Virginia – Hunting Best in Areas East of I-95

Forecast: The hunting outlook seems to be improving, but still far below good in most areas, reports Marc Puckett of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. “This year we have had good hatching conditions and a mild 2011/12 winter, so expect a better season than those of the last 3 to 5 years.” Virginia quail hunting remains best in areas east of 1-95 and largely on private lands, and Puckett notes mild recovery has started to occur in the middle peninsula area and in the southeastern part of Tidewater.

Two new wildlife management areas, Mattaponi in the middle peninsula area and Big Woods in the southeastern area, should offer some fair to good woodcock and quail hunting. Overlooked wildlife management areas worth quail hunting can be found in the Whiteoak Mountain WMA in Pittsylvania County, and the FeatherFin WMA in Prince Edward/Buckingham/Appomattox County – hunts here by lottery only from November through early January.

Last year, for the first time, Virginia asked hunters to provide information on where quail coveys were being found. Of the 590 coveys found, 58% were found in cut-overs or clear-cuts, indicating the importance of this type of cover, and further illustrating how important it is to continue to manage cut-overs in a wildlife friendly manner – if quail lose cut-overs to increasingly intense timber management, quail will continue to decline. Field borders contained 13% of the coveys found, 11% were found in crop fields, and 7% were found in open pine stands – indicating at least some hunters have adapted to hunting in the thinned woodlands.

Check back for the results of Virginia’s Whistle Count Results and Roadside Survey Results.

Season Dates: November 10, 2012 to January 31, 2013
Daily Bag Limit: 6
Possession Limit: 12
Field Notes: Virginia continues to offer high level technical assistance through its Quail Recovery Program and the wildlife BMP program is offered in key target counties. Federal cost-share programs are available statewide and private lands wildlife biologists are experts at helping landowners through the process.

In the fourth year of implementing the state’s quail recovery initiative, private lands wildlife biologists have visited over 1,200 landowners and helped create or maintain 11,500 acres of habitat. See this link for the state’s "Bobwhite Bulletin."


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