Roanoke Times: Wild Life

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Wednesday 05/20/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Deer Summit outlines strategies for future
Posted: May 20, 2015 - 6:30 am

Nearly 300 representatives from across the hunting world attended the 2015 North American Deer Summit in Louisville, Kentucky, not bad for an organization just two years old. The event was sponsored by the National Deer Alliance, which is making progress toward its goal of becoming the voice of deer hunters.

Wednesday 05/13/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: World record wild turkey confirmed
Posted: May 13, 2015 - 7:51 pm

The National Wild Turkey Federation has confirmed that a 37.6-pound wild turkey killed in Kentucky by Cody Guess of Lyon County is the heaviest on record.

Wednesday 05/06/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Does catch-and-release work? It did this time
Posted: May 06, 2015 - 5:30 am

Mike Ward isn’t just president of the Smith Mountain Striper Club, he is at the top of the club’s “Fishing Ladder,” which means he is the member who has registered the largest fish so far this year.

Thursday 04/30/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports for April 30: Bluefin tuna certified as Virginia record
Posted: April 30, 2015 - 10:27 am

A 606-pound bluefin tuna caught early April off Virginia Beach by Chase Robinson has been certified as a state record. Robinson’s catch eclipses the 573-pound record that has stood since June of 2007. That bluefin was landed by Frederick Hycox of Virginia Beach.

Wednesday 04/22/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: A 7-pound bass could be worth $30,000 in Oakley tournament
Posted: April 22, 2015 - 8:43 pm

If you can catch a 7-pound largemouth this weekend at Smith Mountain Lake, chances are you can tow home a sleek 2015 Nitro Z7 bass boat powered with a 150 Mercury.

Wednesday 04/15/2015
Field reports: Turkey season on a record pace
Posted: April 15, 2015 - 5:15 am

Virginia’s spring gobbler season is on a record pace, thanks to hunters like 13-year old Tyler Drowne of Riner.

Tuesday 04/14/2015
Cochran: Pioneer TV angler had love affair with Smith Mountain Lake
Posted: April 14, 2015 - 2:27 pm

In the early 1970s, about this time of the year, TV show host Jerry McKinnis fished Smith Mountain Lake on several occasions and caught stringers of bass so heavy that you’d risk a hernia if you tried to lift them.

Wednesday 04/08/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Potential record gives boost to saltwater tournament
Posted: April 08, 2015 - 5:45 am

A potential state record bluefin tuna has given zest to the 2015 edition of the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, which is off to a sluggish start, with just 83 citations entered by early April. That number was 524 for the same time period in 2014.

Wednesday 04/01/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Saltwater fishing licenses fees reduced
Posted: April 01, 2015 - 9:46 am

You don’t see this very often: The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has announced it will reduce the price of recreational saltwater fishing licenses starting Wednesday, and this is no April Fool’s Day joke.

Tuesday 03/24/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Roanoke County purchase to benefit wildlife and hunters
Posted: March 24, 2015 - 11:45 pm

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has the go-ahead from its board to purchased 1,598 acres of mountain land in Roanoke County adjacent to its 7,000-acre Havens Wildlife Management Area in the Fort Lewis Mountain region. The funding for the purchase, known as the Dwelle Tract, will come from federal-state matching funds contributed by outdoor sportsmen.

Wednesday 03/18/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Wildlife officials want to ban use of deer urine in hunting
Posted: March 18, 2015 - 12:45 pm

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has been asking hunters not to use doe urine to mask their scent or attract a buck, because the commercially sold commodity has potential to spread the deadly chronic wasting disease.

Wednesday 03/11/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Winter mortality of speckled trout appears light
Posted: March 11, 2015 - 11:03 am

The coast of Virginia and North Carolina has experienced one of the roughest winters on record, lots of snow and frigid temperatures, yet instances of winter mortality of speckled trout are fewer than for last year, according the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

Wednesday 03/04/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Here’s where to fish for walleye in Virginia
Posted: March 04, 2015 - 5:30 am

The walleye population has been expanding across Virginia, and that makes many anglers happy for at least two reasons: Walleye are one of the first fish to become active late winter and early spring, and they are as good to eat as any fish in freshwater.

Tuesday 03/03/2015
Bill Cochran: In a season of poor kill numbers, Sunday hunting prevented it from being worse
Posted: March 03, 2015 - 4:31 pm

The 22 percent drop in Virginia’s deer kill, a figure that is worrisome to many sportsmen, might have been 30 percent were it not for Sunday hunting being legal on private land for the first time in modern history.

Wednesday 02/25/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Bills would impact outdoor sportsmen
Posted: February 25, 2015 - 5:30 am

Several bills that would impact outdoor sportsmen have been making progress in the General Assembly. Here’s a look at five of them:

Tuesday 02/24/2015
Bill Cochran: Big game season a record and disappointment
Posted: February 24, 2015 - 2:08 pm

The much anticipated results of the 2014-15 deer, bear and turkey seasons were released by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries this week, and seldom have the figures had more radical swings.

