In this edition:

Hunting Season is Time to Share

During this season of Thanksgiving, sportsmen are sharing the bounty of our fields and forests in many ways. With the sluggish economy and household budgets being stretched, hunting is affordable and an economic way to put food on the table. There are numerous benefits to the local economy as well, and hunting has a very positive impact on state and national economic factors. Hunters also share their bounty in many ways in their local communities. Food banks need donations now more than ever. Hunters are providing much needed protein to Virginia's needy families by donating a deer, or a portion of it, to Hunters for the Hungry. The potential exists to receive, process, and distribute 400,000 pounds of venison annually providing 1.6 million servings to the less fortunate across Virginia. Since Hunters for the Hungry was founded in 1991, more than 4.9 million pounds of venison which equates to 19.8 million servings, have been distributed in Virginia. In tough times, hunters continue to share the wealth of their harvest. Hunters can also contribute by donating $2 or more to Hunters for the Hungry when they purchase their hunting licenses. Hunters that donate deer are not required to also pay the $40 tax deductible processing fee for the deer they donate. The non-hunting public is encouraged to donate money to Hunters for the Hungry to off-set the cost of processing the donated venison. Share the bounty in any way you can in this season when we give thanks for all the many blessings we share. There are numerous other ways for sportsmen to 'give back' to their sport, their neighbors and their communities featured in the articles throughout this edition.

David Coffman, Editor

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

Hunting Benefits All Virginians in Many Ways

With the general firearms deer hunting season underway, and the fall turkey season re- opening next week in many counties, hunters should pause to reflect on all the benefits that their participation adds to their lives and the positive impact on fellow Virginians. The sluggish economy has 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. Develop Healthy Minds, Spirits and Bodies
  4. Share the Bounty
  5. Manage Wildlife Population

Boost the Economy

Affordable for the Hunter - One deer can yield approximately 50 pounds of nutritious high protein, low fat venison. Virginia's abundant wildlife provides opportunities for hunters to dine on venison, duck, goose, rabbit, turkey and more – the ultimate in organic, free-range food. For a small fee of $23, a Virginia resident can purchase a Hunting License good for one year from the day of purchase (or the ultimate investment, purchase a lifetime license with the cost depending on the age of the purchaser). This allows the individual to hunt a variety of small game such as rabbits and squirrels. For another $23, that resident can purchase a Bear, Deer and Turkey License, again good for one year from date of purchase, and good for cutting the food bill.

Putting dollars into Virginia's Economy - Each year in Virginia, hunters spend more than $480 million in trip-related and equipment expenditures, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. It is estimated that hunting and fishing generate $128 million in state and local taxes and directly support more than 24,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. Hunters contribute to the Virginia economy in the form of food, lodging, gasoline, dog food, kennel supplies, veterinarian care for hunting dogs, and equipment purchases. Hunting attracts visitors from out-of-state eager to experience the great hunting the Old Dominion has to offer and those visitors spend a lot of money here in that pursuit.

Hunt safely and responsibly, and have fun!

A great gift for the novice or experienced hunter is the VDGIF video, "A Professional Guide to Field Dressing, Skinning and Butchering White-Tailed Deer" which gives step by step instructions on how to field dress a deer as demonstrated by VDGIF Wildlife Biologist Ron Hughes. The video also features professional butcher and Hunter Education instructor Rob Bingel who demonstrates how to cape out a deer for mounting and details how to de-bone and professionally butcher a deer using only a knife and a hacksaw. You can order by telephone or online.

Hunters for the Hungry Needs Donations of Venison and Processing Funds

During this season of giving, sportsmen are sharing the bounty of our fields and forests in many ways. Food banks need donations now more than ever. Hunters are providing much needed protein to Virginia's needy families by donating a deer, or a portion of it, to Hunters for the Hungry. The potential exists to receive, process, and distribute 400,000 pounds of venison annually providing 1.6 million servings to the less fortunate across Virginia. Since Hunters for the Hungry was founded in 1991, more than 4.9 million pounds, equal to 19.8 million servings, of venison have been distributed in Virginia. In tough times, hunters continue to share the wealth of their harvest. Hunters can also contribute by donating $2 or more to Hunters for the Hungry when they purchase their hunting licenses. Another valuable contribution is to also pay the $40 tax deductible processing fee for the deer they donate although hunters are not required to pay the processing for donated deer at H4H designated processors. The non-hunting public is also encouraged to donate money to Hunters for the Hungry to off-set the cost of processing the donated venison. Share the bounty in any way you can in this season when we give thanks for all the many blessings we share. There are numerous other ways for sportsmen to 'give back' to their sport, their neighbors and their communities featured in the articles throughout this edition.

Revised Holiday Schedule for Posting the Outdoor Report

The next regular posting for the Outdoor Report will be December 12, 2012. This is the final Outdoor Report posting for 2012 as only one edition is posted in December due to extended Christmas / New Year's Holidays. The first edition of 2013 will post on the regular schedule of Wednesday, January 9.

Looking for the Perfect Gift for the Outdoor Enthusiast?

Hunting & Fishing Licenses

Give the gift of enjoyment in Virginia's great outdoors!

Field Dressing, Skinning & Processing Deer DVD

Learn how to field dress, skin, and process a deer.

Virginia Wildlife Magazine Subscription

Virginia Wildlife offers you stories and insight on the natural world, supplied by the state's leading wildlife and outdoor experts.

2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar

Visually stunning and informative, this calendar highlights many of the most sought after game and fish species in Virginia.

2012 Limited Edition Virginia Wildlife Collector's Knife

Our 2011 Collector's knife has been customized by Buck Knives and features a bobwhite quail in flight. The elegant, solid cherry box features a field scene. Knives and boxes are made in the USA.

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Fur Handling Demonstration December 9 in Stanardsville

The Virginia Trappers Association (VTA) is sponsoring a Fur Handling Demonstration Sunday, December 9, from 10 am to 3 pm at the South River Preserve on RT 230, one mile north of Stanardsville in Greene County. This class is free, but pre-registration is required in order to have a count of students so enough instructors are on hand. Bring your own fur and skinning and fleshing equipment. Instructors will bring an item to skin and flesh as a demonstration, but you are expected to bring your own fur and skin and flesh it yourself under their tutelage. Steve Colvin, Ed Crebbs, Scott Painter, and Glen Mabe will be your instructors. (There may be others.) Contact Ed Crebbs 540-832-2708 ed.crebbs.1949@gmail.com to reserve your spot and/or for more information. For information on VTA and other training and trapping opportunities, visit their website.

Shoot to Retrieve Bird Hunt in Providence Forge December 15-16

"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 Chukar Hunt on December 15th & 16th, at Hunters Sanctuary in Providence Forge, VA.

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. For a description of the hunt process read the feature article in the November 14, 2012 edition.

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. 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

VDGIF Fisheries Biologist Presents Fishing Seminar in Winchester January 12

Come out to James Wood High School Auditorium in Winchester, on Saturday January 12 for a free workshop on largemouth and smallmouth bass biology and management, trout fishing in Virginia, river and stream access, and learn about northern snakehead biology and ecology. The workshop begins at 2 PM, is free and open to the public with no advance registration or experience required and will be conducted by John Odenkirk, Fisheries Biologist with Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. See the event flyer for more details. For more information, contact Jake's Bait and Tackle 540-723-4621; info@jakesbaitandtackle.com.

Christmas Bird Count - Get Involved!

January - February Sportsmens' Shows Set Dates and Locations

The seven regional outdoor sportsman's shows scheduled for January - April 2012 have set their dates and some have changed locations. These annual "Break the cabin fever and beat the winter blues" events feature seminars from the experts, exhibits, demonstrations, and contests, promising fun and exciting new activities for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors from the pros. All the shows feature activities for kids to spark their interest in outdoor adventures. See the latest in specialized equipment and partnership programs offered by sportsman's organizations. VDGIF staff will be on hand to provide information on hunting and fishing opportunities and agency programs to manage fish and wildlife resources. Each show offers something different, so check each show's website for all the details.

Fishing Expo Returning to Meadow Event Park in Caroline January 25-27

The Richmond Fishing Expo is returning to the Farm Bureau Center at the new Meadow Event Park in Caroline County January 25-27, 2013. The family-oriented show is geared to be a fun and educational experience for all who attend. Whether you are a fly fishing enthusiast, a bass fisher, saltwater, lake or river angler, this show has something for everyone in the family. Again this year, your admission ticket will allow you to return to the Show another day. There will be conservation organizations represented and an incredible selection of outfitters, fishing charters, boating suppliers, and seminar presenters. Numerous nationally-known speakers will hold seminars to teach skills and share some great stories of their adventures and experiences. VDGIF staff will be on hand to answer questions on agency programs, angling education, special training events, and opportunities to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. The Outdoor Report e-newsletter will also have an exhibit featuring Fishin' Report contributing reporters answering your questions on where to get the latest "how are they bitin'" info on more that 25 primary lakes and rivers statewide. Volunteers from the VDGIF Complementary Work Force will be on hand describing opportunities for volunteers to assist in carrying out a variety of agency programs. For information visit the Show website.

Holiday Lake 4-H Center Offers Primitive Bow and Decoy Carving Workshops

The Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center near Appomattox is again offering a variety of popular winter workshops for unique outdoor related skills for both primitive bow making and Decoy Carving ! Early registration is encouraged as courses fill quickly and spaces are limited. The Traditional Flintlock Rifle Workshop March 3-8, 2013 announced in the last Outdoor Report is FULL. For details on upcoming workshops contact Heather Benninghove, Program Director, by email: heathern@vt.edu call (434) 248-5444 Fax: (434) 248-6749, or visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website.

Primitive Bow Workshop February 3-6, 2013

Learn to build your own Primitive Bow. Instruction and kits provided by long time bow builder Alton Hill. Bows will be made from an assorted species of wood and design choices include Native American, European or hybrid. Participants will make one bow during workshop and start a second to finish at home. The workshop also includes an introduction to arrow making and arrow shafting, shafting, shooting styles and string making. Workshop price is $575; price includes programming, instructor fee, bow kits, meals and lodging. Click here for more information. Register by January 18, 2013.

Decoy Carving Workshop March 3-7, 2013

Learn to carve your own traditional duck decoy or sharpen your carving skills! Beginners Welcome! Carving experience not needed. First time carvers will carve and paint a Canvasback, one of the most popular of all decoys. Returning students will carve and paint a decoy of their choice. Decoys will be carved from Tupelo, a favored decoy wood. Workshop price is $275 and includes meals, lodging, materials, and instructor fees. Click here for more information. Register by February 15, 2013.

People and Partners in the News

David Whitehurst Presented With Clarence Watson Award

The Clarence W. Watson Award is the most prestigious award given in the Southeast and is presented to the career individual who, in the opinion of the Award Committee, has made the greatest contribution to wildlife or fish conservation during the previous year or years. Consideration includes research, administration, law enforcement, I&E, wildlife management, fish management, teachers, and students. Preference is given to nominees in the Southeast. The award is a mounted bronze plaque presented jointly by the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society, the Southeastern Section of the Wildlife Society, and the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

It is with a great deal of pride that I want to congratulate David Whitehurst for having been awarded the prestigious Clarence W. Watson Award. This award was presented to David at the Southeastern Fish and Wildlife Agencies conference in Hot Springs, Arkansas and is richly deserved by David for a very long list of career contributions and achievements. David is only the third Virginian to ever receive this top honor!

