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Thursday, September 19, 2013
A massive 17-point buck killed by Ed Muse of Goode on opening day of the bow season last year was the top deer in the Western Regional Virginia Big Game Show in Harrisonburg the past weekend. The trophy scored 215 9/16, according to Jon Ritenour, a spokesman for the Izaak Walton League, sponsor of the annual event.
Earlier accounts of the hunt described the buck as having a 21-point rack, but scorers at the contest determined there were 17-measurable points. (Read an early account of Muse's hunt by Mark Taylor at http://ww2.roanoke.com/outdoors/wb/315255.
A heavy mast crop last fall combined with a mild winter produced some spectacular bucks that were displayed at the show.
"It was absolutely unbelievable, the mass and quality of the antlers," said Ritenour.
The show attracted 229 deer, 13 bear and 22 turkey entries, which were good numbers for a regional show, said Ritenour.
The top trophies from the western show are eligible to be submitted to the State Championship Sept 28 and 29 at the Southampton County Fairgrounds in Franklin. That's also the site of the eastern regional competition. For more information, check www.vpsa.org.
Don Sledd of Franklin County left the show happy, reporting that his 10-point Craig County buck was the top in its class. He said he had been pursuing the buck for three years. The trophy scored 169 1/8 Boone and Crockett.
"Hard work, persistence and a lot of praying paid off," he said.
Nest Year's state show will be the 75th anniversary of the contest.
Deer association building network of local chapters
The Virginia Deer Hunters Association is building a network of local chapters that will be involved in youth hunts, hunter safety, scholarships and community service, as wall as efforts to protect the rights and traditions of deer hunting.
This is a new direction for the organization that was founded in 1985.
"We presently have five chapters and are growing, said Dennis Campbell, who is heading up the effort.
The new Blueridge Chapter has scheduled a banquet Saturday at the Best Western Conference Center in Waynesboro. Tickets and information are available from Wayne Anderson, 540-997-0051 and Jon Trees, 540-279-4383. A fantastic meal is planned, including Leon Nixon's famous North Carolina barbecue along with fried oysters, shrimp, fish and chicken, said Anderson. A single ticket for a member is just $20; couples $35.
The Appalachian Chapter was formed about four years ago around concerns over a declining population of deer in the counties of Alleghany, Bath, and Highland. It is sending 20 people to the Blueridge Chapter banquet, Anderson said.
A group in the Virginia Beach area wants to organize a new chapter, Campbell said.
Campbell has taken a leadership role in chapter development for a number of sportsmen organizations including the National Wild Turkey Federation. He said he came out of retirement to help the Virginia Deer Hunters Association in its new direction.
A 6 marlic catch called "just average"
Anglers continue to enjoy outstanding marling fishing off the Virginia Coast. On Sunday, Dr. Ken Neil III hooked a dozen white marlin and got six to his boat.
"There were times when we were fighting fish and there would be another hanging out beside the boat, checking our teasers dangling in the water," he said.
So how did Neill rate his day on the blue water?
"Our catch was about average. Good boats had double our catch, and the top boats triple or more."
Then there was the Wave Runner II, a charter boat out of Virginia Beach that posted a one-day catch of 49 marlin, which is being called "one of the most memorable marlin trips ever off the U.S. East Coast.
"Get out there while it lasts."
The absence of late-season storms has enhanced this fishery.
Virginia's first youth bear hunting day Sept. 28
Bear hound hunters are placing strong emphasis on Virginia's first youth bear hunting day set for September 28 and open to youngsters 15 and under. Bear hound hunters have advocated this special day for a half-dozen years, saying it would be a great way to involve young people in hunting.
The youth bear hunting day occurs the same Saturday as the youth deer hunting day.
Also eligible to take part in both events are holders of an apprentice hunting license, issued to first-time hunters who have not completed a hunter-education program. Participating youth and apprentice-license holders must be under the direct supervision of a licensed adult. Blaze orange also is required, and other hunting regulations apply.
National Park Service putting deer in its cross hairs
If the National Park Service has its way, the sound of gunfire will be heard once again on three Civil War battlefields in Virginia and Maryland. Park officials want to kill nearly 3,000 deer to reduce damage these animals are causing. Virginia's Manassas battlefield, in the northern Shenandoah Valley, would receive the biggest hit, with 1,600 deer scheduled to be in the sights of sharp shooters.
The venison would be donated to food banks. One organization that could use the meat is Hunters for the Hungry, based in Big Island. Donations of deer to the agency last year were down an alarming 28 percent.
During a fund-raising banquet in Roanoke Saturday, Laura Newell-Furniss, director of Hunters for the Hungry, had hunters stand up and pledge that they would do their best to provide venison for the program which processes meat for food banks, churches and other organizations that feed the hungry. The banquet cleared nearly $25,000 for processing deer.
Once the battlefield deer population is knocked back over a planned four-year period, park officials say lower levels of deer would be maintained by chemical contraceptives. The battlefields in Maryland that are a part of the draft plan are Antietam and Monocacy.
The draft plan is open to public comment through September 27. Some hunters have complained that the culling of deer will be done by sharpshooters rather than hunters.
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