In this edition:

Safety First - Time To Take Your Hunter Education Class

September is just a week away... which means the fall hunting seasons will begin soon. Are you ready?!?! On September 28th  we officially celebrate and observe National Hunting & Fishing Day   Be sure and review the Wild Events You Don't Want To Miss section for the numerous opportunities for hunting and fishing related events, skill building workshops, and sportsmen's shows that offer something for beginners as well as the most experienced hunters. For new hunters, NOW is the time to take the required Hunter Education Class to qualify for your license. Our team of over 900 volunteer instructors have over 100 classes scheduled statewide. But don't wait, as classes fill up fast as deer season approaches. You can find the class schedules and locations by telephone or website. With the Youth Deer and Bear 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. NEW this year Apprentice License holders are eligible to hunt on the Special Youth Hunting Days regardless of age. Be sure and read the Regulations for details.  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 memorable hunting season with family and friends.

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

Your purchase provides funding to support Virginia's wildlife resources for the benefit of anglers, boaters, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. Visit us at www.shopDGIF.com

Deer Feeding Ban To Begin September 1-Amendments Made to Law This Year

Effective September 1, it will be illegal to feed deer statewide in Virginia. The annual prohibition runs through the first Saturday in January. In addition, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' (VDGIF) Board has made the following amendments to the deer feeding prohibition.

New this year:

It is also illegal to feed deer year-round in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties and in the City of Winchester as part of the Department's chronic wasting disease (CWD) management actions.

Problems with Feeding Deer

Problems with feeding deer include: unnaturally increasing population numbers that damage natural habitats; increasing the likelihood for disease transmission; increasing human-deer conflicts such as deer/vehicle collisions, and diminishing the wild nature of deer.

In addition, feeding deer has law enforcement implications. Deer hunting over bait is illegal in Virginia. Prior to the deer feeding prohibition, distinguishing between who was feeding deer and who was hunting over bait often caused law enforcement problems for the Department's conservation police officers. For questions on the impacts of feeding deer or VDGIF's deer management programs contact Deer Project Coordinators: Matt Knox (434) 525-7654; Nelson Lafon (540) 569-0023.

Please Don't Feed Deer

It is clear that the negative consequences of feeding deer outweigh the benefits. If you are not feeding deer, you should not start. If you are currently feeding deer, you should now stop. Feeding deer is against the law between September 1 and the first Saturday in January. If anyone sees or suspects someone of illegally feeding deer during this time period, or observes any wildlife violations, please report it to DGIF's Wildlife Crime Line at 1-800-237-5712. To learn more about Virginia wildlife regulations visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.

New Seasons Set For Waterfowl and Webless Migratory Birds at August 22 Board of Game and Inland Fisheries Meeting

New season dates and bag limits for waterfowl were set by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries at their regular August 22, 2013, meeting in Richmond. The waterfowl seasons and bag limits federal frameworks and staff recommendations listed on the VDGIF website were all passed as presented at the August 22, 2013, Board meeting. The dates and bag limits for various migratory waterfowl and webless species are posted on the Department's website and listed in the next Outdoor Report under the "Hunting Season at a Glance" section.

New 2013-14 Hunting & Trapping in Virginia Digest Available

The new 2013-14 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Digest is on the VDGIF website and the printed 71-page booklet is available free of charge from license sales agents, Regional VDGIF offices, upcoming sportsman shows, and the Richmond Headquarters office. Also you can download the Regulations through the new HuntFishVA app. To offset printing costs, paid advertisements with valuable money saving coupons have been included again this year. 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. 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.

Wild Events You Don't Want to Miss

Hunters for Hungry Play Ball With Lynchburg Hillcats 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.

Peninsula Chapter, Virginia Master Naturalists Course Begins September 4

The Peninsula Chapter, Virginia Master Naturalists, is now accepting applications for our 6th cohort of Master Naturalist Basic Training. The Peninsula Chapter serves Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson and part of York County.

The 12-week course will be held at The Virginia Living Museum on Wednesday evenings from 6-9 pm, beginning on September 4, 2013. There will also be 4 mandatory weekend field trips, one of which you schedule and complete on your own. Graduation will be held at our General/Holiday meeting on Tuesday evening, December 10, 2013. There are assigned homework readings that you are expected to read before each class, including one before the first class.

To become a successful graduate of our Basic Training, you should have access to email, understand how to find information using a web browser, and have the ability to open PDF files. Most of our coursework readings are online, and much of our out-of-class communication is via e-mail.

For consideration, please PRINT out, complete, and mail your application to the address on the form. Please know that we treat all information as confidential and it will not be released to third parties. Class size is limited to 25 participants. Applicants will be notified of their status as soon as possible by one of our volunteers.. Upon admission to the class, the $150 training fee may be paid via check. The training fee includes all materials.

http://vmnpeninsula.weebly.com/about-us.html

Information about the state program is available at http://www.virginiamasternaturalist.org/.

Waterfowl Hunting Workshop at Holiday Lake September 27-29

The Virginia Waterfowlers' Association, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, is sponsoring the 3rd Annual Virginia Waterfowling Workshop the weekend of September 28-30 at the 4-H Camp near Appomattox. The Virginia Waterfowling Workshop provides novice, intermediate and experienced hunters skills training beyond a basic education course.

The workshop will provide participants of ages 12 through 90+, the opportunity to participate in 18 hands-on classes including: Beginner & Intermediate Wingshooting Techniques, Duck & Goose Calling, Duck & Goose Decoy Placements, Decoy Carving & Restoration, Waterfowl ID & Game Laws, Retriever Training, Waterfowl Blind Design & Construction, Waterfowl Nesting Structures, Waterfowl Game Care & Cooking, Waterfowl Habitat Management, and Predator Management.

Todd Cocker, Virginia Waterfowlers' Association Executive Director, notes that the past two years the weekend workshop was rated by its participants Very Good. The workshop is designed to introduce beginners and improve experienced hunters knowledge, skills and confidence. Cocker notes, "We have arranged for some of the most respected and experienced instructors the state offers. There will be several night time mini classes and recreations' sessions Friday and Saturday night.

This event and the Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend event are two great opportunities to improve your waterfowl hunting skills and other outdoor adventure opportunities." For more information and to register for this upcoming workshop or to find out about similar opportunities in the future, visit the Holiday Lake 4-H website or the VAWFA website. Come join us for a fantastic weekend at the Holiday Lake 4-H Center near Appomattox.

VA Waterfowlers Assoc. Create An Additional "Traveling Blind" To Promote Educational Workshop

Not many waterfowl hunters think of using a waterfowl blinds on the highway or in a parking lot at a local sporting goods retailer. Most duck and goose blinds can be found over water or on the shores of a river or lake. Last year Virginia Waterfowlers' Association (VAWFA) began promoting the Annual Virginia Waterfowling Workshop at Holiday Lake 4-H Camp near Appomattox, by using "the Traveling Duck Blind" as a portable billboard and exhibit. This year the organization created an additional traveling exhibit "the Traveling Goose Blind" to promote the educational workshop event.

The Traveling Duck Blind & Traveling Goose Blind are blinds installed on a trailer emblazoned with images and logos about the educational workshop. The exhibits interpret details about the workshop and its sponsoring supporters.

This summer, the Traveling Blinds began their tours to various sporting goods retailers in the state by appearing at Ashland Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Dance's Sporting Goods and the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show. Check the VAWFA website for dates and details.

September Regional Big Game Contests Feature Biggest Bucks, Bears and Turkeys

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.

September 13-15, 2013 74th Western Regional Big Game Contest is sponsored by the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Izaak Walton League at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg in partnership with VDGIF. Registration: Begins Friday September 13 at 9 AM. Trophy Entry Deadline is 2 PM on Saturday September 14. VDGIF's exhibit will feature information on new VDGIF programs and hunting opportunities and the CWD surveillance plan for the northern Shenandoah Valley. Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors will teach safe gun handling and shooting with the laser shot range for youth attending the event. Exhibitors will be on hand with the latest in gear, supplies, artwork, taxidermy, and more. Come see the truly awesome trophy bucks harvested in Virginia. For Contest rules and information: www.iwla-rh.org.

