For longer than most of us have lived, the Virginia Big Game Trophy Show has scored the trophies of hunters and entered the best in the state record book.
It is time to start thinking about the 74th edition of the show, which is planned for September. Buddy Faison, one of the long-time workhorses of the event, has posted the details on the Virginia Peninsula Sportsmen's Association Web site, www.VPSA.org.
The show, believed to be the oldest of its kind in the nation, consists of an eastern division in Franklin and a western division in Harrisonburg. The state final annually alternates between the two sites. This year, the state show will be held in Franklin.
It takes a huge amount of work on the part of volunteers along with staff members from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to pull this off. The sponsor in the east is the VPSA and in the west the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America. DGIF also lends a hand.
The western show is set for Sept 14 and 15 at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds in Harrisonburg. This show will judge trophies killed west of the Blue Ridge Mountains last season. If you need a local contact, the man is Jon Ritenour, 540-434-8028.
The eastern show will be held Sept. 28 and 29 at the Southampton County Fairgrounds in Franklin. The local contact is Kenneth Pickin, 804-633-0275. This also is the site of the state show, which will judge the best entries from the west and east. This is the only pathway to the state record book. Scoring of deer will be done according to the Virginia system, which predates the national Boone & Crockett system.
Look for information on how to enter a trophy, directions to the show, show hours and awards presentations on www.VPSA.org.
Changes made in hunter education program
Changes have been made to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries hunter-education program, including three online options that offer new hunters the chance to study materials prior to class and examination. This will shorten live classroom time.
Subjects receiving the greatest attention are gun handling safety, tree stand safety and ethics.
Hunting and boating education is being moved from the Conservation Police Officers enforcement division to a new Recreational Safety Unit operated under the agency's Outreach Division. This is expected to free up the officers for field work; even so, they will remain active in safety efforts, Bob Duncan, DGIF executive director, told hunter education instructors in a recent letter.
Switching safety efforts from CPO actually is a return to the past. Before the enforcement department took it over, safety was under the Information and Education Division.
The changes, said Duncan, "Take into account the way people prefer to learn today and allow us to best employ our limited resources." It in no way diminishes the agency's support of hunter education.
- Janet Hong of Chesapeake is the first woman to win Virginia's annual duck stamp competition. Her pair of drake hooded mergansers grace the 2013 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Conservation Stamp which went on sale July 1. Required of waterfowl hunters, the $10 stamp collected nearly $225,000 last season, money used to help fund waterfowl projects and habitat. The stamp is available from hunting and fishing license agents or online at www.HuntFishVA.com
- This is the time of year to target big cobia along the inshore waters of Virginia's Coast. Matthew Small of Chesapeake did just that, landing a 72-pounder that is the new leader for the category in the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament. It was the only change in the leader board this past week. At the contest's half-way point, the citation count is down more than 700 from the same time period last year.
- The Duck Commander gang keeps on adding to its empire. The latest word is that Mossburg & Sons, America's oldest family owned/operated firearm manufacture, has entered a long-term agreement with the Robertson family and its hugely popular Duck Commander franchise. The Robertson name will appear on some firearms. Also, Pro Line Manufacturing Co, a boot maker, has signed with the Robertson's and will offer a new line of boots in eight styles.
Events, seasons, dates
- Smith River Trout Unlimited Chapter stream clean up, July 20, from Philpott Dam to Town Creek, get work assignment 8:30 a.m. on Franklin County side of the dam accessed by Riverbrook Road (Virginia 727), work followed by cookout and fishing, information from Shane Pinkston, 276-732-5090 or Al Kittredge, 910-624-3457.
- Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show, Aug. 9-11, Richmond Raceway Complex, sponsored by the Virginia Deer Hunters Association, www.sportsmanshow.com
- Roanoke Chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation banquet, Aug. 16, Valley View Holiday Inn, tickets from Billy Hall, email@example.com, Jim Basham, 540-521-8274 or at Sportsman's Warehouse in Roanoke.
- Triangle Archers 3D tournament, August 18, on club range between Christiansburg and Blacksburg, $12, $25 per family, cub and pee wee $6, information from Jim Overfelt, 540-552-8023.
- Friends of NRA Banquet, Aug. 24, Salem Civic Center, doors open 5:30 p.m., 25 firearms up for grabs, tickets $45 for a single, $80 for a couple, $35 for youth, information and ticket available from Mike Kessler, 540-529-7304, and Al Milton, 540-797-7777.
- Hunters for the Hungry banquet, Sept. 14, Moose Lodge on Virginia 311 in Roanoke County, tickets $25 for a single; $40 for a couple, tickets and information from Ralph and Lois Graybill, 540-427-5125, and John and Wanda Reed, 540-427-4788.
- Western Region Big Game Show, Sept. 14 and 15, Rockingham County Fairgrounds, Harrisonburg, this is the show that measures for the Virginia record book deer, bear and turkey killed the past season. Awards ceremony 3 p.m. Sept. 15. Information from Jon Ritenour, 540-434-8028 or check www.VPSA,org. State Championship Sept. 28 & 29 (see below).
- Jakes event sponsored by Botetourt County Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Sept. 21, registration at noon, activities 1 to 6 p.m., seven rotating stations set up to teach youngsters about turkey hunting, no charge, but for $10 you can become a member of the NWTF Jakes program, door prizes, information from Richard Pauley, 540-992-1883 or Pauleyr@nationwide.com. Earlier this year, the Botetourt chapter won the NWTF's top award for its Jakes program.
- Triangle Archers 3D tournament, Sept. 22, on club range between Christiansburg and Blacksburg, $12, $25 per family, cub and pee wee $6, information from Jim Overfelt, 540-552-8023.
- Eastern Regional Championship and State Championship Virginia Big Game Show, Sept. 28 & 29, Southampton County Fairground, Franklin, information from www.VPSA.org or Kenneth Pickin, 804-633-0275.