In this edition:

Welcome to the New Year!

This edition begins the seventh year of the electronic Outdoor Report. We have grown to over 35,000 subscribers, and we appreciate your continued interest. Our success is due to the generous support and participation by colleagues, partners, contributing reporters and readers who have made this newsletter a respected source for outdoor news. We hope you have been informed, educated and even inspired on occasion to do something new and different to enhance your outdoor experiences, or better yet, share with others.

This edition posts on the opening day of the Virginia General Assembly. To keep you informed we have provided a special section with several links related to your legislature. There is a lot of legislative action scheduled this year on issues that may affect you as an outdoor enthusiast, landowner, or concerned citizen. You can view on-line the progress and status of bills related to the Department's mission or that may affect our operations and be of interest to you. Having been involved in conservation and sportsman related legislative issues for more than 25 years, Virginia sportsmen tend to be more reactive than they are pro-active. Many sit back quietly and let House Bills and Legislation go un-noticed without voicing their stand. If the outcome of the legislation is not to their liking, they complain, but then it is too late. Be informed and proactive and join with groups that share your views on issues and support your cause by contacting your Senator or Delegate, by email, letter or telephone.

This edition features a long list of "wild events" upcoming in the next 4 months that offer a variety of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. There are both outdoor events and indoor sportsman's shows that feature seminars, exhibits, demonstrations and contests promising fun and exciting new activities for everyone in the family. VDGIF staff and volunteers will have exhibits at the upcoming February – March shows and hope you will stop by and say hello. More importantly bring a youngster or a friend that you can introduce to the great outdoors. Join with your fellow sportsmen and support one of the many conservation organizations that host these events. Each edition of the Outdoor Report contains examples of organizations that partner with VDGIF staff to provide opportunities to get folks involved in outdoor activities, supporting conservation programs and making our wild Virginia a great place to live and seek outdoor adventure.

David Coffman, Editor

General Assembly Legislation of Interest to You

The Virginia General Assembly will convene January 9, 2013, the date of our next Outdoor Report edition. To keep you informed we have provided several links related to your legislature. There is a lot of legislative action scheduled this year on issues that may affect you as an outdoor enthusiast, landowner, or concerned citizen. After the Assembly is in session you can view bills related to the Department's mission that may be of interest to you at: www.dgif.virginia.gov/legislation

The most appropriate way to express your opinion about these bills, or any other legislation, is through your local delegate and/or senator. For more information about your legislators and how to contact them, visit the Virginia General Assembly website. You may also contact the Virginia General Assembly's Constituent Viewpoint Comment line toll-free at 1-800-889-0229 (804) 698-1990 in Richmond.

2013 Freshwater Fishing in Virginia

The new 2013 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 2013.

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

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.

Southside Quail Hunt and Gun Dog Competition in Keysville January 12-13

The Virginia Upland Classic Series and Gundog Competition Sanctioned by The National Upland Classic Series will be held January 12-13 at FFF Kennels & Hunting Preserve, Keysville, two miles east of Drakes Branch on RT. 59. For registration contact Ben Norris at 804-694-5118 , or email: Bgnorris@Cox.Net. All participants are invited and encouraged to register their dogs with the National Kennel Club (NKC) for future sanctioned events, and we additionally invite and encourage all participants to join the National Upland Classic Series(NUCS) and/or the National Bird Dog Circuit(BDC) if they are not already members, to record wins and participation credits toward qualifying for future championship events. Applications and representatives will be on hand at this event to accommodate anyone wishing to become members. No membership or dog registration requirement for first time participants.

January - March Sportsmens' Shows Set Dates and Locations

The seven regional outdoor sportsman's shows scheduled for January - March 2013 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. A special feature added this year is the DMV Direct van will be on-site so you can conveniently purchase your hunting and fishing licenses, or the new 2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar, even title a boat or other DMV business. 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.

Huntfest Set for Roanoke Civic Center January 25-27

Huntfest is a new outdoor sports show coming to the Roanoke Civic Center January 25-27, 2013. Show Manager, Stacey Rowe, has a great line-up of experts in various fields including "Mr. Whitetail" Larry Weishuhn, and 'Pigman' Brian Quaca will be the headlining guests this weekend. Mike Puffenbarger will be sharing his delicious reciepes "From the Kill to the Grill". Also Just Kill'n Time TV (JKT) Hosts Max Rowe and Buck Buchanan, Virginia's original outdoor hunting show on the Sportsman Channel, will also be featured at the show doing seminars, and sharing their hunting tips and experiences.

Huntfest- Roanoke proudly works closely with local conservation groups each year to share the heritage that has been passed down from generation to generation. Go by and support the Hunters for the Hungry organization at their booth where they will have raffle tickets and merchandise to support their mission to feed the less fortunate with donated venison from Virginia's sportsmen. The VDGIF will have CPOs and Hunter Education Safety Volunteers on hand to answer questions and demonstrate gun handling and tree stand safety techniques. Disabled artist Bruce Dellinger from Rockingham County will be the featured artist demonstrating his unique talent drawing holding a pencil in his teeth. There are activities for every member of the family. Visit the www.vahuntfest.com, or call (540) 294-1482 for more details.

Mouth Artist Bruce Dellinger Demonstrates Unique Style at Roanoke Huntfest

Bruce Dellinger, a self-taught artist from Timberville in Rockingham County, has been successfully drawing for over 15 years holding a pencil in his teeth. As a result of a farming accident in 1981 that left him a C5-C6 quadriplegic, he discovered that he could draw and write by manipulating pens and pencils with his teeth. This eventually led Bruce to the realization of how creating works of art can be enjoyable and therapeutic. Bruce's prints have been featured in gun shows and craft shows the past two years throughout Virginia through a partnership with Rustic Frames. Come meet Bruce in person at the Roanoke Huntfest January 25-27, 2013 where he is the featured artist for 2013. Bruce will be demonstrating his unique drawing technique and selling his limited edition prints at the Show.

By using naturalistic scenes. Bruce feels that the finished composition is a reflection of his mood and adaptability to life. Bruce has worked with several types of mediums, but has found that using a no. 2 graphite pencil and working in black and white is representative of his personal character and style. The pencil allows for ease of use and gives the drawing an old-fashioned appearance and quality. An avid outdoorsman, Bruce enjoys hunting and fishing. Bruce has been instrumental in working with the National Wild Turkey Federation's Wheelin' Sportsmen Program to provide outdoor activities for persons with disabilities and participates in many of the volunteer led activities. Visit his website for more information and a gallery view of his drawings.

Master Naturalist Training Begins at Bear Creek Lake State Park January 30

The Central Piedmont Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist (VMN) is offering its annual Training Class, to begin Wednesday January 30, 2013. If you enjoy the outdoors, why not share your love of nature with others by becoming a Certified Virginia Master Naturalist? The VMN program is a statewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach, and stewardship service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities. For information on this state-wide program go to: www.virginiamasternaturalist.org

There will be ten evening classes held on Wednesdays from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., with a mid-point break. Most of the evening classes will be held in Farmville. Some classes, and most of the Saturday field trips, will be held at Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland, or in the Cumberland Courthouse area. For more information about the Training Class, contact Tom Kneipp at Thomas.kneipp@dcr.virginia.gov.

The Virginia Master Naturalist program is supported by Virginia Cooperative Extension/VA Tech, the VA Department of Conservation and Recreation, The VA Department of Forestry, the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the VA Museum of Natural History and the VA Department of Environmental Quality. It is open to all adults regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status.

10th Annual Woods & Wildlife Conference in Culpeper February 23

The 10th Annual Woods and Wildlife Conference is an all day conference for landowners to meet various natural resource professionals, learn something about taking good care of your woodlands and meet other like-minded landowners. Ppresentations and workshops are geared to help both new and experienced owners, as well as owners of either small or large acreages become better stewards. The Conference is scheduled for February 23, 2013 from 9 am to 4:30 pm (registration opens at 8:30), Daniel Technology Center, Germanna Community College, Culpeper. Adam K. Downing, Extension Agent, Forestry & Natural Resources - Northern District, notes that space is limited and pre-registration is required. To learn more about this conference content or registration information contact Adam Downing 540/948-6881.

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

The Wildlife Society Host Annual Meeting February 12-13 at SML

The Virginia Chapter of the Wildlife Society's annual Winter Conference is scheduled for February 12-13 at the Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Skelton Conference Center in Wirtz. Andrew Rosenberger, Virginia Chapter of the Wildlife Society President-Elect has challenged the membership to invite a coworker, professional contact or friend to the meeting. He noted. "We all know individuals in our office or through our professional contacts who are not members of the VA Chapter, but would be great additions to our group. Please take the extra effort to personally invite them to our meeting to let them know that we would value their participation."

The feature presentation for the Conference is "Energy and Wildlife." This past election cast a light on the United States becoming much more energy independent. With new technologies for energy extraction come new issues for wildlife. The conference participants will discuss the future of energy development in Virginia and its potential positive and negative impacts on fish and wildlife resources and their landscape habitats. Make your reservation today to explore these and other hot topics in wildlife management and research in Virginia at the annual winter meeting of The Virginia Chapter of The Wildlife Society!

Early registration will close on January 17th. For registration and membership information contact: Andrew.Rosenberger@va.usda.gov or visit the Chapter website.

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 16, 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.

Outdoor Writer Associations Plan Joint Annual Conference in Staunton March 15-17

The VA Outdoor Writers Association 2013 Annual Meeting will be held March 15-17 as a joint conference with the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Association in the Staunton, the "Queen City of the Shenandoah Valley." http://www.staunton.va.us

In a format similar to the outstanding and inspiring meeting we all enjoyed in Hampton, VA, 2009, the meeting will include a break-out Friday of special tours and activities including the Frontier Culture Museum, story opportunities, photography, and an opening dinner all graciously sponsored by the Greater Augusta Regional Tourism Board. Saturday will be a full day of informative workshops highlighted by nationally acclaimed photographers/writers Rob & Ann Simpson, Youth Contest Winners, Annual Meetings for each organization, topped off with our joint Awards Banquet and silent auction. Sunday morning will feature a breakfast and speaker before departure. For early birds who want to arrive Thursday afternoon there will be fly-fishing opportunities. Come meet and get to know MDOWA writers and photographers from PA, MD, NY, NJ, DE, and WVA, and experience wonderful networking opportunities.

This is planned to be a generously sponsored conference with your cost being only your sleeping room and small registration fee. The hotel venue is the beautifully refurbished Stonewall Jackson, where we have secured reduced conference room rates. Get your reservations in as soon as possible. Deadline for reserving rooms at the special conference rate is February 22, 2013. You must mention VOWA/MDOWA when you reserve your room. This conference will be exceptional, don’t miss it. Visit www.vowa.org for more details.

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."

Wheelin' Sportsmen Help Manage Deer at the Matthews State Forest

The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) hosted its annual Wheelin' Sportsmen deer hunt on the Matthews State Forest. This year, six hunters tagged 6 deer, during a two-day period.

Wheelin' Sportsmen, an outreach program of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to enjoy sports, such as hunting and fishing.

This is the fifth year VDOF has partnered with the NWTF on this event. The NWTF provided overnight accommodations, wheelchair-accessible portable blinds and gifts for the hunters and their family members. The Matthews Foundation provided funding for the meals; the Bojangles Restaurant in Galax donated breakfast Saturday morning.

In addition to providing the site and facilities, VDOF personnel provided planning, transportation and general assistance for the hunters; guide services; game recovery and processing, and logistical support. There are also a number of volunteers who donate their time and resources each year to make the event a success.

"This is an event that we look forward to each year. It brings government agencies and private citizens together for a common goal. Memories are made and friendships are forged. It is always fulfilling to be able to provide these folks with an opportunity to hunt, when they may not be able to otherwise. And, to be able to accomplish a management goal at the same time is an added benefit." said Zach Olinger, forester and event coordinator.

Maintaining and sustaining wildlife habitat is one of the goals of state forest management. Heavy browsing on seed, seedlings and saplings can result in unacceptably low amounts of regeneration. Scheduled hunts of whitetail deer can help reduce this threat to forest health.

Reprinted from VA Department of Forestry, "Forestry News" e-newsletter January 2013

Dickenson County Partners Host Inaugural Wounded Warrior Hunt

On December 15, 2012, the inaugural Wounded Warriors Hunt was held in Dickenson County. Conservation Police Officer Mark VanDyke played a key role in the development of this program over the past several months. Officer VanDyke worked in partnership with several organizations including the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health, Dickenson County Bass Club, and Haysi Lions Club in the planning of the event. A private landowner from Dickenson County who participates in the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) provided the use of his 800 acre property for the hunt. Each hunter was provided a DMAP tag that allowed them to harvest a doe deer, greatly increasing their opportunity to take a deer. Five Wounded Warriors from the local area hunted during this inaugural event. Each veteran was assigned to a volunteer, mainly consisting of hunter education instructors, to insure that the hunters had a safe and enjoyable hunt. By lunch time, three of the five Wounded Warriors had harvested a deer. Over four months of planning and gathering monetary donations from various businesses led to the success of the hunt. Prior to the hunt, a safety briefing was conducted while the hunters and volunteers enjoyed a free breakfast that was provided by the Huddle House Restaurant in Clintwood. Approximately fifty people attended the event to help prepare lunch, take pictures and set up tables. Wildlife Biologist, Johnny Wills, was on hand to age the deer that were harvested. Conservation Police Officer Tim Hayes arranged for the deer to be processed for the Wounded Warriors free of charge through a local meat processor.

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.

Amy Jones Patience and Persistence Gets First Buck

Robert A. Jones, Jr. from Newport News sent us this great story of the treasured family tradition of deer hunting with his daughter Amy, currently a 19 year old physical therapy student at Old Dominion University...

"I have been taking my daughter Amy Jones hunting and fishing since she could walk, she always made me bring home any game whole so she could watch me clean them. I bought her first gun and bow at the age of ten. Amy lost interest in hunting in her teenage years (boys I guess?) but showed her interest again her first year of college. I got her a Bowtech bow and she hunted a couple of times her first year. I bought her a Traditions muzzleloader for Christmas last year and a Nikon scope as an early present this year. We hosted a Wounded Warrior Black Powder hunt this year and she joined us on November 6th. Amy requested a stand she had been bow hunting earlier in the year as she had been after a certain buck. I had been saving that stand just for her. She shot a nice 6 point buck right at the end of legal shooting light and sent me a Text. It said, "Daddy I shot a deer, I did everything you taught me, but I don't know if I got him. It felt good but all I can see is smoke!" I told her to sit tight and I would be there shortly. We searched, but did not find the deer that night, but found him at first light the next morning. Her shot was about 100 yards and the deer ran straight away from her about another 60 yards. It was good and cold overnight so the meat was still good. Amy skinned and butchered the deer herself and capped it out for the taxidermist all by herself. This hunt was on private property in Surry County. Amy has a very proud Daddy.

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.

There is a Second Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day February 2, 2013

Youth days are no longer required to be consecutive hunting days, so Virginia is able to provide two Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days this season. The second day has been set for February 2, 2013 after the close of the regular duck season. See Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days. To get prepared and learn the skills necessary to be a successful waterfowler, the VA Waterfowlers Association in partnership with the VDGIF hosts several workshops throughout the season. Visit the VAWFA website for more information.

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.

Justin Wimmer age 17 from Stafford while hunting Thanksgiving morning, shot this big coyote. Justin notes, "I was hunting alone in a 'hang-on' deer stand for an hour, overlooking a marshy area with an old pond, when I looked to my right and saw the coyote walking the edge of the tree line, I brought up my .308 and waited for a clear shot on him when he stopped behind a pine branch. He stepped out and I pulled the trigger stopping him in his tracks. This was my first coyote. Good shooting Justin!

Cloft Family Enjoys Hunting Traditions

Dave and Susan Cloft from Ft Belvoir are both avid outdoor enthusiasts and their seven year old son Tyler is getting a good start in the family hunting traditions and adding to the family photo album. Pictured here is Tyler's first deer and recent goose hunt. They look forward to going 'home' to Michigan to deer hunt at their families hunting camp. Dave is getting ready for spring gobbler season to introduce Tyler to 'ol Tom.

Wildlife Conservation Projects Update

Editor's note... 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. These news items are featured in this section. DC

Elk Restoration Update

Elk Release in Buchanan County Makes History... Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) biologists brought 11 elk to Virginia from southeastern Kentucky on May 18, 2012. They returned to Kentucky and brought another 7 elk to Virginia on May 24th. Sixteen of these elk had been in quarantine for disease testing since February 7th and two were calves born in quarantine. All received a clean bill of health before coming to the release area near Vansant in Buchanan County. Once in Virginia, the elk were placed in an acclimation corral to calm down before release. All adult elk wore new GPS telemetry collars so that biologists could monitor their movements following release. The Elk Restoration Project is the result of a long term partnership between VDGIF, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Buchanan County. Biologists released the first 11 elk on the night of May 23rd. They released elk in the second group on three different nights due to the birth of two additional calves in the acclimation corral. Two pregnant cows were released on May 29th, a pregnant cow and two cows with calves were released on May 31st, and the last cow and calf were released on June 7th. The telemetry equipment performed well in the rough terrain, providing three locations per elk each day. Following release, all elk remained within a mile of the acclimation corral for several weeks. Elk found plentiful forage due to the reclamation work completed by the mine operators and the abundant rainfall this spring. In July and August, cows with calves had the smallest activity areas, ranging in an area encompassing approximately 1000 acres while the two 2-year old bulls had the largest activity areas, ranging an area over 9,000 acres. Radio collars and trail cameras located at frequented areas have provided detailed information on movements by the herd.

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.

January 2013 Update: Allen Boynton , VDGIF Terrestrial Wildlife Biologist Manager for Region 3 notes that, "The elk released in Buchanan County last May are doing well. All the elk that we have observed appear to be in very good condition. Most have remained in the release area and are foraging together. One cow and her calf are several miles from the release site. The bulls have on several occasions wandered off singly or in small groups for several days. However, the bulls continue to return to the area frequented by the cows and calves. Preparations are underway in Kentucky to trap and quarantine elk. VDGIF plans to bring another small group of elk to Buchanan County this spring."

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.

The Wildlife Foundation of VA Launches Quail Restoration Effort on Albemarle Property

The November December 2012 edition of Virginia Wildlife magazine in the Afield and Afloat section features an article by Jenny West, Executive Director of the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia on the Foundation's efforts to improve habitat for bobwhite quail on their 2,000 acre property in southern Albemarle County. As a pilot program TWFVA has released 500 birds at Fulfilment Farms and over the next few months will provide controlled public hunting opportunities, youth hunts and bird dog hunts to help revive this waning sport. Visit the www.vawildlife.org website for more details.

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!

Are You Prepared for Winter Weather?

The Winter Season is upon us, and that means holidays and more time with friends and family-- but it also brings the possibility of winter hazards such as ice, snow and power outages. Here are a few winter preparedness tips from VDEM: http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/winter.

Boating Safety Precautions For Waterfowl Hunters...

There has been a surge in interest in waterfowl hunting this January as reported by an increase in calls and visits to our information desk at the Richmond Headquarters. Waterfowl hunting has a number of unique safety precautions that involve attention to water and boating safety measures, cold weather awareness and gun safety. VDGIF Boating Education Coordinator, Stacey Brown cautions, "While planning a waterfowl hunt, don't forget to check to be sure the boat is in good working condition, with enough gas for the trip and equipped with proper personal flotation devices and other safety gear." Here are some additional steps to reduce the chances of drowning.

With the increase in latter season interest in waterfowl hunting, there has been an increase in reported accidents. Don't let a late season accident ruin your hunt or take your life or the life of a fellow hunter. Safety and courtesy are free... use them generously!

See the Hunting News You Can Use Section for a reminder of the Waterfowl seasons open through February.

Preventing Frostbite and Hypothermia

Prolonged exposure to low temperatures, wind or moisture—whether it be on a ski slope or in a stranded car—can result in cold-related illnesses such as frostbite and hypothermia. The National Safety Council offers this information to help you spot and put a halt to these winter hazards.

Frostbite is the most common injury resulting from exposure to severe cold. Superficial frostbite is characterized by white, waxy, or grayish-yellow patches on the affected areas. The skin feels cold and numb. The skin surface feels stiff but underlying tissue feels soft and pliable when depressed. Treat superficial frostbite by taking the victim inside immediately. Remove any constrictive clothing items that could impair circulation. If you notice signs of frostbite, immediately seek medical attention. Re-warming usually takes 20 to 40 minutes or until tissues soften.

Hypothermia occurs when the body's temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms of this condition include change in mental status, uncontrollable shivering, cool abdomen and a low core body temperature. Severe hypothermia may produce rigid muscles, dark and puffy skin, irregular heart and respiratory rates, and unconsciousness.

