In this edition:

It's Showtime!

Sportsman showtime that is... As we quickly approach August and the dog days of summer, this is a friendly reminder that there are only 65 days till the beginning of deer season! This year deer season begins with a special Youth Deer Hunting Day on Saturday September 28th. This follows National Hunting & Fishing Day. How appropriate to celebrate our great hunting traditions and values with a special hunting day established to provide youngsters a unique opportunity to participate in deer hunting. And with the new hunting regulations Apprentice license holders are also eligible to hunt during the traditional Youth Day.

To properly prepare for hunting season there are dozens of quality sportsmen shows and training events scheduled throughout August and September in every region of the state. These events all feature numerous exhibits, demonstrations, hands-on activities and seminars - something for everyone in the family. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new, innovative equipment and learn from the experts about new places and proven techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. Detailed information and website links for each of these events is listed in this edition. All the events are unique and offer something different of interest to hunters of all skill levels. They range from one day hands-on workshops to three day shows with over 300 exhibits and demonstrations. Locate several of these events near you and take your family and friends and get ready for a safe and rewarding hunting season. I hope to see you all at the show!

There's still plenty of good fishing action thru the Fall. The Outdoor Report is full of fishing and boating tips and information to make your outing more productive, enjoyable, and safe. To learn more about fishing and boating in Virginia, including where to fish, how to identify fish species, guides to lakes and rivers, fishing and boating regulations and much more, read on...

David Coffman, Editor

New 2013-14 Hunting & Trapping in Virginia Digest Available on Website July 1st

The new 2013-14 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Digest is on the VDGIF website as of July 1st. The digest contains information on the 2013-14 seasons and bag limits and new regulation changes passed by the Board of Game & Inland Fisheries at the June 13th Board meeting. The printed version of the digest will be available by August 1. An overall summary of the changes is found at the beginning of the digest on page eight, "What's New" and will be highlighted in more detail in the next edition of the Outdoor Report. This year's hunting seasons overall will be very similar to last year. One new change that is sure to be popular with sportsmen is hunters of any age with an Apprentice License can participate in the special youth days for deer, turkey and the newly established bear youth and apprentice hunter day. The ten-hour Hunter Education Course has been replaced with a new format with a self-study requirement for students, followed by six hours of classroom instruction. The new course should allow students more flexibility in scheduling and will focus on safety, hunting ethics and conservation. Hunters interested in applying for the early Quota hunts, such as New Kent Forestry Center dove hunt, Radford deer hunts, Hog Island deer hunt and others should print off, complete, and mail in the quota applications found on pages 67-69 so not to miss the early application deadlines.

Safety First - Time To Take Your Hunter Education Class

September will soon be here and the fall hunting seasons will begin. Are you ready?!?! For new hunters, NOW is the time to take the required Hunter Education Course to qualify for your license. Our team of over 900 volunteer instructors have over 100 classes scheduled statewide. But don't wait, as classes fill up fast as deer season approaches. You can find the class schedules and locations by telephone or website. This year, the Virginia Hunter Education Course is more convenient, combining the flexibility of self-study with less classroom time. Go to http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/education/ for more details.

With the Youth Deer Hunting Day September 28th, this is a great opportunity for a new hunter to schedule the class and take it together for a refresher. This is also a good time to get an Apprentice Hunting License for a friend or family member that wants to try out this rewarding sport this season. There are youth and family friendly events throughout September all across the state, where you can go to get information and the right gear to make your outdoor adventures safe, successful, and fun. Visit your local sporting goods store or sportsman event and properly prepare for a great hunting season with family and friends.

What licenses are required for youths?

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

Next Edition Three Weeks Away August 14...

Since we post the Outdoor Report on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, the next edition will be in three weeks, August 14. This 'extra week' in the calendar will be well spent preparing for the 30th Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show at the Richmond Raceway Complex Aug 9-11. This is the largest sportsman show in Virginia with over 20,000 sportsmen and their families coming out to celebrate our hunting and fishing traditions and outdoor heritage. With the 'dog days of summer' we hope you take the opportunity to go fishing in a shady stream or enjoy an outdoor cookout with neighbors and friends., or other cool activities enjoying the wonders of nature at any of the dozens of events listed in Wild Events. We look forward to getting your photos and stories of your outdoor adventures with friends and family for the August 14th edition and photos of the big bucks entered in the VA Deer Hunters Association Contest. Have a safe and enjoyable summer!

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Kids Fishing Day Events Calendar Posted on VDGIF Website

The 2013 Kids Fishing Days event table is now posted on the VDGIF website. View it from the Upcoming Events page and there is a link under Contests and Ongoing Events on the right side. There are 40 events posted currently and new ones will be added as they are submitted. In May, Kid's Fishing Day events are scheduled in the counties of Wythe, Russell, Washington, Smyth, Pr. William, Craig, Floyd, Grayson and Buchanan!! Click on link for details. VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator Chris Dunnavant notes, "More and more people are utilizing this web-table and traveling significant distances to experience a Kids Fishing Day." Send in your photos of family fun to the Outdoor Report. Share this information with family and friends and "Take a Kid Fishing!"

Virginia State Parks and Outdoor Nation to Host National Outdoor Summit August 1-3 at Pocahontas State Park

Virginia State Parks in partnership with Outdoor Nation, the millennial-led movement championing the outdoors, will host a three day workshop to identify regional outdoor issues, develop strategies and receive leadership training. The three-day Outdoor Nation Summit will gather more than 100 attendees. Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 28. "Millennials" is a term generally used to describe young people born between 1980 and the late 1990s. The summits are being held in partnership with America's State Parks Foundation's Ambassador Program and Outdoor Nation. The last of three scheduled Summits will take place at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield August 1-3. Campsites are available for summit participants, but they will need to bring a tent, sleeping bag and personal items. Tents can be provided upon request. To register for a summit, visit http://outdoornation.org/vsp. For more information visit www.OutdoorFoundation.org, www.americasstateparks.org/Ambassadors, or www.OutdoorNation.org.

The Arthropods of the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve - Overt and Covert

Join the Friends of Dyke Marsh and the Georgetown Center for the Environment for an arthropod adventure on Saturday, July 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to see many interesting arthropods other biota. There are over 6,000 known arthropods in Dyke Marsh. Arthropods are invertebrate animals with an external, jointed skeleton, usually known as a carapace. This phylum includes insects, crustaceans, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions and horseshoe crabs.

Dr. Edd Barrows, Insect Ecologist, Professor of Biology and Director of the Center for the Environment at Georgetown University, will lead a walk and introduce us to many of the natural wonders in the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve that we often overlook. Meet at Haul Road entrance.

Dress for the weather.  The walk will take place unless there is heavy rain or thunderstorms.  Information:  www.fodm.org and http://biodiversity.georgetown.edu/.

30th Annual Sportsman Show Returns to Richmond Raceway Complex August 9-11

The 30th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show features a lot of new, exciting exhibits and demonstrations this year returning to the Richmond Raceway Complex! There's plenty of parking, more space for the 350 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. The show has expanded into a third building- The Green Top Pavilion which will include an archery range sponsored by Parker Bows, decoy exhibit and contest, VDGIF K9 teams and much more.  Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places and techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. At the three-day show August 9-11, Conservation Police Officers and Wildlife Biologists will be on hand to answer all your hunting, fishing and wildlife information questions. DMV Direct van will be on-site so you can conveniently purchase your hunting and fishing licenses, or the new 2014 Virginia Wildlife Calendar, even title a boat or other DMV business. Pick up your free copy of the new 2013-2014 Hunting Regulations & Information booklet that features descriptions of new regulations and opportunities to enhance your hunting experience this season. The new Wildlife K 9 Team will be there to demonstrate their unique skills assisting officers in wildlife investigations and search and rescue.

Hunting SAFELY & RESPONSIBLY is always foremost when afield. Hunter Education Instructors will have exhibits and demonstrations on safe firearms handling, tree stand use, waterfowl hunting and safety reminders for both experienced and novice hunters. A Virginia Hunter Education Course will be held at the VA Outdoor Sportsman Show this year. Under the new Hunter Education format, students will complete self-study material prior to attendance at a shorter classroom session. Everyone registered for the class will get free admission to the Show. UPDATE-  As of posting date this class  at the Outdoor Show is FULL, so go to http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/education/ for more information to find a class near you coming up in July – October.

This is your chance to see the biggest bucks harvested in Virginia. Deer hunters throughout Virginia will bring their mounts to this prestigious contest, organized by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA). The Virginia Open Turkey Calling Championship will be held on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. sanctioned by the National Wild Turkey Federation. Celebrity guests include Pat & Nicole Jones Reeve of Driven TV and Co-Hosts of Inside Outdoors TV Dave Poteat & Tim Anello! Also, Lizard Lick Towing will be on hand Saturday & Sunday only, don't miss out!

Show Manager and Founder Hugh Crittenden notes he is giving away a special door prize- a 6-day pre-rut Kansas Bow Hunt valued at $2950 with Midwest Finest Whitetails! You must come to the Show to enter. Check the Show's website for information and to view videos on numerous seminars, exhibits, demonstrations, sportsmen celebrities, and contests. Order your tickets online to avoid the line!

Take a Friend, Make a Hunter... This is the perfect event to bring a friend that is interested in the Apprentice Hunting License to talk with experienced sportsmen about the many opportunities for hunting and try out the latest gear to enhance your experience.

Flat Out Catfish Workshop on the James River August 22

Would you like to learn the secrets of catching Flathead Catfish on the James River? Join DGIF Angling Education and Captain Mike Ostrander for a day of instruction and fishing on the James River at Pony Pasture in Richmond. Workshop involves wading in the river and terrain can be challenging. Tackle, bait and lunch is provided. For ages 16 and older. To register or for questions, contact Chris Dunnavant by email, chris.dunnavant@dgif.virginia.gov, or by phone, 804-283-7327. Registration Fee: $40 - register today, space is limited! Workshop date: Flat Out Catfish II, Thursday, August 22, 8am – 4pm.

First Virginia State Catfish Championship on Buggs Island Lake August 17

On August 17,2013 the first VA State Catfish Championship will be held on Buggs Island Lake. The lake is now famous as it holds the current state and world record Blue Catfish. Tournament hours are from 3 pm to 1 am at Staunton View Boat Ramp. To find out more information you can follow us on facebook and www.thecatfishshowdown.com.