Wednesday 02/04/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Bills shot down that would change the face of hunting
Posted: February 04, 2015 - 5:30 am

It didn’t take long for the Virginia General Assembly to shoot down bills that would have gutted the right-to-retrieve law and liberalized regulations that govern the feeding of wildlife.

Wednesday 01/28/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt new event for Virginia
Posted: January 28, 2015 - 10:40 am

Virginia’s first Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt is scheduled for April 17 and 18, and there are four basic ways you can participate:

Friday 01/23/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Deer, bear down in West Virginia
Posted: January 23, 2015 - 10:45 am

West Virginia’s 2014 deer kill of 104,223 represents a 31-percent drop from the previous season, and a 23-percent decline from the five-year average.

Thursday 01/15/2015
Recent cold serves ski areas well
Posted: January 15, 2015 - 4:54 pm

SNOWSHOE, W.Va. — Mike Miller was cold, but it was better than another alternative.

Wednesday 01/14/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: National Wild Turkey Federation CEO to speak in Roanoke
Posted: January 14, 2015 - 11:34 am

The Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will celebrate the organization’s 40th anniversary in Roanoke Friday through Sunday, with special guest George Thornton, CEO of the federation.

Tuesday 01/13/2015
Outdoors: Do deer hunters need a national voice?
Posted: January 13, 2015 - 2:54 pm

Of all the different kinds of hunters, those who pursue deer are the most numerous and least organized. The newly formed National Deer Alliance wants to change that. It wants to organize deer hunters and be their voice. It wants to be to deer hunters what the NRA is to gun owners.

Wednesday 01/07/2015
Bill Cochran Field Reports: New year brings new regulations for fishermen
Posted: January 07, 2015 - 5:00 am

A number of new fishing regulations arrived with the 2015 New Year. Here’s a quick look:

Tuesday 01/06/2015
Outdoors: Decline of grouse reflected in diaries of a hunter
Posted: January 06, 2015 - 7:52 pm

Almost two decades ago, Bob Fala, an avid grouse hunter, began keeping a diary of his days afield, most of them in the mountains of West Virginia.

Thursday 01/01/2015
Field Reports: Which makes the better fish fry, fresh or saltwater stripers?
Posted: January 01, 2015 - 3:20 pm

In mid-December, Bill Chittenden caught a 30-inch striped bass, often called rockfish, in the salty water of the Chesapeake Bay. He had it for a meal and declared, “It was great.”

Friday 12/26/2014
Virginia hunter bags 650-lb black bear
Posted: December 26, 2014 - 9:36 am

Patrick Coffey could tell the black bear was a big one as he watched it scrounge for acorns in the woods on a Virginia farm.

Wednesday 12/24/2014
Field Reports: More fun, less feuding, for new Facebook hunting group
Posted: December 24, 2014 - 5:00 am

The worst thing about the social media, as far as outdoorsmen are concerned, is hunters attacking one another — as in hound hunters vs. still hunters, and muzzleloader hunters vs. modern-gun hunters.

Wednesday 12/17/2014
Field Reports: Big drop in West Virginia buck season
Posted: December 17, 2014 - 11:00 pm

West Virginia wildlife officials are blaming bad weather for a steep, 34-percent drop in the state’s deer kill during its two-week, buck’s-only season.

Thursday 12/11/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Hunters for the Hungry in dire need of deer
Posted: December 11, 2014 - 12:52 pm

The phone has been ringing at Hunters for the Hungry headquarters in Big Island: “Where’s the venison?” is the cry coming from food banks, churches and rescue mission who feed the needy.

Wednesday 12/03/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Deer pulling a disappearing act
Posted: December 03, 2014 - 5:00 am

The deer kill in Virginia ran a stable course through the early muzzleloading season, then dropped significantly the two weeks of the general firearm’s season.

Tuesday 12/02/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Sorting out the ups and downs of deer hunting
Posted: December 02, 2014 - 2:44 pm

The deer kill in Virginia is down 16 percent, or 20,700 animals. The rut has been weak; the hunting pressure light; the acorn crop heavy; the quality of bucks so-so; the number of deer spotted disappointing.

Wednesday 11/26/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Potential W.Va. record buck creating excitement
Posted: November 26, 2014 - 6:31 pm

A 12-point buck killed in West Virginia last week by bowhunter Chad Scyphers is a likely record for that state, although it still is too early to say for sure.

Tuesday 11/25/2014
Bill Cochran: New program providing hunting opportunities for the disabled
Posted: November 25, 2014 - 5:21 pm

The first thing you notice about Robin Clark is his smile, next is his enthusiasm. Way down on the list is his wheelchair.

Wednesday 11/19/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports for Nov. 19: DGIF e-store providing funds for youth groups
Posted: November 19, 2014 - 8:31 pm

Move over L.L. Bean and Land’s End, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has its own e-store,

Tuesday 11/18/2014
Outdoors: Bedford County buck is contest material
Posted: November 18, 2014 - 3:36 pm

On opening day of the muzzleloading season, Cotton Witt watched an early morning parade of deer come down a hardwood ridge in Bedford County to stand near the base of the tree where he had positioned his elevated stand.

Wednesday 11/12/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: A hard-fought victory for hunters in Maine
Posted: November 12, 2014 - 5:30 am

Voters in Maine upheld that state’s liberal bear hunting regulations by defeating a state referendum that would have made it illegal to bait, trap or use dogs in the pursuit of bears.

Tuesday 11/11/2014
Bill Cochran: Jury still out on the impact of Sunday hunting
Posted: November 11, 2014 - 12:08 pm

An early look at how Sunday hunting in Virginia is impacting the deer and turkey seasons has produced some muddled information.

Wednesday 11/05/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Game officials get an earful from hunters
Posted: November 05, 2014 - 6:00 am

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries received nearly 500 comments from its constituents during an Aug. 1-Oct. 1 scoping period, when it requested recommendations for changes in hunting regulations. The input is scheduled to be considered by wildlife officials who will report back in March.

Tuesday 11/04/2014
Outdoors: Bear hunters say it's time for more liberal policies
Posted: November 04, 2014 - 10:46 am

No doubt about it, this is a great time to be a black bear hunter in Virginia.

Friday 10/31/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports : Using doe urine to attract a buck could spread disease
Posted: October 31, 2014 - 12:13 pm

The next time you sprinkle deer urine onto the forest floor to mask your scent or attract a heavy racked buck, be aware you could be introducing a disease to the animals you love to hunt.

Wednesday 10/22/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Southwest mountains Virginia’s turkey hotspot
Posted: October 22, 2014 - 12:12 pm

The mountains of Southwest Virginia, from the Roanoke Valley westward, will be a prime spot for turkey hunting when the season opens Saturday.

Wednesday 10/08/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Mast survey disagrees with what hunters are seeing
Posted: October 08, 2014 - 5:00 am

All fall, I have been receiving reports from hunters on how abundant the acorn crop is this year, which is highly important to the well-being of wildlife and dictates where hunters can expect to locate game.

Tuesday 10/07/2014
Cochran: Billy Leonard never outgrew squirrel hunting; never wanted to
Posted: October 07, 2014 - 6:30 pm

This was Billy Leonard’s favorite time of the year, when nature begins to unfurl its palette of colors in brilliant streaks and splashes against the ridges and in the creek bottoms.

Thursday 10/02/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Big drop in the success of youth day deer hunters
Posted: October 02, 2014 - 12:01 am

Youth/apprentice deer hunting day Saturday provides a glimpse of what kind of season hunters can expect this year. The estimated kill reported by phone and Internet was 1,804. That was down sharply from last season’s 2,682.

Tuesday 09/30/2014
Bill Cochran: Bowhunter wins 75th anniversary big game show with Roanoke County buck
Posted: September 30, 2014 - 8:00 pm

Matt Daniels won the 75th edition of the Virginia Big Game Show Sunday in Harrisonburg with an 18-point buck he killed on a Roanoke County farm on opening day of the bowhunting season last October.

Tuesday 09/23/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Rookie B.A.S.S. angler from Virginia making history
Posted: September 23, 2014 - 8:57 pm

Jacob Powroznik lives in the small village of Port Haywood overlooking the west side of the Chesapeake Bay in Matthews County, so when it comes to fishing you’d expect him to be involved in the saltwater kind — flounder, spot, bluefish.

Wednesday 09/17/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: 16-point buck winner of 75th anniversary show
Posted: September 17, 2014 - 2:00 am

Sherman Bailey works as a boiler maker in New Jersey, but come fall you are likely to find him hunting on family land in Virginia’s Surry County — and for good reason.

Tuesday 09/16/2014
Bill Cochran: Acorn crop has big impact on wildlife and hunters
Posted: September 16, 2014 - 12:50 pm

Hear that munching? It is the sound of deer chewing on acorns, something that wasn’t heard much last fall when the acorn crop was a failure across much of Virginia.

Wednesday 09/10/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Have a passion for deer hunting? Check this site
Posted: September 10, 2014 - 2:00 pm

If you have a passion for deer hunting, then Jeff Phillips has designed a Web site just for you. He calls it Star City Whitetails

Tuesday 09/09/2014
Cochran Classic: Hunters take aim at hunger
Posted: September 09, 2014 - 7:00 pm

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a story referred to in this week's Bill Cochran column, which Bill wrote in October 1991, when he was the outdoors editor of The Roanoke Times. Here is a link to his current story on Hunters for the Hungry, which was printed in the Sept. 10, 2014 edition of The Roanoke Times.

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