"It's Your Nature"
by Virginia Shepherd
For 75 years, the WSFR Program has been the
engine driving fish and wildlife management.
Deer Management 101
by David Hart
Building a healthy deer herd begins with a good
plan and some trigger restraint.
Hot Fishing Action for
by Mark Fike
When summer temps heat up, it's time to explore
the finer points of croaker fishing.
A Tale of Golden Eagles
by Todd Katzner and Jeff Cooper
In spiteof a convoluted history here in the East,
this raptor appears to be making a comeback.
Savage Neck Dunes
by Curtis J. Badger
What's good for the dunes along the Chesapeake is
good for a rare beetle and a host of other wildlife.
Volunteer for Wildlife
by Cristina Santiestevan
A genuine interest in wildlife is the only prerequisite
needed to join the CWF Program.
34 New Access Fee • King Montgomery
35 AFIELD AND AFLOAT
38 Angler Hall of Fame • 40 Photo Tips
41 On the Water • 42 Dining In
ABOUT THE COVER: White-tailed bucks in velvet. ' Bill Lea
By virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution in the Governor of the
Commonwealth of Virginia, there u hereby officially recognised:
75^ ANNIVERSARY of the
WILDLIFE A^a) SPORT FISH RESTORATION PROGRAMS
WHEREAS, ii IS importani lo protect and manage fisb and resident wildlife ■mthiD our Commonwealth, and
>^'HEREAS, hunters, onglen. and trappen in Virginia and other states were among the first conservationists to
support the establishment of agencies to conserve fish and wildlife and thetr habitats, and upon realizing thai license fees alone
were insufHcicnt lo restore and sustain healthy fish and wildlife populations supported the development of a system to raise
additional funds to support restoration; and
WHEREAS, in 1937 a Virginian. United Slates Representative A. Willis Robertson, former member of the Senate of
Virginia and former Chairman of the Virginia Game Commission, co-sponsored the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act.
which became known as the Pittman- Robertson Act; and
WHEREAS. ihePittman-Robcrtson Act led to a user pay-public boiefit system so successful that in 1950 a
companion Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act was passed; and
WHEREAS, by ensuring dedicated liindiag derived from sales of hunting, fishing, and boating equipment, the
Pittman -Robertson program has contributed to die rc-enforcement of sound biological ^\iIdlife management and helped lo shape
the core concepts of the North Amencan Model of Wildlife Conservation in Virgmia and across the country, and
WHEREAS, the combined contnbuiion of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Rcsioraiion Programs (WSFR) to stale fish
and vkildlife ageiKies has exceeded S 1 3 billion lutionwide and constitutes the American System of Conservahon Funding; and
WHEREAS, the WSFR Programs have proved to be the milestone for wildlife management and conservabon ethics,
while continuing to provide of^rtuniry for all lo enjoy n-ildlife. fishing, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work
diligently lo safeguard the nghis of the people to hunt, fish and har\'esi game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia; and
WHEREAS, the manufacturers of hunting, fishmg, and boating equipment haw supported the WSFR Programs and
conunue lo exhibit a spirit of cooperation with stale fUh and wildlife agaicies, including tlie Commonwealth's Department of
Game and Inland Fisheries and Marine Resources Commission; and
WHEREAS, this cooperative partnership has resulted in the most successful model of fish and wildlife managenicnl
in the uorid. restonng fish and wildlife populations throughout Virginia and ihe nanon;
NOW, THEREFORE. I, Robert F McDonnell, do hereby recognize the 75* ANNIVXRSARV OF THE
WlLDLIFi: AND SPORT FISH RESTORATION PROGRAMS m our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call
this observance to the attention of our citizens; and
IN TESTIMONY' WHEREOF. I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the I Aser Seal of the Commonwealth
of Virginia this «ixieenth k>f Ma>. twi> thousand twelve year and m the iwo hundred thirry-suih year of the Commonwealth of
MISSION ST/VITM INT
To nunap Virginia't wildlife and inUnd fith lo nuinuin opiimum popuUiioni of all ipccics lo Km ihc nrcdi ol'ihc Commonwealth: To
pnwidc opfMinuniiy fur all lo rn|ay wildlife, inland tuh, hiutin|i and related (lutdtMtr rrtrrariun and to work diligrntlv to safeguard the rights
of rhc people to hunt, (iih and harveti ^amc a> pnivided fi>r in the Omitiiuiion ol VirKinia. Ti> promoie ufety h)r perwn\ and pt\)periv in
(onncciton with ImaiinK. hunting and hihin^t: To provide educarional ourreaih proKranit and maieriali that finier an awareneu of and appre-
(latinn foe Vii|pnia'i h<h and wildlile mounx>, rheir hahilatt. and hunring. hdiinfi. and louiing op|>oriuniiici.
Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia's Wildlife and Natural Resources
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGI
Bob McDonnell, Governor
HUNTING & FISHING
Subsidized this publication
SECRETARY OF NATURAL RESOUP
Douglas W. Domenech
DEPARTMENT OF GAME AND
MEMBERS OF THE BOARD
Lisa Caruso, Church Road
J. Brent Clarke, lU, Great Falls
Curtis D. Colgate, Virginia Beach
Ben Davenport, Chatham
Garry L. Gray, Bowling Green
James W. Hazel, Oakton
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria
Hugh Palmer. Highland Springs
F. Scott Reed, jr., Manakin-Sabot
Leon O. Turner, Fincastle
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland
Sally Mills, Editor
Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Contributing 1
Emily Pels, Art Director
Carol Kushlak, Produaion Manager
Tom Guess, Staff Contributor
Printing by Progress Printing Plus, Lynchbu
Virginia Wildlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is published i
by the Virginia Departtnent of Game and Inland I
Send all subscription orders and address changes to 1
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Copyright 2012 by the Virginia Depanment of C
Inland Fisheries. All rights reserved.
The Department of dame and Inland Rsheriesi
to all persons an equal access to Department |
facilities without regard to race, color, religion.
gin. di.s,ibility. sex, or age. II tou believe that TOU I
discriminated against in any program, activity «
please write to; Virginia Department ol i.jmi- and
Pi.sheries, ATTN: (.ompliance OffiiTi
.Street.) P O. Box 11104. Richmond, \ n.
This publication is intended for general inftJin
poses only and orry elTort has b— ' ■■'
curacy. Ihc inturmation coniaiiu
a legal rcprcsrniaiion of hsh and \v
The Virginia I^partment o( Ciame and I
not avsume re>p*insibility for any chain
tions. or information that may occut ahci pul'
hot bypresf^pf^y of ideas. Real
reforms are always home-made. "
-Aldo Leopold, 1930
by Virginia Shepherd
t was a close call. So close it
makes you catch your breath.
By 1862, thirty-two million
Americans had hopped aboard a runaway
train barreling toward a natural resources dis-
aster — and most of them didn't even know it.
^X'hile they were busy creating the richest and
most powerful nation in the world, they were
also laying waste to its very foundation: four
million square miles of some of the richest
fish and wildlife habitat on Earth.
By the time the first transcontinental
railway system broke open the West in 1869,
vast herds of 100 million bison and 40 mil-
lion pronghorn antelope pounding across the
plains had vanished. An estimated 60 million
beavers had been reduced to 100,000. Ihirty
to 40 million passenger pigeons, so dense in
numbers that reports said it took literally
hours for the skies to clear during their migra-
tions, had disappeared. Waterlowl popula-
tions had plummeted. Swamps had been
drained, prime habitat converted to agricul-
ture, and market hunting continued unabat-
ed. Women in America and in Europe were
parading the street in hats festooned with the
feathers of egrets, herons, and 40 varieties of
native birds. They would soon be wearing the
entire bodies of birds on their heads. We were
plucking America bare.
Nevertheless, most Americans at the
time were not parading the streets with plac-
ards demanding conservation reform from
their legislatures. Rather, they were toasting
their good fortune built on the incalculable
wealth of their land's rich soil, their free access
to the silver and gold veins to be mined just
under America's skin, and the seemingly
limitless forests thrown over the country's
mountains and lowlands like a cloak hiding a
treasure of wildlife. America was just too vast,
too fabulously abundant a landscape to suc-
cimib to the pinprick of mere mortds — or so
we believctl. We could nt have been more
Ii w;is a matter of taking too much with
too little knowledge of the conset)uences —
and fer too little restraint. From New York to
("-;ilifornia, from North D.ikot.i to Florida,
In 1937 a Virginian, United States Representative A. Wi
Robertson, former member of the Senate of Virginia ar
former Chairman of the Virginia Game Commission,
co-sponsored the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Ac
which became known as the Pittman-Robertson Act.
VIRGINIA WJLDLIfE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.conn
we all were to blame. But as history has
proved so often, it would be the incremental
steps of the few, committed for a lifetime, to
wake the conservation consciousness of a
slumbering nation. And it would take 75
years— nearly a century — to secure the
restoration and ftiture of America's fish and
Awakening America to the need for con-
servation was a painftilly slow process, with a
monumental learning curve. We simply did
not understand the intricate workings of the
natural systems we were destroying. We did
not understand predator-prey relationships,
or habitat or range requirements. We did not
understand the inter-relatedness of all living
Nevertheless, by the late 1 800s and early
1900s, a handful of unorthodox and strong-
minded free thinkers emerged with the politi-
cal will and commitment to save what they
recognized as America's greatest treasure.
They were, by and large, America's sports-
men. In the first half of the 20''' century, near
total responsibility for natural resources fell
directly on their shoulders. That's because
state hunting and fishing license revenue pro-
vided the one stable funding source to pro-
tea, restore, and manage fish and wildlife re-
sources. With the creation of state fish and
game agencies in the early 20* centut)', fish
and wildlife were given a legislative voice —
and a bank account. But it was not enough.
Underfunded, understaffed, and prone to
political interference, these fledgling wildlife
agencies more often than not confronted
frustration and failure rather than success.
The science offish and wildlife management
simply did not exist, and funds to better un-
derstand the principles of fish and wildlife
restoration were non-existent. Litde money
was available to acquire land or pursue in-
formed re-stocking schemes. Law enforce-
ment was a slip-shod ineffective aflair, often
the work of ill-equipped, political appointees.
Nevertheless, like it or not, fish and
game agencies were the sole stewards and
watchdogs of their state's natural resources,
operating in an unrestricted free-for-all,
where horrific fish kills from industrial ninofF
were commonplace and protective environ-
mental legislation, an affront to a free-market
economy. To top it off, agencies' precious
hunting and fishing license revenues were
perpetually threatened by cash-strapped state
legislatures for diversion to other projects. As
fish and wildlife populations continued their
nosedive, there seemed very litde that those
who cared most deeply about our country's
fish and wildlife legacy could do about it. In
1929, a weary A. Willis Robertson, then di-
rector of Virginia's state fish and game agency,
wrote to his good friend Billy Reed: "/ have
been rushed to death all of the summer and
owing to the unsettled political conditions, or the
inactivity of our wardens, or a growing con-
sciousness of the value ofwiUlife, I have gotten
more kicks recently concerning various and
sundry matters than at any time during the past
three years and it has kept me busy trying to keep
the various complainers and criticizers satisfied
"Anyone who has an idea that a public job
is a bed of roses should jt4st lie on it for a few
months and he will so find that the thorns are
more prominent d}an the perfume. "
But such men did not give up. All across
the countrv', men like Robertson dug in, put
their heads down,
and pushed forward.
It took decades of
persistence, of pa-
tience, and the
certain cultivated f
wiliness of born
Charged to protect their state's legacy, fish and game agencies were— without
exception— underfunded, understaffed, and politically controlled. Most relied on
hunting and fishing license fees as their chief source of income to carry out their
enormous responsibilities. But these funds were sorely inadequate and perpetually
threatened by cash-strapped state legislatures.
sportsmen, because the problem of develop-
ing an effective program to restore our failing
fish and wildlife populations was not only
ecologically complex, it was politically com-
plicated as well. Unlike our European coun-
terparts, the United States had embraced a
bold philosophy concerning its wildlife re-
sources. We claimed our wildlife heritage as a
public treasure, not a private one. Our unique
North American Model of Wildlife Conser-
vation designated the country's wildlife legacy
a public responsibilit)' owned by all, not by
the few. But. . . if America's wildlife belonged
to the people, and not to the landowners on
whose land it might be found, then under
whose jurisdiction did fish and wildlife gover-
nance fell? Was it a state or federal responsibil-
ity? And who then should foot the bill?