Hunter Skills Weekend at Holiday Lake August 23-25

This unique program open to ages 11-90+ offers opportunities to learn new skills or fine-tune the ones you already have.  Three 4-hour sessions in a variety of topics provide skills development for new and seasoned hunters alike and include shooting, archery, survival, game cooking, game processing, bow fishing and a variety of hunting techniques. This partnership program is presented by the Virginia Hunter Education Association, VDGIF and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center and is held at the 4-H Center near Appomattox.  Registration is open until August 9, 2013 and the cost is $120.00 (meals and lodging included); a discounted fee is available before August 2, 2013. Completion of a Hunter Education course is preferred but not required; children under 18 must attend with a parent. For more information visit www.holidaylake4h.com, call Holiday Lake at (434) 248-5444 or e-mail bbranch@vt.edu.

Farmville Outdoor Festival August 24th

Are you looking for an opportunity to get outdoors and learn some exciting Outdoor Skills! Riverside Community Church is hosting their Annual Outdoor Festival in Farmville at the Five County Fairgrounds Saturday, August 24, with many fun filled activities and events planned. VDGIF will be offering shotgun training with the opportunity to try your skills at simulated hunting scenarios with clay throwers, as well as fishing skills at the kid's fish pond. Other activities include a turkey call seminar with Pro-Staff Jim Burns from Quaker Boy followed by a Turkey Calling Contest for youth and adults! Bugg's Island Archery is hosting a 3-D archery contest. This event is for all ages, so come out and bring your family and friends for a day of fun in the outdoors!

For more information, view flyer Farmville Outdoor Festival (PDF), or contact Riverside Community Church at 434-547-6770.

Family Forestland Short-course: Focusing on Land Transfer to Generation "NEXT"

You value your forest and/or farmland for multiple reasons such as wildlife, privacy, recreation, timber, hunting or the scenic qualities. Are you prepared to pass the environmental and heirloom values rooted in your forest to the next generation? Without breaking it up?

The cost of not planning is "priceless" and future tax burdens may put your land's ownership in jeopardy. If you don't plan, the Government will plan for you. By researching and planning ahead of time, you can ensure your wishes are met and minimize the financial costs and emotional challenges while securing your woodland legacy! Please join us for a hands-on workshop with free legal guidance from professionals experienced in intergenerational land transfer and landowner testimonials of estate planning steps and strategies they have used. Land may be your biggest asset. Make sure your actions support the family's values. This award winning and nationally recognized program will get you started on the right path.

Speakers include legal and financial experts experienced in estate planning as well as natural resource professionals who work with landowners to conserve land and plan the future.

Location: Fredericksburg Country Club, Fredericksburg, VA

Date: August 13 and 20, 2013 from 12:30 - 7:00 p.m. Participation in both days is required.

Cost and Other Information: Buy one get one free... $60 for up to two people from the same family and $30 for each additional family member.Dinner both nights. A copy of the award winning "Ties to the Land: Your Family Forest Heritage" is included in the registration fee.

Application/Registration: deadline July 31, 2013 To Apply and Pay by mail, please complete your application and send with payment to: Virginia Cooperative Extension's Northern District and Natural Resources P.O. Box 10 Madison, VA 22727

Hunters for Hungry Play Ball With Lynchburg Hellcats August 29

The second annual event to benefit the Hunters for the Hungry feeding program will be held on THURSDAY AUGUST 29th at Lynchburg City Stadium with the Lynchburg Hillcats. Anyone wearing any camo apparel will be admitted for 1/2 price, $4 instead of the general admission price of $8. There will be a raffle conducted with some really neat prizes, guns, crossbows, Hillcats autographed items, and much more. ALL PROCEEDS from this fundraiser benefit the HFTH feeding efforts.

PLUS OUR BIG SPECIAL FOR THE EVENING ARE THE SPONSORSHIPS WE HAVE AVAILABLE!!!!

For a $100 tax deductible sponsorship the individual, business, or organization will receive 25 General Admission tickets ( A $200 value ) to the August 29th game. In addition, all sponsorships received before July 10th will have their name etc in the August edition of the Game Day magazine, They will also receive recognition through a handout that will be given to every attendee the night of the event and they will also be recognized through PA announcements the night of the game and on the screen in the outfield as well.

For a $200 tax deductible sponsorship the individual, business, or organization will receive 50 General Admission tickets ( A $400 value ) to the August 29th game and all the same sponsorship advertising incentives / opportunities as comes with the $100 level sponsor. What a great way to get tax deductible advertising and treat family, friends, clients, customers, employees, your baseball team or others to a night at the ballpark.

Photographer Documents Contemporary American Sporting Culture

Award-winning fine art photographer Jesse Freidin has embarked on an epic documentary project telling the story of the contemporary American hunter. The first of its kind, this series uses traditional photo techniques to create a comprehensive survey of contemporary American sporting culture. The project will receive its first public exhibition in June 5- Sept 29 2013 at the National Sporting Museum and Library in Middleburg, Virginia.

"Hunting requires humility. This is what attracted me to this series. There is a transformation that hunters undergo in which they temporarily shed their human coil, entering into a primal dialogue with animal, the environment, and the immediacy of their senses. I feel a kinship to the hunt. On the surface level it bears similarities to working in analog film. The single moment of execution that can make an hour of attentive focus worth it - or not. But there is something else. Something about what hunting tells us about our own human nature. This is what I am tracking with this series. The modern sportsman's meditations on nature. The connection they share with their dogs and their hunting com¬panions. These are moments I am seeking to document and present in this series." - Jesse Freidin. For more information on this project contact studio@jessefreidin.com

Ed's Virginia Outdoor Blog Report

Editor's note... With the increasing popularity of blogs and other social media in outdoor communications, Virginia blogger Ed Felker offered to share his blog and those of fellow bloggers with our readers in the Outdoor Report. Ed is a graphic designer, writer, photographer, artist and outdoorsman. A native Virginian, Ed can most often be found near his studio overlooking the Potomac River, usually with a camera, often with a fly rod, always with a dog. In his blog, "Dispatches from the Potomac," he writes about fly fishing, hunting, hiking, kayaking, photography and simply enjoying the outdoors. Ed serves on the Board of Directors for the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Association and lives in Loudoun County with his wife and many, many animals.

Snakehead on the Fly

By now you've heard much about the invasive, weird, delicious, hard-fighting Northern Snakehead fish. There is no doubt they are now here to stay. So why not move some of those Snakeheads out of the Potomac River tributaries and into your freezer? It's not just good for the river, it's a lot of fun, too! Read about my first encounter with these beasts in The Bizarre and Exciting Snakehead Fish on Dispatches from the Potomac.

Elsewhere in the Virginia outdoor blogosphere...

Richie Bekolay takes us along as he is Sight Casting Redfish on his blog, Hook Line & Sinker. This great account and beautiful photos from a great day of fishing will have you longing to hit the flats for some Redfish action! Great job, Richie.

Is July too early to start thinking about deer season? Between checking stands, adjusting cameras and tending to food plots, there's plenty to do this time of year! Will takes us through some preparation in A Little Deer Season Prep on The Will to Hunt.

Do you write about outdoor life in Virginia? Send your fishing, hunting, hiking, photography or other outdoor blog to Ed at ejfelker@verizon.net, and your blog may be featured in an upcoming Virginia Outdoor Blog Report!

People and Partners in the News

Field & Stream Magazine Honors Jeff Turner For Local Conservation Work

Jeff Turner, Blackwater – Nottoway Riverkeeper from Sedley, has been selected to receive the Field & Stream's Heroes of Conservation Award for June and wins a $500 conservation grant from Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. for his organization. Jeff is a regular contributor to the Outdoor Report Fishin' Report for the Blackwater-Nottoway Rivers where he is the founder of the Riverkeepers. Read the news release for details.

New York, N.Y.—Field & Stream, the world's leading outdoor magazine, profiles Jeff Turner of Sedley, VA, for his extraordinary contributions to conservation in its June issue, on newsstands and available at fieldandstream.com/heroes now. Each month Field & Stream honors three grassroots conservationists as part of its Heroes of Conservation program, which is dedicated to recognizing sportsmen who go above and beyond in the protection of fish, wildlife and habitat. Mr. Turner will receive a $500 conservation grant from Field & Stream's Heroes of Conservation partner Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. and is also eligible for the Heroes of Conservation grand prize, a new Toyota Tundra. For more information or to nominate an individual involved in a conservation project, please visit fieldandstream.com/heroes.

"Hunters and fishermen have never been afraid to roll up their sleeves and get to work in the name of protecting America's wildlife and wild places, and Jeff is a great example of that ethos hard at work," says Anthony Licata, Editorial Director of Field & Stream. "Conservation is and will always be an integral part of hunting and fishing, and men and women like Jeff are crucial to keeping our traditions alive for generations to come. "

Now in its eighth year, Field & Stream's Heroes of Conservation program is dedicated to honoring individuals involved in grassroots projects to preserve the land, water and wildlife vital to sportsman's pursuits. Every month the magazine highlights three "Heroes of Conservation, " who each receive a $500 grant from program partner Toyota. To be considered for the program, individuals must be involved in a hunting- and/or fishing-related conservation project that is well under way with outstanding results. Selections are based on a number of factors, including leadership, commitment and project growth.

"This program is very important to Toyota because it recognizes individuals who are making a difference in the world," said Steve Appelbaum, National Manager, Engagement Marketing, Toyota Motor Sales. "These people aren't looking for reward or praise—they're just passionate about protecting and preserving the environment. We take great pride in partnering with Field & Stream to showcase these individuals' efforts and achievements on a national level."

Field & Stream's Heroes of Conservation program culminates each fall when the magazine names the "Conservation Hero of the Year " and awards him or her a new Toyota Tundra. Six finalists, selected from the Heroes profiled in the monthly editions of the magazine, are selected and flown to Washington D.C. for an awards gala where the Hero of the Year is named and each finalist receives a $5,000 conservation grant from Toyota.

Conservation Award Winner Profile: Jeff Turner, Sedley, VA

A largemouth bass fisherman, Turner created the first Waterkeeper Alliance chapter in Virginia 12 years ago to protect the Blackwater and Nottoway Rivers. Turner gives presentations about the rivers' key species, organizes an annual trash cleanup, guides researchers surveying mussels and striped bass, and reports on his regular patrols of the waterways and their resources. "It's like preventative medicine, " says Turner. Through his presentations, he was recently instrumental in helping the Nature Conservancy acquire 250 acres at Byrd Point for permanent protection.

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 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR), we are featuring VDGIF partner organizations that support our Mission in each edition of the Outdoor Report. WSFR is one of the most significant and successful partnership approaches to fish and wildlife conservation in U.S. history. The WSFR is a milestone program that brings together federal and state fish and wildlife agencies; the hunting, shooting, angling, and boating industries; and conservation groups to create a successful partnership that has led to quality wildlife-related outdoor opportunities. Through fostering and maintaining these partnerships, conservation and outdoor recreation will continue to future generations of outdoor enthusiasts.

