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Last updateTue, 04 Nov 2014 9pm

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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

Now’s the time for squirrel hunting

 
September and early October offer some of the best, and in this writer’s opinion, the easiest, squirrel hunting to be had during the entire season. So what makes the early season so productive for small game hunters?
First, the squirrels are very easy to locate. Squirrels are busy feeding on hickory nuts and then acorns at this time of year. If you venture into the woods and get near either of those trees, you will find plenty of squirrels.
Second, I have heard more than a few guys say they hate hunting the early season because the shooting is so tough. Sure, the leafy boughs make the sight picture tough at times, but the fact that you can see a leafy branch bouncing around from quite a distance away more than makes up for the issue of getting a clear shot. You can easily spot squirrels feeding from over 100 yards out.

Read more: Now’s the time for squirrel hunting

Hummers: the nectar guzzling kind

Flower gardens, sugar water feeders bring out these tiny aerial acrobats

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A week ago I had the distinct and rare pleasure to just sit down on my front porch for an hour and do absolutely nothing. I even went as far as to leave my writing pad and laptop in the house. All I took with me was my glass of sweet tea.

While relaxing I was treated to an acrobatic show of territorial disputes between as many as six ruby-throated hummingbirds in the period of an hour. I was amazed at their agility and tenaciousness, as well as the violence they incorporated to keep others away from the sugar water we put out in our feeder for them. I decided to do a little research and do a short write up on them for this week’s column. 

Read more: Hummers: the nectar guzzling kind

Virginia quota hunt applications now available

altPeriodically, I receive press releases from VDGIF and I always skim through them and glean out the info that applies to us locally. Here are a few timely tidbits that hunters should take note of this week.
July 1 was the opening day for hunters to apply for any of the quota hunts that VDGIF runs across the state. Some of the hunts are for birds, rabbit, quail, bear, deer and feral hogs. A few of the hunts are new and some of the existing hunts have new (and earlier) deadlines. Readers can go towww.HuntFichVA.com to get more details.
The new Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp is now available online. Last year more than 22,600 such stamps were sold generating over $200,000 for waterfowl habitat improvement projects.

Read more: Virginia quota hunt applications now available

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