Thu07242014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

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Are elk hunts in the future for Virginia hunters?

Last year elk were brought into Virginia and released. Some were pregnant and the young that were born on Virginia soil increased our new herd to 24 animals. Last month, 10 more elk were brought in from Kentucky to Buchanan County in Southwest Virginia.

It took a great amount of effort to convince people that the elk, which were once part of our landscape, needed to be reintroduced. According to VDGIF, the last elk likely was killed in 1855 in Virginia. The new effort by VDGIF has come to fruition with some assistance from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation who has given them a $300,000 grant. The elk that are stocked, wear collared GPS units so biologists and researchers can track their movements. Next year VDGIF hopes to see 50 more elk come to Virginia to add to the elk already roaming the coalfields of Buchanan County.

Officials with VDGIF report that Kentucky has over 10,000 elk now and other states are also looking to restore elk to their woodlands. Those states that have already begun elk restoration include Tennessee, Wisconsin, Missouri and in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Pennsylvania and Michigan already have elk herds and Maryland and West Virginia are currently considering elk restoration.
It is conceivable that Virginia may have a lottery type drawing for an elk hunt within ten years. Very few elk will be hunted though until the herd grows substantially.

Boaters: Operate Responsibly
During the last weekend in June, Conservation Police Officers will be out in force to patrol our waterways. Boaters that are drinking alcohol and have a blood alcohol concentration of over .08 will be cited and appropriate action will be taken. Alcohol and boating don’t mix. Simply put, the sun, wave action on the water, drone of the engine etc… only increases the effects of alcohol, endangering the passengers, operator and those around them. Operating a boat is a task that requires your complete concentration due to all of the variables such as wind, tide, waves, speed of the boat and other boats. Don’t drink and operate a boat. It is a bad idea. At the least you can be fined, but jail time, impoundment of your boat or loss of boating privileges is possible too.

Outdoor Show Set for Aug. 9-11
This will be the 30th year of the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman’s Show. Last year the show was well done and there was much to see for all members of the family. Planned are 350 exhibits over the space of three buildings. An archery range will be set up, decoy exhibit and contest, VDGIF K-9 teams along with displays by vendors of the latest hunting equipment. I enjoy perusing the cooking seasonings and gadgets. Jazzing up my vension, squirrel and duck recipes has become a hobby of mine lately.

Don’t forget to bring your trophy deer head from last year to the contest or try your calling in the Virginia Open Turkey Calling Championship.  This is a good time to take a friend and get them excited about trying hunting, or, take some kids with you. My entire family enjoys the show. Mark your calendars and plan on going. It is a great way to get pumped up about the upcoming hunting season.

Waterfowl Blind Licenses
Remember to license your blind on time this year. The next segment of licensing includes non riparian blinds previously held in public waters. Dates: July 1- Aug. 15. Decal MUST be affixed to blind plate by Aug. 31. Landowners already had their shot. Time for the rest of us to get licensed.

According to VDGIF:
“Nonriparian license for a stationary blind in the public waters not previously licensed the year before: September 1 through October 15; plates with current decal must be affixed to a stake or blind by November 1.

All other blind laws and blind purchase dates (Floating Blinds, Offshore Blind Stake Sites) remain the same as in the past 2 years. For all stationary blinds, if a stake has been erected on the site of a stationary blind, such stake must be replaced by a blind by November 1. Such stationary blinds shall conform to the standards prescribed in law. All blind licenses are sold through the VDGIF’s point of sale system just as other licenses are sold. This can be done with any license agent in the state or via the internet from your home through the Department’s website.”

Mark Fike

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