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 these partner organizations, highlighting the groups programs and activities that support us in our Mission "working together for wildlife."

30th Annual Sportsman Show Offers Many NEW Features This Year At Richmond Raceway Complex August 9-11

The 30th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show features a lot of new, exciting exhibits and demonstrations this year returning to the Richmond Raceway Complex! There's plenty of parking, more space for the 350 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. The show has expanded into a third building- The Green Top Pavilion which will include an archery range sponsored by Parker Bows, decoy exhibit and contest, VDGIF K9 teams and much more. Experienced and novice sportsmen and sportswomen can try the latest in new equipment and learn about new places and techniques to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. At the three-day show August 9-11, Conservation Police Officers and Wildlife Biologists will be on hand to answer all your hunting, fishing and wildlife information questions. DMV Direct van will be on-site so you can conveniently purchase your hunting and fishing licenses, or the new 2014 Virginia Wildlife Calendar, even title a boat or other DMV business. Pick up your free copy of the new 2013-2014 Hunting Regulations & Information booklet that features descriptions of new regulations and opportunities to enhance your hunting experience this season. The new Wildlife K 9 Team will be there to demonstrate their unique skills assisting officers in wildlife investigations and search and rescue. Be sure to order your tickets online to avoid the line!

Expanded Virginia Sportsman Show will feature Decoy Carving Champions!

New for this year, the expanded Virginia Sportsman Show will feature a Decoy Carvers' Gallery. The gallery will include over twenty booths including National and International championship carvers from North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia selling decoys and collectibles. From North Carolina, championship carver Greg Sorrells of Grimsland, NC and internationally recognized world champion Ben Heinmann of Durham, NC will appear.

From Maryland, a Havre de Grace Decoy museum contribu.tor and well known carver, Jim Pierce and son will be on hand. Nationally known hunting style decoy carver, Joey Jobes of Havre de Grace, MD will offer his famous gunny decoys.

Carvers from Virginia Beach, VA, Walter Williams and the director of the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum, Clark Mandigo of the Back Bay Wildfowl Guild have committed to the show. Fredecksburg's Tim Kuca and Chesterfield's Scott Peach will offer a variety of decoys and collectibles as well.

Nationally known championship carvers, William Bruce of WhiteStone and Heck Rice of Hanover will be on hand at the Rappahannock Decoy Carvers Guild's booth. Other featured champions will be Lenexa's Gordon Martin, Hanover's Robert Crigler and Chuck Robinson of Richmond.

The Richmond Carvers Society's membership will also have a booth.

Unique display For Waterfowlers Organization This Year!

This year at Virginia Sportsman Show the Virginia Waterfowlers' Association will display a full size duck blind at its booth. The org will be promoting the annual 2013 Virginia Waterfowling Workshop and conservation. The workshop is a educational weekend event that benefits the Holiday Lake 4H and its youth shooting sports program. The duck blind is one of many educational tools that will be used at the workshop this year.

The organization will also have a membership drive as well raffles. Two of the raffles items will be for a shotgun and the full size duck blind on display.

The Hunters for the Hungry program asks everyone to stop by their booth to learn more about the program's feeding efforts all across the State, and also how they can get plugged in to support their feeding efforts, whether they hunt or not. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions as to where deer can be donated, how people can make both deer and financial donations, or how they can volunteer to help with a fundraising event or a speaking engagement or with an exhibit at a variety of special events. They will as always feature their unique HFTH merchandise including embroidered caps, sport towels, and new HFTH t-shirts! They will also be conducting some of their annual Fund Raising Raffles which will highlight a LANDMASTER 650 UTV and 5' x 10' Big Tex trailer which will be given away at the end of the show on Sunday August 11th. Come by and join our efforts to feed those in need and promote our hunting heritage! Visit their website.

VDGIF Treestand Safety Team Provides Demos and Tips

What is your life worth? VDGIF Hunter Education Volunteers will be on hand to explain the proper techniques to use all types of tree stands, the importance of and correct way to wear and attach a full-body fall arrest system, and explain the new lifeline products that are on the market. Shop "safety smart" for your new tree stand at the Show.

A Virginia Hunter Education Course will be held at the VA Outdoor Sportsman Show this year. Under the new Hunter Education format, students will complete self-study material prior to attendance at a shorter classroom session. Everyone registered for the class will get free admission to the Show... UPDATE-  As of posting date this class  at the Outdoor Show is FULL, so go to http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/education/ for more information to find a class near you coming up in July - October.

VA Outdoor Sportsman Show August 9-11 at RIR Features Fishing Gear Too!

The VA Outdoor Sportsman Show coming to the Richmond Raceway Complex August 9-11 has traditionally been the big buck event featuring "everything deer hunting ", but this 30th anniversary show is bigger and better than ever expanding to a third building - The Green Top Pavilion, sponsored by Green Top sporting goods in Ashland. This new building will feature fishing gear and guides, a casting course, archery target shooting range, duck decoy carving demonstrations, meet the VDGIF K9 teams and much more. There will be exhibits outside the Green Top Pavilion including the VDGIF pontoon boat "The Floating Fishing School " provided by Bass Pro Shops, the VA Waterfowlers Association travelling Duck Blind and Dodge Ram Sportsman trucks promoting Hunter Safety. Bring the whole family- there's something for everyone!

Mouth Artist Bruce Dellinger Demonstrates Unique Style at Sportsman Shows

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 three years throughout Virginia through a partnership with aged barnwood frame crafter David Coffman of Rustic Frames. Come meet Bruce in person at the Richmond Raceway during the ">30th VA Outdoor Sportsman Show August 9-11, where he is the featured artist for 2012. Bruce will be demonstrating his unique drawing technique and selling his limited edition prints with custom framing available 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.

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

Editor's note... The future of our hunting and fishing heritage and traditions is in the hands of the sportsmen that take the time to mentor new outdoor enthusiasts- 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. The following is an example of sportsmen organizations, businesses and VDGIF staff and volunteers parting to provide exciting, educational and fun opportunities for getting anglers and hunters of any age or experience level to try new experiences to renew their interest and passion for the great outdoors and making new memories with family and friends. David Coffman

Volunteers Go On Wild Goose Chase

By CWF Volunteer Allen Easterly

VDGIF Complementary Work Force (CWF) Volunteers recently gathered to assist a gaggle of VDGIF biologists capture, tag and release hundreds of resident wild Canadian Geese in the Shenandoah Valley western section of Region 4. From golf courses to college campuses and corporate held ponds to private property, geese were caught during their short molting season, which leaves the birds unable to fly. Biologists and CWF volunteers work as a cohesive unit to surround and coral the geese. A couple folks join the geese in the pen to take each goose in hand and give it to another biologist or volunteer outside the coral. There, the goose is banded then brought to a volunteer data recorder and a pair of biologists. The biologists determine the sex and general age of each goose so the volunteer can record the data for that band number. Each goose is then released unharmed so they can waddle back to their favorite water hole. The information obtained during a tagging operation helps VDGIF monitor the non-migratory goose population and their movements over time.

Working closely with the biologists gave all the volunteers the opportunity to learn a lot more about geese. As a CWF volunteer, this was one of the dirtiest but most fun activities I've had the privilege to participate. At the end of a long day in the field, everyone is covered in goose poop, mud and feathers, but this type of life experience makes it all worthwhile. I'm really looking forward to the next adventure with VDGIF. Care to join us? Contact your regional VDGIF office for details.

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.

National Dove Hunter Survey Announced

Virginia dove hunters will be asked to participate in a nationwide survey this summer. The National Dove Hunter Survey will ask dove hunters to share their experiences and opinions about dove hunting. The survey is a cooperative effort by the many state fish and wildlife agencies, all four flyway councils, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Objectives of the survey include learning about dove hunter characteristics: time spent hunting, perceived constraints to hunting, and thoughts about potential effects of spent lead from hunting ammunition on mourning doves and other wildlife.

The National Dove Hunter Survey is scheduled to be mailed out in late June, and will be compiled by the end of 2013. The survey is being undertaken because many issues and concerns of dove hunters are largely unknown. The survey will help state and federal agencies make more informed decisions on issues important to hunters.

"Nationally, there are more than one million dove hunters in the United States. This survey will encompass all regions of the country and will give us an excellent picture of hunter opinions and needs," says Dr. Ken Richkus of the Service's Population and Habitat Assessment Branch. "The Service and the states want to make sure we use the best science-based information for the management and conservation of our migratory bird resources and take hunter opinions and preferences into account whenever possible."

More information about the survey, including a "Frequently Asked Questions" page can be found on our website.

New 2013-14 Hunting & Trapping in Virginia Digest Available on Website July 1st

The new 2013-14 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Digest is on the VDGIF website as of July 1st. The digest contains information on the 2013-14 seasons and bag limits and new regulation changes passed by the Board of Game & Inland Fisheries at the June 13th Board meeting. The printed version of the digest will be available by August 1. An overall summary of the changes is found at the beginning of the digest on page eight, "What's New" and will be highlighted in more detail in the next edition of the Outdoor Report. This year's hunting seasons overall will be very similar to last year. One new change that is sure to be popular with sportsmen is hunters of any age with an Apprentice License can participate in the special youth days for deer, turkey and the newly established bear youth and apprentice hunter day. The ten-hour Hunter Education Course has been replaced with a new format with a self-study requirement for students, followed by six hours of classroom instruction. The new course should allow students more flexibility in scheduling and will focus on safety, hunting ethics and conservation. Hunters interested in applying for the early Quota hunts, such as New Kent Forestry Center dove hunt, Radford deer hunts, Hog Island deer hunt and others should print off, complete, and mail in the quota applications found on pages 67-69 so not to miss the early application deadlines.

VA Migratory Waterfowl Stamp Now Available

Attention duck hunters, wildlife enthusiasts and stamp collectors, the annual Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp is available for purchase. The artwork for the stamp depicts a pair of drake hooded mergansers floating on a pond with their reflections visible in the calm waters while a hen keeps a watchful eye on them from a moss covered log. A judging panel made up of Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries officials and representatives from Ducks Unlimited, the Virginia Waterfowlers' Association, the LOC Chapter of VA Waterfowl USA, and the Rappahannock River Chapter of Delta Waterfowl chose the winning artwork. The winning artist, Janet Hong, resides in Chesapeake. She is the first woman to win the annual duck stamp competition. Janet also placed second in the competition with her artwork depicting a pair of wood ducks.

A Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp is required of all persons (unless license exempt) 16 years of age and older hunting or taking any migratory waterfowl (ducks, geese, brant and swans) within the Commonwealth. Funds generated from all sales of the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp are placed in the Department's Game Protection Fund and are accounted for separately, designated as the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Fund. After administrative costs, fifty percent of the monies in the fund goes into the Department's waterfowl program to use to protect, preserve, restore, enhance and develop waterfowl habitat in Virginia, while the remaining fifty percent is used to contract with appropriate nonprofit organizations for cooperative waterfowl habitat improvement projects in Virginia and for projects in eastern Canada that provide habitat conservation and improvement on the breeding grounds of ducks and other migratory species that winter in Virginia.

The annual Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp can be purchased for a fee of $10 (resident or non-resident) at license agents or clerks who sell Virginia hunting licenses or from the Department's website. Last year, 22,464 duck stamps were sold bringing in $224,640. For more information on waterfowl hunting in Virginia, visit the Department's Web site at www.dgif.virginia.gov.

A photograph of the winning artwork is available by contacting Lee.Walker@dgif.virginia.gov

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

Information on New Regs and Youth Hunters Photos Featured at Sportsman Show

Be sure and visit the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries booths at the 30th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman's Show held at the Richmond Raceway Complex August 9-11, featuring 300 fun and exciting new exhibits, demonstrations and seminars- something for everyone in the family. Conservation police officers, hunter safety instructors and wildlife biologists will be on hand to answer all your hunting, fishing, and wildlife information questions. It's also a great time to purchase your hunting and fishing licenses, or the new 2014 Virginia Wildlife Calendar. Get your free copy of the new 2013-2014 Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information booklet featuring descriptions of new regulations and opportunities to enhance your hunting experience.

We want you to send us pictures like these showing smiling kids hunting with a friend or relative who took the time to mentor and guide these new hunters and make memories to last a lifetime. Take a young hunter to one of the sportsman shows and check out the new gear and new places available for your next outdoor adventure.

Visit With Successful Young Hunters at VA Outdoor Sportsman Show August 9-11 at Richmond Raceway Complex

Editor's note... Several of the young hunters who have shared their stories in the Outdoor Report will be on hand at the VA Outdoor Sportsman Show August 9-11 at Richmond Raceway Complex with various exhibitors like Parker Bows to demonstrate how young hunters can be successful with quality, reliable and safe equipment. One particular OR feature hunter is Erin Grabeel. While working the VDGIF exhibit at the 9th Annual OCHS Fishing Expo last March a dad and daughter came by the booth and I commented to the smiling young girl, "Where did you get that cool shark hat?!" She was sporting a toboggan style gray knit cap that had a big row of white shark teeth and menacing black eyes right on the forehead- sort of matched her big smile. Being at a fishing show, I curiously asked if the dad-daughter duo also hunted. I was a little surprised when the girl smiled even bigger and proudly exclaimed, "We sure do!" "Did you have any luck this season?", I asked. Beaming with pride she exclaimed, "I got a big 6 pointer with my new 'camo-pink' Parker crossbow !" Now there was a story to be told...

I congratulated the young huntress and asked her dad if they would please email her story and a photo for the next Outdoor Report. The dad Stephen Grabeel, introduced himself and his eight year old daughter Erin, noting they were from Orange. I gave them my contact information and asked they email me the story and photo. Stephen said they had sent information to Parker Bows concerning her first bow hunt last November. Here is the story they sent...

TO: "Parker Photo Gallery"
FROM: Stephen & Tricia Grabeel

Hello Parker Crossbows,
We are writing this story with the help of our eight year old daughter who shot her first deer with her new pink camo Parker Challenger crossbow. Erin Grabeel shot this big bodied 6 pointer in Gordonsville, Virginia with her pink Challenger. We purchased this crossbow on 10/20/2012 at Greentop in Ashland, Virginia.

Erin practiced that Sunday and was able to hit the target at 40 yards consistently. On Monday she went hunting with her dad after school. They were sitting on the ground in the woods with a small blind set-up so the deer wouldn't get spooked by her moving around some...hard to keep an 8 year old still. Her buck made its way down the hillside and she waited until she could get a good shot. With dad holding the tripod and telling her to use the 40 yard bead...she took dead aim and with the arrow going clean through. The buck ran 20 yards and dropped....as well as Erin's jaw dropping. Very excited she wanted to trail after it but they waited 15 minutes and approached the dead deer after finding her Parker arrow covered in blood. She told her dad that she kinda went between the 30 and 40 yard bead...which was probably a good thing as she could have missed high. After getting it loaded into the truck her reply to her dad was..."All I can say is...thank you Dad!"

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

Public Invited to Comment on Draft Wild Turkey Management Plan

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) invites public input on the Draft Virginia Wild Turkey Management Plan, which will be available on or about July 12th, 2013. The Draft Virginia Wild Turkey Management Plan is the result of the joint work of VDGIF, a 12-member Stakeholder Advisory Committee (citizen volunteers who represented a cross-section of public interests), and Virginia Tech. The Draft Wild Turkey Management Plan includes goals that address hunting traditions, population levels of wild turkeys, allocation of harvest and turkey-related recreational activity, safety, ethics and compliance with law, and human-wild turkey conflicts. The plan also includes specific objectives designed to attain each goal, as well as potential, general strategies for attaining objectives. The Draft Virginia Wild Turkey Management Plan will provide broad guidance for the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries, VDGIF staff, and the public in addressing management of wild turkeys through 2022.

The draft plan will be available online for review and for public comments at: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/turkey/managemen-planning-process/.

Interested individuals may request paper copies of the plan (no bulk requests, please) by contacting:
Holly Morris
Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Conservation (MC 0321)
Virginia Tech, 310 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Comments may be submitted online or mailed to:
Wild Turkey Plan c/o Holly Morris
Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Conservation (MC 0321)
Virginia Tech, 310 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Public comments also are invited at six public meetings that will be held across Virginia. The meetings will be held on the following dates:

July 29th: Salem Church Branch Library, 2607 Salem Church Road, Fredericksburg, VA 22407 from 6:30-8:30 PM

July 30th: Bass Pro Shops, 1972 Power Plant Parkway, Hampton, VA 23666 from 6:30-8:30 PM

July 31st: Board room at VDGIF Headquarters, 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230 from 7:00-9:00 PM

Please continue to monitor the VDGIF Turkey Plan webpage for future updates, including dates and locations of public meetings. The goal is to have a finished 10-year Wild Turkey Management Plan available for consideration by the DGIF Board of Directors sometime during the fall, 2013.

Elk Restoration Update

ONE YEAR AGO... Elk Release in Buchanan County Made History when 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 placing them near Vansant in Buchanan County. Once in Virginia, the elk were placed in an acclimation corral before being soft released into their new habitat. 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, Kentucky Department and Fish and Wildlife Resources, and Buchanan County.

June 2013 Update: Allen Boynton, VDGIF Terrestrial Wildlife Biologist Manager for Region 3 – Southwest notes that, "The transport and release of ten elk – 8 yearling bulls and two pregnant cows was successful with the elk being released from the acclimation corral June 6th. The elk already released in May of 2012 are all alive and within 3-miles of the release site in Buchanan County.

The 5 resident bulls from last years group shed their antlers in April and have begun growing them back (see photos). Most of the adult cows separated from the herd and gone into seclusion to calve. We will report on the number of calves in the next Outdoor Report.

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

For more information on elk restoration in Virginia:

The Virginia Quail Team is on Facebook

The Virginia Quail Team is on Facebook! Like us at www.facebook.com/VirginiaBobwhiteBulletin . VDGIF Farm Game and Quail Program Co-coordinator Marc Puckett noted, "On this new facebook page you'll be able to meet the Quail Team, stay up-to-date on the latest quail news in Virginia, learn about habitat management techniques and quail ecology, and much more! Help us build a network of individuals dedicated to bringing back the bobwhite in Virginia. Help us spread the word to the next generation of quail enthusiasts. Local landowner interest and leadership is the key to quail recovery in Virginia."

Quail Biologists Eager to Assist Landowners and Hunters

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

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

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

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

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

Habitat at Home© DVD Available

The Habitat at Home© DVD features the yards of four homeowners in different parts of the state who have removed invasive plants, reduced their amount of lawn, added water features, and planted flowering perennials and shrubs. VDGIF Habitat Education Coordinator Carol Heiser advises, "Native shrubs in particular are an excellent choice for wildlife, because they support native insects that make up a critical part of the food web. Native plants are better adapted to our growing conditions and are much easier to maintain than non-native ones. So many of our neighborhoods lack the kind of native plant diversity that wildlife really needs. You'll be surprised at the number of birds and other wildlife that use native shrubs. Visit our website to purchase your own copy of the 40-minute DVD!

Be Safe... Have Fun!

Safety First - Time To Take Your Hunter Education Class

September will soon be here and the fall hunting seasons will begin. Are you ready?!?! For new hunters, NOW is the time to take the required Hunter Education Course to qualify for your license. Our team of over 900 volunteer instructors have over 100 classes scheduled statewide. But don't wait, as classes fill up fast as deer season approaches. You can find the class schedules and locations by telephone or website. This year, the Virginia Hunter Education Course is more convenient, combining the flexibility of self-study with less classroom time. Go to http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/education/ for more details.

With the Youth Deer Hunting Day September 28th, this is a great opportunity for a new hunter to schedule the class and take it together for a refresher. This is also a good time to get an Apprentice Hunting License for a friend or family member that wants to try out this rewarding sport this season. There are youth and family friendly events throughout September all across the state, where you can go to get information and the right gear to make your outdoor adventures safe, successful, and fun. Visit your local sporting goods store or sportsman event and properly prepare for a great hunting season with family and friends.  New this year Apprentice License holders are eligible to participate in the traditional Youth Hunting Days for Deer, Turkey, and Waterfowl days.  Visit the VDGIF website for details.

Paddling Class Available Online

VDGIF Boating Safety Education Coordinator Stacey Brown notes that one of Virginia's boating education partners is offering a free online paddling class for people who kayak, canoe, or enjoy stand up paddleboard. Whether you are new to paddle sports or are a veteran, this course provides important skills for being safe on Virginia's waters!

Be Aware of Lyme Disease and Prevent Tick Bites

Remember spring is the time to be aware of ticks and the potential for Lyme disease. Especially for turkey hunters walking through grass fields and woods. Information about Lyme disease and what people should do if they are bitten by a tick can be found on the Virginia Department of Health website. Virginia Wildlife Magazine featured an article about Lyme disease prevention that can be read on our agency website.

The best way to avoid contracting Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Use insect repellant to prevent ticks from getting on you. There are many kinds of effective insect repellants on the market, so read up on benefits and precautions of the various kinds. Some may be applied directly to the skin, while others should only be applied to clothing. Read the label! Note the proper method to remove ticks (PDF) to prevent infection. Should you notice the target type ring around a tick bite or any of the symptoms of Lyme disease, seek medical attention immediately, as early detection and treatment will speed recovery in most cases. Be sure and check yourself, your children and your pets frequently whenever outdoors and after you return home for a few days.

Stay Safe on the Water - Boat Smart and Sober!

On July 1, 2013, all PWC operators 14 years of age and older as well as motorboat operators age 40 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 winter 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!

Does Your Life Jacket Really Fit?

How do you know if a life jacket really fits you? First, check the label to make sure the life jacket is U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable. Life jackets (or PFDs) come in a couple of basic sizes: infant, child, and adult. Within those basic sizes, there will be a range (Small, Medium, Large, etc.). The label will indicate the basic size and the size range, which will include a weight range and usually also a chest size range. After you check the label, make sure you move on to the second step, try it on!

Before every boating season, try on your life jacket. Make sure that it fits correctly. What does a correct fit mean? It should be snug, but not tight. Lift your arms over your head, can you turn your head left, right, and over your shoulder or has the life jacket ridden up and in the way of moving your head? For a child, have them stand with their arms to their sides. Lift the life jacket up by the shoulders. The life jacket should not move more than 3 inches, no higher that the child's ears. If the life jacket does move up more than 3 inches, it is too big and the child can slip right out - get a smaller life jacket! A younger child's life jacket should also include a crotch strap - this will help insure the life jacket stays on. Finally, practice using the life jacket in shallow water. Make sure it is snug enough to stay put and not ride up over the chin and ears when in shallow water. Have children practice in shallow water with their life jacket so they don't panic in case of emergency. Check out this informational video about properly fitting a child's life jacket.

For more information about life jackets, check out the U.S. Coast Guard's Boating Safety website.

For more information on boating water safety and the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water go to BoatUS.com. For details on Virginia's laws or to take a boating safety course, check out the DGIF boating website.

"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.

Monarch Decline... Alarming!

By Marie Majarov,  Majarov Photography www.majarov.com

The magnificent orange and black monarch butterfly, such a welcome sight arriving in our gardens each spring and fluttering amongst our flowers throughout the summer months might well be one very few of us see this year. Each fall monarchs embark on a spectacular 2000+ mile journey unlike any other in the insect world to their overwintering grounds high in Mexico's Transvolcanic Mountains. This winter their decade long declining population numbers precipitously plummeted even further by an alarming 59%. Where once an average billion butterflies occupied over 50 acres of Oyamel trees, this year only 60 million of these precious insects covered but 2.74 acres.

The reasons speculated by monarch scientists, the renowned monarch researcher Dr. Lincoln Brower, and Monarch Watch's Dr. Chip Taylor, include: loss of habitat that appears directly correlated with the expanding use of GMO crops and development across the North American breeding territory, severe weather conditions, and the degradation of the overwintering forest in Mexico. In the words of Dr. Brower: "It appears that the combination of low numbers in Mexico returning to the US in March and April 2013, and the cold spring affecting most of the eastern breeding range, have resulted in few monarchs making it back into their northern breeding range. The predictions are not auspicious."

What can we in our Commonwealth do? Plant milkweed, host-plant for monarchs, along with a selection of critically important nectaring plants for foods and energy. Read about programs and resources to "Bring Back the Monarch." Otherwise, for our children and grandchildren the monarch migration may only be in history books.

Marie Majarov and her husband Milan are nature enthusiasts and members of both the Virginia and Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Associations.  Inspiring children, both young and old, about the wonders of nature and encouraging the preservation of our precious natural resources is their dream for Majarov Photography. Marie is also a Virginia Master Naturalist.  More about their work can be seen at www.majarov.com.

Nuisance & Problem Wildlife

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. If you do encounter a snake in the woods, simply leave it alone, it'll get out of your way or you can walk around it. SNAKES DO NOT CHASE PEOPLE. Here are a few tips to avoid the possibility of being bitten when hiking in the woods"

  1. Stay on the trail.
  2. Watch where you place your hands and feet, and where you sit down.
  3. Do not attempt to capture snakes.

Notes for Young Nature Explorers

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

Virginia Naturally Website Link to School Environmental Learning Programs

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

Nature Observations from the Virginia Wildlife Calendar

Look at the 2013 Virginia Wildlife Calendar for answers to these wildlife related questions for August:

Answers to July 10 edition quiz for nature events for late July...

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

Charges Pending on Black Bear Shooting... On June 26, Conservation Police Officer Baker responded to Farmers Drive in New Kent to investigate the shooting of a black bear. When he arrived on scene he was met by New Kent Animal Control and secured the scene. Officer Baker interviewed the shooter, which stated he was leaving his house and saw the bear in close proximity, became very frightened and retrieved his shotgun to kill the bear. A closer look at the evidence revealed that the shooter grabbed his shotgun and pursued the bear for over 100 yards, across multiple parcels of property and shot the bear in a neighbor's back yard as it was walking away into a swamp. The bear was hit but ran into the swamp and could not be found. Charges are pending for attempting to take black bear during the closed season and reckless handling of a firearm.

CPOs Assist Essex Sheriff's Office... On June 29, Conservation Police Sergeants Paul Atkins and Rich Goszka, Conservation Police Officers (CPO) Greg Hall and Ken Williams were conducting boat patrols in the Rappahannock River when they received a request for assistance from the Essex County Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Office was responding to a sexual assault on a female that occurred on a pleasure boat in the river. CPOs assisted with locating the boat that the victim was on and with controlling the scene. The CPOs provided guidance as to jurisdiction on the river between two counties. The suspect in this crime was arrested by the Essex County Sheriff's Office.

Alcohol + Water = OC Spray... On June 29, at 1800 hours, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Conservation Police Officers began conducting a watercraft safety checkpoint at the I-295 bridge on the James River in Henrico County as part of Operation Dry Water. At approximately 1905 hrs, a 26 foot vessel heading upriver approached the checkpoint at a high rate of speed. While the vessel was entering the checkpoint area, there was already one vessel being stopped by a marked police vessel that had blue lights activated for a safety inspection. Another marked police vessel operated by Officers Booden and Skinner activated the lights and sirens on their police vessel in an attempt to stop the incoming vessel. Officers Kopelove and Shaw also activated their blue lights and siren in an attempt to stop the vessel as it continued through the check point at a high rate of speed. The vessel was pursued for approximately 3 miles by Officers Kopelove and Shaw and Officers Booden and Skinner at speeds of over 55 mph until it slowed down and entered Osborne Boat Landing. The operator continued to ignore signals and commands to stop his vessel by Officers Kopelove and Shaw although he acknowledged their presence by waving his hand at them on two occasions. While the vessel pulled alongside an open dock at the landing, Officers Kopelove and Shaw continued to advise the vessel operator to sit down and shut off his vessel. When the operator repeatedly attempted to exit his vessel, Officer Kopelove boarded his vessel and once again ordered him to sit down. At this time, the operator lunged at Officer Kopelove and grabbed the officer's arms. A struggle ensued and was promptly ended when Officer Kopelove created distance from the suspect and employed OC spray to his face. The suspect stopped fighting but continued to resist while being handcuffed with aid from Officers Shaw and Booden. The suspect was charged with felony assault on a law enforcement officer, eluding conservation police officers on a vessel, resisting arrest, and refusal to submit to a blood/breath alcohol test.

Region IV - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley – Northern Piedmont

Spotlight Not So Bright... On June 29, Virginia Conservation Police Officer Dobbs received a complaint of spotlighting and shooting deer at approximately 1:30 A.M. in Augusta County. On June 30 at 1:43 am a small white pickup truck approached Officer Dobb's position and cast its headlights into the field that was spotlighted the previous night. The vehicle entered the field and continued sweeping its headlights. Upon exiting the field, Officer Dobbs attempted a traffic stop. The vehicle sped up as it approached the officer head-on and passed within a few feet of the Dobb's marked vehicle. Officer Dobbs turned and eventually located the suspect vehicle parked in a hidden driveway where the driver and passenger exited the vehicle on foot and fled into the woods. Once back-up arrived on scene, the officers began to visually track the suspect when an assisting deputy heard movement in the woods. The officers located a suspect matching the description given by Officer Dobbs. The subject blew a .204 on the preliminary breath test and was taken to jail. Warrants were obtained from the magistrate for driving under the influence of alcohol, attempt to elude a law enforcement officer, and spotlighting.

K9 Team

K9 Teams Featured at VA Outdoor Sportsman Show August 9-11... Come meet the VDGIF K9 Teams at the VA Outdoor Sportsman Show at Richmond RIR Complex. For information on the K9 teams and their exceptional abilities read the feature article (PDF) by outdoor writer Mark Fike in the latest issue of Whitetail Times, official magazine of the VA Deer Hunters Association. We thank Mark Fike and the VDHA for permission to link to the magazine article in Whitetail Times magazine.

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

VA Outdoor Sportsman Show August 9-11 at RIR Features Fishing Gear Too!

The VA Outdoor Sportsman Show coming to the Richmond Raceway Complex August 9-11 has traditionally been the big buck event featuring "everything deer hunting ", but this 30th anniversary show is bigger and better than ever expanding to a third building - The Green Top Pavilion, sponsored by Green Top sporting goods in Ashland. This new building will feature fishing gear and guides, a casting course, archery target shooting range, duck decoy carving demonstrations, meet the VDGIF K9 teams and much more. There will be exhibits outside the Green Top Pavilion including the VDGIF pontoon boat "The Floating Fishing School " provided by Bass Pro Shops, the VA Waterfowlers Association travelling Duck Blind and Dodge Ram Sportsman trucks promoting Hunter Safety. Bring the whole family- there's something for everyone!

Grants to Localities for Public Boating Access Facilities

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries announces the availability of grants for fiscal year 2014 and requests applications.  Eligible to receive grants are Virginia localities (counties, cities, and towns).    The purpose of the grants is to assist localities in providing public opportunities for boating access facilities for new development or the renovation or improvements to existing public boating access facilities.  For more details, visit www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating/access/grants to download the following information:

Recreational boating is a popular activity and there are approximately 250,000 registered boats in Virginia. Many more watercraft (canoes/kayaks) that are not registered use existing facilities or are in need of additional sites. This grant program provides up to 75% of the approved project costs to construct or renovate boating access facilities for trailer or non-trailer hand-launch facilities. Applications are due by October 1, 2013 and award is anticipated by January 1, 2014. Upon notice of award, the local jurisdiction will have until April 1, 2014 to sign a Cooperative Grant Agreement. Funds are provided on a reimbursement basis.

This is the second year the Department has funded this grant program.  Last year the Department awarded $390,900 to 10 localities for the development or renovation of 14 sites on 7 different river systems. To learn more about hunting, fishing, boating and other outdoor opportunities in Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' website: www.HuntFishVA.com.

Flat Out Catfish Workshop on the James River

Would you like to learn the secrets of catching Flathead Catfish on the James River? Join DGIF Angling Education and Captain Mike Ostrander for a day of instruction and fishing on the James River at Pony Pasture in Richmond. Workshop involves wading in the river and terrain can be challenging. Tackle, bait and lunch is provided. For ages 16 and older. To register or for questions, contact Chris Dunnavant by email, chris.dunnavant@dgif.virginia.gov, or by phone, 804-283-7327. Registration Fee: $40 - register today, space is limited! Workshop date: Flat Out Catfish II, Thursday, August 22, 8am – 4pm.

Attention Boaters! Your Help Is Needed For the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Recreational Boater Survey!

As a part of the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program's efforts to document important areas for boating and the value of Virginia's recreational boating industry, your assistance is needed to ensure collection of accurate information about recreational use of Virginia's coast. From May to October, a select number of recreational boaters will receive a survey in the mail to document the location, duration, time, activities, and money spent on recent boating trips. The information gathered in this survey will provide a better understanding of how and where recreational boaters use the ocean so that those uses are included in future planning efforts. It also ensures that recreational boating areas are accounted for during evaluations and review processes of other ocean projects. For more information about the survey, go to: http://www.monmouth.edu/uciboatersurvey/default.asp.

Kids Fishing Day Events Calendar Posted on VDGIF Website

The 2013 Kids Fishing Days event table is now posted on the VDGIF website. View it from the Upcoming Events page and there is a link under Contests and Ongoing Events on the right side. There are 40 events posted currently and new ones will be added as they are submitted. VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator Chris Dunnavant notes, "More and more people are utilizing this web-table and traveling significant distances to experience a Kids Fishing Day." Send in your photos of family fun to the Outdoor Report. Share this information with family and friends and "Take a Kid Fishing!"

Hercules Landing on Nottoway River NOW Open

The Hercules Boat Landing at Rt. 671 on the Nottoway River is NOW OPEN. The closure was necessary because the ramp at Hercules sat adjacent to a VDOT bridge that is being expanded and will occupy the area where the old ramp was located. The new ramp is much improved and will provide service far into the future. In addition to better boating access, the new ramp offers improved safety to vehicles and trailers entering and exiting the facility.

Use Caution at Carters Wharf Boat Ramp - Extreme Sanding Build-Up

John Kirk, VDGIF Boating Access Maintenance Supervisor for Region I Tidewater area, advises boaters to use caution at Carter's Wharf ramp on the Rappahannock River due to extreme sand build-up on the ramp and beyond. The ramp is only navigable by small jon-boats, canoes, and kayaks. This sand build-up is currently beyond the abilities of VDGIF equipment to clear. VDGIF Infrastructure staff is currently working to determine the potential for a project that would remove the sand and result in a long-term fix. We apologize for any inconvenience and suggest using Hoskin's Creek as an alternative launch in the area. Updated information will be posted on the VDGIF Facility Closures & Alerts page and the Outdoor Report as soon as new information becomes available.

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!

The Highs and Lows of Fishing; Monitoring Water Levels

Water is the medium all anglers have in common. We may fish for different species, in different locations and use different techniques, but we all fish in water (at least I think!). Water is temperamental and is in constant flux depending on the weather. One year is dry and the next the rivers are out of their banks. Water levels rise and fall and are a major factor that influences fish behavior.

Fortunately today we have many resources available on the internet to determine water levels prior to heading out on a fishing trip. For rivers and streams there are two great sites: 1. The NOAA, National Weather Service, Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service provides current data and a two day forecast of water levels. 2. The USGS, National Water Information System is the place to find an assortment of data including: gage height, temperature, discharge, turbidity, and oxygen and ph levels. All of these options are not available at each location, but you can view the data by stats, tables or graphs for different time periods.

Information on lake levels is not as extensive, but an internet search for a particular lake should be able to yield some results. If you are heading to Philpott or John H. Kerr Reservoir (Buggs Island Lake), water level information can be accessed from the US Army Corps of Engineers website. There is always the option of calling a marina or local tackle shop and asking about the lake conditions and you might even get a fishing tip!

Extreme water levels can have a great impact on catch rates and fishing access. High water levels can make fishing extremely difficult. The fish are either spread out, moved into unreachable areas or are just not in a biting mood due to high, muddy water. Low water levels can make ramp access and river navigation a challenge. The fish can often be tough to catch due to high stress or weary as a result of clear water conditions. In either case a back-up plan may be the best course of action. If the rivers are in bad shape, there typically is a lake or pond nearby that has more stable conditions or fish the tidal rivers which are less impacted by flooding as the water dissipates downstream.

Save these sites in your favorites list and on your smart phone for quick access to information about the water conditions of your fishing spot. The information can help you plan for the best possible fishing trip. It is also valuable information to record for each fishing trip, helping you to put the pieces together for better fishing success. After all, fishing success can rise or fall with the water level!

Fishing is Fun! - Quick Topwater Tips for Largemouth Bass

By Russ Moon V DGIF Complementary Workforce Volunteer

Summer is here and Topwater presentations should be part of your skill "tacklebox ".

Why ? – warmer temperatures have made the fish more active and topwater lures attract their attention.

Where can I use topwater baits ? – anywhere including lily pads, standing timber, open water, shorelines, around submerged structure..you name it.

The purpose of this article is to review the "fun "damentals and get you started if you have never fished topwater for bass and been prepared to be successful.

These lures and their retrieves have been proven on the tournament trail for decades. Presented from the easiest to learn for newcomers or children to presentations that can be learned with just a little practice.

1. Hula Popper – 60 years of fish catching history, popper baits are easy to learn to fish and they work. Use with monofilament line, cast the popper near structure or in open water. Let the ripples settle, experiment with small twitches of your rod tip to make the bait "pop ". You will hear a kerplunk sound. Pop and Pause – strike will occur on the pause, so be patient you cannot fish this too slow, you can fish it too fast. Experiment with pops and pauses of different types to see what triggers your fish to strike. You can also use a small pull to drag the popper about 6-12 "'s then pause. Lots of poppers to choose from simply ask to see the "bass poppers " or look online under popper/topwater.

2. Collapsible Frog – these soft body frogs collapse when the bass strikes exposing those two hooks in the back.

Line of choice – Braid, you have smaller diameter line with great strength and it will cut through lily pads, grass and if you hook a Trophy you have a really strong line to pull them out of the structure. *Virtually weedless you can cast this lure where the big ones lurk.

2 Keypoints –

1. Sharpen your hooks prior to fishing, everytime you go. The longer you use the bait the sharper the hooks become.

2. Hookset – allow the bass to take the frog, close their mouth and start to swim off with the bait. Point your rod at the fish, reel to take up the slack and only when you feel the weight of the fish on your tight line, sharply pull the rod tip up to the 12 o clock position and continue to reel after to fully drive the hooks into the roof of the mouth. Ask for "topwater frogs " in a store or look online under frogs/soft body or collapsible frogs. You will see plenty of frogs that look similar to the one in the picture.

2. Walking the Dog – zig-zagging the lure to imitate a fleeing baitfish.

Where – ideal for open water to identify active fish, for casting when you see baitfish fleeing a bass, you can use these parallel to the shoreline or structure.

Line – Monofilament, Flurocarbon while less visible to the fish sinks and will compromise the action of the bait. I use a snap or swivel as it seems to add to the back and forth action, you may prefer to tie directly to the bait. Try both ways and see if you can tell the difference.

Retrieve – Cast the lure, point your rod tip down to the water, pull the rod tip back and down towards your body with a semi-slack line, turn the reel handle to take up some of the slack and repeat. When you get the rhythm correct your bait will dark from left to right and back again. Get the motion and then experiment with fast, medium and slow retrieves. You can use the retrieve with the pauses you learned earlier to add another type of presentation. You can also just twitch the rod tip to make the lure send out a few ripples while staying longer in the area you think holds the fish. Experiment and learn what works for you.

Ask for a "topwater walk the dog bait " or look online under topwater bait look for something similar to the picture and in the description they will normally use the phrase "walk the dog ".

Names to look for – Zara Spook or a "Sammy " as a start these type baits are popular and effective so many companies make them and all types of colors/sizes/weights to choose from. They all have their place, experiment and see what works best on your water, make sure you master the retrieve prior to buying many different sizes/colors.

Practice Catch and Release – Every time you allow the bass to grow larger you will always know exactly where you caught it because you held it in your hand. That big bass you caught was released by someone else, pay it forward and everyone wins.

Be Safe and Have Fun Fishing,

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 2013 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

Region 1 - Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. The water temperature is 90 degrees with a visibility of 14 ft. Even with water almost hot enough to cook the fish, we had 3 bass over 22 inches. A 24 inch fish caught on a finesse worm, green/red with silver/gold flakes. A 22.25 inch fish caught on a green pumpkin brush hog. The last fish was in the winning bag so I did not measure it . A tournament Saturday had bags of 17,16,15 lbs. Drop shot, Carolina rig, and jig & pig caught most. Gills and some crappie are still coming in. Worms, and jigs caught most of these fish. Cats and eyes are still holding around the dam crawlers are the bait of choice, On Sunday July 28 we will be doing Fishing 101 Drop Shoting Going Deep in the creek. Free from 2 to 3 pm.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Contributed by Park Supervisor Patti McGrath. What a HOT week! Not so good for fishing though. Fishermen this week tended to go out earlier and come back early too. In a 4 hour span, bass fishermen have been only catching around 4 fish in the 3 lb. range. I think the big boys are taking a break from the heat in the deep. The catfish have been biting pretty good. Ryan S. of Smithfield caught a 26 inch catfish off of chicken liver this week. The water is 85 degrees, full pool and slightly stained.

Join us for Night Fishing, August 2nd from 6 p.m. to midnight. Our next Big Bash Bass Tournament will be on September 21, 2013. Registration is available now. For more information visit our website at www.gloucester.info/pr or call the Ranger Station at (804) 693-2107.

Cat Point Creek: Contributed by local guide Penn Burke of Spring Shad Charters (804) 354-3200. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Virginia Beach: Contributed by local guide Skip Feller of Rudee Inlet Charters (757) 425-3400. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Back Bay: Local angler Tom Deans. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Chesapeake Bay: Contributed by Dr. Julie Ball, IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach. The weather is great, it's summer time, and the fish are here. So what could be better? How about even bigger fish! Offshore, boats are experiencing an upswing in an already notable tuna season. Graced with an impressive early season yellowfin bite, the activity has transitioned into what seems to be a remarkable bigeye run, with many of these tuna weighing in excess of 200 pounds!

