Thursday, May 19, 2005
Bill Cochran's Field Reports: Word from Buck Mountain
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
Buck Mountain in Grayson County hasn’t changed much the past 200 years, and that’s why Walt Hampton is drawn to it. He calls this fourth-highest peak in Virginia his home. It is where he and his wife, Cecelia, reared their sons, Wade and Jesse, amid traditional family values, which include a heavy dose of guns, hunting, dogs, camp cooking and love -- good stuff.
Hampton is a wildlife biologist with 25-years experience. He has been a gunsmith since 1979. His son, Wade, operates Buck Mountain Rifle Works. For the past dozen years or so Hampton has made a name for himself as an outdoors writer. He is Southeast field editor for Deer and Deer Hunting magazine and has written for a number of publications, including Sporting Classics. When he writes about guns and hunting, you know he is on target.
Hampton has collected a book full of his work, much of it word pictures of his sons growing into manhood. He calls it “Tales from Buck Mountain.” Copies are available for $24.95 from Pathway Book Service at 800-345-6665. A book signing has been set for the Wythe/Grayson Regional Public Library in Wytheville, 7 p.m. May 24.
There is so much to tell about Buck Mountain that one book won’t hold it all.
“Within the next year I hope to have three other books in publication, ‘Walt Hampton’s Turkey Book,’ ‘The Meat Hunters Guide’ and ‘Return to Buck Mountain.’ ”
HUNTING DOG CLUB ENDORSES KILGORE
The Virginia Hunting Dog Owner’s Association has announced that it is endorsing Jerry Kilgore for governor, and is urging outdoor sportsmen to vote in the June 14 primary for candidates who support hunting and dog ownership traditions.
The association is backing another Republican, Steve Baril, as attorney general but makes no choice between Democrat Phillip Puckett and Republican Bill Bolling for lieutenant governor, giving them both a thumb’s up.
In House races, the association endorses the following:
Preston Bryant, R, 23rd District
Edward Scott, R, 30th District
Jim Hyland, D, 35th District
Michael Golden, R, 41st District
Libby Garvey, D, 44th District
Harry Parrish, R, 50th District
Robert Orrock, R, 54th District
Rod Clemmons, R, 55th District
Rich Collins, D, 57th District
Harry “Bob” Purkey, R, 82nd District
The June primary provides “an exceptional opportunity for sportsmen and dog owners to shape Virginia’s future,” said Bob Kane, VHDOA president.
The organization’s analysis has a limited scope, Kane tells sportsmen. “We make no pretense of evaluating candidates' positions on taxes, education, medical care or social issues. To the degree that hunting and dog ownership are important to you, we offer this review to be combined with other, personal considerations to determine your vote on November 8, 2005."
SHOOTING CLUBS TAKE A HIT
Hunting and shooting club members are beginning to take more than a passing interest in the people they elect as country supervisors. Conflicts have occurred in a number of counties over sport shooting facilities that are being deemed noisy or in conflict of zoning or unworthy of a special use permit. The most publicized case was a clash between Orion Shooting Group and the Nelson County Board of Supervisors.
More recently, a suggested ordinance in Culpeper County drew the wrath of sportsmen who expressed concern over wording that would limit shooting to parcels of land 20 acres or larger and would outlawed rifles larger than a .22 rimfire.
In Ridgeway, the Ridgeway Hunter’s Club has had to jump through hoops in its attempt to get a special use permit to hold NRA sanctioned shooting matches at club property.
The Roanoke Rifle and Revolver Club has recommended its members to attend the Franklin County Board of Supervisors meetings to “help keep us aware of matters that may affect RRRC.”
TOO MANY TOURNAMENTS ON THE POTOMAC?
The Potomac River is being hammered by a seemingly never-ending string of bass fishing tournaments and this is hurting the bass population and the fishing. That’s the opinion of Gene Mueller, outdoors writer of The Washington Times.
Mueller said the river is a major attraction of mega-tournaments that lure 200 or more boats. While many of the bass are released alive, they are carried around in livewells and turned loose far from where they were caught, resulting in a “wholesale shift of bass populations.”
Mueller made his comments just as the $8.4 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League visited the Potomac. A little more than a week prior to the Wal-Mart contest the New Jersey State Bass Federation held its state championship on the river.
"Every productive spot on the river had two or three New Jersey boats sitting on it for three days," said Mueller.
SPOTLIGHT ON THE PIGG AND BLACKWATER
The Pigg and Blackwater rivers in Franklin County generally don’t get the attention they merit as recreation waterways, but the spotlight will be on them June 4 and 5. Those are the dates of the Fourth Annual Pigg River Ramble Canoe Race and the Second Annual Breakfast on the Blackwater Fun Float.
In 2002, the Pigg River event attracted 60 participants. The next year that jumped to more than 300, according to Scott Martin, Director of Commerce and Leisure Services in Franklin County. Martin’s philosophy is that you can preserve streams by calling attention to them.
“Thanks in large part to the great turnout by paddlers at these events, Franklin County has successfully established 7 miles of public blueways since 2002,” said Martin.
The planned floats are about 7 miles in length and are not technical. Information and registration is available through historicrockymount.com/events/pigg_river_2005.pdf.
BEST BASS LAKES IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA
John Odenkirk, a Department of Game and Inland Fisheries fish biologist, has ranked major reservoirs in Northern Virginia after sampling the largemouth bass population. Here is his top10 ranking for big bass habitat:
1. Burke Lake, 218 acres, Fairfax County. This public lake has a phenomenal bass population, never mind that it is in D.C.’s backyard
2. Mountain Run Reservoir, a 75-acre lake in Culpeper County, is called the district’s “sleeper” bass lake by Odenkirk.
3. Occoquan Reservoir, 2,100 acres, Fairfax County.
4. Motts Reservoir, 160 acres, Spotsylvania County.
5. Lake Orange, 124 acres, Orange County, no other reservoir in the region comes close to growing as many bass 20 inches and over.
6. Pelham Reservoir, 255 acres, Culpeper County.
7. Lake Anna, 9,600 acres, near Charlottesville.
8. Brittle Lake, 77 acres, Fauqier County.
9. Abel Lake, 185 acres, Fauquier County.
10. Curtis Lake, 91 acres, Stafford County.
>The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted 14-2 to send out for public hearings this summer a slate of menhaden management proposals, including a first-ever commercial fishing cap on this species which provides a vital food supply for striped bass and other sport-fish species. The two negative votes came from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission. Virginia is the center of a huge commercial menhaden fishery.
>Seven out of 10 recreational vehicle owners say they will put more miles on their RVs this year than last year in spite of higher fuel prices, according to the AuCoin Report. The owners also said they would take more but shorter trips.
>Michael Holson of Louisa County has won the William Dixon Morgan Memorial Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to hunter education. Since becoming a hunter education instruction in 1996, Holson has taught more than 1,200 students.
>PETA is working for the welfare of animals, at least that’s what the Norfolk-based animal-rights group likes to say. You get another side from PETAKillsAnimals.com.
The first gray trout of the season has been entered in the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, a 11-pound, 2-ounce catch by Benjamin Thomas of Chesapeake. Here are the standings as the total citation count approaches 500:
CROAKER: 3-pounds, 8 ounces, Russell Owens, Virginia Beach, Elizabeth River.
FLOUNDER: 11 pounds, 7 ounces, Michael Behe, Sr. Franklin, Pa. Bradford Bay area of Wachapreague.
GRAY TROUT: 11 pounds, 2 ounces, Benjamin Thomas, Chesapeake, lower eastern Chesapeake Bay.
SEA BASS: 6 pounds, 14 ounces, Chad Stoker, Chesapeake, caught off Virginia Beach.
SPECKLED TROUT: 11 pounds, 3 ounces, Brain Pomije, Chesapeake, Elizabeth River.
STRIPED BASS: 63 pounds, 8 ounces, state record, Paul Leckner, Greenbackville, Bradford Bay.
TAUTOG: 15 pounds, 10 ounces, John Scappari, Monroe Township, N.J., ocean off Eastern Shore.
Migratory Bird Festival, Mountain Lake Hotel, May 20-22, $15 single day; $30 three days, information and registration at mountainlakebirding.com.
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries public meeting on hunting, fishing, nongame and boating issues, 6:30 p.m. May 23, Holiday Inn, Suffolk.
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries public meeting on hunting, fishing, nongame and boating issues, 6:30 p.m. May 25, Halifax Counth High School, South Boston.
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries public meeting on hunting, fishing, nongame and boating issues, 6:30 p.m. May 26, Augusta County Government Center, Verona.
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries public meeting on hunting, fishing, nongame and boating issues, 6:30 p.m. May 31, Izaak Walton League Building, Centerville.
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries public meeting on hunting, fishing, nongame and boating issues, 6:30 p.m. June 2, Virginia Highlands Community College, Abingdon.
Fourth Annual Pigg River Ramble Canoe Race and Second Annual Breakfast on the Blackwater Fun Float, June 4 and 5, information and registration from historicrockymount.com/events/pigg_river_2005.pdf.
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries public meeting on hunting, fishing, nongame and boating issues, 6:30 p.m. June 6, DGIF headquarters, Richmond.
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries public meeting on hunting, fishing, nongame and boating issues, 6:30 p.m. June 7, Northside High School, Roanoke.
Western Division of Virginia Big Game Contest, Sept. 10 and 11, Rockingham County Fairgrounds near Harrisonburg, see www.vpsa.org for details.
Urban archery season, Sept. 17-30 and Jan. 9-25.
Eastern Division and state finals of Virginia Big Game Contest, Sept. 24 and 25, Southampton County Fairgrounds, Franklin, see www.vpsa.org for details.
Bowhunting season, Oct. 1-Nov. 18 and Dec. 5-Jan. 7.
Fall turkey hunting season, Oct. 31-Nov. 12; Nov. 24 and Dec. 12-Jan. 7.
Muzzleloading season east of Blue Ridge Mountains, Nov. 5-18.
Muzzleloading season west of Blue Ridge Mountains, Nov. 12-18
Deer hunting season west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Nov. 19-Dec. 3
Deer hunting season east of Blue Ridge Mountains, Nov. 19-Jan. 7
Late muzzleloading season, Dec. 17-Jan. 7.
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