It was during the years of 1 900 to 1 937
that such questions were ironed out and the
most effective program of fish and wildlife
conser\'ation in the world emerged. When
Teddy Roosevelt was ushered into the White
House in 1 90 1 , federal legislation got a presi-
dential jumpstart. Emergency protective
measures were launched, designed to secure
great swaths of land as refiages for belea-
guered wildlife. By 1913, the federal govern-
ment had claimed custody of the migrator)'
birds of the nation, establishing waterfowl
hunting seasons in every state, and soon es-
tablished protective international treaties.
State fish and game agencies assumed re-
sponsibility for virtually all non-migratory
fish and wildlife.
Nevertheless, the essential funding
mechanisms necessary to fund long-term
wildlife restoration programs on both state
and federal levels was lacking. There simply
wasn't enough money available to imple-
ment what people were beginning to realize
would be a long-term and monumental task
involving close state and federal cooperation
and organizational partnerships. It took
Carl Shoemaker was appointed to the U.S.
Senate Special Committee on Conservation of
Wildlife Resources and was the author of the
Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act.
He enlisted the support of Sen. Key Pittman
(below) of Nevada to introduce the Wildlife
Restoration bill in the Senate and approached
Congressman A. Willis Robertson for support
in the House of Representatives.
Using PR funds, adult deer were purchased from several other states and released into areas of suitable habitat. So significant was the success
of these restoration efforts that from 1930 to 1957, Virginia's deer harvest rose from 1,299 to a record 22,473. Today, the state boasts an annual
harvest of 231,000 and a deer population of one million animals.
VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFlshVA.conn
more than thirty years of coalition building,
endless proposals and defeated legislation,
bitter disappointment and deteriorating land
use before an unusual opportunity' arose and
the conditions, miraculously right to grab it.
In 1936, a ten percent federal excise tax
on sporting guns and ammunition existed on
the books. Congress at the time was in the
process of abolishing such excise taxes, but
sportsmen groups and other conservationists
saw instead an opportunity to propose a di-
version rather than a repeal of the tax. The
idea was to divert the proceeds from the tax to
the states for wildlife restoration projects to be
matched on a 3: 1 basis with state hunting and
fishing license revenue. The ammunition
companies supported the proposal, and Carl
Shoemaker, former chief of the Oregon De-
partment of Fish and Game, drafted the legis-
lation. Shoemaker enlisted the support of
Senator Key Pittman of Nevada to introduce
the bill in the Senate. On the House side.
Shoemaker approached Congressman A.
Willis Robertson, who had moved to Con-
gress from the Virginia Game Department
four years earlier. When Shoemaker sat down
with Robertson and handed him the bill,
Robertson penciled in 29 words: "...and
which shall include a prohibition against the
diversion of license fees paid by hunters for
any other purpose than the administration of
said State fish and game department." With
those words, Robertson secured the ftiture of
our fish and wildlife legacy. Robertsons work
in Virginia had taught him how capricious
state legislatures could be with their income,
and he wanted to make sure that the science
of fish and wildlife management was taken
out of the political arena. If a state wanted
federal money to help them restore their
wildlife, they had to guarantee their fish and
game department's right to use every dime of
hunting and fishing license revenue to sup-
port it. Period.
The Pittman-Robertson (P-R) Federal
Aid to Wildlife Restoration Act sailed
through Congress. President Franklin D.
Roosevelt signed the bill into law on Septem-
ber 2, 1 937, turning a deaf ear to protests
from his budget office insisting that earmark-
ing fiinds from excise taxes was not in the
country's best interest. Today, on its 75'^
Essentially, the only real management tools
fish and wildlife agencies had at their disposal
were the setting of hunting seasons, bag limits,
and methods of hunting.
anniversary, the program has proved without
a doubt that it has been in the very best of its
country's interest. Its success has been iwthing
short of astounding.
When an effective technique for live-trapping wild turkeys was developed in the mid-1950s, Virginia wildlife
biologists began a nearly 40-year effort to restore turkeys to suitable habitat around the state. Today's
estimated population at 150,000 birds supports both a spring and fall season for 60,000 to 70,000 hunters.
JULY/AUGUST 201 2 ♦
From the outset, approved P-R projects
included the purchase of land for wildlife
restoration purposes; improvement of land
for wildlife; and research projects directed at
solving wildlife restoration problems. Ala-
bama used P-R funds to re-establish white-
tailed deer on nearly 30 million acres of range,
and wild turkey on 20 million acres. Alaska
used P-R money to learn about the habitat re-
quirements, reproductive biolog)', and inter-
relationships between species of Dall sheep,
grizzly bear, moose, caribou, and wolves.
Connecticut acquired nearly 10,000 acres of
land, including key wedands along Long Is-
land Sound and the Connecticut River.
Kansas purchased 57,000 acres of wildlife
habitat. Maine's first P-R project live-trapped
and banded waterfowl in order to learn more
about migration routes, age and sex ratios,
and the numbers of local nesting species.
Built in 1931, the Montebello Fish Cultural Station is
still in use today, thanks to the continued support and
funding contributed through the WSFR Program.
In 1950, following the success of the P-R Program, the Sport Fish
Restoration Program was established to secure funding for
And that was just the beginning. The list
goes on and on. The P-R program birthed the
science of wildlife management in this coun-
try. The program has always focused on "can-
do" projects, like making white-tailed deer
restoration possible by Rinding research on
how to trap and transpon deer to repopulate
their historic range. And it has made partner-
ing with sportsmen's groups like the National
Wild Turkey Federation and Ducks Unlimited
a priority; partnerships which provide match-
ing hands and support for research projects
which embody the North American Model's
philosophy of "public responsibility" for
wildlife. Since 1937, more than $6.4 billion
have been invested in wildlife restoration
through the P-R program. It has turned into
one of the most successful federal-statc-conser-
vationist-sportsmen pannerships in histor)'.
With the pa.ssagc of the P-R Act in 1 937,
sportsmen and other conservationists had
built up a head of steam they were bound and
determined to keep using. A companion bill to
establish a stable and secure metlianism lo
lund the restoration of America's fisheries was
iIh- next goal. In California, Congressman
liank H. Buck introduced Ic-gislation in 1939
designed along the lines of the P-R Act to im-
10 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE « www.HunfFisfiVA.conn
Wildlife Manaecment Area
A Partnership in Cunservalioii
Cparimrnl of Gamr and Inland l-ishi-ric
IS Ush and \Silrtlifr Sf ri if
Fiirl \ P Mill <if Hilin
r- Ihc Ir I jnd
|, rht Nul...i . ... -1 >jni>
U.*-! Duckt I nltmllrd
for by sportsmen, supported by sportsmen,
but open to all.
And if you are hunter, shooter, angler, or
boater? Well, A. Willis Robertson would pipe
up just about now that you ought to stop
everything and march yourself right out into
the great outdoors. In 1932, he wrote "...I
feel that the high tension at which the average
man has been li\'ing is wrecking entirely too
many nervous systems. Hunting and fishing
is the best nerve tonic I know, and I believe
that a greater opportunity for the average citi-
zen to engage in this type of outdoor recre-
ation would greatly promote both the health
and happiness of our people."
Join us and you will see why "it's your
nature" to help preserve our nations wildlife
Former editor Virginia Shepherd has beeti a freelance
writer for the past 15 years.
Whether It's purchasing critical habitat (above) or restoring bald eagles (right), hunters,
shooters, anglers, boaters, and manufacturers of outdoor sporting equipment have
contributed over $12 billion In the past 75 years to the most successful conservation
movennent In the world.
pose a 1 percent manufacturers' excise tax on
fishing equipment and lures used for recre-
ational fishing. Unfortunately, the bill died in
committee. Undaunted, Congressman Buck
introduced a similar bill two years later, but
World War II halted its progress. Six years
later in 1947, Congressman John Dingell, Sr.
of Michigan revived the fisheries restoration
bill, but it failed again to pass. Senator Edwin
John.son of Colorado introduced an identical
bill the following year. Still, it would not be
until 1 950 that the United States finally had a
Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act that
would be the genesis of a reliable fijnding
source that has generated more than $5.4 bil-
lion for fisheries research, habitat restoration,
recreational boating access, construction of
fish hatcheries, and aquatic education.
Through excise taxes and license rev-
enues, sportsmen have contributed more
than $12 billion to conservation through the
Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Pro-
grams (WSFR), and annually provide more
than 80 percent of the funding for most state
fish and wildlife agencies.
For 75 years, WSFR has been the engine
driving the restoration and management of
our fish and wildlife resources. It has been
justly called the most successful
conservation management pro-
gram in the world. America's
hunters, shooters, anglers, and
boaters should be proud that they
have held the program on their
shoulders for 75 years. But WSFR
is not the exclusive club of the
sporting community. As Aldo
Leopold, one of our country's
greatest conservationists and
crafiers of the P-R Act reminds us:
"One cannot divorce esthetics
from utility, qualit)' from quanti-
ty, present from fiature, either in
deciding what is done to or for
soil, or in educating the persons
delegated to do it. All land-uses
and land-users are interdepend-
ent, and the forces which con-
nect them follow channels still
So, buy a hunting license
even if you don't hunt. Buy a
fishing license not because you
fish, but as an affirmation of
what is worth saving in this great country of
ours. WSFR is an American legacy, fought
JULY/AUGUST 201 2 ♦ 11
excise tax on that
boaters pay fuel
U.S. Fish & Wildlife
funds to state fish and
You can build
a better deer herd.
by David Hart
Frank Myers and Stephen Wright
have killed plenty of deer in
Brunswick County over the years.
But it wasn't until the two brothers-in-law
started hunting other states did they realize
there was something missing from their
backyard: quality deer.
"We have a lot of deer, but we just never
saw many big ones. Then we started traveling
to hunt places like Texas and Missouri. They
produce some pretty big deer because the
landowners manage them," recalls Myers, a
52-ycar-old logger. "We decided we wanted
to try some new things on the land we hunt
to sec if wc could have some better bucks."
So in 2005 they signed up for DGIF's
Deer Management Assistance Program. They
devised a basic management plan, contacted
the Department, and spent part of a day tour-
ing their property with a biologist who sug-
gested ways to grow a better, healthier deer
It not only worked, it's been a dramatic
success. They've seen a tremendous improve-
ment in the quality of the bucks, the age
structure is better than it was when they first
started hunting the land ten years ago, and
the average weight of the deer they harvest has
increased, as well.
It hasn't been an easy process, though.
Myers and Wright, along with the rest of the
group that hunts the land, record cvcrjihing
from the weight and age of e;ich deer iIkt kill
to the specific location and harvest date ot
each animal. Nor has it been cheap. Tliey
plant about 1 ()() acres of food plots and main-
tain and monitor 15 remote cameras scat-
tered across 2, 1 00 acres. They'll also climb into
their blinds throughout the summer just to get
an idea of exacdy how many deer are using
"It's almost a fiJI-time job, " says Wright, a
42-year-old logger from Gasburg.
Managing your local deer herd doesn't
have to be so complicated. And it doesn't have
to empty your bank account, it can be as com-
plex and expensive or as simple and cheap as
you want it to be. However, what you put into
it will equal what you get out of it.
Some hunters, like 76-ycar-old Kej-svillc resi-
dent Terr\' Miller, don't get too wrapped up in
the details of deer management. He relies on
what some biologists call "trigger manage-
ment." Miller simply passes up smaller bucks
so they have a chance to grow bigger. A lifelong
hunter, he has taken countless deer, including
14 VIRGINIA WILDUFE ♦ www.HuntFlshVA.com
ij'^ 5 \§W- • -5
'•" ■ .V^ ;.-'.-:r>
Good habitat management and forest thinning create new food sources and cover for deer and
Creating open areas promotes new understory growth as well as space In which both small
and large game can browse.
lots and lots of smaller bucks, so he's not in-
terested in pulling the trigger on a basket-
racked eight pointer anymore. Instead, he
holds out for an older buck with a bi^er set
of antlers. Some years he sees one, some years
he doesn't, but that's not to say he doesn't har-
vest a few deer each season.
"I shoot plenty of does for meat," says
Trigger management is perhaps the
most effective, or at least the most tangible,
ingredient in a successful management plan,
says Quality Deer Management Associadon
outreach and education director Kip Adams,
also a certified wildlife biologist. Ihe QDMA
lists four basic ingredients in the recipe for
successful management: hunter manage-
ment, herd management, habitat manage-
ment, and herd monitoring. Adams says of
those four, holding off on smaller bucks is
one of the best ways to improve the overall
"Trigger management can also mean
harvesting more does, which is an important
pan of the quality deer management equa-
tion, especially if you have more deer than the
habitat can support,' he adds. "For most peo-
ple, though, voluntary restraint in the form of
passing up small bucks will have noticeable
results in the next couple of years."
Myers agrees. He and the others who
hunt their 2,100 acres are so serious about
herd management they shot just two antlered
bucks last season and about a dozen does.
"We could kill a lot more deer, but we all
like seeing deer," says Myers. "We have an un-
written rule that if you shoot a buck, you
mount it. It works. Most of the bucks we kill
are at least 140 inches (Boone & Crockett
score) and we shoot a few over 160 inches
every once in a while. That's pretty darn good
for southern Virginia."
It helps that Myers and the others in the club
have lots of land, but equally important are
the habitat improvements they've undertak-
en as pan of their management plan. A dozen
does in an entire season may not seem like
enough to keep the population down, but the
two hunters have enough quality habitat to
support lots of deer. Thanks in part to their
background as loggers, Myers and Wright
understand the benefits of cutting trees,
which produces new food sources that don't
JULY/AUGUST2012 ♦ 15
Want to start a management
plan? Consider signing up for
the Department's Deer Management
Assistance Program, or DMAP, an
open-ended, goal-oriented deer man-
agement program that involves
hunters, landowners, and DGIF biolo-
gists. The goals can vary, but most
hunters typically want to improve the
overall age structure of the bucks, im-
prove the health of antlerless deer,
and create better habitat for all types
of wildlife. A typical DMAP prescrip-
tion usually includes harvesting fewer
bucks and more does, and it can in-
volve some extensive habitat improve-
ments. Landowners, on the other
hand, can use DMAP to reduce overall
deer numbers to protect crops or na-
Interested individuals or groups
must submit an application with a
written management objective along
with a map of the property. Once ac-
cepted, hunters must collect such data
as date of kill, weight of harvested ani-
mals, and a jawbone so biologists can
age individual deer The data is ana-
lyzed by a Department biologist who
suggests specific actions that can in-
clude additional antlerless harvest and
a reduced buck harvest.
About 860 clubs or individuals
are enrolled, and they manage 1.5 mil-
lion acres throughout Virginia.
Interested? Visit www.dgif
or the Quality Deer Management
Association at www.qdma.org.
The use of remote or trail cameras can be important to any management plan. You have to know
what's out there in order to manage it.
exist in a mature forest. The dense growth
that springs up in clear-cuts also creates bed-
ding and escape cover, another vital part of
their management plan.
"We have places we never hunt or never
even walk through at all, even in the summer.
That makes the deer feel more comfortable.
We actually see more deer later in the season
because they aren't getting pushed around
like they do on the surrounding land, " notes
Along with refuges and thick cover,
Myers and Wright also plant food plots, lots
of them. They staned with a handful of small-
er plots, but the deer gobbled them up so fast
there was litdc left when the season staned.
They now have about 1 00 acres in com, beans
and wheat, three high-quality crops that last
throughout the season. Because the deer have
so much food — both planted and natural —
their land can support more deer. Adams
warns, however, that food plots alone won't
boost deer numbers or ander size, which is
primarily influenced by age.
"You have to look at all of the habiut.
Just because you have a thousand acres doesn i
16 VIRGINIA WILDUFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com
Food plotscan help II,
lagement plan when combined with other efforts. Include kids in
your plan, too, even if it means harvesting a deer that doesn't meet your standards.
mean you can see much of an improvement
in age structure, population, and body weight
if you put in a few food plots," he says. "Tim-
ber management is an excellent way to im-
prove the habitat because mature forests
usually don't offer a lot of food for whitetails.
Native vegetation also tends to survive ex-
treme conditions like drought better than
Bigger Is Better
rhe best habitat management plan involves
both food plots and natural habitat enhance-
ment, something Myers and Wright have the
ability to do because they hunt over 2,000
acres. Miller hunts about 200 acres. He does
plant food plots, but he understands they
don't guarantee bigger or more deer. Al-
though there is no magic acreage, DGIF deer
project leader Matt Knox says the larger the
tract of land, the more you can do with it and
the better the results will be.
"The problem with a smaller tract is that
your neighbors might shoot the deer you are
trying to protect," he says. "It's impossible to
keep deer on 50 acres or even 200 acres."
That's not to say you can't have some suc-
cess on a small parcel, particularly if your land
is bordered by a refuge like a park or a farm
that isn't hunted. If that's not the case, you can
form some sort of cooperative agreement
with surrounding landowners. It can take
some effort to get others on board, but as
more hunters understand the benefits of a
management plan, getting them to agree may
be as simple as asking.
"A lot of hunters have shot enough small
bucks over the years that they are now inter-
ested in seeing bigger deer," says Adams. "In-
terest in quality deer management has
exploded in the past ten years or so. "
Don't expect to see a giant buck every time
you climb into a tree stand, even if you under-
take some serious habitat improvement ef-
forts. The success of Myers and Wright is
proof that an active and thorough deer man-
agement plan can have noticeable results, but
they control over 2, 1 00 acres, or more than
three square miles. Considering the average
statewide buck harvest is just three per square
mile, Knox says hunters should not expect a
miracle, no matter how much work they put
into management, especially if they only have
a few hundred acres or less.
"You aren't going to see a bunch of giant
bucks running around even if you haven't
shot a little buck in a few years," says Knox.
"Anything you do to improve the land or pro-
tect younger age-class deer will help, but you
need to be realistic."
You also need to keep it in perspective.
Adams says some hunters get so wrapped up
in whitetail management they refuse to let
even young hunters shoot a buck if it doesn't
meet a certain criteria. Not Wright. He gets as
much thrill from seeing the smile on the face
of a child who just harvested a spike as he does
from shooting a giant buck himself
"Taking a small buck or two isn't going
to make a big difference in the long run, " says
Wright. "However, allowing children the
freedom to take a small buck will make a big
difference in the future of hunting. " ?f
David Hart is a jiill-rime freelance writer and
photographer from Rice. He is a regular contributor
to numerous national hunting and fishing
JULY/AUGUST2012 ♦ 17
ifor Hot Weather
Croaker remain a staple
for good summertime
fisliing, but you may need
to adapt your routine.
by Mark Fike
All salrwater anglers can tell the
same story. The summer sun is
bearing down, the temperature
and humidity has your shirt soaked through,
fried bloodworm pieces litter the bait tray or
gunnels, and the mood on your boat has
changed for the worse. Ilie croaker bite was
once a sure thing, but has now morphed into
a contest to see who can waterlog the most
bait. The solution to turning those sweat)'
frowns upside down is as simple as starting up
the boat or pulling the anchor.
Although the croaker bite is widely
known as the most reliable bite in the bay,
summer temperatures and bright sunshine
can easily put a damper on the action if an-
glers are not willing to move around.
Where to Look for Hardheads
Atlantic croaker, also known as hardheads, in-
habit all of Virginias briny waters to include
lower tidal rivers, the Chesapeake Bay proper,
and the Atlantic Ocean. Ooakers are bottom
dwellers that delight anglers with their surly
fight on light tackle. Ihcsc scrappy fish gener-
ally average a pound or two and commonly
measure 12 to 16 inches long. Some fish will
stretch over the 18-inch mark and nudge the
scales over three pounds. It you are fortunate
and hook one that size, you won't forget it.
They fight like a fish three times their weight.
Try that on light tackle!
Croaker prefer structure and they tend
to gravitate to a hard bottom. Oyster reefs,
riprap, old asphalt piles, and reefs are excel-
lent places to begin your search. This is where
a chart of the bay or ocean is key to knowing
where to start. Take time to look through the
nautical charts of the area where you usually
launch your boat and find marked under-
water structure. If you have a GPS or sonar
unit, use it to locate those marked areas.
Some anglers immediately go deep dur-
ing the hottest part of the summer, but croak-
er are not always found in deeper water.
Although thirty feet or more of salty depths
can be enticing to a fish seeking reRige from
the heat and sunlight, sometimes croaker are
found in ver)' shallow water where structure is
present. An open mind is an important tool
in your pursuit. A sonar unit can be used to
locate ledges and drop-offs. Consider not
only the main channel in the rivers and the
bay, but also back channels and secondary
channels coming out of tributary creeks.
Looking for humps or holes in shallow water
is also a wise move.
In fact, shallow water that is close to
deep water in conjunction with structure
often proves to be the sweet spot during a
midday run for fish. Motor uptide or upwind
of the structure, depending on which is
stronger; then drop the bait, allowing it to
drift into the zone where the fish are located.
The wind, tide, and current are all variables to
strongly consider when positioning your boat
to put your lines out.
A stiff tide or strong wind will make for a fast
drift. Therefore, a heavier sinker and more
lead time uptide or upwind of the structure is
needed to get the bait in the proper strike
zone. In fact, during a ripping tide or heavy
wind it may be more efficient to throw an an-
chor overboard to slow the drift. Leave just
enough rope out to let the anchor drag the
bottom but not enough to hold fast. If there
are fish in the area and the water is moving
fast, they will often hunker down behind
structure anyway. With this in mind, I often
position my boat even farther uptide or up-
wind than the main structure so that when I
drop my line overboard it drifts right into the
perfect zxjne where the fish are holding out of
JULY/AUGUST 201 2 ♦ 19
Croaker rigs are simple to make
or tie, using a three-way swivel,
a 12-inch piece of 4-8 pound test
line, and appropriate size sinker.
Tie on an 18-inch piece of 14-20
pound test list with a 1 or 1/0 size
hook. You can also use snelled
hooks with flashers on them.
Then simply tie this to the end of
your line. A piece of bucktail
dresses up your hook and adds
attraction to the bait.
While a bortom rig will work, it has been
my experience that a hand-tied rig will often
perform better. A flounder rig will work won-
ders compared to a bottom rig while drifting.
To make your own rig, de a number 1 or 1 /O
hook to an 1 8-inch piece of 14- to 20-pound
test leader. Attach this to a three-way swivel.
Next, use a 1 2-inch piece of 4- to 8-pound
test weight line to attach your sinker to the
swivel. Tie the rig to the end of your line.
Sometimes I will add flashers or spinners or
even bucktail, creating more attention widi
the additional hardware on my line.
Bait choice is always a personal prefer-
ence. The common-sense rule of thumb is to
give the fish what they want. Some days the
fish prefer something different, such as fresh
clams. Other days Fishbites are the way to go,
and yet on other days bait shrimp is the only
thing you can really entice them with. Over
the past few years I have done very well with
shrimp as my bait. Bloodworms are a sure
thing if there are croakers aroimd, but keep-
ing these expensive worms fresh makes them
less attractive unless the fish are really being
♦ Ifyou fish at night, be sure to have
the proper lights on your boat and
♦ Wear a PFD at all times and let
someone know where you plan to
fish. A cell phone and/or a marine
radio should be handy too.
♦ Keep an eye on the weather condi-
tions. Storms can rapidly approach,
altering conditions on the water in
♦ Take plenty of sports drinks and
water, and drink them.
♦ Wear sunscreen, a long-sleeved
light fishing shirt, and a hat. Skin
cancer occurrence is on the rise.
♦ Polarized sunglasses will protect
your eyes and give you an edge
when navigating and fishing the
Conversely, a slack tide, light breeze, or
combination of both may dictate a very small
amount of weight to get the bait to the bot-
tom and no use of the anchor. During these
conditions, a drift is almost always better than
anchoring. In fact, with the right wind direc-
non, one can cover some prime territory with
little to no maneuvering of the boat.