September 28-29, 2013: 74th Eastern Regional and State Championship Big Game Contest, More than 3000 sportsmen and families are expected to attend the official Big Game Contest at the Southampton County Fairgrounds west of Franklin sponsored by the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen's Association in partnership with VDGIF. The VDGIF exhibit will feature subscription sign-up for the Outdoor Report and information on the new hunting opportunities of interest to sportsmen in the eastern regions of the state. The event will feature exhibitors with gear, calls, supplies and taxidermy as well as activities for youth. Biologists and Law Enforcement staff will be on hand to answer questions. This year the Eastern Regional is also the State Championship. For Contest rules and information visit: www.vpsa.org.

Halifax County Quail Tour Set for September 27

The VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries in cooperation with Quail Forever, the VA Dept. of Forestry, NRCS and the VA Soil & Water Conservation Districts are hosting a Halifax County Quail Tour on Friday, September 27 from 8:00am - 4:00pm.

This educational field tour on enhancing quail habitat will cover the following topics:

Quail populations have historically decreased in numbers due to various factors impacting suitable habitat critical to their survival. Acres of inactive forest and farmland exist here in Southside, and current quail enthusiasts are in need of additional information and strategies on maintaining quality bobwhite quail habitat. Experts with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, along with partnering agencies and landowners will be on hand to demonstrate how quail habitat management can occur successfully if maintained.

A catered lunch with fixings will be provided. The format for the day will be a brief group discussion at registration at Reese Farm Fresh Produce in Scottsburg prior to field tour at Reese Farms - one in the morning before lunch, and the other occurring after lunch in the Alton and Calvary Communities. Car pooling is strongly encouraged. To register contact the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Region II Office in Forest 434-5257522 and give your contact information. REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS September 20. For questions or more information contact: . Jason Fisher, Extension Agent/Forestry and Natural Resources jasonf@vt.edu 434-476-2147

Women in the Outdoors Event in Fluvanna September 28th

The Central Virginia Chapter NWTF is hosting their first Outdoor Heritage Day -Women in the Outdoors event Saturday September 28 at Camp Friendship, 573 Camp Friendship Way, Palmyra VA with Registration at 8:30 am and Activities beginning at 9:00 am, Lunch at noon and Raffle drawing at 4:30 pm. Proceeds from the event will go to support the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation. Registration fee $20 includes lunch, all activities and one raffle chance {no credit card only cash & checks}. Activities: Fishing, Fly-Fishing Seminars, Skeet Shooting @ Central Virginia Sporting Clays, Forest Exploration/Hiking/Wildlife & Nature Photography, Canoeing, BB gun range, and Miss Queen Gobbler contest. Rubber Ducky Raffle $5 for 1 duck, or 3 ducks for $10. Event Sponsors and Supporters include The Albemarle Anglers, Central Virginia Sporting Clays, Orange County High School Anglers, Weight Watchers, and Woodbrook Sports and Pro Shop. For more information contact Donna Sherwood Graves 540-832-3611 or Sherwood Londeree 434-589-2416.

VA Cooperative Extension To Host 37th Annual Fall Forestry & Wildlife Field Tours

Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program, in collaboration with Virginia's natural resource agencies, companies, and associations, will be holding their 37th Annual Fall Forestry and Wildlife Field Tours starting October 3, 2013.

The tours will promote wise resource management on private forestlands and will focus on science-based forestry and wildlife management practices, public and private sources of technical and financial management assistance, and networking among landowners and natural resource professionals. There will also be demonstration stops on private, industry, and public lands that will center on multiple-use management opportunities and practices. Tours will be held:

Oct. 3 - Northampton County - $45/person; $80/couple

Oct. 11 - Roanoke County - $45/person; $80/couple

Oct. 15 - Patrick County - $25/person; $40/couple

Oct. 18 - Culpeper County - $45/person; $80/couple

Register online or download a printable brochure at: http://forestupdate.frec.vt.edu

Pre-registration is required, as space is limited on a first-come, first-served basis.    Registration fee covers lunch, refreshments and transportation and is due one week before the tour date. Registration is available online. Come participate in the longest running program of its kind in Virginia! For more information, contact Jennifer Gagnon at jgagnon@vt.edu.

Women's Outdoor Weekend at Holiday Lake October 4-6

Come enjoy a fun filled weekend at Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center located at 1267 4-H Camp Rd. Appomattox, VA 24522 while learning the outdoor skills you've always wanted to master! Women's Outdoor Weekend to be held on October 4-6, 2013 and will include classes in archery, high ropes, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, rifle, handgun, map & compass, GPS, wild edibles, outdoor cooking and wilderness survival. All women age 8 and up are welcome (under 18 must attend with a parent). Registration deadline is September 21, 2013. Details and registration information can be viewed at www.holidaylake4h.com or call Kelsey at (434) 248-5444 if you have any questions.

It's Pre-Season... But It Ain't Football Time to Condition Your Hunting Dog

September is a good timeframe for some serious "pre-season conditioning" Keeping our dogs fit, not to mention stretching out some of those sparsely used walking muscles for ourselves, should be at the top of the list. It can be the difference between a great "opening day" or a morning of whistles, shouts, and frustration with your dog, and the next day ache of muscles rudely awakened to the experience of a strenuous walk in the woods.

Virginia Upland Classic Series has bird hunts scheduled around the state almost every month for the upcoming cooler weather. Virginia Upland Classic Series and the Bird Dog Circuit event One day "Tune Up" Quail Hunt and Gundog Competition Saturday, or Sunday, October 12th or 13th (Two separate events)

Liberty Corners Farm Esmont, Virginia

Information Contact:  bgnorris@cox.net 804-694-5118   or richardlcf@hughes.net 434-286-4490

The annual Thanksgiving Pheasant Hunt will be on November 9 & 10 at Liberty Corners Farm in Esmont, near Charlottesville.  In December 14 &15 we meet at the Sanctuary at Providence Forge, near Richmond, for a Quail Hunt. The January hunt is a quail event at FFF Kennels & Shooting Preserve in Keysville, Virginia and the last scheduled hunt is a chukar event back at the Sanctuary at Providence Forge in the early Spring.  Bird Hunting!  That is what the Virginia Upland Classic is all about.  It is a "Hunt" for upland birds with dogs, and it affords an opportunity for you to get out and take a few birds over your dog without going out of state.  VUCS is open to all Virginia bird hunters with a State Hunting License and a bird dog. All bird hunting breeds are welcome.  The National Upland Classic Series is a division of the National Kennel Club. To participate or just for information simply contact Ben Norris, email: bgnorris@cox.net or phone 804-694-5118.

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.

Pursuits

One day on Dispatches from the Potomac, you will read about  how I have caught my first carp on a fly rod, hopefully one of the thick, 30-inchers I regularly see in the Potomac while kayak fishing for smallmouth. Today is not that day, but I hope you enjoy the pursuit in Carpe Diem.

Elsewhere in the Virginia outdoor blogosphere...

On the theme of Fish I'd Like to Catch, Richie Bekolay has a great post on Hook, Line & Sinker I know you'll enjoy. Rainy Day Redfish is a great example of why I love Richie's blog. Even when the fishing is great and the weather is bad, he takes time to observe and photograph a bald eagle that brings back great memories. Good stuff, Richie.

Now on to the theme of Fish I Do NOT Want To Catch. Rob Choi has a lot to report in his post, 17 Boat Beating Champs and a Trophy Shark. A team of kayak anglers from the Tidewater Kayak Anglers Association (TKAA) bested the field in the Catching for Kids Club Challenge Tournament. Way to go, guys! But then the next day Rob proceeds to pull off one of the most amazing fishing feats I can imagine: Catching a trophy shark from a kayak. Reading his account will have you on the edge of your seat! He also has video of the encounter here. Congratulations on this great accomplishment, Rob.

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

The 2013 Hellbenders - "A Season Like No Other"

What a great time to be a Hellbender! Over the last 3 months, the Hellbenders have been playing against other state agencies in the Governor's Softball League. Players included employees from DGIF, DCJS, MCV, SCC, and VDSS. Can you find the following DGIF players?

On August 3rd, the Hellbenders played in the Governor's League Tournament and, of course, they raised the trophy because they could! It was a great time to fellowship and end the season in a spectacular way - with great food! In 2013, great memories were made, great catches were delivered, and new relationships were formed. What are you doing in 2014?

