Thursday, August 27, 2009
Bill Cochran's Field Reports: A decent dove season
Bill Cochran's Outdoors
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Bill's Field Reports
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- Field reports archive
I’m seeing more doves than usual for this time of the year, but the official report is that the season will be about like last year.
“There have been no real trend up or down over the past 10 years, so the populations have been fairly stable,” said Gary Costanzo, biologist for the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
For most sportsmen, the key to a successful hunt when the season opens Sept. 5 will be to locate a food supply that is attracting doves. Most likely that will be an agricultural patch, such as a freshly harvested corn field. The timing of the harvesting with the opening date of the dove season can determine success.
Some hunters have been wondering if this summer’s cool, wet weather may have delayed the corn harvest by keeping it greener than normal.
“I’ve been trying to get some info from the agriculture folks on what the timing of the corn harvest looks like this year, but I haven’t been able to get anything real solid yet,” Costanzo said. “There are some farmers cutting for silage already and that is slightly ahead of last year. Indications are that the regular harvest will be similar to last year in terms of timing, but that the corn crop will be larger than last year.”
A larger corn crop could mean more fields for hunters to choose from, but it also could scatter the doves. The wet weather has certainly produced an abundance of weed that yields seeds attractive to doves. Hunters will be wise to do some scouting to determine where the doves are feeding.
In summary, Costanzo said: “Overall, I think it is going to be a pretty good year for dove hunting. The weather was fairly mild during the nesting season and there appear to be good numbers of dove around already.”
The season dates are Sept 5-26; Oct. 7-Nov. 7 and Dec. 25-Jan. 9. The bag limit is 15. Hunting hours are noon to sunset during the first segment of the season, then 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset during the other segments.
- Sportsmen who plan to hunt doves, waterfowl, rails, woodcock, snipe, coots, gallinules or moorhens in Virginia must be registered with the Virginia Harvest Information Program, called HIP. Such hunters are required each year to obtain a new HIP number. The easy way to do it is to go online at HuntFishVA.com. You also can call 888-788-9772.
- It is too early to determine if flounder anglers next season will get a break on the high minimum length limits that have frustrated many of them this year. That will be based on how this season’s take measures up to the quota set for it. The best guess is that anglers shouldn’t expect much of a change in the link limit; however, the catch appears to be down and that could favor less restrictive regulations.
VIRGINIA SALTWATER FISHING TOURNAMENT
The Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament has registered its first king mackerel of the season, a 33-pound 1-ounce trophy taken in the inshore waters near Virginia Beach by Ed Cromwell Jr. of Virginia Beach. Here are the tournament standings:
BLACK DRUM: 84 pounds, 12 ounces, William Brown, Hampton, Inner Middle Ground; C-13
BLUELINE TILEFISH: 20 pounds, 10 ounces, Kenneth Bowe, Chester, Norfolk Canyon.
COBIA: 105 pounds, 8 ounces, Wes Blow, Newport News, lower Chesapeake Bay.
CROAKER: 5 pounds, 3 ounces, Nathan Clendenin, Richmond, lower York River. .
DOLPHIN: 39 pounds, Robert Manus, Ark, Triple Zero’s.
FLOUNDER: 12 pounds, 12 ounce, Mike Perron, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
GRAY TRIGGERFISH: 4 pounds, 4 ounces, Julie Ball, Virginia Beach, wreck off Virginia Beach.
KING MACKEREL: 33 pounds, 1 ounce, Ed Cromwell Jr., Virginia Beach, inshore waters off Virginia Beach.
KINGFISH: 1 pound, 12 ounces, Bill Pope, Norfolk, Sandbridge Pier.
SEA BASS: 8 pounds, 4 ounces, Rob Collins, Norfolk, wreck off Virginia Beach.
SHEEPHEAD: 14 pounds, 4 ounces, Lesley Inge, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake Bay.
SPADEFISH: 14 pounds, 14 ounces, state record, Roland Murphy, Fredericksburg, the Cell.
SPANISH MACKEREL: 6 pounds, 7 ounces, Michael Bell, Lynchburg, 26 Mile Hill.
SPECKLED TROUT: 13 pounds, 14 ounces, Michael Whittaker, Chesapeake, Elizabeth River.
SPOT: 1 pound, 2 ounces, Chris Brooks, Virginia Beach, Elizabeth River.
STRIPED BASS: 66 pounds, 8 ounces, Pete Johnson, Hampton, Smith Island.
TAUTOG: 21 pounds, 13 ounces, Skip Feller, Virginia Beach, wreck off Virginia Beach.
TUNA (BLUEFIN): 168 pounds, Paulette Johnson, Uniontown, Ohio, 100 Fathom off Virginia Beach.
TUNA: 230 pounds, Jeff Creekmore, Chesapeake, Norfolk Canyon.
WAHOO: 62 pounds, 1 ounce, K.W. Flowers, Richmond, The Fingers.
September goose hunting season, Sept. 1-25, 10 per day.
Smith Mountain Striper Club meeting, Sept. 4, program by Captains Spike and Kathy Franceschini, 7 p.m., Moneta Community Center.
Eastern Shore Bird and Wildlife Festival, Sept. 17-20, headquartered at Cape Charles, email@example.com.
Special youth deer hunting day, Sept. 26.
Dove hunting season, Sept. 5-26; Oct. 7-Nov. 7 and Dec. 25-Jan. 9. Bag limit 15 daily.
Rail hunting season, Sept. 8-Oct. 3; Oct. 5-Nov. 17.
Hunters for the Hungry banquet, Sept. 12, 5:30 p.m., Roanoke Moose Lodge #284, 3233 Catawba Valley Drive, Roanoke County, $20 single, $35 couple, children under 12 free, tickets from Dave Sarmadi Mitsubishi, Jeff Fletcher, 540-985-6523 or Fred and Phyllis Wells, 540-992-3874.
Virginia Big Game Western Regional Contest, Sept. 12 and 13, Rockingham County Fairground, Harrisonburg, information from vpsa.org or John Ritenour, 540-434-8028.
H.C. Edwards Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society, 20th annual Sportsmen’s Banquet, Sept 19, 6 p.m., Augusta Expoland, Fisherville, ticket information from Kenny Wilkinson, 540-337-1298.
September teal hunting season, Sept 21-30, east of I-95 only, four daily.
Virginia Big Game Eastern Regional and State Championship, Sept. 26 and 27, Southampton County Fairground, Franklin, information from vpsa.org or Kenneth Pickin 757-229-0409.
Hunters for the Hungry Sporting Clays Benefit Shoot, Sept. 27, Flying Rabbit Sporting Clays, Mount Crawford, $50 per shooter, prizes and lunch provided information from 540-574-2529.
Snipe hunting season, Oct. 8-12; Oct. 21-Jan. 30.
Woodcock hunting season, Nov. 7-21; Dec. 26-Jan. 9, three per day.
BASS Elite Blue Ridge Brawl, April 15-18, Smith Mountain Lake.
Got an event? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.