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Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

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VDGIF opens comment period for outdoorsmen

 

VDGIF has an open period on regulatory processes for fishing, wildlife and boating. Check out http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/regulations/issues2010/ to see what there is in the works to change in our state.
Notably of interest for many local anglers is a proposal to take another look at the regulation stating only one catfish over 32” per day may be creeled. According to biological data only 2 percent of the population is truly a trophy and the remaining fish are sub-trophy fish. One trip to our local river backs that up. You can catch 50 catfish less than 20 inches in a short period of time if you know what you are doing. Try to catch a trophy blue catfish (which were introduced in 1973 to the Rappahannock and James) and you might be on the water for a long time. This is primarily true in the Rappahannock River where growth rates for catfish are very low. The James River is still seeing a boom in the growth of blue catfish. Fish up to 100 pounds have been caught in the James in the past few years.

Read more: VDGIF opens comment period for outdoorsmen

Turkey season is right around the corner

Although biologists predict a slimmer season this spring for turkey hunters, there still seems to be an adequate amount of turkey being seen locally. The season opens up for youth hunters April 3. The regular season opens up the Saturday after that.  
Each season presents its challenges. Some of us have great seasons and some of us have tougher seasons. I think this is natural, but interesting.
While many hunters I ran into last spring were complaining about not hearing that many gobblers and having a tough time getting any response from those they did hear, I somehow had the best season I have ever had.
No, I am not that great a turkey caller. I don’t have very good places to hunt. The one place I used to hunt is always busy with other hunters, and I never have any idea where the other guys are so I have steered clear the last few years out of courtesy. The two places I can hunt are very small and don’t hold that many turkey on the norm. I suppose it was just my year or, possibly, I just adapted well and paid attention to what I had gleaned from others over the years.

Read more: Turkey season is right around the corner

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

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