Treat hypothermia by protecting the victim from further heat loss and calling for immediate medical attention. Get the victim out of the cold. Add insulation such as blankets, pillows, towels or newspapers beneath and around the victim. Be sure to cover the victim's head. Replace wet clothing with dry clothing. Handle the victim gently because rough handling can cause cardiac arrest. Keep the victim in a horizontal (flat) position. Give artificial respiration or CPR (if you are trained) as necessary.

How to prevent cold-related illnesses

Avoid frostbite and hypothermia when you are exposed to cold temperatures by wearing layered clothing, eating a well-balanced diet, and drinking warm, non-alcoholic, caffeine-free liquids to maintain fluid levels. Avoid becoming wet, as wet clothing loses 90 percent of its insulating value.

Permission to reprint granted by the National Safety Council, a membership organization dedicated to protecting life and promoting health.

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.

Modifications have been completed on the Nuisance and Problem Wildlife Section of VDGIF's website. Angela Weller, Executive Administrative Assistant in the VDGIF Bureau of Wildlife Resources notes that it is much easier to access the nuisance wildlife information. Simply Click on the Wildlife Information Tab from the home page and choose the second link, which is the Nuisance/Problem Wildlife Page. From there you can choose species pages with basic information on laws and regulations right at the top of the page:

Nuisance & Problem Wildlife

How to Prevent or Resolve Conflict with Wildlife

As human populations continue to rise and move into traditional wildlife habitat, human/wildlife contact is becoming more prevalent. This section provides general information and techniques for Virginia property owners when wildlife becomes a problem.

Below are some easy techniques which will usually solve the problem and prevent it from re-occurring:

For more information and related laws regarding problems with wildlife, select a species from the list below [ not shown here]

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!

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 2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for answers to these wildlife related questions for January:

Answers to December 12th edition quiz for nature events for December...

2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar Now Available

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

Get your copy of the 2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar here.

Virginia Conservation Police Notebook

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

Reports from the field officer's notebook...

Region I - Tidewater

Spotlighting Patrol Yields 4 Arrests... On November 24, 2012 Conservation Police Officer Shaw was working a spotlight patrol in a secluded area of Dinwiddie County. In proximity of 9:30pm the officer noticed a pickup truck traveling on a gravel road veer to the left and spotlight a field using the headlights of the vehicle. The truck then continued down the gravel road. When the truck reached the corner of the field, the driver veered left once again and then entered the field spotlighting the corner of the field. The vehicle stopped with its headlights shining the field. Officer Shaw made the stop in the field. Officer Shaw asked about the shotgun in the cab and one of the passengers stated that they were not going to shoot the deer. All four admitted that they were spotlighting and knew it was illegal. Officer Shaw found one loaded shotgun and one spent freshly shot shotgun shell hull in the truck. All four were charged with spotlighting with a firearm in the vehicle.

Public Recognition... On Friday, December 14, 2012, Conservation Police Sergeant Rich Goszka and Officer Josh Jackson were honored by the Westmoreland County Sheriff's Office at their annual Christmas Banquet. The banquet was attended by numerous public safety officials, government employees and citizens of the local area. The officers received certificates of commendation for exceptional service provided to the Sheriff's Office.

Felon with a Gun... On Saturday, December 15, 2012, Senior Conservation Police Officer Ken Williams received a tip in reference to a convicted felon hunting in Northumberland County. Senior Officer Williams located the suspected vehicle and the information revealed that the suspect was hunting with three other subjects. Senior Officer Williams conducted surveillance of the vehicle when the three subjects all armed with shotguns returned to the vehicle. Senior Officer Williams contacted the subjects and conducted an inspection and asked if they had any felony convictions. The suspect stated yes, and the information was confirmed by a criminal history check. The suspect had a lengthy criminal history and was taken into custody without incident and was lodged in the Northern Neck Region Jail on a $5,000 secure bond.

Cops and Kids Go Shopping... December 15, 2012, Conservation Police Officers of Region 1 participated in the annual Cops and Kids Project sponsor by the Rappahannock Area Lodge 15 Fraternal Order of Police. About 134 underprivileged children accompanied by parents were teamed up with a law enforcement officers for numerous agencies. The children were each allowed to pick out $30 worth of toys and $70 worth of clothing from the Central Park Target Store in Fredericksburg. The store opened an hour early and the staff welcomed the crowd. Some of the children are staying in shelters from neighboring localities. The cost for the gifts totaled over $13,000 donated by Target and other businesses and individuals.

District 14 Special Op... On Friday December 21, 2012 District 14 conducted a saturation patrol to address spotlighting issues. Officers from Districts 11,15, 16, 17 and the Region Captain assisted in these efforts as well. At 2025 Sergeant Worrell stopped a vehicle for casting a spotlight into fields in Isle of Wight County. The driver was from North Carolina and was found to be in possession of a .22 rifle as well as a hand held spotlight. The passenger in the vehicle was a convicted felon as well as a documented member of the CRIPS gang. Charges were placed for spotlighting while in possession of a firearm.

Region II - Southside

Illegal Striped Bass... On Friday night, December 7, Officers Shannon Smith, Michael Morris, Nathan Bowling and Joe Williams were working a special striper enforcement assignment on Smith Mountain Lake. Officers Morris and Smith were on boat patrol at 2200 hours when they encountered a boat with three fishermen. After speaking with the individuals for a short time concerning their striper activity, officers located 7 stripers on board the fishing boat. Of these 7 stripers, 5 were in the slot limit and unlawful to possess. Charges were placed on the fishermen for over the limit, possessing fish in the slot limit and failing to display proper navigation lights.

Trespassing for Trophy Bear... On Saturday December 22, 2012, Conservation Police Officers Rob Shafer and Eric Rorabaugh received information that a group of bear hunters were trespassing on several properties and had killed a bear on one of these properties. The officers prompt response to the area enabled them to arrive just as the group was dragging a very large bear out of one of the properties with a truck after having taken a gate, with a posted sign on it, off of its hinges. As the suspects scrambled from the truck, the officers quickly exited their vehicle and were able to apprehend them. K-9 Officer Richard Howald, and his partner Scout, were called to the scene and thus were able to assist in ensuring that no one had escaped apprehension. Charges were placed on the entire group and the bear hide will be surrendered to the Commonwealth.

Region III - Southwest

Trespass to Hunt... On December 6, 2012, Senior Conservation Police Officer James Brooks was called out in reference to subjects trespassing to hunt on posted property. Officer Brooks responded to the location and found a parked vehicle in front of a gate. Officer Brooks spoke with the landowner, who advised that he had heard dogs and several shots coming from his property. Officer Brooks parked his vehicle in a low lit area and walked to where the hunters were located. Officer Brooks observed the hunters coming from the woods and he covertly got behind them. Shortly thereafter, Officer Brooks turned on his light and announced his presence. Officer Brooks was able to obtain a confession from two adult males in reference to taking a raccoon on posted property. The subjects were charged appropriately.

Youth Rabbit Hunt... On December 8, 2012, the first District 33 Youth Rabbit Hunt was held on the Ratcliff Foundation Property in Tazewell County. Names were drawn from a pool of Hunter Education students that attended classes in District 33 since January 2012. There were six youth hunters that attended the event and only the youth were allowed to carry a firearm. There were numerous people that assisted with the event. Officers from District 33, Hunter Education Specialist Jeff Pease, Mossy Oak Staff member Todd Perkins, and Hunter Education Instructors from Bland, Tazewell, Wythe, Buchanan and beagle owners that volunteered to help with the event. People that attended were fed a pancake breakfast by the Rosedale Baptist Church and a free lunch was provided by Bellacino's of Claypool Hill. The SWVA Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation donated blaze orange hats for the event. The Virginia Conservation Police Association donated blaze orange vests for the youth hunters.

Taking Elk in Closed Season... On November 6, 2012, Senior Virginia Conservation Police Officer James Brooks received a complaint of a subject killing an elk in Russell County and failing to check it. Officer Brooks was given a name and possible location of the suspect. Officer Brooks met with the suspect, and conducted an interview. Officer Brooks was able to obtain a confession. The elk was killed in Wise County where the season is closed for elk hunting. The suspect was charged with taking an elk during closed season and failure to check elk as required by law.

Wounded Warrior Hunt... On December 15, 2012, the inaugural Wounded Warriors Hunt was held in Dickenson County. Conservation Police Officer Mark VanDyke played a key role in the development of this program over the past several months. Officer VanDyke worked in partnership with several organizations including the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health, Dickenson County Bass Club, and Haysi Lions Club in the planning of the event. A private landowner from Dickenson County who participates in the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) provided the use of his 800 acre property for the hunt. Each hunter was provided a DMAP tag that allowed them to harvest a doe deer, greatly increasing their opportunity to take a deer. Five Wounded Warriors from the local area hunted during this inaugural event. Each veteran was assigned to a volunteer, mainly consisting of hunter education instructors, to insure that the hunters had a safe and enjoyable hunt. By lunch time, three of the five Wounded Warriors had harvested a deer. Over four months of planning and gathering monetary donations from various businesses led to the success of the hunt. Prior to the hunt, a safety briefing was conducted while the hunters and volunteers enjoyed a free breakfast that was provided by the Huddle House Restaurant in Clintwood. Approximately fifty people attended the event to help prepare lunch, take pictures and set up tables. Wildlife Biologist, Johnny Wills, was on hand to age the deer that were harvested. Conservation Police Officer Tim Hayes arranged for the deer to be processed for the Wounded Warriors free of charge through a local meat processor.

Spotlighting... On December 25, 2012, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Jason Honaker requested assistance from the Wise County Sheriff's Department regarding a complaint of gunshots fired in the Coeburn area at about 2:00 a.m. The deputy who arrived at the scene found two suspects cleaning a deer in the creek. The suspects said that their grandmother had hit a deer with her vehicle and called them to pick it up. The grandmother was contacted by the deputy and admitted that she had struck a deer with her car and had contacted her grandson to pick it up. Officer Honaker requested the deputy to keep the suspects at the scene until he arrived. The deputy told the grandmother that the "Game Warden" was coming to investigate the incident. The grandmother then decided to change her story and gave a written statement to the deputy stating that she did not hit a deer with her vehicle nor call her grandson about a deer. Officer Honaker arrived at the scene and went to the area where the deer was located. He noticed a path through the leaves and upon searching the area located a .223 caliber rifle and some clothing. Upon searching the road Officer Honaker found a .308 caliber rifle shell casing that looked untarnished. Officer Honaker then interviewed the suspects one at a time. The older suspect started out with the same story that he had told to the deputy. Officer Honaker showed the evidence to the suspect and gave him his theory as to what had happened. The suspect then admitted to the officer that they had spotlighted the deer with their headlights and then shot it while using a raccoon hunting light. The .308 caliber rifle was in the back of the suspect's pickup tuck. The .223 rifle discovered at the scene was to be used to finish the deer off if needed. Both suspects gave statements to Officer Honaker admitting to their part in killing of the deer. Warrants were obtained for killing deer at night with the aid of lights.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley – Northern Piedmont

Poacher... On 11/10/12, Virginia Conservation Police Officers, Sergeant Greg Funkhouser and Senior Officer Tony McFaddin, responded to the report of a poacher road hunting in Rockbridge County. Upon their arrival, the officers noticed a blood trail on the state roadway. The officers tracked the blood for several miles until it led them to the residence of a known poacher. After a thorough investigation, written confessions were obtained from two individuals located at the residence to not only the deer killed that day with a .40 caliber pistol, but several other deer that had been killed over the previous month with a variety of firearms. The subjects were charged appropriately.

Suspect Caught Shooting Across the Roadway... On 12/27/2012, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Eller received a complaint from an individual that someone had shot across the roadway at a deer in Louisa County. A description of the vehicle was obtained along with a name that had been obtained from the collar of a hunting dog in the area. Officer Eller proceeded to the scene and located three spent shotgun shells, a shot path, and blood along the road where the deer was shot. While there, a vehicle arrived at the scene to collect the dog. Officer Eller identified the individual and inquired about the vehicle description that the complainant provided. The individual explained that the vehicle in question belonged to his son. At that time the individual contacted his son and asked him to meet Officer Eller at the scene. Once the son arrived at the scene, Officer Eller interviewed him as to his activity in the area. He explained that he was in the area just looking for his dogs and that he did not shoot at a deer. When presented with the evidence, the subjected admitted that he did shoot at the deer in question three times in the area where the spent shells were located. The individual apologized for his actions and explained that he knew what he did was not the right way to hunt. The appropriate charge(s) will be placed.

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 2013 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 2013

Fishing Expo At Meadow Event Park January 25-27

The Richmond Fishing Expo will again be held at Meadow Event Park in Caroline County for the January 25-27 return to the Richmond area. 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. A special feature added this year is the DMV Direct van will be on-site so you can conveniently purchase your hunting and fishing licenses, or the new 2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar, even title a boat or other DMV business. 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 l 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.

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

Welcome to The Fishing Spot! Through my role as Angling Education coordinator for the VDGIF, I am able to connect with a variety of anglers across the Commonwealth and this is an opportunity for me to share those experiences and fishing related topics with you. My sincere hope is that you can always come to The Fishing Spot for interesting and educational fishing articles, intriguing interviews with anglers and the latest on fishing in Virginia. Please enjoy!

Fishing Show Season 2013

It's show season again and time to head out to the nearest expo hall and check out the latest in boats, gear and tackle. Although internet ordering has opened up many opportunities, nothing beats being able to put your hands on that new rod and reel, getting in a boat and opening up the storage lockers or talking to industry experts and pros. They are a great deal too; for much less than the cost of a movie, you and your friends or family can enjoy hours of fun. Be sure to check out a show near you this season!

January 25-27, The Bass & Saltwater Fishing Expo, Meadow Event Park, Doswell, VA. Hours: Fri 10-8, Sat. 9-7, Sun. 10-5. Admission: adults $8, Seniors $7, Age (6-12) $5, 5 and under free – admission is valid all three days. Seminars are available on a wide variety of topics including bass fishing, saltwater and electronics. Speakers include: Elite Series Tour Champions Ish Monroe and John Crews and Virginia guides Dr. Julie Ball and Capt. Steve Chaconas. The Virginia Bass Federation will be hosting the Kids Casting Competition and the trout and catfish pond will be available as well. For more information visit The Fishing Expo website.