Much thanks to our sponsor, Target Marketing, for their support and encouragement throughout the season - a great partner!

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."

Hold on to Those Bird Dogs!

"Where in the world did the "wild" quail go in Virginia!?!" Well, we just don't know! But they sure are disappearing. Is it too many hawks? Is it too many predators? "Wiley Coyote" sure gets blamed often enough, or could it be farm chemicals making the eggs infertile? We just don't know! But there is one thing that is for sure, Habitat is playing an important role, and correcting the habitat situation is the current focus of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Virginia Department of Forestry, along with support from Quail Forever chapters and interested landowners from around the state, and it looks like some progress is being made. It may not be in our time, but if things continue to progress and more land comes into "quail habitat" consciousness and management, our kids and grandkids may possibly enjoy the thrill of a wild covey rise over a good bird dog.

Are you interested in learning about quail habitat restoration on working farms? Could you use information about: CREATING QUAIL BROOD HABITAT - MAINTAINING FIELD EDGES - USING PRESCRIBED FIRE - ASSISTANCE FOR CREATING QUAIL HABITAT - INFORMATION REGARDING THE NEW VIRGINIA BOB WHITE QUAIL ACTION PLAN? If so, sign up for the Halifax County Quail Tour on Fri., Sept. 27, 2013. To register call VDGIF Forest office at 434-525-7522.

In the meantime we need to keep interest in good bird dogs and bird hunting on a front burner, and the Virginia's hunting preserves are an important part of keeping our sport alive. ( For a list of Virginia shooting preserves jump on the internet at www.virginiahuntingpreserveassociation.com and find one that is close to you.)  A bird dog needs to hunt and find birds to learn his trade.  That means hunting live birds.  Dragging a dog "over hill and dale" without finding so much as a feather, "ain't gonna do it!"  You have to take your dog where he can find birds.

The Virginia Upland Classic Series along with the Bird Dog Circuit hold at least four bird hunts around the state each season. A current schedule and the locations for this season's events here in Virginia are listed on the national web-sites for www.uplandclassic.com and www.NBDCA.com as well as here in the Outdoor Report under upcoming outdoor events. All Virginia bird hunters are welcome to attend and participate with any dog currently used to hunt upland birds from the pointing dog breeds or flushing dog breeds. The next VUCS & NBDC hunt will be the annual Thanksgiving Pheasant Hunt near Charlottesville at Liberty Corners Farm in Esmont, Virginia 11/9-10. For additional information about VUCS events, contact VUCS at Box 430, Dutton Virginia 23050. bgnorris@cox.net or call 804-694-5118

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

30th VA Outdoor Sportsman Show "Biggest and Bestest" Yet!

Congratulations to all those who helped make the 30th Anniversary of the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show a tremendous hit. This year's show was overflowing with the latest and greatest in outdoor innovation and based on all the smiling faces, one that many will not likely forget. More than 20,000 sportsman families participated in the many new activities and exhibits with this largest event in the three decades that Show Founder and Manager Hugh Crittenden has undertaken this event. The success of this massive sportsman show is due to Hugh's passion for hunting, dedication and leadership in developing a strong partnership with the VA Deer Hunters Association, VDGIF and hundreds of supporting sportsman organizations, celebrity guests, outdoor gear vendors and businesses offering a broad array of supplies and services. There were many "firsts" in this 30th anniversary including the Green Top Pavilion which hosted the VDGIF expanded exhibits, casting and archery ranges, decoy carving demonstrations and displays and much more throughout the show.

Virginia Deer Classic Winners Posted on VDHA Website

The winners among the 330 plus trophy deer entries at the Virginia Deer Classic Contest are posted on the VDHA website (PDF). This popular annual deer trophy contest featured some of the largest bucks harvested in Virginia last season. The Classic was hosted by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association (VDHA) and sponsored by Keystone Tractor Works Museum at the 30th  Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show August 9-11 at the Richmond Raceway Complex.

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.

Apply for 2013 - 2014 Quota Hunts ASAP—Some Deadlines September 27, 2013

For the 2013 - 2014 hunting season, there are 35 quota hunt opportunities to take black bear, feral hogs, quail, rabbits, turkeys and waterfowl. Note deadlines for certain hunts are as early as September 27, 2013. There are new hunts this year at York River State Park for youth hunters and at Doe Creek WMA for waterfowl, deer and turkey. Hunters may apply by mail, telephone or online. For telephone application call: 1-877-VAHUNTS (1/877-824-8687). For online application go to: www.HuntFishVA.com.

2013 Hunting Opportunities on State Natural Area Preserves

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is offering managed hunts for deer and waterfowl at state natural area preserves in 2013. Application deadline for these hunts is Friday, October 4, 2013 at 5:00pm.

At Savage Neck Dunes Natural Area Preserve on the Eastern Shore, a lottery hunt is available for white-tailed deer. There are both Muzzleloader ONLY hunts in early November and shotgun or muzzleloader hunts in November and December. Each applicant selected in the lottery will be randomly assigned a two-day hunting period. Successful applicants will have the option of purchasing from one up to a total of five permits for their hunt, allowing each hunter to form a party consisting of themselves and up to four other hunters.

At Dameron Marsh and Hughlett Point natural area preserves on the Northern Neck, a lottery hunt is available for waterfowl beginning in November and running through January 2014. Hunts are on Mondays only during the last segments of the general duck season. Successful applicants have the option of purchasing from one up to a total of three permits each for their hunt day, allowing each hunter to form a party consisting of themselves and up to two other hunters. One blind per hunt party is land accessible ("walk-in"). All other blinds are accessible by water ONLY.

Anyone 16 years of age or older may enter these lotteries by completing an application and returning it along with a $5 non-refundable application fee to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Division of Natural Heritage, 600 East Main Street 24th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219. As with all DCR hunting opportunities, proof of completion of a hunter safety course is required for each hunter. Hunter safety certificates must be in possession and presented along with licenses if checked during the hunt. For specific hunt dates and additional information and to download an application form, go to the DCR website.

Early Dove Season Opens September 2 - October 12

Dove hunters have a unique opportunity again this year with the opening day for Dove Season coinciding with the Monday Labor Day Holiday weekend. Many hunters took the opportunity to introduce a youngster, or adult friend to hunting with the Apprentice Hunting License. See details on this license option in the Hunting News You Can Use section. A new regulation enacted in 2010 states that dove hunters are no longer required to wear blaze orange during the deer firearms seasons. Remember safety first and have fun!

The first segment of Dove Season runs September 2 - October 14, 2013. Details are as follows:

Here's some reminders of things to do before going hunting for migratory species:

View the Regulations for Virginia Dove, Woodcock, Snipe, Rail, September Canada Goose, and September Teal on the Department's website (PDF).

New 2013-14 Hunting & Trapping in Virginia Digest Available

The new 2013-14 Hunting and Trapping in Virginia - Digest is on the VDGIF website and the printed 71-page booklet is available free of charge from license sales agents, Regional VDGIF offices, upcoming sportsman shows, and the Richmond Headquarters office. Also you can download the Regulations through the new HuntFishVA app. To offset printing costs, paid advertisements with valuable money saving coupons have been included again this year. 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. 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.

