Fishing is still in full swing across Virginia, but as fall approaches, many Shenandoah Valley sportsmen and women start thinking more and more about hunting. As a change of pace from our usual column focused on one subject, here’s a collection of tips covering a wide variety of species that might help on your future hunts.

Doves: Hunters tend to choose a dove stand location and stay there all day. That’s fine if the birds cooperate. If you find they aren’t flying by that spot, however, don’t hesitate to move every hour or two to areas where you see birds flying. This also keeps the doves unsure about where the shots are coming from.

Woodcock: Normally the best woodcock hunting is found around marshy stream bottoms and spring seeps.

After periods with heavy rains, however, hillsides and elevated benches just a short way above the creek can hold just as many birds.

Deer: Try a staggered two-man still hunt. Have one hunter work slowly through cover with the wind blowing crossways while a second hunter works 75 to 150 yards downwind and slightly behind. The first hunter may jump a buck and get a shot, or the deer may circle back downwind, offering the trailing hunter a chance.

Ducks: Decide whether ducks are worth calling by how they are flying. Birds that are high up, flying fast and in a straight line know where they are going and aren’t likely to come to your calls. Lower birds, however, that look more wavering or indecisive in their flight can often be lured in with a good decoy spread and skillful calling.

Deer: Grunt calls are great for luring in deer or making them pause for a good shot. But be careful you don’t use them too aggressively and spook the quarry. Start out with soft, quiet calls in case there is a buck nearby that you can’t see. After a few quiet calls, increase the volume to attract animals farther away.

Turkeys: If you bust up a flock of turkeys in the fall but misplaced your calls, try whistling at a high pitch three to five times, like you were calling a dog. Young birds are particularly susceptible to this “kee-kee” call, which they make to regroup with each other when separated.

Fitness: If you are planning a major hunt out West, start an exercise program at least a month ahead of time. This allows your body to get in shape and makes it easier to cope with long days of hiking and climbing required on most hunts in the West.

Deer: Let the weather dictate your hunting strategy. If it’s dry and the leaves are crackly underfoot, take a stand. If a light mist or snow is falling, still hunt or walk slowly through the woods searching for your quarry. If a major storm has blown in, put on drives — deer will be hunkered down in their beds, and you’ll need to push them out.

Rabbits: Avoid open areas when going after rabbits. The thicker the cover is, the better your chances of jumping this quarry. Search for brier patches, clusters of brush, abandoned farm machinery overgrown with weeds, deadfalls wrapped in grapevines, and honeysuckle-covered fences.

Ducks: When you first spot ducks far off, use the highball or hail call — loud, high-pitched rapid quacks. This gets the ducks’ attention and turns them toward you. Once they spot the spread of decoys, scale back to softer, contented hen sounds.

Still hunting: When still-hunting deer, elk, bears, or other big game, make sure to plan your route so the sun is behind you as much as possible. Game will show up better with the sun shining on it, and animals won’t be able to see you as clearly looking into the glare of the sunlight.

Woodcock: When you flush a woodcock, don’t fire your gun as the bird is rising. An easier shot will come if you wait until the timberdoodle levels off and starts to fly horizontally. At the point where it changes direction, it will be virtually motionless.

Ducks: Try to plan your float hunts for ducks from mid-morning through mid-afternoon. The birds will have done most of their flying for the day and be resting near islands or behind logjams before heading out in the evening to feed in fields.

Award-winning outdoors writer Gerald Almy is a Maurertown resident