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The Westmoreland Journal
King George, Virginia
May 18, 2016     The Westmoreland Journal
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May 18, 2016

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6 Wednesday, May 18, 2016 THE JOURNAL MARK FIKE alized doe seasons, and coyotes (and in Virginia' http://www.dgif.virginia. don't forget about the acorn failure gov/wildlife/deer/keeping-deer-wild/. Over the past few years I have en- the past few years!) managing the deer gaged in conversation with more than herd has gotten really challenging. a few people who were not pleased Some would say that we need to cut with the number of deer in our area. back on doe days. That ,may happen. .Some want them all gone, others want As one wildlife professional explained more deer and most of us fall some- to me, "These variables that impacted Mark and Missy Fike where in between. As part of my job the deer heard in the Northern Neck Fishing in the river is good when I speak to deer biologists all over the and surrounding area the past few the water level is not too high. Turkey state and in other states and am privy years are a perfect storm of sorts." season ended this past Saturday. For to some of the challenges those guys Biologists are still trying to figure some it was a tough season with all the face. out how much of an impact coyotes rain and fewer reports of gobbling go- Over the past five or six years the lo- are having on the deer. There are plen- ing on. Perhaps the coyotes are teach- cal deer herd has taken a pretty good ty of stories out there about a single ing the turkey not to be as vocal. hit and overall numbers are down a coyote taking out dbzens of fawns in a P,~PPAHANNOCK RIVER bit. Perhaps considering the growing month. It is hard to believe that every Kerfs Tackle in Spotsylvania (540- urbanization of our local area and the coyote or even half of the coyotes out 898-1011) reported that fishing was numbers of subdivisions being built, there are doing that but surely they are good for shad still. That is amazing this may not be a horrible thing. Deer eating some fawns, to hear that the shad are still hitting thrive quite well in suburban environ- Although we will never wipe out strong. The best baits are pink headed ments and feed quite readily on land- the coyotes, it would not be a bad jigs with white or chartreuse grub~ scaping projects. Given the noticeable idea to thin their numbers. The best on them. Crappie were hitting in the increase in traffic in the King George time to do that with respect to helping river very well. Try minnows at the area, having fewer deer is probably your local deer population is between creek mouths, around logs and in the also reducing vehicle collisions and March and June or July. Late winter creeks. Plenty of rockfish are hitting accidents too, particularly in the fall is when coyotes will breed. Late May in the river too. Many are catching the when the deer breed. Many farmers and .June is when fawns drop and by rock while fishing for shad. Catfish and insurance companies likely won't July the fawns are still pretty small are biting furiously according to Kerfs. be shedding a lot of tears over fewer and can be caught easily by a coyote. Most any bait will work. deer. However, hunters, particularly Coyote season is open year-round and POTOMAC RIVER those that use the venison as a low-fat they can be called in. The bass fishing is centered solely source of protein to feed their fami- Speaking of fawns, now is the time on the grass now. Jig and pigs, Scum lies, and those that enjoy seeing the of year when they will be seen in fields, Frogs and other weedless lures are the deer along the roads, certainly don't backyards and along the road. They best bet. Fish a moving tide. An out- want the pendulum to swing too far are not alone! Unless their mother going tide is good along the edges of the other way. was hit in the road, she is likely nearby the grass. High tide the fish are scat- The Virginia Department of Game feeding. The mother deer does not and Inland Fisheries has a tough job want to lure coyotes to the little ones tered but can be found prowling the backs of the grass mats. You might managing the deer population in so she Stays away until it is feeding hook a snakehead in the process. areas where the land is fragmented time. They get fed a few times a day. PONDS and continuous open space is not the Fawns don't have much of a scent, The norm. Urbanization and fragmen- same cannot be said for the mothers. Pond fishing was a bit slower from tation of land creates a lot of "deer Therefore, do not keep or catch any what we heard. However, topwater ac- refuges', because not everyone wants fawns. Your actions are illegal and will tion for largemouth is killer in the lily hunters on their property, and some likely result in the fawn dying. The pads now. Use a weedless lure and cast properties are just too small to hunt mother might take the fawn back if back in the pads. Hope the lures from on anyway. Deer refuges create areas not much time has elapsed but she pad leaf to pad leaf and hang on. Some where localized herd numbers can may abandon it as well. crappie are hitting minnows. Look for skyrocket and what we Call cultural Some people want to bottle-feed bream to be in the shallows spawning. carrying capacity -- the number of fawns. Cow milk will give fawns di- Lake Anna anglers are using Mc- deer people wilt tolerate -- can be arrhea and lead to dehydration and Cotters Lake Anna Guide Service and rapidly exceeded. Areas that are large death, catching striped bass and wipers (hy- parcels of forest, fields and marsh can Even in the hands of a wildlife reha- brids -- white and striped bass cross) be' maffaged more effectively because, bilitator, the fawns usually have only on a consistent basis. there are no" real "refuges" for thedeer a 50-50'chance tO make it. If they do Other anglers report decent- jerk-- and hunting pressure can be exerted survive, then they must be released in bait action for bass at the lake. to help control their numbers, areas where there are high deer popu- SALTWATER King George and the surrounding lations so the young deer can learn On the saltwater scene, things are areas have been hit hard with hem- from other deer. The bottom line is finally picking up. The striped bass orrhagic disease several times in the that people should not try to take in bite is hit or miss. Most of the larger past six years. One of those outbreaks wild animals, fish are exiting the lower rivers and reportedly wiped out a full third of At this time of year there are a lot even the bay now and the smaller our deer herd. Typically, during a of young animals out there to include fish are still around. Flounder action "normal" outbreak of HD, the deer fawns, along the lower bay and Eastern Shore herd can recover in two years. The Leave them alone and keep them is picking up. HD outbreaks don't normally take a wild. The croaker and spot bite around third of our herd though! Having a More information can be obtained Virginia Beach picked up and there second outbreak within four years did on the VDGIF website: http://www, are even a few whiting being caught. set the herd back more, and then we We heard of puppy drum in have seen a noticeable uptick in coy- Among the useful resources is a bro- Lynnhaven River now and still some ate numbers too. Between HD, liber- .chure entitled 'Keeping Deer Wild big bluefish in the area too: I Are you new or fairly new to King George? •,, lfso, we'd love to get to know you! ......... Meet some of our marvelous communityservice providers and learn about the vast amenities that King George has to offer! 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