Outdoors

Gerald Almy: Duck numbers near 50 million

w/ Gerald Almy column

August 3, 2015

Duck numbers across North America remain at high levels, according to surveys conducted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife and Canadian Wildlife services. This year’s surveys showed an estimated population of 49.5 million birds, up from 49.2 million the previous year.

Gerald Almy: Outdoor sportsman show coming up

w/ Gerald Almy column

July 27, 2015

When you think of outdoor sports shows, most people think of late winter events with snow on the ground, ice-covered ponds, and freezing temperatures. That’s definitely a great time to hold such events, since there’s very little to do outside and most hunting seasons are closed then.

Gerald Almy: Ban on deer urine scents in effect

w/ Gerald Almy column

July 13, 2015

To reduce the chance of spreading Chronic Wasting Disease, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has banned the use of urine-based deer scents in the state by hunters. Effective July 1, 2015, Virginia hunters may not “possess or use deer scents or lures that contain natural deer urine or other bodily fluids while taking, attempting to take, attracting, or scouting wildlife.”

Gerald Almy: Prime time for Brassicas

w/ Gerald Almy column

July 6, 2015

Every type of plant used for food plots has an optimum season for growing. In the case of brassicas, that season is now. From July through September is the time to get these plants in the ground. Brassicas include plants such as kale, turnips, rape, radishes and others. They have become extremely popular among food plot managers because they are easy to grow, provide tremendous amounts of protein and are fed on well by deer. Protein levels can exceed 30 percent in many cases.

Gerald Almy: Float fishing a balm for senses

w/ Gerald Almy column

June 29, 2015

Daybreak slips in softly when you’re camped at river’s edge in the shadows of a tree-cloaked mountain. By the time sunlight sneaks in and illuminates the scene, eggs will be frying, coffee brewing and toast browning in a skillet laced with sweet country butter.

Gerald Almy: Fishing heats up on lakes, rivers

w/ Gerald Almy column

June 22, 2015

If you like fishing, it would be hard to find a better time to hit the lakes and rivers than right now. Waters have warmed into ranges that have fish feeding actively, but not hot enough that they have gone into the “summer doldrums.” Here’s a rundown on some of the best fishing opportunities in waters that are popular with Shenandoah Valley sportsmen and women.

Gerald Almy: Flounder treat for anglers

w/ Gerald Almy column

June 15, 2015

A sharp tap telegraphed up the thin graphite rod, then another. Was it a crab nibbling on my bait? Those pesky bottom-feeding crustaceans had annoyed me before. But this time I sensed something was different. There was a heavy “alive” feeling on the line that seemed a bit more serious that an annoying crab.

Gerald Almy: Crankbaits ideal for fishing in shallows

w/ Gerald Almy column

June 8, 2015

When bass, pike and walleye venture into thigh-deep water, many anglers turn to topwater plugs. While these can be effective and are exciting to use, sometimes skinny-water fish just won’t surface feed.

Gerald Almy: Sunn hemp a new food plot option

w/ Gerald Almy column

June 1, 2015

For summer food plots for wildlife, you can’t go wrong with soybeans. And what the deer don’t eat, you can sell as a valuable cash agricultural crop when the beans ripen.

Gerald Almy: Mouse flies can trigger big strike

w/ Gerald Almy column

May 26, 2015

Cats aren’t the only predators who like to prey on mice. Bass, pike and trout will also gladly attack and wolf down these furry little rodents. And even though they are terrestrial creatures by nature, mice often stumble into lakes, ponds and rivers.

Gerald Almy: New gear ideal for hunting in fall

w/ Gerald Almy column

May 18, 2015

In a winter column we reviewed a few of the new items being unveiled for hunters this fall. But that only included a small portion of the many products released at this year’s S.H.O.T. Show (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show), held in Las Vegas in January.

Gerald Almy: Best seeds to plant for summer food plots

w/ Gerald Almy column

May 11, 2015

Clover and alfalfa fields have given whitetail deer, bears, turkey, rabbits, and geese lots of good forage to munch on during March and April. But now that May is here it’s time to plant foods that will thrive in high temperatures with minimal moisture. After all, that’s generally the type of weather our summers here in the Shenandoah Valley dish out.

Gerald Almy: Classic lures still produce

w/ Gerald Almy column

May 4, 2015

When most anglers choose fishing lures today, they look for the most technologically advanced, modern offerings they can find. But sometimes it pays to consider some of the time-tested, older lures still available in tackle shops when heading out for a day on the water. Here’s a look at two classic lures that still deserve a spot in your tackle box and the stories of how they were invented.

Gerald Almy: Bolder tactics pay off for toms

w/ Gerald Almy column

April 27, 2015

When seeking out early-season turkeys, I’m a firm believer in the subtle, low-key approach to calling. But when a few weeks go by and you still haven’t lured in a tom with soft calling, it may be time to shake things up a bit and get bolder.

Gerald Almy: Mineral licks help herd’s health

w/ Gerald Almy column

April 20, 2015

Deer seasons won’t open for nearly six months, but there are lots of habitat alterations you can make that will improve the health of the whitetail herd in your area. Some projects you can do include planting edges between woods and fields with shrubs, fertilizing native wildlife foods to boost their production, creating small ponds to collect water during dry spells and putting in food plots.

Gerald Almy: Fall turkey harvest drops

w/ Gerald Almy column

April 13, 2015

Hunters in Virginia certainly experienced a mixed bag last year. The deer harvested dropped dramatically, falling some 22 percent. But the black bear kill set a new record. The 2014 fall turkey harvest continued that mixed picture with a harvest that fell 44 percent from the 2013 season.

Peter Brookes: High on pheasants

Peter Brookes

April 8, 2015

She gave me a skeptical up and down look and proclaimed, “Not too shabby, but you look a lot more like ‘Downtown’ Abbey than ‘Downton’ Abbey,” referring to the popular British series that recently concluded its fifth season on PBS.