Many hunters believe once you spook or frighten a buck you’ll never get a chance for it again. Frankly, on a crowded public area, that may be the case. But in most situations, you shouldn’t be so quick to write off a buck you bump just once. Handle things right and you may get a second chance.

The whitetail deer loped along stiffly, pained with arthritis. His belly sagged and there was loose skin around his face and neck. The legs looked short because his body was so thick and deep.

This is a season many sportsmen and women devote to hunting, but fall and winter is also a great time to focus on improving your fishing skills. You can do that through books and online lessons, but Shenandoah Valley residents are also lucky to have hands-on fly-fishing lessons available rig…

Probably the toughest question faced on early-season deer hunts is where to set up. If you’ve patterned a nice buck where you hunt and know exactly where to sit, you’re in good shape. But if you’re like most of us, still figuring things out and mulling over this decision, here are five poten…

Last week we looked at six steps to take if you want to create a food plot specifically to attract mature bucks as well as does and younger males. Here are a few more projects to add to your “to do” list to build the ultimate food plot.

Just throwing out some wheat or oats and calling it a food plot is not enough to draw in bucks. If you want to create a food plot that provides nutrition to deer and draws mature bucks out during shooting hours, you need to think a lot about things that surround the plot, what goes in the pl…

In the Shenandoah Valley, it would be hard to find a hunter or fisherman who has not owned a few Buck knives over their lifetime. Many local sportsmen have 110 Folding Hunters purchased decades ago that they still cherish. But this isn’t a local phenomenon. The knives are used by outdoorsmen…

Many people think you need expensive equipment to improve the habitat for wildlife. Nothing could be further from the truth. It doesn’t take a lot of land, either. If you own or know someone who owns a few acres, it just takes a few common tools and some hard work to create stunning improvem…

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…

Last week’s column looked at some of the reasons why fishing straight under your boat can often be the best tactic for catching gamefish in both mid-summer and winter. Here are a few more details on this very productive tactic on waters Shenandoah Valley anglers frequent such as lakes Anna, …

When you first see a person using the vertical jigging fishing technique, it always looks a little peculiar. Hunched in the bow of a boat, moving just their forearms, the anglers do not cast. They do not reel. They simply twitch their rod tips up and down—rhythmically, hypnotically.

If you are thinking about growing a summer food plot, it’s hard to beat lablab, cowpeas, or soybeans. But if you’re looking for something fresh and exciting to offer whitetail deer and other game, you might want to take a look at sunn hemp. While this forage is fairly new to the world of wil…

Visit hunting camps these days and you’ll see all kinds of optics from high-end German scopes to cheap discount models. But in the Shenandoah Valley, the scopes you probably see most often are those made by Leupold, an American company based in Oregon. Some are battered and nicked, but they …

There are many ways to improve the habitat for wildlife. One that’s particularly useful for open fields and meadows in the Shenandoah Valley is to plant native warm season grasses. These plants grow six to eight feet tall, require little maintenance and offer great cover for song birds, game…

It would be hard to think of a better location for catching bass on a fly rod than farm ponds, small natural lakes and creeks backed up by beaver dams. The reason these waters are so appealing is that much of the water is shallow to medium in depth. That makes it perfect for fly fishing. And…

Picture yourself hiking along a trail towards a distant gobbler or sneaking along a trout stream and suddenly coming face-to-face with a large black bear. He rears up on his hind legs, opens its huge mouth showing a sharp set of teeth, and lets out a loud roar.

Sneaking cautiously to the water’s edge, the angler delivers a tiny fly to a small dimple in the stream. As the offering disappears, he leans back and sets the hook on a scrappy brown trout. Moments later, he releases the fish unharmed. The orange-spotted trout had been planted as a fingerli…

One of the most crucial needs for bucks over the age of 2 is a safe area where they can rest and feel secure. If they don’t have one on or near the land you hunt, odds are they will find one somewhere else when the hunting pressure builds.

Imagine a perfect spring turkey hunting day and it would feature vivid blue skies, crisp air but not too cold, a hint of wind to keep the bugs at bay, and not a cloud in sight. Reality is rarely so kind. Instead, a more common spring turkey hunting scenario might feature rain, sleet, fog, li…

A vivid orange sun rose above Fredericksburg as I eased into the cold, clear waters of the Rappahannock River. The air was chilly, but a thick sweater and neoprene chest waders kept me warm as I carefully eased out toward the head of a favorite pool.

In April, one of the hardest questions anglers must answer is what species to go after. This is a prime time for many gamefish, from bass to bluegills, catfish to trout. One of my favorite quarries, though, for spring outings is the crappie.

Virginia whitetail deer hunters in 2020 enjoyed a season very similar to the previous year, according to Matt Knox, Deer Project Leader for the Department of Wildlife Resources. “Harvest numbers were nearly identical to last fall and would have probably been slightly higher if not for severa…

With fishing season swinging in, it’s good to take an inventory of your tackle and see what items need replacing, cleaning or repairing. Often, steps you take now will keep you from not having the right lure for a certain situation or having gear that fails when a big fish strikes. Tackle ca…