TOP 10 "What's New" Hunting Regs 2013-14

  1. Hunter Education-- As of July 1, 2013, there will no longer be a ten-hour Hunter Education Course in Virginia. There will be 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.
  2. Route 29 Line/Amherst County-- The Route 29 "line" in Amherst County was redefined as: that area east or west of the "line" defined as Business U.S. 29 from the James River to its intersection with U.S. 29 just south of the town of Amherst continuing north on U.S. 29 to the Tye River
  3. Bear--  Youth/Apprentice Bear Hunt Day--  There is a new youth and apprentice bear hunting day. See Youth and Apprentice Bear Hunting Day.
    Bear Firearms
    • Bear firearms season has been extended by two weeks in the counties (or portions) of Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell (except on the Channels State Forest and Clinch Mountain WMA), Scott, Washington (northwest of I-81 and west of Route 19), and Wise.
    • The 6-day open season in eastern and southside Virginia will open one week earlier.
    • The bear firearms season in Augusta (North of US-250), Frederick, Roanoke, Rockingham, and Shenandoah will open on a Monday and not a Saturday
    Bear Hound Training
  4. Deer
    • Youth/Apprentice Deer Hunt Day--  Apprentice license holders can deer hunt on the youth deer hunting day. See Youth and Apprentice Deer Hunting Day.
    • Deer Archery-- Created a late antlerless-only archery deer season in April in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties.
    • Deer Muzzleloader-- Reduced the number of late muzzleloader either-sex deer hunting days on private lands in Alleghany, Bath and Highland counties from 6 to 1 (last day).
    • Deer Firearms
      • Established an early antlerless-only firearms deer season in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties in September. Note: local firearms ordinances prohibit the discharge of firearms in Arlington County and in Fairfax County a special landowner permit is required to firearms deer hunt on private lands. Contact the Div. of Animal Control, 4500 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 for details. No special police permit is required for archery deer hunting on private lands in Fairfax County. Local firearms restrictions also apply in Loudoun and Prince William counties (see Local Firearm Ordinances).
      • Established a uniform 7-week firearms deer season in Campbell County.
      • Removed Fauquier County from the late antlerless-only firearms deer season.
      • Reduced firearms either-sex deer hunting days in Accomack, Amelia, Bland (private), Caroline, Chesterfield, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Grayson (public), Henry, King and Queen, King George, Northampton, Nottoway, Patrick, Powhatan, Russell (public), Smyth (public), Spotsylvania, Tazewell (public), and Washington (public).
      • Established one firearms either-sex deer hunting day on Chickahominy WMA.
    • Deer Bag Limits- Established a two deer per day daily bag limit on private lands in Roanoke County.
    • Earn A Buck (EAB)
      • Restricted EAB requirements to individual counties.
      • Increased the number of antlerless deer required for EAB in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties.
      • Removed Franklin, Fauquier, Patrick, and Shenandoah counties from EAB.
      • Antler Point Restrictions (APR)-- Added Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Highland, and Rockbridge counties to the APR regulation.
  5. Deer Feeding
    • Made the feeding of deer and elk illegal year-round in Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties.
    • Made it illegal to feed deer or elk in any county, city, or town during any deer or elk hunting season.
    • Established a requirement that all feed be removed from any deer feeding site prior to September 1st.
    • Established a regulation that makes any area where deer feed has been distributed a "baited" area for 10 days following the complete removal of the food.
  6. Chronic Wasting Disease/Deer Carcass Importation
    • Prohibited the importation of a deer carcass or part (except boned-out meat, quarters, clean skulls, etc.) from any enclosure in North America intended to confine deer or elk.
    • Allowed the importation of cleaned skulls, with or without antlers.
  7. Small Game
    • The gray and red squirrel season has been lengthened by 1 month. It now runs from the first Saturday in September through the last day of February.
    • It is now legal to trains dogs on squirrels on private lands year-round during daylight hours.
    • It is now legal to train dogs on rabbits year- round on private lands from ½ hour before sunrise until midnight.
  8. Turkey
  9. Furbearers Hunting & Trapping
    • Otter-- The season limit for otters trapped west of the Blue Ridge Mountains increased from 2 to 4 otters per trapper per year.
    • Trapping-- It is now unlawful to intentionally set traps within 50 feet of animal carcasses or parts unless the carcasses or parts are completely covered when the trap is set or visited. Completely covered is defined as not being visible from above.
  10. Public Lands
    • Doe Creek is the newest wildlife management area. It is 447 acres located bayside in Accomack County. The area has an excellent waterfowl impoundment system and hunting opportunities will be provided through the quota hunt program for waterfowl, archery deer, muzzleloader deer, and spring turkey hunting. Managed hunt opportunities will include: squirrel and woodcock. As the area is further developed, wildlife viewing opportunities will be improved.
    • Two hundred and sixty acres in James City County has been added to the PALS (Public Access Lands for Sportsmen) program.

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

Aiden Ward Gets First Deer with Christmas Gift .410 Shotgun

Sean Ward sent this photo of his eight year old son Aiden Ward who killed his first deer last December 29, 2012. Using his Christmas present .410 single-shot shotgun with 000 buckshot. Sean proudly recounts, "All three pellets at 25 yards hit the vitals. Hunting in Buckingham County, the dogs from another property ran deer towards us, as Aiden stood by my side, I killed the lead deer, he killed the second- a button buck. We couldn't find the deer or blood on our initial search, but after extending out range we found his deer. Aiden was grinning ear to ear. He said, 'Dad I told you I hit that deer good!' Proudest hunting day as a dad ever. I will never forget."

This year the Youth Deer Hunting Day is September 28th. This is a great opportunity to introduce a youngster to our treasured hunting heritage and traditions. Also new this year Apprentice License holders - regardless of age- are eligible to participate in the special Youth Hunting Days for deer, bear, turkey and waterfowl. For details review the regulations on our website.

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

Your purchase provides funding to support Virginia's wildlife resources for the benefit of anglers, boaters, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. Visit us at www.shopDGIF.com

Halifax County Quail Tour Set for September 27

The VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries in cooperation with Quail Forever, the VA Dept. of Forestry, NRCS and the VA Soil & Water Conservation Districts are hosting a Halifax County Quail Tour on Friday, September 27 from 8:00am - 4:00pm.

This educational field tour on enhancing quail habitat will cover the following topics:

Quail populations have historically decreased in numbers due to various factors impacting suitable habitat critical to their survival. Acres of inactive forest and farmland exist here in Southside, and current quail enthusiasts are in need of additional information and strategies on maintaining quality bobwhite quail habitat. Experts with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, along with partnering agencies and landowners will be on hand to demonstrate how quail habitat management can occur successfully if maintained.

A catered lunch with fixings will be provided. The format for the day will be a brief group discussion at registration at Reese Farm Fresh Produce in Scottsburg prior to field tour at Reese Farms - one in the morning before lunch, and the other occurring after lunch in the Alton and Calvary Communities. Car pooling is strongly encouraged. To register contact the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Region II Office in Forest 434-5257522 and give your contact information. REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS September 20. For questions or more information contact: . Jason Fisher, Extension Agent/Forestry and Natural Resources jasonf@vt.edu 434-476-2147

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.

August 2013 Update: Elk project staff and volunteers report that all elk released this year remain nearby the release site and have comingled with the elk released in 2012. A minimum of 10 calves born this year have brought the herd to at least 44 elk. The bulls are losing velvet at the end of August and the rut will soon begin in early September. Volunteers with the Southwest Virginia Coalfields Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation have completed about 145-acres of habitat enhancements. These food plots are a critical part of the restoration project because they help to hold elk on the area and promote successful reproduction.

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 900 volunteer instructors have over 160 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 & Bear Hunting Day September 28th, this is a great opportunity for a new hunter to schedule the class and take it together with a parent, relative or mentor 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.

Choose the Right Tree Stand For You with Safety in Mind

With the Labor Day weekend fast approaching and sportsman stores and outdoor shows having fantastic sales on all sorts of hunting gear- especially tree stands, be an informed buyer so you get the right stand for you and your hunting conditions- think safety first! Comfort and convenience for use are important too!

The use of tree stands for hunting has increased dramatically in the past few years. Along with the increase in their use comes an increase in the number of serious or fatal injuries. While firearms-related incidents have declined tremendously since mandatory hunter education courses were instituted and blaze orange laws were passed, the number of tree stand-related incidents has increased significantly.

This article was researched and prepared by Dick Holdcraft, a former volunteer Hunter Education Master Instructor and Coordinator for the Tree Stand Safety Team. He is a recognized "tree stand expert," based on his extensive Hunter Education experience and more than 40 years as a career safety manager. Dick has written numerous articles on tree stand safety and we appreciate his sharing his experience in this report. Whether you are an experienced deer hunter or this is your first time using a stand, here are valuable tips to help you prepare and stay safe:

Tree stands are used by hunters who prefer to hunt from elevated positions to increase their field of view and to decrease the likelihood of detection by game animals on the ground. In several counties in Virginia, use of rifles, or muzzleloaders are allowed only if shooting from an elevated stand for safety purposes. Several styles of tree stands are available, such as an integral ladder and platform stand; fixed-position stands, and self-climbing stands. Unique features distinguish each of these three styles and they each have their advantages and disadvantages. What's the best stand for you depends on the terrain, users physical condition and type of hunting- bow, crossbow, or firearm. Stand features need to be thoroughly evaluated by the hunter before purchasing or erecting the stand prior to the season.