Inshore is no slouch, either. Cobia continue to keep local anglers content with good catches respectable fish. Most of the fish are ranging from 30 to 45 pounds, with scattered 60 pounders filling coolers for sight casters. Steady action is keeping chummers on their toes, but much of this activity is still attributed to trash fish and bothersome sharks.

Drum are still on the loose, with red drum enthusiasts chasing schools of big fish cruising on the surface near the mouth of the Bay. Sporadic jack crevalle sightings are still happening, and a few black drum roaming around the islands of the CBBT continue to fall for well-placed lures.

Flounder are a favorite target, but anglers are still experiencing unpredictable results. Some decent fish are around, with scattered flatfish weighing in at 7 pounds taking both jigs and live bait along lower Bay structures, with the CBBT a favorite. Drifters are also finding takers while dragging baits near the Baltimore Channel, the Thimble Shoal Channel, the Cell, and Buoy 36 and 38 areas.

The sheepshead scene is very good lately, with willing fish pushing to over 12 pounds responding to offerings of clam, crab, and fiddlers along the structure of the CBBT this week. Spadefish are schooled around the Bay Bridge Tunnel, ocean wrecks, buoys, and the Chesapeake Light Tower. Although some larger fish are noted within the schools, most spadefish are raging near the 5 pound mark. Divers and skin divers are mostly taking advantage of this scene. Triggerfish are also out in full force in these same locations, with some triggers weighing to over 4 pounds this year.

Croaker are everywhere from the HRBT to the CBBT, and the bite in Oyster is beginning to take off. The spot run seems encouraging this year, with a few nice fish showing within Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets. Puppy drum are still on a roll in the same locations, with keeper pups hitting lures, cut bait, and live bait. Speckled trout are also a possibility. Grey trout averaging to around 16 inches are mixed in with nice sea mullet near the Concrete Ships and the high rise section of the CBBT.

Spanish mackerel are very active along the coastline from Cape Henry to Sandbridge, with a nice class of fish available for trollers this year. Many Spanish are ranging up to around 20 inches. A few king mackerel sightings are coming in, but no confirmed inshore catches yet.

Tarpon are active in the shallows of Oyster, with a few confirmed jump-offs this week. Amberjack are taking most any live bait offered at several offshore wrecks and at the South Tower, although most boats are not interested. Deep droppers continue to scour the bottom near the Norfolk Canyon for deep water fish. Big blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, grouper, and black bellied rosefish are the staples of this fishery. A nice side catch of jumbo sea bass is also a likely occurrence.

The offshore scene is attracting a lot of attention with the explosion of bigeye activity in the Canyon this week. Over thirty huge bigeye tuna ranging from 150 pounds to nearly 300 pounds were landed by the offshore fleet over the past several days, along with a few stud yellowfin tuna. Some boats are returning with multiple big tuna and a box full of bailer and gaffer sized dolphin. Some nice wahoo, king mackerel, and scattered mako sharks are also keeping anglers content. More billfish are starting to arrive on sight, with more releases occurring each day of both blue and white marlin. For more information, go to www.drjball.com.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Charlie Brown says heat has been keeping anglers away. Some big bass have come in, though, on frogs and top-waters. Crappie are plentiful and will take minnows and jigs. Some cats were landed on cut bait. Young anglers are bringing up strings of bluegill on small worms and crickets on the docks. The water is 89 degrees and clear.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

North Landing River and Back Bay: Contributed by Ken Testorff, local blogger. Drag setting can be your make or break point! That's a lesson my friend Jerry's son learned the hard way today, and there are many of us who can relate to that "empty" feeling you get after losing a nice fish, simply because you had that drag cranked down too tightly. Back in the days when I used mono, I experienced many of those empty moments before I read some advice in a magazine article. Don't ask me what magazine or what article that was, because far too much water has passed under the bridge since then for me to recall. Shoot, I'm at that stage in life where my wife, even, kids me about keeping the library's phone number handy in my cell phone contacts, just so I can call and find out what the date is if I forget that, too. Anyway, the article in question discussed a simple way to set your drag and have a reasonable degree of certainty that it was set correctly or close to it. The article said to fasten the end of your line to a stationary object, tighten down the drag, then start loosening it until you could walk backward, holding the rod in a straight line from the stationary point, with the line slipping through the guides without undue resistance.

I followed that advice for the remainder of the time I used mono, including the whole year I spent experimenting with nothing but ultra light tackle, including 4 and 6 lb. test line, and I only had a few of those empty moments. Once I shifted to braided line, I began adjusting my drag just by pulling off a few feet until I thought the resistance felt about right. I still use that method today, but as I admitted to Jerry, I know the drag setting usually is too heavy, even for the 40 and 50 lb. test line that I use. As all the articles I read today spell it out, you run the risk of having the braid bury into itself when a bigger fish makes a hard run or you hang up with too much drag set.

According to most experts, a reel's drag should be set to 1/3 of the line's breaking strain. To be precise, tie the end of your line to the hook on a set of pocket scales or a spring-balance pair. Have someone hold the scales steady while you walk slowly away from them, pointing the rod tip directly at the scales. Adjust the drag-setting mechanism until the reading you get on the scales is equal to one-third of the breaking strength. One note of caution here: If you're using 30 lb. test line but only a 15 or 20 lb. leader, the drag should be set to 1/3 the breaking strength of the leader, or other weak link in your setup.

Tight Lines! And here's hoping you don't have too many "empty" moments in your future fishing endeavors.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. Drew Dixon reports that bass are biting well on top-waters and plastic frogs. Crappie have slowed down, but still might hit minnows and jigs. Lots of cats are coming on cut bait. Bluegill action is very good on crickets. The water is clear and low70s.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Upper James: Contributed by local guide Jared Harker of Confluence Outfitters LLC, (434) 941-9550. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Local Guide, Captain Mike Hoke, Life's Revenge Guide Service, (804) 357-8518. Captain Mike told me the bass action is starting to pick up, but be very careful of large pieces of debris. He landed a few cats on cut eel and shad. Try creeks for crappies. Water is 81 degrees and clearing up. The James should have good action for smallmouth and flathead once the water clears.

Upper and Lower Tidal James: Contributed by Capt. Mike Ostrander, James River Fishing School, Discover the James, (804) 938-2350. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Swift Creek Reservoir: Contributed by local angler Archie Spencer. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Region 2 - Southside

James at Scottsville: Local Guide L.E. Rhodes www.hatchmatcherguideservice.com, (434) 286-3366. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

James at Lynchburg: Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

James River Basin Trout Fishing: Contributed by Doug Lane, Angler's Lane, (434) 385-0200. The same rainfall factors making fishing in the James difficult have extended the trout season in Virginia for prudent anglers willing to adjust with the flow. Although the state ceases its stocking program on June 1, catch and release anglers can find plenty of great water to fish. Native brookies are still active in Mountain Streams, and are biting purple haze, green monsters, elk hair caddis, yellow stone flies and sulfurs. Destinations should include North Creek, Jennings, Tye, Piney, and No Fork Buffalo River. The water remains at spring-time levels and temperatures still cool in the high 50s to low 60s. The special regulation section of Buffalo Creek in Rockbridge County is worth fishing; anglers need a special permit which one can obtain here online, must adhere to special regulations and are encouraged to release fish to extend the season on these waters.

James near Lynchburg: Contributed by Jared Harker, owner of Confluence Outfitters, (434) 941-9550. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Lake Gaston: Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. Ron Karpinski told me that bass action is good; try fishing deep with rattletraps. Crappie and bluegill have slowed down, but may be fooled by minnows and jigs. Cats are very good on cut bait. Walleyes will take a night crawler bounced across the bottom. The water is clear and warming.

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. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Region 3 - Southwest

Claytor Lake: Contributed by Mike Burchett of Rock House Marina, (540) 980-1488. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

New River: Contributed by Britt Stoudenmire, 540-921-7438, owner of New River Outdoor Co and host of The Life. Outdoors w/Britt & Leigh web show. The New River is stabilizing nicely from all the rains as we move closer to one of our favorite times of the year, "Bug Season." Big smallies are suckers for the dog day cicadas that hatch "every" year, and August and September are peak months for these big fish. Here at the NROC, we have the patterns nailed for both serious fly and spin anglers. For more from the New River, please visit and "Like" the New River Outdoor Co. Facebook Page for the latest pics and reports or give us a shout at 540-921-7438 to hit the river with us this summer. And don't miss the latest show from the The Life. Outdoors w/Britt & Leigh, "Virginia is for Smallmouth", featuring some awesome bug action from the beautiful New River.

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius says the river is high and green to muddy. The water is moving so fast it is tough to fish a single area. Bass are taking spinners. Muskies are going for good big inline spinners.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. Well the Upper New River has remained high and muddy since the last report but hopefully will be clearing up soon so we can get back on the water!

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash says muskies are going for big inline spinners. Local bass are hitting mid to shallow running cranks. The water is colored, at a high level and in the mid to high 70s.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. The Top New, Mouth of Wilson to Fries, continues to be high and muddy. It makes for a brisk float trip, but it will need a while to clear for fishing. Try tailwater fishing or fishing small lakes and creeks.

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

Upper James: Contributed by Andrew Fenstermaker, 540-921-7438, Lead Guide for James River Outdoor Co. The James River is beginning to stabilize after all the rain as the numbers bite remains consistent. Please visit and "Like" our James River Outdoor Co Facebook Page for more pics, videos, and reports or give us a shout if you'd like to hit the river with us this summer, 540-921-7438. Don't miss the latest show from the The Life. Outdoors w/Britt & Leigh, "Virginia is for Smallmouth", that features a great float down the Upper James River Water Trail in Botetourt County.

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. According to Harry, the smallmouth streams in the north of Shenandoah , especially both up and downstream from Edinburg, are giving good fishing. The water is clear at a good level and 78 degrees. Good flies are: Blue Popper; size 4; Shenandoah Chartreuse Chuggar; size 6 .

Most streams in the Valley are in good shape and giving and good fishing The water is clear, at normal level and 75 degrees. For rainbows good flies are the Shenandoah 9/3, size 10; and the Murray's Dark Stonefly, size 12.

Mountain streams getting warm, which slows the action. The water is at a low level, clear and 64 degrees. Good flies are: Mr. Rapidan Ant, size 16; and Murray's Inchworm, size 14; and Shenk's cricket, size 14.

