Thu04172014

Last updateTue, 04 Nov 2014 9pm

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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

Saltwater update: You must register this year

If you purchased a saltwater license last year it is good for a year from the purchase date. However, PFRC boat licenses were due to be renewed this month (Jan. 1) and cover any angler in the boat in tidal waters of Maryland and Virginia but primarily the Potomac River and its stem tributaries to certain points. See the license for details or the PFRC Web site.
A few weeks ago we ran a story about a proposed bill that would help anglers deal with the new federal mandate to register for saltwater angling. More information has come along and I felt it would be a good time to update readers on new requirements for this year.
According to some data I received, all saltwater anglers MUST register themselves this year prior to going fishing in saltwater reaches of Maryland and Virginia waters. Many states on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts have already come up with registration methods and have had their anglers participating for a few years. The good news is that for the year 2010 the registration is free.

Read more: Saltwater update: You must register this year

Waterfowl season still open and going strong

It has been bone-chilling cold in our region the last few weeks and the wind has blown terribly too. Despite this terrible weather, there still are some hot hunting opportunities left if you are so inclined to bundle up and head out. Waterfowl season has been decent this year and many duck and goose hunters are happy about the cold because it has pushed birds south from our northern neighbors where the birds have had to park on the ice with little or no food.

Read more: Waterfowl season still open and going strong

Virginia saltwater anglers are facing a registry

Last week I received a press release that literally made my jaw drop. What I read stunned me, but I guess I should have seen it coming. Many recreational saltwater anglers in Virginia may not be aware of the fact that the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act required that states come up with a way to get angler and fisheries harvest data for their state. Delaware has a FIN or Fisheries Identification Number requirement of their anglers and other states have other means to collecting data. Virginia has supposedly done surveys at docks  (I have never seen such a survey, nor have I talked to anyone who was surveyed at the dock) and some clubs have begun registering their catches online. However, Virginia has never really had a consistent way to get a good, solid harvest figure for sport fish such as striped bass, sea bass or river herring.

Read more: Virginia saltwater anglers are facing a registry

Wildlife Adjusts to Deal with Heavy Snow

For most of us the word snow probably got added to the list of bad four letter words. For some the inconvenience of not being able to go to the store, the movie or shopping was bad enough. For the rest of us the work of plowing driveways, shoveling walks or having other plans put on hold made snow a most unwelcome sight for the rest of the year. Your outdoor columnist spent Saturday and Sunday on a tractor pushing snow. While there is a beauty to the snow hanging on the trees, sparkling in the bright sunshine or having that clean, fresh look to the woods, there is also a grim reality to deep snow that I noticed as I plowed the road. For animals the snow makes a meal hard to come by.

Read more: Wildlife Adjusts to Deal with Heavy Snow

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