but as you read about Obaid's 'first doe' adventure, note that he uses good safety practices both in handling his crossbow, being sure of his target before firing, and staying in contact with his dad during the hunt. Obaid also talks about the wilderness experience and the fun and adventure of being outdoors with family and friends. Getting a deer was not the, most memorable part of the hunt- it was the total experience of the trip with his dad. The tradition of hunting is in good hands with responsible and respectful young hunters like Obaid. Good luck this season and thanks to your dad for teaching you safety and the values of our hunting traditions.

What is Success in the Hunting Woods?

By Obaid Rehman

BUZZ! BUZZ! BUZZ! The alarm goes off, 3:30 AM. It was an early November morning, and a great day to hunt. I awoke from my restless night of sleep, which was haunted by non-stop images of goliath bucks with massive antlers and long bearded gobblers. My dad and I left the house after our high energy breakfast, encountering many roadside does on the way to our hunting spot, sort of a preview.

My dad and I reached the property, we walked quite as mice through the pitch black forest to our blind. We settled in and waited for the sun to rise. Until daylight we eavesdropped into the conversations of the forest. The sunrise was stunning, with rays peeking through the many branches on to the collage of leaves on the forest floor. The eerie bark of a fox echoed through the seemingly empty wood, and birds sang their songs as if they were competing with each other. Squirrels were scurrying about the forest floor, over scarred logs, under bare bushes, and up skeleton-like trees, like balls in a pin ball machine.

As I knocked my arrow into my crossbow, I realized something very important. The reason I'm crazy about hunting is not just because of the feeling of being successful by fooling the animals senses, but because I am able to see something many people will never see other than on TV, the pure wilderness. Some things that make you realize that we are not alone in this world and that the forest is its own community.

As the day went on and the sun rose, I noticed the glistening feathers of a turkey in the distance to my right, and as it approached I saw there was a whole gang behind him. I admire them quietly, as they are out of range, clucking and kicking back leaves, going on without raising their pecking heads from the ground, and hopping over obstacles like logs as if floating. And this makes me realize how wonderful it is that I have the opportunity view, even if not harvest, this wonderful creature, which is normally thought of as the big oval bag in the meat department by the general public, in the wild.

I turned back to face the front, and see a big doe gracefully walking towards my blind, but there is a problem, she is walking straight towards it. Her light brown fur softly glows in the sun and the white is blinding, her ears stand up high, ever vigilant, and her big black eyes seem fake. I flick of the safety and stay as still as possible. She walks past a mature oak and stands at 10 yards, but only her head shows beyond the massive trunk. She pauses and stares, stomps her foot. I stay as still as statue, and wait for her to turn so I can raise my crossbow. She turns and walks back behind a thorn bush, I get into position but she is walking away. Filled with hope I stay ready for her to appear as she disappears behind a bunch of bushes. She reappears on my left in a little opening between two trees, My dad hits the bleat call and she pauses, looking straight at me, I focus my sights on her, and... FLUMP! My arrow shoots out and just above her back. I shot high, instantly my thought races back to those hot and sweaty summer afternoons spent practicing, I figured I misjudged the distance which ended up being 40 yards. She raises her white flag and hops away pausing out of range as if taunting me.

But I realize something, yet again, what I have just been through happens to many hunters who are more experienced than me and all I can do is practice harder and hunt harder instead of moping about it. Because at 8:00 AM when most of my friends are sleeping their Saturday morning away, I am experiencing something most of them never will, the American wilderness at its best and something very important to our country, the tradition of hunting. I now remember an important fact, that every hunt is successful!

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: