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The vast majority of outdoorsmen do their scouting for deer in the summer or perhaps early fall. Many successful hunters, however, do it differently. They do most of their scouting from late winter through early spring.

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Most gamefish can be tough to catch in winter. One species that actually bites best in January and February, however, is the chain pickerel. I’ve enjoyed excellent pickerel fishing on the ponds on A.P. Hill Military Reservation that are open to the public. The tidal rivers east of I-95 are a…

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By the time January rolls around, ducks want nothing more than a quiet, secluded spot to hide out on. Small, neglected potholes and ponds are magnets for these late season birds, and that makes them great hunting spots for sportsmen who take the time to research and locate these gems.

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From late December through mid-February is one of the best times of year for pursuing ruffed grouse. This challenging gamebird entices upland hunters to the woods no matter how cold the air and how deep the snow, with open season lasting through Feb. 11, 2023.

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Last week we looked at some of the reasons to book with an outfitter for at least your first hunt in a western state. After you have some experience, you may want to tackle the whole expedition from license applications to on-site logistics to equipment and care of meat.

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There are probably very few Shenandoah Valley sportsmen and women who haven’t dreamed of a trip out west to pursue big game animals like mule deer, elk, antelope and moose. But taking such a long-distance, multi-day trip requires lots of planning, even if you book a guide.

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Most sportsmen in the Shenandoah Valley are busy hunting these days. But fall and winter is also a good time to improve your fishing skills. Maybe you like spin fishing most of the time or using baitcast gear, but chances are you’ve thought about taking up fly fishing. It’s a great way to ca…

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A few weeks ago we looked at some of the top walleye fishing waters in the state. In this column we’ll examine a few more spots to try, but first a bit of background on the biology of this fish might be helpful.

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Easing the .30-06 up to my shoulder, I settled the crosshairs on the buck’s chest, exhaled partially and squeezed off. With that trigger-pull I had just harvested my second buck on a two-day hunt with legendary deer hunter and Realtree Camouflage founder Bill Jordan.

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Deer hunting will reach a peak in the next two weeks. The rut comes in during the second week of November in the Shenandoah Valley and lasts for most of the month. Here is one way to up your odds of harvesting a buck as the breeding ritual swings into full gear — locate rut chasing grounds.

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October is the month when frosts first arrive in the Shenandoah Valley. For many of us, that happened last week. If you are a deer hunter, it’s important to be aware of the changes the first frosts of autumn have on whitetail feeding habits. Foods that drew deer consistently in early October…

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For the whitetail deer hunter, finding a spot where acorns are dropping from oak trees and the leaves are littered with hoof prints is a welcome sight. This makes a very productive stand site in October or early November. But the fact is acorn abundance varies and can be light or even nonexi…

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For sheer fishing fun and frenetic action on the water, it’s hard to top an outing for bluegills. Making this fish especially appealing is the fact that they can be caught with all three major types of angling Shenandoah Valley anglers use — live bait fishing, casting lures and fly fishing.

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There aren’t many gamefish can you count on to cooperate almost every time you try to catch them. But there is one. That fish is the humble bluegill. On a recent outing my angling partner and I caught over 50 fish. And we only put in half a day’s effort. That’s not unusual for bluegills and …

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Food plotters know that every forage has an optimum time for planting. For brassicas, September is the time to get these plants in the ground in the Shenandoah Valley, though an early October date would also work if you don’t have the time to plant right now.

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One of the most popular columns we write is when we discuss the best types of seeds and plants for food plots. Everyone even with just a backyard can get involved to a smaller or greater degree with this hobby. And deer aren’t the only animals to benefit. Songbirds, small game, turkeys, bear…

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It may seem like hunting seasons are a long ways off, but one game species popular among Shenandoah Valley sportsmen opens in just a few days: mourning doves. This year hunting begins on Saturday at noon.

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After a two-hour drive, I arrived at Lake Anna at the crack of dawn. Waiting for me there was guide Bill Mathias, who I’d fished with many times in the past. Within minutes we were roaring up the lake and easing onto a shallow flat near a main-lake point.

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This week and next we’ll look at how another famous outdoor gear company got started. Previously we’ve delved into the birth of Filson, Buck Knives and Leopold Optics.

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Virginia and Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay is famous for its healthy populations of many exciting gamefish — red drum, black drum, cobia and striped bass to name a few. But one of the most appealing species to many anglers is the humble flounder.

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In recent weeks we’ve looked at how to catch a variety of gamefish on fly tackle. Here are three more species that can provide exciting fly-fishing action. It doesn’t cost much to get started in this sport, and you can learn how to cast, tie knots, and read the water at classes local expert …

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In this week’s column we’ll look at a number of gamefish besides trout that are great quarries for the fly fisherman. Last week we covered stripers, crappies, walleyes and pickerel. Here are a few other species that can easily be caught on flies, along with the best patterns and retrieves to use.

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Bring up the subject of fly fishing and most people picture images of clear mountain streams and vest-clad anglers casting delicate flies to mayfly-sipping trout. But the world of fly fishing has expanded dramatically in recent years. Now anglers use this classic form of fishing to challenge…

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Fishermen in Virginia can enjoy quality angling for many types of gamefish, from trout to largemouth bass, stripers to catfish. But some of the most exciting fishing the state offers is for crappies. If you want to explore these opportunities for this tasty panfish, here’s a rundown on some …