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Full text of "Virginia Wildlife"

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JUNE 1964 



VOLUME XXV / NUMBER 6 
20 CENTS 



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Dedicated to the Conservation of 

Virginians Wildlife and Related Natural Resources 

and to the Betterment of 

Outdoor Recreation in Virginia 



Published by Virginia commission of game and inland fisheries, Richmond, Virginia 23213 




COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA 

ALBERTIS S. HARRISON, JR., Governor 

Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries 

COMMISSIONERS 

T. D. Watkins, Chairman Midlothian 

J. C. Aaron Martinsville 

H. G. Bauserman, Sr Arlington 

A. Ree Ellis Waynesboro 

R. R. Guest King George 

R. G. GuNTER Abingdon 

J. C. Johnson Newport News 

Dr. E. C. Nettles Wakefield 

I. T. Walke, Jr Norfolk 

HoLMAN Willis, Jr Roanoke 

ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS 

Chester F. Phelps, Executive Director 

Richard H. Cross, Jr. . . . Chief, Game Division 

Robert G. Martin Chief, Fish Division 

Lillian B. Layne .... Chief, Fiscal Division 
James F. McInteer, Jr. . Chief, Education Division 
John H. McLaughlin . Chief, Law Enforcement Div. 

PUBLICATION OFFICE: Commission of Game and 
Inland Fisheries, 7 N. Second St., Richmond, Virginia 

James F. McInteer, Jr Editor 

Ann E. Pilcher Editorial Assistant 

Leon G. Kesteloo Photographer 

Harry L. Gillam Circulation 



JUNE 

Volume XXV/No. 6 

IN THIS ISSUE PAGE 

Editorial : Outdoor Manners 3 

Letters 3 

An Appraisal of Virginia's Wildlife Resources 4 

The Sly Ones 6 

The .Sycamore 8 

What Happened to the Rabbit ? 9 

Fishin' Holes: Piedmont Pickerel 11 

The Fresh-Water Bonefish 12 

Conservationgram 13 

Charlottesville Bird Study 14 

Gas Guns Sharpen Your Shooting Eye 16 

Bird of the Month : Black-and-white Warbler 23 

Drumming Log 24 

Youth Afield 25 

On the Waterfront 26 

It's the Law! 27 

Back Cover : Safety 28 



COVER: The brook trout is one of the most prized 
of game fishes, not only because of its beauty and 
gaminess but also because it makes its home in our 
most picturesque waters — those cold, swift streams 
where the natural environment provides the perfect ac- 
companiment for the vivid hues and graceful form of 
the '"brookie." Our artist: Duane Raver. 



SLBSCHIPTIONS: One year, $1.50; three years, 
$S.50. Give check or money order, made payable to 
the Treasurer of Virginia, to local game commission 
employee or send to Commission of Game and Inland 
Fisheries, P. 0. Box 1642, Richmond, Virginia 23213. 



Virginia Wildlife is published monthly at Richmond, Virginia, by the Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries, 7 North Second St 
All magazine subscriptions, change of address notices, and inquiries should be sent to Box 1642, Richmond, Va. 23213. The editorial 
office gratefully receives for publication news items, articles, photographs, and sketches of good quality which deal uith Virginia's soils. 
water, forests, and wildlife. The Commission assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts and illustrative material. Credit is 
given on material published. Permission to reprint text material is granted provided credit is given the Virginia Commission of Game and 
Inland Fisheries and Virginia WiLDLiFt. Clearances must be made with photographers or artists to reproduce illustrations. 

Second-class iiostage paid al Richmond, Va. 



EDITORIAL 




LETTERS 



^ 



Outdoor Manners 



WE Americans are fiercely proud of our individual rights. We oppose 
and resent interference in our private affairs. We like to think that 
one of our inalienable rights is personal freedom — freedom from 
regimentation and regulation, and freedom to choose our own courses 
of action. Yet we demand laws and regulations which drastically 
restrict personal freedom of action, and we insist upon participating 
ourselves in the operation of the machinery of government through 
which these laws and regulations come about. 

What we really have to be proud of and have to guard is not so 
much personal freedom as it is the ability and the right to govern 
ourselves — individually and collectively. 

There is no such thing as an inalienable right to govern without a 
corresponding ability to govern. And the right stems from the ability, 
not the other way around. "Free men" can govern themselves col- 
lectively only when enough of them have learned the art of govern- 
ing themselves individually. If everyone could, and did, govern him- 
self effectively, then indeed would there be little need for laws and 
regulations that restrict freedom. 

There is danger in too much freedom — danger that it will be 
abused. There also is danger in too much government — in too many 
laws and too much regulation — even if it is we ourselves who attempt 
to govern too much. All rules and regulations encroach upon personal 
liberty; but those that do little more than to require the exercise of 
good manners also undermine the very self-discipline which is the 
root of self-government. That we find it necessary to enforce good 
manners at all is itself a reflection of one shortcoming we have yet 
to overcome. 

Good manners is "the doing of that which you should do although 
you are not obliged to do it," and includes "all things which a man 
should impose upon himself, from duty to good taste." 

It is never good manners to act selfishly or carelessly. 

It is not good manners to despoil the land on which all of us must 
live, to litter the countryside with trash, or to befoul our streams 
and shorelines with refuse. 

It is not good manners to trespass on private property, whether 
lands and waters are posted or not. 

It is not good manners to take more than one's share of fish or 
game just because there is an op{>ortunity to do so. 

It is not good manners to risk killing or maiming one's fellow 
man on the highway, on the water, or in the hunting field. 

It is not good manners to operate watercraft thoughtlessly, with- 
out concern for the annoyance, or even danger, that will result when 
swimmers, fishermen, or other boats are nearby. 

It is never good manners to encroach upon the rights of others 
to their fair share of the benefits and enjoyment that stem from 
the great wealth of outdoor resources with which this land is blessed. 

Whether we use our outdoor heritage for profit or for pleasure, 
we all find too much regulation objectionable. We find bad manners 
even worse. — J. F. Mc. 



Children Should Pay Too 

I believe that if children are allowed to 
trout fish they should be made to pay for a 
permit to do so. I have observed whole 
families on a stream, and each child allowed 
eight trout. 

I believe in children fishing and enjoying 
the outdoors, but I believe they should pay 
a dollar toward raising those trout they 
catch, and I do not believe three and four 
year olds should be allowed free where they 
can only spoil the fishing for others. 

Charles E. Padgett 
Roanoke 
We are in- favor of adults taking children 
fishing, but agree that the privilege of 
youngsters to fish free can be abused, 
especially on trout streams. When fishermen 
load up their cars with children in the hope 
of bringing home that many more limits 
of stocked trout, it is doubtful that the ex- 
perience contributes much to developing 
sportsmanship in the children. — Ed. 

Wildlife Nomenclature 

I enjoyed the fine article on trout fishing 
by Don Carpenter in your April issue, and 
also the piece by Chris Devereux and Nancy 
Mullikin on esoteric wildlife nomenclature. 
I believe the correct expression for a group 
of pheasants is not "an eye" but "a nye," 
deriving from the Latin nidus (nest). Also, 
the term "gaggle" is properly applied to 
geese only when they are on the ground or 
water; when flying, they are a skein. Snipe, 
when in flight, are a wisp. 

I think it was Red Smith, the sports writer, 
who referred in this connection to "a pre- 
varication of fishermen" and "an inebriation 
of sports writers"; the angling writer Sparse 
Grey Hackle is credited with "a dearth of 
trout." 

Ed Zern 

New York, New York 

MR. Leo A. Aubrey ("You've Never Caught 
a Bream," January 1964) seems not to realize 
what a thicket he's getting into in this matter 
of nomenclature — or what a spot he's putting 
you on (you, the editor, and you, the readers) . 
For if you've never caught a bream, neither 
have you ever shot a quail or a partridge, or 
a rabbit, or an elk. Nor have you ever climbed 
a sycamore or seen a robin. The list is endless. 

T. M. Forsyth 
Bremo Bluff 
We agree that this matter of wildlife nomencla- 
ture is indeed a "thicket." But it is fun to 
thrash around in it sometimes, and occasional- 
ly kick out a hare, a wapiti, or a bison. — Ed. 

Wants Article on Rabbits 

PLEASE have more published in Virginia 
Wildlife about food and cover for rabbits 
in eastern Virginia, as our wild rabbits are 
fading away in and around Norfolk. 

Capt. Carlton Harris 

Norfolk 
Glad to oblige. Captain. Just turn to page 
9.— Ed. 



AN APPRAISAL OF VIRGINIA'S 



CONTRARY to popular belief, man's effect on wildlife 
in Virginia has not been totally bad. Some native 
species have not been able to adjust readily to the 
changes that man's taming of the wilderness has brought 
to the land. Others actually have benefited tremendously 
from some of these same changes. But in any event, through 
a combination of benevolence and self-interest, man the 
sportsman has seen fit to pay the way for game species in 
our modern world. 

At no time in history has more been spent to preserve 
and increase those species which man holds in highest esteem 
for sport and recreation. Without this support and interest, 
more of our game species might have slipped slowly toward 
oblivion, as have some of our lesser wild creatures. As Dr. 
Joe Linduska of the Remington Arms Company put it re- 
cently, "If bluebirds weighed a half-pound and lay well to 
a pointing dog we would not now be wondering at their 
disappearance and vainly seeking ways to bring them back." 
Well meaning but uninformed organizations and individuals 
who seek to stop completely what they consider "wanton kill- 
ing" of game species — doves, for instance — should grasp 
the significance of the preferred position that game species 
occupy today. 

At the time of its colonization, much of Virginia was 
covered with vast expanses of mature timber. Mast, fruits 
and berries must have been plentiful, but brushy plants 
few. This would have been ideal for turkeys and squirrels. 
Deer were present, but probably not nearly as abundant as 
they are today, judging by maximum population densities we 
now find on timbered lands that are approaching maturity. 
Grouse should have fared well under primeval conditions, 
but quail and rabbits would have been limited by the edge 
cover around natural forest openings. 

The Indians were not numerous and they harvested only 
enough game to meet their meager needs. Streams were 
clear and stable in those days because of excellent watershed 
cover, and most of those in the mountain areas contained 
native brook trout. Wolves, cougars, bears, and lesser 

A report to the Governor's Conference on Natural Resources, April 22, 
1964. 

Man's activities have not always been detrimental to wildlife. This 
kind of deer habitat is not to be found in unbroken stands of mature 

timber. 

Commission photo by Kesteloo 





Photo by L. M. Chace, from National Audubon Society 
Cutting of primeval forests and the practice of extensive agriculture 
increased quail habitat tremendously. A combination of efficient 
farming and reversion of cultivated land to forest is reducing it again. 

predators roamed the land, subsisting on the surplus wildlife 
crop not taken by the Indians. 

Into this scene moved the European settler with his axe, 
plow, gun and fire. The virgin forest was his enemy: it cov- 
ered the land on which he wanted to grow crops; harbored 
wild beasts dangerous to his family and livestock; and con- 
stantly threatened to reclaim his fields. At first, trees were 
cut and burned just to make room for the settlers. As the 
population grew, and trade with Europe increased, there 
became a greater and greater demand for forest products 
and the forests were felled for profit. 

Wildlife was taken then for food, and it played a vital 
role in feeding our early settlers until agriculture could take 
over the job. Far more important to the wildlife than re- 
lentless hunting, however, were the changes man was im- 
pressing on the face of the land. Much of the tidewater and 
piedmont sections were stripped of their forests and turned 
into large plantations. Deer and turkey numbers suffered ac- 
cordingly. Quail and rabbits thrived in these new sur- 
roundings. 

Early logging and clearing was for the creation of fields, 
and regrowth of brush, which would have provided deer 
browse, was discouraged. Later, when mountain lands were 
logged and left untended, uncontrolled fires and persecution 
by market and hide hunters prevented the deer from taking 
advantage of what could have been improved conditions. 

By 1900 most of the state's virgin forests had been cut. 
The bison, the elk, the passenger pigeon, the cougar and the 
wolf had joined the ranks of species already extinct in the 
Old Dominion, and deer had been exterminated in many 
areas. 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE 



WILDLIFE RESOURCES 



By CHESTER F. PHELPS 
Executive Director 




U. S. Fish and Wildlife Ser\ice photo 
Current changes !n land use favor ihe adaptable and prolific nnourning 
dove, and this fine game bird has been on the increase, it is prob- 
able that this species will be able to provide even more hunting 
in the future than it does now. 

Watersheds had been uncovered. Cold, stable streams and 
rivers became dry washes or raging muddy torrents, de- 
pending on the precipitation. Fish life suffered accordingly. 
Poor farming practices and marginal farms resulted in ex- 
tensive soil erosion and poor production. Although primitive 
farming practices created some good wildlife habitat, the 
general loss in soil fertility was reflected in the wildlife crop 
as well. 

By this time the cries of conservationists began to be 
heeded. People began to see desolation around them, and 
realized that drastic steps would have to taken to correct 
mistakes of the past. The National Forests were created and 
given fire protection. Soil conservation work was begun on 
farmlands to stop erosion and increase productivity. Many 
marginal farms were abandoned and allowed to revert to 
forest for which the land was better suited. 

Laws and regulations were passed to halt the slaughter 
of wildlife. The Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries 
was formed to enforce these laws and initiate programs for 
the preservation and perpetuation of wildlife. Deer were im- 
ported and restocked in areas where they were absent. Find- 
ing the brushy regrowth in logged areas and on abandoned 
farms to their liking, they made a remarkable comeback. A 
similar program was later started for turkeys, and they have 
been successfully restored in many areas. 

Many fads and fallacies had their day as the young pro- 
fession of wildlife management tried its wings. The wildlife 
refuge was thought to be the ultimate management tool at 
one time, and the protection it gave threatened game species 
in some sections undoubtedly did something for the cause; 
but its usefulness in restocking the surrounding countryside 

JUNE, 1964 



with game was comparable to the usefulness of a thimble in 
filling a bath tub. Refuges still have a place in wildlife man- 
agement. They serve as protected islands where migratory 
and threatened species may retreat from the hunter and the 
effects of civilization. But they are not flowing springs from 
which issues forth a bounteous supply of game for the 
hunter. 

When we learned that game could be mass produced on 
game farms and in fish hatcheries, this too seemed to be an 
ultimate answer. Game could be turned out in almost any 
quantity, depending only upon the amount of money avail- 
able. It seemed logical that releasing large quantities of wild- 
life throughout the state would boost populations to what- 
ever level we wished to pay for. It didn't work out this way. 
Game farm animals, and hatchery fish, couldn't live where 
the habitat wasn't suitable any more than could the wild 
ones we were seeking to replace. Thus, stocking became little 
more than an unproductive annual expense. The recovery 
rate and production costs were so far out of balance that all 
but trout stocking has been eliminated as economically waste- 
ful. Trout can be produced at the rate of 3 of stocking size 
for a dollar, the recovery rate is quite high, and trout fisher- 
men pay the bill through purchase of the special one-dollar 
trout license. 

It is sometimes practical to restock for the purpose of re- 
establishing native species where suitable habitat lacks 
breeding stock. An especially successful effort of this kind 
was the Game Commission's stocking of deer west of the 
Blue Ridge, which increased the deer harvest from less than 
300 twenty y^ars ago to almost 12,000 today. 

It also is practical sometimes to stock exotic species which 
can take advantage of newly created types of habitat that 
do not suit native species so well. But stocking wildlife to 
increase man's harvest from areas where wild breeding stock 
already exists has produced a uniform record of waste and 
failure. 

As a result of all these experiences, wildlife management 

(Continued on page 20) 

Although bear are much more restricted in their range than are 
deer, they tend to benefit from some of the same forest game manage- 
ment practices that benefit deer. This one was photographed In the 
Shenandoah National Park last year by Dr. M. E. Jacobs. 




EVERY hunter has memories of hunts gone by. A few 
of these he holds as something special. They are well 
polished and cared for — tucked away in that particu- 
lar corner of his mind where he stores those pleasant 
thoughts and where they can be often dusted off and lived 
again. These are the real trophies of the hunt. 

One of my very special memories concerns a fox, a hand- 
some red rascal that reigned over his territory as monarch 
and seemed to delight in accepting an occasional challenge 
from the hounds. 

When I first met this fellow it was shortly after dawn on 
a bright February morning. The sun had just broken above 
the eastern horizon and was threatening to dissolve the light 
frost that tinted the earth. The dogs, ten hounds in all, were 
in full cry and approaching fast. They had "jumped" the 
fox after much cold trailing during the pre-dawn darkness. 

Raymond Cottrell, my fox hunting mentor and owner of 
the hounds, and I were catching our breath on a wooded 
hillside overlooking a green rye field. We had just com- 
pleted a hectic ride and a long run in an effort to head off 
the fast moving dogs and catch a glimpse of the fox. As the 
voices of the dogs increased in volume Raymond predicted 
that fox was a red. "A gray," explained Raymond, "would 
not cover as much territory. Gray foxes head for the thickest 
cover they can find and play a dodging game among the 
briers and blowdowns. A red fox, on the other hand, at- 
tempts to put plenty distance between himself and the 
hounds." 

The hounds were closing upon us now and the hunt was 
nearly over. Either we'd get the fox or the dogs would lose 
the trail as the scent evaporated with the fast vanishing 
frost. 

The fox broke from cover on the far side of the rye field. 
He seemed to know that his scent wouldn't linger long in 
the warming field as he confidently strode in our direction. 
He showed no sign of haste although the hounds were 
scarcely three hundred yards behind. He walked deliberate- 
ly, picking his steps and pausing now and then for a casual 
glance over his shoulder. 

The animal had dignity. He was unruffled and looked 
unreal as his bright copper coat contrasted to the emerald 
green field. His great bushy tail was held proudly and looked 
fully as large as his body. The keen, searching nose and 
alert, sharp pointed ears advertised that he was one wily 
customer. 

I almost forgot that I was carrying a shotgun as the fox 
approached. I slipped off the safety as he trotted into easy 
range and very slowly lifted the old double to my shoulder. 

The animal was so regal looking that I hated to shoot 
him. I was a youngster and this was one of my first fox 
hunts. Raymond carried no gun and I thought he was wait- 
ing for me to shoot. 

As I took aim Raymond reached over and slowly but 
firmly pushed the gun down. Shaking his head as I looked 
at him he whispered, "Let's not shoot this one. We can 
chase him again." 

I learned that morning that the fox was a game animal, 
created to run before the hounds. In later years I hunted 
them for the chase only. Seldom did I kill one. In fact, 
there were few hunters in my area who ever took a fox to 
claim the $3.00 bounty. 

In many parts of the country fox hunters seldom carry a 
gun. Many fox hunters have unkind words for those who 




7<^ S^ Otte^ 

By MAJOR JACK RANDOLPH 

FoTt Lee 



do shoot foxes. Even trappers have stopped taking foxes. 
Low fur prices and the elimination of bounties in several 
states offer the trapper little incentive for fox trapping. Most 
trappers share the hunters' respect for foxes and will seldom 
go out of their way to take them unless the price is right or 
if they are paid to do it. As a consequence foxes have found 
themselves in the enviable position of having few enemies 
except disease and starvation. Oddly this isn't necessarily 
good. 

In some quarters the fox is thought of as a harmful preda- 
tor. I used to share this belief but I found it difficult to prove. 
I discovered that the fox preys mostly upon rats, mice and 
other small creatures, many of which are not beneficial to 
man. Undoubtedly the fox takes his share of small game, 
but his share isn't an awful lot. It is possible that the fox 
is actually beneficial to ground nesting birds. Foxes prey 
upon rats that, in turn, prey upon eggs found in ground 
nests. 

Predation plays a major role in developing hearty, wily 
small game animals and the fox is a stern teacher. Weaker 
small game falls easy prey as the fox does wildlife a service 
by eliminating the weak and sickly, thereby preventing the 
start and spread of disease. When the fox's numbers are in 
balance to the carrying capacity of the land, there are few 
who won't agree that the fox is kind of nice to have around. 

The fox is one of our most controversial animals. Aside 
from the ceaseless argument concerning his alleged damage 
to game or domestic animals the fox's family tree provokes 
many a heated conversation. 

Here in Virginia we have two species of foxes, reds and 
grays. The red, of course, is the traditional fox of history. 
There is very little apparent difference between the Ameri- 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE 



can red fox and the red fox of Europe. He has proven, both 
here and in the Old World, that he can live close to man's 
booming civilization. He's probably the originator of "peace- 
ful coexistence." 

Years ago the silver fox was the ultimate prize of trappers 
and hunters. Silver fox furs in the age of high fashion 
brought staggering prices on the fur market. Silvers were 
extremely rare and, in the wild, they are now probably 
even harder to find. The reason is apparent — there is no 
silver fox as a species. The silver is a color phase of the 
red fox, an accident of nature that created a beautiful and 
rare fur. Today, of course, silver fox furs are no longer so 
highly prized. The silver phase of the red fox has been suc- 
cessfully raised by commercial fur farmers and ranch furs 
are relatively common. 

Another color phase of the red fox is known as a "cross 
fox." The name comes from dark markings down the back 
and across the shoulders of the animal. This was also a high- 
ly prized fur in years gone by. Perhaps the oddest part of 
all of this is that the silver and cross foxes seemed to occur 
only in the northern extremes of the red foxes' range. Per- 
haps one fox out of many litters of fox pups would be a 
silver or cross while all of the others would be normal red 
foxes. 

The "trade-mark" of a red fox is the white tip on the 
tail. The gray is known as the only fox with the black 
stripe along the top of the tail. Gray foxes are rusty red 
along the lower parts of their bodies, causing inexperienced 
people to incorrectly identify them as reds. 

Gray foxes are quite cat-like. Their tracks are round and 
closely resemble those of a cat. The tracks of the red fox 
are more pointed and quite like those of a small dog. The 
gray can climb trees but the red cannot. Reds prefer semi- 
open country while grays tend to stick to lower, thicker 
terrain. 

Both red and gray foxes possess keen senses and can prove 
to be a worthy adversary to both hunters and trappers. As 
a rule the foxes are silent neighbors we seldom see and 

Gray foxes are rusfy red along the lower parts of fhe!r bodies, and 
are mistaken sometimes for reds. This one shows typical markings, in- 
cluding a black stripe down the tail that terminates at the tip. One 
trademark of the red fox is a white tip on his tail. 













hardly realize that they are around. But when foxes multiply 
beyond the carrying capacity of their range we begin to 
have a problem. As competition for food increases, foxes do 
make inroads upon the small game population, but this is 
the least of the problem. As foxes become more numerous 
the chance for disease increases. Undernourished animals 
competing vigorously for food fall easy prey to disease. In 
foxes a common disease is rabies. 

Among the weakened foxes rabies spreads rapidly. The 
rabid animals become a serious threat as they attack live- 
stock and, sometimes, humans. Recently rabies outbreaks 
have occurred more frequently. This is probably due to 
larger fox populations of recent years. This is where the 
fox problem lies, a very real problem in some areas. 

A logical approach to solving this problem is to reduce the 
fox population in the troubled areas. There is no intent to 
eradicate foxes. The aim is to reduce the population to a 
point where foxes will be in balance with the feed available 
and not apt to contract disease, at least in epidemic 
proportions. 

Probably the most effective method of fox control is 
selective trapping by professional trappers. Professional 
trappers can effectively reduce the fox count in a given area 
in a short time. Their methods are such that they will take 
only foxes, molesting no other game or domestic animals. 

The bounty system has been traditionally employed as a 
predator control method for centuries. Recently several 
states took a hard look at their bounty systems and didn't 
like what they saw. Generally it was noted that bounties 
were a waste of money. Either they were being paid for 
animals that would have been killed otherwise or they, in 
themselves, were not sufficient incentive to direct the efforts 
of hunters and trappers towards taking certain animals. 
Another problem of the bounty system is that it is not 
selective. An animal or bird may be a problem in one area 
and not in another. Unfortunately these areas seldom 
complied with political boundaries such as county or state 
lines. A professional trapper could much better direct his 
efforts towards these trouble spots. 

One state is experimenting with a new approach to the 
problem. This idea is to cut down the fox population through 
the use of non-poisonous drugs. The drugs under trial render 
a fox sterile. Drugged baits are placed in fox range during 
the mating season. Animals that ingest the drugged baits 
fail to reproduce their kind. There are more refinements to 
this approach but this is the general concept. It appears that 
this system may have potential to prevent large fox popula- 
tions from building up but it can do nothing to reduce an 
existing overabundance. It seems that sportsmen could 
provide an equally effective control of growing fox popula- 
tions by taking some of the foxes they pursue with hounds. 
This would not only be less expensive but more rewarding 
in terms of recreational hours spent afield. 

Until a better method is found the steel trap is the most 
effective tool for reducing fox populations in a given area. 
An example of the efficiency of trapping can be found at 
Camp Pickett. Here foxes find ideal habitat and multiply 
rapidly. There are very few fox hunters who use Camp 
Pickett and the fox count remains very high. Some controls 
are required to keep the foxes in balance with the growing 
small game population and to prevent the incidence of 
rabies. 

(Continued next page) 



JUNE, 1964 



The Sycamore 

By A. B. MASSEY 
V.P.I. Forestry and Wildlife 



OUR native sycamore or plane tree (also called button 
ball and button wood), frequent in low grounds and 
along water courses, is readily recognized by the 
white mottled bark. It has the reputation of developing into 
the largest of our broadleaf trees in girth of the trunk and 
height. The height may be questionable in comparison with 
that of the tulip tree. Early settlers in Ohio recorded trees 
having circumferences of 43, 47 and 67 feet. These were 
probably over 400 years old. A sycamore in Indiana is re- 
ported as being 42^/^ feet in circumference. The largest 
sycamores have been found in the lowgrounds, subject to 
floods, of the Ohio and Mississippi River basins. Sycamores 
of nice size occur in Virginia; however, we do not have rec- 
ord of excessively large trees. An old tree on the Smithfield 
property, near the western border of the V.P.I, campus, 
measures 20 feet in circumference. The trunk is short with 
five large limbs 6-11 feet in circumference. Examination of 
cores of the first five inches of the trunk indicate that the 
tree is 200 or more years old. The trunk of large sycamores 
is often hollow. It is related that the pioneers used hollow 
logs of such to store grain. These were called gums. It is 
also stated that at times some pioneers lived in hollow 
sycamores until they could build a cabin. 

The name sycamore has been variously applied. A fig tree 
in Biblical lands is known as the sycomore (notice the o in 
the middle of the name), which is a large spreading fig 
tree {Ficus sycomorus) . Zacchaeus climbed into a sycomore 
tree (the fig) above the people that he might see Christ 
passing (Luke, chapter 19). Some translations erroneously 
state that he climbed into a sycamore tree. In earlier days it 
was thought that the leaves of a European maple resembled 
those of the sycomore fig, hence applied the name sycamore 



maple [Acer pseudoplatanus) with the difference in the 
spelling. Our plane tree having leaves similar to the sycamore 
European maple became known as the sycamore tree. 

The native plane tree or sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) 
ranges widely from Maine to Minnesota south to Texas and 
Florida. Fossil material indicates that plane trees grew in 
Greenland in past ages. 

The flowers of the sycamore are unisexual. They are very 
small and individually inconspicuous. The male, staminate, 
and female, pistillate, flowers are crowded in separate balls, 
IV2 to two inches in diameter, which hang conspicuously on 
slender leafless stems, one ball to the pendent stem. The 
fruits are tiny hairy nutlets. In the fall and winter when 
the fruit balls break up, the fruits appear over the ground as 
tawny down. The leaves are broad with three or more 
shallow lobes. The base of the leaf stalk, petiole, is hollow 
capping over the bud for next year's growth. Conspicuous 
bracts, stipules, occur at the attachment of the leaf and 
encircle the twig. Thin sheets of the outer bark on the trunk 
of younger trees and limbs of old trees peal off and become 
trashy over the ground. 

Two introduced species, the London plane tree (Platanus 
acerijolia) and Oriental plane tree {Platanus orientalis), 
occur in ornamental plantings. They have two or three seed 
balls pendent on stems whereas the native species has only 
one ball on a stem. Some advocate planting London plane 
trees along streets. The pealing of the bark and the 
tendency of leaves to start falling the latter part of summer 
makes their desirability questionable. 

Sycamore wood is reddish brown, light, fairly hard and 
difficult to split. It is used to some extent for boxes, co- 
operage, interior finish, butcher blocks and formerly for 
ox yokes. 

The native species is commonly affected with a leaf and 
twig blight in the spring. The trees appear to have been 
frosted when there has been no frost. The affected tree 
develops new leaves and soon appears normal. The London 
plane is not noticeably affected by the blight. 



The Sly Ones (Continued from page 7) 

Fortunately, Camp Pickett's game warden, Sgt. Carol 
Martin, is an expert trapper. Using very few traps and 
operating just before and after the hunting season, he 
takes about 75 foxes annually from the 46,000 acre military 
reservation. Martin believes that his catch is sufficient to 
keep the animals in balance. As a rule his catch runs half 
reds and half grays. 