February 16, Augusta County Fishin' Expo & Flea Market, American Legion, Staunton, VA. Hours: 9-5, booths with fishing tackle, fishing info, guides and pros, activities for the kids and door prizes available. For more information visit the Augusta County Bass-Jons website.

February 16-17, 9th Annual Orange County Sportsman Expo, Orange County High School in Orange, VA. Hours: Sat. 9-5, Sun. 9-4. Admission $5/day or $8 for both days, kids 10 and under are free. Featuring fishing seminars, boating safety class and a fundraising raffle (6 person charter on the Bay). Visit www.ochsanglers.com for more info.

March 2 , Rapidan Trout Unlimited Chapter Fishing Show at Fauquier County Fairgrounds, Warrenton Show hours are 9 am-4:30 pm, $5 admission, children under 12 free, and plenty of parking. This is the annual fundraiser for TU Chapter activities: Tristate TU Youth Conservation & Fishing Camp; Heritage Day(Kids Fishing day); Trout in Classroom(11 schools); Rapidan River Cleanup/Picnic/Fishing; Camp Special Love/Cancer Kids; Project Healing Waters/wounded veterans; Casting for Recovery/women's cancer; and conservation projects(i.e. Spout Run). There are 50 tables, 8 seminars, fly-tying demo, with hot food & beverages. Vendors are from PA, MD, DC, VA, & WV. The keynote speaker is Jeff Murray of Murrays Fly Shop/Edinburg on "Mountain Trout Fishing". For details visit : www.rapidantu.org.

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

Tribute to Dewey Mullins, Reporter for North Landing River and Back Bay

I wish I didn't have to start the New Year with sad news, but our friend Dewey Mullins has passed on. While I didn't know Dewey well, I always loved speaking with him each week preparing his report on North Landing River and Back Bay from his West Neck Marina. He had a great sense of humor and he really knew about fishing and gave great tips for every species of fish out there. Even when he was too busy to talk to me, he would say it in a way that left me smiling. He had a positive attitude about the fun of fishing often ending his report with the fishing is great so "come and get 'em!"., "I'm sure that all our sympathy and prayers are with Dewey's family and his many friends.

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

Region 1 - Tidewater

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock Temporarily Closed to Powerboats

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

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. It's January and the fish are biting. The water temperature is 47 degrees mid lake rising to top 50 in the coves by mid day, the visibility is at 17 ft. and super clear. Lots of bass stacked up in 15 to 20 ft. of water. The trick is to find them. Suspending jerkbaits, Pig & Jigs, and bladebaits will catch them. We saw bass 1 to 4 lbs. and half dozen stripers up to 6.3 lbs on suspending jerk baits and large minnows. We also saw the largest crappie of the winter, not a lot but enough to make me think they are schooling up . Look for them in 15 to 18 ft. of water along the outside of the grass line. Try jigs and small minnows, a bobber stop works best. Yellow perch over 12 in. came in to suspending, like they were with the stripers. Saturday is our next open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you do not know how to use a bobber stop, we can talk about how to use them Sunday at Fishing 101, please call me to let me know you are coming. Any comments on The Sportsman Flea Market Sat May 4????

Beaverdam Reservoir: Contributed by Park Supervisor Patti McGrath (804) 693-2107. Fishing pressure has been light this week. The anglers that have come out are working for every fish they catch. The bass are holding in deep water 13 to 16 feet and near or on the bottom. That makes them harder to catch, being in deep water, the water stained with low visibility and not feeding as much this time of year. The good news is you can catch some of your biggest bass this time of year, if you are willing to put in the time. Crappie fishing is slow right now, but usually the crappie start showing up around the fishing pier the last of January or first week or so of February. The water is at full pool, stained and 45 degrees. The 2013 annual boat and canoe/Kayak yearly passes are available at the Ranger Station. For more information about Beaverdam Park visit our website or call the Ranger Station at (804) 693-2107.

Cat Point Creek: Contributed by local guide Penn Burke of Spring Shad Charters (804) 354-3200. Penn will not be giving anymore reports until spring. He will probably fish the Bay for rockfish a few times.

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

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

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown told me that he had nothing to tell me! Apparently all the anglers are out hunting. We hope they bag the buck of their dreams. Let's also hope that they, and everyone else in or near the woods, wears something blaze orange. It saves lives! The water is slightly stained and cooling.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475. Chickahominy Lake mid day main lake water temperatures were in the high 30s to low 40s on Saturday (1/5/2013). The lake level was slightly less than a foot above the top of the dam. The water was brown and very slightly cloudy in the lower lake. Bowfin and blue cats were hitting live minnows and were around bait schools on mid-depth and deep flats and in deeper channels in the main lake. Small crappie, a few scattered larger crappie, and a few white and yellow perch were along the edges of the channels or on deep flats near channels (about 14 to18 foot depths) in the lower and middle main lake, but were not biting aggressively. More active small to mid-sized crappies and a few nice pickerel were in the channels and on deeper flats (7 to 12 foot depths) in the extreme upper end of the lake. Crappies were hitting live minnows, small bladebaits, Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail jigs, and tubes. Bass and pickerel were scattered on mid depth and deep flats and channels in the main lake and were hitting live minnows and bladebaits. Fishing with Capt. Conway, Tom Porter had 3 crappie, 6 blue cats, 1 bowfin, 1 pickerel, and 1 bass.

North Landing River and Back Bay: Contributed by Ken Testorff, local blogger. "Two Bass on One Lure at Same Time" That's the phrase I keyboarded into Google Images this morning, which gave me several examples of what I figured I would find. The reason I even went looking for some examples in the first place was because of something I just had heard on an NBC Sports Channel TV show ... namely, the Roland Martin Show. He and his wife were fishing for some "smaller bass," as Roland explained, on Lake Okeechobee. However, there were some cutaway clips of other recent trips Roland had made to the same body of water. One of the clips showed him busting 5- and 6-lb. bass by flipping worms in the grass. Another of the clips, however, showed Roland and his son, Scott, together on the same boat, fishing a lipless crankbait in concentrations of smaller bass. When Scott hooked up on what he called a "true double" (e.g., two bass on one lure at the same time), a big deal was made by both son and dad. And then Scott said, "Okeechobee probably is one of the few places you'll ever see such a thing happen." That statement, coupled with the fact I just so happened to pull one of those so-called "true doubles" myself this past year, was all it took to send me surfing the Internet. I had seen some crashing on top where I was at this one particular day early last summer, tossed my shallow-running crankbait into the middle of it, and immediately hooked up with what I thought was one big fish, based on the way my drag went to singing. Turns out, though, it was only a couple of 1.25 or 1.50 lb. bass, each with a mind of its own. And I assure you I was fishing nowhere other than "good ol' Virginny," as some would say, when I had my "true double." Furthermore, of those examples I checked out in Google Images this morning, all were pulled off somewhere other than Okeechobee, so I reckon I've just reconfirmed something I've known for a long time now ...you can't believe everything you see or hear on that contraption my dear late dad used to call a "boob tube." Thanks, Pop, for bringing me to this dance we call bass fishing. I'll always owe you.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon said that bass action is good on plastics, cranks and, in warmer water, jigs. Crappie fishing is good as well, with the traditional minnows and jigs. Lots of cats are going for cut bait and night crawlers. A few white and yellow perch have come in on small worms. Bluegill won't bite until the water gets warmer. The water is clear and in the low 50s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. Contributed by Riverkeeper Jeff Turner. On the Blackwater as I type this, it's very cold. I am catching lots of bowfin jigging. It's about the only way I can fish with my hands so cold. Water is 37 degrees. Brrrrr

Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker of Confluence Outfitters LLC, (434) 941-9550. Fishing the Upper James River has provided some challenges this fall and winter. The lack of rainfall has caused quite the drought. The difficulty has been due to the inaccessibility by boat and not the level of fish activity. Low waters made it difficult to navigate the rocky gorges where smallmouth bass hide. Fortunately the rain we have been getting has brought the levels back up some. If you have access to some deeper water, fish slow and deep along the bottom. Keep your line tight as the strike may be just a nip at your jig or tube. This time of year these small bites can produce very large fish. During the warmer weather we have experienced, the bite was quite good. During the cold winter months if you locate a fish hovering below a rocky shelf in the deeper water, KEEP FISHING!! He will not be the only one. You may find a day's worth of "catching" inside of a 20 ft. radius. If you can access the river on one of these "Spring like" days and locate the wintertime nest, you won't be disappointed in quality or quantity. Don't neglect the cold days either, fish live outdoors and still eat when it's cold. For other up to date fishing info and reports check out https://www.facebook.com/ConfluenceOutfittersVA and give us a like on facebook! We keep our facebook page updated often!

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike reports that bass are really biting in the warm water area near Dutch Gap. They will take cranks and jigs. Crappie fishing is good near the mouths of creeks, about 10 to 15 ft. down. Try minnows and jigs. Cats are going for cut shad, eel and perch. Yellow and white perch can be found near Dutch Gap and will bite small worms. Some stripers can be had with rattletraps and bucktails. The water is clear and 45 degrees.

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

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

Boat Landing on the Rappahannock Temporarily Closed to Powerboats

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

Region 2 - Southside

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. L.E. told me that he has not been fishing, and has heard nothing from anyone else ... so no report. The water is clear and 39 degrees.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow told me that the bass bite is good near rocky points; try jerkbaits and small cranks. Stripers like jumbo shiners, rattletraps and swimbaits. Crappie are at the mouths of creeks, hanging out around submerged structures and are biting minnows and jigs. No word on cats, perch or bluegill. The water is in the 40s and slightly stained.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. Tom Riesdorf says that he has heard nothing about smallmouth fishing. He also hasn't heard about rainbow and brown in the Jackson. Brookies in mountains are responding to nymphs. The water is cold 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. No report this edition.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Contributed by Mike Burchett of Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. The lake is at full pool. The upper end, around light house bridge, is stained to muddy. The lower end, from Peak Creek to the dam is clear. Water temperature is in the low 40s.

Striper: The bite is good with live bait, with shad being the best lure choice. Slow trolling with umbrella rigs rigged up with 5 or 6 inch weighted swim baits in over 30 ft. of water is also producing some nice catches. Peak Creek is the best place for stripers this time of year.

Yellow Perch: The Yellow perch are really turned on right now. We have weighed in several citations over the last couple of weeks. Small jig heads and crappie minnows are the best combo for lure choice. Peak Creek seems to be the hot part of the lake right now for Yellow perch.

Bass: ABOSULTLEY PHENOMAL!!! The Alabama rig is catching bass right now, and big bass too. We have weighed in several 5 fish limits in the 20 lb. range in the last week. I caught my personal biggest bass last Saturday, December 30th, weighing 10.05 lbs. She was caught on a Alabama rig in about 20 feet, the A-rig was rigged up with Net Bait Swimbaits in the Hitch color and Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper in the Light Hitch color. The bass measured 25 inches in length and 19.50 inches in girth. After measurements and several pictures, she was released very healthy back into Claytor Lake. The Rock House Marina facebook page has several pictures of all the recent catches.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius told me that the smallmouth bite is slow due to the clarity of the water; if the fish can see you, they won't bite (would you?), Alabama rigs are your best bet. Muskies are doing better, taking live suckers. The water is low clear and in the 40s.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. The Upper New River finally received some much needed rain and, while not at normal levels, it is a beautiful fishing green. Muskie fishing has been outstanding and the walleye seem to be on a good bite as well. The water is 35 degrees so the smallie bite is slow but with warmer than seasonal temperatures on the way for the next week smallie action may pick up in a week. Now is a good time to book your walleye trip for late February and March.

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn has not heard much about smallmouth. Muskies are doing well on big tubes, with dark purple as a good color. The water is clear, at mid level and in the upper 30s to low 40s. Don't forget that Tangent has deer and duck hunting excursions.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. Trout fishing in the stocked creeks that feed the Top New (Mouth of Wilson to Fries) is still doing well. Little or no ice has formed on the creeks so far this winter season. We have had over 2 inches of much needed rain the last 2 weeks. This has eliminated the gin clear water; it is now a nice green color in the feeder streams. Temperatures this week will be above average so it should be a good time to trout fish.

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

Region 4 - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. Harry says that the smallmouth streams are just too cold to fish.

In the Valley the delayed harvest streams are good places to fish just now. Back Creek and the delayed harvest section of Passage Creek are particularly good. Good flies are: Murray's Betsy Streamer, size 10; and Casual Dress, size 10.

The brookie streams in the mountain are too cold to try for one.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. Lake Moomaw is still open via Fortney Branch but be very careful as the end of the ramp is nearly exposed. Fishing has been pretty slow for both smallmouth and largemouth bass but the hardy souls are still managing to catch a few on winter patterns such as silver buddies, tail spinners, and jigs. Water temperatures are in the low 40s. Weather forecast a warmer week upcoming so perhaps I will have more to report assuming anglers are willing to commit.

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!

Quantico Bay: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. Happy New Year! It's been cold and awful difficult to get out on the water lately...right now I'm looking forward an early Spring, warmer temperatures, and hopefully a great shad season in Mar/Apr. ;-) Of course, I'll still try to get out if the weather cooperates and if I do I'll be sure to give you an update for the Fishing Report. Oh and I'm REALLY hoping that Quantico Marine Corps Base will get Lunga Recreation Area (and the reservoir) open for business again soon.

Occoquan Reservoir: Contributed by local angler Jim Thomas. Quantico Bay.

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.No report this edition.

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

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

The Outdoor Report is proud to partner with the on-line ODUMagazine™  to give our readers direct access to a great variety of info about fishing around the region, as well as links to hunting and conservation news. ODU Magazine Editor Larry Thornhill and  Assistant 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 Sarah White's Notebook in the Fishin' Report.