Chad Boyce Receives Back Bay Restoration Foundation Conservation Award

Back Bay Restoration Foundation (BBRF) is proud to present our annual "Conservationist of the Year" award to Chad Boyce of the Virginia Department of Game and inland Fisheries (VDGIF) for his extensive and effective work on Back Bay. BBRF awarded this honor at their annual Oyster Roast at Baybreeze Farms in Pungo, on Sunday, November 18, 2012.

Back Bay is known for its wide diversity of fish, animal and plant life. Located at the extreme northern reaches of the Currituck/Pamlico/Albemarle Sounds, it plays an extremely important role in the health of all that is located south. BBRF is a non-profit organization with a mission to preserve, protect, and improve Back Bay and its watershed.

Chad Boyce, the Region 1 District Fisheries Biologist for VDGIF became an expert in recognizing different patterns in the weather, SAV growth, populations and wind tide fluctuation as they pertain to survivability and growth of fish. His background as an angler, waterfowler and waterman enhanced his dedication to the fish and animals of Back Bay. Having a stake in the health of the bay, Chad brainstormed for anything that could help return the Bay to its prior pristine state and re-create the fishery it was once known for worldwide. He has become VDGIF's Region 1 expert on fisheries, law enforcement, and regulatory processes on Back Bay.

Chad knew that the basis for the decline in fish and wildlife populations was the disappearance of aquatic grasses and that until that initial building block was reinstated and sustainable, the small invertebrates, crustaceans and fish could not exist. Chad developed a silt fence system that allowed water to flow, but catch suspended sediment downwind. The outcome was almost immediately noticeable. Another project that Chad initiated is the reintroduction of largemouth bass into Back Bay. His most recent effort involved a three-year stocking of nearly 400,000 largemouth bass fry, starting with a stocking of 125,000 fry in May 2012.

Chad started his career with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in 1996 as a Fisheries Technician after graduating from Christopher Newport University with a Biology degree and a concentration in Marine Science. Between 1998 to the present, Chad rose through the ranks of the VDGIF, and is now the District Fisheries Biologist, Region 1. Chad lives in Isle of Wight County, within miles of his birthplace, Chuckatuck, with his wife Theresa, and their daughter, Cara.

Because of his extensive knowledge of fish, wildlife, vegetation and the regulatory process, combined with his dedication and development of the aforementioned programs, BBRF is proud to award our 2012 Conservationist of the Year Award to Chad Boyce. Chad's diligent work, awareness, and personal regard for Back Bay has improved the environmental quality, fish populations and future of the watershed.

VDGIF Employees "Dog-Up" to Support Hunters for the Hungry and Other Charities

On November 16th, VDGIF employees at the Richmond Headquarters ate hot dogs and chips to raise money for Hunters for the Hungry (H4H), raising over $300 to support their efforts! The H4H accepts donated venison, processes it, and distributes it to those in need – a great show of compassion and partnership with VDGIF, deer hunters and numerous sportsmen's organizations. Belinda Anthony, Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC) Coordinator for VDGIF, organized the cookout event to raise awareness for H4H and also to get employees to complete their pledge cards for the CVC Campaign, with over $1,400 pledged to support other charities in the Commonwealth. VDGIF employees continue to be generous in so many ways to positively impact the lives of Virginia citizens. Many thanks to those that volunteered to make this event a great success. The CVC is a voluntary employee workplace charitable giving program, which raises funds for over 1,300 nonprofit health and humanitarian organizations throughout the state of Virginia. In the past ten years (2002-2012), state employees have donated more than $37.6 million to participating non-profit organizations through CVC!

Outdoor Writers Sponsor Annual Collegiate Undergraduate Writing Competition

Marie and Milan Majarov, Board Members, Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, Inc. and Chairpersons for the Annual Collegiate Writing Contest announce the 2012-13 Annual Collegiate Undergraduate Writing Competition is now open with a deadline of February 7, 2013. This year brings exciting news of a wonderful new prize opportunity for students. In additional to the regular cash prizes of $250 and $150 awarded to the 1st and 2nd place winners respectively, a special new award for the best entry relating specifically to the Virginia outdoors (a story set in Virginia and written about a traditional Virginia outdoor activity such as hunting, fishing, hiking, camping or similar pursuit) will be offered by Cooperative Living Magazine which is published by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC). The winner of this award will receive $100 and have their entry published in Cooperative Living Magazine. This award could be won by the first or second place entry or by another entry. A wonderful publishing credit opportunity for a young writer's resume, we are very grateful to Editors of Cooperative Living Magazine for making this possible. Judging will be done by a panel of three professional writers/editors.

Our objective, as always, is to encourage young adults to write about their experiences/interests in the outdoors, wildlife, and/ or natural history. The contest is open to any undergraduate student enrolled at a Virginia college or university, including two-year community colleges, public, and private post-secondary institutions, or to students who are Virginia residents attending similar out of state schools.

Information on this and the High School Outdoor Writing Competitions are available on the VOWA website. The winners of both competitions will be introduced at the VOWA annual meeting, to be held in Staunton Virginia March 2013. This year's annual meeting will be held jointly with the Mason Dixon Outdoor Writers Association and in attendance we expect to have the President of the national organization, the Outdoor Writers Association of America, Mark Taylor, from Roanoke. Winners and 2 guests each will be invited to the awards presentation at VOWA's expense; additional guests will also be welcome. This is a very special opportunity for students to showcase their writing talents before many of the best outdoor writers from Virginia and surrounding states.

In addition to the publication of the special award winning essay in Cooperative Living Magazine, winning entries will be placed on the VOWA website, and selected quality entries published in the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries e-newsletter The Outdoor Report. Attempts will be made to get as many entries as possible published in a number of weekly and daily publications throughout Virginia. Rewarding excellence is our goal. Supporting Photos are not required, but will most certainly be welcomed.

The 2011-12 competition was a big success. We were very impressed by these young people and the excellence of all the entries we received. You can read the winning essays at http://www.vowa.org/collegewinners.html, and many of the best entries are presently in the publication process in the VDGIF e-newsletter The Outdoor Report.

If you have any questions about the competition you may contact, Marie or Milan Majarov at marie.milan@majarov.com or call us at (540) 336-8728 and we will be glad to help you.

VOWA represents professional writers, editors, photographers, videographers, agency and conservation organization communicators, and outdoor related businesses who strive to improve their craft and increase our knowledge and understanding of the outdoors and its enjoyment. Visit the VOWA website for more information and how to become a member or supporting member.

10th Annual Youth Essay Contest "The Hunt"

Attention National Wild Turkey Federation(NWTF) JAKES members, here's your chance to put your writing and storytelling skills to work. Simply write a 500 word, or less, essay describing a hunting experience you've had, and how it has affected your life. Entry deadline is December 15th 2012.

Send a picture (if available) with the story of "The Hunt." Include in the story what or who inspired the interest for the hunt. Has your interest been inspired by a JAKES event, 4-H shooting events, or any other type of hunting and shooting event? If so, how? Please include any information about the hunt that made it special. The story can include more than one outdoor adventure. Please limit your essay to 500 words or less. The story of "The Hunt" does not have to include the harvesting of any game. All JAKES ages 17 and under are eligible to enter the contest. Entries MUST include the Virginia State JAKES Youth Essay Contest Entry Form that is available on the Virginia Chapter NWTF website, www.vanwtf.com, or from your local NWTF Chapter.

Prizes will be awarded in two categories, 12 and under, and 13 to 17 years old.

Prizes:
1st $250.00
2nd $150.00
3rd $50.00

Entries must be received by December 15, 2012, and can be mailed or emailed to:

Richard Pauley
1554 Prease Rd
Buchanan, VA 24066
PAULEYR@nationwide.com
540-992-1883

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."

Diverse Groups Partner for Successful "Gourmet Gone WILD" in Stafford

The DGIF Outdoor Education Program conducted the Gourmet Gone WILD event on Oct 21st which was hosted at the Potomac Point Winery in Stafford County. Some of our partners in making this event successful were the Potomac Point Winery, Stafford Parks and Recreation, Virginia Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Stafford Tourism, the Patawomack Indians, as well as schools that participated in the VDGIF Explore Bowhunting Program. This opportunity offered a unique event featuring outdoor skills opportunities related to hunting with archery stations and fishing, deer management and wildlife habitat, as well as a "sampling" of Virginia's foods. A youth hunt was conducted at the winery and surrounding private property in response to deer issues experienced by the winery. Various additional partners assisted such as the Chesapeake Ray and Virginia Oysters Growers, who provided sampling of stir-fried ray and oysters. The Riverside Community Church provided venison chili, which was a hit with the homemade cornbread. Smoked venison and rock fish was also sampled. The winery provided grape stomping and face painting for the youth. Winery tours were also available. The Patawomack Indians had a display of many artifacts, tools, bows and had a hand carved canoe.

Members of the Suburban Whitetail Management of Northern Virginia (SWMNV) assist in donating deer for the VDGIF educational programs and events. VDGIF offers programs and events which help teach novice hunters and participants how to process and cook their harvest as well as sessions that feature a "sampling" of wild game from Virginia. For more information on events offered please visit www.HuntFIshVA.com. For more information on the whitetail deer issues in Northern Virginia and SWMNV, please visit www.deerdamage.com.

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.

Thanksgiving Pheasant Hunt & Gundog Championship Features 65 Bird Dogs

The Virginia Upland Classic Series along with the National Bird Dog Circuit, held a "shoot to retrieve" style Pheasant Hunt November 17-18 at Liberty Corners Farms near Charlottesville, Virginia. The "Shoot to retrieve" style bird hunts and gundog competitions are fast gaining popularity in Virginia. This year the November Pheasant hunt and championship attracted more than 65 bird dogs of various ages and breeds to take to the fields hunting pheasants. With the help of great sponsors like Greentop Sporting Goods, Sunshine Mills amp; "Hunter's Special" Dog Food, along with "The Pointing Dog Journal" and "Woods & Waters Magazine" the Thanksgiving Pheasant hunt is growing into an outstanding annual outdoor event for bird hunting enthusiasts in Virginia. The National Upland Classic Series and the National Bird Dog Circuit, sanction the hunts put on by the Virginia organization.

First time participants ("Novices") got started early on a frosty Saturday morning, 11/17, under the tutelage of an experienced "scorekeeper", to learn the rules and run in the event in competition with the other novice participants. In the novice event the scorekeeper is more of a "guide" than anything else, and his goal is to be sure the hunters have a safe hunt, learn the rules, find their birds, and have fun. This year there were twelve newcomers that came out to hunt with their dogs and to see what "Shoot to Retrieve" hunts are all about. Most went home with a ribbon or a trophy, and several pheasants for the Thanksgiving table.

In today's bird hunting field one finds both the pointing and flushing bird dog breeds, and Upland Classic hunts include both. Younger dogs (less than 36 months on January 1st of the year) are called "amateurs" and they compete in separate fields from the more experienced "open" dogs in an effort to keep the competition as fair as possible. There are a total of five single dog events: Open flushing, Open pointing, Amateur flushing, Amateur pointing, and Novices. The top Open competitors are "called back" for a finals run on the next day to determine the winners, but the amateur and novice teams are finished on the first day.

