- Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 11:09
- Published on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 11:08
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If you own or lease a piece of land where you enjoy hunting, there are several things you might want to get busy doing before the warm weather arrives to stay.
Those that plant plots for wildlife will want to get a soil test done as soon as possible. Seeds for planting plots are expensive. Last year, I purchased a bag of “game mix” and it cost me $50. I admit that the seeds sprouted, and plants came up quite well. The variety of wildlife on the property was testimony to proper planning.
I hate to think what would have happened if the seed mix had not come up, or grew poorly. Soil tests will tell you what exactly is lacking in the ground where you want to plant.
Soil test boxes/kits can be obtained from the local Extension office at 10087 Kings Highway. A $10 check is slipped into the box, and you mail it to Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI -or- VA Tech) to have the test performed. They will mail the results back to you. Any questions can be directed back to the Extension office and the Department of Agriculture agent.
Many times (but not always), the test suggests that lime be applied to the ground to bring things back into balance. Liming is not hard to do. For small parcels, you can go over to Crop Production Services (near the landfill) and get a pickup load, and spread it either by hand or with a spreader. It can be ordered by the truckload, as well.
I prefer powdered lime, because it is readily absorbed into the soil. However, pelletized lime has a slower effect, but is not washed away or blown away as easily. Make the right choice for your situation. Getting a soil test will ensure that you don’t waste your time or money on seeds that won’t produce.
Late winter and early spring are also a key times to re-POST property boundaries, and check them again for evidence of trespassing. I will be doing this chore very soon. With greenery coming on in about a month and a half, and turkey season coming, now is the time to get out and be proactive.
It is unfortunate that we have to POST lines, but if you end up having to call the law about someone poaching or trespassing, you will have a much better case if your lines are clearly POSTED. Consider putting up a new sign every fifty yards or so, and then paint an aluminum stripe between the signs.
Here is what the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) says about POSTING land on their website:
“The owner...may post property by (i) placing signs prohibiting hunting, fishing or trapping where they may reasonably be seen; or (ii) placing identifying paint on trees or posts at each road entrance and adjacent to public roadways and public waterways adjoining the property.” The paint mark is to be a vertical line of at least two inches wide, and by at least eight inches in length. The center of the mark is not to be less than three feet off the ground or water, and no more than six feet above the ground or water. These are to be visible to any person approaching the property, and must be of aluminum color (18.2-134.1). According to 18.2-135, it is illegal to destroy POSTED signs, and it is illegal for someone to POST lands of another without permission from the landowner or his agent.
Get your boat checked out; right away if you plan on using it this spring.
Waiting until April and a fine warm weekend is too late. Boat mechanics will not be the in mood to “rush” your boat through to get it on the water. By then, they will be swamped!
Check the lower unit oil level; look for water in your fuel filter; check batteries; inspect wiring, both in the boat and on the trailer and vehicle. Is your propeller in need of replacement or repair? Grease fittings; inspect the trailer for corrosion; and find out if your boat has a license for the Potomac River. Correct these things now before you head out.
Probably the most important thing to do is to check safety equipment on your boat, if you have not already. Find out if you have enough life jackets that are both serviceable and fit your companions. Do you have a throw cushion that meets the Coast Guard specs? Are your flares in order and still good? What about a noisemaker? Do your lights work? Are your spark plugs still serviceable?
Once the river clears up, it might be a good idea (on a warm day) to take it down to the boat ramp and give it a test run. When you do, take a jacket or coat and a cell phone in case some of that ethanol fuel leaves you without a working motor! The first few times I run my boat, I usually head “up tide” on the river to be sure that if something does happen, I can float back to the ramp.
We hope to resume our fishing report in a few weeks. We are waiting until we begin getting sufficient reports to make it worthwhile to run them. With the cold winter this year, the fishing may be a bit slow to start. We will see. Meanwhile, get some of those chores done now, so on the nicer days you can enjoy the turkey woods, or the water.