A good trapper, Martin has a tremendous respect for the 
cunning of foxes. He takes great pains to rid his traps 
and equipment of foreign odors prior to the trapping sea- 
son. To accomplish this the traps and steel trap stakes are 
boiled in wood chips until they take on a dark, almost black 
color. Wax is melted in the boiling water, forming a film 
on the surface. As the traps and stakes are withdrawn from 
the vat they take on a light coating of wax, sealing in the 
scent of steel and preventing rust. Once prepared, the traps 
are hung in an evergreen tree until used. 

All trappers are students of nature. They study animals 
until they know their habits thoroughly. Once they become 
familiar with the animal they become aware of those 
regular habits that are the animal's weakness and that make 
him fair game for the trap. 



Sgt. Martin capitalizes upon his intimate knowledge of 
foxes. He places his trap sets where foxes frequent and he 
goes to great pains to avoid leaving human scent near a set. 
His methods pay off, enabling him to keep the fox popula- 
tion at Pickett in balance with the least expenditure of time 
and money. He would prefer that hunters harvest the foxes 
and enjoy the sport of the chase. As it is, he dislikes doing 
the job for them. 

There is no panacea for the fox problem. In a great many 
areas there is no problem as the balance is maintained. 
Where problems do exist each has to be dealt with separate- 
ly. Possibly a certain amount of hunting pressure will main- 
tain the balance in some locales. When things get out of hand, 
trappers can usually straighten them out quickly. Generally, 
however, a reasonable amount of hunting should preserve the 
balance and make calls for trappers unnecessary. 

The problems of foxes are just one more example of the 
results of changes in an animal's environment. When man 
moves in, nature must adjust the master plan. Often man 
must play a role in this adjustment. The balance must be 
preserved or the consequences are apt to be severe. The fox 
has a well earned place in the sporting scene. It is un- 
fortunate that we must control him with wholesale methods 
at times. Let's hope we can avoid this in the future. 



8 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE 



Hunters Ask: 

WHAT HAPPENED 
TO THE RABBIT ? 

By JIM McINTEER 

Chief, Education Division 

Cknninission photos by Kesteloo 

THE cottontail hasn't been seen around some of his old 
haunts in his usual numbers of late, and he has a lot 
of friends inquiring anxiously about his welfare. 

It seems that something has happened to him all right. 
Something always is happening, or is about to happen to 
him. Throughout his short but often highly productive life, 
he is hunted mercilessly and without respite by everything 
that crawls, runs or flies and feeds on flesh; and if one of 
them does not get him first he has parasites, disease and 
the wheels of automobiles to contend with. From his shallow, 
fur-lined nest to the end of the road, his existence is pre- 
carious and his fate uncertain. 

Probably the surest thing about Br'er Rabbit's life is that 
it will not be a long one. Game biologists have found that a 
third or more of all young rabbits may never live to leave 
their nests under their own power, and in one study of 226 
tagged wild cottontails only two ever reached their second 
birthdays! Sometimes the odds are a trifle better. Biologist 
John Redd found that two rabbits out of 19 killed by five 
hunters at Camp Pickett one day last February had been 
tagged almost two and a half years before, and one of them 
already was an adult when it was tagged and released back 
in 1961. 

Rabbits are born naked, blind, completely helpless and 
about the size of a man's thumb. Mother rabbit puts them in 
a shallow nest she has carefully scooped out and lined with 
vegetation and soft hair from her own abdomen. She covers 
them over with grass and leaves, and the secret nursery is 
not easy to locate; but sharp eyes or a keen nose often lead 
a hungry raider to it anyway. 

Young cottontails were the most frequently found mam- 
mals in one analysis of several thousand crow stomachs. 
Some of these young rabbits may have been found dead by 
the crows, but many undoubtedly were stolen from nests 
alive; and in any event they were all young rabbits that 
did not get beyond the infant stage. While crows are accused 
of many other things (sometimes rightly, sometimes wrong- 
ly), the extent of their depredation of rabbit nests often is 
overlooked. Biologists recognize them as an important 
factor in the control of summer rabbit populations in many 
localities. 




m'tJ'' 



He's still the best known and most popular little game animal in the 
land. May his tribe increase. Given half a chance, it will. 

House cats, that find a litter and come back time and 
again and carry off the helpless young one by one; dogs, 
that often locate nests by scent; farm machinery working 
over fields or mowing coverts where nests are concealed; 
flesh fly larvae, which burrow into nestlings' abdomens; 
snakes, skunks, in fact every meat eater capable of preying 
on an)'thing from mice on up — they all take their toll of 
nestling rabbits wherever and whenever they find them. 

Nevertheless, a lot of rabbits win the first lap of their race 
against death. They develop rapidly, and are ready to strike 
out on their own in less than three weeks, which is none too 
soon because mother rabbit may have mated the day they 
were born and already be within a week or ten days of 
depositing a new litter in the nest. Things do hap{>en swiftly 
in the rabbit world! 

When young cottontails venture forth from their nests 
they become better able to evade cats, dogs and farm 
machinery. On the other hand, out from under the pro- 
tective camouflage of nest covering, they are more \'ulnerable 
to the swift strike of rapacious birds and to the hunting 
techniques of such efficient predators as the weasel, fox 
and bobcat. 

The rabbit's main defense is his birth rate. Here is an 
example of how it works. The rabbit population on a 186- 
acre study area decreased a whopping 84% between Septem- 

(Contlnued on next page) 



Rabbit nests are well concealed and hard to find, and the little ones do not stay in them long. Yet mortality at this stage can be startlingly 

high. 







ber and January — 284 rabbits on 
September 1 ; 184 on November 1 : 
102 on December 1 : and 41 on 
New Year's Day. Hunters account- 
ed for a mere ten, while other 
mortality factors brought the popu- 
lation down to the land's carrying 
capacity at its mid-winter low. One 
might surmise that the rabbits on 
this particular bit of land were head- 
ed for early extinction; but there 
really was no cause for alarm. In 
another month or two breeding 
would be in full swing again, and 
20 does producing 5 litters each, 
averaging 4 young to the litter, could 
add up to 400 new rabbits before the 
next September. In addition, some 
of the young females from the 
earliest litters would add their own first offspring to 
the population by summer's end. Something had to cancel 
out about half this potential spring and summer increase be- 
fore even the first of September rolled around, in addition 
to the previously observed fall and winter losses, just to keep 
the annual early fall population from spiraling upward. 

This is one good reason for the frequently heard com- 
plaint: "I saw lots of young rabbits on my place during the 
summer, but before hunting season most of them had dis- 
appeared." Actually, it is a perfectly normal thing that 
happens in "good" rabbit years as well as "poor" ones. 

The cottontail's amazing reproductive potential plays 
several different roles in the ecology of the brier patch. 

It is the species' safeguard against extinction, of course. 

It also is directly responsible for the rabbit's startlingly 
high mortality rate. By subjecting his environment to a 
population pressure that constantly threatens to explode 
and inundate the land in rabbits, the cottontail's high birth 
rate makes his own equally high death rate inevitable. Some- 
thing has to remove rabbits from the land as fast as they are 
born — if not predators, hunting and accidents, then perhaps 
parasites, disease, malnutrition or even more subtle mortality 
factors that seem to be naturally associated with overly 
dense populations. Yet in this perpetual see-saw race between 
birth and death there is order and purpose. The reproductive 
rate of the rabbit, along with that of most other small 
vegetarians in the animal world, plays a role in life's master 




Along fhe edge between thick escape cover and open 

land the rabbit usually finds the greatest abundance 

of foods that are to his liking. 



plan that goes far beyond the wel- 
fare of these defenseless creatures 
themselves; for it is in the plan 
that those who gnaw, browse and 
graze shall turn herbs and grass into 
flesh that carnivores also may live. 
Ecologically there is no waste. Born 
to die. even the lowly cottontail does 
not die in vain. 

The rabbit's high birth rate, and 
the means by which its force is 
"contained." account for striking 
fluctuations in rabbit populations, 
both from season to season and from 
year to year. Species with relatively 
low reproductive rates and corre- 
spondingly low mortality rates usual- 
ly maintain fairly stable popula- 
tions. A good breeding season, or a 
slightly lowered mortality, will not bring about an immediate 
and spectacular population increase among the slow breeders. 
Things happen more gradually, and compensating factors 
have time to adjust, and bring about a new balance between 
birth and death at a slightly higher population level than 
before. But not so with fast breeders like the cottontail. Just 
a slight relaxing of nature's controls, and almost overnight 
dozens more rabbits are left on the land than there other- 
wise would have been, each pair potentially capable of 
tripling its number every four or five weeks and each striv- 
ing with all its might to do just that. 

Long before there can be an adjustment or compensation 
that would again equalize births and deaths, there comes a 
peak rabbit abundance that the land cannot long sustain. 
Since predators are all among the slow breeders, whose 
populations react comparatively sluggishly to such influ- 
ences as improved food supply, it is not they but other 
attrition factors that are most likely to flare up in an over- 
crowded hedgerow slum and smother the incipient rabbit 
population explosion ; and some of these other factors such 
as tularemia, or "rabbit fever," at least from the standpoint 
of the rabbit hunter, may be entirely too efficient as control 
mechanisms. They are almost sure to "over-correct," and 
bring our rabbits rather too suddenly from peak to nadir in 
their population "cycle." Then it takes time for reproduction 




A contented rabbit !s 
one that finds places to 
hide, feed, loaf, and 
raise young, without hav- 
ing to travel far from 
one to find the others. 




?^S^S^ 



10 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE 







G]q[|93 






Ninth in the series of articles on some of the 
favorite angling hot spots in Virginia. 



PIEDMONT PICKEREL 



By BOB GOOCH 
Troy 

THE Old Dominion angler hankering for a lunker pick- 
erel is most likely to find the cantankerous old cuss 
lurking in some eastern Virginia tidal river — the 
Chickahominy, for example. 

There are also some good pickerel in the Cowpasture and 
other rivers rising on the eastern slopes of the Alleghenies 
in the western part of the state. But I know him best in the 
small streams that meander through the hills of Piedmont 
Virginia. 

Lunkers are rare in these delightful little streams, but 
there are many compensating factors. 

The fish I have in mind is the eastern chain pickerel, 
more often called pike. He's well-known from the fresh 
water ponds of Cape Cod and the lakes of Maine to the bass 
rivers in Florida and the bayous of Louisiana. Throughout 
his range he's alternately cursed and praised. 

Old-timers in Piedmont Virginia called him jack, and as 
a boy that was the only name I knew him by until I became 
an avid reader of outdoor literature and added to my prac- 
tically acquired outdoor education. 

Other pickerels roam our waters — the redfin or mud pick- 
erel, for example, but none of them develop any appreciable 
size and are not important as game fish. However, the angler 
is likely to encounter them from time to time in most small 
clear streams. 

The pickerel is a lover of weed beds. There he can hide 
and ambush foolhardy or unsuspecting minnows and frogs. 
In fact, weeds are absolutely essential for successful spawn- 
ing. If the pickerel's adhesive eggs don't attach to vegetation, 
they fall into the bottom mud and suffocate. Weed beds are 
not too common in Piedmont streams, but where they exist 
in quiet or even a fairly fast moving current, they're a good 
bet for at least one fish. 

In the absence of weeds, look for them in quiet water 
around logs, the shoreline, debris, etc. Pickerel do not fre- 
quent rapids or white water. 



The chain pickerel does not flourish in farm ponds. These 
small impoundments that occasionally turn up a pickerel are 
either fed by a small stream where the fish reproduce, or 
pickerel have been released in the pond by some well mean- 
ing and optimistic fisherman. So relea.'^ed, the fish often grow 
rapidly as most of these ponds are over stocked with small 
pan fish. In fact some pond owners stock a few pickerel 
just to remove the surplus bluegills. 

As is the case with all members of the pike family, min- 
nows and small fish make up the major portion of the pick- 
erel's diet. He will not turn up his nose at a small frog and 
I doubt that many small birds or animals so unfortunate 
as to fall on the water near a lunker pickerel's lair, live to 
tell the story. Once in a while a sucker fisherman will land 
a fair pickerel on a gob of worms, but worms are not recom- 
mended as bait for old chainsides. 

I lived in Maryland for a few years and while there, de- 
lighted in fishing pickerel and yellow perch hot spots such as 
the South and Seven rivers. These tidal estuaries are interest- 
ing fishing and the veterans up there used to say pickerel 
fishing was best during good oyster years. No doubt cray- 
fish, salamanders and other forms of fresh and salt water 
marine life are included in the pickerel's diet. In Maryland, 
though, the favorite bait was "bull minnows." 

The pickerel is by nature an antagonistic fish, a tiger of 
the weed beds, and king of his domain. I have always con- 
sidered his vicious strike his chief contribution to the 
angling world. Toss a small surface lure into a pickerel in- 
habited pool in a small stream and the little pool seems to 
almost explode as the king of the stream smacks it — usually 
more in anger and indignation than from hunger. Food is 
usually plentiful in these Piedmont streams. 

As a fighter the pickerel probably leaves a little to be 
desired, though he can come up with some thrilling, plug 
rattling jumps. 

The pickerel fisherman can take his pick of angling meth- 
ods. An 18 incher will tear a yellow streamer to shreds and 
rattle the guides on your favorite fly rod, but in the streams 
I fish, heavy vegetation overhangs the banks and makes fly 

(Continued on page 18) 




Commission photo by Kesteloo 
Lunkers are rare, but there are connpensations. One is that small streann 
pickerel fishing seldom suffers "summer doldrums." 



JUNE, 1964 



11 



The Fresh-Water Bonefish 



By LEO A. AUBREY 

Fort Lee 



THE bonefish (Abula vulpes) ranks very high on the 
sport fisherman's list for many good reasons. It is 
extremely shy and wary and must be approached with 
much caution; in fact it must be stalked. The bait must be 
presented in as natural and life-like manner as possible. 
Long casts must be made in order not to spook the fish, 
and then it may take hours before one will take the bait, 
is hooked, and the fisherman can enjoy the thrill of tht 
fight. In spite of, or perhaps because of, these drawbacks 
some fishermen travel hundreds and sometimes thousands of 
miles to try for bonefish. 

For most of us, of course, catching a bonefish will always 
remain in the realm of daydreams. Yet here in Virginia 
there is a fish, found in almost every type of water from 
mountain streams to tidal rivers, that can deservedly be called 
the fresh water bonefish. It. too, must be fished with all 
the caution, skill and care called for in fishing for bonefish. 
It, too, must be approached cautiously. It, too, must ( in some 
cases) be stalked and a long cast made. And it. too. must 
have the bait presented in a natural manner. Also like the 
bonefish it, too, may take hours to take the bait but once 
the bait is taken, the hook set and the fight on. the hours 
spent waiting will not seem to have been wasted. 

A fish with all these attributes must surely be one of the 
better known game fishes. Is it perhaps the brown trout? 
No, although it, too, like the brown trout, is not a native 
species but was introduced to this country from Europe. 
Unlike the brown trout it soon wore out its welcome and. in 
fact, is throughly detested by many fishermen. The fish we 
are speaking is the carp [Cyprinus carpio), one of the 
wisest and most elusive of the fresh water fishes in the 
world. One of the reasons for its unpopularity, of course, may 
be its habit of rooting for vegetation, thereby roiling up the 
water. Perhaps another reason is that the carp is so hard 
to get that it is merely a case of "sour grapes." 

The most popular method of taking carp is by pre-baif- 
ing a known carp hangout with chopped vegetables, some- 
times for as long as a week or ten days; then when the 
carp have lost some of their caution and are accustomed to 
feeding in that section the fisherman will bait up with dough- 
balls, marshmallows, whole grain corn, cooked vegetables 
or perhaps with some secret concoction that has proved to 
be a good bait before. This method, however, is hardly a 
sporting one and may even be against the fishing laws 
in some states. 

I do 90 per cent of my fishing with a fly rod, and have 
brought in hundreds of carp on one. The first time I was 
out fishing for bluegills. I had fished the mouth of a cer- 
tain creek very successfully for a few weekends and had 
caught many good sized bluegills and a few small bass 
from this spot. One day, not getting any hits in the creek. 
I moved on up to the river and cast upstream, allowing the 
bait to float down naturally. After the third or fourth cast 
I felt a slight tug on the line and. having some slack line 
since I was using live bait (worms, to be exact). I allowed 
the fish to run until the line was straight. Then, thinking I 



had a bluegill or a small bass on. I tightened up and set the 
hook. For a moment 1 thought I was hooked to a log; but the 
fun soon began! After al)out ten minutes I landed the fish, 
a two pound carp only; but it had fought like a four 
pounder. Before the afternoon was over I had caught 17 
more, weighing between one and three pounds, and had had 
some fine sport. I should mention that this took place in the 
springtime and that the water was very high and muddy. 

These carp were caught on an 8'/2 foot fly rod with a nine 
foot level leader testing six pounds; the hooks used were no. 
6 Aberdeen. Contrary to a generally held belief it is not 
necessary to cover the barb on the hook. For bait a small 
red worm is best, and it should be hooked only once through 
the collar to allow it to wriggle freely. The more natural 
it appears the better the chance of getting a carp to take 
it. After the carp has taken the bait, allow some time for it 
to mouth it as it will spit out the bait at the first suggestion 
that all is not right. I have been fishing for carp for many 
years now. using the method described above, and have 
had much sport and enjoyment out of it. I might mention 
here that if you are fishing from a boat, be very careful 
about banging the oars or scuffling your feet. This will 
spook the carp (and other fish as well) every time. If you 
are walking the shore line, step carefully as vibrations carry 
a long way into the water. When casting from shore make 
your cast in the direction in which you are walking. 

The largest carp that I have ever landed with a fly rod 
(or any other rod, for that matter) weighed ten pounds, 
and it took me an hour to land it. I've had much larger 
ones on but couldn't hold them. One very large carp — It 
got away, don't they always? — put quite a bend in the 
tip of a bamboo fly rod and another carp, a six pounder, 
cracked the same rod slightly. A third carp put the finish- 
ing touches to this particular rod. It happened this way: 

One day while fishing the James river near Hopewell 
I met another fisherman, and after exchanging the usual 
greetings he asked me how I had gotten such a bend in my 
rod. Well, I told him, and I could almost read his mind: 
"This guy must he pulling my leg; who ever heard of catch- 
ing carp on a fly rodP' Disbelief was written all over his 
face. I said. "So long" to my riverside acquaintance; walk- 
ed about 20 feet; cast in; got a strike; and landed a four 
pound carp! Of course, I broke my rod, but it was worth it 
to prove to this skeptic that it could be done. 

Although I've only mentioned worms as bait for a fly 
rod, carp can also be taken on artificial lures such as small 
spinners and streamers and will sometimes, 'though rarely, 
take a dry fly. They are sometimes taken on live minnows 
and have even been taken on bass plugs. 

Some of the hot spots, especially during the spawning sea- 
son, are the many creeks and small streams flowing into the 
James River; the James River itself; the Chickahominy 
River ; and Lake Chickahominy. As a matter of fact, most of 
the Tidewater area is good; and there is an especially good 
spot near Bermuda Hundred, where the carp are really big 
and hit readily. But wherever you fish for this particular 
scrapper, be sure to take along a lot of extra hooks and 
leaders because you may need them. Also, make sure to have 
a lot of backing on your fly rod reel; you'll need it, too, 
if you get a big one on. ! can almost guarantee that after 
you've hooked, played, and landed a big carp on light tackle, 
you'll agree with me that the carp deserves the title of 
■'the fresh-water bonefish." 



12 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE 



rt"ri?a« VIRGINIA WILDLIFE i^ -^ -^ -^ r^^^i 

gl CONSERVATIONGRAM i|i 

SS taTC^^^ Commission Activities and Late Wildlife News ... At A Glance rg^nia gaj 



deer met violent deaths from causes other than legal hunting. Vehicles were the 
greatest off-season killers, accounting for 726 or 68 per cent of the total. Dogs 
posed the next greatest threat, with 66 animals reported killed by these canine 
poachers. Game biologists estimate that this known loss is but a fraction of the 
total deer destroyed by man's domesticated predators. Forty-one deer were found 
illegally shot, the majority of these being does. 

The months of October through January were the v/orst period with over half of the recorded 
mortalities occurring during these four months. This includes the rutting season, 
a period when deer seem to lose a lot of their natural caution. The worst month was 
November, in which the hunting season began. 

Persons whose motor vehicles collide with a deer, killing it or severely injuring it, may 
retain the carcass for their own use provided it is reported and the proper forms 
filled out. If the animal is seriously injured it may be killed and carcass taken 
to the nearest game warden, trial justice or Justice of the Peace, or one of these 
officers summoned to the scene, and the proper forms witnessed to give the driver the 
carcass for his own use. No other tag or hunting license is required to transport 
or possess such an animal. 

HATCHERY FISHING OFFERED ANGLERS. As part of a continuing research project on the effects of 
size limits on fishing, the Virginia Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries again 
opened eight of its Front Royal Hatchery ponds to public angling May 2. The public 
thoroughly enjoys the angling experience, and fishery technicians are gaining 
considerable insight into the effect of fishing on known fish populations from the 
records obtained. 

Four of the ponds open to angling have a 14-inch minimum bass size limit while anglers fish- 
ing in the other four ponds may keep any size they catch. One additional pond 
containing largemouths and another containing smallmouths are open to "fish-for- 
fun" angling with anglers required to return all fish hooked. Regular creel limits 
and license requirements apply in addition to the special regulations mentioned. 

Fishing hours at the hatchery located near Waterlick, Virginia, are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday 
through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday fishing is limited from 
1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the ponds are closed to all angling on Mondays. The hatchery ponds 
will remain open through September 6. 

BOAT REGISTRATION NOW GOOD FOR 5 YEARS FROM DATE OF ISSUE. All Virginia boat registrations 
issued since December 31, 1963, will be good for three years from the month of issue. 
This is a result of modification in the Boating Safety Act made by the 1964 Virginia 
General Assembly. Registrations made between January 1, 1964, and April 1, 1964, 
will be recalled and re-issued. Boat ovmers in this group are urged to hold their 
certificate vintil they receive a temporary certificate for use while new certifi- 
cates are prepared. 

All registrations, renewals and transfers will be a straight five dollars and all will be 

good for three years. Under the old triennium system, registrations were pro-rated 
to four dollars in the second year and three dollars in the third because of the 
shorter period of validity. Nearly all Virginia boaters, in the future, will get 
more for their money under the new system since all registrations will be good for a 
full three years. 

The staggered expirations which will result from this new system will allow the Commission 
of Game and Inland Fisheries to process applications faster and more efficiently. 
Once the majority of the boat registrations are spread over a 12 month period, 
renewals will come in at a regular rate instead of 45,000 during a three month period 
as happened at the beginning of this triennium. The revenue will also come in at a 
more regular rate allowing for more efficient budgeting and accounting. 

JUNE, 1964 13 




C. G. and LOUISE B. HOLLAND 
Charlottesville 



IT is a simple matter to set up a feeding station, especially 
with help from appropriate books and articles. Equally 
simple, with good descriptions and color pictures avail- 
able, is an accurate identification of birds which visit the 
station after it is arranged. Presumedly this is an end in 
itself: just feed them and watch them. We suppose most 
people let it go at this. 

It seemed to us. however, the real fun of a station would 
be doing something with or about the birds who visited it. 
This is the story of a few things we did. 

We live in Northerly on the northwest outskirts of Charlot- 
tesville. To our north is a four acre tract of tall oaks and 
pines with very little underbrush. On all other sides are 
houses, lawns and streets. Some homes have large trees in 
their yards; others have none. Two hundred yards south of 
us is a small stream bordered by much brush and 400 
yards southwest is a tract of oaks. To the east is Route 29, 
a busy place for people and cars. There is only one other 
feeding station in our neighborhood and this is across the 
street, a hundred yards away. 

Our feeding station is just outside the kitchen-dining 
room window. It has both differential and mobility. By 
differential we mean we have two wire baskets containing 
suet for those birds which prefer this food. Our main at- 
traction is chicken "scratch" which we scatter on the ground. 
If it is snowing we try to throw it under a protective roof 
so it will not be lost in the snowfall. Finally, we have a 
plastic bleach bottle with a hole cut in the side two inches 
above the bottom in which we put sunflower seed. 



CHARLOTTESM 



By mobility we mean that in winter the plastic bottle 
hangs two feet from the window, the suet baskets are five 
feet away, and the "scratch" is thrown on the patio 10 to 
15 feet from the window. In summer the plastic bottle and 
suet baskets go out to 20 feet and the "scratch" is thrown 
on the ground about 30 feet from the window. 

Our reasoning behind this is as simple as the station. We 
wanted to appeal to the appetites of as many species of birds 
as we could, and we used scarcity of natural foods to bring 
them close for observation in winter. In summer we still 
wanted them to remember the station, and since we used the 
patio for lounging, we put the food far enough away so 







June 




July 




I 




1-10 


11-20 


21-30|1-10 


11-20 


21-3ltl-10 


Brown Creeper 
















Cardinal 


5 


7 


4 


5 


6 


3 


6 


Catbird 


1 






2 


1 






Chickadee, black-capped 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 






Cowbird, brown-headed 


3 


2 


2 


4 


2 






Dove, mourning 


4 


3 


3 


2 


2 


2 


5 


Finch, puq)le 
















Flicker, yellow-shafted 


1 














Crackle, purple 


15 


20 


15 


11 


9 


15 


20 


Hummingbird 




1 






1 






Jay, blue 


4 


3 


3 


3 


6 


3 


4 


Junco, slate-colored 
















Kinglet, ruby-crowned 
















Mockingbird 




1 




1 




1 




Nuthatch, white-breasted 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 




Robin 




1 












Sapsucker, yellow-bellied 
















Shrike, loggerhead 
















Sparrows, chipping 


1 


3 


3 


2 








fox 
















house 


3 


2 


4 


6 


5 


5 


11 


song 


1 














white-crowned 
















white-throated 
















Starling 
















Titmouse, tufted 


1 


1 


5 


2 


2 


2 


2 


Thrasher, brown 




1 


1 


1 


2 






Thrush, wood 


1 






1 








Towhee, rufous-sided 


2 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


Warbler, black-and-white 
















Warbler, myrtle 
















Woodpecker, downy 


2 


3 


3 


2 


1 


1 


1 


hairy 








" 








pileated 


1 














red-bellied 








1 


1 


1 




red-headed 


2 


2 


1 


2 


2 


2 


2 


Wren, Carolina 
















Wren, house 

















Numbers of permanent residents underlined. 
Migratory species underlined and in parentheses. 
• Died. 



14 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE 



LLE BIRD STUDY 



that they would not be afraid to come in spite of our being 
on it. 

Having set the stage, we got a notebook and each morning 
during breakfast, which lasted from 15 minutes to half an 
hour between seven and eight, we recorded the highest 
number of birds we saw, separately by species. Along with 
this we recorded their behavior and any special features 
such as juveniles, weather, presence of neighborhood cats. 
etc.: conditions which might influence their behavior. There 
were times when we recorded the number by species night 
and morning, and some special occasions when we recorded 
them almost hourly. (Continued on page 19) 



1962 






Septem 


her 


October 


November 


December 




fanuary 


Februarv 




March 




Apr 


1 


■^ 


Ma> 




•1-31 


1-10 


11-20 


21-30 


1-10 


11-20 


21-31 


I-IO 


11-20 


21-30 


1-10 


11-20 


21-3111-10 


11-20 


21-31J1-10 


11-20 


21-30 


1-10 

1 


11-2C 


21-311-10 


11-20 


21-301-10 


11-20 


21-26 












1 




1 


1 
















1 


1 


1 


1 
















6 


6 


6 


6 


5 


3 


4 


15 


7 


14 


14 


13 


9 


11 


8 


9 


IQ 


10 


8 


7 


7 


5 


5 


5 


4 

1 


4 


4 

2 


5 


























1 


1 


2 


2 


2 
2 


3 


3 


2 


3 


3 


2 


^ 


4 


3 


3 


2 


3 


3 


3 


4 


4 


3 


3 


2 

D 


2 
3 


1 

3 


1 
2 


2 

1 




2 


2 














1 


2 






^0 








2 


3 


2 


3 


4 


5 


10 


10 


20 


20 


22 


15 


17 


12 


6 


8 


19 


4 


7 


6 


9 


5 


4 


4 
2 


2 
3 


3 
2 


5 


4 


4 


4 


A 


1 






1 


2 


3 


2 


1 






1 








1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


3 


3 


14 


2 


6 


6 


40 


1) 


3 






2 


4 


2 


2 


3 


4 


4 


2 


l7 
2 


56 

4 


16 

2 


12 
2 


12 
3 


16 
3 


18 
4 


14 

2 


19 


1 
3 


1 


3 


2 


1 


2 


3 


4 


3 












(2 


1 


4 


5 


6 


11 


12 


19 


19 


21 


24 


26 


20 


19 


21 


30 


10 


5 


1) 






























1 


2 


1 


1 




1 














1 




1 


1 












1 


1 




1 




2 


1 


1 




2 


2 


1 


2 


1 




1 


2 


I 


2 


2 


2 
2 


2 

2 


2 
2 


1 
3 


3 
1 


1 


1 


1 


1 

1 


1 
1 


1 

1 


2 
1 


2 

1 


2 

1 

1 


1 
1 


2 
1* 


2 


2 


1 
1 


1 


1 
2 


1 




1 


1 












12 


1 
































1 


















































2 


3 


2 












7 
> 


7 


13 


20 


20 


12 


25 


16 


21 


15 


13 


11 


8 


6 


8 


4 
1 


3 
1 


4 
2 


3 
2 


2 
1 


9 
2 


8 


6 


6 

1 


4 


5 


4 
1 


4 






















1 


3 
1 
6 


2 




) 




3 


1 


4 


(1 


1 


4 


3 


4 


6 


9 


9 


9 


10 


11 


10 


9 


11 


10 


4 


4 


4 


3 


_2) 






6 


4 


1 








10 


8 


14 


6 


6 


5 


3 


4 


1 


2 


2 






1 






2 


2 


2 


2 


2 


2 


3 


4 


4 


5 


6 


5 


5 


5 


3 


4 


1 


2 


2 








1 


1 








































I 




1 


2 

1 
1 




3 


2 


4 


2 


3 


3 


1 


1 


















1 








1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


[ 


2 


2 


2 


2 


2 
1 


2 


2 


2 


2 


2 


2 


3 


3 


2 
1 


3 

1 


I 


4 


2 
1 


2 


3 
1 


3 
1 


2 


3 

1 


2 

1 


1 


1 
2 


1 
1 


( 




1 


1 


1 




1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 


1 






> 
> 


2 


3 


1) 










1 


1 


2 


1 








1 






1 


1 










(1 


3 


2 


2 










^■^^M 












1 


1 













































JUNE, 1964 



15 




ALTHOUGH nothing takes the place of actual field 
shooting with your favorite rifle or handgun, there 
is now an interesting and safe method for the shoot- 
ing enthusiast to get in a lot of off-season practice, indoors or 
out. And the shooting will do much to keep muscles and 
eyes in shooting trim the year around at a cost of only a 
fraction of a cent per shot. 

The title of this piece might well be, "How To Succeed In 
Shooting Without Really Firing," because the guns describ- 
ed here require no powder or other so-called explosives. 
They are the relatively new and much improved gas-powered 
pistols and rifles, frequently called CO2 guns. These arms are 
smokeless, nearly noiseless and very inexpensive to shoot. 
Their accuracy at short indoor and back-yard ranges is 
quite good enough to consistently hit a 1-inch diameter 
target at 15-feet distance. In fact one of my favorite targets 
is the little candy wafers, of about one-inch size, commonly 
called "Necco." The wafers are "bustable"; always a 
satisfactory sight to expert and tyro alike. Most shooters 
like to see something "give" when a well aimed shot finds 
its mark. 

Recently I have had an opportunity to test several repre- 
sentative makes and models of "Cee-0-Two" guns. Some re- 
sults of penetration and accuracy tests are shown in the illus- 
trations. A close look at the penetration tests should convince 
any shooter that these guns are not, repeat not, toys. Their 
bite is sufficient to inflict a painful wound in the human 
body or to put out an eye! Head shots on small game, such 
as squirrels and rabbits, are usually fatal, and such birds as 
sparrows and starlings are sitting "ducks" for the pellet-fir- 
ing gas guns. Grasshoppers and wasps and bumblebees are 
excellent and plentiful targets at ranges of 10 to 15 feet. 

Top: Crosman Model 160 .22 cal. pellet rifle, target model, with sling, 

and rear sight adjustable for windage and elevation. Lower: Crosnnan 

Super BB repeater, level action. 

Photo by the author 




As with all guns, these too should be treated with respect 
and handled with care and safety. 

There are two main categories of CO2 pistols and rifles: 
those that fire lead or steel BB's and those that fire wasp- 
waisted, blunt-nosed, hollow-skirted, soft lead pellets. The 
latter are used in rifled barrels for greatest accuracy and 
greater energy than is developed by the light steel BB's. The 
guns come in two basic calibers: the .22 pellet and the 
.177, the latter being of the approximate diameter of a BB. 
Both are offered in handguns and rifle models by a number 
of manufacturers. Costs of the guns range from about $39.00, 
for the Crosman Series 160 target rifle, to about $16.00 for 
the Crosman 166 Super BB Repeater, a child's size carbine 
of very light weight and moderate accuracy. In between are 
excellent pistols in either single-shot or auto-loading models. 

The fun and instruction that may be derived from these 
guns is almost endless. They are ideal for teaching young- 
sters, and other beginners, the fundamentals of shooting 
safety as well as putting them on the road to shooting 
enthusiasm and accuracy. In accuracy, all the guns tested 
are head and shoulders above the familiar, cheap, spring- 
air guns commonly given to the world's "Juniors" as a first 
gun. Not that the little spring-air jobs are not excellent be- 
ginners' weapons, but a youngster soon "graduates" to the 




Crosnnan Model 600, .22 cal. 10 
shot semi-automatic. 



point where he can outshoot his gun and wants an arm that 
will "shoot where he looks." The gas guns admirably fill 
this gap between the first gun and the rimfire .22. 

The gas-powered guns use as a propellent a small bottle 
of compressed carbon dioxide which is metered by the 
mechanism as individual charges for each shot. Each bottle 
will give from 35 to 90 shots, depending upon the make and 
model of gun. At about ten cents per bottle and pellets or 
BB's costing that fraction of a cent represented by four 
decimal places, you can readily see that an evening of 
fun is very cheap indeed. 

My tests have shown that the pellets are capable of greater 
accuracy and have, on the whole, greater energy. The pene- 
tration tests show, however, that the BB's are comparable to 
pellets in paper-punching ability. This is because the harder 
steel BB's do not flatten to expend their energy within the 
target itself. The pellets may be compared to "mushrooming" 
sporting rifle bullets that expand to create a larger wound 
channel and to give greater knock-down power by expending 
all their energy within the target rather than "shooting clear 
through" the target, as some shooters are wont to brag of 
some sporting rifle bullets. 

For indoor shooting a cardboard box, packed with cotton 
batting, rock wool, soft rags or cotton waste, makes an excel- 



16 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE 



lent and safe backstop-target carrier. A thin steel plate, such 
as an old biscuit pan or a piece of roofing material, placed 
in the back of the box gives an added safety factor that 
is desirable after repeated shots near the same place have 
created an opening in the soft material. A box about two 
feet square is ample for stopping most shots, and putting the 
box into a fireplace opening or backing it up with a 3 x 4 
foot piece of l^-inch plywood makes a backstop that even 
the rankest tyro can't miss at usual distances of 10 to 25 feet. 

Good target lighting is essential to good shooting. A 
shaded 100 watt lamp, set below or above the target carrier, 
or a lamp of the clip-on variety clamped to a mantlepiece 
or other support, works equally well. Just be sure that the 
target is evenly lighted without glare. 

For the beginning shooter 1 prefer the single-shot guns. 
In rifles, the Crosman 160 or 167 are good choices. Both are 
the same except as to caliber, the latter being of .177. The 
smaller pellets seem to give a shade better accuracy, particu- 
larly at longer ranges like, say, out to 30 feet. The 157 
single shot pistol is an excellent choice, too, and, in the auto- 
loading models, Crosman has an interesting and accurate 
.22 10-shot that handles and balances much like the Armv 
.45 Auto M-1911. 

The Daisy Model 200 BB Auto-loader incorporates a 
number of features that make it rate high in the safety scor- 
ings. This little pistol (it looks much like the Colt Woods- 
man) takes 175 BB's into its capacious "reservoir" at one 
gulp. These are transferred into the actual magazine, five 
at a time, by a simple shake of the gun with muzzle 
elevated and magazine follower held forward. Thus accidental 
loading of the magazine is eliminated. The follower interlocks 
with the trigger linkage, after the five rounds are fired, to 
prevent further discharge of the pistol or wasting gas by 
"pop-firing." Accuracy life of the CO2 in this gun is greater 
than in the others tested, being about 80 shots from a single 
12.5 gr. bottle (10^) and, of course, the BB's are consider- 
ably cheaper to shoot than are the pellets. 

All the guns tested have fully adjustable sights to allow 
zeroing the weapons for a given range or to compensate for 
individual characteristics of vision. 

All in all, I have found my "gas gun arsenal' valuable. 



For indoor shooting a cotton-filled pasteboard box placed in a 
fireplace serves as backstop and target carrier. 

Photo by the author 





Author's daughter, Bettie, shows good shooting form with accurate, 
lightweight, .177 single shot hand gun. 

not only for practice and in teaching shooting safety and 
marksmanship, but on many occasions they have proved to 
be the "life of the party" when friends gather at our house. 
Even the "girls" will leave the bridge table or gab-fest to 
take their turn at paper-punching or target-busting. It's a 
great way to stimulate shooting interest among the ladies, as 
well as male parents, some of whom seem to think that guns 
are good only for making frightening noises and for killing 
things — mainly people. 

While most manufacturers supply interesting shooting- 
game targets such as checkers, tic-tac-toe, golf, and "hunt- 
ing," we have devised a game that is a lot of fun for mixed 
groups of beginners and "experts." It makes use of the candy 
wafers mentioned previously: 

With rubber cement, fasten three or four selected colors 
of the wafers on a sheet of black paper in such a manner as 
to form neat rows with the space of a wafer between adjacent 
ones. Alternate the colors so that similar colors do not appear 

(Continued on next page) 

Daisy Model 200 BB, semi-automatic fires five shots from magazine, 

loaded from 175 shot "reservoir" in rear of gun. CO., bottle fits into 

pistol's grip. 




rjiilsv 



JUNE, 1964 



17 



Fishin' Holes 



(Continued from page II 



fishing difficult. It can be done, though, and many pickerel 
have been subdued by expert fly fishermen. Played on a 
light fly rod he is truly a sporting fish. 

The bait caster does not have the back cast problem cre- 
ated by the overhanging brush, but the catch here is the 
size of the lures required for effective casting. They're 
difficult to drop lightly into a quiet little pool. 

My choice is the spinning outfit, although light spin 
casting tackle should work just as well. There is no back 
cast problem and the angler has a wide selection of lures 
to choose from. 

Lurewise the pickerel is not "choosy." The red and white 
spoon is a longtime favorite and a strip of pork rind makes 
it almost irresistible. Spinner-fly combinations are also good 
with yellow or orange flies being the usual choice. Surface 
lures with propellers fore and aft that kick up a little spray 
can produce some good fishing and they add the bonus of 
the surface strike, one of the most exciting moments in fish- 
ing. 

Many sportsmen wade these streams and this is the pre- 
ferred method until you hit a good stretch of deep water, too 
deep to wade and probably inaccessible from shore. A small 
boat solves the deep water problem, but it's noisy and most 
Piedmont streams are in reality too small for floating. You 
seem to spend half of your time towing the boat through 
shallow water or lifting it over stream obstacles. 

I have found a satisfactory compromise in the canvas 
covered automobile tube rigs that have become popular in 
recent years. They were designed primarily for fishing small 
lakes and ponds, but by combining one with a pair of chest 
waders you get a perfect outfit for Piedmont stream fishing. 

You simply wade until the water gets too deep, and then 
you climb into the bubble harness and drift with the cur- 
rent — until your feet again touch solid bottom. My "bubble" 
has a snap pocket that is just right for sliding a small lure 
and tackle kit into — one that will hold all the tackle you 



need for this type of fishing. It also has several tailored 
loops that are perfect for fastening a fish stringer to or for 
tying a sash cord to, with the other end around your waist so 
the rig will not float off while you are wading and concen- 
trating on the fishing. 

Another attribute of the hearty pickerel is the fact that 
he is a year 'round fish. He roams these Piedmont streams 
from January to December and if ice fishing were popular 
in Virginia, he would become the most likely candidate to 
i)e flipped through the ice fisherman's hole in the ice. 

Small stream fishing does not seem to suffer from "dog 
days" doldrums as does so much of the fresh water fishing 
in Virginia and throughout the South. Some of my best 
pickerel catches have been made in August. 

I have never found the pickerel a steady performer for 
night fishing. He feeds during the hours of daylight and in 
shaded streams seems to ignore the accepted formula for 
good fishing — early morning and late afternoon. Many times 
1 have sacrificed several hours of precious sleep only to fish 
until mid-morning before getting any action. 

The best part of Piedmont pickerel fishing is the solitude. 
1 rarely encounter another fisherman. 



The tiger of the weed beds is not "choosy," and seenns to strike most 
lures more in Indignation than from hunger. 




Gas Guns (Continued from previous page) 

next to each other either vertically or horizontally. About 20 
wafers in rows of five can be placed on a letter-size sheet. 
Each shooter picks his identifying color and fires, in turn, 
at his targets until each participant has fired a total of five 
shots. The shooter having the most broken targets at the end 
of the round is the winner; but other shooter's targets broken 
by an opponent count for the shooter whose target (color) 
is broken. Thus poorly aimed shots can run up the score for 
an opponent giving the tyro a chance against a more ex- 
perienced "gun-slinger." This game can also be played on a 
partner basis with two shooters firing at one color. 

Yes, gas gun shooting is real shooting fun, indoors or out, 
and you will be surprised at the ever-growing number of 
shooting enthusiasts that your indoor "party" shooting will 
create. 

We in the shooting fraternity need more support to com- 
bat senseless laws that would take away our shooting privi- 



leges; and the more people we can convert to the shooting 
sports, the more support we will have to combat these oft- 
times silly proposals. As all shooters know, guns are not 
dangerous; the men behind them are the potential killers. 
So, whether you do your plinking in the parlor, playroom or 
patio, always handle your guns safely and require others to 
do so as well. 



NOTE: Jim Rutherfoord is a member of the National Rifle 
Association, to whose magazine, The American Rifleman, he 
has contributed several articles. He is a NRA certificated 
Hunter Safety Course Instructor and has assisted in the train- 
ing of more than 100 youngsters in shooting safety through 
courses sponsored by the Commission, the Radford Izaak 
Walton League Chapter and the NRA. He is a merriber of the 
Chiistiansburg (Va.) Rifle Club. 



18 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE 



Charlottesville Bird Study (Continued from page 15) 

Our theory behind this activity was twofold. One was that 
the birds of the immediate neighborhood would be drawn 
to the feeding area as a popular spot to eat. Secondly, the 
highest number of birds we counted over a period of days 
would, on the average, be representative of the population for 
each species in question. While workable, both of these 
propositions have flaws in them, of which we cite two ex- 
amples. 

In winter, when food was scarce and the birds bolder, 
we trapped the tufted titmice and black-capped chickadees 
as thev came singly to eat in the bleach bottle sunflower 
feeder. In order to get a seed each bird would have to enter 
the bottle, at which time we pulled a plastic sheet over the 
entrance. The bird was removed and an aluminum band wa? 
placed on its right leg in the winter of 1962-63, and one 
was placed on each leg in the winter of 1963-64. Between 
December 25. 1962, and January 10. 1963. the highest num- 
ber of titmice recorded was 6, while the number of bandings 
was 10. In the winter of 1963-64. between November 16, 
1963, and December 5, 1964. the highest number of titmice 
recorded was 5, including the ones already banded; but we 
banded 7 others. For the same respective periods of time 
the highest chickadee count was 3 and we banded 7 : then 
counted 2 and banded none. 

The second observation has to do with mourning doves. 
We found that if we arose before daylight in winter and 
counted the greatest number to appear just when there was 
enough light to see outside, there would be 30 or more. By 
the time there was good light outside this flock would have 
disappeared and our counts dropped to zero or as high as 16. 

In spite of these observational limitations, as well as 
others which will occur to anyone who contemplates the 
situation, we have presented our results in tabular form. 
Species are listed alphabetically. The numbers shown repre- 
sent the largest number of individuals of each species obser\ - 
ed simultaneously at the feeding station during each 10- 
day interval beginning June 1. 1962, and ending May 26. 
1963. To bring out those elements which we will discuss 
later we have underlined the counts of permanent residents 
and have both underlined and put in parentheses the mem- 
bers of the migratory populations for this same purpose. 

What our chart shows is undoubtedly "old hat" to 
ornithologists. Some of it was new to us, probably because 
we have not read ornithological literature extensively : and 
it may be new to readers of Virginia \^ ildlife for the same 
reason. At the risk of being entirely wrong we would like 
to make some comments about the bird population figure^ 
as they appear on the chart. These comm.ents are by way of 
explanation, as we see it, for some of the rises and falls in 
population, or total absences of some species at various 
times of the year. 

The permanent residents, just like the migratory birds, 
divide the year into two parts: the cold and the hot season. 
It will be noticed among the permanent residents (cardinals, 
chickadees, mourning doves, house sparrows, starlings and 
possibly the downy woodpecker) that during the cold period 
there was a gradual rise and fall in number at the feeding 
station. The increase, beginning in late September and con- 
tinuing through October, is partly related to the addition of 
juveniles as our notes reflect many of these during this 
period. In addition, there seems to be a collecting of adults, 
which were dispersed through the breeding season, into 



the flock. During the winter these remain together but by 
late January and early February a dispersal takes place with 
the counts falling to a basal "hot season" level. This fall in 
total count reflects the dispersal to breeding areas beyond 
the range of our feeding station. As illustrations of this, note 
the fluctuations in the cardinals and house sparrows. 

The absence of starlings during the summer, their gradual 
increase and then decline to disappearance, their ubiqui- 
tousness throughout the neighborhood at all times, posed a 
different problem and a different solution. We had antici- 
pated continued visits throughout the year, either singly or 
in groups, from these birds. The only explanation we can 
offer for the findings on the chart is that as natural food be- 
came more scarce during the winter they began to range 
farther and in increasing numbers, discovering the feeding 
station and using it. As natural foods became more plentiful, 
a re\ersal of the process occurred. If there is another, more 
adequate explanation we would appreciate someone telling 
us what it is. 

Among the winter residents only the junco and white- 
throated sparrows were numerous enough to delineate some 
pattern. Both show a gradual increase and an equally 
gradual decline in number; both reach a maximum in late 
January and early February. Both begin to arrive in 
mid-October and depart by late April and early May. 
These two strikingly similar patterns posed the question 
of mutual influences from dynamic forces, or an inter- 
relatedness of the two species in some other fashion. The 
gradual build-up and decline suggests that individuals of 
the two species move as isolated units both from and to the 
north, collecting into flocks when they have settled on the 
winter feeding grounds. 

The summer residents arrive and depart on schedule. In 
contrast to the gradual build-up of the flocks of juncos and 
whitethroats. purple grackle go and come as a single large 
unit. It will be seen that 40 were on the feeding station just 
before they disappeared in late October, and 56 were count- 
ed at one time when they arrived in mid-March. During the 
summer, between these two extreme counts, they thin out, 
the group remaining in our neighborhood varying between 
2 and 20. We also did not notice a large increase in their 
number with the addition of juveniles, although these were 
seen. 

The red-headed woodpeckers which visited our station 
were migratory. When in our neighborhood they made them- 
selves known by fighting and making a great deal of noise. 
We had observed another redhead, in another section of 
Charlottesville, in dead winter, and have supposed him to be 
a permanent resident. This dichotomy of migration and 
residence is probably understood by ornithologists, but our 
reading has not been so great that we can offer an explana- 
tion. 

More information can be extracted from the chart for 
discussion, but it has been left for your inspection and 
analysis. \^ e have found this phase of our study of birds 
much more rewarding than just feeding them and watching 
them. Anyone can do it if he has a little persistence. Our 
persistence is such that this is our third year of keeping 
these records. \\ e anticipate, as years pass, and the character 
of our neighborhood changes by the large amount of build- 
ing which is taking place, that the patterns of bird popu- 
lations w ill change in accommodation to this. We look for- 
ward to seeing if this is true. 



JUNE, 1964 



19 



Appraisal (Continued from page 5) 

today centers around improvement of habitat for desired 
species, and control of hunting and fishing pressure so that 
only the annual surplus of each species will be harvested. 

Habitat manipulation, of course, is no easy, one-shot 
panacea; and we finally have come to this as the real man- 
agement tool because we have learned that there is no simple 
panacea. I have tried to show that man has been manipu- 
lating wildlife habitat ever since our ancestors came to these 
shores. Mostly this manipulation of the en\'ironment has been 
done without regard to its impact on wildlife, and sometimes 
wildlife has accidentally benefited and sometimes it has not. 
Historically, it has been a hit-and-miss pattern. Now we are 
in the process of incorporating a recognition of wildlife 
values in land management practices, both in agriculture and 
forestry. 

In employing our other main management tool — the con- 
trol of hunting and fishing pressure to get the most out of our 
fish and game resources — we find ourselves dealing more with 
people than with wildlife and its environment. And this is 
as it should be, because after all we are in the business of 
managing the wildlife resource not for its own sake but for 
people. However, I must confess that wildlife and its en- 
vironment sometimes are easier to manipulate than are peo- 
ple. Human behavior is less predictable than that of a bob- 
white, and there are many prejudices and traditions that 
complicate the process of controlling, regulating and shifting 
hunting and fishing pressure to keep up with ever-changing 
wildlife population patterns. 

To obtain the maximum harvest, each species of game 
theoretically should have its own season, bag limit and hunt- 
ing regulations. As we take steps in this direction, the public 
rebels because regulations become increasingly complicated. 

Word gets around that hunter success has been particular- 
ly good on one public shooting area; and suddenly hunters 
descend upon it like an unpredicable swarm of locusts, spill 
over onto surrounding private lands, create traffic jams on 
the back roads, and get the residents of a whole county 
or two up in arms, to say nothing of harvesting considerably 
more game from this particular locality than we had in- 
tended. 

Sometimes good game management demands a reduction 
in overly dense deer herds by the harvest of some anterless 
deer, and a lot of people just do not think it is right to kill 
does. 

Right now it is essential that we relieve hunting pressure 
on hen turkeys by shifting some of that pressure to gobblers, 
which can be hunted selectively only in the spring. And we 
find a lot of people who just do not believe in hunting tur- 
keys or anything else in the springtime. 

In spite of the fact that we have plenty of problems to 
keep us occupied, generally speaking we here in Virginia 
are in pretty good shape game-wise. We have killed over 
38,000 deer in each of the past two seasons, the highest 
numbers in our history. West of the Blue Ridge much of our 
timber is heading toward maturity and some decline in 
present deer herds is to be expected. In this section our deer 
population will be limited by the amount of habitat we can 
maintain through planned timber sales, timber stand im- 
provement and other forest management measures. In the 
eastern half of the state our overall deer population is at 
high level. The reversion of farmland to forest, the popu- 



larity of pulpwood production, and other factors have pro- 
duced a maximum of brushy deer range. Deer numbers 
should remain high in this section until land-use trends 
head in a less favorable direction. There is no reason why 
we cannot have plenty of deer and deer hunting in Vir- 
ginia indefinitely, if the public will accept and support the 
kind of regulations that good management dictates. 

Bear numbers have lluctuated quite a bit in recent years 
and now appear to be at a peak, judging by the record 
kill of 381 turned in last season. Bears tend to benefit from 
the same habitat changes which benefit deer, and with our 
vast acreage of National Forest lands we should have bears 
in huntable numbers for many years to come, but probably 
with less liberal hunting regulations in the future than we 
have today. 

Turkeys have been adversely affected by the same forestry 
practices which have benefited deer. In the west and north, 
turkeys are doing well and are even increasing in some 
sections as more timber matures. In the piedmont and tide- 
water sections, pulpwood forestry has been working against 
the turkeys. Three successive nesting failures have reduced 
the population in this section and necessitated restrictive sea- 
sons. The long-range outlook for the wild turkey and for 
more liberal turkey hunting regulations in eastern Virginia 
is not good. 

Quail have not fared very well on the modern Virginia 



5 W 



« 



■'Jd 



. •-" • ■ ^^•*^ 




Commission photo by Kesteloo 
The Commission's deer stocking program succeeded in establishing 
herds in suitable habitat where all native breeding stock had been 
exterminated years before. 

scene. Being very dependent on agriculture for optimum 
habitat — and an outmoded, primitive type of agriculture at 
that — they thrived in the days of numerous farms, large 
plantations and inefficient agricultural practices. The clean 
farming of today, the trend toward larger farms and away 
from grain production, and the general abandonment of 
farmland for pulp or timber production has considerably re- 
duced our quail range. Some of the soil conservation pro- 
grams now being advocated for retired cropland are bene- 
ficial to quail and other small game, and planting materials 
distributed by the Commission help to increase the carrying 
capacity of our present quail range. 

The mourning dove, on the other hand, has been on the 
increase. Current changes in land use have favored this 
adaptable and prolific bird and it can probably provide even 
more recreation in the future than it does now. Management 
procedures which concentrate these birds for more efficient 
harvest have been quite successful in other states and are 
being tried experimentally in Virginia. With an eye to the 
future, we have stepped up our banding and research to 
learn more of the bird and its habits in Virginia. 

Rabbits have had it pretty rough in some parts of the Old 
Dominion during the past few years. Mysterious population 



20 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE 



drops have been common and sometimes widespread. In- 
vestigations have not yet revealed if tularemia or other dis- 
eases are responsible. Rabbits are prolific breeders, but are 
subject to a wide array of natural population controls which 
limit their numbers. The rabbit picture is not all gloomy, 
and fine cottontail hunting is still enjoyed in many parts 
of the state. 

Squirrels are very adaptable and consequently are gener- 
ally abundant throughout the state. Their year-to-year 
abundance depends on the highly variable mast crop. The 
increase in forested acreage throughout the state should 
favor the squirrel in years to come. 

Grouse numbers vary considerably from year to year due 
to cyclic population phenomena. Grouse are generally abun- 
dant in the mountainous parts of the state during good years. 
They tend to benefit from the new growth stimulated by 
timber sales and habitat improvement work, much as deer 
respond to the same improvements. 

Pollution control efforts during the past several years are 
making headway on some of our streams. Fishing has been 
restored in some sections, improved in others, and better 
control over accidental discharges of toxic substances has 
been achieved. This is a continuing problem, however, that 
needs the attention and interest of every responsible citizen. 

The Commission's lake construction program has in- 
creased the fishing opportunity in many sections. The big 

.^ / 







Commission jthcito lj\' Ktstelijo 

The use of game farm stock to augment the natural productivity of 

species in hunting areas has been discarded as a useless and wasteful 

game management toot. 

boom in farm pond construction during the past decade has 
added a lot to our fresh water fishing. More significant from 
the point of view of the general public have been the large 
new reservoirs constructed in southern Virginia. Their fish- 
ing and recreation potential is enormous, and by controlling 
water flow they have sometimes improved downstream fish- 
ing where flooding and heavy silt loads had been a problem. 
In addition, these large, deep impoundments have created 
an entirely new type of aquatic habitat that did not exist 
naturally in Virginia, and we hope to be able to develop from 
it a new lake-type sport fishery. To this end we are experi- 
menting with introduction of such exotic species as northern 
pike, muskellunge, and lake trout. 

So much for past and present; now what of the future? 
Each year the number of hunters and fishermen in Virginia 
increases by 3 or 4 percent. Our existing public hunting and 
fishing areas already are overtaxed in the eastern part of the 
state. Great population increases are forecast for this section 
and the general recreation demand is expected to double in 
the next 40 years. The Commission is aggressively seeking 
suitable lands to meet this need. Since large tracts of land in 
this section are difficult to find and prohibitive in cost, our 
new Powhatan area just outside of Richmond was purchased 



as an experiment to see if a number of smaller areas could 
provide the same hunting as a few large ones, at less cost and 
with greater accessibility. 

To make up for some of the inevitable losses in native 
game species caused by man's widespread manipulation of 
the face of the earth, species from other parts of the country 
and the world are being sought to fill the gaps. Muskellunge, 
northern pike, and lake trout from the northern states have 
been experimentally released in some of Virginia's large 
reservoirs. Black-necked pheasants from Iran hybridized 
with ringnecks from California seem to be taking hold in 
counties along the lower James River. Kalij pheasants from 
the Himalayan Mountains have been released in southwest- 
ern Virginia. Green pheasants and black francolins have 
been released in a number of experimental areas in the state. 
If some of these exotic birds succeed in filling the niches 
for which they were scientifically selected, we can look for- 
ward to a richer and more varied fauna for future sports- 
men to enjoy. 

It is difficult to visualize the effects that our declining 
agriculture, our expanding industry, and our sprawling 
metropolitan areas will have on wildlife habitat and hunting 
and fishing pressure. If the three day work week and high 
pay scales predicted by some materialize, hunting and fish- 
ing and other forms of outdoor recreation are destined to 
play a far more important role in our lives than they do 
now. 