Upland Classic hunts are designed to mimic a safe hunting situation and bird hunters know that a great many bird hunts include more than one dog. The second day of competition includes not only the finals of Open pointing and Open flushing to determine the champions, but also doubles events are held for teams of two hunters and two dogs for both the flushing and pointing breeds. Doubles are really the most exciting events and they include more birds and more time for the hunters to find them. Singles events are twenty minute hunts for three birds, where as doubles usually include six birds and thirty minutes to find them. If you are looking for a great place to get your dog in the field and shoot a few birds, Virginia Upland Classic events are meant for you. You and your dog need to be on your game to win, but in reality everybody wins when you spend a day in the field hunting with your dog, and enjoying "Kindred Spirits" from the bird hunting fraternity.

The next Virginia Upland Classic event is scheduled for December 15th & 16th near Richmond, Virginia at "the Sanctuary" shooting preserve in Providence Forge. All bird hunters are welcome to participate. All you need is a good dog, your favorite shotgun, and a Virginia state small game hunting license. For more information and to sign up for the Virginia Upland Classic "December Chukar Hunt" contact Ben Norris at 804-694-5118 or bgnorris@cox.net.

Thanks to Andrea Stratton for the great hunting action photos from the Virginia Upland Classic.

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.

Fall Turkey Hunting Extended This Year

With the growing popularity of spring gobbler hunting, fewer hunters are turkey hunting in the fall. To provide added opportunities for fall turkey hunting, the season dates have been extended in some areas. and the starting and ending dates for the late segment for fall turkey have changed in most counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. {see Regulations for dates in your area}.

Note that hunters under the age of 12 are not required to have a license, but they must be accompanied by a licensed adult. Adult hunters supervising youth must possess a valid Virginia hunting license, and may assist with calling.

Fall turkey hunting has some unique methods and restrictions:

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

Discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease in Pennsylvania to Impact Virginia Hunters

Due to the detection of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania last month, hunters may not bring whole deer carcasses killed anywhere in Pennsylvania back into Virginia. Virginia, like most states, prohibits the importation or possession of the riskier parts of deer, elk, or moose carcasses from any area designated as a carcass-restriction zone in a state or Canadian province in which CWD has been found. Only the following carcass parts are allowed to be transported into Virginia from a carcass-restriction zone:

Carcass-restriction zones are also in place in Maryland (Allegany County) and West Virginia (Hampshire, Hardy, and Morgan Counties). For more information regarding other carcass-restriction zones in the rest of the country, please visit: www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/diseases/cwd/.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is also continuing several management actions in the northern Shenandoah Valley in response to the presence of CWD in Frederick County, Virginia. Within the containment area, these measures include mandatory sampling of deer killed on the first three Saturdays of the general firearms season (Nov. 17, 24, and Dec. 1, 2012), prohibiting the movement of deer carcasses and parts out of the containment area (with exceptions), restricting the disposal of deer wastes from the containment area, and prohibiting the rehabilitation of deer. In the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren, and in the City of Winchester, feeding of deer is prohibited year round and seasons and bag limits on private lands have been liberalized in an attempt to reduce the deer population.

CWD has been detected in 22 states (including Virginia, where four positives have been detected) 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 VDGIF. More information on CWD can be found on the VDGIF website.

Safety and courtesy are free, share them generously

"It Takes a Hunter to Make a Hunter"

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!

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.

Choosing A Quality Taxidermist Takes Pre-Planning

Editors note... You just shot your first trophy buck- do you know what to do next to field dress the trophy without causing costly damage and what to look for in choosing a taxidermist. Talking with taxidermists at the fall big game shows, I learned a lot from consulting with them. Todd and Vickie Rapalee from Goochland shared this advice for the Outdoor Report. Todd advises, "Just as important as scouting for game in the field, is scouting for a taxidermist to handle all of your taxidermy needs! Now is a great time to visit taxidermist's showrooms and web sites to decide on who will handle the preservation of your trophy, be it whitetail, bear, gobbler, bobcat, coyote, or waterfowl. Remember that you will take the trophy of a lifetime one day. Choose your taxidermist before the hunt. The most important thing is to get your trophy to the taxidermist as soon as possible if you plan to have it mounted."

Review taxidermy tips for Deer in the November 9, 2011 edition, waterfowl in the November 22, 2011 edition and for bear in the November 10, 2009 edition. For additional information on taxidermist services visit the Virginia Taxidermist Association or contact Rapalee Taxidermy, Inc. website.

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.

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.

Three generations of Bird Hunters Continue Family Traditions with Faithful Bird Dogs

Timothy Fritton, Gets Trophy 8 Point Buck With Crossbow

Proud Dad, Steve Fritton sent in this story of the trophy buck his 11 year old son Timothy shot November 12 in Southampton with his Parker Crossbow. After a long day on the deer stand, Timothy Fritton's patience paid off in a big way. Several does passed by in the morning and early afternoon, but it wasn't until 4:30 PM that this trophy 8 point buck appeared to the hunters. This was a special father/ son hunt where we were sitting side by side in the same tree and making permanent memories while enjoying their time together in the great outdoors. Timothy was first to spot the buck and immediately whispered to his dad that there was a big buck behind their stand. After watching the amazing whitetail for several minutes Steve lured him closer and closer with a few small grunts and as the time got right, Timothy made a great 25 yard shot for a clean harvest with his Parker crossbow.

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

Complimentary Work Force Helps Monitor Chronic Wasting Disease

Dedicated Complimentary Work Force (CWF) volunteers are more than willing to give up some prime hunting days to help Department biologists take biological samples of deer taken in the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Containment Area. CWD is a progressive neurological (brain and nervous system) disease that has recently been found in a small number of deer in far western Frederick County. It may take several years for outward signs of the disease in a deer, but in the meantime, a diseased deer can be spreading the disease to other deer. So, it is very important to monitor the spread of the disease so appropriate containment measures can be taken to protect the rest of Virginia's deer herd. Volunteers assist at six check stations in western Frederick and northern Shenandoah Counties by removing lymph nodes from each deer taken within the containment area. Each sample is documented by volunteers and half the sample bottled in preservative for testing by a lab. The other half of each sample is maintained as backup to verify a positive test or to serve as a replacement for the lab sample in case of any problem.

Without the very valuable help of CWF volunteers, CWD sampling could not take place at its current level and the disease could progress without notice. For their efforts, volunteers enjoy a nice day at the check station listening to plenty of hunting stories from the hunters that stop by. "Rumor control" is always a fun time each day as we get to hear all the latest rumors about wildlife in the area. And don't forget the questions! Volunteers have the privilege of helping hunters learn the rules for hunting in their area. Volunteers always have a few copies of the game rule pamphlets available to help hunters look up the answers to their questions. But most of all, volunteers enjoy the camaraderie of other volunteers and Department biologists and making new friends. Being a CWF volunteer has many rewards for the small sacrifice of a few hours of time.

Story and photo by CWF volunteer Allen Easterly

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.

November Update: All elk released in Buchanan County last May are still alive to the best of our knowledge. Most of the released elk have remained in the acclimation corral area following the rut. Staff biologists and volunteers did not confirm the presence of any indigenous elk in the release area during the rut. However, one of the two-year old bulls that we released tended cows and hopefully we have several pregnant cows now.

Three cows and their calves have separated from the main group of elk, but remain within several miles of the release area. All elk are foraging in reclaimed mine or timber harvest areas.

VDGIF staff worked with our Kentucky and Missouri partners to repair the quarantine facility in Kentucky in October. Veterinarians from the three states are making final adjustments to quarantine procedures. Trapping for more elk to bring to Virginia will begin in January.

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

For more information on elk restoration in Virginia:

Quail Biologists Eager to Assist Landowners and Hunters

In January 2011 as part of implementing the VA Quail Action Plan (VQAP), five new pairs of field boots hit the wildlife habitat dirt. These boots belong to Virginia's first cooperatively hired Private Lands Wildlife Biologists. Marc Puckett, VDGIF Co-Project Leader for the Quail Recovery Initiative (QRI) reports that this unique program represents a joint hiring effort between the Conservation Management Institute at Virginia Tech, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, they are the first of their kind in Virginia. Similar, highly successful, programs have existed for several years in Missouri, Kentucky, North Carolina and other states. They represent the closest partnership ever between the cooperating agencies. Jack Bricker, State Conservationist for NRCS and Bob Duncan, Director of the VDGIF, signed an agreement formalizing the partnership December 2009. The new biologists work daily with partners in the agricultural community - one critical to wildlife nationwide. Their primary role is helping private landowners develop wildlife habitat through a variety of financial incentives programs.

VQAP was the impetus for this successful partnership. In its first year of implementation, the hiring of the 5 new biologists was a major goal of the VQAP. The biologists spend a great deal of their time working on early-successional habitat - a habitat type that benefits not only bobwhite quail but dozens of early-successional species including pollinating insects.

These wildlife biologists can be contacted for habitat assistance at the following USDA Service Centers:

Large-scale habitat restoration and education are the key elements of the VQAP. The Virginia Quail Council was established as a coordinating group of conservation organizations and agencies actively supporting the Virginia Quail Action Plan through the promotion and application of land management practices and programs that increase the quality and quantity of quail habitat on agricultural and forested landscapes.

A copy of the Virginia Quail Action Plan and Virginia Quail Council members can be viewed on the Department's website. For information on the bobwhite quail, and activities and accomplishments of the Quail Recovery Team read the latest edition of The Bobwhite Bulletin (PDF). Also view the video, "Answering the Call: Virginia's Quail Recovery Initiative."

Are You Interested In Funding To Plant Native Warm Season Grasses?

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal has received a grant from the National Forest Foundation to support native warm season grass restoration on private land. We will provide up to $50 an acre for seed, herbicide, technical assistance, plus use of our No-till drill.

Eligibility:

  1. Field should be at least 10 acres.
  2. Must have access to additional farm equipment needed to prepare your field.
  3. Field must be located in the Shenandoah, Frederick, Warren or Page counties and preferably within 3 miles of the George Washington National Forest Boundary.
  4. Landowners must make an agreement to manage the fields to maintain native grasses for 5 years.
  5. Must be able to complete installation in 2013.

A short application is due by January 28, 2013. Please email: SCBIecology@si.edu if you are interested. Decisions will be made early February, 2013.

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!

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. It is extremely rare for a non-hunter (or anyone else) to be injured by a hunter shooting at game. However, why not dress defensively. 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!

Be Prepared for the unexpected- always have an extra light - keychain type or small led model in your pocket so you are never without it.

Most importantly wear blaze orange - it's the law for a good reason - it can save your life!

Tree Stand and 'After Dark' Safety Tips

With the end of Daylight Savings Time, more and more time is being spent by hunters in the woods before daylight and after sunset, getting to their favorite stand. Here are some special safety tips for the firearms deer season gathered from experience and conversations with fellow sportsmen around the campfire, tailgate, and skinnin' shed...

  1. Let other hunters in your party know where your stand is located. Leave a map on the dashboard indicating the time you will return.
  2. Pack emergency items including a whistle, horn, strobe, lighter/matches, 2-way radio, or cell phone in your pack. Make sure cell phone is properly charged or have fresh replacement batteries.
  3. Carry an extra flashlight, one of them being the headlight or cap bill type that allows hands-free operation.
  4. Wear full-body safety harness at all times maintaining three points of contact at all times.
  5. Practice using your tree stand during limited daylight and wet weather conditions, to be familiar with the particular safe procedures for getting up, in, and out of the stand safely and quietly.
  6. Always use a hauling rope for your gear. Tie hauling rope to belt or stand when climbing to keep hands free.
  7. Unload gun or bow before climbing or descending stand.
  8. Wear blaze orange in stand. Let other hunters in area know where you are.
  9. Have a clear travel and "staging" area around the base of your treestand, remove rocks, logs, and trimmed branches so you don't snag or trip over obstructions. Use reflective tacks or yellow flagging on trees that will give you a 'lighted' path to your stand.
  10. In case of a fall - carry an extra piece of rope / strap with you to use as a pressure relief device using self-recovery techniques.
  11. Know the dangers of harness suspension trauma and how to lessen the effects while suspended.
  12. Review these links on the VDGIF website for tips on how to stay safe and use tree stands effectively:

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.

Winter Preparedness Week is Dec. 2-8

Last winter, snowstorms and cold temperatures affected every part of Virginia. Citizens suffered in the wake of power outages, icy roads and bored school children.

Winter Preparedness Week – set for Dec. 2-8 – is the time to get ready for possible bad weather. Here's how to start preparing:

Additional information and resources are available online at www.ReadyVirginia.gov

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. 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.

A Friendly Hunters Challenge to Help Hunters for the Hungry

The buddies in my hunt club came up with an interesting challenge 3 years ago... As we make drives on Saturday hunts during the 10 week season to get venison for all the club members, we agreed to donate any extra deer to Hunters for the Hungry. In addition, several of us admittedly will miss good shots, so rather than do the traditional "cut off the shirt tail" custom, we have enacted a challenge for our fellow hunters to donate $5 for every missed shot towards the cost of processing a deer for Hunters for the Hungry. With all the shooting we hear during some of our hunts [ and the clubs adjacent to us] we should easily collect the $40 needed to pay for processing a deer donated to Hunters for the Hungry several times over!

This year with the added drain on food banks from hard economic times, Hunters for the Hungry can use every donation whether it's cash or venison from sportsmen to show that they do positive actions to support their neighbors and communities. If you have a successful hunting season and were fortunate to have harvested more deer than what you need, and you use a 2012 Hunters for the Hungry participating processor, consider setting aside several packages of venison for donating to Hunters for the Hungry. Share and enjoy your harvest with those in need! If you don't have a deer to donate, how about $5 bucks for every one you missed! Last year Friends & Family Hunt Club in Louisa donated $80 to Hunters for the Hungry. And we also built a sighting in bench for our target practice range to use before this season began.

David Coffman

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

Remember it is 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.

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!

Make a Special Bird Treat

The following recipe is a great food mixture for birds that can be smeared on tree bark, fence posts, the wood in a wood pile, or pine cones hung in the yard where they can be seen from your windows. This mix provides a supplemental source of fat energy and nutrients to the birds. Making the mixture is fun, inexpensive and something the whole family can join in.

First, in large bowl, stir together:

  1. 1 part flour
  2. 3 parts yellow corn meal
  3. 1 part bird seed
  4. a handful of raisins
  5. a handful of shelled peanuts

Then add 1 part of lard or peanut butter and stir until the mixture holds together in one big ball. (Or, you can substitute bacon grease that's been rendered and chilled, but do not use shortening.)

This mixture will attract nuthatches, chickadees, tufted titmice, brown creepers, woodpeckers, mockingbirds, and even bluebirds. Keep a record of the different species of birds you observe, it's fun, and educational for "children" of all ages. The birds will appreciate it too!

A Guide to the Frogs and Toads of Virginia Now Available

A Guide to the Frogs and Toads of Virginia is a 44 page field guide that covers all 27 species of frogs and toads that inhabit Virginia. Species accounts, descriptions, biology, behavior, habitats and conservation issues are all described and illustrated through more than 80 photographs and drawings. Included is a complimentary CD of The Calls of Virginia Frogs and Toads. The price is $10.00 and is available through the VDGIF website.

10th Annual Youth Essay Contest "The Hunt"

Attention National Wild Turkey Federation(NWTF) JAKES members, here's your chance to put your writing and storytelling skills to work. Simply write a 500 word, or less, essay describing a hunting experience you've had, and how it has affected your life. Entry deadline is December 15th 2012.

Send a picture (if available) with the story of "The Hunt." Include in the story what or who inspired the interest for the hunt. Has your interest been inspired by a JAKES event, 4-H shooting events, or any other type of hunting and shooting event? If so, how? Please include any information about the hunt that made it special. The story can include more than one outdoor adventure. Please limit your essay to 500 words or less. The story of "The Hunt" does not have to include the harvesting of any game. All JAKES ages 17 and under are eligible to enter the contest. Entries MUST include the Virginia State JAKES Youth Essay Contest Entry Form that is available on the Virginia Chapter NWTF website, www.vanwtf.com, or from your local NWTF Chapter.

Prizes will be awarded in two categories, 12 and under, and 13 to 17 years old.

Prizes:
1st $250.00
2nd $150.00
3rd $50.00

Entries must be received by December 15, 2012, and can be mailed or emailed to:

Richard Pauley
1554 Prease Rd
Buchanan, VA 24066
PAULEYR@nationwide.com
540-992-1883

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 December:

Answers to November 14th edition quiz for nature events for late November...

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...

Support Your Local CPO...

Don't let the actions of a few outlaws or unethical outdoorsmen tarnish the reputation of Virginia's sportsmen! Safety and courtesy are free, use them generously as you share the outdoors with others. Your Conservation Police Officers took an oath to serve and protect you and the resources we all use and enjoy from those who act irresponsibly and break the law. These highly trained and dedicated men and women have a daunting task to serve in multiple counties and communities. Some officers can use your assistance to get oriented to their new assignments. Remember these officers are there to protect your freedom to enjoy the outdoors — support them in their important work by setting a good example and seeing that others around you do their share to enjoy the outdoors safely and ethically. If there is a new CPO in your county, get to know them and offer your assistance and knowledge on local contacts and conditions. They are your best partner in preserving and protecting our rich hunting and fishing traditions. Help make all our jobs safer and more successful - support your area conservation police officers in any way you can. They are there to benefit you.

Region I - Tidewater

Hunting Over Bait... October 06, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Greg Hall was working a baited area with CPO Tyler Bumgarner, which Officer Bumgarner had previously found, and was working for the second year in an attempt to locate the hunters. The area consisted of two baited field blinds, with overlooking plot watch cameras, and baited with wheat and corn. CPO Hall observed a subject occupy the field blind he was watching at 0656 hours. The subject made 4 attempts to call in turkeys before exiting the blind at 0900 hours. Officer Hall approached the suspect, identified himself and checked his hunting license. The subject was using a crossbow. The subject claimed someone else must have put the bait out. Containers of corn and wheat were located in the subject's pickup truck. The subject was charged with hunting over bait.

Corn and Two Mineral Licks Found... On October 09, 2012, while patrolling a parcel of land in Essex, Conservation Police Officer Cameron Dobyns found bait. The bait consisted of corn and two mineral licks. He worked the baited site a couple of times and did not find anyone hunting over the bait. On Saturday, October 20, 2012, Dobyns found an individual hunting over the bait. The hunter was in a climbing tree stand approximately 27 yards from the bait. He was dressed in full camouflage and using a compound bow. The corn and two mineral licks were still out and rock salt had been added to the bait. The hunter had all of his licenses and permission to hunt the property. The hunter was issued a summons for deer hunting over bait.

A Pile of Corn in Plain View... On Saturday Oct. 27, acting on information received from Conservation Police Officer Rollings, CPO Dunlevy located a vehicle parked on property that Officer Rollings had previously located several baited hunting sites. After a short search, a hunting blind was located with a hunter exiting it. The blind was set up with the window opening facing a pile of corn approximately 20 yards away in plain view. The hunter was issued a summons for hunting over bait.

Illegal Deer Kill... On November 7, 2012, during the two week muzzleloader season, Officer Josh Jackson received a tip that a subject killed two deer with a shotgun behind his home. Officer Jackson immediately went to the suspect's residence and found him cleaning blood from his hands. During an interview the suspect confessed to killing the two button bucks with a shotgun. The suspect led Officer Jackson to the two deer, which had already been completely processed. When asked why he had committed the crime the suspect stated because he did not have a muzzleloader. The suspect was charged with 2 counts of killing deer during the closed season and received written warnings for unlawful possession and failing to register the two deer.

Region II - Southside

Spotlighting to DUI... On Saturday night, October 27th, Conservation Police Officers Dallas Neel and Nathan Bowling were called to the report of shots fired in Bedford County. A Bedford deputy responded to the area and subsequently stopped an extended cab Chevrolet pickup matching the description of the suspect vehicle. There were 3 occupants in the vehicle and the back seat passenger was attempting to hide the 22 caliber rifle when the deputy had stopped them. When the CPOs arrived, Neel spoke with the driver about their actions. He immediately detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage and offered the driver field sobriety tests. The driver performed poorly on the field sobriety tests and was subsequently arrested for Driving Under the Influence. As the officers continued to investigate the incident, the back seat passenger was found to be a convicted felon and was subsequently arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. While interviewing the front seat passenger about the incident, he was found to be wanted for Failure to Appear in Henrico County. He was subsequently arrested on the outstanding warrant. As officers continued to search the pickup they located what appeared to be a marijuana smoking device in the front driver's compartment. K-9 unit Scout and her partner, CPO Richard Howald, responded to the scene to help with the search of the incident area. The pickup was towed from the scene and the driver was re-interviewed again on October 28. He admitted that his passenger had shot at a "coyote". All of the passengers were charged with attempting to take deer at night by the aid of light, trespassing, and numerous other illegal hunting violations.

Unusual "Night Hunting" activity... On Sunday, October 28, 2012, at approximately 0100 hours, Conservation Police officer Chase Meredith observed a suspicious vehicle parked parallel to a field and also observed a deer jump and "flinch" as it ran off. He investigated and found two men with a new compound bow and suspected that they had been trying to take deer with the aid of lights. He found no arrows but did find and seize illegal whiskey in the truck occupied by the two men. After charging the men with possession of illegal whiskey and releasing them on a summons, he searched the area for a deer and any other evidence that would help prove the suspected spotlighting event. He did not find a deer but did find a broad head arrow with blood and hair on it. He travelled to the suspect's residence and found both men and got a confession of shooting at the deer from the truck. The 22 year old passenger had just purchased the bow the day before for $ 900.00. He stated that he shot from the vehicle with the bow outside the window of the vehicle. Appropriate game law charges were placed.

CPO's Track Illegal Hunters with the Assistance of K9 Scout... On Friday, November 2, 2012, Senior Conservation Police Officer Gavin Fariss and CPO Jessica Whirley responded to a call in Buckingham County in reference to trespassing. After Fariss talked to the complainant, he determined they were 20-30 minutes away and decided that K9 support would be appropriate. K9 Officer Howald and Scout marked en-route as CPO's Fariss and Whirley arrived and obtained more information. The suspect was sitting in the complainant's treestand when the complainant arrived to hunt. The suspect was armed with a 12 gauge shotgun, wearing full camouflage and a blaze orange hat. Several words were exchanged and the suspect left the scene walking through a large block of planted pines. Scene security was maintained until K9 support arrived. Sergeant Slaughter and CPO Morris also responded to assist with the investigation. Whirley, Howald and Scout began to track the suspect as Fariss and Morris were searching nearby roadways. After an hour of tracking, it was determined Scout was tracking multiple suspects based on the visual sign. CPO Fariss made his way out to the nearest state road and prepared for a call from the trackers. CPO Fariss was suddenly greeted by a male subject fitting the description walking along the roadway. Shortly after questioning the first individual, two more individuals arrived. Sergeant Slaughter and CPO Morris arrived and quickly separated the three subjects. Meanwhile Scout tracked the suspects to a residence that belonged to two of the three suspects. K9 Scout then walked from the residence to the roadway where she sat down beside the suspect, indicating the suspect she was tracking. This suspect was later positively identified by the complainant. All three subjects have pending charges including trespassing, hunting deer with firearm during closed season, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.

Hunting Illegally... On November 3, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Roy Morris and K9 Officer Richard Howald were patrolling Amelia County when they received a call about a suspicious vehicle. The caller advised that the vehicle had a spotlight in the seat, .22 caliber rounds throughout, and the strong odor of marijuana coming from the cab of the pick-up. CPO Morris and K9 Officer Howald arrived and ran a track on a trail which ended up at an empty treestand. Through further investigation of the area, two hunters were found hunting the property. They were crossbow hunting for deer and neither had the required licenses. Both individuals were in possession of marijuana and admitted to having additional marijuana in the pick-up. Sgt. Slaughter questioned the owner of the truck about blood and deer hair on the tailgate. He admitted to killing a deer in Amelia a couple weeks prior and did not check it in. Both suspects were charged with the appropriate violations.

Illegal Dumping... Conservation Police Officer Edgar Huffman investigated the illegal littering and dumping of a 15' fiberglass boat off a secluded mountain road in Franklin County. The steep terrain and rural setting had become a dumping ground for many that chose the illegal method for disposing of items that should have been taken to the landfill. A man and woman from Roanoke City admitted to dumping the boat after recently purchasing it along with a trailer. The trailer was the primary reason for the purchase and is currently in use. The boat was retrieved from the side of the steep mountain on November 4, 2012 and the two suspects were charged with trespassing and littering on private property.

Region III - Southwest

Illegal Hunting on Private Property... On November 1, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Tosh Barnette received a call from the Lee County Sheriff's Department around midnight, requesting his assistance with a report of illegal hunting on private property. As Officer Barnette arrived on scene, he was made aware by the landowner of a doe in a field near the roadway that had been recently shot. A Lee County Sheriff's Deputy had arrived at the scene and found two juvenile suspects located in a vehicle. The deputy found a spotlight and a .270 rifle with a spent round in the chamber. The juvenile suspects stated that they had shot the deer from their vehicle with intent to go pick it up before the landowner arrived on the scene. Officer Barnette charged both juveniles with spotlighting and shooting from a vehicle. The deputy on scene charged the operator for not having a valid operator's license.

Informant Aids in Arrest... On Saturday, November 03, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Tim Hayes and Sergeant Steve Sutphin investigated a complaint of hunters killing deer with illegal rifles on P.A.L.S. property in Dickenson County during the opening day of the Muzzleloader Deer Season. The informant provided a detailed description of a hunter who had admitted to the informant that he had killed a deer with a Savage Rifle. The informant also provided detailed information about the suspect vehicle, including a personalized tag. According to the informant, the suspect had stated to him that the hunting party did not have enough muzzleloaders to go around, so he had used the illegal rifle. Sergeant Sutphin had been able to get a residential address for the suspect vehicle from Richmond Dispatch. The officers went to the residential address in Russell County but the suspect vehicle was not at the residence. The officers then decided to travel toward the P.A.L.S. property in Dickenson County and were on the lookout for the suspect vehicle. As the officers were heading out of the Town of St. Paul in Wise County, they met the suspect vehicle with a matching personalized tag. Sergeant Sutphin was able to quickly turn around on the vehicle but they had turned on a side street and the officers lost sight of the vehicle briefly. The officers caught a glimpse of the vehicle on a side street and were able to pull in behind the suspects. Antlers from a deer were visible from the bed of the truck. Officer Hayes began questioning the three suspects that were inside the vehicle about who had killed the deer and what kind of weapons had been used. Officer Hayes discovered several firearms inside the vehicle including a muzzleloading rifle, a Remington .22-250 and a Savage 7mm-08 rifles. Two of the suspects, a father and son, tried to claim that they had taken turns killing a deer with the one muzzleloader. However, when confronted with the small diameter entry wounds in both deer in the back of the truck, the suspect's both admitted to killing the deer with the .22-250 rifle and 7mm rifle. Warrants were obtained for each suspect for killing deer out of season with illegal rifles. Summonses were also issued for failing to notch their big game licenses.

CPOs and K9 Endure Extremely Rugged Terrain to Nab Hunters Over Bait... On November 3, 2012 Senior Conservation Police Officer Randy Hurst, Conservation Police Sergeant Rolland Cox, Senior Conservation Police K9 Handler Wes Billings and Josie conducted a predawn surveillance of five baited tree stands in Carroll County. This area of the county is extremely rugged mountainous terrain and accessible only by foot or all terrain vehicles. Four all terrain vehicles were observed entering the area before daylight. One subject was observed going to a baited stand in the area observed by Sergeant Cox and Officer Billings and the other three continued past Sergeant Cox's and Officer Billings' location. Officer Hurst joined the two officers and a plan was developed on the best approach to the situation. Sergeant Cox went to the subject in the stand near his location and Officer's Hurst, Billings and Josie went to the area where the other three ATV's had parked. One individual was found hunting in previously located baited stand, Josie tracked a second individual to a baited stand that had not previously been found and Sgt. Cox located the fourth hunter. Three individuals were charged with hunting over bait.

K9 Josie Leads Officers to Suspects... On November 3, 2012, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Harris, Senior Conservation Police K9 handler Wes Billing and K9 Josie followed up on a complaint of closed season hunting and hunting over bait in Grayson County. Officer Harris had checked this area on the opening morning of muzzleloading season and decided to check the area again during the evening. K9 Josie followed a track leading to the location of an ATV and the hunter. Charges were placed for closed season hunting and hunting over bait.

Hunting From a Baited Stand... On October 16, 2012, Senior Virginia Conservation Police Officer D. L. Austin received a report of a baited stand on Hidden Valley Road near the Hidden Valley WMA. On November 10, 2012, after several unsuccessful trips, Officer Austin was able to make contact with a single hunter in the stand. The suspect was hunting with a muzzleloader and had shell corn scattered on the ground beneath his stand. While there was a large pit filled with large rocks and logs beneath his stand, consistent with bear baiting, the suspect insisted that he was hunting deer and not bear. The suspect was charged with unlawfully hunting from a baited stand.

Sunday Hunters Charged... On November 4, 2012, Conservation Police Officer Troy Phillips received a call from the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office about subjects hunting on Sunday in the New River Community of Pulaski County. Officer Phillips responded to the call where deputies had already located four of the five suspects and were standing by on the property in question. While interviewing all four suspects, Officer Phillips heard someone whistling in the woods near their location. It turned out to be the fifth suspect trying to locate his hunting party. The fifth suspect was located and interviewed. All five suspects were charged with hunting on Sunday, three of the suspects were charged with hunting while under the influence of alcohol, and two of the suspects were charged with trespassing to hunt.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley – Northern Piedmont

CPO Wraps Up Five Month Investigation... On 11/3/2012, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Tim Dooley wrapped up a five month investigation that he and CPO Paul Inge had been working on. The officers received information that a convicted felon had hunted with a muzzleloader in the 2011 season and exceeded the bag limit for deer. The officers hiked into the property several times and located the suspect's tree stand. A week before the 2012 black powder season started, CPO Dooley was in the area and heard what sounded like a muzzleloader being sighted in on the suspect's property. CPO Dooley returned to the property on opening day and positioned himself near the tree stand. A short time later, the suspect could be heard in the tree stand using a grunt call. CPO Dooley approached the stand and found the suspect in possession of a muzzle loading rifle. When the suspect realized who CPO Dooley was he gasped out loud. Through subsequent questioning, it was determined that the suspect had two additional firearms (modern rifles) in his vehicle along with approximately 200 rounds of ammunition. Additionally, the suspect revealed that he had placed apples and sweet feed on the ground below his tree stand.

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.

Virginia Tech Anglers Blevins, Rejzer Win Ranger Cup University Challenge At Lake Amistad

FLIPPIN, Ark. (November 20, 2012) - Wyatt Blevins and Carson Rejzer, collegiate anglers from Virginia Tech University, laid claim to the 2012 Ranger Cup University Challenge at Lake Amistad with their victory over collegiate anglers Geoffrey Hill and Justin Hewlett from Georgia Southern University. The one-day, winner take all fish-off matched the highest-qualifying teams from the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing National Championship and the FLW College Fishing National Championship.

Blevins and Rejzer, who qualified for the all-expense-paid competition by being the highest-finishing Ranger Cup University-qualified team in the FLW College Fishing Championship, weighed an impressive five-fish limit of 22.53 lbs to secure the victory. Both teams were flown into San Antonio and arrived at Lake Amistad the night before competition with no practice or time to locate fish. Fishing out of identically equipped, brand new Ranger Z522's, both teams scrambled early and culled as the day went on.

"We knew the bite would probably be focused on a shad pattern, but really didn't know what to expect until we got out there," said Blevins, who competed in this, his final collegiate fishing event, having graduated earlier this year. "The whole experience was incredible. We were flown in, fished out of brand new boats and treated like pros the entire time. The fact we went out and caught a ton of fish was just a bonus - this was really a once in a lifetime deal."

Carson Rejzer, Blevins partner, reiterated those feelings. "We left Virginia and it was forty degrees, cold and windy. To wake up the next day and be standing on the shores of Lake Amistad, I felt like I had already won."

The duo from Virginia Tech located some active fish early and steadily increased their weight as the day wore on. Their limit was anchored by a 6 lb brute landed in the final hours of competition. "That big fish was key for us - we knew the guys from Georgia Southern were great anglers and we were going to need a good bag to compete," said Rejzer. "When it was all said and done, we fished the whole day without any mistakes and with a lake like Amistad, that's really what it takes to win."

The made-for-TV event is scheduled to appear on Americana Outdoors, broadcast on NBC Sports, in January 2013. The competition will also be featured in 2013 during an episode of the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, as well as other programs throughout the year.

Modeled after the most lucrative contingency rewards in the industry, Ranger Cup, Ranger Cup University is the first program of its kind exclusively for collegiate anglers and is open to those fishing in either FLW- or ACA-affiliated competitions. Signup is free, regardless of which brand of boat they own. To remain qualified in the program, anglers need only adhere to clothing and logo requirements. And as part of the Ranger Cup University program, participants will be able to receive specially discounted tournament gear through Angler Skins and Gemini Custom Apparel, with no artwork or set-up fees. Through these vendors, Ranger Cup University anglers can purchase fully customized tournament jerseys for as low as $48.

Collegiate anglers must register each year to remain eligible in the program. 2013 registration will be online and available soon. For more information on Ranger Cup University, including details on program guidelines and benefits, go online to RangerBoats.com.

About Ranger Boats
Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation's largest manufacturer of premium fiberglass fishing boats, which include series of bass, multi-species, fish 'n play and saltwater boats. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water. For more information, go to RangerBoats.com.

Contact:
Josh Ward
Blue Heron Communications
(800) 654-3766
Josh@blueheroncomm.com

Courtesy The Outdoor Wire Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"The Bass University" and ODUMagazine™ are excited to announce that they have joined into a joint promotional agreement. Together, we want to let everyone know that you will be seeing and reading a lot more about "The Bass University". The latest news from "The Bass University" will be included in the North America's Largest 100% Digital Fishing Magazine, ODUMagazine™, ODU Fishing News and their Facebook and Twitter followers will be kept up to date as well.  "The Bass University", was co-founded by Pete Gluszek and Mike Iaconelli a few years ago to fill a void in the industry. They felt that everyone need a chance to interact with some of the best fisherman and celebrities in the industry like; Terry Brown, Mark Zona, Larry Nixon, Shaw Grigsby, Gerald Swindle, Brent Ehrler, Greg Hackney John Crews and Ish Monroe just to name a few and let's not forget the co-founders Pete Gluszek and Mike Iaconelli. What an all-star line up the general public will get chances to meet and interact with and meet other bass enthusiasts from around the world.

We believe it is in the best interest of the industry, to do as much as possible to help promote, educate and grow the industry. "The Bass University" is doing their part and ODUMagazine™ is excited to be associated with such a great organization and plans on doing their part. ODUMagazine™ and their blogs intend to keep their readers abreast of the latest fishing techniques from all over the world, Mr. Thornhill said. ODU's readers should be excited to find out about what groups like "The Bass University" are doing to help promote this great industry.

For more information about ODUMagazine™ and register for our free publication visit ODUMagazine.com

http://www.odumagazine.com/
http://www.odumagazine.com/fishingnews/
http://www.odumagazine.com/huntingnews/

ODU Magazine™ an exclusive Internet publication and news source dedicated to the outdoors. We are the largest 100% digital online magazine and soon to have the largest library of outdoor instructional videos available on the web.

ODU Magazine Editor Larry Thornhill
ODU Mag. Assit. Editor William Schwarz

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!

Choosing the Right Hook

There are thousands of hooks to choose from in different shapes and sizes. As a result, tackle shops often have multiple aisles showcasing the large variety. So incessant are anglers that manufacturers are coming out with new designs annually to give anglers an edge and meet the demand. With all the choices, where does an angler begin? After all, it is not a minor thing; the right hook can be the difference maker for success on the water.

The following hooks are proven styles that will help you land more fish regardless of what species you target.

Hooks for Bait

Gamakatsu (Gam) Circle Hook (2084) – Circle hooks are a great choice for live bait fishing for bass, catfish, crappie or sunfish. This hook greatly reduces incidence of deep hooked fish. The challenge is learning not to set the hook and just pull and reel. Use size 6 for panfish and 8/0 for big catfish. Other popular brands include Mustad and Owner.

Eagle Claw (EC) Weedless (449W) – Use this hook on a drop shot rig with live worms in sizes 8 or 6, as well as when fishing with worms around dense cover.

EC Kahle (L141) or Gam Shiner Hook SE (5141) – This is a great minnow hook. Fish it below a float, with a split-shot or trolled. The minnow stays on the hook well with a high percentage hook-up ratio.

EC Baitholder and Aberdeen – Classics! When it's time to fish with night crawlers or red wigglers, here is your go-to hook. Sizes 8, 6 or 4 are best for sunfish or trout.

Hooks for Plastic Baits

Gam Worm Hook (0141) & Round Bend (4841) – The worm hook has thinner diameter and is great for 6 to 12# line. Use the stronger wire round bend hook for line 14# and larger or for thicker bodied baits.

Gam WG Weedless (2309) – This versatile hook can be used for wacky rigging plastic worms or drop shot fishing. The weed-guard is effective for clearing a high percentage of snags.

Owner Beast (5130W) – A great hook for swimbaits, the extra wide gap gives it an edge over other brands.

Hook Tips

1. Always purchase quality hooks with the sharpest points – a little extra money invested in your hooks will pay dividends on your fishing trip. 2. Check your hook points frequently; points can become dull or roll over. Always inspect the hook point after hanging up or losing a fish. 3. Match your hook size with the size of the bait or lure, line size and the size of the fish you are targeting - balance is key.

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

Many of us have anglers on our Christmas lists this year but, fortunately, there are lots of items that they will really like. "Really like", not the way they like the hand knitted orange and purple wool scarf from Aunt Hattie. Another lucky thing is that there are fishing related gifts to fit any budget.

The least expensive items for your fisherman are lures. They tend to be under five dollars and can, of course, be used again and again for years to come. Try to find out what kind of fish and what time of day and weather your angler likes to fish in so that you can get the right one. The internet and your local tackle merchant should be able to help you with this, as will reading the Fishing Report and the Fishing Spot by Chris Dunnavant!

A good rod is always a welcome gift, and they range in price so there are lots of options. Take note, there are rods designed especially for women nowadays. For your little angler or soon to be angler, you have plenty to choose from. There are rod kits that are designed around popular cartoon characters; with Sponge Bob, Spiderman, Toy Story, Cars, Barbie, Disney Princess and Disney Fairies, and Mickey Mouse to name but a few. Some of these are suitable for very young kids. For the older and more serious child angler Ugly Stick and Zebco have rod and lure kits.

But fishing involves more than rods and lures. For example, there are now many soft-sided, durable tackle boxes. When that lure pays off and the fish is brought up, there are many welcome gifts that can help; such as pliers, line clippers and hook removers. Then the angler needs a fish ruler and scale. Scales come in digital and old fashioned spring scales, with digital ones being more costly. If it's a keeper, scale scraper, filet knives and boards and safety gloves come in handy. An emergency hook extractor may also prove invaluable. For anglers who use live bait, a baitfish net would be gratefully received; as would a good bait bucket.

Safety oriented gifts are also welcome. Everyone who fishes from a boat should have a life jacket. There should also be a first aid kit. The pre-made ones tend to be pricey, and it's often better to get a fanny pack and fill it up with first aid items. Fire extinguishers are an excellent idea as are signal whistle and a good flashlight.

If your angler is a real die hard who fishes every chance he gets, you might want to consider a lifetime license. They are priced according to the age of the recipient, with older ones being less expensive. A recent retiree who now has lots of time to fish would love it.

Another option is hiring a guide for a day on the water. I've seen so many photos of anglers with big smiles, holding up the lunker they just brought to boat with the aid of a good guide. We highly recommend you contact one of the great guides, marinas or other contributors that provide you with great fishing info each edition of the Outdoor Report.

No matter what gift you choose, fishing gifts remind the angler how much you care and they will think of you whenever they use them.

We wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and peaceful New Year full of great fishing adventures! Sarah White

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.

The Outdoors Unlimited Online Magazine Video Library At Your Fingertips

Starting with the December 12 edition, ODU Magazine Editor Larry Thornhill and ODU Magazine Assit. Editor Bill Schwarz will be providing updates and links to their website on new features and seasonal information for the fishing enthusiasts. We welcome them and their vast video library and contacts as regular contributors to the Fishin' Report.

Anglers now can go to the ODUMagazine™ website click on the "Video Library" tab choose a species of fish, choose a fishing technique and watch an ODUMagazine™ recommended video, on how to improve your time and success on the water. Larry Thornhill, Editor and Chief of the on-line magazine notes, "The " Video Library " is an easy way for anglers to find the video(s) that will hopefully impact their knowledge and fishing abilities. We have streamlined the process for you. You no longer have to search through hundreds if not thousands of videos that may or may not apply to the topic you are looking for. Wasting all your time and effort just to find out that it wasn't even close to what you were looking for. We have spent countless hours viewing and categorizing each video in an effort to make your search easier, by creating this easy to use library. For example; click on the "Video Library" tab, select Bass Fishing, a drop-down screen appears, select, " Carolina Rigs " click on the link and a list of per-selected videos will appear covering "Carolina Rigs". Then all you have to do is click on the video that you want to watch. It's just that simple."

Various manufacturer videos will be included in the library, so anglers can dive directly into how a specific bait is to be presented and fished. Our "Video Library" will be growing weekly with newly recommended videos.

Check back often to see what has been added. We will also be making announcements on ODU Fishing News when new sections are added. We are working in the library as we speak, finding the videos (see below) that help anglers improve their time on the water.

For further information, sponsoring a section, or possibly have your video added, contact Bill Schwarz, Assistant Editor at schwarzw@odumagazine.com.

Here's some links for bass and crappie...

Bass Fishing: Jigs, Carolina Rigs, Texas Rigs and Alabama Rigs.

Crappie Fishing: Bobber and Float Fishing, Crappie Rigs, Minnow Rigging, Cranking Crappie and Trolling For Crappie.

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 54 degrees, and a 9 ft. visibility that is due to the dying grass. The pattern to look for is by mid day the bark dead grass heats up the water above it 4 to 6 degrees sometimes more. So the fish move up into the water just off the old grass line to feed. They will take jerkbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and worms, worked along or just over that edge. You can also do good with large or medium minnows fished along this line. Some large yellow perch can be caught also using this presentation. Crappie are moving into the wood near shore, and yellow perch can be there also. Try small or medium minnows, or jigs, and grubs. We are marking a lot of fish in 25 to 30 ft. of water. I think these fish are stripers. I believe they can be caught using large blade baits, spoons, jerk jigs or maybe cut bunker worked vertical or coasted to them.

A reminder: the shop will be closed on weekdays from the first of December. to the first of March The shop will be open on Saturday, and Sunday 7a.m. to Sunset, unless weather is so bad I can't open. Remember to check out our class, Fishing 101 and our Winter Open Tournament.

Fishing 101

  1. Most common mistakes made on the creek.
  2. Knots and what knots not to use.
  3. Drop shot how to.
  4. Cranking and spinner going deep.
  5. Worm fishing 101.
  6. Live bait fishing.
  7. Cat fish how to and bait hat works.
  8. Stripers its not that complicated.
  9. For me & the kids; floats, bobber stops, hooks & hook sizes

LITTLE CREEK PARK Is Sponsoring 2012 -2013 Winter Open Tournaments

Dates & Time
Sunday November 18 (8 AM.- 3 PM.)
Sunday December 8 (8 AM. - 3 PM.)
Saturday January 12 (8 AM.-3 PM.)
Saturday February 9 (8 AM.- 3PM.)
Saturday March 9 (8AM.-3PM.)

Tournament Information  
100% pay out
50% First place 30% second place 20% Third place
100% payout for big fish
Tournaments are subject to change or cancellation due to severe weather or inadequate participation.  An adult must accompany any one under 18. Tournament director reserve the right to refuse entry without question.  For Tournament Rules or questions contact Andy Priestley 757 566 2277 andyp817@aol.com

Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by Park Supervisor Patti McGrath (804) 693-2107. Crappie fishing is still booming off the dock. People are catching them off of minnows. Anglers are catching bass in deeper water. Bass anglers have been reporting that the bass seem to be sluggish and are spitting out baits. People have been catching some nice size channel catfish in the deep channel by the treatment plant. Yellow perch have been seen ever since the grasses have started to die off. Mike Davis caught a 13 oz 12 in. yellow perch on November 23, 2012. The water is 49 degrees, at full pool and slightly stained.