Hunters have a variety of features to choose from when selecting tree stands. These features include portability, bars, chains, straps and rails that affix the seating device to the tree, gun rests, bow rests, outward facing stands, forward facing stands, and multiple-occupancy stands that include a tree stand with a seating capacity for four individuals.

Recent surveys have determined that the most common reason for falls from elevated hunting positions was due to some type of structural failure. These types of failures included rotted wood, loose nails, nails pulling through boards, broken bands, bolts, ropes, or other attaching devices. However, according to Sgt. David Dodson, the Virginia Hunter Education Coordinator, "Staying attached to the tree through proper use of a high-quality full-body harness is your best protection against serious injury while using a tree stand. In almost all cases, those who were injured were not wearing a harness at all. Stay attached from the time you leave the ground."

For more information on tree stand use and safety, review other articles by Dick and the VDGIF Hunter Education Instructors Tree Stand Safety Team at: www.bowhunting.net.

Remember: Always Harness Up - Before You Climb Up!

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!

"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.

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!

Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest Entry Deadline September 7

Don't forget that the deadline for submitting photos to the Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest has been set for September 7, 2013 so you can get those award winning photos all summer!

Picture the excitement! It certainly isn't hard to "picture it," kids 'n fishing that is — smiles, laughs, looks of anticipation and excitement. So, join in on the fun, catch the excitement of your child on film while fishing and enter his or her picture in the annual Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest sponsored by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Green Top Sporting Goods, and Shakespeare Tackle Company. The winning pictures are those that best capture the theme "kids enjoying fishing." Children in the first through third place photographs of each category will receive a variety of fishing-related prizes. Winning pictures will also be posted on the VDGIF website and may be used in a variety of VDGIF publications. There is no need to be a professional photographer. Any snapshot will do. Visit website for details.

View the winning entries from the 2012 Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest!

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 early September:

Answers to August 14 edition quiz for nature events for late August...

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

DUI + BUI = Jail Time Without Bond... On July 26, at approximately 2100 hours, Conservation Police Officers Bumgarner and Jackson were on patrol on the Rappahannock River near the mouth of Piscataway Creek in Essex County. A vessel was observed entering the creek with no stern light displayed. The vessel was stopped by the officers and upon approaching the vessel a strong odor commonly associated with the consumption of alcoholic beverages was detected. The operator of the vessel was identified and exhibited signs of intoxication. Field sobriety tests were offered by Officer Jackson which the operator performed poorly. A preliminary breath test was offered and a reading of .144 was observed. The subject was placed under arrest for BUI, no stern light and having an expired registration on his boat. The subject was transported to Essex County Sheriff's Office were a final BAC of .12 was observed. Upon meeting with the magistrate, the subject was lodged in the Middle Peninsula Regional Jail on no bond due the fact the subject was currently out on a secured bond from a previous DUI.

Milford Haven BUI... On August 3, Conservation Police Officers Thomas and Dobyns were on boat patrol in the Milford Haven area of Mathews County. At approximately 1430 hours, the officers observed a large boat enter a no-wake zone at a high rate of speed and then switch operators. The officers stopped the boat and upon making contact with the current operator, the officer's noticed suspicious behavior. Officer Thomas asked the subject if he had been drinking and he stated he had been drinking rum and Cokes at the beach earlier. Officer Thomas conducted several field sobriety tests on the subject. The subject performed all field sobriety tests poorly and repeatedly asked if he passed them. Officer Thomas placed the subject under arrest for operating a motorboat under the influence of alcohol and upon transport to the Intoxilyzer, the subjects final blood alcohol content was .14. The subject was lodged in the Middle Peninsula Security Center.

Boating Saturation Patrol... On Saturday, July 27, District 15 Conservation Police Officers (CPO) conducted a boating saturation patrol on the Chickahominy River in James City County. CPO Philip Baker was conducting a vessel safety inspection in a narrow channel when another motorboat passed by at a high rate of speed, so close that the 21' patrol boat took on water from the wake. The boat was stopped due to reckless operation and a summons was issued to the operator for reckless operation of a motorboat.

Reckless On The Chickahominy... On the evening of Saturday, July, 27, Conservation Police Officer John Goodwin was patrolling the Chickahominy River after dark when a motorboat made a sudden turn across his patrol boat's path of travel causing him to take evasive action to avoid a collision. The boat was stopped for the reckless manner that it was being operated and the operator was issued a summons for reckless operation of a motorboat.

BUI on Mattaponi... On August 4, at approximately 2025 hours, Conservation Police Officers Hall and Bumgarner were on boat patrol on the Mattaponi River just south of Walkerton. A Baja speed boat was observed traveling north towards Walkerton with no stern light displayed. Upon stopping the vessel and identifying the operator a strong odor of alcohol was detected on or about his person. When asked how much he had to drink the subject stated five beers. The subject was offered field sobriety tests by Officer Bumgarner which he performed poorly. The subject was then offered a preliminary breath test which he refused. The subject was placed under arrest by Officer Bumgarner and transported to King William Sheriff's Office where a final BAC of .14 was observed.

Region III - Southwest

Five Teens Rescued on Bakers Island... On July 10, Senior Conservation Police Officer George Shupe was patrolling the New River at Foster Falls State Park when employees of the park advised that their rescue boat had gone out to rescue people stranded on Bakers Island. When Officer Shupe arrived, he observed the rescue boat drifting downstream below the people. He called the operator of the boat and was advised that the motor was shutting off. The boat drifted further downstream where they were able to paddle it to shore. Officer Shupe called Senior Officer Randy Hurst to the scene with one of the Department jet drive boats. The boat was launched, the five teenagers were rescued from the island and the park rescue boat was recovered. The teenagers advised they were swimming and the strong current had taken them to the island.

Fishing Without a License, Exceeding the Limit... On Sunday, July 21, Conservation Police Officer Jim Anders was patrolling Reed Creek in Wythe County behind the Wytheville Fish Hatchery. Several subjects were observed catching and creeling trout. Officer Anders approached two subjects and a compliance check revealed that one of the subjects was in possession of 12 trout and the second was in possession of nine. License checks revealed that one of the subjects did not have a valid license. Appropriate summons were issued.

Boating Safety Program Attended by Hundreds... On July 26, Senior Virginia Conservation Police Officers James Brooks, James Hale and Sergeant Jamie Davis conducted a boating safety program for VDOT at Sugar Hollow Park. There were over 300 VDOT employees and their families in attendance for the annual Bristol District picnic consisting of several counties in Southwest Virginia. Officer Brooks gave a boating safety talk concerning safety equipment and safe boating operations. The officers answered many questions at the boating display booth and several children enjoyed a tour on the district patrol boat.

Hundreds Attend 4th Annual Gene Ball Memorial Youth Day... On Saturday, July 27, Conservation Police Officer Jim Anders attended the 4th annual Gene Ball Memorial Youth Day at Crockett's Cove Plantation and Lodge in Wythe County. This event was started to honor Gene Ball's love of the outdoors. Officer Anders oversaw the skeet shooting station at the event. Eighty young boys and girls attended the event despite heavy rain showers. The young sportsmen and ladies were allowed to shoot shotguns at the skeet range, .22 rifles, muzzleloaders and archery equipment. There were also stations set up to educate the youngsters in trapping and tree stand safety. A free lunch was provided. Prizes including guns, hunting and fishing equipment and a lifetime fishing license were given away. Over 350 people attended the event. Hunter education instructors from Bland, Giles, Floyd and Wythe counties assisted with different stations.

Youth Shotgun Shooting Program... On July 27, Senior Conservation Police Officer Jason Honaker participated in a shotgun shooting program held at the Wilderness Road Shooting and Conservation Club in Scott County. The program was sponsored by local church groups seeking to get their youth involved in positive, outdoor related activities. Officer Honaker presented a firearm's safety talk to the twenty participants in the program prior to the live fire range activities. Officer Honaker also served as the Range Safety Officer during the skeet and trap shooting portion of the program.

