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Last updateTue, 04 Nov 2014 9pm

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Waterfowl hunters: Remove your expired blinds, stakes

Duck blinds are part of the scenery that is often viewed as boaters take rides up and down the local waterways. However, when blinds become an eyesore and are not kept up, they become a hazard to boaters and anglers too.
If you are a waterfowl hunter, you should know that off-shore waterfowl blind stakes must be removed 15 days after the waterfowl season closes. For all intents, our area is now closed to waterfowl hunting. There are some snow goose opportunities on the Northern Neck via the Snow Goose Conservation Order Season; however, by the end of the month even that season closes. Therefore all waterfowl blind stakes must be removed no later than April 12. This is noted on the blind license application and in our waterfowl pamphlet. Waterfowl blind stakes are legal and used in Essex, King George, Richmond and Westmoreland.

Read more: Waterfowl hunters: Remove your expired blinds, stakes

Wear your life jacket — it will save yours!

The weather has warmed up substantially, and that has all of us who enjoy fishing eager to get on the water. The first fish of the year taste so good, and the familiar tug of the fish on the end of your line is the best therapy for a long, cold, nasty winter. Some of us have already partaken of the local waters. I have, and let me tell you the fish sure fry up fine!
Each year as we tow our boats down the road and dunk them for the first few times of the season, we have to get back into the groove of doing things. By the end of the summer we can all hook up, tow, offload and run the boat in our sleep. But now things are different. We forget some of the simple things. Not only do we forget some of the simple things such as putting the plug in the boat, removing the motor tie down or hooking up the battery to charge it, we also forget important things that could save our life.

Read more: Wear your life jacket — it will save yours!

Outdoor gear survey results

Winter still has its grip on our area. I am not sure about readers but your columnist has had it with winter and is more than ready for summer. At this point we can skip spring and I would be happy! Hopefully we will start hearing some good fishing reports soon.
I subscribe to a monthly outdoor survey and at the end of the year results from those surveys are tallied up and sent out to writers. You can also be part of the survey. Southwick Associates’ has a monthly drawing for a shopping spree at outdoor retailers. Go to AnglerSurvey.com or HunterSurvey.com. The Southwick Company does the surveys to help retailers and companies target their products more effectively to the existing and growing customer base.

Read more: Outdoor gear survey results

Big game harvest stats, fresh off the press

My contact, Deer Project Coordinator for VDGIF, Matt Knox, was kind enough to pass along the big game harvest figures for the 2009-2010 season. They were really no surprise to me, and I suspect any serious hunter/reader of this column will not be surprised either. Basically the harvest figures were stable with very little change.  

Read more: Big game harvest stats, fresh off the press

Budget battle hits close to home

Many of us possess memories of walks down pathways under towering mature trees that provide places for our national symbol to nest, roost and raise young. Eagles abound at our local park and Caledon has been a significant contributor to the bald eagle comeback on the east coast. Some have gone bird watching in the same areas. Hummingbirds are easily seen each summer at the visitor center. I have personally seen dozens at a time enjoying the feeders around the visitor center. One could spend hours burning film or digital memory on hummers alone. Waterfowl to include graceful swans call Caledon home.
Many visitors have also enjoyed the numerous programs put on by the staff and volunteers year around at Caledon, such as hayrides, educational presentations, JAKES Day, disabled veterans’ hunt or even the youth hunt. Out of all the parks I have ever visited Caledon has by far been the cleanest and best-kept park.
Park Manager Nina Cox and Chief Ranger Sammy Zambon have done an extraordinary job with only a few staff members and a slew of volunteers in keeping King George’s jewel shining and available to all of us that visit the park for various reasons.

Read more: Budget battle hits close to home

Chronic Wasting Disease found in VA

Hunters that venture out of our readership area to the north and west in our state might want to be aware that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was confirmed in Frederick County. I personally hunt up there with my father and immediate family and we do take deer from the area. I am aware that others in our county and surrounding counties also enjoy going to the mountains to hunt deer with a rifle since we are not permitted to do so in King George, Westmoreland or Caroline.
A few weeks ago VDGIF received confirmation that a doe that was harvested by a hunter in Frederick County tested positive for CWD. The hunter was hunting less than a mile from West Virginia when he took the doe, which was 2 years old. This is the first deer that has tested positive in Virginia for the disease. West Virginia has tested nearly 10,000 thus far with 62 positive results. Virginia has tested half that number with only the one doe coming up positive for the disease. It can be expected that there will be more deer testing positive in the future.

Read more: Chronic Wasting Disease found in VA

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