Lake Moomaw: Contributed by local angler Bill Uzzell. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Lake Moomaw: Local Guide, Mike Puffenbarger, (540) 468-2682, www.mapletreeoutdoors.com. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

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.

Quantico Bay: Contributed by local angler Scott Torgerson. I now agree with the more reliable Potomac River fishing prognosticators, it is pretty good fishing on the last couple hours of an outgoing tide...even with this heat! My buddy John and I went out onto the Potomac River at Quantico Creek this past Saturday and found conditions, and results, definitely to our liking. With an early morning start just past high tide we fished the outgoing tide with very warm water, over 85 degrees. But the cloudy morning and light wind kept the heat in check, and also really helped our top water fishing action tremendously. We fished the edges of the spatterdock, lily pads and open water above the hydrilla with Pop'R plugs in grey/black shad colors and really enjoyed the morning, each catching 12 to 15 mid-sized bass and one snakehead apiece. The snakeheads were both caught within the first hour of fishing, while the bass action was consistent into late morning. Most of the bass we got to the boat were in the 1 1/2 to 3 pound range, but there were 1 or 2 in the 3 1/2 to 4 pound weight class. I have to say I dearly love top water fishing, so this was probably the most enjoyable fishing day of the summer season so far! The sight and sound of a bass taking the top water lure can't be beat sometimes crashing the lure and every once in a while just sipping it in with almost no notice...until of course you feel the weight on the end of the line. However all good things must end and once the sun came out around 11:00 and the tide was almost at its low point the heat kicked in and the fish bite turned off...so we headed for the boat ramp. All in all though it was a very enjoyable morning on the water.

Potomac and small ponds around Ashburn: Contributed by local angler Tyler Folts. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Occoquan Reservoir: Contributed by local angler Jim Thomas. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Lake Orange: Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540) 672-3997. The water is slightly stained with temperatures in the low to mid 80's. Largemouth bass fishing remains strong in 8 to 10 ft. depths with soft plastics being the bait of choice. Crappie on the other hand, seem to be hanging out a little deeper in the 10 to 15 ft. range with small minnows enticing them to bite. Cat fishing has picked up a little in the last week or so with the flats on the upper end being the prominent area on night crawlers and chicken liver. Local angler, Danny White landed a 4 8 walleyes on Saturday.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service, (540) 894-9144.

Stripers: The water temperatures are hot! 86 degrees! The weather is hot, too, but the striper fishing is on fire! Striper fishing in June was the best that we have experienced in the last 30 years. We have been putting our clients on schools of stripers all month catching 50 to 100 fish a morning. (To view our catches go to our blog.) Fishing for stripers in July will only get better as we settle down into our summer patterns. Here are a few techniques that catch stripers in July. By far the best catches are coming from using live bait. My guides and I are using blueback herring rigged on downlines after we locate schools of stripers. Recently we have been taking over 200 hits a morning using this method. The action is fast and furious often having 10 fish hooked up at once! We have been concentrating our efforts 3 miles either side of the 208 Bridge. Traditionally in July the fishing gets better and the schools migrate down the lake to deeper water. We will continue to work deeper and deeper flats as the summer progresses. For anglers that prefer to troll, using umbrella rigs, drop rigs and deep diving Redfins will catch stripers also. Work depths from 30 to 40 feet of water for best results.

Bass: Fishing for bass in June has also been excellent. Bass are in their summer patterns as well and the main lake has been producing good catches. Although most anglers look for structure in 10 to 20 foot depths, we have been catching numerous bass in much deeper water. Our guide D.P. Seay took his wife, Toni, and son, Anthony, fishing on June 25th and hooked up with 2 citation bass at the same time over 25 feet of water. Bass can be caught on top-water baits in the low light times of the day but once the sun gets bright they retreat to the depths usually on break lines nearby the channel where bait is present. The herring are huge this summer, try using larger baits to imitate what they are feeding on.

Crappie: Slabs are on every bridge on the lake. They are holding in the shade anywhere from 15 to 35 feet deep. We see schools on our Lowrance side scans usually near the pilings nearest the channel.

Lake Anna: Contributed by Local Guide Jim Hemby (540) 967-3313. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

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.

ODU Magazine™ launched its website in December 2011 and followed immediately with our first digital fishing magazine. From the beginning, ODU Magazine™ has 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 our 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 (OutDoors Unlimited Magazine) has made a change to its website. The internet is full of websites that talk about fishing, boating, hunting and a few hit on a multiple topics. Regionally there are many good sites that give local news and direction. ODU Magazine went a different direction to respond to all anglers and hunters.

When ODU Magazine was first created we wanted to provide a website that gave anglers and hunters a website that addressed the need to know what was new and interesting in our industry's on an easy to navigate website.  We chose three types of media to give our growing readership (June was 27,000 unique readers) the maximum experience as well. We have North America's largest 100% digital fishing magazine, a 24/7 hunting and fishing news source with ODU News and the ODU Video Library which hosts the best videos found on YouTube for fishing and hunting.

With the ICAST show starting this week, ODU has launched an upgraded website to give our readers an even better experience. Without scrolling fishermen and hunters can easily choose our newest ODU Magazine, the latest on ODU News or see what videos we have been chosen to share in the ODU Video Library. Here is a link to the newest ODU Magazine internet experience for anglers and hunter: http://www.odumagazine.com.

Our team will be at ICAST this week and we look forward to seeing what is new and exciting in the sport fishing industry.

Larry Thornhill, Editor and Chief, larry@odumagazine.com
Bill Schwarz, Assistant Editor, bill@odumagazine.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

As the dog days of summer 'officially" begin outdoor enthuisiasts head to the mountains, rivers, lakes or ocean beaches for adventure and to cool off. For Pat Kqardian, a student at Virginia Commonwealth University her experiences exploring the woodlands near her home not only provided an environment of cool shade but inspiration for writing and reflection on life. Pat grew up just outside of Richmond, in Gum Spring, Virginia. She served two internships, one with Capital City Books, a private publishing agency in the Richmond, and the other with RVAnews.com, an eight-year old blog where Richmonders go to find out about local events and issues. In addition to reading and writing, she enjoys drawing, playing guitar, and tennis. Pat's story placed in the top ten in the 2011-12 VOWA Collegiate Outdoor Writing Contest.

In the Gloom

By Pat Kardian

Those woods stayed with me – the soft, bubbling flow of the creek, and the earthy odor of red clay and dead leaves. On a cool spring morning, the trees whispered in the breeze, sharing tales of their long lives. I would lay on my back, listening to the words in the wind. The forest was my sanctuary, a place of tranquility and adventure. In its vastness my imagination roamed free.

Down a long stretch of gravel road, lined by tall pines, stood the house my father built on the land of a century-old plantation. A huge, round house, with sumptuous gardens, and an acre-long front yard surrounded by miles and miles of woods. Every day I would travel the deer trails to my favorite hideaways: a giant fallen oak, a trickling waterfall along the creek, an ancient slave graveyard, lined with fallen tombstones, the ground sunken in where hundred-year old men lay asleep.

But to me, this place was never just a forest. It could grow into a thriving city, a Confederate battleground, or some forbidden realm on a distant planet. As colossal as my playground was, I often shrank it down to the size of my foot. I gathered rocks, leaves, and sticks and constructed a scene, using twig-people as my characters. I scooped out a moat with my hand, placing a maple leaf for a bridge. I molded mud towers and bark houses. The time and effort put into constructing these scenes meant they were no passing fancy. I came back to my little world, day after day, keeping up whatever story unfolded in my mind until a rainstorm washed it away and the time came to build anew.

Once I learned to write, I put those scenes onto paper. From a small stack of copier paper stolen from my mother's classroom, I stapled together a booklet. Inside, I drew pictures and scribbled captions beneath, telling the story of a fairy queen who falls in love with a trout. The lovers, of course, can never be together because one lived in air, the other in water. Luckily, a benevolent wizard soon cast a spell, granting the fish wings – my first tale, inspired by the creek that ran behind the round house.

Later, the forest helped me not only to invent stories, but to describe them. While working on my first novel, I wanted to make the reader feel the dread of walking alone in the dark, to describe the terror felt by my main character, Samantha, after running away from home. Since my story was set in the late 19th Century, I knew Samantha would see nothing but blackness after extinguishing her lantern on a moonless night. I thought back to that long gravel road, walking home from a neighbor's house on an autumn evening.

I was alerted by every rustle in the underbrush. Around me, only the hazy gray mass of trees and sky in the lightlessness, and the dim outline of road. A sudden quake in the branches forced me to freeze in place. I looked hard, eyes wide, struggling to focus in the gloom. Some creature of the night stirred just out of sight, black, hairy and snarling, waiting for just the right moment to pounce. The hoot of an owl rang like a gunshot. My heart thundered inside my chest, just as Samantha's did on the page.

The year I started high school, my family moved to Bedford County. I was forced to say good bye to the seemingly infinite woodland just outside my front door and settle for a quiet subdivision near the school where my mother worked. Fortunately, my father cultivated our own private forest just behind the house. He let the grass grow wild, planting baby pines and saplings, cutting away a small path where I could go and meditate on my stories. For my next novel, I wrote a scandalous tale of a wealthy banker who develops an obsession with one of his female servants, again set in late 1800's Virginia. On one of my walks behind the house, I picked a leaf from a young oak tree, realizing that the forest would be the perfect spot for the couple to conduct their secret affair. That leaf remained in the folds of my binder where I kept my notes for the novel.

My stories tended to take place in times gone past, which inspired me to pursue a double major in English and History. My tales always rooted in Southern Victorian times, when people were more connected with the land they lived on, when the absence of televisions and radios drew people outdoors, amongst the trees, the birds, and the babbling brooks. I am a storyteller and I always will be. After graduating college, I can apply my creative skills to publishing, journalism, or marketing; but whatever field I enter, I will always be writing. Without that forest – my stage, my muse, my home – I never would have realized my calling, to retell the whisperings of the trees, the centuries of stories they have seen.

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.

This year's competition deadline was February 7, 2013. Judging has been completed and the Winners were recognized at the joint Mason Dixon & Virginia Outdoor Writers Association Joint Annual Conference on March 16 in Staunton.

Bass Pro Shops cosponsors the High School contest, and provides 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 received cash prizes provided by Collegiate Contest co-sponsor Dominion. This year a special new cash award was initiated that includes publication by the Cooperative Living Magazine staff for the best Collegiate entry about the Virginia outdoors. A complete feature on the 2012-13 Competition winners will be posted in the April 10, 2013 edition of the OR.

Full competition guidelines/rules for 2012-13 VOWA/Dominion Collegiate Undergraduate and VOWA Bass Pro High School Youth Writing Competitions are available on the VOWA website: www.vowa.org.

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: