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Except as noted, all text and images are by Ken Perrotte (Outdoors Rambler (SM). Some items, written by Ken Perrotte and previously published elsewhere, are revised or excerpted under provisions of the Fair Use Doctrine


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Virginia's Hunters Restricted from Millions of Acres of Public Land -- Even Their Own!

Note: This is a slightly expanded version of a column that ran Oct. 25 in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. Another autumn is upon us and once again deer hunters anticipate taking to the Virginia woods. A few years ago, Virginia hunters were finally granted relief from the archaic blue law prohibiting hunting on Sunday -- at least when it came to hunting private lands with landowner permission. Accessing Virginia’s vast public lands on Sundays is another story. Hunters are still persona non grata. Prohibido. Verboten. Haramu. You know: Keep Out! Let’s tally up what this means in terms of diminished access. First, the Virginia Department of Forestry manages 24 state forests covering 68,626

Skillet-Fired Dove and Not-So-Dirty Rice! A Match Made in Wingshooting Heaven

If you were fortunate enough to get in some autumn dove hunts last year and even more fortunate to have a few dove breasts still in your freezer, this is a good dish to work into your late fall or early winter culinary repertoire. Dove breasts are often wrapped in bacon and grilled on the bone. This preparation, though, has you separate the breast meat from the bone, making it more of a fork and knife meal easily served to family and friends. The recipe can be scaled proportionately. Giblet gravy or stuffing is common fare when it comes to dishes involving other birds. A few years ago we experienced a dove hunt where the pickers reserved the birds’ small hearts. The hearts were brined for a

Don't Miss St. Augustine's Historic Forts, Well-Preserved Reminders of Colonial Past

Founded in 1565 by Spain as a military outpost, St. Augustine, Florida, is one of America’s most historic cities. For military history enthusiasts, no visit to this incredible destination is complete without stops at two historic forts: Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas. Both France and England sparred with Spain over control of Florida. In 1564, not far from where Fort Matanzas was erected on the coastal inlet leading to St. Augustine, Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles captured and slaughtered nearly 250 French soldiers marooned there by a storm. From that time forward, the inlet and its river was named Matanzas, Spanish for “slaughters. Fast forward nearly 200 years. South Carolina’s

Bikers, Hikers, Anglers & Bluegrass Fans Find Lots to Love with Smyth County, VA

Bikers and mountain enthusiasts discover incredible adventures when they trek Virginia Route 16, a two-lane road snaking over three mountains between Tazewell and Marion, Virginia. The road is nicknamed the “Back of the Dragon.” It’s a twisting 31-mile stretch of asphalt with more than its share of hairpin turns and hair-raising heights. Base your trip out of Marion. The historic General Francis Marion Hotel offers good discounts to bikers. It’s next door to the equally historic Lincoln Theater, home to the PBS-syndicated “Song of the Mountains” bluegrass show. This theater is oozing with charm, built in the 1920s as one of the then extremely popular Art Deco "Mayan Revival" themed venues. S

Virginia Among States Stepping Up Efforts to Contain & Prevent Chronic Wasting Disease

Note: This article appeared in Ken Perrotte's newspaper column in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star (www.fredericksburg.com). Chronic wasting Disease is an insidious killer. Unchecked, it would eradicate the crown jewel of big game hunting, especially in the Eastern United States. Besides the indiscriminate killing of deer and other cervid species, CWD can dramatically impact the value of land, primarily held for hunting and recreation uses, and efforts to contain or stop it consume precious resources of state wildlife agencies, resources that could be otherwise spent on management and habitat work. Virginia is readying an outreach campaign related to Chronic Wasting Disease this fall. Acco

Capture the Moment: FLIR Thermal Image and Video Preserves Hunting Adventures

There was a time when “shot in the dark” was a metaphor for something apt to be wildly inaccurate. Today, with a FLIR ThermoSight® Pro thermal scope mounted on a favored hunting rifle, a shot in the dark can translate directly to “meat on the table.” Whether you’re hunting feral hogs for meat or to protect agriculture, or gunning for marauding coyotes, the combination of a FLIR thermal monocular and a thermal riflescope provides a “go-dark” edge that ratchets up both excitement and success. And, you can preserve all the action via onboard video recording and still image capture capabilities. Documenting hunts with video and still images isn’t anything new. Documenting the action at night, di

Chargrilled Oysters - A Taste Treat Born in Louisiana Adds Zest to Any Seafood Table

Oyster roasts are popular Virginia events, especially for those who prefer not to slurp down the bivalve mollusks raw. On the Gulf Coast, especially around New Orleans, favored ways to prepare oysters is to chargrill or broil them. Some of the sauces are deliciously intricate and watching grill chefs create a little oyster flambé adds to dining flair. In late 2013, we enjoyed some delicious chargrills at Palmettos on the Bayou in Slidell, La., a waterfront restaurant where oysters are grilled on a deck nestled in a cypress marsh and surrounded by live oaks dripping Spanish moss. Kirk Dunbar, one of Palmetto’s co-owners, readily shared, though, that Tommy Cvitanovich, whose Croatian parents o

Duck Factory Lives Up to Its Reputation Saskatchewan Hunt Delivers - Big Time!

The rolling prairie and farmlands of the Upper Midwest, through North Dakota, Montana and into Manitoba and Saskatchewan is often referred to as North America's "duck factory," with a sizeable percentage of the ducks and geese seen in the United States born there. I’ve hunted throughout the Americas, from moose and caribou in the Canadian boreal forests to perdiz on ranchlands in Argentina and Uruguay. Each experience offers its own grandeur, but for sheer magnificence little compares with watching gigantic flocks of waterfowl rising into a predawn sky. Waterfowl hunting has always been a favorite pursuit. Some of the best times are spent in duck blinds, enjoying those moments when birds pr