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Full text of "Virginia Wildlife"

2012 CONTENTS 




B 



"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. 




18 



22 



26 



30 



Hot Fishing Action for 
Hot Weather 

by Mark Fike 

When summer temps heat up, it's time to explore 
the finer points of croaker fishing. 



Wild Rebound: 

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 



BOB MCDONNELL 
Governor 




1 



CERTIFICATE ofRECOQNITION 

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 
Virgmia. 





O'^^V ^(AAjJc 



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 



VOLIIMF 73 



MIMBf-RS 7&8 



COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGI 
Bob McDonnell, Governor 

HUNTING & FISHING 
LICENSE FEES 

Subsidized this publication 

SECRETARY OF NATURAL RESOUP 
Douglas W. Domenech 

DEPARTMENT OF GAME AND 

INLAND FLSHERIES 

Bob Duncan 

Executive Director 

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 

MAG.\Z1NF STAFF 

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 
VC'ildlifc. P. O. Box 830, Boone, Iowa 50036. j 
other communications concerning this publicati 
ginia Wildlife, P. O. Box 1 1 104, 4010 West Bn 
Richmond, Virginia 232.W-1104. Subscription i 
SI 2.95 for one year, $23.95 for two years; $4.00 ( 
back issue, subject to availability. No refunds lor i 
less than $5.00. To subscribe, call toll-lTee (800) 7li 
POSTMASTER: Please send all address changa B> I 
Viildlifc. PO. Box 830, Boone, Iowa 100.%. I 
riodicals paid at Richmond, Virginia and addici 
offices. 

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' 




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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 
wrong. 

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 
wildlife. 

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 
things. 

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. 



Jt)LY/AUGUST2012 




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. 



8 



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. 



If^f 




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 
America's fisheries. 



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 



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Wildlife Manaecment Area 



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A Partnership in Cunservalioii 



Cparimrnl of Gamr and Inland l-ishi-ric 
IS Ush and \Silrtlifr Sf ri if 

Fiirl \ P Mill <if Hilin 

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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 
resources. ?f 

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 
largely unknown." 

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 



Cycle 
of Success 



Anglers, hunters, 

and boaters 
purchase 
fishing/hunting 
equipment & 
watercraft 
fuels. 



^OR\^^ 



Manufacturers pay 
excise tax on that 
equipment and 
boaters pay fuel 
taxes. 



U.S. Fish & Wildlife 
Service allocates 
funds to state fish and 
wildlife agencies. 



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©Bill Lea 



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 
herd. 

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 
their land. 

"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. 

Trigger Management 

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 




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Good habitat management and forest thinning create new food sources and cover for deer and 

other wildlife. 




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 
MiUer. 

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 
age structure. 

"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." 

Habitat Matters 

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 



What is 

DMAP? 



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- 
tive habitat. 

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 
virginia.gov/wildlife/deer/dmap.asp 
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 
Myers. 

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 
food plots." 

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. " 

Results 
May Vary 

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 
magazines. 



JULY/AUGUST2012 ♦ 17 




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18 



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t 



rreilifig Action 

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. 

Drift Fishing 

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 
the current. 



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 



THINGS TO 
REMEMBER 

♦ Ifyou fish at night, be sure to have 
the proper lights on your boat and 
use them. 

♦ 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 
a hurry. 

♦ 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 
shallows. 



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 
shoals. 

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. 




m 



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 









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TJ 



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- 
swing. 

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 
head. 

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, 
WVU/PSU. 



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- 
Appalachians. 

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 



.vrA 



, ,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- 
markable bird. 

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 



Sally Mill! 



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. 



RESOURCES 

• http://katznerlab.com 

• www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/birds/ 
golden-eagle 

• www.wildlifecenterorg 



JULY/AUGUST 201 2 ♦ 25 




ilPdaey 





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 

dune system. 



VIRGINIA WILDUFE ♦ vmw.HuntFlshVA.com 



:A-4' 



utes 




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.-'- 



.v-.rv ^yr./O 



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. 



'I est 



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 
nonetheless. 

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 
beach. 

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 



\ 



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(j>, 





Volunteer 

for Wildlife 



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: 

• Registeronlineatwww.dgif.virginia.gov/volunteer/ 

• Or, contact Estella Randolph, VDGIF Volunteer Administrator, with your 
questions orto request an application: 

Email: estella.randolph@dgif.virginia.gov 
Phone:804-367-4331 

Once registered as a CWF volunteer, you can review volunteer opportunities 
atwww.dgif.virginia.gov/volunteer/cwf/opportunities. 

