James Heddon was just killing time one day in the late 19th century, whiling away the hours as he carved on a piece of wood. Taking a break, he tossed it into the swirling waters of Dowagiac Creek. Suddenly a large bass rolled up, grabbed the piece of wood and disappeared into the depths.

Readers always seem to enjoy articles on helping the local deer herd. Some valuable projects you can do include planting food plots, building water sources, planting fruit trees, or creating bedding areas or sanctuaries.

One of the most popular columns we write is a smorgasbord of various short tips on fishing, hunting, and wildlife habitat management. Here are some tactics that hopefully will help you enjoy your trips into the outdoors more, and also catch more fish or bag more game. As we all know, just be…

Catfish are gaining more fans every day as anglers realize they offer their best chance to catch a quarry in freshwater that weighs 20-75 pounds on a consistent basis. Added to the attraction is the fact that Virginia has some of the largest catfish in the entire country, with several record…

Few activities lend themselves to social distancing better than hunting — one person alone in the woods or with companions who are spread more than 6 feet apart from each other. As we think ahead toward fall seasons, here’s a look at some new gear that companies have unveiled for 2020’s hunt…

Most Virginia turkey hunters associate spring gobbler season with mixed farm country and wood lots or vast reaches of national forest land covered with mature hardwood forests. But there’s another kind of wild turkey habitat. And it offers an intriguing opportunity if you want to travel for …

Pieces of ice formed in the guides of the graphite fly rod and my breath exhaled in whorls of white mist as I cast to the dark forms hovering near the bottom of Michigan’s Pere Marquette River. Suddenly, almost imperceptibly, the head of one fish turned slightly. Its white mouth opened. Inst…

Steelhead are a blast to catch any way possible as they surge upstream, fresh from lake or sea on their mating ritual. Cast lures on wild Alaska rivers, drift spawn on New York’s Salmon, back-troll on the mighty Skagit River in the shadows of Mount Baker. But the fact is, taking these large …

Too often people think of habitat projects in terms of large undertakings such as planting food plots or selectively thinning a forest. Actually there are many projects that can be done inexpensively and with just a short amount of work that will benefit wildlife.

Many people associate spring with hunting turkeys, but if you travel to Texas or a few other states you can also hunt exotic big game animals at this time of year. In fact, a turkey-exotic hunt is a favorite combination trip in Texas in spring. Axis deer and blackbuck antelope are the two ma…

Hunkered back against a thick live oak in the Texas Hill Country, I listened mesmerized as dozens of Rio Grande gobblers serenaded the morning. One would call out, and then seconds later a chorus of dozens of other birds would chime in immediately.

For those who want to catch lots of river smallmouths, fishing in summer is definitely best. If you want to catch big smallmouths, now is the time to hit the Shenandoah, James, and other Virginia bronzeback rivers.

Whitetail hunters harvested 206,976 deer during the just completed 2019-20 season. This total is up about 9% from the 190,636 animals taken by hunters the year before, according to Matt Knox, Deer Project Leader for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

The short answer to the question—what should you plant for early season food plots is—white or ladino clover. But how this type of clover came to be widely recognized as the best early deer season food plot seed of all is an interesting story. It traces all the way back to the 1980’s.

Virginia is famous for its largemouth bass fishing and river smallmouth angling. It’s pretty well known for its trout fishing and striper action as well. But some people don’t realize the Old Dominion also offers great panfishing. (Panfish is a general angler’s term for fish such as crappies…

The following are some of the area recreational events that are being held:

Few anglers would pick late winter as a favorite season for trout fishing, with its bleak gray landscape and chilly temperatures. But actually fishing in the Shenandoah Valley in March can be quite good, even though winter often still holds a tight grip on the land.

Few sportsmen just hunt one species. Most enjoy the varied experiences that come from pursuing a number of different quarries, from whitetails to woodcock, squirrels to elk.

Few gamefish can equal the voracious feeding habits of northern pike. For readers planning a trip to a northern U.S. or Canadian fishing lodge, or those who want to take advantage of local waters that hold pike populations, here’s a guide for how to get started on catching this hard-fighting…

You won’t catch as many fish as you do on spring and summer outings, but no time of year offers a better chance for trophy bass than late winter. You could well latch onto the fish of a lifetime now, with February and March being two of the top months of the year for citation-sized (8 pound)…

As hunting seasons wind to a close, it’s a good time to think about new gear that might be useful for next year’s outings here in the Shenandoah Valley or adventures out of state or even out of the country. Here’s a rundown on some of the latest new hunting equipment companies have unveiled …

​​​People who manage their land for deer and other wildlife know the importance of food plots. But there are many other projects you can do to attract whitetails, turkeys, rabbits and other wild animals to your property. Putting in a variety of shrubs provides high quality food and also cove…

Most sportsmen scout for deer in the summer or early fall, shortly before seasons open. Some of the best hunters, however, do the bulk of their scouting from late winter through early spring.

In the T.S. Elliott poem “The Wasteland,” April is called the cruelest month. For outdoorsmen, though, January may well be the hardest one to endure. Deer hunting seasons have ended. Spring gobbler season is months away and waterfowl have become wary from long months of hunting pressure.

​So far in this off-and-on series, we’ve looked at stripers and walleyes as gamefish that offer great fishing during winter. No fish, however, can top the chain pickerel for January and February outings. I’ve enjoyed excellent pickerel fishing on the ponds on A.P. Hill Military Reservation. …

No other form of angling has captured the hearts of newcomers to the sport more than fly fishing. Young and old, women and men, all people with an interest in the outdoors are being drawn in to this graceful, absorbing pastime.

Hunting scrapes was a productive tactic for whitetails before peak rut came in during mid-November. But during the actual major breeding period, watching these pawed out areas on the ground in most cases proved to be a waste of time.

After a few successful goes at it, I was pretty much done with the most arduous of Eastern upland hunts: ruffed grouse and American woodcock. But like a sailor to a Siren’s song, it keeps luring me back in.

While hunting seasons are still going strong, many sportsmen look forward to the fishing shows that take place in mid-winter. Two of the major events anglers may want to attend in early January are the Richmond Fishing Expo and the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival.

Virginia is famous for its smallmouth bass, largemouth, trout, bluegill, catfish and crappie angling opportunities. But not as many realize there is high-quality fishing available for a fish affectionately called “marble eyes” by its admirers, otherwise known as the walleye.

Many hunters love the idea of still hunting--slowly sneaking along looking for a legal deer. When the weather’s cold it’s nice to be up and moving around getting the blood flowing in extremities. This is particularly the case if the season is winding down and you haven’t been seeing much fro…

Most sportsmen consider winter a time for hunting or attending outdoor shows. Certainly that’s the case now with deer season in full swing. If the thought of fishing comes up, it’s about cleaning and organizing gear or perhaps tying flies.

Maybe you don’t need any new gear for this fall and winter’s hunting seasons. But it’s still fun to follow what’s being offered by top manufacturers in the hunting and outdoor fields. Here’s a look at some of the newest and best offerings.

A popular legend has it that a wise fishing philosopher once warned the uninitiated angler: The first time you fish for musky it’s for fun; the next time you fish for musky it’s for revenge.

As a change of pace from our usual column focusing on a single subject, here’s a collection of tips for a wide variety of species that might help your hunting success during upcoming seasons. Just about every species hunted in Virginia is either in season now or will be soon.