It is back to the Bassmaster Classic for John Crews. The Salem resident finished 23rd in the final Bassmaster Elite Series tournament in Michigan this past weekend and that gave him a very respectful seventh place finish in the Angler of the Year standings, his best ever ranking.
Finishing first in the prestigious Angler of the Year race was Aaron Martin of Leeds, Ala. It was his second such title, having also won it in 2005.
Virginia's other participant in the Elite series was Rich Morris of Virginia Beach who finished 28th in the AOY rankings. That also good enough to qualify for the Classic, scheduled February 21-23 at Lake Guntersville, Ala.
This will be Crew's eighth Classic. In addition to tournament fishing, he owns a soft plastic bait business based in Salem.
Try telling a camping family it was an honor to be terrified
As the director of the Eastern Puma Research Network, John Lutz of Maysville, W.Va. hears some interesting reports from people who swear they saw or heard a mountain lion, or thought they did. However, many wildlife biologists scoff at these spottings.
Here's an unedited message that Lutz received from a man camping in the Dolly Sods area, a wilderness holding in West Virginia:
"My family has a year-round campsite on Dolly Sods. On last 2 weekends, daughters and me spent on Dolly Sods, we heard hideous screams like a woman being hurt or killed, down in the woods. I tried calling for help, but cell phones would not work and screams finally ended but neither of my teenagers got any more sleep and we stayed in tent rest of night, til sunrise and we got the ---- out of there.
"Do you think the animal could be responsible for the screams we heard? Do they kill people or just eat them? What can I do to protect us when on Dolly Sods please help me"
Lutz has a Website dedicated to "All You Need to Know about the Native Pumas, Cougars, Mountain Lions and Black Panthers." It provides safety precaution tips, which include: Don't run; never approach an undisturbed cat; carry a walking stick when hiking and keep the kids close; maintain eye contact; put a tree between you and the cat, but don't climb a tree.
"Treat the event as an honor, not as a fear," he said.
The family who spent a sleepless night at Dolly Sods might question that advice.
- Even though the sun isn't as hot and the water temperatures lower in September, veteran Smith Mountain Lake guide Dale Wilson recommends fishing shady areas or during low-light conditions. Striped bass will be found in the mid-to-lower section of the lake. Expect to encounter them from the surface to 80-foot depths. This makes vertical jigging a productive technique.
- The Friends of the NRA banquet, held recently at the Salem Civic Center, was a huge success, resulting in 282 ticket sales and netting about $50,000, according to Mike Kessler, the chairman. Money gained from the event is used for shooting programs, many of them youth events in this area.
- West Virginia is offering bowhunters a lucrative bear hunting season. It will be open Sept. 28-Nov. 23 and Dec. 9-31. This is the second year the season will begin in September and have an extended December segment. "We believe the expanding population can sustain an extended archery season and proved a great deal of recreational opportunities," said wildlife spokesman Curtis Taylor. Additional information is available at www.wvdnr.gov.
- There are many reasons to oppose the feeding of deer and Louisiana biologists have found still another. Feeding in that state has helped boost the population of feral hogs, an undesirable species that competes with deer for food, kills fawns and destroys habitat.
Events, seasons, dates
- Effective Sunday, it will be illegal statewide to feed deer in Virginia. The ban runs through the first Saturday in January.
- Hunters for the Hungry banquet, Sept. 14, Moose Lodge on Virginia 311 in Roanoke County, tickets $25 for a single; $40 for a couple, tickets and information from Ralph and Lois Graybill, 540-427-5125, and John and Wanda Reed, 540-427-4788 or Sportsman's Warehouse in Roanoke.
- Western Region Big Game Show, Sept. 14 and 15, Rockingham County Fairgrounds, Harrisonburg, this is the show that measures for the Virginia record book deer, bear and turkey killed the past season. Awards ceremony 3 p.m. Sept. 15. Information from Jon Ritenour, 540-434-8028 or check www.VPSA,org. State Championship Sept. 28 & 29 (see below).
- Sherwood Archers Bowhunter's Jamboree, Sept. 14 and 15, range near Hanging Rock, 3-D and other shoots, directions and other information www.sherwoodarchersroanoke.com
- New River Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will sponsor a Sept. 20 fund-raising banquet at Custom Catering, 902 Patrick Henry Drive in Blacksburg. Doors open 5:30 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $65 for a single; $80 for a couple. Contact Edsel Frame, 540-639-0212 or email@example.com.
- Jakes event sponsored by Botetourt County Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Sept. 21, registration at noon, activities 1 to 6 p.m., seven rotating stations set up to teach youngsters about turkey hunting, no charge, but for $10 you can become a member of the NWTF Jakes program, door prizes, information from Richard Pauley, 540-992-1883 or Pauleyr@nationwide.com. Earlier this year, the Botetourt chapter won the NWTF's top award for its Jakes program.
- NRA Women on Target instructional shooting clinic, pistols and shotguns, contact Molly Scanlan, 540-473-1710.
- Triangle Archers 3D tournament, Sept. 22, on club range between Christiansburg and Blacksburg, $12, $25 per family, cub and pee wee $6, information from Jim Overfelt, 540-552-8023.
- Youth deer hunting day, Sept. 28.
- Eastern Regional Championship and State Championship Virginia Big Game Show, Sept. 28 & 29, Southampton County Fairground, Franklin, information from www.VPSA.org or Kenneth Pickin, 804-633-0275.
- Meeting of the Roanoke Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association, Oct. 3, 6:30 p.m., Hollins Branch of the Roanoke County Library.
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