In the field of hunting and fishing, as in most other 
forms of outdoor recreation, we are going to have to accept 
more crowding, more regimentation, and more rules and 
regulations to implement the carefully planned multiple 
uses of our outdoor areas as our population pushes toward 
the 300 million mark expected by the year 2000. We will 
also have to modify our concepts of what constitutes success 
in these sports. For a long time, the food value of the game 
and fish taken has been unimportant from an economic 
standpoint, but the full creel or game bag has remained a 
symbol of success. As the number of participants increases, 
the sport, the fun, the enjoyment of hunting and fishing, will 
become the true measure of success. Methods that give the 
game a better break will be favored over wholesale slaughter. 

The Game Commission has already taken several steps in 
this direction and more are sure to follow. The fish-for-fun 
concept tried experimentally on the Rapidan River has been 
an unquestioned success. Here anglers are able to take good 
sized rainbow and nati\e brook trout on barbless hooks and 
release them unharmed for the next angler. 

The 30 day archery season granted for the first time last 
year provided thousands of hours of recreation for an esti- 
mated 5,000 Virginians who harvested only about 250 deer. 
The spring turkey gobbler season promoted by the Game 
Commission for the past several years fits into the same 
category. This season provides thousands of hours of high 
quality recreation at the expense of only about 285 turkeys, 
and these are old, excess toms whose removal does not affect 
one way or another the year's production of young turkeys. 
The "recreation per animal" value of such innovations is 
obvious in light of our total kill of 38,000 deer and 1811 
turkeys (about half of which were hens) during our last 
regular fall season. We still hope to maintain "quantity" 
hunting and fishing for many years to come, but we are 
going to have to upgrade the quality aspects all the while 
if there is to continue to be enough to go around. 



JUNE, 1964 



21 



Rabbit 



(Continued from page 10) 



to overcome the resistance of normal attrition factors and 
again bring the rabbit back to what we rabbit hunters like 
to think of as "normal" abundance. And when this does 
happen, the ecological balance between the rabbit and his 
total environment is once again so finely drawn, and so 
precarious, that as we rejoice in the "recovery" the rabbit 
population already is ripe for another "boom and bust." 

Thus, strange as it may seem, the rabbit's main defense 
against extinction, his birth rate, not only plays a role in 
his periodic abundance but may also be indirectly responsible 
for his periodic scarcity. 

There are things that can be done to help produce more 
rabbits on the land when the population is not already at 
or approaching peak abundance. There also are a lot of 
things that either cannot be done effectively, or that will 
not have the desired results even if they are attempted. 

Restocking, for example, is a costly and useless tool in 
rabbit management. The rabbits already there will do all the 
"restocking" that is needed, and then some, even in periods 
of scarcity. 

We cannot wage war directly against parasites and 
diseases, even though these silent killers may be the final, 
drastic control imposed upon rabbit abundance. The wild 
animal without parasites and incipient disease does not 
exist. Killers such as tularemia usually reach epizootic pro- 
portions and reduce populations only after high densities 
have been reached. Predation and hunting pressure may help 
prevent serious outbreaks of disease, by leveling off the 
rabbit population at a safe density ; but there is no other 
practical and effective means of combating rabbit disease 
in a wild population. 

Drastic restriction of fall rabbit hunting has little effect 
in increasing the following season's productivity. The num- 
ber of rabbits taken through normal hunting pressure is 
never great compared to the normal total annual population 
turn-over, and in most cases fall hunting merely helps bring 
populations down to the numbers that can escape natural 
mortality factors when winter's low point in the land's carry- 
ing capacity is reached. A study recently completed by gradu- 
ate student Neil Payne of the Virginia Cooperative Wildlife 
Research Unit showed that rabbits on the Commission's Hog 
Island waterfowl refuge could withstand a reduction by 
hunting of at least 75 per cent from their fall level, and still 
there would remain ample breeding stock to produce a com- 
parable harvest the following year. This study further sug- 
gested that a hunting pressure reduction of 75 per cent of 
the early fall population is unlikely to occur where good 
rabbit cover exists, because hunting success becomes so poor 
as the 75 per cent removal is approached that most rabbit 
hunters become discouraged and give up or go elsewhere to 
hunt. 

But just what is "good" rabbit cover? When hunters can- 
not find plenty of rabbits even early in the fall, it usually is 
because they cannot find the right kind of places in which 
to hunt them. The rabbit hunter who has had little success in 
the woods, and even less in fields of stubble and clover, may 
wonder why he cannot at least find some game in those big 
old abandoned fields that have grown up into almost im- 
penetrable thickets of blackberry bushes and scrub pines. 
Now if he looks for substantial amounts of "edge." where 
all these cover types come together, and cannot find it, that 
is surely one good answer to his rabbit problem. 



The main thing that can be done to increase the supply 
of rabbits in the fall is to provide more of the right kinds 
of vegetative cover in the right places, and thus both in- 
crease and extend the amount of complete habitat available. 
Rabbits need places to eat, to hide, and to raise their 
young. A contented rabbit is one that never has to go far 
from any one of these places to find the others. There is 
nothing fancy about the cover requirements, but intersper- 
sion of cover types — of feeding and playing areas with 
brushy escape cover — is the key to successful rabbit man- 
agement. 

Give them a large block of heavy, brushy cover adjacent 
to a large field of clover, and all the rabbits in the area will 
be found concentrated along the edge between the two. A 
few rods back in the brush, or a short distance out into the 
field, the land supports no rabbits at all. Along the narrow 
marginal strip, the rabbit population of the whole area lives 
in a highly vulnerable local concentration. 

Interspersion of cover types, with lots of edge between the 
two. provides for a safe dispersal of an abundant rabbit sup- 
ply that the land can sustain — not one that is seen concentrat- 
ed along the sides of roads and edges of fields in summer 
and is sought in vain when the fall hunting season ap- 
proaches. 

Where dense cover already exists in large, unbroken 
blocks, its value as cottontail habitat can be greatly increased 
by clearing lanes through it and planting them to grasses 
and clover. The quickest way to bring on a rabbit increase 
in many places, however, is simply to build brush piles — big 
ones — near dependable sources of food. Cutover lands, where 
there are sprouting stumps and shrub growth coming on, are 
ideal locations for the quick cover provided by the right 
kind of brush piles. (So are the edges of croplands and 
orchards, where brush piled up in long rows often creates 
a veritable "rabbit heaven," but of course an invitation to a 
rabbit to live there is also an invitation to do some feeding 
on the crop.) 

Brushpiles around the edges of pastures can be productive, 
if some of the adjoining open land is fenced against grazing, 
isolated brushpiles out in the middle of big pastures are 
much less attractive. 

Little, skimpy piles of brush are not of much value. They 
should be several yards in diameter, and five or six feet 
high. Beyond that size, though, it is better to move on a 
short distance and start a new one. Remember, interspersion, 
not solid blocks of cover, is the key. 

Properly located and well built brushpiles are a quick act- 
ing management tool, and a first step toward an even 
greater and more permanent improvement in range carry- 
ing capacity. Build them near fencerows, ditches, streams 
and woodlot edges where there already is a merging of 
other cover types. Let grasses, clover and weeds grow 
around them. Let blackberry bushes and other shrubby 
plants grow up through them. Help nature convert them into 
the permanently rooted, living thickets that rabbits love. 

You still may see r.ome fluctuations in rabbit abundance, 
because the balance between the rabbit and his total environ- 
ment is naturally dynamic rather than stable. But your 
rabbits will always bounce back quicker from any temporary 
slump they might encounter if the carrying capacity of your 
hunting grounds is improved. It is the best thing that could 
possibly happen to the rabbit, and the kind of thing that 
has not been happening often enough of late. 



22 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE 










By J. J. MURRAY 
Lexington 



OUR warblers have a wide choice for the location of 
their nests. Some species build on the ground, some 
in low thickets, others up to 50 feet high in trees. 
The black-and-white warbler is a ground nester. It rarely 
feeds on the ground, however, foraging mainly on the trunks 
and large branches of trees. For this reason early American 
ornithologists called it the "black and white creeper." 

The nest is placed near the base of a tree. One that I 
saw in Rockbridge County many years ago was at the foot 
of a clump of hickory saplings. It was hollowed out under 
dry leaves, with the nest roofed over and visible only from 
one direction. The brooding bird and the five eggs almost fil- 
led the nest saucer. The eggs were white with reddish spots 
and, as is so often the case, were more heavily marked at the 
larger end. 

The nesting bird let me put my face within 18 inches of 
her before she moved. In fact, I could easily have caught 
her. When she did flush she pulled a wing down, fluttering 
about as if crippled. Running about 10 feet, she returned 
with a feeble cry, again coming within 18 inches of my hand 
and fluttering about me until I left her in peace. 

This nest had five eggs on the last day of May. It may have 
been a second attempt after the failure of the first, as eggs 
have been found in this same region in late April. The April 
date is quite early, of course, as even in Tidewater Harold 
Bailey listed fresh eggs only from May 15 to 20. 



The courtship of the black-and-white warbler is very in- 
teresting. The male sometimes chases the female in and 
out among the bushes at such speed that it is difficult for 
the eye to follow them. Sometimes the pursuit takes place 
on the trunk of a tree, where round and round they go. In 
pauses between these rushes the male will hang to the bark, 
holding his body as far away from the trunk of the tree as 
possible and bending his head over until it almost touches 
his back. Evidently this queer posture impresses a female 
even as do some of the equally queer antics of the human 
male. 

Many birds seem to have a marked sense of curiosity. 
Indian hunters on the prairie used to play on this sense of 
curiosity to lure large birds to their destruction. In the 
little black-and-white warbler this curiosity is developed in 
a high degree. I have found that when in the woods I 
approach a fledgling of any species one of these warblers 
will soon join the parents in their protests at my presence. 

The name of this bird describes it. The male is almost 
unique among warblers in having no touch of color any- 
where. The upper parts are mainly black, with white 
streaks, while the under parts are just the reverse, mainly 
white but marked with black stripes. The female is duller, 
with a slight wash of brownish on the sides. These insect- 
eating birds are entirely beneficial in their feeding habits. 



JUNE, 1964 



23 



%X^/^l/Af/UI/A/ff IDa 



Tn 



jr^- 



-^: 






Edited" by HARRY GILLAM 
Campers' Guide 

Camping Maps U. S. A., by Glenn 
and Dale Rhodes, illustrated with thumb- 
nail sketches and state outline highway 
maps, is a handy book for all campers. 
Just the right size to fit into an auto- 
mobile glove compartment, it is an easy- 
to-use manual of how and where to camp 
in each of the 50 states. More than 
10,000 camp grounds are included, and 
name, location, nearby highways, and 
facilities are listed for each, state by 
state. Each camp ground also is identi- 
fied by number, cross-referenced with 
the text, and its approximate location is 
shown on the accompanying outline high- 
way map. 

Opening sections of the paperback 
contain helpful tips on shelter, cooking, 
attire, packing, setting up camp, food 
and food preparation, safety and health, 
motor hints, and check lists for food and 
equipment. Information on charges, if 
any, and other special considerations and 
regulations concerning camp grounds in 
each state is presented at the beginning 
of each state section. 

The 297 page paper-backed book is 
published by the Macmillan Company, 
60 Fifth Avenue, New York 11, New 
York; 1963. Price $2.95. 




Chickahominy Rock 




Whopper Bream 




Photo by Wayne Dandridge 
This 2 pound 2 ounce citation size bluegill 
was taken by Gene Goodman of Chesapeake, 
Virginia, this spring. He caught the king-size 
panfish while fishing with worms in a private 

pond. 



Sportsmen Clear Y/oy For Trout 

This spring a combined snow slide 
and drift up to 9 feet deep blocked trout 
stocking crews on the St. Mary's River. 
Two Augusta County sportsmen's clubs 
came to the rescue, the Blue Ridge 
Bear and Coon Club furnishing a bull- 
dozer to clear the snow and the River- 
heads Coon and Bear Club furnishing 
a labor force to cut brush and restore 
the road to its former condition. Game 
Warden Houston I. Todd, who meets 
regularly with these groups, reports 
them extremely cooperative. 



"No Deer" 

Many hunters erroneously conclude 
that "there isn't any game left," simpl) 
because they don't see it on frequent 
trips afield. In Michigan. 39 deer were 
fenced into a mile-square area of hard- 
woods, pine swamps and open pine bar- 
rens. In clear weather, with ideal snow- 
tracking conditions, it took six experi- 
enced hunters almost four days before 
they saw a buck. The average time speiil 



This I I pound 4 ounce citation rockfish wa-; 

taken from the Chickahominy River by P. T. 

Sansone of Richmond. The big rock was 

weighed in at Ed Allen's Camp #2. Sansone bagging a buck within the enclosure 

took several citation-size largemouths from the _ , 

Chickahominy in 1963. was .'^1 hours. 



Outdoor Recreation Assistance 
Book Offered: 

Description of help available to states, 
their subdivisions, organizations, and in- 
dividuals is provided in a useful new 
booklet, Federal Assistance in Outdoor 
Recreation. Copies are on sale at 20 
cents each from the Superintendent of 
Documents, Government Printing Of- 
fice. Washington 25, D. C. 

Assistance available under authorized 
federal programs involves credit, cost 
sharing, technical aid, educational serv- 
ices, and research. It may be obtained 
in a variety of ways for a variety of 
purposes under the regular program 
activities of five federal departments 
and four special agencies or administra- 
tions. 

A concise and useful reference book- 
let. Federal Assistance in Outdoor Rec- 
reation does not attempt to sell outdoor 
recreation or agency programs. Instead, 
it gives brief descriptions of authorized 
programs, ways in which assistance is 
provided, and the address of agency con- 
tact offices. 



Massaponax Bigmouth 




A blue plastic worm proved to be the down- 
fall of this 10 pound largemouth taken by 
Lou DePalma of Stafford, Virginia, in Mas- 
saponax Creek near Fredericksburg. The fish 
was brought to net on 6 pound line. 



Hunters and fishermen are permitted 
to camp free on 6 Wildlife Management 
Areas owned by the Commission of 
Game and Inland Fisheries. Camping 
is provided on one additional Commis- 
sion owned area for a moderate fee. 



24 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE 




YOUTH 




Edited by DOROTHY ALLEN 
Wildlife Food Plots 




The Fredericksburg-Rappahannock 
Chapter of the Izaak Walton League 
sponsored a wildlife food patch contest 
in the three nearby counties of Spot- 
sylvania, Stafford, and Caroline. FEA 
and 4-H Club members worked hard to 
raise a fruitful plot of wildlife food to 
improve game populations. 

The chapter furnished the seed (pro- 
vided by the Commission of Game and 
Inland Fisheries ) to be used and a set 
of rules to guide the contestants. Judg- 
ing was done by Game Commission 
personnel, county agent, and members of 
the chapter's committee on conservation. 
Prizes totaling $200 were awarded the 
winners at a special meeting at the 
chapter's clubhouse. 

Dr. Robert Caverlee, a retired Baptist 
minister, talked on "A Seed is Planted" 
both in the ground and in the boy. Mr. 
Stuart Purks. Assistant Chief of Law 
Enforcement Division of the Game Com- 
mission, was assisted by Wardens Roland 
Eagar and Francis Boggs. and by Dar- 
rell Ferrell, Coordinator of the Game 
Commission's Field Educational Services, 
in presenting the following awards: 
Stafford County: 

1st Place— S25.00— Michael Clark 
2nd Place —$15.00— Clay Kendall 
3rd Place— $10.00— Roger Randall 
Spotsylvania County: 

1st Placf^$25.00— Randall Mastin 
2nd Placf^$15.00— Larry Mastin 
3rd Place— $10.00— Wendall Green 
Caroline County: 

Caroline High School — 

1st Place— $25.00— Billy Cecil 

2nd Place— $15.00— James Skinner 

3rd Place— $10.00— Tommy Loving 

C. T. Smith High School — 

1st Place— $25.00— Bobby Blanton 

2nd Place— $15.00— David Collier 

3rd Place— $10.00— Fred Simulick 



Youth Gives Gome Warden 
Bod Moment 

A young lad near Watertown, S. D., 
gave a state game warden a few bad 
moments — but everything turned out 
okay : 

A warden driving along Big Sioux 
Creek noticed the end of a brand new 
fishing pole sticking up over the top 
of a knoll. The fishing season was still 
closed there, so he stopped to check. 

He was somewhat surprised to dis- 
cover a little boy dangling a line in 
the water. 

■'I didn't want to bawl him out and 
he was too young to arrest, so I asked 
him how the fish were biting in the hope 
that I could come up with an idea on 
how to handle a situation like this," the 
warden explained. 

"Oh, I'm not fishing," said the lad. 
"I just wanted to try out my new fish- 
ing pole but Dad wouldn't let me have 
any hooks yet." 

Nature Camp 

The following essay was written by a 
student attending the third session of 
Nature Camp 1963: 

First Place Essay 

This nice. warm, and friendly camp 
is nestled between mountains, rivers, 
homes of wildlife and many things of 
nature. 

The two weeks I've been here I feel 
as though I have been drawn closer to 
God and His works of nature. Being 
away from civilization for a while really 
lets you know what is in this wonderful 
world of His. 

I have watched other campers scurry 
after a butterfly, tear an old log apart, 
go to the nice swimmir.g pool. They like 
the opportunity to be near God and 
show interest in His creations. 

Nature Camp isn't all fun and no 
work, but a combination of both put to- 
gether marvelously by the staff. You 
learn what kind of softie you really are 
on those hikes up and down the moun- 
tain. At Table Rock, you may have a 
geology class and still be able to go 



down the slide carved out of rock by 
water. This is one deed of Mother Na- 
ture. 

The name of the camp is so perfectly 
fitting. Nature, that's a nice word and 
I really wonder what it means. Does it 
mean bugs, snakes, birds, bears, rocks, 
wildflowers. and such. I guess it's that 
and much more — all of God's creations. 

Why are the people so nice? A ques- 
tion I keep asking myself. I just thought 
of an answer. It isn't because they are 
pretending so there'll be no bad report; 
its because they really are friendly and 
willing to help you at any time. 

Keeping a notebook helps you re- 
member what you learned, and as you 
grow older, you may look at it and cher- 
ish the things in that green book. You'll 
recall the fun. work, people, classes and 
everything. 

I'm sure you'll want to come as long 
as you are able. These past two weeks 
have been one of really living in a 
world revealing the things that went by 
unnoticed before. Every camper should 
have a warm place in their heart for 
this camp. 

To me there's no place on earth quite 
like it. The camp is rustic in a sense 
and original in another. 

I'll try my best to come back every 
year to the camp nestled in the moun- 
tains. Nature Camp Virginia. 

Mary T. Graves 




JUNE, 1964 



25 



~'<IJ^ ?:^^^"&^ .£.;^:sr-^'^ 



O/V WB W/irERFRONT 




Edited by JIM KERRICK 

Ngtionol Safe Boating Week 

National Safe Boating Week has been 
scheduled for the period of June 28. 
1964, to July 4, 1964. Encouraged by 
a heartening amount of interest in safe 
boating activities on the local level dur- 
ing 1963, the National Safe Boating 
Week committee began its promotional 
program earlier this year; and visual 
and instructional materials for the 1964 
campaign have been distributed to 
marinas and safety organizations. 

Recreational Boating Safety 

The Virginia waters of the Chesa- 
peake are efficiently supervised by the 
Coast Guard, Game Commission, Coast 
Guard Auxiliary, Power Squadron, and 
no doubt other agencies and organiza- 
tions. They are superbly marked, lighted, 
and buoyed. Excellent charts are avail- 
able at prices all can afford. Inexpen- 
sive portable radios reach marine and 
air weather reports on several frequen- 
cies, hourly up to continuously. Ship- 
to-shore, or much cheaper Citizens' 
Band, radio-telephones provide ready 
communication and prompt assistance. 
Hulls, engines, and gear are far more 
efficient, reliable, safe, and inexpensive 
than was the case 40-odd years ago 
when I started boating. Detailed data 
on rules of the road and specific 
safety recommendations are available in 
overwhelming volume from an enor- 
mous range of sources. 

The only area of marine safety not as 
yet covered is the mental attitude of the 
novice or semi-experienced operator. 

Somehow he must be persuaded to 
take advantage of the abundant safety 
facilities and information available. He 
must be made to realize that boating 
is a serious way of life, not a casual 
way to kill time, involving great po- 
tential hazards; and he must be in- 
duced to take steps to protect his party 
and himself from those hazards. 

K difficulty is the application afloat 



of shore acquired patterns of behavior. 
Almost everyone drives an automobile 
today, and must drive reasonably well 
to survive. Many runabouts have cock- 
pit arrangements deliberately designed 
to imitate a car interior. Ashore, 35 
m.p.h. is a moderate, cautious speed. 
Placed in a "driver's seat" afloat, will 
the inexperienced boat owner realize 35 
m.p.h. on the water is a speed that often 
invites disaster? That he has no power 
brakes? 

To drive a car, or pilot a plane, the 
landsman expects to take a test, and be 
licensed. The absence of such require- 
ments on the water must create the 
thinking that if you don't have to have 
a license, there can't be anything to it; 
while the facts are it is impossible to 
devise one test properly evaluating abil- 
ity to handle such vessels as, say, a 48 
cu. in. racing hydroplane, a convention- 
al O.B. runabout, a heavy displacement 
60 ft. cruiser, and an 80 ft. schooner 
drawing 10 ft. of water. The master of 
each is confronted by very different, but 
very compelling, problems. 

The boating safety problem appears 
to lie in the attitude of the operator to- 
wards the sport. This puts the matter in 
the area of human nature, and psychol- 
ogy, and thus makes the solution, what- 
ever it may be, both complex and ob- 
scure. 

Personally, after 44 years afloat, I op- 
erate my boats on the basis of Murphy's 
Law. That law is: IF THINGS CAN GO 
WRONG, THEY WILL. (The Scout's 
Motto is: BE PREPARED.— Ed.) 

— Gale Richmond 
Staunton 

Are You Covered? 

If you look closely at your marine in- 
surance policy, you will probably find 
that you have agreed to haul your boat 
out by a given date. If your boat is 
still afloat and you have passed your 
deadline, call your broker immediately 
to extend your in-the-water provision. If 



you fail to do this and your boat suffers 
damage, the policy violation will not 
permit you to recover. The courts con- 
strue your lay-up warranty strictly. 

— Motor Boating, November 1963 

KoEd Metal Now Available In 
Liquid Coating Consistency 

Jessop's revolutionary new Kold Metal 
containing Loxalloy is now available in 
liquid coating consistency for marine 
application. It has the same properties 
rs paste consistency Kold Metal, but in 
the liquid form may be sprayed or 
brushed on metal, wood or concrete. No 
special tools are required as it may be 
applied with conventional spray equip- 
ment. 

Kold Metal provides an ideal protec- 
tive coating for boats, barges, yachts 
and dredges, and is an excellent base 
for anti-fouling coats. It has superior 
chemical resistance and protects against 
salt water and sea air corrosion. It 
waterproofs, rustproofs and seals. It can 
be power sanded, buffed, filed and 
painted. It is a non-conductor of elec- 
tricity and is not affected by mild acids, 
s:asoline, oil or petroleum solvents. It 
has superior drying qualities, allowing 
speedy application and heavy coating if 
desired. 

For further information contact your 
local marine dealer or write directly to 
the Virginia Commission of Game and 
Inland Fisheries. 

Unsafe Ejection 

A 14 foot boat propelled by an 80 
horsepower outboard motor was proceed- 
ing at full speed, driver's vision obscur- 
ed by two passengers sitting on the 
bow of the boat with their backs rest- 
ing against the windshield. The boat 
struck a buoy and the two passengers 
were ejected into the water. One died 
from loss of blood when slashed by the 
propeller of this 80 horsepower launcher 
of living projectiles. 



26 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE 



<=Jt', tL 




aw: 



I 



Every motorboat of 10 horsepower or more must be regis- 
tered with the Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries. 



COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA 
COMMISSION OF GAME AND INLAND FISHERIES 

CERTIFICATE OF NUMBER 



This Certificate of Number must be carried on board 
whenever the boat is operated. 



NOTIFICATION OF CHANGE IN STATUS OF A NUMBERED VESSEL 
VIRGINIA COMMISSION OF GAME AND INLAND FISHERIES 
(Boot owner must report ony change in status and return certificate of number wilN 



\ 


NAME (Please print) 




Present Owner 


( 


STREET ADDRESS 


(First) 


(Middle) 


1 


CITY OR TOWN 




STATE 





I WISH TO REPORT THAT MY ABOVE NUMBERED VESSEL HAS BEEN: 

(Check Appropriate Block) 
a LOST n DESTROYED D ABANDONED 



SIGNATURE OF PRESENT OWNER 



TRANSFERRED TO (new owner) 



NAME 



(First) 



(Middle) 



STREET ADDRESS 



CITY OR TOWN 



STATE 



YOUR NAME 
MAIN STREET 
ANYWHERE, VA . 



e^u,:^^^:^^ 



KEGISTRAIION NUMBER 



VA 0000 Z 





38US 


MAiCf O' 60AT AND PRESENT NO (IF ANY) 

CHRIS CRAFT 




16' 

LENGTH 


W 

HULL 


OB 

PSOPUISION 


GAS 

FUEL 


PLEAS 

USE 









If you sell a numbered boat you are re- 
quired to notify the Commission of Game 
and Inland Fisheries on this "pink" noti- 
fication form. The new owner cannot ob- 
tain a valid Certificate of Number until 
you do. No fee is required with this noti- 
fication. 



If you buy a numbered boat you are 
required to apply for a new Certificate of 
Number to be issued in your name. Use 
this "white" application form, and be 
sure to show the correct boat number 
here. 

A five dollar fee must accompany this 
application. 



COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA APPUCAT10N FOR BOAT NUMKER 
COMMISSION OF GAME AND INLAND RSHERIES 

nlS-nUl TEAI •EGlSTUnON OOIGINAI NO M.0O-TltANSF» (ECISTIATION U.OO 

OCAIH Kf t15.00; MANUFACTUIHS FEE (35.00 

ADOmONAL NUMBEIS FOt OEAlEtS AMD MANUFACTUUDS M 00 EACH 

MAIl WITH CHECK Ol MONEY OU>E* FATAdE TO TlEASUtEH OF VIICINIA 

TO: SOAT SECTION, VKGINIA CAAIE COMMISSION. 7 N. 7U0 ST., tOX 164}. IICHMONO, VA 



Fill IN All ITEMS ON THIS FOIIM AND ON THE TEMrO*A«r CEtTIFICATE ATTACHED 
FLEASE FHINT OE USE TTFEWtlTEt (Sm InitrucKoni on Hav.ri. iUm) 



1. NAAHE OF lOAT OWNEI (FInl Nam*. MiddU Inlliol, loll Nona) 



STUCT AOOUSS 



CITT 0« TOWN 



1. OWNEI'S TEAI OF IIITH 



4. MAXE OF tOAT 
SEIIAl NO. 



1. AU rOU AN AAlEtlCAN CITIZEN? 
TES D NO Q 



If NO, SFECIFT 



t. COUNTY Ol CITY WHEIIE (OAT IS 
PtINCIFAllY KEFT 



«. (ESEtVEO Foil OFFICE (0< IM>I ( 



S. FtESCNT NUMIE> (If Any) 



NUMIU ASSIONED 



EXFIItATION OAIEf 



7. lENGTH OVEIAll 
IN FEET 



(. YEAl (UIIT 
(If Known) 



10. HUH MATEHIAl (CA 
D WOOD D STei\ 
n OTXEI (SpKify) 



II. FtOFUlSION (ChKji 
D OUTBOAUD O ( 



12 FUEl (ChKk Oiw) 

D GAsoiiNe ry 



13. USE (Clmk Oio) { 
O FlEASUtE 
D IIVE«Y 
a OfAlEt 
D MANUFACTU«El> 
D COMMEtCIAlFASy 
a COAtMEKIAl-FISH I 
a COM*lE«CIAl.Ory 



U. I IWE) HEtElY CERTIFY THAT I (WE) AM (AKE) THE OWNEWS) OF T>/ 
AND FUtTHEl CEHTIFY THAT THE DESCdfTION THEUOF AND All o7 
HEIEIN AHE rauE AND COIUCT. 



Forms are available from the Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries, Box 1642, Richmond, Virginia 
23213; from hunting and fishing license agencies; and from most boat dealers. 



JUNE, 1964 



27 





I 



auto 

trailer 

boat 




CHECK: 



Your Trailer 



Your Motor 



r\ nj Your Speed 



CHECK ACCIDENTS! 



AFETY 




Boating and highway safety begin 
here. The trailer hitch and safety 
chain are important to your safety. 




Be extra careful on summer's crowded 
highways. Be sure you can see behind 
you. Slow down when pulling a trailer. 



Equip and operate your boat safely. 
Use common sense and courtesy 
always.