Gearing Up and Baiting Up
Drifting for croaker requires no more sophis-
ticated gear than you would use for any other
method of fishing for these chunky panfish.
However, while drifting there is always a
greater possibility of getting hung up. For this
reason, a reel spooled with a higher test line
such as 20-pound test, the use of a drop line
of lighter test weight such as 6-pound test
(with your sinker on it so the whole rig is not
lost), and possibly a heavier rod to work out
snags would be a good idea.
Baitcasting reels and rods seem to be a
fevorite among anglers using this taaic be- ^
caii.sc of the added strength and raw reeling "^
power for pulling fish out of structure or £
yanking a hook free of an obstruction. How-
c-vcr, don't overlook a medium action spin-
ning set-up cither. Ihe fight is pure delight.
Croaker, or hardheads as they are commonly
known, are a delight for anglers of any age and
easily caught throughout the summer.
20 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com
picky. Try shrimp and bloodworm flavored
Fishbites first. Fresh cutbait or squid tipped
with a minnow picks up more than their
share offish too.
Low Light or Night Action
Not ail anglers are cut out for sitting in a
boat during the midday heat. The good
news is that low light periods, overcast days,
and night action are even better during the
summer than are midday options. The
water is often free of other anglers and many
times the wind calms down, eliminating
one of the variables of positioning your bait.
Jetties or riprap banks are very good
spots to find croaker on overcast days or as
the sun fades. The structure draws baitfish
and crabs which, in turn, brings in the
croaker. Shoals or reefs are also good spots to
fish. One last location to consider is small
estuaries or inlets holding grass beds or
At night the fish go shallow in search of
food. Anglers will find it much easier to
anchor at night and fish in the shallows near
land and it is safer, too. At night anglers can
often forego large weights if the conditions
are calm. Use small weights and give your
baits a tug every minute or so, or even drag
them back toward you with a few cranks of
the reel to stir up the bottom. Keep a tight
grip on your reel and rod because the croaker
will hit suddenly and quite hard. Unattend-
ed rods end up overboard!
Just because the summer sun is bearing
down hard enough to make the devil sigh
does not mean that the croaker bite is over.
The location and tactics just changed a bit. If
you will change with the conditions, your
rods will bend more, bait will actually get
used up, and that familiar croaking sound
coming from the cooler or fish box will
cause smiles to spread around the boat.
Consider some changes to your croaker
game plan to put more of these tasty game
fish on ice this summer! <*f
Mark Fike is a freelance writer and photographer
from King George.
Sanders shows off a croaker caught by dragging
a bottom rig in a small, secondary channel.
Look for structure such as pilings, riprap, or jetties to pull in your share of croaker.
JULY/AUGUST 201 2 ♦ 21
•U v,/ ■;
by Todd Katzner
and Jeff Cooper
r^^^^^V^plly a few of Earth's creatures
^^^P^^^^are truly evocative of wilder-
^ -^^^ ness. In the East, we have
en ofFor assimilated the wildest of them.
Wolves and cougars were exterminated over a
century ago. Bald eagles, on the other hand,
were once rare but now are found in abun-
dance throughout eastern Virginia and the
Chesapeake region. Even peregrine falcons
have abandoned their cliff-side haunts and
now breed best in urban environments, on
the ledges of high buildings.
However, one wild and surreal creature
still roams our woods. This spectacular ani-
mal is so secretive that most easterners don't
even know it exists in remote areas of the Ap-
palachian Mountains. It is truly indicative of
wild places, and its numbers are on the up-
What is it? The golden eagle.
In the rest of the world, golden eagles are
known to be a bird of high, jagged moun-
tains and open, windswept country. These
majestic eagles are typically found near their
prey — medium-sized birds and mammals
such as the chucker partridge, red grouse,
marmot, and jackrabbit. Here in the U.S.,
the golden eagle's closest relative is its distant
second cousin and our national bird, the bald
eagle. In Europe, Asia, and Africa, though,
there are many closer relatives — first cousins,
including central Asia's imperial and steppe
eagles, Africa's tawny and black eagles, and
Europe's greater and lesser spotted eagles.
Globally, this group of raptors is known as
the "booted eagles" because of their heavily
feathered legs. All are brown with tawny
A golden eagle ascends after release. The telemetry units used in this research were
designed by wildlife biologist Michael Lanzone. The unit collects data on its location
every 30 seconds, allowing for detailed tracking of movement. Photo courtesy of
Randy Flament. Left, Dave Kramar from Virginia Tech releases a golden eagle over the
Blue Ridge Mountains.
markings, often with white on the wings and
light yellow-gold feathers on the back of the
Golden eagles in eastern North America
have a long and complex relationship with
people. Like so many other species, they were
once far more common than they are today.
Years ago these birds bred in the northern
reaches of the Appalachians — in New York
and throughout New England, as far south as
Massachusetts. As recently as 1997, golden
eagles were defending breeding territories in
remote parts of northern Maine. However,
since that time there has been no record of
golden eagles nesting in eastern North Amer-
ica. Instead, these regal birds now breed only
in Canada, but they winter in large numbers
in the Appalachian range.
What caused the decline in eastern gold-
en eagle numbers? Two factors primarily, llie
first is a combination of persecution by peo-
ple and habitat change. There was a time
when birds of prey — not just eagles, but
hawks, falcons, and vultures too — were shot
on sight. When combined with the loss of
habitat to farming and urbanization from ex-
panding human populations, these activities
took their toll. The second factor was chemi-
cal toxins, primarily DDT, which caiLse bird
eggshells to be catastrophically thin. Golden
eagles ingest DDT when their prey includes
piscivorous birds — fish-eating cormorants
and herons — that accumulate the pesticide in
their diet. DDT caused reproductive failure
over the ten years that golden eagles last tried
unsuccessfully to breed in the eastern U.S.
One of the most interesting parts to the
tale of Eastern golden eagles is their strange
history in the southern Appalachians. There is
no reliable evidence that golden eagles have,
in recent times, bred south of upstate New
York. Nevertheless, groups of well-inten-
tioned but misguided people have tried to
"reintroduce" golden eagles to the southern
Appalachians: in Georgia, Tennessee, Nonh
Carolina, and even Pennsylvania. All told,
over 200 birds from western North America
were released in these states.
Because golden eagles didn't breed in the
southern Appalachians, these efforts intro-
duced a non-native breeding species to a novel
environment. Introduction of exotic species
or new bloodlines is generally considered bad
conservation practice. Think of starlings,
house sparrows (featured in the June issue),
pigeons, and nutria, all exotic species released
into this country with the best of intentions
but worst of outcomes. Additionally, and per-
haps even more importantly, there already are
a couple of thousand golden eagles in eastern
North America. These birds may have once
been genetically distinct, with their own
JULY/AUGUST 201 2 ♦ 23
Over the past three springs, the research
team has followed ~50 golden eagles,
collecting many tens of thousands of data
points to pinpoint flight paths and habitats.
From these, they have created fine-grained
GIS maps and models of migration behavior
between Quebec, where the birds summer,
and Virginia and West Virginia, where the
birds winter. Map courtesy of Irish Miller,
unique adaptations to their eastern habitats,
lliat genetic distinctness is likely now gone, as
the addition of foreign genes in such large
numbers would have homogenized eastern
and western populations.
In spite of their convoluted history,
today's Eastern golden eagle populations ap-
pear to be undergoing a resurgence. From
about 1 990 to 2005, the numbers of birds ob-
served at autumn migration hawk counts
have increased steadily. Likewise, the number
of birds seen during winter also is on the ri.se,
and this population is receiving increjused at-
tention as recognition grows of its special sta-
tus and unique importance to tht-
In Virginia, our team composed of aca-
demic researchers from West Virginia Univer-
sity and biologists from the Department of
Game and Inland Fisheries is tracking move-
ments of golden eagles in winter and studying
their migration to Canada. Each year, we
leave our warm homes and head uphill, into
the peaks of the rolling Appalachians. Once
there, we collect roadkill deer and place them
next to a motion-sensitive camera in small
clearings on mountaintops. Golden eagles
come visit these bait sites, to feed on the food
we provide. When they and their scavenging
brethren feed, the camera photographs them,
giving us a record of local wildlife. Once we
confirm the presence of the eagles, we secretly
install traps and capture the birds when they
return to the bait. After capture, we outfit the
eagles with telemetry backpacks and let them
go, back to their business. These small units
don't impact the birds, but they do constantly
collect GPS readings and send that data back
to us over a cell phone system, letting us track
the eagles' movements year-round.
What are we learning from this research
in Virginia's high country? Most importantly,
we are generating reams of natural history
data on the travels of these birds — where and
how they move and how much space they use.
Previously, only a few individual golden eagles
had been tracked in the East. To date, our
team has tracked over 50 Eastern golden ea-
gles, most of them trapped in Virginia. Now
we know where these remarkable birds go in
the summer (usually, to northern Quebec)
and how they get there (most often, migrating
along or near to the Appalachian ridges that
stretch from Virginia to upstate New York).
We know how much these birds move in win-
ter (they cover huge areas, hundreds of square
miles) and how high they fly when on winter
ranges (relatively low, only 100-200 feet
above the ground) and on migration (low
when following ridges, higher over gender ter-
rain). Finally, we are beginning to understand
how many of these birds there actually are
(probably between 1 ,500 and 5,000) and how
their lives progress, from hatchling to adult.
We are also learning things about the
threats golden eagles face in the post-DDT
era. Still today, there are those who shoot ea-
gles, and other dangers persist — such as lead
exposure and inadvertent capmre in traps.
Looking to the future, our eagle tracking
informs the promise of alternative energy
sources. Our research is geared toward under-
standing how golden eagles move, so that
wind energy — so critical to an energy-inde-
pendent future for the U.S. — can be devel-
oped in ways that don't negatively impact
soaring birds of prey.
What does the recovery of golden eagles
mean for conser\'ation of natural resources in
Virginia? First, it means that management of
habitats, pesticides, and wildlife is working.
Golden eagles are an important indicator
species. They rely upon the rest of their ecos\'s-
tem for food and for shelter, and if those
things are not in place, eagles would not sur-
vive. Thus, the presence of golden eagles tells
an important story about the habitats on
Image from a farm in West Virginia, showing an adult bald and a young golden eagle
squabbling over a bait pile. Photo courtesy of Chuck Waggy, WVDNR.
24 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com
, ,t »
Above, Jeff Cooper with DGIF and Dave Kramar, of VT, assess the plumage
characteristics of an adult golden eagle that is about to be released with a
cellular tracking transmitter. Inset, Michael Lanzone of Cellular Tracking
Technologies and Trish Miller of WVU/PSU measure the footpad of an eagle.
Footpad size can be used to determine the bird's sex. Inset photo courtesy
of Trish Miller, WVU/PSU.
A golden eagle photographed by a trail
camera at a bait site in West Virginia.
which they depend. But the tale of eagles also
reminds us that there are still threats in our
woods — serious threats that can be ad-
dressed, but that require management if they
are not to constrain the rebound of this re-
The increase in golden eagle numbers
tells a positive story about the management
of Virginia's wild lands. As this bird is one of
the few truly wild species in our woods, it is
critical that we humans listen to what it has to
say. The coming years are important for gold-
en eagles and other wildlife that share the nat-
iiral abundance of the Appalachian
Mountains. Challenges in the environment
may impact the trajectory of populations of
this extraordinary bird. However, if we as a
people can continue to be good stewards of
their habitat and if we can effectively mitigate
the threats golden eagles face, our children
and theirs will likely continue to regard this
bird as we do today— as an exceptional sym-
bol of true wilderness. ?f
ToddKatzner is a research assistant professor in the
Division of Forestry and Natural Resources at West
Virginia University. He has studied eagles frmore
than 1 5 years in North America and Central Asia.
Jeff Cooper has coordinated nongame avian projects
for DGIF for the past 1 1 years and worked with
birds for over 20 years. His current research inchides
golden eagle wintering ecology.
JULY/AUGUST 201 2 ♦ 25
he tallest point on Virginia's
Eastern Shore, towering more
than 50 feet above sea level, is a
sandy ridge running for nearly a mile along the
Chesapeake Bay near the town of Eastville.
When it comes to geological features, the East-
ern Shore tends to be understated: lots of woods
and farm fields, wide salt marshes, shallow bays,
and low-slung barrier islands. But stand here on
this ridge, look down the cliff edge where the
dune spills abruptly into a loblolly pine forest,
and the landscape becomes anything but subtle.
These dunes, which geologists believe may
be more than 10,000 years old, are one of the
more emphatic features of Savage Neck Dunes
Natural Area Preserve, which was established in
Custis Pond is a natural freshwater pond geologists believe was part of an ancient Muscadine grape is an important food for birds and n
VIRGINIA WILDUFE ♦ vmw.HuntFlshVA.com
by Curtis J. Badger
the late 1 990s by the Virginia Depanment of
Conservation and Recreation (DCR). These
rare ancient dunes, and the plants associated
with them, are one of the reasons the state ga\ c
the site such a high priority for protection.
The other reason is a bit less dramatic and
obvious. A trail crosses the dune ridge and
emerges onto a sandy beach on the Chesa-
peake Bay. Here, burrowing in the sand, is a
tiny beetle with a five dollar name. The north-
eastern beach tiger beetle (Cicindela dorsalis
dorsalis) was once abundant along the north-
east coast from Massachusetts to New Jersey as
well as along the Chesapeake Bay. But this
tiger beetle depends upon undisturbed beach
habitat tor its survival, and over the past two
centuries we have left very litde of our north-
eastern beaches undisturbed. Consequendy,
only two populadons of the beetle remain
along the entire Atlantic coast, along with a
more stable colony along the Chesapeake
Bay. (See photo below.)
Ihe tiger beetle has been placed on the
federally threatened list, and Savage Neck
Dunes has one of the largest populations
along the bay. The tiger beetles spend most of
their lives as larvae living in biu^rows four to
eight inches deep between the high tide line
and the primary dunes. When the weather
warms in June the adult insects will emerge,
spend the summer foraging for food that the
high tide brings in, and then breed and die.
In late summer the e^ will hatch, larvae will
again burrow into the sand, and the next gen-
eration will again await the coming summer.
The plight of the northeastern beach
tiger beede is emblematic of what happens
when humans monkey around with natural
systems. Beaches and similar coastal ecosys-
tems are particularly vulnerable, both because
of their fragility and their desirability. People
want to live on the water, and we want easy
and unlimited access to the beach. As our
northeastern beaches lose their namesake bug,
the importance of places like Savage Neck
Dunes becomes all the more important.
Savage Neck Dunes has plant communi-
ties that once were common along the coast.
JULY/AUGUST 201 2
> ' • • •,■■ ' ^ /-- f. • Vi.V.-'-
The dunes at Savage Neck NAP stretch for a mile along Chesapeake Bay shoreline. ©Curtis Badger
but in the past centur\' or so, as natural dunes
have been altered, they have become increas-
ingly rare. A dune system can be a harsh envi-
ronment, and not just any plant can survive
there. The dunes are just a short distance from
the Chesapeake Bay and are subject to salt-
laden breezes, occasional storm tides, and
sometimes strong onshore winds. An unusual
group of plants has adapted well to these con-
ditions and they make up a community of
flora that are dependent upon each other for
their survival. Some of the plants, such as salt-
meadow hay (Spanina patens), are more com-
monly found in tidal wedands. Others, such
as beach bean (Strophostyles helvola) and Car-
olina thisde (Sahola kali), thrive in arid envi-
ronments. Perhaps the reason Savage Neck
Dunes has such a diverse plant community is
because the dunes are both arid and subject to
occasional infusions of salt water.
Ihc plants of the dunes could be called
the architectural superstructure that holds the
dunes together. Below the surface of the sand,
roots and rhizomes of American beach gniss
(Ammophila breviligulata) and panic grass
(Panicum amaruni amarulum) provide a
framework for the sand to build around. And
on the surface of the dunes, low growing
spurges such as seaside sandmat (Chamaesyce
polygonigolia) trap sand carried by the breeze
and hold it in place on the dune surface.
Here we have the iJtimate symbiotic re-
lationship. The dunes survive because the
plants are there, and the plant community
survives because of the dunes. Few natural
dune grassland communities survive any-
more, and once they are gone they are diffi-
cult to regain. Sometimes dunes are lost to
residential or recreational development, and
frequently they are lost because of our need to
stop beach erosion. Beaches are made of sand
and they move readily with tides and wind,
and the fact that sea level is rising does not
help. NX'Tien communities invest millions of
dollars in infrastructure, they want a sense of
permanence that a migrating beach does not
afford. That's usually when the bulldozers ap-
pear and the beach replenishment begins.
llic dunes at Savage Neck have never
felt the blade of a bulldozer. Instead, Ameri-
can beach grass and panic grass are sending
roots and rhizomes into the core of the dune.
Seaside sandmat and beach heather trap
blowing sand particles. Sand builds up
around sprouting saltmeadow hay. And far-
ther upland grow wild black cherr)', sweet
gum, loblolly pine, and wax myrtle. All help
anchor the dunes and protect the integrity of
Buttonvveed (Diodia teres) is a fragile looking
plant that has adapted well to the dunes.
A sandy trail leads through the m
to the dunes.
28 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HunfFishVA.com
Panicum, shown here, and American beach grass are two of the foundation plants of the dunes.
the system. These dunes have been here for
hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. Not
exactly in the same spot, perhaps, but here
Once a dune system loses this natural
balance of sand and structure, it is likely gone
for good. Many of Virginia's coastal beaches,
including Assateague National Seashore, are
manipulated by machines, which re-build
parking areas after storms and push up tem-
porary protective dune lines.
Savage Neck Dunes became the proper-
ty of the state in the late 1 990s when two ad-
joining farms were purchased to create a
preserve of nearly 300 acres, with a mile of
beach frontage. Access to the dunes and the
beach is via a hiking trail that begins in a small
parking lot on Savage Neck Road, about two
miles west of Eastville. The trail runs along-
side a farm field that is being converted to
grassland and scrubland. It then enters a
loblolly pine forest and pxsses C'ustis Pond, a
natural freshwater pond that geologists be-
lieve was part of an old coastal dune system.
Once the trail enters the woods, the footing
gradually goes from hard-packed clay to loose
sand as it nears the dunes. The pines become a
bit stunted, and as the dunes become larger,
some of the trees appear to have limbs unnat-
urally close to the ground.
In the dunes, the forest is an open
canopy woodland consisting mainly of pines,
sassafras, wild black cherry, and eastern red
cedar. These secondary dunes are more than
50 feet tall, and in some places the dunes
drop off steeply into the pine forest below. A
smaller ridge of primarv' dunes separates the
secondary dunes and the forest from the
In less than a mile, the trail passes
through grassland and scrub, pine forest,
freshwater wetlands, maritime dunes, beach,
and finally open bay. This diversity' of habitat
can provide some pretty spectacular wildlife
watching. The forest is part of a wooded mi-
grator)' corridor used by songbirds as the\'
move up and down the coast, and the bay and
Custis Pond are home to waterfowl, shore-
birds, gulls, and terns. So on a given day at
Savage Neck Dunes you could see anything
from a Northern gannet to a prothonotary
warbler. In addition. Savage Neck supports a
varied community of mammals. Fox tracks
are routinely seen all along the sandy dunes,
and in a sheltered v;illcy between two large
dunes fox dens are cut through the sand and
into the subsoil. Raccoons are often seen for-
aging along the beach, and deer are plentiful
in the forest and fields.
On a recent trip to Savage Neck, I met a
visitor from Virginia Beach who was leaving
the preserve as I arrived. Assuming I was a
first-time visitor, he gave me a lengthy de-
scription of the preserve and told me what a
wonderful place it was. "What we have here,"
he exclaimed, "is a good example of the gov-
ernment doing something right." ?f
Curtis Btuiger, whose most recent hook is A Natural
History of Quiet Waters (UVA Press), has written
widely about natural history and wildlife art. He lives
on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
The sassafras tree produces berries in the fall
on bright red stalks.
JULY/AUGUST 201 2 ♦ 29
by Cristino Santiestevan
Whether you're a hunter, a
wildflower enthusiast, or a
retired accountant, the De-
partment of Game and Inland Fisheries
(DGIF) has a volunteer opportunity that's per-
fect for you. Through the Complementary
Work Force Program (C^X^), volunteers assist
staff with essential tasks in the field, at commu-
nity events, and behind desks or computers.
The Complementary Work Force Pro-
gram is named appropriately. This team of vol-
unteers works closely with DGIF staff
wherever needed. In short, the volunteers
complement the staff, effectively increasing
the workforce of DGIF and allowing the De-
partment to extend its reach to include activi-
ties that might otherwise be eliminated.
"Their contributions have such a
tremendous impact," says Estella Randolph,
DGIF volunteer administrator. According to
Randolph, more than 300 volunteers donat-
ed 8,753 total hours to the Department
through CWF in 20 11. And 2012 looks to
be even busier; nearly 250 C^T volunteers
had already donated more than 5,300 hours
by the end of Februan.'.
These donated hours are valuable. "Vol-
unteer time for 201 1 was valued at S21.79
per hour," says Randolph. The value of
S2 1 .79 is calculated by Independent Sector, a
national nonprofit that provides suppon for
other nonprofits, charitable groups, and
other volunteer-supported organizations.
"So, for 2011, volunteers donated time
worth an estimated value of Si 90,000," ex-
plains Randolph. By using the same hourly
rate for this vear, we can see that volunteers
CWF volunteers perform a range of services,
including assistance at public events and
providing another set of hands in the field.
had already donated time valued at
$ 1 1 6,000 by the end of February.
But, the value of this program extends
far be)'ond dollars and budgets. According
to Randolph, CWF volimteers are an essen-
tial part of extending DGIF's reach through-
out the state. "For example," explains
Randolph, "we get dozens of requests for
DGIF to participate in community-based
programs or shows, and sometimes we aren't
JULY/AUGUST 201 2 ♦ 31
HOW TO VOLUNTEER
No matter your interests or experience, the Complementary Work Force Program
has volunteer opportunities that are bound to appeal. Registering is simple:
• Or, contact Estella Randolph, VDGIF Volunteer Administrator, with your
questions orto request an application:
Once registered as a CWF volunteer, you can review volunteer opportunities
Eastern- Ray Philbates (804) 829-6580 Ray.Philbates@dgif.virginia.gov
Northcentral-ThomasGoldston (540) 899-4169 Thomas.Goldston@dgif.virginia.gov
Five Reasons to Volunteer with Us
This is not your typical volunteer op-
portunity. Unlike many volunteer pro-
grams, CWF allows participants to pick and
choose how and when they will help. Vol-
unteers register with their regional offices,
and then receive updates when new volun-
teer opportunities become available. And,
because those opportunities range from
office support to field projects, there really
is something for everyone.
Virginia's wildlife needs you. Many
CWF volunteers help with wildlife manage-
ment activities. As a volunteer, you may
help stock trout streams, assist with wildlife
research projects, or contribute to habitat
restoration projects at Powhatan Lakes or
Your time is valuable. According to In-
dependent Sector— a national nonprofit
that supports charitable organizations-
volunteer time was valued at $21.79 per
hour in 2011. This means that Virginia's
CWF volunteers donated more than
$190,000 worth of their time to DGIF in
2011. And, by the end of February 2012,
CWF participants had already donated ap-
proximately $116,000 in volunteer hours. If
you're eager to give back, this is a great way
to do so.
Virginia's people need you. As a CWF
volunteer, you may choose to answer ques-
tions about wildlife at community events,
assist with the daily operations at shooting
ranges, or inspect and maintain waterway
markers to aid boaters navigating through
3. You'll have fun. When was the last
time you stocked a trout stream, assisted a
wildlife biologist, or answered a child's
questions about nature? Never? Well,
here's your chance.
able to respond to all of these requests. But,
many times we are able to rely on our volun-
teer corps for these shows. This allows us to
have a presence at many more community
events than perhaps we would be able to do
with just our staff."
Volunteers at educational events help
with setting up and dismanding exhibits, an-
swering questions, and leading educational
presentations. While some events rely on
both staff and volunteers, others are entirely
volunteer-run. "This has been an area where
the volunteer support has been just tremen-
dous," says Randolph.
Beyond classrooms and community pre-
sentations, volunteers have countless oppor-
tunities to get their hands dirty in the field.
Trout stocking, for example, is an ongoing —
and popular — CWF opportunity. Volunteers
assist staff by carrying and releasing buckets
of hatchery-raised fish to confidential release
sites, helping with road safety, and keeping
records or making reports, as needed.
State biologists occasionally call upon
CWF volunteers to assist with data collection
in the field. For example, CWF volunteers are
helping biologists monitor for chronic wast-
ing disease by collecting samples from road-
killed and hunter-harvested deer. Elsewhere,
CWF volunteers conduct wildlife damage in-
spections and issue Official Kill Permits
where appropriate, volunteer at their local
shooting range, or conduct annual inspec-
tions of Virginias regulatory markers within
the state's inland waterways. And, volunteers
who are handy with tools can assist with
equipment repair and maintenance, grounds
keeping, and occasional construction or dem-
Volunteers who prefer a desk are also in
luck; they may assist administrative staff at
DCIF's regional offices by answering phones,
greeting visitors, and helping with generd of-
"A lot of our volunteers have a back-
ground with natural resources," says Ran-
dolph. "But many of them do not. You dont
have to be an outdoorsman to volunteer."
There are some requirements for potential
volunteers, however, including the submis-
sion of an application and a background
chtxk. Regular volunttrrs must beat kust 18.
Junior Volunteers — who must be sujx"r\'isal
by an adult or guardian — may be 14 to 18
years old. Since adult .super\'ision is required
for younger volunttrrs, m.in\ participate .in
32 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HunfFishVA.com
groups through Boy Scout or Girl Scout
troops, classrooms, or community groups.
College students have a new opportuni-
ty to volunteer this year through the Wildlife
Internship Network, which is managed as
part of the Complementary Work Force Pro-
gram. Participating students must be cur-
rently enrolled in an accredited college or
university in Virginia, and will have the op-
portunity to gain experience by working with
professionals throughout DGIF, from fish-
eries management and wildlife biology to
marketing and information technology. "The
staff is very supportive of this, because many
of them had the opponunity, when they were
in college, to do internships," says Randolph.
"Our staff are committed to making these
opportunities available for students."
DGIF's Complementary Work Force
Program is just a few years old, and doesn't yet
span the entire state. "Right now, the Com-
plementary Work Force Program is only ac-
tive in Regions 1 and 4," explains Randolph.
"We do not have an active CWF Program in
Regions 2 and 3." Randolph explains that the
Agency will need to hire regional coordina-
tors in order to incorporate those regions.
"We are optimistic that we will be able to ex-
pand the program statewide." Until then, res-
idents in these regions are encouraged to
consider other volunteer opportunities
"People come for so many different rea-
sons," says Randolph. "It could be that
they've received some past benefit from
DGIF and they want to give back. It could be
because they enjoy the outdoors, and the\'
want to do their part to conserve it. Or, it
could be that they just want some new chal-
lenge." Whatever the reason, the CWF re-
gional coordinator works with each CWF
volunteer to ensure they receive the opportu-
nities that best fit their interests. "It is truly a
volunteer opportunity where the volunteers
are the final decision maker in whether they
participate in a given activity." In other
words, whether you'd prefer to operate a boat,
chat with students, or assist in a regional of-
fice, the Complementary Work Force Pro-
gram will help you find a volunteer
opportunity that fits your schedule and your
Cristina Santiestevart tvrites about wildlife and the
environmnn from her home in Virginia's Blue Ridge
.* yry^-^-: >^
Top, surveys are often conducted under tight timelines, and volunteers help staff witfi
data collection. Here, many CWF members have wildlife-related knowledge to share.
JULY/AUGUST 201 2 ♦ 33
essay by King Montgomery
y father used to say, "There's
no such thing as a free
lunch." I soon learned that
even though something is "free," someone is
paying for it. And that has been the case with
the Departments 39 Wildlife Management
Areas (WMAs) and DGIF-owned fishing
lakes until this year.
Only some of the many thousands of
visitors to the WMAs and the lakes have paid
their way; licensed hunters, anglers, trappers,
and those who register boats are in this group.
Since the inception of WMAs, these folks
have provided a "free lunch" for all the other
visitors — wildlife and bird watchers, wildlife
photographers, hikers, and in some WMAs
campers, horseback riders, and those who use
Since January 1, 2012, visitors over 17
years of age to WMAs and state lakes who do
not have a valid hunting, fishing, or trapping
license, or current boat registration, must pay
a Daily Access Fee of $4 or an Annual Access
Fee of $23. Payment may be made either
through the DGIF website, by calling 1 -866-
721-691 I , or through I. itcnsing Agents. This
evens the playing held and all visitors now
must "pay to play," which will help with
WMA wildlife habit.ii management and im-
provemeni costs, niainicn.ince costs, person-
nel costs, and the like.
New Access Fee to Visit
The WMA systems primary mission is
to maintain and enhance wildlife habitats
that support game and non-game wildlife
while providing opportunities to hunt, fish,
trap, and view wildlife. Now, with the new
fees in place, all users can contribute to main-
taining and growing the WMA program.
The decision to levy access fees to the
WMAs was not lighdy made. Over 4,000
WMA visitors were queried on-site and many
thousands more were surveyed on the Inter-
net. The vast majority of responders favored
the Access Fee because it is the equitable and
fair thing to do.
Executive Director Bob Duncan en-
courages "folks who will now have to buy an
Access Permit to consider purchasing a hunt-
ing or fishing license instead." He continues,
"The operation and maintenance of this
statewide system of WMAs would be fiirther
enhanced because a hunting or fishing license
brings federal matching dollars as well, where
the Access Permit does not."
It makes sense, then, to get a hunting or
fishing license that is cheaper than a WMA
Annual Permit and brings in more operating
funds. And a big plus, says Duncan, is that
"DGIF has a ntunber of outreach programs
to get folks involved in hunting and fishing.
Those citizens who don't now hunt or fish
may find that they enjoy it once they have the
opportunity to experience the pleasures of
these time-honored traditions."
For more information, call 804-367-
1000 or go to www.dgifvirginia.gov/access-
King Montgomery is a freelance outdoors/travel writer
and photographer from Burke and a frequent contri-
butor to Virginia Wildlife. Contact him at
kinganglerl @aol. com.
34 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com
AFIELD AND AFLOAT
One With the Wilderness: Passions of
a Solo Bowhunter, 2nd edition
2009 Herd Bull Productions &
James W. Smith Printing Company
Hardcover with color photographs
"To be alone in nature is not to be lonely. The
companionship of the elements surrounds us on
every side, enveloping us in a living web of vital-
ity and movement. Within that mantle we are
enabled to find our own place, uninfluenced by
the demands and bustle of everyday life. We are
able to hear the wisdom that wells up from our
unique perspective — wisdom that the elements
alone can amplify bud enough for us to hear
and understand. "
What a privilege it is to read such an action-
packed and heartfelt account of one hunter's
true-life adventure stories. From the begin-
ning, Mike Mitten's life has been immersed in
outdoor tradition. So organic is hunting to
his way of life, that his biology degree from
Northern Illinois University was partially fi-
nanced by fijr trapping and by hunting rac-
coon with his beloved hounds. Mitten reveals
how self-reliance, reverence for nature, and
sharply-honed woodsmanship skills have
made it possible for him to spend multiple
weeks alone in the wilderness with pack and
bow (often at the mercy of the elements and
unpredictable wildlife), getting up close and
personal with the species he hunts: deer, feral
hog, caribou, moose, bear, and elk, just to
name a few.
The action is lively, and as Mitten re-
counts his bowhunting and fishing experi-
ences in the Alaskan bush and in the
wilderness areas of Wisconsin, Illinois, Col-
orado, Texas, and Canada, we wonder with
each turn of the page, "WTiat's going to hap-
pen next?!" I won't spoil it for you, but by the
end of the book you'll understand:
^ Why it's not a good thing to pitch your
tent too close to your bear pole.
^ Why a dead moose isn't always a dead
4 Why Ziploc bags can be your best
4 Why we must be confidently prepared
for hunting success, but humble enough
to appreciate how the web of life works
when the hunt doesn't go our way.
Mitten tackles a few controversial topics
such as predator, and trophy, hunting.
Through his thoughtful narrative, and be-
cause Mitten is both scientist and outdoor
philosopher, one can begin to understand the
occasional, ethical, and area-specific 'selective'
hunting of certain animals from a conserva-
tion perspective. This is a discussion not every
hunter is either emotionally or intellectually
equipped to carry off with any depth, but
Mitten's perceptions add much to the debate.
Aside from .some pretty gripping tales,
there are poignant tributes to fellow hunters
and friends who have passed on to other
hunting grounds, and tips-of-the-cap to myr-
iad outdoor mentors who've helped inspire
his quests. He's honest about his triumphs as
well as his mistakes, and he doesn't sugarcoat
the real dangers involved in hunting isolated
areas. Mitten extols the wonders present in
pre-hunt scouting trips and days afield when
the hunter goes empty-handed. During these
moments, tree canopies become woodland
cathedrals, and the appreciative hunter can
still thrill to the sound of birdcall or bugling
elk. Ihis book will appeal to hunter and non-
hunter alike, and will surely cause the avid
bowhunter to nock arrows in his or her
I'll let Mitten speak for himself as he de-
scribes outdoor tradition coming fiall circle
on family land he has tended and hunted for
"My father and I replanted the trees. Even-
tually the trees took hold, and out grew the grass-
es, growingover a foot per year. Five years later, I
hid behind one of those trees as a group of deer
fed from a clover field back into the stand of
evergreens we planted. A big doe passed out of
range, but her button buck trotted past as I drew
and released. This first deer was so special to
me... It was a special deer because the trees we
planted provided secure cover for the deer, and
also provided me with structure to hide behind. I
was never more connected to the web of life than
when I took my first deer. The romance of taking
a deer while hiding behind a tree returned thir-
ty-years later, telling my fifreen-year-old son the
story of my first deer while we hung in a tree-
stand in one of the trees I had planted. It mat-
tered not that we didn't get any shots at deer that
evening; we were in a sacred place on grandpa's
land held alofi by a sturdy tree trunk that once
slipped through my fingers into a slit in the
While fishing a private pond in Spotsylvania
County on the afternoon of February 4, 2012
with Dad (Jason Rawlings) and grandfather
(Bobby Rawlings), Guy Robert Rawlings (three
years old) lands a largemouth bass. Reeling the
fish in was quite a chore but Guy caught this
one all by himself, and much to his surprise it
was a citation for length In Virginia.
JULY/AUGUST 201 2 ♦ 35
At Kiptopeke, 50 Years
of Banding Birds
by Curtis Badger
Kiptopeke State Park, a high bluff overlook-
ing the Chesapeake Bay, was once the site of a
ferry terminal. Before the Chesapeake Bay
Bridge-Tunnel opened in 1964, people
would drive to Kiptopeke and catch the boat
to Linle Creek and points south. A few rem-
nants of that era still remain. On a sandy hill
just beyond the terminal area a rusting metal
sign advenises "Tourinns Motor Court - Free
TV." Tourinns provided food and lodging for
ferry passengers, and it played a part in anoth-
er chapter of Kiptopeke history that contin-
In the fall of 1 963 a group of friends
who shared an interest in birds stopped for
lunch at the restaurant prior to boarding the
ferry. While there, they noticed a great num-
ber of birds in the nearby woods and fields.
They realized that the birds were gathering at
the tip of the peninsula before making the 1 7-
mile Chesapeake Bay crossing. And they had
an idea. What if they were to set up a banding
station and collect data that could be used to
study the movement of songbirds along the
And so they did. Thanks to their dedica-
tion, we'll soon have a half-century of unin-
terrupted data on the fall migration. The
original banding station began as a modest
operation run by six volunteers: Fred Scott,
Charlie Hacker, Mike and Dorothy Mitchell,
and Walter and Doris Smith. Today the sta-
tion is run by the Coastal Virginia Wildlife
Observatory (www.cvwo.org), a non-profit
organization dedicated to field research, edu-
cation, and habitat conservation. CVWO
operates the banding station from mid-
August until late November, as well as a near-
by hawk observatory, just across a grassy field
from the old Tourinns sign. Each year, the
station will band around 10,000 birds repre-
senting about 100 different species. When
the birds are banded they are quickly identi-
fied, measured, and evaluated for age, sex,
and fat stores. Information is entered into the
Department of the Interior Bird Banding
Laboratory database (www.doi.gov/data
As the Kiptopeke banding station cele-
brates its 50* year, it will continue a mission
that has become increasingly important in re-
cent years: educating the public about bird
migration and the need to protect the habitat
birds rely upon during their travels. Virginias
Eastern Shore acts as a natural funnel, nar-
rowing at its southern tip, a place where birds
gather in great numbers before crossing the
mouth of the bay. While here, they must rest
and build up fat reserves to fuel the remain-
der of their journey. So protection of natural
habitat here is a vital step in providing food
Fortunately, over the past several years
much habitat on the southern tip of the East-
ern Shore has been protected by state, federal,
and private conservation ownership. In addi-
tion to Kiptopeke State Park and the vision-
ary land conservation efforts by the Coastal
Program at the Department of Environmen-
tal Quality, there is the Eastern Shore of Vir-
ginia National Wildlife Refuge and
Fisherman Island NWR, as well as Magothy
Bay, Cape Charles, and Savage Neck Dunes
(see feature in this issue) natural area pre-
serves. The barrier islands along the coast are
protected by The Nature Conservancy, pro-
viding a green corridor that runs from the
ocean to the bay. It is a place where birds can
gather, rest, and refuel as they head for points
south, much as humans once did during the
days when the ferries sailed.
IMAGE OF THE MONTH
Congratulations go to Paul A. Block of Williamsburg
for his awesome photograph of a robber fly taken in
July of 2009. Paul shot this image using a Canon
PowerShot SD600, no ISO recorded, l/500th, f/5.6.
The green background really makes the bug stand
out, emphasizing the alien appearance of this
impressive fly. I LOVE this shot!!! Way to go, Paul!
You are invited to submit one to five of your best
photographs to "Image of the Month," Virginia
Wildlife Magazine, P.O. Box 11104, 4010 West Broad
Street, Richmond, VA 23230-1104. Send original
slides, super high-quality prints, or high-res jpeg,
tiff, or raw files on a disk and include a self-ad-
dressed, 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 number. We look fonvard to
seeing and sharing your work with our readers.
36 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE « www.HuntFishVA.com
Effective July 1, DGIh began selling the 2012
Virginia State Migratory Waterfowl Conser-
vation Stamp. The artwork for the stamp,
painted by John Obolewicz, is entitled "Buf-
fleheads at Cape Henry Light" and depicts a
pair of buffleheads arching up with wings
outspread over the water. Funds generated
from all sales of the Virginia Migratory Wa-
terfowl Conservation Stamp are placed in
the Department's Game Protection Fund
and are accounted for separately, designat-
ed as the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Con-
servation Stamp Fund. Monies are used to
contract with appropriate nonprofit organi-
zations for cooperative waterfowl habitat
improvement projects to: protect, preserve,
restore, enhance and develop waterfowl
habitat in Virginia through the Department's
waterfowl program; and, offset the adminis-
trative costs associated with production, is-
suance of, and accounting for the stamp. The
annual Migratory Waterfowl Conservation
Stamp can be purchased for a fee of $10 (res-
ident or non-resident) at license agents or
clerks who sell Virginia hunting licenses or
from the Department's website.
August 1 8: 1-Day Survey Event, CaJedon
Natural Area State Park
More information at:
201 2-e\cnt.s/201 2-vhs-events/index.htm
Buy Your Lifetime
Hunting or Fishing License
Bear populations have increased in Virginia
and throughout the eastern U.S. during the
past quarter-century. Harvest management,
reforestation, public land purchases, oak for-
est maturation, bear restoration efforts, and
natural range expansions have all contributed
to bear population growth here. Although
this growing population has been welcomed
by many people, the abundance of bears can
also create concerns for others.
Since 2001, Virginia's Black Bear Man-
agement Plan (BBMP) has provided the
blueprint for black bear management to meet
the Department's mission of managing
"wildlife... to maintain optimum popula-
tions... to serve the needs of the Common-
For six weeks during June and July, we
are asking for public input on the revised
BBMP This plan has been constructed over
the past two years through guidance from
public Stakeholder Advisory Committees
and the DGIF Technical Committee. The
goals in the revised BBMP reflect the values
of a diverse public and are broad statements
of principles and ideals about what should be
accomplished with bear management in Vir-
ginia. This plan will guide black bear man-
agement across the commonwealth over the
next ten years.
We encourage you to review ;ind com-
ment on the draft BBMP, which will be post-
ed at www.dgil. virginia.gov/coninieni.
Congratulations are in order to the recent
winners of the Virginia Outdoor Writers
Association's high school and collegiate
writing competitions. Announcements and
awards were made during the annual meet-
ing of the association held in Warm
Springs, Bath Count)', in late March.
In the high school contest, first place
went to William Perkins of Lancaster High
School for his essay about a sea camp he at-
tended in the Florida Keys. Second place
was awarded to Matthew Reilly of Fluvan-
na High School, whose story recounted fiy
fishing adventures with his dad in the Blue
Ridge foothills. Sarah Smith of Lancaster
High School took third place for her story
honoring her grandfather and their last
fishing trip together.
Awards to college undergraduates
were as follows. Nikita Jathan of VCU won
first place for her entry, "Big Dreams," about
her work with elephants in Thailand.
Nicholas Lenderking-Brill of the Universi-
ty of Virginia took second place for his tale
about a trek along the Appalachian Trail — a
"coming of age" story.
Winning essays may be viewed online,
Kudos also are in order for VOWA
members Marie Majarov and Beau Beasley,
who recendy took honors for their photog-
raphy and writing skills during the annual
conference of the Mason-Dixon Outdoor
JULY/AUGUST 201 2 ♦ 37
nia Department of Game and Inland Fishenc^y
Angler Recognition Program
Trophy Fifth AwBi
201 1 Ang
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Hall of Fame list is a
^_^_^__^^__^__^^_^_______^___^_^ compilation of all the freshwater anglers who qualified for advanced awards
in the Angler Recognition Program.
To achieve the status of Master Angler I, five trophy fish of different species must be caught and registered with the Virginia
Angler Recognition Program. For Master II, 10 trophy fish of different species must be caught, and so on for the Master III, IV, or
V level. Expert anglers must catch and register 10 trophy fish of the same species.
Each angler that accomplishes this feat receives a Master Angler or Expert Angler certificate and patch. Expert patches in-
clude the species on the patch. There is no fee or application for Master or Expert.
If you have records prior to 1995 and believe you may have obtained this angling status, please call the Virginia Angler
Recognition Program at (804) 367-7800 to have your records checked.
The Creel-of-the-Year Award recognizes the angler who accounts for the most trophy-size fish caught and registered in the
Angler Recognition Program from January 1 through December 31, annually.
MASTER LEVEL I
Roy L Allen
G.E. Ballard, Jr
Robert W. Breeden
David L. Brown
Andrew V. Brunk
Scott A. Buffington
Gary P Carter
RussellL Conner, III
Tommy E. Conner
Kyle V. Cox
Ramon B. Deisher, Sr.
Hershel R. Dotson
Mark C. Eavers
Timothy C. Fields
William E. Filomarino
Charles F. Fochtman
Lewis W Graves, Sr.
Roger Lee Haynes
Ronald Hill, II
Donald R. Holtz
Jimmy R. Hunziker
Robert B. Kump, Sr
Larry A. Long
Thomas L. Mantio
Charles G. McDaniel
Steven P Mitchell
Willard K. Moger
Richard D. Moody
Steward N. Moore, Sr
Michael J. Padgett
Darryl W. Peery
Jack D. Rakes, Jr
Ronald W. Reinhard
David W. Reynolds
Donald I. Satterfield
Herbert T Shepherd
Darlene M. Simmons
Thomas C. Spencer, Jr
Andrew P. Spencley
Matthew E. Stone
David R Turner
Allen R. Vandergrift
Glaten C. Wood
Jonathan R Woods
Chad R. Woodson
MASTER LEVEL II
Homer S. Brewer
Thomas W. Pearce, Jr.
James D. Pearman,Jr.
Jerry Dean Reynolds
Otis B. Rose, IV
Larry D. Wells
MASTER LEVEL III
William L. Nicar
Carl K. Bex
Gregory W. Hedrick
Michael P Schneider
Robert C.Scott, Jr.
Robert S. Scruggs
Jeffrey W. Cox
Jimmie W. Edwards
Joshua T Elliott
Richard E. Franklin, Jr.
Martin V. Hanbury
Stephen J. Miklandric
Leon M. O'Leary
EdgarR. Pettry, II
Richard B. Abrahamian
Gregory M. Clark
Willard K. Moger
Gray A. Moss
John A. Nicholson
Kenneth C. Behnken
Kenneth D. Howell
Benjamin A. Lane
Tony L. Mitchell
William L. Nicar
Milan S.Osborne, Jr.
Robert G. Wagner
John A. Cubbage
Keith R. Keeter
John W. Woods
Thomas A. Biller
Vernon L. Bryant, Sr
Robert L.Jimerson, III
Anthonys. Martin, Jr
William J. Puccio
38 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com
&r Hall of Fame
Norman E. Cox, Jr.
Elijah C. Edwards
James W. Ferguson, Sr
Robert W. Henegar, Sr
Kenneth T. Swain
Caren N. Hundley
Stephen H. Helvin
Richard C. Insley
Walter K. Obst
Kevin D. Stewart
Dale L. Sturdifen
Derek Mayhew (38)
Largemouth Bass (2),
Crappie(l), Blue Catfish
(30), Flathead Catfish (4),
201 1 ANGLERS OF THE YEAR
Largemouth Bass, 12 lbs., 25/2 in.
Smallmouth Bass, 7 lbs. 10 oz., 2VA in.
Crappie, 4 lbs., 18% in.
Rock Bass, 1 lb. 13 oz., l^'A in.
Sunfish, 3 lbs. 1 oz., 14 in.
White Bass, 2 lbs. 10 oz., IS'A in.
Hybrid Striped Bass, 11 lbs. 8 oz., 287: in.
Freshwater Drum, 24 lbs. 4 oz., 37% in.
Striped Bass, 33 lbs., 44 in.
White Perch, 2 lb., 2 oz.
2 1b., 2 oz.
Channel Catfish, 25 lbs. 8 oz.
BlueCatfish, 143lbs., 57in.
Flathead Catfish, 52 lbs.
Rainbow Trout, 14 lbs. 6 oz.
Brook Trout, 4 lbs. 13 oz., 20/2 in.
4lbs. 13oz., 20in.
Brown Trout, 14 lbs. 2 oz.
Chain Pickerel, 4 lbs. 12 oz., 26 in.
Muskellunge, 37 lbs., 52 in.
Northern Pike, 6 lbs. 10 oz., 32 in.
Walleye, 10 lbs., 10 oz., 28'/* in.
Yellow Perch, 2 lbs., 4 oz., 15 in.
Gar, 26 lbs. 8 oz., 54 in.
Bowfin, 15 lbs., 30/2 in.
Carp, 46 lbs., 47/2 in.
Benjamin W. Wright, Palmyra
Randy Lobono, Jr, Barrington Hills, IL
Rice Brooks, Waynesboro
Anthony Smith, Gretna
Anthony Smith, Gretna
Amy Jennings, Brookneal
Dalton O'Quinn, Haysi
Paul Denison, III, Stem, NC
Lawrence L. Michael, Boyds, MD
Brett E. Old, Chesapeake
Howard Didier, III, Chesapeake
Robert L. Jimerson, Jr., Glen Allen
Richard Anderson, Greenville, NC
Samuel Roach, Roxboro, NC
Mark Eavers, Greenville
Cecil D. Miller, Grottos
Will Helmick, Staunton
Mark Eavers, Greenville
Elmer T. Merryman, Jr., Fredericksburg
William P. Haines, Christiansburg
Guy W. Woods, Broadway
David W. Oaks, Jonesville
Cameron Thomas, III, Charlottesville
Arron Bowen, Alton
Trace E. Austin, Chesapeake
Jacob A. McGrady, Spotsylvania
BODY OF WATER
Smith Mountain Lake
Buggs Island Lake
Buggs Island Lake
Buggs Island Lake
Hunting Run Reservoir
Ragged Mountain Res.
Buggs Island Lake
PLEASE NOTE: You can find all you need to know about the Trophy Fish Program at
www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/trophy/ or call 804-367-7800.
JULY/AUGUST 201 2 ♦ 39
by Lynda Richardson
There is Something Phoney About Cameras These Days
I am finally giving in to some
of the high-fiilutlng technol-
ogy that is infiltrating. . . no, tak-
ing over our daily lives. A few
months ago, I retired my beat up
old flip phone and purchased a
fancy new, latest and greatest
"Oh, you're going to LOVE
it!" said husband Mike.
"You really NEED this
phone. It will make your life so
much easier," a friend agreed.
Don't they know they're
talking to the number one anti-
video game, gadget person on the
So I get the iPhone. Yes, it is
slim. It's nice to have e-mail and
the Internet close at hand. Yes, I
did get one mindless video game.
(Angry Birds Rio. Some of those
levels are IMPOSSIBLE!) But it
was the 8-megapixel camera and
bright f2.4 lens that really in-
trigued me. How good could it
really be? And what about all ol
those intriguing photography
Do you have any clue how
many photography apps are
available? I stopped counting at
1 00 and spent no less than an hour review-
ing some of them. There are apps for creating
360-dcgrec panoramic stitching, editing and
managing images, changing someone's hair
color (yes, that is what I said!), creating
frames around your photos, High Dynamic
Range (HDR), and switching people and/or
animal's faces around, as well us numerous
filters for creating vintage and many other
photographic process looks, fisheye lens ef-
fects, collage makers, and many, many more!
You can even apply more than one app to a
I can't believe this wealth of cniziness!
Yes, I chiased Miss Katie around the hiouse
wfiile looking for a great location to try out the
Toon Camera app. I did slip her a few treats for
fier trouble and I think I got a cool picture out
of the deal. Wfiat do you thiink?
Part of me insisted that I could download
all of my iPhone images into Photoshop
and work them that way, but another part
of me delighted in how much fim it would
be to try the different apps and be able to
do so right on my phone! Some apps arc
free but others cost $0.99 and higher,
which can .uld up if you don't restrain
yourself (I have only downloaded
three... so far.)
One app I panicularly enjoy is
Toon Camera. Once turned on,
anywhere you point the camera
looks solarized and cartoon-like
and you view the effect in real-
time, which makes it even cooler.
Right after I first downloaded this
app I ran around the house chas-
ing my dogs, trying to take pic-
tures of them. They hated it, but I
really love the efi^ect it brings to an
Yes, I know. Nothing can beat
photographs taken with our
heavy, high-end digital SLR cam-
eras. . . yet. But there is something
really amazing about being able to
use a small, thin phone to capture
pretty darn good images. And it's
even more amazing that you can
"process" them right in that device
with a zillion creative and exciting
apps to choose from.
So if you're adventurous and
want to try something fun, check
out photography apps that you
can download for your phone.
Your next camera might be a bit
phoney — ya never know.
Get to know your
♦ Play with composition and lighting.
♦ Don't limit yourself to one shot.
♦ Shoot a lot.
♦ Don't be afraid to shoot ordinary
subjects like shoes, rocks, and trees.
♦ Watch out for the digital zoom.
♦ Watch your backgrounds.
♦ Get closer!
♦ Keep the lens clean.
40 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.conn
On the Water
by Tom Guess
Dude, You're Fixing to Run Aground
In all of my time running boats I have
come very close to running aground but,
fortunately, that has not happened — unless I
was planning on it. What I mean is, if I want
to nose my boat onto a beach or island that is
one thing, but to actually be operating a boat
at speed and make contaa with the bottom . . .
it's never a good thing!
During my previous career in the U.S.
Coast Guard I learned a lot of wise things that
kept me out of trouble. One really helpful
phrase I learned was, "Crab pots don't float
and birds don't walk on water." When the sun
is glaring ofFof the surface, it appears that you
could run your boat forever and be okay. Not
so fast! If you see crab pots that appear to be
floating, it actually means they are on the bot-
tom and the bottom is only a few inches or
maybe a foot deep! If you see birds walking on
water, it means that the bottom is even closer
to the surface, and this is a place you never
want to run your boat or you will soon experi-
ence the unwelcomed scenario of being "high
and dry " — or hard aground.
What should you do if you do run
aground? First make sure that ever\'one is
okay and that there are no injuries, and have
everyone put on a life jacket. It never fails that
someone will get the idea to step off^ of the
boat and push, and they could find them-
selves in deep water quickly if the boat is near
the edge of a drop-off. llien, see if you are
taking on any water from damage to the hull
of your boat. If you are, don't panic — because
you are on the bottom! Also, if you are taking
on water it is wise to leave your boat aground
and radio or call for assistance. If you have a
VHF-FM radio, contact the U.S. Coast
Guard on channel 1 6. If you are using a cellu-
lar phone dial 911, but be sure to tell the oper-
ator where you are because the call may
bounce to a 911 center in a different county
or distant location.
Next, drop anchor if you are in coastal
waters so that if you are near a tidal change
you will not drift until you are ready to ma-
neuver (if your boat is not damaged). Use a
boat hook or paddle and take soundings or
depths around your boat to help determine
where good or deeper water is.
If you do decide to push, be ver\' careful.
Many people over-exert themselves and go
into cardiac arrest or injure themselves while
trying to free their boat. If you fi-ee yourself,
be sure to inspect your boat thoroughly to be
certain you are not taking on water from
damage to the hull before returning to nor-
mal operations. It is also wise to return to your
trailer or boat dock and pull your boat out to
visually inspect the hull before continuing on,
esjjecially if you hit bottom hard or the bot-
tom was rocky or something other than sand
All of these steps will help you safely get
out of a difficult situation — without making
it worse. Until next time: Be Responsible, Be
Safe, and Have Fim!
Tom Guess, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret), serves as the
state boating law administrator at the DGIF.
Boating Safety Courses
Personal Watercraf t (PWC)
All ages by July 1,2012.
No one under the age of 14
can operate a PWC
Motorboat 1 hp or Greater
Age 30 or younger, July 1, 2012
Age 40 or younger, July 1, 2013
Age 45 or younger, July 1, 2014
Age 50 or younger, July 1, 2015
All ages by July 1,2016
JULY/AUGUST 201 2 ♦ 41
by Ken and Maria Perrotte
Bass with Angel Hair Pasta and Citrus Cream Sauce
Back in the dark days before people could win hundreds of
thousands of dollars in tournaments catching a live well full
oi Micropterus salmoides^ the common practice was to toss them
into an ice chest for filleting or cleaning.
Gramp baited-up night crawlers to fish for everything. Not
differentiating between largemouth or smallmouth bass, he'd
simply refer to them by the more generic name, "black bass," and
add the fish to the stringer.
We don't eat bass much anymore — partly for fear of those
who'd want us hung by our thumbs and similarly filleted for
killing these hard-fighting, piscatorial predators. But bass taste
good, especially younger ones taken from cool, clean waters.
This dish is pan-sauteed fillet of largemouth bass served over
angel hair pasta and dressed with a citrus cream sauce that also fea-
tures sun-dried tomatoes and just enough pepper to balance out.
Don't sacrifice a bass if it's against your principles. Most fish
that fillet well, except for more uniquely-flavored ones such as
tuna, would work. This includes dolphin (mahi), rockfish,
snapper, grouper, and flounder on the saltwater side and crappie
or bluegill in fresh water.
Angel hair pasta adds a nice, delicate foundation, but proper-
ly cooked spaghetti or linguine would also suffice in a pinch.
Cooking involves experimentation. That's how this versatile
sauce came together. Experiment ftinher by adding or omitting
herbs and spices and try it atop vegetables or other meats.
Consider parsley, dill, and lemon juice for topping asparagus or
broccoli, or rosemary and basil for chicken. Grated parmesan may
go well with shrimp or cauliflower. If you don't mind gilding the
lily, add a little crab meat. Have fun!
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon finely chopped scallions
3 thinly sliced shallots
1 clove minced garlic
Vi cup dry white wine
8 ounces bottled clam juice
'/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons diced sun-dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence (or Vi teaspoon each basil
1 teaspoon orange zest
Vi teaspoon lime zest
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces angel hair pasta (fresh is always better)
8 small bass fillets (about 24 ounces offish)
Orange zest and chives for garnish
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add scallions, shallots, and garlic and cook for a minute until
vegetables begin to soften. Pour in wine, clam juice, orajige and
lime juices. Stir in tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, and
zest. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to
medium-low and simmer for 10 to 1 5 minutes, until sauce is
reduced by half
Cook and drain the pasta according to package directions
for al dente.
Lighdy season the fish fillets with a litde salt and pepper.
Cayenne pepper adds an extra kick, but don't overpower with it.
Dredge in flour and sh;ikc to remove the excess.
Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over
medium-high heat. Cook the fish, browning on both sides.
Depending on thickness, the fillets will take 2 to 5 minutes on
each side to cook through.
Toss the pasta with half the sauce. Add the fish and top
with the remaining sauce. Ciarnish with orange zest ;uid chives.
1 X-spite the citrus flavors, the cream and savory nuances help
this dish pair well with a C'hardonnay or Chablis, although a
S.iuvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio may al.so work.
42 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com
Richmond Raceway Complex
600 E. Laburnum Avenue
Purchase your hunting and fishing licenses
Pick up a copy of the new hunting regulations
Subscribe to Virginia Wildlife magazine and our
online Outdoor Report
Purchase the 201 3 wildlife calendar
Visit our wildlife exhibits
And much, much more!
For information: www.sportsmanshow.com
Notice About Annual
With this issue, Virginia Wildlife becomes a
bi-monthly magazine. We've added more content
and special features, as we move to six issues a year.
This change means that, even in the face of increased
production costs, Virginia Wildlife will maintain its
low annual subscription rate and remain free of
advertising while giving you more of the coverage
that you have asked for.
As part of the new production schedule, we
will publish the annual photography contest in the
July-August 2013 issue. The format will change
somewhat and categories and prizes will be stream-
lined. Other contest details are being ironed out
now; complete information about the new contest
will be posted by July 1, at:
and Wildlife Trail Guide
Provides information on the nation's
first statewide wildlife viewing trail all in
one convenient book. This 400-pg.
color publication provides information
on over 670 sites with updated maps,
detailed driving directions, and contact
information for each site.
Item n VW-226
Canvas Tote Bag
This attractive bag makes a great tote
for groceries, picnic items, or camera
and field guides. Show your support for
the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail
with this reinforced cotton canvas blue
and tan bag. Measures 14x5x1 3 "and
includes FREE SHIPPING to thank you
for your support.
ltem#VW-135 Price $12.95
Become a budding naturalist by recording your bird sightings and outdoor
observations in this handsome leather-bound journal. Includes a complete
list of Virginia birds at the front; measures lO'A x 7". FREE SHIPPING to
thank you for supporting wildlife conservation and the Virginia Birding
and Wildlife Trail.
Item n VW-228
DCIF and Virginia
Our brand new DGIF and Virginia
Wildlife high profile hats are avail-
able in 100% cotton and are size
Item #VW-138 (DGIF hat)
Item #VW-139 (Virginia Wildlife hat)
(plus $7.25 S&H)
To Order visit the Department's website at:
www.HuntFishVA.com or call (804) 367-2569.
Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery.
Virginia Department ot
Game and Inland Fisheries
4010 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23230
Magazine subscription-related calls only 1-800-710-9369 ♦ Annual subscription for just $12.95
All other colls to (804) 367-1 000; (804) 367-1 278 TTY