Beaverdam is open 364 days a year for all of your fishing fun. Jon Boats available for rent only $30 for the day. Beaverdam has several programs for people of all ages. Beaverdam is also actively controlling the grass population. For more information, visit our website at www.gloucesterva.info/pr or call the Ranger Station at (804) 693-2107.

Cat Point Creek: Contributed by local guide Penn Burke of Spring Shad Charters (804) 354-3200. No report this edition.

Virginia Beach: Captain Jim Brincefield (443) 336-8756. According to Captain Jim, rockfish are taking live eels at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. They are also taking bucktails at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and the Monitor and Merrimack Bridge Tunnel. Speckled trout can be found at the Elizabeth River, and will go for Mirrolures and Bass Assassins. Tautog are biting fiddler crabs and clams at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Bluefish are attacking spoons at Cape Henry. The water is 51 degrees and fairly clear.

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown says that some smallmouths have been coming in on cranks. Lots of crappie are being fooled by minnows and jigs. The catfish bite is good on cut bait and live eel. A few bluegill are biting small worms and crickets. The water is clear and cooling. Charlie wants all you hunters out there to know that his hotel has special rates for hunters during the season, $39 a night.

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 high 40s on Saturday (11/24/2012). The lake level was approximately 3 inches above the top of the dam. The water was light brown and clear in the lower lake. Most of the floating hydrilla mats in the main lake were gone. Many of the hydrilla mats in the major creeks had broken loose and were drifting and starting to sink. Blue cats were hitting live minnows and were around bait schools in deeper channels in the main lake. Active crappie were along the edges of the channels or on deep flats near channels (about 10 to14 foot depths) in the main lake and were hitting live minnows, blade baits, Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail jigs, and tubes. Bass, pickerel, and bowfin were scattered in mid depths in the main lake. Bass were hitting live minnows, blade baits, soft plastic stick baits, crank baits, and plastic worms. Fishing with Capt. Conway, Mickey Cleveland had 32 crappie, 4 white perch, and 1 bass. Hollis Pruitt had 19 crappie, 1 white perch, 1 roach minnow, and 3 bass. Mickey Cleveland and Mark Stawinsky had 10 crappie, 1 white perch, 2 pickerel, and 3 bass.

North Landing River and Back Bay: West Neck Marina (757) 426-6735. No report this edition.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon says that he has had no word on bass. Lots of crappie are coming in on the traditional minnows and jigs. Cats are responding well to cut bait. The perch and bluegill bite have slowed down due to cooling water, but a small spinner may prevail. The water is clear and cooling.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. Contributed by Riverkeeper Jeff Turner. I have been on the Blackwater and still am, below Burdette last two days. Water is perfect level and 45 degrees. I saw a fellow Sunday that had caught 30 bass to 3 pounds. All on plastic worm. Speckle not hitting. I caught several bowfin so far on blade bait jigged vertically.

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

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike says that the cat bite is good on cut bait. Crappie action is hot with minnows and jigs. Stripers are at the mouth of the Appomattox and are going for rattletraps. The water is fairly clear and around 50 degrees.

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 told me that he has not heard from any bass anglers. Crappie fishers, however, are having very good luck; especially around structures and deep brush. Try minnows and jigs. Not many cats are coming in, but try cut bait. The striper bite is good, especially at Grassy Creek and Bluestone Creek. The best live baits are jumbo shiners and shad, the best lures are swimbaits and rattletraps. No word on perch or bluegill. The water is clear, 7 feet below full pool.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Charlie Brown had no word on smallies. Rainbows and browns in the Jackson are responding well to Parachute Adams, size 16, and hare's ear nymphs. The mountain brookies are spawning and should be left alone (after all don't you like to be left alone while spawning?) The water is in the mid to high 40s and clear.

James near Lynchburg: Contributed by Jared Harker, owner of Confluence Outfitters, (434) 941-9550. No report this edition.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Holly Grove Marina is closing for the winter and will reopen in February.

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

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

Stripers: Overall the fishing continues to be mixed and the striper fishing is no exception. Anglers report using a number of different techniques and most report having limited success. Striped bass are being caught by fishermen presenting live bait in a number of different ways. Several report catching stripers from 18 to 40 feet below the surface with shad rigged on downlines. While schools are being located on electronics deeper in the water column, few report success catching those fish with live bait. Anglers report success with live shad on shotlines and freelines behind planer boards, floats and Redi-rigs, especially early and late in the day when stripers are being found inside main channel creeks and near secondary points and humps. Stripers are also being caught by anglers trolling a variety of lures. Trolling the traditional three-way rig with a lightweight flutter spoon and swimbait/heavy bucktail, as well as the Alabama and umbrella rigs is producing an occasional striper. Individuals also report catching stripers and an occasional bass while trolling a variety of different diving crankbaits and jerkbaits, Rapala Husky Jerk, Cotton Cordell Redfin, Storm Thunderstick in shad imitating colors. Most anglers on the water this time of year are equipped with at least one rod rigged with a heavy jig head and fluke or thin bodied swimbait or a jigging spoon Crippled Herring, Hopkins Shorty, CC Spoon. When a pod or school of stripers are located using electronics these anglers often have success vertically jigging or casting counting down and retrieving these lures.

Bass: Fishing continues to be mixed and anglers are still finding fish both shallow and deep. Recent reports are that some anglers are having success casting finesse plastics on shaky head jigs and drop shot rigs up under deep water docks into shallow water and retrieving these lures very slowly back to their boats. Good areas for this technique include docks on guts and inside creeks where there is a rocky shoreline or some type of submerged structures ,stumps, chunk rock and bluffs that drop into sides of the river channel. Bass anglers are also reporting success with top-water lures, jerkbaits and spinner baits in locations where bass are feeding on schools of shad. Smallmouth bass are being caught in the lower lake near the rock points and largemouth inside creeks and guts where the water is slightly warmer than that surrounding it. Bass are still being found feeding on schooled shad in the very backs of creeks, but that pattern has, according to reports, not been as strong as in years past. Bass suspending in deeper water off the front of deep water docks and natural rock bluffs are being caught by anglers using traditional drop shot rigs, crankbaits and crawfish imitating plastic trailers rigged on jigs.

Crappie: From all reports, fishing continues to be fairly good this year. Anglers are using small crappie minnows to catch crappies holding off the ends of deep water laydowns and deep-water dock pilings. Crappies are also being caught in the tops of trees inside guts and creeks using small minnows as well as plastic trailers on lead headed jigs. When fishing with small minnows I suggest using a gold, thin wire, hook, light split shot and light line, especially in clear water. Anglers are also ""shooting"" lead headed jigs with plastic tailed grubs, minnow imitating plastics and small tubes up under overhanging structure including docks, counting them down and retrieving them.

While the fishing usually improves as we move through the Advent and Christmas seasons and into the early part of the year, the danger associated with falling into the lake increases with the drop in water temperature. Close to 600 people die in the USA from hypothermia each year and should someone fall into the lake, even at its current temperature, it could easily prove fatal. I suggest everyone wear a life jacket or inflatable device anytime they are on the dock or a boat, especially when freezing conditions make footing treacherous. I also suggest you carry an extra set of warm clothing and a blanket on board this time of year. Let's all keep an eye out for each other and be prepared to assist should someone fall into the water, especially in the winter when fewer people are on the lake.

December is right around the corner, so enjoy the upcoming Advent season, stay warm, stay safe and tight lines.

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. Due to Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the football games, John Zienius has seen very few anglers and has heard nothing. The water is fairly clear and cooling.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. With Thanksgiving vacation and friends in from out of town I apologize for not having any first hand fishing information. My best guess is muskie fishing is very good on scaled down lures presented slowly. Smallmouth should be on tubes and Pig & Jigs and the walleye bite early and late in the day with jig/shiner and jerkbaits at night. River level is low and crystal clear, still no rain here. Water temp is low to mid 40s.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash reports that smallmouth fishing has been slow, due to the cooling waters. The muskie bite is picking up, with the big fish going for shad rap and inline spinners. The water is clear and in the upper 30s to low 40s.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. Winter fishing conditions exist for smallmouth fishing on the Top New (Mouth of Wilson to Fries). Trout fishing in the streams that flow into the New has been great this past week. Colder temps are predicted for the near future. We have had little rain and the water clarity in the creeks is gin clear. Nymphs are working the best.

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 north and south forks of the river are giving very good smallmouth fishing. Fish deeply with streamers, nymphs and sinking tip lines. Good flies are: Olive Marauder, size 6; Murray's Black Hellgrammite, size 4; and Shenk's White Streamer, size 4. The water is 44 degrees, clear and at a good level.

The large stocked streams in the Valley are good spots to fish for rainbows and browns. Good flies are: Mr. Rapidan Streamer; Pearl Marauder, size 10. The water is 46 degrees, at a good level and a good color.

The mountain streams are too cold for good fishing.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. The bass fishing on Lake Moomaw has been pretty strong all fall. Both largemouth and smallmouth are active and will take a variety of baits but perhaps the most effective is the drop shot technique. Crankbaits, jigs, tail spinners, and jigging spoons have also taken their share of quality fish. Most of my experience has been to find fish and forage, on my electronics, around 15 to 18 ft. near the main river channel on some type of structure; points and flat drop offs. Get a drop shot, 6 to 8 lbs test line, with a 4 to 6 in. worm to them and you will be successful. Be patient, you don't have to move much. I consistently watch fisherman fish an area too fast and leave fish behind. The water temps have now dipped into the mid 40s and the water is relatively clear throughout the lake with the exception of the very upper end. Several people have caught a few yellow perch. Some nice pickerel are also being caught. I have not heard from the trout enthusiasts. I am sure trout are being caught by someone. Also, the lake is 21 ft. below normal pool but the Fortney Branch launching ramp is still accessible. The Bolar Flat ramp is also accessible, but the Coles Point ramp is closed.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. Puff is busy fishing and hunting in the Highlands. Check his website for the latest news on fishing conditions and what's biting. Also check his site if interested in a great deer or fall turkey hunting experience. Consider a gift certificate for a fishing trip to the Highlands or booking a spring gobbler hunt makes for a great gift for any outdoor enthusiasts. Planning a date far in advance gives your party plenty of time to get your gear and group together.

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): Slow, slow, slow.... not much cooking on the Upper Potomac right now. The smallies have retreated to the deep holes and are looking for slow moving lures. Time for patience! The smallie action on the Rappahannock and Rapidan is pretty much over for the year – not worth the hike to the access points since where you can wade, the water is not deep enough to be interesting to the fish. While the Blue Ridge trout streams are running full, most anglers do not fish during this time of the year to give the brookies a break as they spawn. My perspective is that the fish need every opportunity to do that. My unscientific, personal assessment is that the population is way, way down as a result of the last two summers of low water. Hopefully, we have a good year class and these streams experience a rebound. In the meantime, enjoy the stocked trout water!

Occoquan River: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. I headed out on the Occoquan River the day after Thanksgiving to see if reports that the stripers were moving in were correct. I'm glad to say it was a good report...although I didn't catch any "keepers". The water temperatures have continued to drop, as I found the temperature consistently below 50 degrees throughout the morning. I spent most of my time east of the I-95 and Hwy 1 bridges, slow trolling big-billed Rapalas, Shad Raps and jointed Rapalas in about 10 to 16 feet of water. I caught over a dozen small stripers, with nothing over 16 inches...but lots of fun! I also brought in a few small largemouth bass and decent crappie early in the morning as well, plus a couple of yellow perch near the rock wall drop off on the north side of the river. I also talked to a couple of gents who said they did really well fishing drop offs with Silver Buddies, pulling in a lot of great crappie and a couple of large bass in the 4 to 5 lb range. Guess I'll try that next weekend! All in all I won't complain one bit; it was a great day, beautiful sunrise, good weather that was a pleasure to be out fishing in, and I was able to bring a good number of small stripers to the boat for pictures.