Editor Larry Thornhill notes, "Since we launched in December 2011, we aspired to provide our growing readership with a quality, entertaining and educational digital fishing magazine, balanced with daily news from our hunting and fishing journals. In the  ODU Fishing News and ODU Hunting News, we cover daily fishing and hunting tips, new product introductions, conservation announcements, legislative issues that outdoorsmen should be alerted to and great catches and hunts from around the world.  ODU Magazine™ is not your typical outdoor website. We don't just provide a link and logo for our advertisers; we provide an advertising campaign on our network of fishing sites. Advertisers get ads in our digital magazines, their products and news in our news journals (fishing or hunting), videos provided are added to our Video Library and all company provided news is released into our extensive social network.  Look for "what's new' in each edition of the Outdoor Report...

Check out the video library...   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.

This week from Bill Schwarz:

We wish you and yours a safe and prosperous 2013. Many of you are finished digging out from the first major snow storms or still are prepping for more, we hope you find time to sit down with your laptop, IPad, Kindle or the reliable desktop to read this edition of ODU Magazine. Bass, pompano, tarpon, stealhead, snook and carp are what's in our offering this go around. Keep an eye out for the return of Sandy's Kitchen and the second month of Ken Freel's "What's Selling".  Here is a link to ODU Magazine's Winter Fishing Edition: http://www.odumagazine.com/Magazines/ODUDec2012/ Are you a bass angler?  Do you want to improve your time on the water and catch more and bigger bass?  ODU Magazine has a media partner in the Bass University.  The owners Mike Iaconelli and Pete Gluszek as well know anglers who bring the best professional bass anglers together in a classroom setting, to share many of their secrets to bass fishing.  They have five seminars set this year throughout the country..here is a link: www.thebassuniversity.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!

Got Tips?
Got Tricks?
Adventure Stories?
The one that got away?
The one that didn't?

email your material to
fishing_report@hotmail.com
and it might get used in the Fishin' Report!

Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

Genevive Pegram recalls, "That at nine years of age, swinging on a tree swing at a local park, I told my dad, 'I want to be a naturalist.' Nine years later, animals and nature are still just as fascinating." Currently, I am a Junior studying Wildlife Science at Virginia Tech and am in the University Honors Program. Homeschooled my entire life, I lived from age two to age nineteen in Richmond, Virginia. For two years I attended John Tyler Community College, and served as Vice President of Fellowship for my college's chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor society for a short term. Nature and writing are my major interests. I have been writing them since I could hold a pencil, and this year I won my community college's fiction contest. When I have acquired a degree and a good job studying wild animals, I plan to use my spare time and money traveling and adventuring. Genevive's insightful story about her brief, yet memorable encounter with a buck deer earned Fifth Place in the 2011-12 VOWA Collegiate Writing Competition.

Face to Face: An Unexpected Interlude

By Genevive Pegram

First off, this did not happen in a pristine national park halfway across the country. There are some people who, no matter their passionate love for the great outdoors, do not have the luxury of visiting many national parks or camping or hiking very often. This most regrettable condition often befalls city or suburb dwellers who possess very limited finances and/or families who prefer the relaxation of a not-too-distant beach hotel over a hike or camping trip. This works out well for the family—all except the little oddball daughter, who would rather be scaling cliffs and getting lost in the forest. Needless to say, if any readers feel the same as this hypothetical suburbia eccentric, you may just appreciate my story a little more.

Last spring, I started to run. While some have smiled pityingly and told me I am just a little below average height, the truth is that I am just plain short, and this makes running a bit more difficult for me, or at least a bit slower. Nevertheless, I enjoyed training myself to run, little by little, through the neighborhood in the late spring and into summer.

It is beautiful there. Though relatively close to Downtown Richmond, my neighborhood is even closer to an area of James River wetlands. Running through the neighborhood, I saw hedgerows of yellow forsythia and azalea, patches of wild violets and happy pink shamrocks on the road-edges, with honeysuckle bushes, old oak trees, and sweet-smelling marsh plants growing up in neighbors' yards. Sometimes I would see red-shouldered hawks, eastern bluebirds, goldfinches, rabbits, chipmunks, and in bits of sandy soil, the prints of a raccoon or possum. Though for the most part they stayed down by the river, there was also an occasional ungulate visitor to the neighborhood.

One day in June I set out for a run in the late morning, after a long battle with myself. It was a humid, stuffy, sticky day (as it often is in Richmond by the river), the mold count was up, and I had about the endurance of a wet noodle. Nonetheless, something told me I should run today, so I set out. I hadn't been going longer than five minutes when I came face to face with a white-tailed deer. I suppose everyone knows that these animals seem annoyingly overabundant. Even still, they rarely appeared in my neighborhood. I heard the rustling to my right, so I stopped quickly and looked to see what had made the noise.

The buck was a pretty good size, much taller than the neighborhood dogs that I was used to facing, and equipped with quite sharp antlers. I had heard that deer are rarely aggressive. Any deer that I had seen before had run at the sight of me, but this buck did not bolt. He stared directly at me, unblinking. There was a fiery light in his deep brown eyes. I stared back, shocked to see him looking so unafraid, and still startled by the suddenness of it.

The staring match was short. I turned slowly and continued my run. The buck did not follow. I wondered at this little interlude. There are stories, of course, of aggressive bucks. I even heard a story about a large male deer that chased after a car and dented it with its horns. Though they are not usually used as weapons against predators, antlers are sharp and dangerous enough to impale a human, so maybe that's why I decided to move on with my run instead of continuing to stare into this creature's eyes.

I have often found that looking into an animal's eyes can be an awe-inspiring experience. Squirrels might look at me pretty often, but they are looking and weighing me as threat, full of caution and nervous energy; they are not looking at me. I once had the great opportunity of coming face to face with a river otter while volunteering at a Nature Center. Nothing separated us but a door with a wide crack in it; looking through the crack, I met the otter's gaze, and he returned it, staring deeply into me, curious. It was more like that with the deer as well, but there was less curiosity in his eyes and more brown fire.

Still, however fierce this buck may or may not have been, he certainly did not attack me or give pursuit. He followed the rule of "if you leave me alone, I'll leave you alone," as do most animals, in my humble experience. I thought that this was quite civil of the buck, when a human—at least one with a gun—would probably not have done the same. After all, venison is undeniably delicious, and I am certainly not vegetarian. I would rather not shoot a deer all the same. If I ever do, it will not be with bloodlust and happiness. After seeing this beautiful creature so close—his long gold-brown legs like smooth and slender boughs, the perfect perk of his ears, the weird branching shape of the sharp-tipped antlers, and the life and feeling so vibrant in his expression—I cannot help but grieve a little at the death of any creature.

Your outdoor experience doesn't have to be a grand epiphany at some distant national park, though kudos if it does. It could happen on the way to work or to school—you might see a squirrel and take a minute to watch it, and realize that it's alive and feeling and thinking. Even this is a profound experience with nature. It could happen at Yosemite, or it could be an unlikely interlude ten minutes from Downtown Richmond: just as long as it happens.

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.

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: