Thursday, June 21, 2012
Bill Cochran's Field Reports: The kindest thing you can do for a fawn is leave it alone
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
A feel-good story on the front page of Tuesday’s Roanoke Times told how a Roanoke County police officer rescued an “orphaned” fawn and took it to a wildlife rescue center where there were 26 other such fawns. The event has been getting a lot of praise on Facebook.
Most people, unfortunately, won’t read an article in the June issue of Virginia Wildlife by Matt Knox, deer project coordinator for the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. In it, Knox says most “orphaned” fawns aren’t abandoned at all.
“Young white-tailed deer fawns are hiders,” he writes. “This means the doe leaves them lying in the woods and fields alone nearly all the time for the first couple of weeks to (a) month of (their) life. The doe does not abandon them. She moves off far enough that her presence does not draw attention to the fawns, but remains close enough that she can come to their defense if necessary.”
“During these critical first weeks, the doe will approach the area where the fawn is hidden two to four times each day. With a soft grunt she will call the fawn to her, allowing it to nurse for 5 to 10 minutes. Then she will typically move the fawn a short distance and leave it quickly.”
Along comes a well-meaning, but uninformed, person who sees the fawn and thinks it has been abandoned. That person captures the fawn and takes it home, which is illegal, Sometimes it will end up in a rescue center with a whole herd of other fawns.
“Good intentions gone bad,” Knox told me. “The Roanoke Times article is very disappointing. This fawn was not saved.”
The best thing you can do for a fawn is leave it alone. It may not survive. Many don’t. But its chances are far greater when left alone than when carried off into captivity.
Here’s a switch: Local outdoor shop routs national chain
When I hitch a ride with Mark Taylor to Richmond to cover some outdoor event, he has been known to say, “Do you mind if I swing by Green Top on the way home?” Sometimes he doesn’t even ask. He just heads that way.
I don’t mind. I love to visit Green Top Sporting Goods. It is a locally owned and operated outdoor shop in Hanover County that has been around almost as long as I have.
Taylor, the outdoor columnist for the Roanoke Times and Roanoke.com, likes Green Top because it is jam packed with quality gear sold at a reasonable price. I join him in his praise for the friendly and accomplished sales staff. If you are searching for a certain item and ask a clerk for assistance, you won’t just get a boney finger pointed toward some obscure rack. The clerk will walk you to the item, and if you have questions, he can answer them with authority.
I was in a Bass Pro Shop the other day and had to wait what seemed like 15 minutes for a clerk to show me a reel locked in a display case. He thought it more important to be stocking items than tending to a customer.
I’m not saying Green Top is always perfect or Bass Pro is always uncaring. What I am saying, I place a huge importance on taking care of customers in a knowledgeable and friendly way. Size of the business has nothing to do with it. I’ve been in small shops in Roanoke when the clerk didn’t even grunt when I entered. No wonder so many businesses fail.
I am happy to report that I was in the new Sportsman’s Warehouse in Roanoke last week and a young lady assistant in the clothing department treated me like a king.
Now back to Green Top. Another thing it does right is support various worthy groups, from DU to Hunters for the Hungry. It is important for outdoor shops to be involved in worthy community activities.
Green Top in recent years has had to compete with two national chains - Gander Mountain and Bass Pro Shops - that moved into the neighborhood. You might expect a local shop to waste away under such competition.
Fact is, Green Top plans to vacate its long-held location toward the end of the year. That’s because it is moving into the 67,000-square foot building that Gander Mountain now occupies. Gander Mountain is calling it quits at that spot in July.
This will give Green Top more than five times the space it now has. Chalk one up for the little guy. I am thinking Green Top will be smart enough not to leave that great customer service behind.
• June 22-24 have been designated “Operation Dry Water,” which means the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will be stepping up efforts to deal with boaters operating under the influence of alcohol and drugs. More than 17 percent of boating fatalities nationwide are linked to alcohol use. Boating with a blood alcohol concentration of .8 percent or higher is illegal.
• The Radford University team of Blain Chitwood and Brett Meyn won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Northern Conference on Kerr Lake by a single ounce this past weekend. Their five-bass limit weighed 10 pounds, 7 ounces, earning them $5,000 and an advance to the next level of competition.
• Authorities in Washington County are investigating the death of a 12-year old boy who was shot in the head while groundhog hunting with his 15-year old brother. Police say they believe the shooting was accidental.
• The Center for Biological Diversity is petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to ban lead in traditional hunting ammunition. This is the agency’s third effort at a ban, which would have a huge impact on hunters and hunting. The two previous attempts failed.
Saltwater Fishing Tournament
The first gray triggerfish of the season has been entered in the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. Here are the tournament standings:
• Amberjack: four release citations
• Black Drum: 86 pounds, caught by Matthew Hamay, Gloucester, off Fisherman’s Island, 22 citations entered for the species.
• Blueline Tilefish: 19 pounds, 4, Donald Caldwell, Midlothian, at the Norfolk Canyon, 143 citations registered
• Cobia: 97 pounds, Capt. Josh Jordan, Poquoson, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, six citations
• Dolphin: 26 pounds, Victor Asencio, Virginia Beach, 100 Fathom off Virginia Beach, first citation
• Flounder: 10 pounds, 3 ounces, Gibby Gibson, Hampton, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, 11 citations
• Gray Triggerfish, 4 pounds, 4 ounces, Bryant White, Portsmouth, Chesapeake Light Tower, two citations
• Red Drum: 216 releases
• Sea Bass: 6 pounds, 4 ounces, Naeemah Rodriguez, Glen Allen, Triangle Wrecks, six citations
• Sheepshead: 12 pounds, 15 ounces, Gary Bise, Richmond, off Cape Charles, four citations
• Speckled Trout: 14 pounds, 1 ounce, Michael Whittaker, Chesapeake, Elizabeth River, 369 citations
• Striped Bass: 74 pounds (state record), Cary Wolfe, Bristow, off Virginia Beach, 746 citations
• Tautog: 24 pounds, 3 ounces (state record), Ken Neill, III, Seaford, Morgan Wreck, 66 citations
• Tuna (Bluefin): 321 pounds, Jay Barefoot, Hampton, off Sanbridge, 150 citations
Total citations, 1,761
Meetings, seasons and events
• Smith Mountain Striper Club meeting, June 29, 7 p.m., Moneta Community Center, program on fishing lines, boat knots and bait net casting.
• Triangle Archery and Whitetail Outfitters 3D archery shoot, New River Valley, July 8, registration 9 a.m. to noon, $12 singles, $25 family, $6 kids, $15 money division, ends 3:45 p.m., range at 1250 Burley Lane, Blacksburg, information from Whitetail Outfitters, 540-381-9790.
• Triangle Archery and Whitetail Outfitters 3D archery shoot, New River Valley, Aug. 12.
• Friends of the NRA Banquet, Aug. 25, Salem Civic Center
• Eastern Regional Championship of the Virginia Big Game Show, Sept. 8 and 9, Southampton County Fairgrounds, Franklin, information from www.vpsa.org.
• Triangle Archery and Whitetail Outfitters 3D archery shoot, New River Valley, Sept. 16, registration 9 a.m. to noon, $12 singles, $25 family, $6 kids, $15 money division, ends 3:45 p.m., range at 1250 Burley Lane, Blacksburg, information from Whitetail Outfitters, 540-381-9790.
• Western Regional Championship and State Championship of Virginia Big Game Show, Sept. 22 and 23, Rockingham County Fairgrounds, Harrisonburg, check www.vpsa