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African-American Education Trail meeting in Montross Sept. 13

A meeting to discuss and gather information to continue to map locations for an online Northern Neck...

Ceiling collapses spur emergency board meeting for approval of Courthouse HVAC contract

The King George Board of Supervisors held an emergency meeting at midday on Aug. 30 to approve a $14...

Angelwood Marshall Homes one step closer to $695K startup funding

Project Faith’s grant application for $695,000 for infrastructure costs for its proposed Angel...

Outdoor showing of Mamma Mia a big hit in Colonial Beach

It was so cool.  

Cheering, clapping and singing to music of the Swedish pop band Abba while wat...

Delayed Boardwalk Arts and Crafts Festival attracts thousands

Tropical Storm Hermine blew through the Northern Neck Saturday with high wind gusts that blew away t...

King George police car targeted in drive-by shooting

Between 5:30 p.m. Aug. 28 and 8 a.m. Aug. 29 a marked King George Sheriff’s Office patrol vehi...

20160323cctower

 

King George

SETTING

King George Schools recognized for fundraising activities by Heart organizations

Wednesday, 07 September 2016

Marjorie ChurchBorne of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recognized and thanked King George County Public Schools for their participation in fundraising activities benefittin...

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Colonial Beach

SETTING

Outdoor showing of Mamma Mia a big hit in Colonial Beach

Wednesday, 07 September 2016

It was so cool.  

Cheering, clapping and singing to music of the Swedish pop band Abba while watching an outdoor showing of the movie “Mamma Mia” was a hit with hundreds of Colonial Be...

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Westmoreland

SETTING

Westmoreland artist shows rock ‘n’ roll art at General's Ridge Vineyard

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Popular Westmoreland County artist Phil McKenney was featured at General's Ridge Vineyard over the weekend. McKenney, an illustrator and cartoonist, was the highlight of the Old Time Rock ‘n&rsq...

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Sports

SETTING

Colonial Beach rolls to opening 37 to 17 win over Randolph Henry

Wednesday, 07 September 2016

Behind the strong running of senior back Lamar Lucas, the Colonial Beach Drifters opened the season with a  37-17 home victory over Randolph Henry Friday night.

"I was pleased with our effort," sa...

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Area Deaths

SETTING

Obituaries, Sept. 7, 2016

Wednesday, 07 September 2016
Obituaries, Sept. 7, 2016

Charles “Brick” Thomas , 85, of Colonial Beach passed away peacefully on Sept. 3, 2016. Brick was a larger than life figure in the Colonial Beach and surrounding areas for many years. A ren...

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Columnists

SETTING

Outdoor Report for Sept. 7, 2016

Wednesday, 07 September 2016

Fishing was tough in the salt this week due to the near-miss storm which caused flood tides and left messy conditions as well as horrible winds over the weekend. However, freshwater fishing was not to...

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Office-for-rent Jrnl Bldg 20130925

A few reminders for Muzzleloader season

This coming Saturday starts one of the most exciting times of the year for hunters. Muzzleloader season in our neck of the woods coincides with the pre-rut and the rut. Deer are very active during this period, and the woods are a very exciting place to be. Not only are turkey and squirrel scrounging for food before winter hits, but deer are feeding heavily, does are coming into heat, and bucks are starting to spar and chase does. Ifthere is a period of two weeks to be in the woods waiting on a chance at a nice deer, this is the time to do it.

If you have not sighted in your smokepole by now, you may be too late. Area stores are selling muzzleloader supplies like mad, and there are mere days left to get the job done. Some hunters, myself included, have at one time or another forgotten to fire out that last load from the previous season. Remember, safety first. Treat all firearms as if they were loaded. The year I left my rifle loaded (no primer on it, of course!), I checked it with my ramrod and realized I had indeed left the bullet seated in the barrel. Fortunately, I was able to back out the breech plug, and the power charges fell out and then I was able to push out the bullet safely. Upon doing so, I was so glad I did not fire it out. The barrel forward of the bullet was fouled with lots of orange rust. There is no telling how that might have ended if I fired the bullet out. In fact, when I ran a cleaning brush through the barrel, I watched the rust fall out of the barrel in a continuous cloud of rust dust. I had a pile of it on my floor in the basement. The lesson here is to not leave your smokepole loaded, and if you do, unload it carefully.

Do check your muzzleloader point of impact each season. Things change. No sense missing a great buck or a good doe for the freezer because you did not check the point of impact.

This season when you head to the woods, wear or at least carry some blaze orange with you, even if you don’t feel the need to wear it. During firearms deer season, we are all required to wear blaze orange.

However, during muzzleloader season, we are not required to wear it, but certainly it would be good to wear or at least have.

Last season I was hunting a piece of property that had not been hunted legally for years. An access road was located on the eastern side of the property near the property line. Unknown to me, hunters on the neighboring property were using it and trespassing. During opening week, one morning I was sitting on that side of the property when a huge BOOM rang out, scaring me it was so close. Because I did not have any orange, I was afraid to approach the trespasser for fear of being shot. I came back later to find a fresh gut pile as a thank you for the trespassing and poaching. Later that same year, I caught a guy in a tree well on our side of the property line who came from the other side of the property. He claimed he did not know he was over the line until I walked him back to HIS POSTED signs, keeping me out of HIS property. Later, hunting the same location, I noticed hunters running away from me as I approached with my blaze orange cap on, more than once. They ceremoniously put on their orange caps AFTER they ran to the property line as I approached. My blaze orange hat may have saved me from being shot. I suspect anyone who will break the law and trespass might not be the safest person to be in the woods with. So, consider wearing blaze orange at least on your way in and out of the woods.  And if you have continuous trespassing problems, hide a small trail cam out of sight like I have done to record the lawbreakers, and then deliver the goods to the conservation police officers.

Remember that muzzleloader bullets can do a lot of damage. They can travel a long way. Keep those shots in safe directions with solid backstops in mind beyond the deer. The bullets can go through the deer and keep on going. No skyline shots!

With the rarity of acorns this year, the deer are definitely foraging on other greenery. Keep that in mind when hunting. Keep safety on the top of your list and expect to see the deer moving more than normal to find food. Make sure what you are shooting at is indeed a deer. Let’s keep it safe out in the woods and enjoy the incredible temperatures and scenery as we partake of America’s oldest outdoor tradition.

Mark Fike

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