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

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. No report this edition.

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

Stripers: This is one of the best months of the year to fish for stripers on Lake Anna and thanks to Hurricane Sandy the lake has been replenished with water, oxygen, and enough cooler water to turn the lake over. Within two days after the hurricane, the lake had completely transformed into a striper fisherman's dream. Our guides are catching limits easily with the fish looking very healthy. Here are a few techniques to try this month for some incredible action. By far the best way to catch limits and the larger fish is pulling Water Bugz planner boards rigged with big gizzard shad over shallow flats. A 10 inch gizzard pulled behind a board could result in an explosion literally anywhere on the lake as long as the water depth is 10 feet or less. The key is to locate areas with bait and no boat traffic. If your heart can't take that much action Stripers are schooling over 20 to 30 foot flats where you can run down lines with either gizzards or herring at depths around 20 feet. Locate the schools first on your depth finder or by watching the birds work the bait the stripers are chasing. When you find the fish work that area thoroughly, just because the gulls move a couple hundred yards away does not mean your school has left, the birds are simply feeding over another school. The gulls on this lake are like a poor man's Lowrance, most fisherman rely on the birds to find fish rather than their depth finder. Jump fisherman, when they run their motors into the schools, spook all of the fish under the birds except the punks which we are not targeting anyway. If you enjoy fishing for stripers with artificial bait, working the gulls can be a fun and productive way to fish if you shut your big motor down at least 100 yards away from the action and use your trolling motor to approach the fish. In November, there are schools of stripers working all over the lake, respect the fisherman who are already working a school by not encroaching on them. Good baits to throw when the fish are near the surface are Pencil Poppers, Spook type baits and soft twitch baits. Big baits will work best until the water temperature falls below 45 degrees, then the Sea Shad rigged on a jig head will prevail. Sassy Shads, Sea Shads and Super Flukes rigged on light jig heads can also be cast to the clay banks and grass beds up lake to catch Stripers.

Bass: This is a " No Brainer". The bait is in the backs of the creeks and up the rivers and that is where bass are feeding, fattening up before winter hits. In feeding periods the bass are up on the shallow flats relating to nothing but baitfish and when the conditions deteriorate they pull back to the nearest drop off, usually right on the creek channel ledge with nicer fish holding on stumps or rock piles. Later in the month, if the water temperatures crash, the bait may start to move back to the main lake regions and the bass will follow them. With so many new baits out there now for bass fisherman, you may want to use baits that you have confidence in working relatively fast till you locate the bass then maybe try your new baits in your tackle box.

Crappie: This has been a great fall for crappie fishing, the fish have been shallow for over a month on traditional structures like boat docks, brush and rock piles and simply scattered over 3 to 8 foot flats. The bridges are still holding good schools of crappie, I catch numerous crappie over a pound in my throw net daily while throwing for bait.

Note from Sarah: Captain Pressnell had a great idea. Please be sure to wear some blaze orange while fishing near wooded areas during firearms deer, bear and turkey seasons, in some areas through the first week of January. No one wants the tragedy of a hunting accident, especially one so easily preventable.

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

Emily Brown is a Wildlife Science and Biology double major at Virginia Tech, she notes in her biography, "I am quite the busy girl with various clubs and other extracurricular activities. I am currently planning on attending medical school or physician's assistant school upon graduation in 2013 to pursue a career in women's health; however I am very open to becoming a wildlife biologist if I change my mind and decide that is a greater passion of mine. I study wildlife science as an undergraduate now, because I know I will never get another chance in my life to learn about animal physiology and other natural sciences that are separate from human medicine, if I go to medical school.

I am originally from Richmond, VA and have loved the change in scenery from the James River where I used to row and run, to the beautiful mountains of Blacksburg. Beginning my freshman year, I expanded upon my knowledge of the outdoors by hiking and camping all over the region. I am now the vice president and head trip leader of the Outdoor Club at Virginia Tech, and enjoy every second I get to spend outside. Being a part of nature, and forgetting about class work and exams, is vital for my overall happiness. I try to get out in the woods as often as possible."

An encounter with a black bear during a hiking/camping trip was a most memorable experience for Emily and her story was one of the top 15 entries in the 2011-12 VOWA Collegiate Writing Competition. Enjoy her spirited story and share in the life lessons she learned for, " being prepared and respectful of the wild."

Respecting the Wild

By Emily Brown

Shooting up abruptly out of my mummy sleeping bag, I concentrate my hearing on the loud rustling of leaves and large footprints outside of my tent. I can clearly distinguish the sounds of a black bear rummaging through my food, searching out the tasty morsels of Campbell's Chunky soup left over from a rushed dinner a few hours before. I imagine what the bear looks like as it sniffs out it's midnight snack: four to seven feet long with billows of black shaggy fur, deep staring brown eyes with a glint of eagerness, and tightly curved claws that can grip the smallest of tree trunks. In a sudden terror, I fight the panicked desire to switch on my flashlight and yell at the animal just feet from where I am sleeping. I wait in my bag listening to him move about camp, stopping for just a moment to satisfy its curiosity with my bright yellow tent. With it's long snout the bear inhales and exhales slowly to get a whiff through the paper thin tent walls and to get an idea as to what I am, sitting silently in my bag. After only five minutes, the bear bores and takes to walking slowly down hill from camp. It is at this point that I realize I am not the strongest being out in the woods. I am overcome with a humbling awareness that transforms my thinking as an individual and as a hiker, forever.

It was the apex of fall; the trees were fruit-loops of colors and the weather was gorgeous without a cloud in the sky and a nice cool breeze. After researching various parks and trails that I had not yet hiked, my friend Christian and I settled on a moderate trailhead about an hour and a half from Blacksburg to begin our adventure. Before heading out in the car to make it to the start, we went through the regular routine of preparing our packs for what we would need. Quick, lightweight food was purchased from Kroger on a typical hiker's budget: soup and oatmeal.

The drive itself was one filled of beauty and awe-inspiring sights on that crisp Fall afternoon. With windows down and Jason Mraz playing across the radio, we travelled down narrow two-lane roads that passed through expansive stretches of farmland studded with live stock and white farmhouses, canopied roads with tight curves requiring a speed limit of 10mph, and gravel pot-holed "paths" that we feared would destroy our Ford's mechanical well-being. At about 5 o'clock, we began to worry that we had passed the trailhead. I remember getting frustrated with Christian, criticizing him for driving too fast and not paying enough attention to roads signs and landmarks.

After another hour of doubling back and searching wildly for the trailhead, we made a joint decision to pull over on a gravel path that fed into the forest. We realized that we were most likely on private property, or that our car would be ticketed in the morning, but we also knew that setting up camp and finding firewood after dark was more difficult than the vigorous hike we had planned for the next day. At that moment, we needed to forget about where our intended destination was and just discover a safe location to spend the night.

We had only a half hour left of sunlight when we finally found an off-road to park the car. From there, we bushwhacked up the side of a steep hill for a good distance until we found a decently flat clearing rich with downed limbs for firewood. With "Leave No Trace" standards in mind, we did our best to reduce our impact of the trail; Christian and I knew we just needed a safe place to sleep for that night.

Collecting firewood was a chore after the sun had set, as we didn't come prepared with headlamps. All we had was a tiny hand-cranked generator flashlight to assist us in finding wood. We had better luck getting a stove started and using that light to pitch our tent. After a hot dinner of hearty soup, we were both tired and headed to bed. We fell quickly to sleep; about three hours later I was awoken to the sound of that bear, hunting around our tent for the delicious smell that brought him down the mountain into our camp.

It was in that moment of fear that I changed the way I view myself as an outdoorsman. One can never be too prepared for situations in the wild. I knew that along the way errors had been made in planning; headlamps were forgotten, directions were subpar, and a general awareness of potential dangers was neglected. I grew up knowing that one should always respect Nature completely. My mother would tell me as a child to "never turn my back on the ocean", I kept my distance from wild animals and let them enjoy their natural environment, and while rowing, I knew that conditions could change in a second if a storm blew in without notice. This incident further strengthened my respect for the outdoors and the unpredictable nature of the wild. Overall, I have developed a better sense of preparation for any task I want to accomplish in life. Now, planning ahead for the unexpected is intuitive.

Although I had never had any formal wildlife training at that point, I am proud of how I reacted in that instant when the bear was hovering just outside the paper-thin walls of our tent. I forced myself to remain silent and not scream or flick on the flashlight in an attempt to scare it off. I just let him move on his way, without startling him at all. When I think back on this night, I realize that this was the point when I realized that I was not only a hiker, backpacker, or a mere camper, but I was a survivor and true outdoorsman.

The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA) annually sponsors High School and Collegiate Writing Competitions with the theme of "a memorable outdoor experience or special interest." We encourage students to consider their experiences in the outdoors with wildlife, hunting, fishing, and natural history and enter these contests. The goal of the competition is to reward high school and college students for excellence in communicating their personal experiences in the outdoors.

Bass Pro Shops will again cosponsor the High School contest, and is providing gift cards of $150, $100, and $50 for purchasing merchandise at Bass Pro Shops to the top three winners. Prizes will also include gear from outdoor sports businesses and Supporting Members of VOWA.

The Collegiate winners will receive cash prizes from VOWA. This year a special new cash award that includes publication will be provided by the Cooperative Living Magazine staff for the best Collegiate entry about the Virginia outdoors.

Winners will be announced and awards presented at the joint Mason Dixon & Virginia Outdoor Writers Association Annual Meeting on March 15 -17 in Staunton, VA. Submissions can be made between now and the February 7th, 2013, deadline. Full competition guidelines/rules for 2012-13 on the VOWA Collegiate Undergraduate and High School Youth Writing Competitions are available on the VOWA website: www.vowa.org.

10th Annual Youth Essay Contest "The Hunt"

Attention National Wild Turkey Federation(NWTF) JAKES members, here's your chance to put your writing and storytelling skills to work. Simply write a 500 word, or less, essay describing a hunting experience you've had, and how it has affected your life. Entry deadline is December 15th 2012.

Send a picture (if available) with the story of "The Hunt." Include in the story what or who inspired the interest for the hunt. Has your interest been inspired by a JAKES event, 4-H shooting events, or any other type of hunting and shooting event? If so, how? Please include any information about the hunt that made it special. The story can include more than one outdoor adventure. Please limit your essay to 500 words or less. The story of "The Hunt" does not have to include the harvesting of any game. All JAKES ages 17 and under are eligible to enter the contest. Entries MUST include the Virginia State JAKES Youth Essay Contest Entry Form that is available on the Virginia Chapter NWTF website, www.vanwtf.com, or from your local NWTF Chapter.

Prizes will be awarded in two categories, 12 and under, and 13 to 17 years old.

Prizes:
1st $250.00
2nd $150.00
3rd $50.00

Entries must be received by December 15, 2012, and can be mailed or emailed to:

Richard Pauley
1554 Prease Rd
Buchanan, VA 24066
PAULEYR@nationwide.com
540-992-1883

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: