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Full text of "Virginia Wildlife"

Bob Duncan 



he agency has just come 
through a major under- 
taking that began over 
15 months ago when our 
board approved a formal 
study of hound-hunting in Vir- 
ginia. Posted on our Web site 
(www.HuntFishVA.com) are 
recommendations made by 
the study's Stakeholder Advi- 
sory Committee (SAC) — a group of 
thoughtful, highly dedicated citizens 
with diverse backgrounds who agreed to 
serve fellow Virginians in this process. 
Their recommendations are the result of 
a series of discussions based on written 
comments received and facilitated meet- 
ings held across the Commonwealth 
about issues related to hunting with 
hounds. 

I believe the methods employed 
througliout the study have been open 
and inclusive. SAC members have devot- 
ed countless hours to a difficult, often po- 
larizing assignment. Advisory committee 
members and facilitators from Virginia 
Tech upheld the highest standards of 
professionalism and grace under fire — 
when it would have been easy to call it 
quits at many points along the way. Re- 
gardless of one's position on this matter, 
they deserve our respect and gratitude. 

I'd like to touch upon something 
else here — to address why we under- 
took tliis work and why the process was 
so carefully implemented. The decision 
to study hovmd-himting was based not 
on the number of complaints, but on the 
nature of the complaints received. The 
tenor of those calls was one of great con- 




cern, as we viewed public dia- 
logue becoming more and 
more confrontational. We 
were also acutely aware that 
hound-hunting activity has 
become an issue in other 
states: Florida, Georgia, South 
Carolina, and now. North Car- 
olina. It was only a matter of 
time before it reached fever- 
pitch in Virginia. 

At the crux of the hoimd-hunting 
issue we find one thread in a larger fabric 
unraveling across rural America. That 
thread is the loss of lai^e tracts of land 
and owners willing to lease those lands 
to hunt clubs and other hunting inter- 
ests. This is of great concern to us, of 
course, because a large percentage of tra- 
ditional hound-hunting activit}^ in Vir- 
ginia has been made possible on those 
very lands. 

As you review the recommenda- 
tions made by the committee, please 
consider that every position was thor- 
oughly vetted and each word agreed 
upon after many hours of deliberation. 
But by identifying the issues, by listing 
them out, and by reacliing consensus 
where they could, I believe the commit- 
tee has brought clarity to the matter at 
hand. 

We understand that hound-hunting 
is more than a sport to Virginians. It is 
deeply embedded in our cultural liistory 
and part of our shared natural heritage. 
We always intended that the hound 
study would help us 'find our way," and 
I believe that Virginians are uniquely 
qualified to rise to this challenge. 



Mission Statement 

To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of 

the (;ommonwealth;To provide opportunity- for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor 
recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided 
for in the Constitution of Virginia;To promote safety for persons and property in comiection with boating, hunt- 
ing and fishingi'lb provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and apprecia- 
tion for Virginia s fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia's Wildlife and Natural Resources 
Volume 69 Number 10 



Commonwealth of Virginia 
Timothy M. Kaine, Governor 



HUNTING & FISHING 

LICENSE FEES 

Subsidized this publication 

Secretary of Natural Resources 

L. Preston Bryant, Jr 

Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries 

Bob Dimcan 
Executive Director 



Members of the Board 
Ward Burton, Halifax 
Sherry Smith Crumley, Buchanan 
WUham T. Greer, Jr, Norfolk 
James W. Hazel, Oakton 
C. T. Hill, Midlothian 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
John W. Montgomery, Jr, Sandston 
Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvington 
Richard E. Railey, Courtland 
Thomas A. Stroup, Fairfax 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 

Magazine Staff 

Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Juha Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 

Emily Pels, Art Dhector 

Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 

Tom Guess, Larry Mohn, Marc Puckett, 

Ron Southwick, Staff Contributors 



Color separations and printing by 
Progress Printing, Lynchburg, VA. 

Virginia Wildlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is published montUy 
by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland 
Fisheries. Send all subscription orders and address 
changes to Virginia Wildlife. P. 0. Box 7477, Red Oak, 
Iowa 51591-0477. Address all other communications 
concerning this publication to Virginia Wildlife. P. 0. Box 
11104, 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 
23230-1104. Subscription rates are $12.95 for one year, 
$23.95 for bf/o years: $4.00 per each back issue, subject 
to availability. Out-of-country rate is $24.95 for one year 
and must be paid in U.S. funds. No refunds for amounts 
less than $5.00. To subscribe, caU toll-free (800) 710- 
9369. Postmaster; Please send all address changes to 
Virginia Wildlife, RO. Box 7477, Red Oak. Iowa 51591- 
0477. Postage for periodicals paid at Richmond, Virginia 
and additional entry offices. 

Copyright 2008 by the Virginia Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries. All rights reserved. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shall 

afford to all persons an equal access to Department pro- 
grams and facilities witliout regard to race, color. reU- 
gion, national origin, disability, sex, or age. If you believe 
that you have been discriminated against in any pro- 
gram, activity or facility, please write to: Virginia 
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. ATTN: 
Compliance Officer, (4010 West Broad Street.) RO. Box 
11104, Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104. 

"This publication is intended for general informational 
purposes only and every effort has been made to ensure 
its accuracy The information contained herein does not 
serve as a legal representation of fish and wildlife laws 
or regidations. The Virginia Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries does not assume responsibility for any 
change in dates, regulations, or information that may 
occur after publication." 



oc 



CONTENTS 




About the cover: 

Tlic bobwliite quail represents, for 
many, the prmce of upland game birds. 
In this issue of the magazine we ex- 
plore what conservationists and biolo- 
gists are doing statewide to re-establish 
critical habitat, desperately needed for 
the bird's return. 
©Maslowski Photo 



WILDLIFE 

Magazine 
Subscriptions 

For subscriptions, 

circulation problems 

and address changes 

call: 

1-800-710-9369 

12 issues for $12.95 
24 issues for $23-95 
36 issues for $29.95 




4 



9 





t 



m 





"Bring Back Bob" 

b)' Tec Clarksoti 

A covey of groups rallies beliind the 

bobwliite quail. 

• Land Management Tips to 

Benefit Quail 

by Marc Puckett 

Featherweight Fliers 

by Marie Majarov 

A grand migration takes place this 
month over the Dcbiiarva Peninsula. 

Hope's Harvest 

b)' Keith Johnson 

A tather-da lighter celebration of the 
outdoors kind! 

Using the Arts to hispire 

Stewardship 

by Gail Brown 

Atlee High School students artfully 
connect with their campus. 

Lake Conner's Lunker 
Largemoiith 

by Marc N.McGlade 

Bass<asters find success in a lake in 
Halifax County. 

Avoiding Bowhimtmg Blunders 
and Bloopers 
b)' Bruce Ingram 

Tliese tips from a pro might save you 
some anguish. 

BeWUd! Live 'Wild! Grow'WUd! 
b)' Spike Knuth 
Virginia's Plovers 



AFIELD AND Afloat 

30 Journal 

• Renovations at Coursey Springs 

33 Photo Tips 

Photograph } our Fai 'ori'te Cciniiief 

34 OnTlie Water 

Neu ' Law Addresses Boating Safety 



.-ff' 



i*i> 



'^ 






'^^. 



^ 



Conservationists 
are rising to the 
challenge of 
preserving habitat 
for bobwhite quail. 



Mi 




byTeeClarkson 
photos by Dwiglit Dyke 

Ten-month-old Llewellin set- 
ter Betsy and her partner 
Pearl, a German shorthair, 
cut through thick cover, quartering 
back into what little wind there is. It's 
October and it's hot. Scenting condi- 
tions are tough. They have been on 
some birds today, locking intermit- 
tently on a single quail here, a pair 
there, all of them pen raised. There is 
little chance of marking a wild covey 
on this hunting preserve as they 
search the fields and the edges of the 
woods. Steve Bebout, who works 
with Quail Forever in Virginia, walks 
steadily behind the two dogs. Steve 

Pearl, a German shorthair, strikes a clas- 
sic point as she takes wind of a quail 
holding tight to cover. 




(I 



'^^mmm 



m 



^m 









Where quail are concerned, tidy is not better. Here, quail take advantage of corn 
and other forage left behind by the combine. 



grew up hunting wild quail in north- 
east Tennessee as a youngster. Thirty 
years have passed since then, and 
Steve currently resides in Franklin 
County between Roanoke and Mar- 
tinsville. 

Like most states throughout the 
Southeast, Virginia's quail numbers 
have been in a state of decline for the 
last several decades. Steve hopes to 
reverse this trend by working with 
others to implement quail habitat 
projects in Virginia. He hopes that in 
a decade, maybe even a few years, he 
might take a similar walk behind his 
dogs and bump a few wild coveys. 

"Admittedly," Steve says, "we 
know it's going to take a long time. 
It's not like we can start the program 
and then hunt wild quail the next 
year. We're looking long term." 

Groups like Quail Forever and 
Quail Unlimited focus on improving 
natural habitat. It is no secret that 
modern farming practices have 
added to the game bird's decline 

OCTOBER 2008 



along with a growing human popu- 
lation and increasing urban sprawl. 
Quail Forever believes in using feder- 
al programs to aici in improving habi- 
tat similar to the way its parent or- 
ganization. Pheasants Forever, has 
taken advantage of the Conservation 
Reserve Program (CRP) in improv- 
ing habitat for wild pheasants in the 
Midwest. Steve points primarily to 
the CP33 program, a special section 
of the Conservation Reserve Pro- 
gram established in 2004, the first 
federal legislation aimed at restoring 
the bobwhite quail. The program 
pays private landowners to establish 
a habitat buffer around their crop 
fields. Doing so benefits dozens of 
wild species, including quail. The na- 
tional program has allocated 250,000 
acres across the country to improve 
habitat for the game bird. Currently 

Shooting to a rising covey of quail is 
one of the ultimate experiences when 
hunting this prized upland game bird. 



Virginia's allotment is 3,600 acres. 
Unfortunately, only about one-third, 
or 1,484, of those acres are beiiig used. 
Right now. Quail Forever, Quail Un- 
limited, the Farm Service Agency, 
and the Natural Resources Conserva- 
tion Service are working to get the re- 
maining 2,150 acres into the program. 
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) 
and tlie Natural Resources Conserva- 
tion Service (NRCS) work hand in 
hand to establish the program on pri- 
\'ate land. An interested landowner 
should first contact their FSA office, 
located in the local USD A service cen- 
ter. The FSA will tlien determine \he 
eligibility of the property. The land 
must have a "cropping history," hav- 
ing been dedicatee! to an agricultviral 
commodity during four of the six 
crop years from 1996-2001. If the land 




is eligible, the landowner will sign a 
10- to 15-year contract, agreeing to 
plant and maintain a habitat buffer 
for upland birds for the duration of 
the contract term. As a sign-up incen- 
tive, the landowner receives $10 per 
acre per year paid at contract ap- 
proval, one hundred dollars for 
every acre placed in the program 
under a 10-year contract. The NRCS 
then works witli the program partici- 
pant to prescribe seed mixtures 
which will provide an ideal habitat 
for upland birds. The FSA provides a 
50% cost share reimbursement for all 
eligible costs incurred in conjunction 
with the conservation period. Fur- 
ther, a practice incentive payment is 
disbursed to the participant, calculat- 
ed at 40% of all eligible costs. In 
essence, the participant is reim- 
bursed 90% of his or her out-of-pock- 
et costs. Additionally, the landowner 
receives an annual rental payment of 
up to $90 / acre every October for the 
life of the contract. 

On the Scent 

With a little directing and en- 
couragement, Betsy and Pearl push 
through the thick cover of the "Cus- 
tom Hunts" game preserve outside 
of Keysville, still searching for the 
wl"iiff of a bird. Suddenly and almost 
without warning Betsy turns her 
head, dropping her body low to the 
ground, and freezes. Pearl quickly 
locks up as well, backing Betsy's 
point. They have found the birds. 
Steve readies his gun and advances 
in from the left. As Steve nears Betsy's 
nose, two quail lift simultaneously 
into the air. Steve levels his gun and 
fires one shot, followed closely by an- 
other. The result of the first shot is a 
puff of feathers and a fallen bird. The 
result of the second: a quail still sail- 
ing through the air and settling back 
down into the cover some 50 yards 
ahead, unharmed. 

Perhaps one of the biggest prob- 
lems for wild quail in Virginia has 
been the invasion of fescue, a grass 

As Virginia's countryside changes to 
meet its growing population, hunters, 
farmers and sportsmen's groups are 
teaming to improve quail habitat. 




A well trained hunting dog, such as this 
Llewellin, is a great asset in retrieving 
downed birds. 

too thick to allow quail to move 
around. "Recreational bushogging," 
as Steve Bebout calls it, or bushog- 
ging once or just a few times a year, 
promotes the growth of fescue. In 
order to avoid this problem, 
landowners should make sure there 
is no fescue in any seed they use. 

Quail Forever hopes to offer its 
own seed program soon, specifically 
designed for upland habitat. Quail 



Unlimited also has a long-standing, 
national seed program. And if you 
are interested in learning more about 
early-succession habitat manage- 
ment to benefit the bobwhite, there's 
a new tool available. The Umversity 
of Kentucky and The Progressive 
Fanner magazine have teamed up to 
offer a quail habitat management 
course, available on CD. The CD pro- 
vides a good primer on wild quail 
ecology and how to manage for the 
bird. (See resources listed, page 8.) 

Both Quail Unlimited and Quail 
Forever work closely with state and 
federal natural resource agencies to 
identify solutions to aid Virginia's 
wild quail population. DGIF small 
game biologists like Gary Norman 
and Marc Puckett have supported 
their efforts and share the excitement 
over the prospects of improving 
quail habitat and numbers. 

"The Department has recently 
been tasked with developing a new 
quail action plan, following up on 
previous efforts that led to the na- 
tion's first plan back in 1996. Since 
that time, enormous strides have 
been made in quail management 
across the Southeast. The successes of 
each state are building upon each 
other," notes quail program manager 
Puckett. 

He adds, "We now have a chance 
to incorporate many of the lessons 




VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



we've all learned over the past 12 
years. If the sportsmen give us a 
chance, we'll accomplish some great 
things for quail in Virginia. All of our 
partners will be critical to success on 
this front." 

Both Puckett and Norman be- 
lieve that increasing quail popula- 
tions in a rapidly changing landscape 
is one of the most difficult challenges 
ever undertaken by groups like Quail 
Forever. "We've had great success 
with deer, turkey, bear, and other 
species, but quail present special 
challenges," Norman says. Lack of 
habitat represents the number one 
hurdle to quail recovery. 

Biologists and conservationists 
are looking to find new habitat on a 
large scale. The Department contin- 
ues to work with c}uail groups across 
the state, offering guidance on a vari- 
ety of landowner programs and habi- 
tat management options suited to 
particular regions. 

"The good news? This is Ameri- 
ca. Citizens make things happen," 
Puckett maintains. "Folks see a prob- 
lem and they don't sit around wait- 
ing for someone else to fix it; they 
start in on it themselves." 

Groups like Quail Forever and 
Quail Unlimited surely prove his 
point. 

Betsy now tromps back, head 
held high above the cover, with a gait 
that doesn't attempt to hide her 
bursting pride. Hesitant to release the 
bird from her mouth, she circles Steve 
several times before finally giving in 
and dropping it in his extended 
hand. Immediately they move for- 
ward again, Betsy and Pearl, search- 
ing for more scent and the hope of 
more birds. 

Steve acknowledges that it will 
certainly take some hard work and 
dedication, but he hopes in the not- 
too-distant future to put Betsy and 
Pearl on some wild Virginia quail 
courtesy of Quail Forever, Quail Un- 
limited, and many others who are 
dedicated to bringing back this signa- 
tvire game bird. 7 

Tec Clarkson is an English teacher at 
Deep Run High School in Henrico Coun- 
ty. Tee is also a member of the Virginia 
Outdoor Writers Association. 




ipt@ Benefit Qiu 



byMiircRickett 



Evaluate - Obtain an aerial photo- 
graph of your property and conduct 
a habitat inventory. Look for oppor- 
tunities to manage for quail. Areas to 
identify include: crop fields, particu- 
larly near clear-cut timberlands, pine 
stands, new clear-cuts, pastures and 
hayfields, old fields, power line or 
utility rights-of-way, and even some 
hardwood stands that could be man- 
aged as open oak woodlands. 




Invest - Invest in the equipment 
necessary to manage adequately. If 
you do not own or have access to a 
tractor and disk, consider purchasing 
one. A tractor in the 35 to 60 horse- 
power range with hydraulic capabili- 
ties and an adjustable disk can ac- 
complish 90' o of what is necessary to 
manage land. Add a good herbicide 
spray rig and spin seeder and you 
can create a haven for cquail. If you 
can't afford a tractor, consider an all- 
terrain vehicle with similar, but 
smaller attachments. Some of the 
heavier work can be done by con- 
tracting, or by renting equipment. 

Eliminate - Once you have decided 
where you can manage for quail, start 
bv eliminating mat forming, non-na- 
tive invasive grasses such as fescue. 
For example, you may have a portion 
of a hayfield from which you really 
do not need to harvest. After you've 
taken the last spring cutting of hay 
allow about 6 to 10 inches of new 
growth to ocdir. Then, spray with a 
herbicide containing glyphosate 
(Roundup", RazorPro''", or equiva- 



Producing and sustaining suitable habi- 
tat is the biggest hurdle to restoring the 
prince of game birds to the fields and 
forests of Virginia. 



OCTOBER 2008 



7 




Additional 
Information 

Landowners may find contact informa- 
tion for their Local Farm Service 
Agency at: http://www.fsa. 
usda.gov/FSA/stateoffapp?mystate 
=va&area 

For information on creating ideal quail 
habitat on private lands: 
"Beyond the Food Patch: A Guide to 
Providing Bobwhite Quail Habitat/' 
Published by DGIF; available by call- 
ing the Wildlife Division, (804) 367- 
1000. 

Landowners may also call their region- 
al DGIF office and speak with the dis- 
trict biologist. Go to: www.HuntFish- 
VA.com for contact numbers. 

Quail Unlimited Seed Information: 
http://www.qu.org/content/habi- 
tat/seed_program.cfm 

Habitat Management CD from The Pro- 
gressive Farmer (shown above): 
www.progressivefarmer.com/farmer/ 
store/wildtife/quai I. htm I 



Biologists recommend planting sunflow- 
ers with other seed sources — such as 
millet — in a designated food plot. 



lent) per the manufacturer's recom- 
mendations. Eliminate all non-native 
grass that is not needed, being careful 
to minimize erosion. Do not spray on 
steep hillsides, farm roads, and other 
such areas. 

Encourage - After eliminating 
non-native cover, encourage the 
growth of native annual weeds, flow- 
ers, shrubs and grasses. Once the 
non-native cover is gone, a flush of 




The early succession plants that thrive 
after a prescribed burn provide food and 
cover for quail. 

new plant growth will occur 4 to 6 
weeks after spraying. The trick is to 
learn your plants. Encourage things 
like blackberry, plum, sumac, native 
sunflowers, beggar-weed, ragweed, 
partridge pea, coneflower, croton, 
and broomstraw. Control unwanted 
invaders such as yellow poplar, 
sweet gum, red maple, pine and 
other tall growing trees by spot- 
spraying with selective herbicides, 
hand cutting, or spot mowing. 



Saturate - Picture every quail 
covey's home range as being a 25- to 
50-acre elliptical area and think about 
how you will saturate this area with 
quail cover (without eliminating 
other valuable cover types). Each 
covey range should consist of 15% to 
20% shrubby, brushy patches (some- 
times called "covey headquarters 
areas" — things like blackberry thick- 
ets, plum and sumac thickets, or sim- 
ilar), 40% to 60% brood rearing cover 
(annual weeds, flowers and grasses), 
and about 30% nesting cover (areas 
containing 50% native grasses like 
broomstraw, mixed with annual and 
perennial weeds). Also, 5% to 10% of 
an area can be planted in annual food 
plots. Use a good mixture, such as 5 
lbs. each of millet, milo, buckwheat 
and sunflower. Substitute forage 
sorghum for milo in areas where deer 
densities are high. Leave portions of 
planted food plots fallow each year. 
For example, in a 2-acre field plant 
one acre each year, leaving the other 
half fallow. One of the best plantings 
is a mixture of 5 lbs. each, Korean and 
Kobe lespedeza, planted over a 
disked seed bed in February. 

How? - Thin and conduct understo- 
ry burning on all available acres of 
loblolly, short-leaf or long-leaf pine 
stands (use a burning contractor and 
focus on safety first). Manage old 
fields by rotational disking, rotation- 
al buriiing (in each case, disk or bum 
V'i each year during February or 
March), or spot-spraying. Create 
hedgerows in crop fields. Allow na- 
tive, brushy, weedy borders to devel- 
op around crop fields. Plant logging 
decks with Korean and Kobe les- 
pedeza, as described earlier. 

Research - Do your homework. A 
21st-century laiidowner has an unlim- 
ited amount of knowledge at their fin- 
gertips. Visit the Quail Unlimited and 
Quail Forever Web sites and check 
back to our Web site, where land man- 
agement resources and tips will be 
posted, n 

Biologist Marc Puckctt is tJre small game 
proJLXt leader who coordinates the quail 
action plan and develops programs to ef- 
fectively manage small game species in 
Region U. 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ wvvw.HuntFishVA.com 




Monitoring Tne Monarch Migration 



It all happens 
soundlessly. 
Daylight hours 
in Virginia shorten; 
the angle of the sun 
diminishes; the air 
cools. Brilliant orange 
and black monarch but- 
terflies, the year's final 
generation, push their way 
from gilded chrysalides with an 
agenda vastly different from their 
short-lived, frolicking, summer kin. 
These fall monarchs postpone mat- 
ing, embarking instead on a geneti- 
cally programmed 6- to 8-month mis- 
sion to avoid winter's deadly cold. A 
breathtakingly grand migration 
takes shape as, one by one, feather- 
weight fliers lift off to commence a 
perilous journey to the grounds in 
central Mexico where their ancestors 
have long overwintered. Joined by 
others from as far north as southern 
Quebec and throughout New Eng- 
land, millions of monarchs make 
their way south, streaming as high as 
5,000 feet over the Commonwealth. 

Above: A new monarch pushes its way 
from a tiny gilded chrysalis. Right: A 
dawn cluster on red cedar, Juniperus 
virginiana, warming before beginning 
the next leg of their journey. 



Story and photos by Marie Majarov 

''A tale of dedication 

and love for all 

wild creatures 

in a glorious part 

of Virginia." 

-Lincoln P. Brower 








Tough, determined, almost un- 
stoppable, these !/2-gram insect pilots 
make incredible progress, averaging 
28-plus miles a day gliding with 
high-speed air currents and engag- 
ing in wing-powered flight. Stopping 
only to refuel on fall blossoms and 
roost through darkness, it takes 
about 40-60 days to reach a narrow 
Texas corridor through which mas- 
sive clouds of butterflies, as manv as 










Above: Judy Keen shows off her very nec- 
essary mosquito netting as she watches 
clustering monarchs in a wild black cherry 
grove. Left: Monarchs are so intent while 
nectaring on seaside goldenrod that they 
can be lifted off the plant for tagging. 

2 billion, sweep on to their landing 
place. The destination: 12 colonies, 
only a few hectares each, within 
stands of oyamel fir trees at eleva- 
tions of 11,000-plus feet on the not- 
too-cold, not-too-warm southwester- 
ly slopes of the Transvolcanic Moun- 
tains of Mexico. 

To put their 2,000-mile feat in 
perspective, Toronto zoologist David 
Gibo estimates that an equivalent 
distance for a 6-foot-tall person 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Top: Dr. Brower, project leader, also 
monitors monarchs in the Blue Ridge 
near Sweet Briar and lovingly tends his 
magnificent butterfly garden. 
Above: Barbara Kreiley demonstrates the 
monarch counters. 

would be "11 times around the 
world." How do these monarchs do 
it? What pathways do they take? Fuel 
sources? Roosting places? How do 
they know where to go? What are the 
obstacles and challenges to success? 

Answers to these c^uestions have 
been the focus of the Chincoteague 
Monarch Monitoring Project, which 
celebrated 10 years of outstanding 
autumn research in 2006. Under the 
leadership of Dr. Lincoln Brower — 

OCTOBER 2008 



the foremost monarch scientist and 
ambassador. Sweet Briar College Re- 
search Professor, and Univ. of Florida 
Distinguished Service Professor 
Emeritvis — the project has been coor- 
dinated by dedicated and talented 
Professional Interpretive Natviralist 
Denise Gibbs. 

After 5 years of collecting 
monarch migration data at Cape 
May, NJ, a well-known gathering 
point for coastal monarchs and riu- 
merous species of birds, Dr. Brower 
felt that establishing anc^ther ongoing 
monitoring station was "critical for 
scientific replicahon" of the emerging 
Cape May findings. Chincoteague 



search station, as Walton and Brower 
were witli her expertise and enthusi- 
asm. An "instantaneous yes" was her 
response to their idea that she estab- 
lish the new post, thus beginning a 
life-affirming relationship for both 
monarchs and Denise. Now known 
affectionately as the "Monarch 
Lady," Denise has collected detailed 
scientific data, made copious field ob- 
servations, tagged thousands of 
CNWR monarch guests, and educat- 
ed countless people about monarchs. 
During peak monarch migration, 
mid-September thru mid-October, 
Denise and deciicated volunteers 
Barbara Kreiley, Judy Kneen, and 




Chincoteague wet meadows are filled 
with blooming large bur-marigold, 
Bidens laevis. Invasive phragmites can 
be seen along the meadow's edge. 

National Wildlife Refuge (CNWR), 
its varied habitats being a natural 
respite for coastal migrants traveling 
from Cape May across the mouth of 
Delaware Bay and down its coast, 
was perfect, as was the decision for 
Denise Gibbs to be project coordina- 
tor. 

A butterfly and native plant spe- 
cialist, Denise met Richard Walton, 
director of the Cape May Project 
while doing freelance lecturing after 
her own incredible journey, with can- 
cer. She was as enthralleti by the re- 



MONARCH WAYSTATION 



« « 




This site provides milkweeds, nectar sources, 

and shelter needed to sustain monarch butterflies 

as they migrate through North America. 

Certified and registered by Monarch Watch 

as an official Monarch Waystation. 

CREATE. CONSERVE, & PROTECT MONARCH HABITATS 

www.MonarchWatch.org 




Kate Tufts hustle from sunrise to sun- 
set making either stationary point 
counts or a 5-mile road census of 
perched and flying monarchs 
through salt marsh, wet meadow, 
tidal canals, mixed deciduous forest, 
maritime forest, bayberry / groundsel 
thickets, primary dunes, and inter- 
dune areas along the Atlantic Ocean. 
They take measurements of weather 
conditions, wind speed and direc- 
tion. Between censuses, as many but- 
terflies as possible are tagged, some 
years upwards of 3,000. 

Lightweight numbered tags are 
affixed from Monarch Watch, a 
monarch conservation organization 
at the University of Kansas that spon- 
sors a large-scale tagging program to 
track migration patterns (see Virginia 
Wildlife, June, 2006). Through the 
years, Denise's tagged monarchs 
have been recovered in Georgia, 
along Florida's panhandle, and at the 
Mexican sanctuaries El Rosario and 
Sierra Chincua, providing essential 
information to prove that eastern 
coastal migrants winter in Mexico. 

The largest number of migrating 
monarchs reported at Chincoteague 
occurred in 1999 when hurricanes 
"bottled up" monarchs just north of 
Denise's location. Clear weather 
brought an estimated 100,000 visible 
monarchs surging throvigh CNWR, 
"literally a blizzard of monarchs." 
The lowest numbers, of 2002, reflect- 
ed poor summer conditions through- 
out their northern breeding range. 

Migration 2006 and 2007 were 
also extraordinary for outstanding 
monarch numbers, despite the winds 
and floods of Hurricane Ernesto (in 
August, 2006) changing much of the 
island beachfront landscape, de- 
stroying extensive nectar and roost- 
ing vegetation. Migrating green 
darner dragonflies, common buck- 
eye butterflies, merlins, northern har- 
riers, bald eagles and tree swallows 
were also plentiful. 

Clustering behavior was a spe- 
cial 2006 focus: Red cedar, loblolly 
pine, groundsel-tree /bayberry thick- 



Denise carefully applies a Monarch 
Watch tag to a monarch wing. 




Kate Tufts measures the wind speed, 
direction and temperature during a road 
census of perching and flying monarchs 
while her husband records the data. 

et, and seaside goldenrod roosts were 
photographed and studied. 

Environmental hazards, man- 
made challenges, and nature's intri- 
cacies observed at CNWR are as- 
tounding! Chincoteague's natural- 
ized ponies leisurely munch spartina 
grasses down to mudflats and pro- 
mote short-growing horsemint, giv- 
ing tired migrants a welcome oppor- 
tunity to nectar close to the ground, 
protected from the wind. However, 
at the same time this increases expo- 
sure to invertebrate predators like 
praying mantids, tolerant of mon- 
archs' poisonous constitution. The 
ground can become littered with or- 
ange and black wings that mantids 



A mole monarch is nectaring out of the 
wind on low growing horsemint, 
Monarda punctata. 



leave behind after dining on monarch 
heads and abdomens. Green gamer 
dragonflies catch monarchs in mid- 
air; birds puncture their wings but 
quickly let go, repulsed by the bitter 
taste. Strong winds can pin feather- 
weight fliers to barbed wire fences or 
blow them out to sea because the pro- 
tective dunes are fragmented or 
washed away. Countless tattered and 
punctured butterflies valiantly en- 
deavor to complete their mission. 

Denise's botanical knowledge 
combined with the information com- 
piled from her research about 
monarch behavior, numbers, nectar 
sources, and needs on the refuge en- 
able her to aid biologists in develop- 




12 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Large bur-marigold, Bidens laevis, are 
important nectar sources for migrating 
monarchs. 



ing comprehensive management 
strategies for monarchs, including: 
safe spraying of invasive phragmites, 
preservation of beautiful wet mead- 
ows of nectar-rich bur-marigold 
flowers, and increased stands of sea- 
side goldenrod. 

From Chincoteague, monarchs 
continue southward, down the Del- 
marva Peninsula to cross the mouth 
of the Chesapeake Bay often by flying 
directly over the Bay Bridge-Tunnel 
for a 17-mile jaunt to Virginia Beach. 
At the Delmarva's tip, monarchs are 
again monitored and more are 
tagged in another Brower-led re- 
search project, the Monarch Migra- 
tion Project of the Coastal Virginia 
Wildlife Observatory (CVWO). It is 
coordinated by Larry Brindza at the 
Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR, Fish- 
erman Island NWR, and Kiptopeke 
State Park. 

The southern tip of the Delmarva 
Peninsula, a beautiful area that "har- 
bors tens of millions of migratory 
landbirds" each year, Larry explains, 
"concentrates the migrating birds 
and monarchs ...and is a major 
monarch roosting site, especially in 
October when hundreds and some- 
times thousands of monarchs spend 
the night roosting in trees." As at 
CNWR, 1999 was special: "Over 
100,000 monarchs roosted on Fisher- 
man Island NWR on the night of Oc- 
tober 7." 

Larry's strong biology back- 
ground as an FDA scientific reviewer 
provides him with critical abilities 
and enthusiasm, enabling him to 

OCTOBER 2008 



work at unraveling monarch migra- 
tion mysteries. With a full-time avi- 
tumn field research assistant at 
CVWO, three daily point count cen- 
suses, a roost census, tagging, and 
presentations to park visitors are con- 
ducted for seven weeks each fall. 
Weight and measures of forewing 
length are also collected. Six years of 
monarch weight and measures from 
the Virginia Eastern Shore sites and 
Occoqvian Bay NWR have led to im- 
portant findings that reveal signifi- 
cant differences in the migration suc- 
cess of monarchs to Mexico and will 




Common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, 
is the most prevalent of the milkweed 
family in Virginia and the host plant 
for 90% of the monarch butterflies 
that overwinter in Mexico. 



be published in a major entomology 
journal this year. 

After the Delmarva, there are no 
other official monitoring sites along 
the East Coast. Virginia's monarch 
monitoring projects at CNWR and 
CVWO have been and continue to be 
crucial in the ongoing study of the 
eastern coastal mc^narch migration. 

Monarchs reach their Mexican 
destinations during November. Fol- 
lowing a well deserved rest, they will 
mate and begin their return north- 
ward with the coming of spring. 
Sadly, Lincoln Brower describes this. 



"one of the most extraordinary annu- 
al migrations on our planet," as an 
"endangered phenomenon" and pre- 
dicts that if precious overwintering 
sites, summer habitat, and migratory 
routes are not protected and pre- 
served the migration will be doomed 
within 20 years. 

what You Can Do 

Across the United States, Canada 
and Mexico many government agen- 
cies, organizations and individuals 
are working together to craft a long- 
range plan to conserve the monarchs' 
magnificient migration: the "North 
American Monarch Conservation 
Plan" (NAMCP). Each of us can con- 
tribute to this effort by advocating for 
butterfly gardens in our backyards 
and communities that include both 
milkweeds and various species of 
nectar plants (see the "Waystation 
Project" at monarchwatch.org). 
Denise Gibbs and Lincoln Brower 
feel migrating monarchs most appre- 
ciate fall blooming goldenrods (Sol- 
idn^o), joe-pye weed (Eupatorium), 
ironweed (Vcnioun), asters (Si/ni- 
pliiotricIiiDn), bur-marigolds (Bidens 
Incvis), and mexican sunflowers 
(Titluviia) for refueling. 

Create, conserve, and protect 
monarch habitats! D 

Marie and Milan Majarov (xviviv.ma- 
jarov.com) of Windiester are clinical psy- 
chologists, nature enthusiasts, and mem- 
bers of the Virginia Outdoor Writers Asso- 
ciation. Tliey maintain a tlni-oijig monarch 
waystatio)! at their iiome. 

Tor More Information: 

Journey North: 
www.learner.org/jnorth 

Monarchs over Chincoteague NWTi: 
mysite.verizon.net/robgibbs301 / 
monarch.htm 

Monarch Butterfly Conservation in 

North America: 

www.fs.fed.us / monarchbutterfly 

Monarch Watch: 
www.monarchwatch.org 

Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary 
Foundation: www.mbsf.org 



vj^iHi vJMA/Ht 



by Keith Johnson 



While I love all of the time I 
spend with my daughter, it is 
the time we spend together 
outdoors that I cherish the most. Her 
name is Hope and that is a story in it- 
self. She is 14 years old with varied 
interests — ^in softball, shopping and 
other girly stuff. She also looks for- 
ward to our hunts, where we sit to- 
gether in a tree stand or buddy blind. 
She has acttially taken four deer prior 
to this season. Hope has also been a 
great advocate and supporter of the 
Hunters for the Hungry program. 

