What a great day for the JAKES!

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 2, 2002

Hats off to the Prince George Hunt Club, the Peterson Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Association, the representatives of the Game Department, the Hopewell Moose Lodge and the many others who participated in the annual JAKES Day at the hunt club grounds in Burro-wsville last Saturday.

Henry Jandl of Prince George represented the Virginia Trap-pers Association and gave the youngsters a great presentation on the state’s furbearers. Larry Mikkleson of the Division of Forestry introduced the kids to the values of the states forests.

Bill Hall the state coordinator of the JAKES Program for the National Wild Turkey Federa-tion was there as was Wayne Chadwick of the Dixie Bow-man. Wayne Giordano handled the fishing and casting demonstrations.

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The forty or so children who participated were taught safety in the woods and with firearms. They actually fired shotguns at claybirds and were introduced to muzzleloading rifles. They received instruction on shooting a bow and arrow and casting fishing tackle. Of course they were exposed to turkey hunting and calling.

I thought it would be best for me to see the event through the eyes of a child so I brought my granddaughter, Nichole Bass of Colonial Heights, along. She had a blast as did all of those who participated. Of course, the kids got a kick out of the generous door prizes that were awarded. They ranged from a .410 gauge shotgun to slingshots. There were so many prizes nearly every kid was a winner. When lunch time came and each child discovered that the Hopewell Moose Lodge has prepared a pizza for each of them, they knew that all were winners.

It just happened that last Saturday was National Hunting and Fishing Day, but this event was not billed as a Hunting & Fishing Day observance. In fact, I contacted the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the national coordinator for Hunting and Fishing Day, and could not find one observance of the day that took place in Virginia!

Dutch Gap’s Vultures

Wayne Andrews, the proprietor of the Castaway Sporting Goods Store in Dutch Gap, says there are still loads of black vultures roosting in the vicinity of the Dutch Gap Boat Ramp. Anglers, who park their vehicles at the ramp while they are fishing, risk serious damage to their vehicles from the nasty birds.

Andrews said he fished with one fellow last week and when they returned to the ramp Wayne said his companion’s vehicle suffered about $500 damage from the birds. They tore the rubber gaskets out from around the windows and they even tore the cover off the spare tire. The vehicle was badly scratched from their claws and they messed all over the paint.

There were numerous vultures removed from the area several weeks ago, but the damage continues. Of course, the birds were not always there and the damage to vehicles is a relatively recent event. Although some folks,who are unfamiliar with the area say the birds are attracted by trash left by boaters and fishermen, this is highly unlikely. The birds are probably attracted to the river by fish that frequently die and end up on the banks – particularly alewives. There is also a possibility that there are other attractions along the river, such as landfills or garbage dumps. That’s up to the ornithologists to discover. But, whatever the reason, the birds are not good neighbors and they are impacting heavily on the use on the boat ramp and, probably, on nearby Henricus Citie.

We have two species of vultures locally, black vultures and turkey vultures. The black vultures seem to be more trouble prone. They have been known to kill calves as they are being born and, of course, there is their behavior at Dutch Gap. The larger turkey buzzards are better citizens, but, despite their size, they have been known to be intimidated by the smaller, more aggressive black vultures.

Dying Deer

Bowhunters, scouting in preparation for the forthcoming bow season for deer, are finding dead deer in the woods, particularly along waterways and near lakes and ponds. The deer are dying from hemorrhagic disease, a relatively common disease at this time of the year that affects only deer. It is spread by gnats or midges and will continue until cold weather clears out the insects.

Dead deer have been found generally throughout the state, including the southeastern section. Infected animals have swollen heads, necks, tongues or eyelids. They have difficulty breathing. High temperatures cause them to seek relief in water. There are ulcers and lesions in the mouth. Some deer survive the disease and survivors can often be identified by irregularities in the hooves.

The disease is not restricted to Virginia. North Carolina reports HD in 31 of that state’s 100 counties. The disease has also broken out in eastern Tennessee.

where about 150 dead deer have been reported in several eastern counties.

This disease, HD, is not related to CWD, a disease that has been found in western states. There are no confirmed cases of CWD in Virginia. However, if you encounter a sick or dead deer report it to your local game warden.

Field Notes

A 77 year old Quebec hunter was killed by a bear….In Oregon the Oregonian reports that a hunter wearing all black and wearing a black backpack was mistaken for a bear and killed by another hunter. According to the Detroit News a 3 month old baby was attacked by a &uot;pet&uot; raccoon. The child is in serious condition but will survive. She will require reconstructive surgery… In Idaho the Idaho Statesman reports a man rescued his son from a bear by shooting it with an arrow. The father and son were elk hunting when the 29-year-old son was surprised by the sow bear with cubs. The bear knocked the bow out of the son’s hand and attacked. The man was down and being mauled when his father arrived. The enraged animal charged the father who dropped it with one shot. The son was badly bitten in many places…Some anglers in the Williamsburg area are irate over the closing of Little Creek Reservoir due to low water and the poor launching conditions at Waller Mill Reservoir. They believe Little Creek should be open to small boats and bank fishing and the ramps at both locations should be modified for use in low water conditions….In Michigan the Detroit Free Press reports that the Game Department denies the presence of cougars in that state. Other authorities and some private citizens beg to differ and have some pretty convincing evidence to back their arguments….A new European record catfish was caught in Spain by British angler, Glen Patterson. According to the Daily Record (UK) the 8-foot long monster weighed 14 stone, which is 197 pounds. The previous record, caught in Austria, weighed 185 pounds. The world record for that species of catfish was caught in Kazakhstan. It weighed 202 pounds.

Jack Randolph is a resident of Virginia and a regular columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald.