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Tuesday 07/28/2015
Posted: July 28, 2015 - 3:43 pm
Bill Cochran: Trout plan aims at making anglers happier

A trout stocking plan aimed at improving angler satisfaction and reversing the decline in trout license sales has been drafted by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Virginia Tech and is open for public input.

Wednesday 07/22/2015
Posted: July 22, 2015 - 10:30 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: New group advocates more young forest habitat

A new group, called the Virginia Wildlife Habitat Coalition, is being organized to make certain wildlife gets a fair shake in the management of national forests and state wildlife management areas.

Tuesday 07/21/2015
Posted: July 21, 2015 - 3:38 pm
Bill Cochran: Cobia offer fight, food and fun, all within sight of shore

Every angler needs to hook a fish, now and then, that is so big all you can do is hold on as it peels line from your reel.

Thursday 07/16/2015
Posted: July 16, 2015 - 11:57 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Effort to rescind new bear license fails

Leon Turner thought, just maybe, he had enough votes to rescind Virginia’s new controversial bear hunting license, which will be required of bear hunters beginning this fall.

Thursday 07/09/2015
Posted: July 09, 2015 - 11:45 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Fall duck flights look promising

It is a good time to be a duck hunter. A July 2 report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that the breeding population of ducks is 49.5 million, according to its 2015 survey. That is the highest count on record and 51-percent above the 1955-2014 long-term average.

Wednesday 07/01/2015
Posted: July 01, 2015 - 11:32 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Botetourt Longbeards all about turkeys and more

Last week, the Botetourt Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation was conducting a quail habitat workshop near Daleville. The next night, members were doing charity work at the Buchanan Community Carnival.

Friday 06/26/2015
Posted: June 26, 2015 - 7:09 pm
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Walmart grant gives Hunters for the Hungry big boost

Hunters for the Hungry has received a $50,000 grant from Walmart, which will give the feeding program a major boost going into the busy fall season.

Wednesday 06/24/2015
Posted: June 24, 2015 - 6:30 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Hunters verify that it was a so-so deer season

More than half the members of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association gave last year’s deer season a poor rating, according to a survey recorded in the summer edition of the club’s magazine, Whitetail Times.

Friday 06/19/2015
Posted: June 19, 2015 - 12:49 pm
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Hunters verify that it was a so-so deer season

More than half the members of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association gave last year’s deer season a poor rating, according to a survey recorded in the summer edition of the club’s magazine, “Whitetail Times.”

Thursday 06/11/2015
Posted: June 11, 2015 - 11:06 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Five bear cubs! That’s a lot of mouths to feed

Dennis Smith got a picture on his trail camera of a sow bear with five cubs romping around a mineral lick on property he owns in Botetourt County.

Thursday 06/04/2015
Posted: June 04, 2015 - 2:05 pm
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Spring gobbler season sets record

For the first time, Virginia’s spring turkey kill exceeded the 20,000 mark, settling on a record of 20,580. That eclipsed the previous best of 19,265, established in 2013. This year’s take was 17 percent higher than last year.

Wednesday 05/27/2015
Posted: May 27, 2015 - 1:48 pm
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Wanted! Pictures of a fisher

My family enjoys capturing images of wildlife with our trail cameras. We’ve gotten pictures of a number of wild critters on our farm, but one we haven’t seen is a fisher.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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