Thursday, November 11, 2004
Bill Cochran's Field Reports: Rut kicking into gear
Bill Cochran's Outdoors
- Virginia’s hunting totals produce mixed results
- A good trade: Virginia trout for Kentucky elk
- Forget the odds-makers; Salem’s John Crews believes he can win the Bassmaster Classic.
- The good and bad of the 2012 saltwater fishing season
- Column archive
Bill's Field Reports
- Virginia General Assembly goes soft on outdoor issues
- Quail Unlimited calls it quits
- Field reports archive
|Ernie Fender killed this 12 point buck in Alleghany County with his muzzleloader. His granddaugher, Hunter, poses with the trophy.|
“On Saturday one of our members in Amelia Springs Hunt Club harvested a very nice 3.5-year old 8-pointer,” said Denny Quaiff, executive director of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association. “The buck was in heavy rut making scrapes and rubs on an old logging road. Another member reported seeing two young bucks chasing a doe at first light.”
The high number of deer being killed on highways is another indication of rut increasing the roaming patterns of deer.
Quaiff believes the rut may be a bit late this season, probably something to do with warm weather. “I believe the best is yet to come,” he said.
“I would still bet that rutting activities will continue to pick up the last week of the muzzleloading season (this week) and the first and second week of the general firearm (Nov. 13-27) season being prime time,” he said. “Hunters need to be in the woods for this narrow window of opportunity and above all remember that gun safety always comes first.”
Quaiff has been recording DMAP data since 1988 for two clubs located in Chesterfield and Amelia counties. “Over the pat 15 years, most of the mature bucks were taken from Nov. 8-22,” he said.
While the best may be yet to come for many hunters, that doesn’t appear to be the case for Ernie Fender of Clifton Forge, who killed a wide-beamed 12-pointer Saturday while hunting in Alleghany County.
“I have been hunting for 24 years and have never seen a deer with a rack like this,” he said.
SHARK IS STATE RECORD
The primary goal of Andrew Schuyler Sunday was to target some of the big bluefish schooling around the Luchenback Wreck off Virginia Beach. But he decided to take along some shark equipment just in case. Anglers had reported seeing a big thresher shark in the vicinity of the Triangle Wrecks.
Schuyler, from Virginia Beach, was fishing with Jimmy Robinson on the Fin Daddy.
“We were anchored over the wreck catching big bluefish when the thresher hit, so we had to pull the anchor and follow the fish,” said Schuyler.
The shark jumped three times, made several strong runs, charged the boat at least once and eventually was boated an hour later a long way from the wreck.
It weighed 525 pounds, smashing the old state record of 274 pounds, 12 ounces caught off Wachapreague May 2002.
TIPS ON CHECKING GAME BY PHONE
Virginia’s new Got Game telephone big game checking system has been working well, according to officials of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, but it isn’t without some flaws and will get a real test Saturday when the modern firearm’s season opens.
The problems that have occurred often have involved attempted cell phone use in rural areas where cell phone service is marginal. A good signal/reception is necessary to check a deer, which can take 3 to 5 minutes. It can’t be done while driving down a back road, officials say.
For the system to work smoothly, the hunter should have the number on his big game license available, should be prepared to answer a series of questions and should have a pen and paper ready to write down a 11 digit confirmation number next to the notch on his big game license.
If the deer you are checking is a trophy that you anticipate entering in the state’s big game contest, take it to a traditional check station. The contest will not honor phone-checked deer.
The Got Game number is 866-Got-Game. For additional information check dgif.virginia.gov.
BIG STRIPERS HITTING
Large striped bass are starting to hit in the Chesapeake Bay, according to Capt. Ferrell McLain of BAYFISH Sports Fishing Charters www.bayfish.net. Trollers near Smith Point have caught several trophy stripers, McLain said. The winner of a tournament caught two fish that were both over 40 pounds.
“Trolling for big fish should get red hot in the next couple of weeks,” McLain said.
Chumming at the Northern Neck Reef is producing fish from 25 to 30 inches, McLain said. Other stripers of similar size are being landed along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
GROUPS CALL ELECTION A VICTORY
Sportsmen climbed out of their tree stands and left the seat of the bass boat to vote last week and this had several organizations claiming victory in the election.
Of the 251 candidates endorsed by the NRA for the U.S. House of Representatives, 241 won. On the Senate side, 14 of 18 NRA-endorsed candidates won. The NRA was a heavy backer of President George W. Bush.
Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, had this to say about national Democratic leaders: “They have to start putting up candidates who support gun rights and have a voting record to match their photo-ops.”
The time and effort candidates took to cultivate and support sportsmen was well worth while, said the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. Sportsmen made a difference in the swing states of Florida, New Mexico and Ohio, the foundation said in a news release. The same can be said of congressional races and state issues. Outdoorsmen won six of the seven sportsmen-related initiatives on the ballot in various states, the foundation said.
The Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance also reported good success among the candidates it endorsed.
BUYING INTO GROUSE HABITAT
Hunters looking for some of the best grouse habitat in the southern range of the species should consider a new program offered by MeadWestvaco and the Ruffed Grouse Society. The two have teamed up to provide grouse hunting on 25,000 acres of MeadWestvaco land in Randolph County, W.Va. beginning Dec. 20 continuing through the end of the season on Feb. 28. But you have to hurry. Sixty hunters will be selected through a drawing, and the deadline to get your name in is Nov. 12.
If you are interest, fax a letter to WV Grouse Permit with your name, address and phone number. The fax number is 814-867-8436. If you want to hunt as a party (up to four hunters) indicate that and include the names, addresses and phone numbers of all party members.
If you are selected in the drawing, you will be notified within two weeks and be required to purchase a $145 permit.
This is an experimental program and the level of interest will dictate whether it is continued and possible expanded to other MeadWestvaco lands, said Mark Banker of the Ruffed Grouse Society: 814-867-7946.
THE GIFT OF FISHING
What to get the angler on your Christmas list? Mike Ostrander, a catfish guide on the James River in Richmond has a suggestion. “Give the gift of fishing,” he said.
Ostrander is offering a series of professional-done gift cards that are good for a half-day or full-day guided fishing trip with him. Each trip accommodates two anglers.
The James River in the Richmond area has become a nationally publicized catfish hotspot. Ostrander has been a guide there for a number of years, operating the James River Fishing School. Details can be found on his website; www.jamesriverfishing.com.
>The recent Friends of NRA banquet in the Roanoke Valley netted a record $17,000, according to committee member Mike Smith. The fundraising effort helps support shooting sports and youth activities.
>Lawyers for NBC Nightly News anchorman Tom Brokaw want a judge to review a decision that allows an outfitter to guide big game hunters on 2,500 acres of private land that borders Brokaw’s Montana ranch. Plans call for guiding 10 bowhutners on the property.
>A 28-year old Norfolk man was wounded in Charles City County when a 16-year old boy mistook him for a deer and shot him in the lower abdomen with a .50-caliber muzzleloading rifle. The victim was carrying a treestand in a wooded area.
>If you are looking for information on fly-fishing adventures in Southwest Florida try fishingextremes.com.
>The Future Fisherman Foundation has grants totaling $200,000 available to physical education teachers throughout the United States who incorporate fishing and boating education into their curricula. Information from www.futurefisherman.org, or by contacting Grants Coordinator Jeff Bloem at email@example.com.
VIRGINIA SALTWATER FISHING TOURNAMENT
There is a new leader in the gray triggerfsh category of the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Here are the standings:
BLACK DRUM: 95 pounds, Joseph Roub, Baltimore, Md., Hog Island Bay.
COBIA: 103 pounds, 8 ounces, Vince Ainsley, Aylett, lower-western Chesapeake Bay.
CROAKER: 5 pounds, Jarvis Taylor, Richmond, lower York River.
DOLPHIN: 50 pounds, Jereme Wilson, Chesapeake, off Virginia Beach.
FLOUNDER: 14 pounds, 4 ounces, Betty Smith, Chesapeake, lower-eastern Chesapeake Bay.
GRAY TRIGGERFISH: 5 pounds, Mike Barboza, Virginia Beach, off Virginia Beach.
GRAY TROUT: 12 pounds, 12 ounces, Greg Thayer, Gloucester, upper-eastern Chesapeake Bay.
KING MACKEREL: 52 pounds, Cecil Smith, Virginia Beach, off Virginia Beach.
KINGFISH: 1 pound, 14 ounce, Bobby Smith, Portsmouth, lower-western Chesapeake Bay.
POMPANO: 3 pounds, 6 ounces, Arlon Stith, Petersburg, lower James River.
SEA BASS: 6 pounds, 14 ounces, Mark Fueller, Rio Grande, N.J., off Virginia Beach.
SHEEPHEAD: 19 pounds, 3 ounces state record, Jeff Hutton, Virginia Beach, lower eastern Chesapeake Bay.
SPADEFISH: 13 pounds, 10 ounces, Jake Mapp, Franktown, upper-eastern Chesapeake Bay.
SPANISH MACKEREL: 6 pounds, 6 ounces, Patrick Quisenberry, Mechanicsville, upper-western Chesapeake Bay.
SPECKLED TROUT: 13 pounds, 12 ounces, Walter Kellum, Hayes, Mobajack Bay.
SPOT: 1 pound, 10 ounces, Wilson Haynes, Wake, lower Rappahannock River.
STRIPED BASS: 63 pound state record, Carolyn Brown, Virginia Beach, off the Virginia Coast.
TAUTOG: 22 pounds, 9 ounces, Julie Ball, Virginia Beach, off Virginia Beach.
TUNA (BLUEFIN): 180 pounds, 4 ounces, Okey Bolling, Pasadena, Md. off Eastern Shore.
TUNA (OTHER): 241 pounds, Mike Wolf, Sterling, off Virginia Beach.
WAHOO: 107 pounds, Chris Miles, Virginia Beach, off Virginia Beach.
Meeting of Smith River Chapter Trout Unlimited, 7 p.m. Nov. 4, at Rania’s Restaurant in Martinsville (147 E. Main St.), information from Shane Pinkston, 276-638-3757. Program by John Ross, the Virginia Council TU Chairman and author of the “Trout Unlimited 100 Best Trout Streams in America.”
Muzzleloading deer season west of Blue Ridge, Nov. 6.
Wilderness First Aid Class, Nov. 6 and 7, Blacksburg, 18 hour, two-day class, visit wfa.net. Additional classes, Nov. 13 & 14, Richmond; Dec. 4&5, Alexandria.
Quail season Nov. 8-Jan. 31.
Firearms deer season Nov. 13.
Virginia Ducks Unlimited Rockfish Tournament, Dec. 4, Bluewater Yacht Sales on Sunset Creek in Hampton, rules and other information from vadurockfishshootout.site-101.com.
SaltWater Sportsman Magazine National Seminar Series, Virginia Beach, Jan 15, 6 hours of instruction at Virginia Beach Convention Center, nationalseminarseries.com.
Bassmaster University, where pros instruction anglers on bass fishing, Jan. 22-23, Wyndhan Hotel Richmond Airport, Richmond, instructors include Kevin VanDam, Denny Brauer, Shaw Grigsby, Woo Daves, Zell Roland, Mike Auten. Information from 866-732-BASS.
Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, 50th anniversary, Feb. 5-13, State Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg, Pa., features angler Jimmy Houston and hunter Chuck Adams. Reported to be the largest consumer show of its kind, easternsportshow.com.
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