"Wild About Elk"... On July 31, Senior Conservation Police Officer James Hale and Sergeant Jamie Davis attended the first "Wild About Elk" program for area teachers. The program was held at Noah Horn Well Drilling in Buchanan County and the company provided lunch. There were approximately 50 people in attendance. Allen Boynton and Susie Gilley, with VDGIF, were keynote speakers at the event. The officers participated in group exercises and fielded several questions concerning elk laws, movement and population. The group also visited the elk release site to gather information concerning elk tracks, rubs and habitat.

Boating Safety Program... On August 2, Senior Conservation Police Officers Dan Hall and James Brooks conducted a boating safety program for VDOT at Hungry Mother Park. There were 200 VDOT employees and their families in attendance for the annual Wytheville District picnic consisting of several counties in Southwest Virginia. The officers stressed water safety with a special emphasis placed on younger children when they're engaged in boating and swimming related activities. The officers also fielded several questions at the boating display booth and distributed information concerning recent law changes to hunting, fishing and boating.

Conservation Police Officer Participates in TRIAD... On August 2, Conservation Police Officer Tosh Barnette participated in the annual TRIAD luncheon. TRIAD is a cooperative effort of law enforcement agencies and senior citizens organizations focused on reducing crimes against our seniors. The goal of TRIAD is to reduce the fear of crime and victimization among seniors by increasing awareness of scams and frauds targeting them, strengthening communication between the law enforcement and senior communities and educating seniors on local and state resources that are available in their community. Officer Barnette answered various questions and concerns of attendees, spoke about the duties of a Conservation Police Officer and offered assistance with obtaining lifetime hunting and fishing licenses. Approximately 125 local senior citizens attended the event at Lee High School.

K9 Team

K9 Teams Featured at sportsman shows statewide... Come meet the VDGIF K9 Teams at the various sportsman shows being held throughout the state in August and September. See the individual event descriptions in the Wild Events section for where one of the K9 teams will be making an appearance near you. 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

Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest Entry Deadline September 7

Don't forget that the deadline for submitting photos to the Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest has been set for September 7, 2013 so you can get those award winning photos all summer!

Picture the excitement! It certainly isn't hard to "picture it," kids 'n fishing that is — smiles, laughs, looks of anticipation and excitement. So, join in on the fun, catch the excitement of your child on film while fishing and enter his or her picture in the annual Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest sponsored by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Green Top Sporting Goods, and Shakespeare Tackle Company. The winning pictures are those that best capture the theme "kids enjoying fishing." Children in the first through third place photographs of each category will receive a variety of fishing-related prizes. Winning pictures will also be posted on the VDGIF website and may be used in a variety of VDGIF publications. There is no need to be a professional photographer. Any snapshot will do. Visit website for details.

View the winning entries from the 2012 Kids 'n Fishing Photo Contest!

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.

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!

Chris notes that this week he is busy with Catfishing Classes so we have chosen to use a story submitted by one of our Complementary Workforce volunteers, Allen Easterly from the Shenandoah Valley recounting the important and often overlooked work done by volunteers and field staff to improve access to remote trout streams to enhance the experience by anglers of all skill levels. Next time you visit a trout stream or boating access ramp remember that it was most likely established and maintained by dedicated volunteers and VDGIF staff working to benefit you...

Volunteers Help Provide Trout Fishing Access

By CWF Volunteer Allen Easterly

Recently, a small group of VDGIF Complimentary Work Force (CWF) volunteers spent a day assisting Department Fisheries Biologists and other Department personnel bring you better access to prime trout waters. Along the banks of Dry River in Rockingham County, the group worked hard clearing an old logging road to give stocking trucks access to the river. Brush, fallen trees and large rocks were removed from the old roadway and a stream crossing was improved to allow the stocking trucks to get close to the river. Volunteers then cut several access trails from the improved roadbed to the river, giving fishermen a safer and clearer path to prime stocking points. The trails also make it easier for the same volunteers to quickly run fish from the trucks to the river, helping improve the survivability of each net full of fat, sassy trout.

As a volunteer, even helping with normal tasks such as clearing brush and cutting trails is very rewarding. It's great exercise to help keep you in shape, and in my case, helps keep an old body from becoming entirely useless. Getting to hang out for a day with old friends and talk about the upcoming trout stockings is a great relief from what can otherwise be just another summer day. CWF adventures like this can also bring excitement. During lunch break this day, a Department employee, set his lunch bag and water bottle smack dab in the middle of a yellow jacket nest. With a little ingenuity and a very long stick, other Department personnel rescued the lunch accessories. Only two people were stung by the yellow jackets. Both were volunteers (me included) that weren't even near the ground nest. It was a small price to pay for a wonderful day afield helping to prepare some great fishing spots for your use this fall. Hope you catch your limit! Come join us on our next adventure (bee netting optional). Contact your regional VDGIF office for details.

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

Editor's Note... Sarah submitted her reports earlier than normal this week due to some personal commitments, so several of the regular reporters did not get reports to us in time for posting- please visit the individual reporters websites or call them to get current conditions. Thanks for your understanding. Remember to send in pictures of your fishing adventures to share with our readers... David Coffman

Region 1 - Tidewater

Little Creek Reservoir: Contributed by Park Concessionaire Diane Priestley, (757) 566-2277, hhhatlcr@aol.com. The water temperature is at 89 degrees, and a visibility of 14 ft. Bass fishing has been slow the last couple of days. Fish were caught on top-water, cranks, and soft plastics, but not a lot cats, and stripers were the fish to catch. Stripers were feeding on top all over the lake. Cats were in shallow water and biting worms, and cut bait. Fishing 101 is still offered most Sunday afternoons from 2 to 3 p.m. Call (757) 566- 2277.

Beaverdam Reservoir: (804) 693-2107. Contributed by Park Ranger Eddie Hester. Fishing has been very good lately. Largemouth bass up to 6 pounds are being caught throughout the lake on top-water jigs. Crappie are medium size and have moved to slightly deeper water. Chain pickerel, perch and bluegill are also being caught. Some grass has been seen but the amount is significantly less than previous years. We will continue to monitor the progress of the grass carp through the fall. The water is 83 degrees, at full pool and slightly stained.

Our next Big Bash Bass Tournament is 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. Fishing continues to be good in the mouth of the bay. Starting to see some nicer croakers at the third island!

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. While keeping a watchful eye on hurricane threats to the southeast, anglers are enjoying the more moderate temperatures as we transition into a more fall-like fishing pattern along the Mid Atlantic coast.

Cobia: The bite is still good this week with fish cruising along the surface in pods in lower Bay waters as well as along the ocean front, making promising targets for sight casters. Anglers are finding fish cruising along tide lines, under schools of rays, and near pods of bait, but the trick is getting them to respond to offerings this time of year. It is a good time to target the really big fish, as a few are exceeding 80 pounds lately. The late summer trend of favoring buoys and bridge pilings is still gaining momentum, and this pattern will only improve over the next several weeks as fall approaches.

Flounder: Action is hit and miss this year, but lately the bite is on an upward trend. There is hope that the fish will become even more active as they begin grouping up in the lower Bay to leave the area. Nicer fish are still filling limits, with many ranging to around 4-pounds. Both live baiters and drifters are finding good luck along the CBBT, in the lower Bay inlets, near the small boat channel south of the 1st Island, the Baltimore Channel, buoy 42 area, and off the concrete ships. Fresh strip bait is working well right now for drifters.

Sheepshead: Fish are beginning to spend more time on the tubes as they transition into their fall patterns, with some nice fish boated this past week. Trigger fish are still very active all along the CBBT, with some of the biggest fish seen over the past several years making these a worthwhile target. Several triggers weighed in at over 4-pounds this season from Bay waters, while near shore wrecks are also holding nice triggerfish. Spadefish are hanging around the 3rd and 4th island, and various spots along the CBBT, but these fish are winding down as they prepare to depart the area. Several boats are also taking advantage of some decent sized sea bass responding at several deeper water wrecks, especially near the Triangle wrecks area.

Bull reds: These fish continue to roam the lower Bay shoals, as well as the 3rd and 4th islands of the Bridge Tunnel and the ocean front area. Jack crevelle catches are still happening inshore as these fish school up bait near the entrance of the Bay.

Spanish mackerel: Fish are available off Cape Henry, over the tubes of the CBBT, and along tide rips in the lower and middle Bay areas. Spanish are located anywhere from 2 to 5 miles off the Virginia Beach coastline, with many fish ranging to near 3-pounds. King mackerel are also still a possibility in these same areas.

Puppy drum: Pups are still active in the shallows. The best locations are Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets, with speckled trout also showing promise on the Poquoson flats and in Hungar's creek.

Tarpon: Virginia's tarpon action is down, most likely due to the windy conditions last week, with the cool-down dropping the water temperatures on the seaside of Oyster. Tarpon thrive in tropical waters, so a few hot days could rekindle the bite.

Amberjack: Big amberjack will take most any offering at the South tower, and Jack Crevelle are also a possibility at the Chesapeake Light Tower, especially later this month. A variety of nice tilefish grouper, blackbellied rosefish, nice black sea bass, and barrel fish are on the deep dropping menu lately for those who are interested.

Miscellaneous: Offshore, the billfish bite is still on the upswing, and should continue to should improve through the month. Boats are beginning to release multiple whites, with a smattering of blue marlin, sailfish and spearfish. A few grand slams are making for some proud captains lately. Bigeye tuna and some nice yellowfin tuna are still around, but most boats are concentrating on the marlin scene. Wahoo and plenty of dolphin are also available for those trolling for meat fish. For more information go to www.drjball.com.

Chickahominy River: River's Rest (804) 829-2753. Alton Williams says bass action is doing well on spinners. No word on crappie or bluegill. Puppy drums are hot, hitting "anything you care to throw at them". The cat bite is fair, with shad and eel being good bait choices. The water is 78 to 80 degrees and slightly stained.

Chickahominy Lake: Contributed by Captain Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475. Chickahominy Lake mid day water temperatures were in the high 70s to low 80s in the lower lake on Wednesday (8/21/2013). The lake level was about 8 inches above the top of the dam. The water was light brown and slightly cloudy in the central lower lake, but appeared more murky around some shoreline and shallow flats hydrilla. A mix of sizes of crappie were scattered on weed flats near shoreline cover in the main lake, along weed walls in creek mouths, and on mid depth wood cover and were hitting live minnows, tubes, and Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail grubs. A mix of sizes of bluegill and shellcrackers were scattered on many shorelines, on hydrilla flats, and on some mid-depth wood cover in the main lake and along hydrilla weed walls around creek mouths and were hitting flies (especially black or brown wet flies and nymphs), small tubes and jigs, small spoons, and live worms. A few bass were on flats and shorelines in the main lake and on mid-depth wood cover, and were hitting fly rod bugs and top waters near sunup and sundown and stick worms, spinnerbaits, and live minnows a bit later in the mornings and earlier in the afternoons.

Fishing with Capt. Conway, Ted Antol and Jim Atkinson had 38 bluegill, 4 shellcrackers, 3 crappie, 5 yellow perch, and a 3 ½ pound bass. Carolyn Conway had 38 bluegill, 2 shellcrackers, 2 crappie, 1 yellow perch, 1 warmouth, 1 bass, and 1 pickerel. Capt. Bill Buck had 34 bluegill, 2 shellcrackers, 25 crappie, 1 blue cat, and 3 bass.

North Landing River and Back Bay: Contributed by Ken Testorff, local blogger. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Norfolk Lakes: Dasheill's Show Room (757) 539-7854. For update on current conditions, please see our website or call.

Blackwater and Nottoway: By Riverkeeper Jeff Turner www.blackwaternottoway.com. Cool spell has fish on the bite. Blackwater and Nottoway are in great shape. Everything is happy and biting. Get out and fish before the heat comes back.

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 says that bass are sticking to their seasonal patterns. Try plastic worms. Crappie have been found in the tidal creeks and will go for a minnow. Lots of big blue cats are coming in on cut shad and eels. For bluegill try some crickets. Local gar will take big minnows. The water is slightly stained and 78 to 80 degrees.

Non-tidal James near Richmond: Contributed by Capt. Mike Ostrander, James River Fishing School, Discover the James, (804) 938-2350. On the non tidal James in Richmond there are plenty of sunfish and smallmouth bass out there but the water has been stained all summer. Running a bit high for most of the summer has presented a challenge for guiding on the river, but the few trips that have been run have been quite successful. Fishing the shoreline with small lures or white grubs has been pretty good for sunfish, and an occasional smallmouth bass. Working the bottom of the deep holes with cut and live bait has been quite productive for small blue catfish and flathead catfish. Good luck!

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. The James in Scottsville has once again turned muddy after the rain on Friday (8/23). Hopefully by the first of the week it will have cleared giving us favorable conditions. Fishing this past week has been great. Fly anglers got to enjoy some of the best bug fishing of the year. Smallmouth over 20 inches were boated along with several 18 to 19 inch fish. Conventional anglers had success using soft plastic stickbaits, Tiny Torps and Buzz Baits. On sunny days look at the shade lines to be holding fish. Early mornings, try a Buzz Bait around the grass beds.

Kerr Reservoir: Bob Cat's Lake Country Store, (434) 374-8381. Bobby Whitlow told me that bass will be found both deep and shallow. Try cranks and soft plastics. Crappie are under the piers and will take minnows and jigs. The cat bite is good, with many big ones coming in. Live shad and bream are the baits of choice. The water is slightly stained and in the low 80s.

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

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. Craig Karpinski told me that bass can be had with top- waters by the grass early in the morning . Crappie are holding to deep water; 18 feet down. They are going for minnows. Cats are doing well on cut bait in the 2 to three feet down. Bluegill are also in the shadows and will go for worms and small minnows. The water is 80 degrees and clear.

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

Lower New River: Big Z'S (540) 639-1651. John Zienius says that bass picking up, with the water down, try deep running green cranks, jerks and spinners. Muskie are also there to battle with; any bass lure will work. The water is a good shade of green and warming.

Upper New River: Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell, (540) 818-5274, New River Charter. The Upper New River has remained muddy from continuous heavy rains for nearly three months. It looks like we are finally heading into a more stable, drier weather pattern that should yield some incredible fishing for the next couple of months. This is a great time to get your final smallmouth or muskie trip for the fall booked!

New River: Tangent Outfitters, (540) 257-0415. Shawn Hash says smallies are picking up. Muskies are going for glides, inlines and dark tubes. The water is slightly stained and 69 degrees.

Top New River: Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC. The Top New is still high, but it is receding. It should be fishable by early this week. Next week's forecast looks dry, as of now, so fishing should be good during the Labor Day weekend. I fish 8 sections on the Top/Upper New and 5 sections on the Lower New, so I can usually put you on a section that is fishing well. Early fall fishing is practically here, a great time to fish.

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

Region 4 - Mountains & Shenandoah Valley - Northern Piedmont

North and South Forks of the Shenandoah: Harry Murray (540) 984-4212 www.murraysflyshop.com. According to Harry, the northern area of the smallmouth streams are doing well especially from Edinburg to Tom's Brook. In the southern area, try Luray to Benton. Good flies are: Murray's Magnum Creek Chub, size 4; and the Shenandoah Blue Popper The water is clear and 78 degrees and at a good level.

Trout streams in the Valley are holding more water than usual. For best fishing, fish the heavily shaded areas and below the springs. Best flies are: Mr. Rapidan Olive Soft Hackle, size14; and Murray's Flying Beetle, size 16. The water is 76 degrees and clear.

Mountain creeks are getting low, but still giving good fishing. Good flies are: Murray's Flying Beetle; and Mr. Rapidan Ant, size 16, The water is 64 degrees and clear Don' t forget to check Harry's website for the latest information.

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. Visit Puff's website for fishing conditions on the Lake and area trout streams in the Highlands.

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

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 clear with temperatures in the mid to upper 70s. The cooler nights and recent rains have brought the water temperature down a bit. The cooler temperatures have triggered activity with the largemouth bass, as well as the crappie. Some nice stringers of crappie have been caught in 10 12 ft . deep; on minnows and jigs. Largemouth bass are hitting soft plastics and live minnows. Catfishing remains strong throughout the lake on live bait and chicken liver.

Lake Anna: Contributed by C. C. McCotter, McCotter's Lake Anna Guide Service, (540) 894-9144. With a significant drop in water temperatures (86 at Dike III and 82 mid lake) from the headwaters to the dam here on Lake Anna, the annual transition has begun. Bass, striper and crappie are on the move and the fishing has broken out of the summer dog day patterns. Here's what you can expect on your next outing.

Largemouth Bass: Fish are in distinct patterns in the three regions of the lake. Down lake fish are schooled on small bait in the dam to Levy Creek region. You will find small top-waters to their liking as well as Toothache spoons, soft plastic jerkbaits and small crankbaits. In the mid lake region, many bass are schooled and moving to the backs of creeks to feed on threadfin and herring. You can target them with a dog walking top-water, lipless crankbait or swimbait. In the up lake region it's crankbaits one day and worms the next over rocky points and other natural structure. Fish are beginning to come out of brush and school up in smaller pods and feeding on baitfish. You can also expect action on the extreme headwater flats with lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits.

Striped Bass: Much better fishing is available for those of us that prefer lures to live bait! You can jig, cast or troll now in all three regions of the lake. Striper are beginning to feed on the surface in the early morning and late afternoon all over the lake. The up lake fish have been around the Hunter's Landing Bridge (Day's Bridge) in the Pamunkey Branch and around Rose Valley in the North Anna. There are some gulls now to help you locate schools. The mid lake fish are at the mouth of Sturgeon up to The Splits. Down lake fish are schooled near the dam with terns on them. Dike I has also had schools early.

Crappie: Look for the return of these panfish later this month to the docks in the upper Pamunkey and North Anna. You use 1 to 2 jigs or minnows on slip bobbers then. Right now you can target big crappie with small crankbaits on rocky points in both tributaries.

Good luck and see you on the water.

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

Correspondent Needed:
Hey everybody! I need a contact for the North Landing River and Back Bay area. You could contribute by phone or email. It's really easy, and is good for business if you are a guide or tackle shop owner. You don't have to be in the fishing business though, local anglers make great correspondents. Please email me if you are interested: 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.

Direct from the ODU Magazine archives - Fishing With Weedless Spoons. Jason Mitchell, a contributing writer to ODU, lays out how to approach bass with weedless spoons. There are many weed less soft plastic and frog options that can be pitched into wild rice, reeds, lily pads and slop. Whenever there are stems or branches sticking out of the water however, weed less spoons can be tough to beat. Weed less spoons are typically going to be a little heavier than most weed less frogs or soft plastics rigged to work weed less over the tops of weeds so they do have to be retrieved faster but the shape and weight enable an angler to punch through the vegetation that is growing above the water much easier. For wild rice and pencil reeds for example where you want to cast with the seam of the stems and get back into the cover as far as possible, spoons really shine.

There are a lot of good weedless spoons on the market.  The Johnson Silver Minnow is a classic that has been catching fish for years.  The Northland Tackle Jaw Breaker Spoon is a modified spoon with a heavier weed guard that was really designed for penetrating thick wild rice and other hard to fish stems that collect on the hook and guard.  What surprises many anglers new to weed less spoons is that there is some versatility with spoons depending on the retrieve and how the spoon is tipped.  Spoons tipped with a craw or beaver tail style body will typically ride high through the water where the spoon drags across the surface while the soft plastic ripples or flops behind.  Spoons tipped with a straight curl tail worm or ribbon tail worm will typically wobble and zig zag just under the surface and can be rigged to flutter down into open pockets and edges. Link to the remaining portion of the story (http://www.odumagazine.com/bass-on-weedless-spoons-2/)

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

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email your material to
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Winning Outdoor Adventure Stories from Young Writers

As students return to classes at the end of summer break, those that want to continue outdoor activities make time in their busy class schedules to get away. For Paul Rutemiller , a sophomore at Virginia Tech studying natural resource conservation with a concentration in recreation management, a early morning run on his birthday concluded with a memorable encounter with a copperhead. Paul is an avid athlete and Vice President of the Virginia Tech Triathlon team and competes in marathons and ultramarathons statewide. He loves leading and inspiring people to meet their goals, whether athletic, academic, or recreational. Paul also believes that it's essential to be outdoors to have good physical and mental health. He notes, "There are so many intangibles (and tangibles) that our earth gives us that can't be found inside or on a television. In the summers I lead youth on backpacking and rock climbing trips across the country, and I absolutely love it. Last year I worked all over the state of Washington, and Post-graduation, I hope to open my own backpacking/trail running tour company that takes people of all ages into the wilderness to experience solitude which is essential to know oneself." Pau l's story placed in the Top Ten in the 2011-12 VOWA Collegiate Outdoor Writing Contest.

Till the Sun Comes Up

By Paul Rutemiller

My twentieth birthday present to myself wasn't quite the typical college students present of throwing a party. My alarm beeped at 2:15 am on September first, and I was instantly ready to hit the trail. I could sense nobody in my apartment complex was awake, everyone a few hours just asleep or just about to rise. A serene time of day, everything so calm and still. I smiled when I saw my roommate with his sleepy eyebrows raised, asking, and "Are we really going to do this?" We shoveled down a bowl of oatmeal, double checked our gear, and starting driving to the Appalachian Trail with one goal in mind: run till the sun comes up.

A few hours before the alarm, I began to get myself excited by simple pre-adventure preparations: selecting what kind of gels I'll want, making a peanut butter and banana sandwich, laying out extra socks and shorts, and stuffing a makeshift medial kit and a jacket in my backpack, just in case. Soon we were greeted at the trailhead by the tired sounds of late-summer crickets and creek water trickling in a nearby stream. The woods were seemingly asleep. My roommate and I put on our headlamps and camelbacks and started up our first mountain of the starry morning. We moved slowly but consistently, still warming and waking up. The singletrack trail with table mountain pines on one side and great rhododendrons on the other invited us to climb, climb, climb. A quick hour and six miles passed and we found ourselves shedding layers a half mile from the Audi Murphy monument (a dedication to a WWII hero whose plane crashed right on the Appalachian Trail after the war), located around Brush Mountain. An outlook a couple hundred yards off the trail beckoned, and we obliged. With boulders as benches, we looked up to the black sky in awe and I said, "Man, this never gets old."

Our aspirations of running for the next five hours fluttered out of our minds like butterflies. The task seemed futile as the universe looked down upon us. Nothing mattered. Not my classes that started in five hours, not my upcoming half ironman, not money, expectations, rules. It was just my best friend and I on a Wednesday night off the side of the trail, headlamps off, perfect silence. I felt like we talked about life and death, God and hell, goals and aspirations, all in what seemed like peaceful eternity when we spoke not a word. When I looked at my watch again, we had been sitting for almost an hour and a half.

The morning dew began to cling to the surrounding maples, and the sun just barely started to rise in the east. The temperature dropped, and Chris and I slowly put our packs back on. We decided to descend the climb. Running till the sun rose didn't matter anymore. Senses heightened by the tunnel vision of a headlamp and dodging rocks in the dark, I saw something mid-stride that didn't quite look like a normal tree root. Time suspended for the second time that night as I sidestepped at the last second—as I looked down I noticed I narrowly avoided a venomous bite from a Northern Copperhead.

I let out a yelp (alright, maybe slew of curse words) and stopped to examine the snake. Its markings revealed that it was indeed a Northern Copperhead. It was sprawled out length wise in the middle of the trail which told me it was in the process of moving—interesting as it was 3:45 in the morning. Our new friend had its neck raised in an S shape, with its head off the ground. I concluded it didn't want to be played with. I looked around the trail to see if there were any other Copperheads or snakes around and found none; this snake was traveling alone, no hunting partner or nearby mate. My curiosity revved as I continued running. I wondered if copperheads are usually nocturnal and if it was in the process of hunting. Also, why was it alone? Do copperheads only convene to mate? After seeing that Copperhead I swore every other root was a snake. There's no other perfect ending to a birthday morning than seeing that Copperhead in its natural habitat. I felt like such a small part of the earth under those burning stars, and I realized the snake was such an integral part of the ecosystem. Everything made sense that night.

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.

Full competition guidelines/rules for 2013-14 VOWA/Dominion Collegiate Undergraduate and VOWA Bass Pro High School Youth Writing Competitions will be posted in September on the VOWA website: www.vowa.org.

In upcoming editions of the Outdoor Report, look for: