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Wild Life


Recent Articles

Wednesday 11/25/2015
Posted: November 25, 2015 - 8:45 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Key to deer hunting success is persistence

Veteran hunter Elly Robinson has the following advice for deer hunters:

Friday 11/20/2015
Posted: November 20, 2015 - 10:00 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Deer kill neck-and-neck with last year’s poor showing

Many hunters expected Virginia’s 2015 deer kill to bounce back from last year’s crash of 21 percent.

Wednesday 11/11/2015
Posted: November 11, 2015 - 2:00 pm
Bill Cochran Field Reports: How to take advantage of Smith Mountain Lake’s improving fishing

Rain and cooler temperatures have added oxygen to the water of Smith Mountain Lake, and this has scattered the fish.

Tuesday 11/10/2015
Posted: November 10, 2015 - 5:30 pm
Bill Cochran: Hunters believe coyotes putting the bite on deer population

It wasn’t a pretty sight, a dead deer in the middle of a field, one of its sides ripped out and most of its organs gone.

Sunday 11/08/2015
Posted: November 08, 2015 - 4:06 pm
Bill Cochran Field reports: Deer kill up a modest 6 percent

Virginia’s deer kill, including the early bow season, youth weekend and the opening weekend of the muzzleloading season, has reached 27,000, a modest 6-percent increase over last year’s major decli...

Friday 10/30/2015
Posted: October 30, 2015 - 9:16 pm
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Below average acorn crop impacting wildlife and hunting

I recall years ago Kit Shaffer giving me a turkey hunting tip:

Wednesday 10/21/2015
Posted: October 21, 2015 - 11:46 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Deer management plan not just a hunting document

The board of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has endorsed a 136-page deer management plan that is designed to guide the state’s deer program through 2024. This is the third rev...

Tuesday 10/20/2015
Posted: October 20, 2015 - 5:15 pm
Bill Cochran: Trout fishery on lower Smith River enticing, but a pain to reach

One of fly-fishing’s best kept secrets in Virginia is the developing brown trout population in a 10-mile section of the Smith River below Martinsville Dam.

Friday 10/16/2015
Posted: October 16, 2015 - 1:00 pm
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Big bear taken by 11-year old on youth hunt

Eleven-year old Emily Crouch, who attends Bedford Middle School, killed a 465-pound bear during youth bear hunting weekend. She has been hunting since age 9 and has two deer and a gobbler to her cr...

Tuesday 10/13/2015
Posted: October 13, 2015 - 12:34 pm
Bill Cochran: Some days you just can’t catch a fish

This isn’t about the big catch, or the big fish that got away. It is about the fish that didn’t bother to show up.

Thursday 10/08/2015
Posted: October 08, 2015 - 2:42 pm
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Tough weekend of bowhunting yields trophy buck

For many sportsmen, opening weekend of the 2015 bowhunting season will be remembered for its gobs of rain and wind that made life miserable and is credited with lowering the kill by 40 percent. The...

Thursday 10/01/2015
Posted: October 01, 2015 - 10:30 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Western hunters score well in State Big Game Show

The State Big Game Show in Hampton Saturday and Sunday had competition from the rain and the youth/apprentice hunting weekend, thus the attendance and the number of trophies entered were down.

Tuesday 09/29/2015
Posted: September 29, 2015 - 4:48 pm
Bill Cochran: Deer season should be better, but not a return to “the good old days”

“What’s happened to the deer?”

Friday 09/25/2015
Posted: September 25, 2015 - 11:26 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: West Virginia preparing for elk release

West Virginia has taken a cautious approach to reintroducing elk, but now is moving forward, having lease 9,000 acres to be a major part of its new “elk zone.” The combination of mined mountaintops...

Tuesday 09/22/2015
Posted: September 22, 2015 - 3:44 pm
Bill Cochran: Small game offer big rewards

Small game hunting arrives when the first tinges of autumn color appear on the ridge tops; the sky turns a deep blue and the air is crisp. It is a prime time to be outdoors.

Thursday 09/17/2015
Posted: September 17, 2015 - 11:27 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: A 116-pound catfish catch said to be third largest in Virginia

Tim Richardson and Steve Dudzinski, neighbors who live near Kerr Lake, were trolling for striped bass on the north end of the 50,000-acre impoundment when they landed what Richardson has documented...

Tuesday 09/15/2015
Posted: September 15, 2015 - 4:39 pm
Bill Cochran: Angler wants trout plan to foil hatchery truck followers

About 10 years ago, Hugh Elliott began sending letters to top officials of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, telling them that their trout stocking program needed revamping.

Wednesday 09/09/2015
Posted: September 09, 2015 - 7:30 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Smith Mountain Striper Club sets Oct. 3 open fishing tournament

Come early October, the striped bass in Smith Mountain Lake are likely to be found most anywhere. Many will be moving up both arms of the lake and others will continue to hold to the deep water in ...

Wednesday 09/02/2015
Posted: September 02, 2015 - 10:19 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Big game show sponsors looking to next year

The Western Regional Big Game Contest last weekend at the Salem Civic Center wasn’t just a display of trophy deer heads, it was an effort to save a competition that dates back 76 years and is belie...

Thursday 08/27/2015
Posted: August 27, 2015 - 8:29 pm
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Dates set for duck hunting

Duck hunters in Virginia will be a operating under a familiar three-way split season that provides the following benefits:

Sunday 08/23/2015
Posted: August 23, 2015 - 2:30 pm
Fishing report: Terrestrial patterns key component to stream angling

There are those anglers who tell you that fly-fishing with one or the other terrestrial patterns is as automatic as fishing gets.

Thursday 08/20/2015
Posted: August 20, 2015 - 3:56 pm
Bill Cochran Field Reports: New hunting-law digest slick and informative

Sportsmen picking up a copy of the new 2015-2016 Hunting & Trapping in Virginia digest are in for a pleasant surprise.

Saturday 08/15/2015
Posted: August 15, 2015 - 6:50 pm
Fishing report: Lily pads increase challenge for anglers

For even the most gentle-minded gardener, there is nothing they loathe and despise more than weeds.

Thursday 08/13/2015
Posted: August 13, 2015 - 11:41 am
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Fish officials say “No Bite” is nonsense

Anglers call it “No Bite.” Some say officials of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries put it into hatchery truck tanks when trout are being stocked in order to retard their hunger s...

Wednesday 08/05/2015
Posted: August 05, 2015 - 12:14 pm
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Hunters opposed to ban on urine-based scent

The National Deer Alliance surveyed its member and found strong support for the use of deer urine scent to attract deer and mask human scent. Some 76-percent of the participants said they opposed e...

Thursday 07/30/2015
Posted: July 30, 2015 - 8:00 pm
Bill Cochran Field Reports: All about bears, benefits and a big game show

Sportsmen sign petition to rescind bear license

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 i...

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...

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 Buc...

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, Whitetai...

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, “Whiteta...

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 p...

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 sponsore...

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 20...

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 tr...

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 Apri...

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 Fo...

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...

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 spr...

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 t...

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