Regional Coordinators: 

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 



1. 



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. 



3. 



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 
elsewhere. 



4. 



2. 



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 
Virginia's waters. 

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. 



I 



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- 
olition projects. 

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- 
fice work. 

"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 
through DGIF. 

"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 
interests, i* 



Cristina Santiestevart tvrites about wildlife and the 
environmnn from her home in Virginia's Blue Ridge 
Mountains. 






.* yry^-^-: >^ 



,V /-• 




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 



M 



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 
sighting-in ranges. 

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 

Wildlife 
Management Areas 



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- 
permit. ?f 

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 




Outdoor 
Classics 






One With the Wilderness: Passions of 
a Solo Bowhunter, 2nd edition 

Mike Mitten 

2009 Herd Bull Productions & 
James W. Smith Printing Company 
Hardcover with color photographs 
$38.00 

\\-\vw.brothersofThebow.com 
641-693-9100 

"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. " 

-Caitlin Matthews 

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 
moose. 

4 Why Ziploc bags can be your best 
friend. 

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 
dreams. 

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 
years: 



"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 
ground. " 




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- 
ues today. 

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 
coast? 

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 
base). 

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 
and cover 



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. 



Virginia 
Herpetological 
Society Events 

August 1 8: 1-Day Survey Event, CaJedon 
Natural Area State Park 

More information at: 

www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/ 
201 2-e\cnt.s/201 2-vhs-events/index.htm 



Buy Your Lifetime 

Hunting or Fishing License 

1-866-721-6911 




Black Bear 
Management 

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- 
wealth. " 

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, 
Writers! 

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, 
at www.\'owa.org. 

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 
Writers Association. 




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 
DuaneA. Barlow 
MelanieA. Bayford 
Dean Blankenship 
Robert W. Breeden 
TroyM. Brooks 
David L. Brown 
Andrew V. Brunk 
Scott A. Buffington 
Michael E.Carbaugh 
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 
ShaunM. Fleming 
Mark W.Fletcher 
Charles F. Fochtman 
Lewis W Graves, Sr. 
Roger Lee Haynes 
Ronald Hill, II 
Tom Hippie 
Donald R. Holtz 



Kenneth D.Howell 
Christopher Huffman 
Jimmy R. Hunziker 
Corey W.Janecky 
David W.Jenkins 
James C.Jenkins 
Robert B. Kump, Sr 
Larry A. Long 
Thomas L. Mantio 
Charles G. McDaniel 
Steven P Mitchell 
Willard K. Moger 
Emmette Mohler 
Richard D. Moody 
Steward N. Moore, Sr 
Joe Niamtu 
Michael J. Padgett 
Darryl W. Peery 
Sean Perdue 
Jack D. Rakes, Jr 
Ronald W. Reinhard 
David W. Reynolds 
M.Todd Sadler 
Donald I. Satterfield 
Herbert T Shepherd 
Darlene M. Simmons 
Logan Smith 
Thomas C. Spencer, Jr 
Andrew P. Spencley 



Matthew E. Stone 
David R Turner 
Allen R. Vandergrift 
Ben D.Williams 
Glaten C. Wood 
Jonathan R Woods 
Chad R. Woodson 

MASTER LEVEL II 

Homer S. Brewer 
Jeffery Downey 
ZaneHuffines 
David Marsico 
Matthew C.Miller 
Thomas W. Pearce, Jr. 
James D. Pearman,Jr. 
Jerry Dean Reynolds 
Otis B. Rose, IV 
Anthony M.Smith 
Larry D. Wells 

MASTER LEVEL III 

William L. Nicar 

EXPERTS 

Largemouth Bass 
Punk Baker 
Carl K. Bex 



Mitchell C.Bundick 
Gregory W. Hedrick 
JarodS. Mann 
Joe Niamtu 
JoelTParcell,Sr 
Michael P Schneider 
EricC. Schrock 
Robert C.Scott, Jr. 
Robert S. Scruggs 

Smallmouth Bass 

R.Collins 
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 

Grapple 

Richard B. Abrahamian 
Gregory M. Clark 
Richard W.CIegg 
ZacharyS. Crum 
Richard C.lnsley 
Michael W.Jones 
Willard K. Moger 



Gray A. Moss 
John A. Nicholson 

Sunfish 

Kenneth C. Behnken 
Jerry B.Gallagher 
Gary Harmon 
Kenneth D. Howell 
Benjamin A. Lane 
Tony L. Mitchell 
William L. Nicar 
Milan S.Osborne, Jr. 
Robert G. Wagner 

Channel Catfish 

John A. Cubbage 
Robert L.Jimerson,Jr 
Michael W.Jones 
Keith R. Keeter 
John W. Woods 

Blue Catfish 

Thomas A. Biller 
Vernon L. Bryant, Sr 

Flathead Catfish 
Robert L.Jimerson, III 
Anthonys. Martin, Jr 
William J. Puccio 



38 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



&r Hall of Fame 



Rainbow Trout 

Norman E. Cox, Jr. 
Elijah C. Edwards 
Robert H.ElamJr 
James W. Ferguson, Sr 
Robert W. Henegar, Sr 
Thomas R.Panko,Jr 



Kenneth T. Swain 
Randall TTilley 

Brown Trout 

Darlene M.Simmons 

Walleye 

Caren N. Hundley 



Yellow Perch 

Mark W.Fletcher 
Stephen H. Helvin 
Claude W.Hudson 
Richard C. Insley 
Walter K. Obst 
Daniel Salvitti 



Kevin D. Stewart 
Guy W.Woods 

Gar 

Dale L. Sturdifen 



Creel Award 

Derek Mayhew (38) 
Largemouth Bass (2), 
Crappie(l), Blue Catfish 
(30), Flathead Catfish (4), 
Walleye (1) 



201 1 ANGLERS OF THE YEAR 



SPECIES/SIZE 

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. 



ANGLER'S NAME/HOME 

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 

Private Pond 

Smith Mountain Lake 

Albemarle Lake 

Leesville Lake 

Private Pond 

Buggs Island Lake 

Flannagan Reservoir 

Buggs Island Lake 

Leesville Lake 

Private Pond 
Lake Meade 

James River 

Buggs Island Lake 

Dan River 

Private Pond 

Hearthstone Lake 
Private Pond 

Private Pond 

Hunting Run Reservoir 

New River 

Lake Laura 

Powell River 

Ragged Mountain Res. 

Buggs Island Lake 

Northwest River 

Private Pond 



DATE 

04/19/2011 

03/25/2011 

08/07/2011 

10/29/2011 

11/02/2011 

11/06/2011 

07/03/2011 

11/25/2011 

06/09/2011 

02/19/2011 
09/26/2011 

11/03/2011 

06/18/2011 

07/22/2011 

10/05/2011 

03/05/2011 
10/21/2011 

11/21/2011 

06/12/2011 

05/18/2011 

05/15/2011 

05/18/2011 

07/10/2011 

09/07/2011 

04/23/2011 

06/21/2011 



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 




Photo Tips 

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 
iPhone 4S. 

"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 
planet? 

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 
apps? 

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 
single image. 

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? 
©Lynda Richiardson 

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 
image! 

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 
phone camera! 

♦ Play with composition and lighting. 

♦ Don't limit yourself to one shot. 

♦ Shoot a lot. 

♦ Experiment! 

♦ 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 
or mud. 

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. 



FWC and 



Boating Safety Courses 
Are Required 

www.HuwtFishYA.cow 

Personal Watercraf t (PWC) 
"JctSkr 

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 




• • 



ining In 

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! 




Ingredients 

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 

and thyme) 
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) 
All-purpose flour 
Salt 

Black pepper 
Cayenne pepper 
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. 

Pairing 

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 




VIRGINIA OUTDOOR 
SPORTSMAN SHOW 

August 10-12 

Richmond Raceway Complex 

600 E. Laburnum Avenue 

Richmond 

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 
Photography Contest 

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: 

www.dgif.virginia.gov/virginia-wildlife 



■hn^tj 



Outdoor Catalog 



Virginia Birding 

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 



$8.50 



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 



Birder's Journal 

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 



Price $22.95 



DCIF and Virginia 
Wildlife Hats 

Our brand new DGIF and Virginia 
Wildlife high profile hats are avail- 
able in 100% cotton and are size 
adjustable. 



Item #VW-138 (DGIF hat) 

Item #VW-139 (Virginia Wildlife hat) 




$11.95 
(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 



©Wayne Hug 



»"^ 




Your Ne 
and Improved 

Virginia Wiidiife!