This particular hunting event 
began one morning at 6:30 with a re- 
minder about the importance of scent 
management. The reminder was 
about Hope's promise not to wear 
perfume or strong deodorant, in an 
effort to reduce our scent chal- 
lenges. This was going to be diffi- 
cult for Hope, because our hunt 
was scheduled for after school 
that same day. We laughed when 
her mom suggested I'd be send- 
ing her poor stinky daughter off 
to school, then asking her to go 
out in the woods later in the af ter- 




we had seen several deer during pre- 
vious evening hunts. Her enthusiasm 
was at its peak because she had 
passed on at least two shooting op- 
portunities a few days prior. As I 
picked her up from school that after- 
noon, it was obvious that she was ab- 
solutely ready to go. It was Friday, 
November 16th, and we were both 
glad to go one last evening using the 
muzzleloader. Hope had not desired 
to hunt with a muzzleloader prior to 
this season. The drive would take us 
about 45 minutes, allowing time for a 
snack and some homework comple- 
tion. 

As we arrived, Hope discreetly 
changed from school attire to hunting 
garb and camouflage and we both 
applied a scent eliminator. I am sure 
she still had on earrings, which do not 
seem to distract deer. Our walk to the 
stand only takes about ten 
minutes. The stand is 
a small, elevated box 
blind that actually 
used to be her slid- 
ing board platform 
when she was much 
younger. It now serves its 
' second life as a sanctuary 
for us. It is located in a 
small cutover elevat- 
ed above and 
overlooking a 
large wheat 
field. We pre- 
dicted the wheat in 
the low grounds would be 



succulent to the deer, due to a recent 
drought. It was our plan to have 
plenty of deer activity that hopefully 
would entice mature bucks to the 



area. 



At our approach, we saw what 
appeared to be a keeper out in front 
of the stand at about 120 yards but 
moving away. Hope did not take the 
shot. As the nice buck reappeared a 
few minutes later, she looked 
through her scope and realized that it 
was a six-pointer. Our club currently 
participates in the Quality Deer Man- 
agement program, which advocates 
taking only mature bucks and proper 
herd management by harvesting an 
adequate number of mature does. 
Hope is as disciplined as any of our 
tenured hunters. She may even be 
more disciplined than her dad. 

During the course of the next 
hour, we saw several deer, including 
a few small bucks and small does or 
buck fawns. Hope realized that the 
day was actually the anniversary of 
her taking her first eight-pointer, 
which was a nice but young trophy 
for her. We took turns looking 
through new binoculars, which she 
had just received as an early Christ- 
mas present from a great couple who 
support youth hunting to its fullest. 
They had warned her that her dad 
just might try to acquire that equip- 
ment. 

Then it happened. We both no- 
ticed that a mature, heavy antlered 
buck was about to come into view 



Quality time 

outdoors enhances 

family bonds. 



i4 



from a thicket area. He appeared out 
in the wheat field at about 250 yards. I 
said to her that it was the one that we 
wanted and we had about 20 minutes 
to spare for him to make his way to us 
before daylight. It seemed like a long 
wait for him to come into range as he 
took his time looking at does on the 
other end of the field. He continued 
walking toward us. I would let her 
shoot if he got within 125 yards. The 
muzzleloader had performed to that 
distance just fine. We had discvissed 
the shot placement. I could feel the 
stand shaking; it was Hope. I whis- 
pered to her to just look away in an ef- 
fort to calm her nerves. It was tough 
to do. He stopped and got almost 
broadside at about 120 yards, so I 
gave her the "go ahead." 



the gtm I was holding, which was an 
older Knight Wolverine muzzle- 
loader. It too did not go off, just a loud 
click, and the deer ran again to about 
95 yards straight away and jumped a 
hedgerow. I was convinced at that 
time that the deer would surely get 
away and all of our preparation 
would be for nothing. I was thinking 
that she would never hunt with a 
muzzleloader again. 

I c^uietly told her that I had never 
had a misfire. I whispered that the 
safety prevented the second gun 
from going off. Then I quietly re- 
cocked it and took the safety off. The 
deer was now walking broadside in a 
distant opening but behind several 
trees in the hedge row obstructing 
her shot. He was out to about 110 




KeiLh Johnson with daughter Hope. Her smile says it all! 



She carefully aimed and pulled 
the trigger. The gun did not go off, 
just the percussion cap. After years of 
hunting, it was my first misfire expe- 
rience. The slightly startled deer actu- 
ally ran in a direchon that was quar- 
tering toward us and slightly closer 
but ended up behind some baish. He 
stopped. As I was about to let her give 
it another try, I decided to let her use 



yards. Hope would have two avail- 
able openings to shoot. The mature 
buck now seemed nervous and did 
not stop on the first opening. Howev- 
er, after a loud grunt call from me, he 
did stop just as he stepped into the 
second clearing. Hope took the shot 
just as he stopped. The shot was per- 
fectly executed. He ran about 40 
yards before he expired. 



It is a nice eight-pointer with a 
great mass and tall antler structure. 
We celebrated as if she had never 
taken a deer! It is a moment I will 
never forget, something I will cherish 
all of my life. The celebration includ- 
ed hugs and near tears of joy. Hope 
talked about her hunting giiide serv- 
ice, but was quick to remind me of the 
critical misfires. (It was later discov- 
ered that dad was to blame for those 
misfires, not the equipment.) This an- 
imal weighed 205 pounds before 
field dressing and had a 26-inch neck 
behind the ears. While we enjoy veni- 
son each year, it was extremely im- 
portant to Hope to donate her deer to 
Hunters for the Hungry, and she did 
so. 

Looking back over the day, sever- 
al thoughts come to mind. Americans 
are sometimes participants of a fast- 
paced lifestyle. We find ourselves 
going from event to event and hardly 
allowing time for adequate rest. This 
lifestyle sometimes cioes not create a 
harmonious learning environment 
for our kids. Busy schedules may not 
always foster a father-daughter rela- 
tionship that includes genuine, open 
communication. 

Quality time spent outdoors is a 
true and valuable tool that can en- 
hance any relationship. The quiet of 
the outdoors provides an oppor trini- 
ty for great times together anci an oc- 
casional, special harvest. These times 
and conditions are truly gifts from 
God. 

My daughter and I are blessed to 
share interests, and I am blessed that 
she truly loves to hunt. While Hope 
has heard of less than ethical hunting 
practices, she has no desire to partici- 
pate in such activity just to say she 
has killed a deer. She maintains quite 
a high standard for hunting, with 
well-defined ethics. It is my hope to 
continue promoting her desire to 
hunt with the highest standards 
while having fun. With dwindling 
numbers of youth hunters today, it is 
imperative that we share the wonder- 
ful experience of being outdoors — 
and continue a great tradition — by 
hunting together. EH 

Our gratitude to reader Keith Johnson, who 

contributed this essay. 



OCTOBER 2008 



15 




Using the Arts to 




Through their artistic 

talents, Atlee High 
School students bring 

awareness of the 

natural world around 

them to others. 

story and photos by Gail Brown 

When you learn to know 
nature, do you better 
know yourself? Does 
spending time outside change how 
you feel inside? Or do you just get hot 
and sweaty and miss that virtual 
world, so programmed, so pre- 
dictable? A bird's-eye view of Atlee 
High School's Cool Spring Pond 
helps to answer the questions. 



The fine arts department led the way in caring for the pond and wetlands. Here, 
Alice Simon creates a pleinair (French for "on-the-spot") demonstration with her 
painting. Above: Students learn first-hand about the pond, thanl<s in part to a DGIF 
grant that enabled fishing to be added to the P.E. curriculum. 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



ix 





■ ^:,:.^ i-A .' ;v i jJ 4,'.'. . '4 , ■^^■. AU,gl/HLflIi I 



P 



Virginia 
y J \ yNaturally 




Atlee art teacher Alice Simon be- 
lieves the connection does make a 
difference: that relationships formed 
with nature affect relationships 
forged elsewhere, and that knowing 
the natural world helps us find our 
place in our world. Just like she be- 
lieved a bear visited their pond on his 
way to, well, anywhere but where he 
found himself. Simon shared news 
about the paw print days before the 
rest of the bear showed up near a 
Hanover mall. Most attributed 
Simon's observations to her excite- 
ment about their pond project. Now 
they listen and they're excited, too. 

It wasn't until Simon's return 
from Monet's home in France that her 
vision for using the wetland and 
pond area as an "outdoor palette" be- 
came an inspiration that took root in 
the minds and hearts of the art de- 
partment, the student body, and the 
school community itself. Soon stu- 
dent volunteers were cleaning up lit- 
ter, creating paths, and experiencing 
what it's like to be part of something 
bigger. 

Although grants and business 
partners provided initial support for 
the project, funding was, and is, an 
issue. But like those other "ah ha" 




A fashion show of gowns created from reused matenab raised awareness of the 
items that go into our [andfiUs, needlessly. Top: Cubes created by art students 
helped raise funds for their stewardship efforts. 



moments, the kids and the fine arts 
department came up with an idea: 
they would "tliink outside the cube" 
and create an exhibit to meet tlie re- 
quirements of State Farm's Good 
Neiglibor grant. They would inter- 
view people and gather stories of 
human comiections: emoHonal con- 
nections, intergenerational connec- 
tions, and comiections with the natu- 
ral world. Based on shared stories, 
they would recreate "life's connec- 
tions" using a variety of media, shape 
their creations into cubes, and hang 
the cubes from Atlee's hallway ceil- 
ings. Performing arts students would 
contribute to the exhibit by deliver- 
ing the message in a different way 
Proceeds from the event would go to 
support the stewardship efforts at the 
pond. 

Today, four years later, the fine 
arts department and the students 
continue their work to influence the 
connection between people and na- 
ture. This past year, with a play on 
words vising the school colors, stu- 
dents reused discarded materials to 
create an exhibit called "Black and 
Blue Equal Green." Through graphic 
design, sculpture, painting, photo- 
journalism and music, the students 
used their artistic talents to promote 
an awareness of, not only how much 
we throw away, but also, how all that 
trash affects the enviromnent. 

Have all these experiences 
changed the kids? According to 
Simon, "They feel empowered be- 
cause of their environmental efforts; 
they know how to make positive 
changes when issues about the Earth 
are so important. They have experi- 
ence and understand how all their 
voices together form a group effort 
and that there are many like-minded 
people who will work together to 
preserve beautiful spaces." M 

Gail Brown is a retired principal for 
Chesterfield County Public Schools. She is 
a lifekvi;^ learner and educator, ami her 
teaching and ad))iinistrative experiences in 
grades K-12 have taught her that project- 
based environmental programs teach sci- 
ence standards, promote core values, and 
provide excitiiig educational experiences 
for the entire connnunity. 



OCTOBER 2008 



17 




The state's all-time 

heaviest largemouth 

bass is a monster. 

story and photos 
by Marc N. McGlade 

While the brook trout is Vir- 
ginia's official state fish, 
the most sought-after 
species — bar none — is the large- 
mouth bass. Nothing gets anglers as 
excited as hoodwinking a lunker 
largemouth that tail-walks when 
hooked on the surface after devour- 
ing its latest victim — real or fake. 
With monikers such as black bass. 



bucket mouth, green trout and largie, 
the largemouth bass remains the 
prized possession for freshwater an- 
glers, much in the same way the 
white-tailed deer is for hunters across 
the state. 

The quest for the next world- 
record largemouth bass (Micwptcnis 
saluioidcs) has been ongoing since 
1932, when George Perry landed a 
22-pound, 4-ounce monster from 
Montgomery Lake in Georgia. A few 
anglers have since come close. 

In Virginia, a trophy largemouth 
bass turns heads and garners atten- 
tion from those who get to see a lunk- 
er. In southern states, any large- 
mouth weighing 8 pounds or more is 
a trophy. Virginia is one such state. 



Largemouth bass weighing 8 pounds 
or measuring 22 inches in length 
qualify for a trophy fish certificate 
from the Virginia Department of 
Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF). 
In states such as California, Texas and 
Florida, 8-pound bass are more com- 
mon than here in the Old Dominion. 
However, Virginia's current state- 
record largemouth is quite re- 
spectable, both in the South and na- 
tionally. 

A 16-pound, 4-ounce beauty is 
the high-water mark in our state. 
That historic fish hails from Lake 
Conner, and the record has remained 
intact since 1985. Lake Conner is a 
scenic lake nestled in the northern 
portion of Halifax County, within 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Construction of Lake Conner 
took place in 1954. It is a shallow lake, 
with mean deptli of only 11 feet. 

Vic DiCenzo, a fisheries biologist 
with DGIF, believes there are a few 
reasons why Lake Cornier produced 
the state-record largemouth bass. 

"Lake Conner was drained and 
refilled in the 1970s, so it essentially 
experienced a 'new lake boom' 
again," DiCenzo says. "This refers to 
the combination of higher nutrients 
from re-floodirig and also the lack of 
competition from an established 
population. Another factor was that 
the state stocked some Florida-strain 
largemouth bass. Lastly, given Lake 
Conner's location, it does not receive 
the fishing pressure many of the larg- 
er reservoirs do." 

What's the Catch? 

Of course, there are other species 
for anglers to pursue besides large- 
mouth bass. 

"There is a pretty good crappie 
population in the lake," DiCenzo 
adds. "Other species include sun- 
fish — such as bluegill and redear — 
vellow perch, chain pickerel, bull- 
heads and chamiel catfish." 



Virginia's rural southside region. The 
Department owns and manages the 
lake. 

Lake Conner History 

Fishing partner Charles Wallace, 
of Crewe, and I discussed the lake 
and its record fish. After researching 
and reading much information about 
Lake Conner, a trip was scheduled. 

Even with a hand-held GPS unit 
and a map, I soon came to believe that 
we needed Lewis and Clark to help 
us find Lake Conner. No wonder a 
state record finned in the fertile wa- 
ters. When we arrived, there was 
only one other boat on the entire 110- 
acre lake. It was as peaceful a fishing 
excursion as I can remember. 



Virginia's btutt-iecoid largemouth hails from scenic Lake Conner, a Department-owned 
lake in Halifax County. 



OCTOBER 2008 



More About 

Lake Conner 

■f For fisheries information and regula- 
tions regarding Lake Conner, contact the 
Department's district office in Farmville 
by phone at (434) 392-9645. For even 
more information, visit online at 
www.HuntFishVA.com. 

•♦• Lake Conner has a single-lane, concrete 
boat ramp for private boats and a large, 
gravel parking lot. There are opportuni- 
ties for anglers without a boat to fish 
the shorehne adjacent to the boat ramp, 
as well as the dam. Several benches are 
available for shoreline anglers. Lake 
Conner is open all year, 24 hours a day. 

♦ Lake Conner is a trolling motor-only lake 
and the use of gasoline engines is strict- 
ly prohibited. 

-♦■ Lake Conner is located approximately 20 
miles north of South Boston. From U.S. 
360, take Route 746. Turn left on Route 
603, and then turn right on Route 619. 
Take a right on Route 623, and then turn 
right on Route 624 (Lake Conner Road) 
to the parking lot. 

4- Regulations: 

largemouth bass-a 16- to 22-inch 

protected slot (no fish between 16 and 

22 inches may be kept; only one bass 

longer than 22 inches may be retained) 

limit, 5 per day; 

sunfish-no size limit, 50 per day; 

crappie-no size limit, 25 per day; 

channel catfish-no size hmit, 

20 per day; 

chain pickerel-no size limit, 

8 per day; 

bullhead catfish-no size limit, no 

creel limit. 

Outboard motor use, swimming, open- 
air fires, trotlines, littering, sailboats, 
alcohol, fishing tournaments in- 
volving prizes, camping, and 
firearms are all prohibited at 
Lake Conner. 




The boat ramp can accommodate private boat owners, but gasoline engines are 
prohibited. 




When targeting iunker largemouths, 
look to sizable lures to trick unsus- 
pecting bass. 

Right: Bottom-bouncing lures such as 
creature baits catch their share of fat 
largemouth bass. 



Lake Conner 



Halifax County 
Virsinia 





The Department stocks channel 
catfish every other year. 

Many anglers across the state ask 
biologists whether Lake Conner 
could produce yet another state 
record. The small lake has yielded 
several largemouths in the past that 
appeared to never miss a meal. 

According to DiCenzo, "Lake 
Conner still has the potential to pro- 



20 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ wwwHuntFishVA.com 




jJ^S^ 


L/ '"' ■ ^ MM 




£^T^ 




.^^ ' '- 


ii^lk^. ^^^Hsibh 


r^iy 



Fisheries biologists indicate Lake Conner has a solid crappie population 
(left), in addition to jumbo-sized largemouth bass, above. 



duce another state-record large- 
mouth bass. We have seen fish up to 
13.5 pounds, so there is a slight 
chance a state record is there right 
now. However, it is unlikely that the 
lake could produce any records for 
the other species in the system." 

With a state record comes atten- 
tion. Cornier 's main draw appeals to 
bass-casters. DiCenzo explains that 



OCTOBER 2008 



bass fishing accounts for approxi- 
mately two-thirds of the interest and 
fishing pressure at the lake. Besides 
bass addicts, anglers come here to 
fish for crappie and sunfish. 

The Record Fish 

Richard Tate is the angler who 
landed the current state record. He 
caught the giant largemouth on a 
spinnerbait on April 16, 1985. 

"I read a newspaper report that 
stated the Tate bass may have 
weighed 17 pounds initially," DiCen- 
zo says. "Biologists think it lost some 
weight before a certified weight 
could be recorded." 

A largemouth bass that big is 
truly a behemoth. Anglers caught a 
few specimens in the 16-pound range 



from Farmville's Briery Creek Lake, 
but none was able to usurp Tate's 
beast as Virginia's biggest large- 
mouth. 

Tate's bruiser measured 26.3 
inches in length and had a girth of 
23.25 inches. That, in simple terms, is 
a chub. 

While it remains to be seen 
whether Lake Conner can repeat his- 
tory with a new record, a few things 
are certain: Beautiful scenery sur- 
rounds this remote lake, and willing 
fish species abound. Lake Conner of- 
fers visitors a quiet escape for anglers 
looking to relax and enjoy Virginia's 
magical outdoors. U 

Marc N. McGlade is a writer mid photogra- 
plwr from Midlothian. As an avid bass afigler 
and oiitdoorsman, Marc is keenly aware of 
Virginia 's state-record fish. 



21 




Avoiding Bowhun 





Learningfrom 
someone else's 

mistakes 

can make your 

bowhunting season 

more enjoyable. 



byBmcelngnmi 

Writing a story about 
bowhunting blunders 
and bloopers makes me 
recall some of my worst-ever mis- 
takes! A pre-mt October morning in 
1997 comes to mind, when I missed 
three Botetourt deer — including a 
fine 8-pointer — by over a foot each 
time, every arrow soaring over the 
backs of the animals because the 
peep site had drifted. 




Other memories include the time 
on opening day of the 2006 season, 
when as I drew on a decent Botetourt 
buck, the buckle of my left rubber 
boot scraped against the support of 
the tree stand seat and sent the buck 
bounding away; and the time just 
this past season when I missed the 
same doe on three occasions — each 
time by over a foot and a half because 
my sight pin had slipped. 

These snafus are the kind that 
happen only rarely, in the course of 



22 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



every decade or so. But then there are 
the common miscues that occur al- 
most every autumn. For example, in 
Craig County on the second Saturday 
of the 2007 early bow season, I mis- 
calculated the "sw^eet spot" in a fun- 
nel when I positioned the stand and 
then, while afield, watched hopeless- 
ly as two does walked by just out of 
range. On that same Saturday, 
evening found me aloft in the Jeffer- 
son National Forest when a doe with 
two fawns walked by my portable. 
As I drew back, the doe espied my 
movement, and she and her young 
went springing away, seemingly 
snorting at every step and no doubt 
alarming every other whitetail on the 
mountain. 

Here, then, are some steps to 
avoid, or at least minimize, bowhunt- 
ing blunders. 

Develop a Checklist 

of Possible 

equipment Malfunctions 

One of the most prudent steps 
you can take is to visit an archery 
shop professional and have that indi- 




vidual go over your bow with you. 
And by pro, I dc^ not mean an atten- 
dant at some superstore who divides 
his time between the jewelry, cosmet- 
ics and sporting equipment depart- 
ments. My pro is jody Monaghan, 
who operates a shop from his 
Buchanan home. 

Before last season I purchased a 
Matthews Switchback from Jody. 
After he set up the bow, Monaghan 
reviewed the parts that could possi- 
bly fail; among them, peep sites. 




Jody Monaghan of Buchanai: .^ . ..^ over the author's bow. Going to an archery 
shop pro before the season can help avoid blunders later. 



sights and rests, releases, bow strings, 
cables and blades. The latter can lose 
their sharpness after a single shot or 
have their heads become loose. An- 
other potential problem, Jody says, 
involves arrow vanes that can be- 
come nicked and cause an arrow to 
fly inaccurately. 

Monaghan recommends that 
you check these parts before every 
hunt. I visit an archery pro before the 
start of every season and have this 
person examine in detail my bow. 

Finding a Suueet Spot 
in Q Funnel 

There's an old saying that "close 
only counts in horseshoes and hand 
grenades," and that proverb definite- 
ly holds true for bowhunting. If you 
don't find the specific spot on the par- 



ticular parcel where deer are likely to 
pass by within your bow range, you 
will only come close to arrowing a 
whitetail and commit yet another 
bowhunting bluiider. 

For instance, on one of my fa- 
vorite Botetourt County farms to 
bowhunt, the landowner performed 
a selective cut about a tiecade ago, 
leaving only mature oak, hickory and 
ash trees in a funnel that leads from a 
pine thicket bedding area to a field. 
Because of the thinning, the remain- 
ing oaks have expanded their crowns 
and produce copious amounts of 
mast every autumn. 

My first stand in the funnel was 
near the end of it, and on one October 
evening I watched helplessly as two 
nice bucks fed nearby, just out of 
range to my left. I then moved the 
portable to a red oak tree in the mici- 



OCTOBER 2008 



23 




die of the funnel, and once again deer 
came by just out of range, this time to 
my right. Finally, I positioned the 
hang-on in an ash at the very spot the 
funnel begins. This past October I 
killed a deer from that ash — a white- 
tail that strolled by at a distance of 
just 12 yards. 

This is not to suggest that a par- 
ticular area of a funnel is better than 
any other; every funnel is constituted 
differently of course. But almost 
every funnel possesses a tree where 
the deer are more likely to come by 
much of the time — perhaps an area 
where the funnel narrows or has a 
pinch point. If you invest the time to 

Using cover scents can help neutralize a 
§ whitetaii's keen sense of smell. 



locate that sweet spot, chances are 
you will avoid the bowhunting blun- 
der of "close not being close 
enough." 

Determining 
Effective Range 

Closely related to locating the 
sweet spot is determining effective 
range. In 1990, the first year I went 
afield with stick and string, I labored 
under the misunderstanding that I 
could take whitetails that were 30 
yards away. After all, the outdoor 
magazines were full of reports of ex- 
pert hunters doing so. 

After sending arrows above, 
below and to both sides of a number 
of deer that year, I eventually learned 



Crossbouu Hunters Aren't 
Immune to Snafus 

I asked Jay Honse, a veteran 
sportsman from Fincastle, about the 
kind of mistakes he has made while 
afield with a crossbow. Honse, who has 
chronic back pain, is among those Vir- 
ginians who switched from a com- 
pound to a crossbow when the state al- 
lowed the latter to be used during the 
bow season. 

"I always hunt from a Ladder stand, 
and the first thing I realized was that I 
had to re-cut my shooting lanes," he 
said. "People generally stand when 
hunting with a compound, but with a 
crossbow I have more accuracy if I sit 
and rest it on an armrest. Just that lit- 
tle bit of difference in height caused 
me to have an entirely different field of 
view. 

"A second mistake I made was in 
estimating distance. While hunting 
with a compound, I feel it is very easy 
to guess whether a deer is 10 or 20 or 
30 yards away and use my sight pins 
accordingly. Many people can accurate- 
ly shoot a crossbow up to distances of 
40 to 50 yards, but many people, my- 
self among them, can't accurately esti- 
mate distances at that range. The result 
is that they will often shoot too low." 

Honse's solution to the problem 
was to purchase a range finder. 




Fincastle's Jay Honse, shown here, believes that one of the most common mistakes 
that croksbow users commit is misjudging distance. 



24 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ vvww.HuntFishVA.com 



the following about my bowhunting 
skills: 

->- That there may be plenty of 
archers who can shoot accvirately 
at 30 yards or greater, but I'm not 
ever going to be one of them; 
^ That practice is crucial to 
bowhunting success. That's why 
I begin practicing the first week 
of July every year, shooting every 
other day; 
^- That lots of ill-fated things can 
happen to an arrow as it whizzes 
toward a deer, and the farther 
away that whitetail is, the more 
likely those things are to occur; 
->► That I can shoot accurately out to 
20 yards and that is my effective 
range; 
->- That almost all the deer I have 
killed with a compound have 
been at distances less than 15 
yards; and 
^^ That if I wait, a deer will almost 
always come closer to my stand 
and offer a better shot. 
To again use the example of the 
deer that I tagged in the Botetourt 
funnel, I first glimpsed that whitetail 
when it was 20 yards away and feed- 
ing very slowly and once even bed- 
ding for about 15 minutes. I could 
have lost an arrow when the deer first 
appeared, but I waited until it was 12 
yards distant and standing still 
broadside. The arrow sliced through 
the deer's boiler-room, and the ani- 
mal collapsed within a few yards and 
within sight. 

Respect q UUhitetail's 

Sense of 

Smell and Sight 

The first four years I bowhunted, 
I failed to kill a deer, primarily be- 
cause I neglected to respect a wMte- 
tail's sense of smell. The result was 
that many times I heard animals 
snorting and stamping after they 
winded me, and I am sure that nu- 
merous deer scented me and depart- 
ed without my even knowing they 
had been nearby. 

Today, I rarely commit the blun- 
der of being scented. I wear carbon- 



OCTOBER 2008 




Being aware of the various parts of a bow that can go wrong and having replacements for 
them is a sound precaution. 

based hunting 
clothes, such as 
those made by 
Scent-Lok and 
Scent Blocker, 
and also employ 
various cover 
scents — especial- 
ly to items such as 
hats, gloves and the 
bow itself. 

I also have come 
to profoundly respect a 
whitetail's sense of sight, 
especially after having many 
deer become alarmed after 
they spotted me drawing, 
avoid this blooper, wait until 
deer's head moves behi 
some obstaiction or is engaged 
in feeding. 

I have no hope of ever 
having an error-free 
bowhunting season, but 
with a little effort, I can min- 
imize my blunders and 
bloopers. U 



Bruce Ingram is the niithor of The 
James River Guide, The Ncic River 
Guide, and Tlic SIienandoah/Rap- 
pahannock Rivers Guide. To ob- 
tain a copy, contact Ingram at 
P.O. Box 429, Fincastle, VA 
24090 or he_ingram@juno.com. 





IIMl Wli ¥ 1 i 14 



%ll 



Killdeer 



Story and illustrations 
by Spike Knuth 

^B^ ■ lovers belong to a large tax- 
^F^T onomic group referred to 
^ as shorebirds, along with 

sandpipers and many others. Unlike 
sandpipers, which generally have 
narrow bills of varying lengths for 
probing in mud, plovers have short 
pigeon-like bills that are well suited 
for feeding in a variety of habitats 
from beaches to grass pastures. 
Plovers are mostly visual feeders, al- 
though the ultrasensitive soles of 
their feet enable them to detect move- 
ments of prey under the surface. 
When foraging they typically 
run toward food items, 
pluck them from the 
ground, then stop sud- 
denly and stand upright 
to search for more to eat 



Their bodies are stockier 
than most other shorebirds 
d they have long, point- 
ed wings and short, round- 
ed tails. Plovers are strong 
runners and powerful 
fliers. 

There are nine 

species of plovers that 

^fc -V, occur regularly in North 

'^^^ America, of which three 

migrate through Virginia 

Ik and three breed here. There 

are two genera: the charadrius, 

which have prominent black 

bands on their chests, and the pliivi- 

alis, which have dark bellies during 

breeding. 

Plovers are generally found in 
open habitats such as beaches, tidal 
flats, sand spits, tundra, pastures or 
agricultural fields. Normally they 
don't gather in large, tightly packed 
flocks, like sandpipers do, except 
maybe during migration. They are 
usually found singly or in small, scat- 
tered groups. 

Many plovers breed in 
the Arctic and are cir- 
cumpolar, nesting 
in Europe and 



^^^ 4* • • / 



Asia and wintering in Europe, Asia, 
Africa and the Middle East. The nests 
of plovers are all similar in that they 
consist of shallow depressions in 
sand, gravel, grass, leaf litter, or tim- 
dra. Northern breeders have but one 
brood because of the shortness of 
their season, and the young are pre- 
cocial, having the ability to run about 
and feed on their own as soon as their 
natal down is dry. When the nest is 
threatened, plovers exhibit the bro- 
ken wing act to draw intruders or 
predators from the nest. 

Plovers have two distinct 
plumages for the spring and summer 
breeding periods and later for fall 
and winter. Also, they are strongly 
migratory, with some covering great 
distances of many thousands of miles 
between their breeding wintering 
grounds. 

All plovers are threatened, as 
coastal lands and wetlands are devel- 
oped and as human populations and 
activities continue to encroach upon 
their habitat. 

Killdeer 

(Charadrius vocifcrus) 

Measuring about 9 
J/4 to 10 Vi inches, the killdeer 
is the most common of our plovers 
and is easily identified by two dis- 
tinct black bands across its lower 



26 




Wilson's Plover 



h 



plovers 



neck and upper breast, and its call of 
"kill-dee" or "dee-dee." It also shows 
an orange-brown rump and upper 
tail, and a white stripe the length of its 
wing in flight. They are birds of the 
pastures, plowed or harvested crop- 
lands, grassy and open fields, and 
mud flats. 

They frequently nest at construc- 
tion sites, in gravel parking lots or 
even atop flat roofed buildings, 
where their white eggs marked with 
brown, black and lavehder are per- 
fectly camouflaged. 

Killdeer winter over most 
of the southern half of the 
United States, the 
Mexican coasts, and 





Piping Plover 



northern South America. In Virginia, 
these hardy plovers may be seen 
year-round in low elevations. 

Wilson's Plover 

(Charadriiis wilsoiiin) 

The Wilson's plover resembles its 
more familiar cousin, the killdeer. 
However, it is smaller, measuring 



about 6 '/2 to 8 inches, has a single 
black breast banci, and has a larger, 
thicker black bill. Wilson's plovers 
occur on sand and shell beaches, 
sand flats and spits, and on exposed 
tidal mud flats. 

Wilson's plovers are a state en- 
dangered species in Virginia. The 
Commonwealth represents the 



northern extreme of the bird's breed- 
ing range, where its nesting distribu- 
tion is confined to the barrier islands 
located along the seaward margin of 
the Eastern Shore. The nest consists of 
a scrape in the sand amid scattered 
pebbles,, shells and driftwood, or 
patches of beach grass. It often nests 
in close proximity to tern and skim- 



OCTOBER 2008 



27 



mer colonies as well as American 
oystercatchers and pipii'ig plovers. In 
Virginia, the breeding population has 
remained relatively stable in recent 
years, with an average of 28 pairs 
since 2002. 

Wilson's plovers feed primarily 
on fiddler crabs. Their calls are flute- 
like whistles sounding like "wheet," 
or "queet-queet-quit-quit." 

Wilson's plovers gather in loose 
flocks at the end of July and winter 
along the southern reaches of the 
Gulf coast anci as far south as 
Guatemala. 

Semi pa I mated Plover 

(Charadrius semipalmatus) 

The semipalmated plover is the 
most numerous and most common 
plover along the Atlantic coast. It's a 
small plover, measuring up to 7 !/4 
inches, and is named for the partial 
webbing on its outer and middle 
toes. It has a single black band on its 
breast. Its bill is orange with a black 
tip; its legs and feet are yellow-or- 
ange; and its call is a double whistled 
"cher-wee," given in flight. 

Semipalmated plovers are a cir- 
cumpolar species that breed from 
Arctic Ocean shores to Nova Scotia in 
the eastern part of the continent. 
They build the typical depression-in 
the-ground nest like the other 
plovers. They favor beaches, sand 
and titial flats, and small shallow 
pools. Inland they are found on large 



lakes or wet, plowed fields. Marine 
and terrestrial insects and worms 
make up most of their diet, although 
they are known to forage on small 
crustaceans as well. 

The semipalmated plover is a mi- 
grant through Virginia. In the fall 
they begin showing up in mid- to late 
July and typically reach peak num- 
bers in mid- to late September. 
Spring migration occurs from 
March through June. 

Piping Plover 

(Charadrius melodus) 

Piping plovers are a 
federally listed species. 
The Atlantic breeding 
population, a portion of 
which breeds in Virginia, 
is listed as threatened, while the 
Great Lakes and northern Great 
Plains populations are listed as en- 
dangered and tl^ireatened, respective- 
ly. The piping plover favors open, 
sandy beaches and sand flats as well 
as lakeshores and dunes. It is a small 
bird, measuring about 7 inches, with 
upper parts the color of the sand and 
white underparts, and a black ring or 
band at the base of the neck, some- 
times broken in front. The legs and 
feet are yellow-orange and the small 
bill is orange with a black tip. 





Golden Plover 
(spring/summer plumage) 

The piping plover's call is de- 
scribed as a melodious, bell-like 
"peep'lo," with the first note being 
low and the second, higher. Around 
its nest it gives off a shrill "weech- 
weech." Along the Atlantic coast, 
they nest on sand, forming a shallow 
scrape with small pebbles or bits of 
shell lining the bottom of the depres- 
sion. In summer, piping plovers in- 
habit the broad, open stretches of 
sandy beaches, preferring sandy flats 
just above the high tide line or be- 
tween the dunes. They may also nest 
at dredge material sites. 

The greatest threats currently 
facing the Atlantic coast population 
include loss of habitat, human distur- 
bance, flooding and tidal inundation, 
and predation. As with Wilson's 
plovers, the present breeding distri- 
bution in Virginia is confined to the 
barrier islands. They are early fall mi- 
grants and winter mainly along the 
southeast Atlantic and Gulf coasts. 

From 1986 to 2003, an average of 
106 pairs nested in Virginia. In 2004 
the population began to increase, and 
by 2006 grew to 202 breeding pairs. 
This increase is due in large part to 
the protected status of the barrier is- 



IRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www HuntF(shVA.com 



^' 



lands, which offer plovers and other 
beach nesting birds relatively undis- 
turbed breeding habitat. In addition, 
ongoing predator management ef- 
forts undertaken by island owners 
have paid off. 

Black-bellied Plover 

(Phivialis squntarohi) 

The black-bellied plover is the 
largest of our plovers, averaging 11 Yz 
inches. It has black, brown and white 
upper parts, and its chin, throat, part 
of the side of its head, breast, and ab- 




Black-bellied Plover 
(spring/summer plumage) 

domen are blackish-brown during 
the breeding season. In flight it shows 
a white rump, white wing stripes, 
and a conspicuous black patch under 
its wing. Its call is a loud "pee-o- 
wee," or "pur-a-wee." 

It is a strong, fast flier and a wary 
and alert bird. When landing, it will 
stop suddenly and stand statue-still 
for a long time before moving about 
to feed. It frequently mixes with dun- 
lins, ruddy turnstones and red knots. 

Black-bellied plovers breed on 
the Arctic coasts and, like other 
plovers, they nest on the ground in 
the tundra often on a ridge or knoll 
that offers a long-distance view. 
Come fall they change into their win- 
ter plumage, which is grayish above 
with light brown markings and 
whitish below with faint markings. 
However, some birds on migration 



OCTOBER 2008 



may still show patches of black on 
their bellies into November. 

Black-bellied plovers occur on 
tidal flats, beaches, open salt marsh- 
es, flooded fields and grasslands, in 
coastal areas they feeci on mollusks, 
crustaceans and marine worms. In- 
land they feed on grasshoppers, 
grubs, beetle, locusts and earth- 
worms. 

Fall migrants start appearing in 
the northeastern United States in July 
en route to their wintering grounds, 
which extend from Massachusetts to 
Louisiana and south to Brazil and 
Pern. 

American Golden Plover 

(Phivitilis doiniiiicits) 

The American gold- 
en plover is an uncommon 
fall migrant in Virginia. This 
species embarks on some 
of the longest migra- 
tions in the world, 
which can extend 
from Arctic tundra 
breeding grounds to 
tropical wintering 
j^ s i tes . Thei r spring 

migration 
takes them up through 
the interior of the 
Unites States to 
their breeding 
grounds in the Arctic 
tundra and northern Cana- 
da and Alaska. 

They take a complete- 
ly different path on their 
fall migration, flying off- 
shore over the Atlantic 
from Nova Scotia to 
northeastern South Amer- 
ica, with some passing over 
Bermuda and the West In- 
dies. They are capable of land- 
ing on the water to rest and feed, 
helping them on their journey ulti- 
mately as far south as Argentina — 
flight of many thousands of miles. 



Golden Plover 
(winter plumage) 




They are basically black below 
with dusky upper parts flecked with 
white and gold. Thev measure about 
10 Yi inches. Calls are killdeer-like; a 
"quee-e-e-e-a," or a short "quee." 

Onlv occasionalh' would they be 
seen on the East Coast, sometimes be- 
cause they are driven inshore by 
storms. However, juveniles are 
known to migrate inland and along 
the Atlantic coast en route to Soutli 
America. When alighting, they hold 
their wings briefly over their backs, 
and they bob their heads frequently. 
At this time their plumage is brown- 
ish above witli white markings and 
white below. _ 

Spike Knuth is an avid naturalist and wildlife 
artist. For over 30 years his artwork and writing 
liavc appeared in Virginia Wildlife. Spike is 
also a member of the Virginia Outdoor Writers 
Association. 

Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! is a reg- 
ular feature that highlights Virginia's 
Wildlife Action Plan, which is designed 
to unite natural resources agencies, 
sportsmen and women, conservation- 
ists and citizens in a common vision 
for the conservation of the Common- 
wealth's wildlife and habitats in 
which they live. To learn more or 
to become involved with this 
new program visit: bewildvir- 
ginia.org. 



. .1^ 





Journal 



2008 Outdoor 
Calendar of Events 

Unless otherwise noted, for more infor- 
mation on workshops go to the "Upcom- 
ing Events" page on the Department's 
Web site at www.HuntFishVA.com. 

October 18: Youth Fall Turkey Hunt 
Day. For youth 15 years of age and 
younger. 

October 18: Fivuily Fishing Workshop, 
Bear Creek Lake State Park, Cumber- 
land. 

October 25: Youth Waterfowl Hunting 
Day. For youth 15 years of age and 
younger. 

October 25: Fall firearms turkey sea- 
son opens. 

November 15: Firearms deer season 
opens. D 




Q^^ 



by Beth Hester 



Fly Fishing Virginia: A No Nonsense 

Guide to Top Waters 

by Beau Beasley 

2007 

No Nonsense Fishing Guides 

ISBN-10: 1-892469-16-2 

Introduction by King Montgomery 

"Fly Fishing Virginia is filled with de- 
tailed information about the rivers, 
streams and shores across the Old Do- 
minio)!. The fiiaps ami local fly pattern 
suggestions alone are worth its price. " 

- Lefty Kreh 



As Virginia anglers, we are fortu- 
nate to have in our midst a dedicated 
cadre of sporting writers and photog- 
raphers, their vocations and avoca- 
tions constantly nourished by the 
bays, lakes, streams and creeks that 
ribbon the Commonwealth. Beau 
Beasley is one such writer. His Fly 
Fishing Virginia is a carefully re- 
searched, 'boots on the ground' fly 
fishing guide that covers over thirty- 
five of Virginia's top angling loca- 
tions. 

There is a wealth of information 
in this large-format, glossy volume. 
Five pages of full-color fly patterns 
highlight the most popular trout, 
bass and saltwater flies with which to 
ply the featured destinations. Many 
of these patterns are the spawn of 
some of Virginia's most talented fly 
artisans. 

Though not a "how-to" book, 
Beasley does include a brief 
overview section covering: rules and 
regulations, safety, rod and reel ba- 
sics, hiring a guide, and clubs and 
fishing organizations. 

The real meat of the volume is 
found in the sections covering Vir- 
ginia's waters. Three or more pages 
are devoted to each location. Every 
segment includes an easy-to-read 
map, a brief angling biography of the 
area, suggested flies and equipment, 
seasons and limits, local services, and 
accommodations. The format of 
map /text /sidebar makes for pleas- 
ant reading. What's more, the pages 
are packed to the gills with examples 
of colorful and inviting regional pho- 
tography. 

Fly Fishing Virginia: A No Non- 
sense Guide, is a perfect companion 
for the traveling angler; it's also valu- 
able for those wishing to explore the 
habits of their home waters. D 



NewWeb Site for 
Waterfowl Enthusiasts 

A new site, www.flyways.us, 
brings together the work of water- 
fowl managers and biologists from 
across North America. The site offers 
scientific data, harvest management 
information, and news/updates 
from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser- 
vice (FWS) and Canadian Wildlife 
Service. 

Short videos reporHng results of 
the annual Waterfowl Breeding Popula- 
tion and Habitat Survey conducted by 
field biologists are also featured. In 
addition, users can view the aerial 
photos used to conduct the survey 
and query interactive maps to find 
out where birds were banded and re- 
covered. Questions about duck, 
goose and swan hunting manage- 
ment in the U.S. can be submitted 
and will be answered by experts. 

The new Web site was developed 
by the FWS through a collaborative 
effort, with focus on the Atlantic, 
Mississippi, Central and Pacific fly- 
ways. D 




30 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Katih/ii, age 3 




imi 



!K#!I 





;?qi^ 



Its once again time to purchase a new Virginia 
Wildlife calendar For more than 20 years the 
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has 
been publishing one of the most visually stunning 
and informative wildlife calendars in the country. 

The 2009 edition of the Virginia Wildlife calen- 
dar highlights many of the most sought after game 
and fish species in the state. Virginia hunters, an- 
glers, and wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the rich 
colors and composition of the 1 2 monthly photo 
spreads- 

The calendar is full of useful tidbits for the out- 
doors lover — including wildlife behavior, pre- 
ferred fishing and hunting times, hunting 
seasons, state fish records, and much morel 
I ife history information is provided for each 
'.pecies featured 

Virginia Wildlife calendars make great 

holiday gifts and are still being offered at 

the bargain price of only $ 1 each 

Quantities are limited, so order yours 

— — -^ nowl Make your check payable to 

Treasurer of Virginia" and send to: Virginia 

Wildlife Calendar PO. Box ill 04, Richmond, Vr- 

ginia 23230-1 104. To pay by VISA or MasterCard, 

you can order the calendar online at, wwwHunt- 

FishVAcom on our secure site. Please allow 4 to 6 

weeks for delivery 



inia Wildlife 

" Contest Reminder 





The deadline for submitting photographs for the 2008 VirginiaWildlife 
Photography Contest is November 3, 2008. Winning photographs will appear in the 
special March 2009 issue oi VirginiaWildlife magazine. For more information, visit the 
Department's Web site at http:/Avww.dgif.virginia.gov/events/photo-contest.pdf. 



jouiithaii, age 10 



Congratulations to the first-place winner of 
each age category in the 2008 Kids 'n Fish- 
ing Photo Contest. All three winners received 
fishing-related prizes, thanks to Shake- 
speare and Green Top Sporting Goods who 
supported the competition. Take a moment 
and visit www.dgif.virginia.gov/kidsnfish- 
ing/ to see the other winning entries and 
stay up-to-date on next year's contest. 
Thanks to all who participated! 



Lifetime Licenses 

Open the door to a lifetime of enjoyment in the 

great outdoors of Virginia with a lifetime 

freshwater fishing, hunting or trout license! 

It's an investment that keeps on giving. 

For more information visit: 

httpy/w^w.HiintFishVA.coin/ 
licenses/lifetime/ 

orcalM- (866) 721-6911 



Attention Cooks 

Grab Your 
Measuring Spoons! 

The ever-popular recipe colnDin 

that rcDi 111 this magazine for 

iiiaiiy, luaiiy years will be 

re-iiitroduced with tl.ie 

January 2009 issue. 



OCTOBER 2008 



31 



Renovations at 

Coursey Springs 

investing in the Juture 




by Larry Mohn 
and Ron Southwick 

Trout fishing has long been a fa- 
vorite pastime of Virginia 
sportsmen. Of the more than 150,000 
anglers drawn to the sport, the major- 
ity target our stocked trout waters. 
Stocking catchable-sized trout into 
suitable mountain waters has been a 
focus of this agency since the late 
1930s and one that is currently sup- 
ported by five hatchery and rearing 
stations. These facilities are operated 
with funds generated by trout fishing 
licenses — an extra license required of 
anglers who are fishing designated, 
stocked trout waters. 

The largest of our trout-rearing 
facilities is Coursey Springs, located 
in Bath County. The facility was con- 
structed in the mid-1960s, utilizing 
one of Virginia's largest natural 
springs. The original hatchery had a 

32 



simple design that employed a series 
of earthen raceways with gravity-fed 
water. Due to the large volume of 
water supplied by the spring, this 
particular rearing station has become 
Virginia's largest, producing about 
30% of the agency's total trout. 

A new facility under construc- 
tion will look completely different 
from the way Coursey Springs ap- 
pears today. Instead of a series of long 
raceways, the new design features 
large, circular tanks, which will be 
supplied with oxygen-enriched 
water capable of producing approxi- 
mately 350,000 pounds of trout annu- 
ally. In addition, the spring pond will 
benefit from a cover. This will block 
light penetration and prevent the 
growth of green plants, which con- 
sume oxygen at night. The cover will 
also serve to prevent predatory and 
migratory birds from using the 
spring pond as a roosting or resting 
place. 



In addition to hatchery improve- 
ments, the fisheries division will ren- 
ovate Pheasanty Run (also known as 
Spring Run) below the hatchery. Im- 
provements will include stabilization 
of stream banks, added fish cover, 
and enhanced water flows. When 
completed, Pheasanty Run will pro- 
vide a premium trout fishery for an- 
glers to enjoy 

With Coursey Springs out of op- 
eration, there will be fewer trout 
available for stocking during the next 
two years. To ensure that all state 
trout waters continue to be stocked 
adequately, the fisheries division will 
reduce the number of stockings for 
each waterway. Waters that normally 
receive 8 stockings per year ("A" wa- 
ters) will get 6 stockings during the 
renovation period. "B" waters will go 
from five to four stockings, and "C" 
waters, urban lakes, and delayed har- 
vest streams will be stocked twice a 
year. Every effort will be made to 
eliminate those stockings during pe- 
riods of light use. 

A more detailed description of 
stocking changes can be found in tl"ie 
annual trout guide, wliich is includ- 
ed in the fishing regulations. Anglers 
will continue to see the same number 
of trout stocked per event as in the 
past, however. 

On the positive side, trout an- 
glers will enjoy several benefits from 
the reconstruction of Coursey 
Springs after the 2010 season. With a 
30% increase in producfion capacity, 
you will experience a combination of 
more and bigger trout. The increase 
in production at Coursey also will 
allow the Department's other four 
trout stations to focus more on fish 
growth rather than numbers, so trout 
anglers statewide should see bigger 
and better trout in their creels. 

The work at Coursey Springs is 
expected to be completed by Decem- 
ber, 2009. During construction, the 
hatchery and the stream below the fa- 
cility will be closed to public visita- 
tion. You are encouraged to enjoy 
any of the Deparhnent's other four 
trout hatcheries in Montebello, Paint 
Bank, Wytheville and Marion. Visit- 
ing hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
daily. 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



by Lynda Richardson 



Photograph Your Favorite Canine! 



My favorite canine model is my 
dog, "FLASH." Whether he is 
leaping for a Frisbee, diving into the 
river after a stick, chasing a soccer 
ball, or sleeping calmly, which is rare. 
Flash offers me all the action and 
drama of any wildlife subject. 

If you'd like a different and easily 
accessible challenge to build your 
photographic skills, I would recom- 
mend giving the family dog a shot. 
Here are some basic tips to get you 
started. 

1) First of all, I taught FLASH 
loads of commands like "SIT, STAY, 
LOOK UP, STAND, UP-UP, and 
COME"! ("COME doesn't work that 
well for some reason.) This way I 
have a bit of control over him. And as 
back-up, there is always the leash. 

2) Decide what kinds of photo- 
graphs you want to capture: action, 
posed portraits, or grab shots. Pick a 
shooting location with minimal dis- 
tractions. 

3) Make sure you aren't going 
to lose your dog in the background of 
the photograph. A black or dark col- 
ored dog will disappear in a dark 
background just as a white dog will 
disappear in a snow bank or against a 
white sky. Make sure your back- 
ground always complements and 
shows off your beautiful subject! 

4) Early morning and late after- 
noon light is the most beautiful light 
to shoot in but if you have a depend- 
able flash you can also shoot under 
harsher lighting condihons. A flash 
will not only fill in ugly shadows it 
will also add a highlight in the eyes. 

5) Don't try to photograph 
your dog on a really hot or really cold 
day. Always have water available for 
both of you. 

6) Bring an assistant! An extra 
set of hands can really make a differ- 
ence if you want a dog to stay in a cer- 
tain position or look directly at you. I 
have my assistant hold a favorite 
treat or toy right behind my head so I 
can get the dog to look right at me. If 
his eyes aren't directly on me I make a 




My very handsome boy dog and favorite model, 
FLASH, " poses with pumpkins, maldngfor a 
colorful Halloween photograph. Notice that he 
even wore his own mask! What a good boy! 
"^ Lynda Richardson 

squeaky noise and that usually does 
the trick. 

7) Get at eye level with your 
dog. Being on the same level offers a 
more personal portrait and is so 
much more appealing than looking 
down on your dog's head! 



8) PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PA- 
TIENCE! Never try to photograph a 
dog when you're in a hurr\'. This will 
be a disaster. Pick a time when you 
have no deadlines and are feeling re- 
laxed. Plan on working for no more 
than an hour. Don't push your dog 
too much. Dogs are very sensitive 
creatures; they know when you are 
upset with them and will become 
nervous, submissive, or unsure of 
what you want. The secret, as in 
working with wildlife subjects, is pa- 
tience, n 

You are invited to subniit one to five of 
your best photographs to "Image of the 
Month," Virginia Wildlife Magazine, P.O. 
Box 11104, 4010 West Broad Street, Rich- 
mond, VA 23230-1104. Send original 
slides, super high-quality prints, or liigh- 
res 360 dpi jpeg files on disk and include 
a self-addressed, stamped envelope or 
other shipping method for return. Also, 
please include any pertinent information 
regarding how and where you captured 
the image and what camera and settings 
you used, along with your phone num- 
ber We look forward to seeing and shar- 
ing your work with the readers of Vir- 
ginia Wildlifel 



m 



'M(ii!<MiMiMih 




Congratubtions to Dirck Harris, of Reston, for his wonderful photograph of a Halloween 
pennant dragonfly. Dirck captured this close-up using a Nikon D70 digital camera and an 
80-400mm Nikkor lens. Way to go Dirck! 



33 




by Tom Guess 



New Law Addresses Boating Safety 








5ince late June, I have been work- 
ing as the boating safety educa- 
tion coordinator for the Department. 
This job follows on the heels of a ca- 
reer with the United States Coast 
Guard, from which I recently retired. 
My last assignment in the USCG was 
as the officer in charge of Station Mil- 
ford Haven in Mathews County near 
Gwynn's Island. 

I've spent quite a lot of time 
learning about the boating safety ed- 
ucation law since my arrival here, 
and I want to use this first column to 
talk about aspects of the new law that 
are most important to you anti your 
boating activities. 

As a boater you are undoubtedly 
already dedicated to lifelong learn- 



ing, since each trip underway be- 
comes an edvicational adventure re- 
gardless of experience level. Whether 
you just started in boating or whether 
you are an "old salt" with thousands 
of hours on the water, you can't argue 
the fact that there is always some- 
thing to learn. 

You may know by now that the 
2007 Session of the Virginia General 
Assembly enacted legislation to re- 
quire boating safety education com- 
pliance. The Board of Game and In- 
land Fisheries has now adopted reg- 
ulations to implement boating 
safety education, and the first com- 
pliance date is July 1, 2009 for per- 
sonal watercraft (PWC) operators 
age 20 and younger. The phase-in 
schedule is important to understand, 
and as you can see, it will take about 8 
years to fully implement this new 
aw. 

The complete schedule for safety 
education compliance follows: 

• July 1, 2009: PWC operators 20 
years of age and younger 

• July 1, 2010: PWC operators 35 
years of age or younger 

• July 1, 2011: PWC operators 50 
years of age or younger and mo- 
torboat operators 20 years of age 
or younger 

• July 1, 2012: All personal water- 
craft operators, regardless of age, 
and motorboat operators 30 
years of age or yovmger 

• July 1,2013: Motorboat operators 
40 years of age or younger 

• July 1,2014: Motorboat operators 
45 years of age or younger 

• July 1, 2015: Motorboat operators 
50 years of age or younger 

• July 1, 2016: All motorboat opera- 
tors, regardless of age 
Another important point that I 



want to cover is how to come into 
compliance with the boating educa- 
tion requirement. There are a number 
of ways to do so. The first is to com- 
plete and pass a boating safety course 
approved by the National Associa- 
tion of State Boating Law Adminis- 
trators (NASBLA) and accepted by 
DGIF. Our Department course. Boat 
Virginia, is currently offered at no 
cost and is NASBLA-approved, as 
are classroom courses offered by the 
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the 
U.S. Power Squadrons. Also avail- 
able are a number of Internet-based 
courses that are NASBLA-approved 
and accepted by the Department. 

For the very experienced and 
knowledgeable boater, there is the 
option of taking and passing an 
equivalency or "challenge" exam. 
But unless you really know a lot 
about boating safety, this option is 
probably not the best way to try to 
satisfy the education requirement. 

Additionally, boaters in posses- 
sion of a valid license to operate a 
vessel issued to maritime personnel 
by the U.S. Coast Guard or a marine 
certificate issued by the Canadian 
government are already covered. The 
law includes a number of other pro- 
visions that allow for compliance, 
and they can be found in the Virginia 
Watercraft Owner's Gnide. 

For further information on the 
boating safety education require- 
ment, please visit our Web site at 
www.dgif.virginia.gov. 

Editor's Note : I'd like to extend our deep 
appreciation tojiin Crosby for the terrific 
job he performed preparing the safety in- 
formation yon 've been reading in tJiis col- 
umn over the years. "0)i the Water" will 
take a break over the zointer season ajid re- 
sume in the April, 2009 issue of the mag- 
azine. 



34 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




2008 

Limited Edition 
Virginia Wildlife 
Collector's Knife 



Our 2008 Collector's knife has once again been customized by Buck Knives. 
The knife features a red-tailed hawk engraving, augmented by a natural 
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Item # VW-408 $90.00 each (plus $7.25 S&H) 



2007 Virginia Wildlife 
Collector's Knife 




Customized by Buck Knives, this classic model 1 10 folding knife is 8 1/2" 
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Our 2006 Collector's knife has been customized by Buck Knives. Each knife 
is individually serial numbered, and comes with a distinctive rosewood han- 
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Item #VW-406 $85.00 each (plus $7.25 S&H) 



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To Order visit the Department's Web site at: 

www.HuntFishVA.com or call (804) 367-2569. 

Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery. 




IRGINI 

Hunting Lie 



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i 



The new apprentice hunting license serves as a 
first-time Virginia resident or nonresident hunt- 
ing license and is good for 2 years. 

The license holder must be accompanied and 
directly supervised by a mentor over 1 8 who 
has on his or her person a validVirginia hunting 
license. 

The apprentice license does not qualify the 
holder to purchase a regular hunting license, 
nor exempt the holder from compliance with 
Department regulations. A hunter education 
course must be successfully completed to ob- 
tain a regular hunting license. 

A bear, deer, turkey license and all applicable 
stamps or permits are required in addition to 
the apprentice license. 

Previous Virginia resident and nonresident 
hunting license holders may not use an appren- 
tice license. 

To learn more about the Virginia Apprentice 
Hunting License, call (866) 72 1 -69 1 1 or log on 
to vy^ww.HuntFishVA.com. 




This Holiday Season 

Give The Gift That Will Be Enjoyed 

All Year Long 




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For a limited time only you can give Virginia Wildlife as All orders must be prepaid with checks payable to Treasur- 



a gift to your family and friends for only $ 10.00 each. 
That's a savings of almost 80% off the regular cover price! 
This special holiday offer expires January 3 1 , 2009. 

Simply include the full name and address of the person 
or persons to whom you would like to send a subscription. 



er of Virginia. Mail to Virginia Wildlife, PO. Box III 04, 
Richmond, VA 23230-1 104. Please allow 6-8 weeks for 
delivery. 

Remember a subscription to Virginia Wildlife makes a 
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