Roanoke Times: Wild Life

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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, www.shopdgif.com.

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 www.starcitywhitetails.com.

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.

Cochran: Hunting becoming more and more about the meat
Posted: September 09, 2014 - 7:00 pm

More than two decades ago, I wrote a column about a new concept in Virginia called Hunters for the Hungry. The idea behind it was novel.

Wednesday 09/03/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports for Sept. 3: Hunt in a park? You bet!
Posted: September 03, 2014 - 2:28 pm

Some people might be surprised to know that many of Virginia’s State Parks offer opportunities for hunting. This practice doesn’t just provide recreation, but it is a major tool in keeping the deer herd in check.

Tuesday 09/02/2014
Cochran: Confused over Sunday Hunting? Here’s the latest update
Posted: September 02, 2014 - 8:00 pm

Sunday hunting has been legal in Virginia for two months; yet, as the major seasons begin to appear many questions remain on how it works.

Thursday 08/28/2014
Fishing report for Aug. 28, 2014
Posted: August 28, 2014 - 7:30 pm

What does late August big lake angling have in common with a savory stew made up of harness leather, goat horn and chicken necks overcooked to perfection?

Wednesday 08/27/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Don’t let bear attack keep you out of the woods
Posted: August 27, 2014 - 6:00 am

Through the years, I’ve told scores of people that black bears go out of their way to avoid a confrontation with humans. They are docile and shy and more afraid of you than you are of them. So it is perfectly safe to go into the woods for camping, hiking and hunting.

Wednesday 08/20/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Duck hunting prospects something to quack about
Posted: August 20, 2014 - 2:37 pm

Look for a better than average duck hunting season in Virginia this fall and winter. The major breeding population is up 8-percent over last year and 43-percent above the 1955-2013 average.

Wednesday 08/13/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Celebrating 75 years of scoring trophy deer Virginia style
Posted: August 13, 2014 - 12:00 pm

The Virginia Big Game Trophy Show is celebrating its 75th anniversary next month. The event began when members of the newly organized Virginia Peninsula Sportsman’s Association (VPSA) decided to sponsor a trophy deer contest in 1939.

Wednesday 08/06/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Mother Nature’s wild critters have moved in next door
Posted: August 06, 2014 - 11:30 am

Bear ripping into garbage cans. Coyotes gobbling up pets. Deer colliding with cars. Gray squirrels causing power transformers to explode. Raccoons eating the sweet corn.

Wednesday 07/30/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: 30-year old bear tied old age record
Posted: July 30, 2014 - 3:15 pm

A female black bear killed in Giles County during the past bowhunting season was 30 years old, according to biologists of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. That ties a longevity record with another 30-year old female taken during the 2011 firearms season in Tazewell County.

Tuesday 07/29/2014
Botetourt County landowners quilting new quail habitat
Posted: July 29, 2014 - 1:12 pm

The last thing you’d expect to turn up at a quail workshop nowadays in Southwest Virginia is old Bob White himself.

Wednesday 07/23/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Much to see at Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show
Posted: July 23, 2014 - 12:30 am

Go ahead and buy a three-day pass to the Aug. 8-10 Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show in Richmond, because it is going to require a lot of time to take in the huge event.

Tuesday 07/15/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Smith Mountain striper stocking right on target
Posted: July 15, 2014 - 11:46 am

Smith Mountain Lake has been stocked with 300,388 fingerling striped bass. The tiny fish were released at multiple sites on the 20,000-acre lake with help from members of the Smith Mountain Striper Club. Leesville Lake received 80,664 fingerlings.

Wednesday 07/09/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Sportsmen impacted by new laws
Posted: July 09, 2014 - 8:30 pm

Several new laws that impact outdoor sportsmen went into effect July 1. Last week, my Bill Cochran column covered the impact of the most notable one, Sunday hunting. Here are additional new laws:

Wednesday 07/02/2014
Bill Cochran Field Reports: Dove hunters looking down the barrel at a longer season
Posted: July 02, 2014 - 12:15 am

Dove hunters in Virginia are expected to get additional days afield this fall and winter that will result in the longest season in memory.

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