Riverkeeper Report: Duck hunters leave a mess

Published 9:13 am Friday, January 27, 2012

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 18th through the 20th on the Blackwater above Joyner’s Bridge.

The water was tinted, 40 degrees and 6.7 on the U.S. Geological Survey gauge at Burdette. Air temps ranged from a cold 27 degrees the first night to 50 and the wind seemed to never go away. It was a cold patrol.

The fishing on this trip was pretty bad. I only caught two very small largemouth and three bowfin to six pounds. All fish were caught on a blade bait jigged vertically.

I did not do any casting, which may have been a mistake. I did try fishing for speckle, but did not catch any.

I did have the thrill of seeing a bald eagle soaring around over the river, and as always, Moonpie and I just gawked at it for as long as it stayed in sight. I’m hoping there will soon be a nest site on that part of the river if there is not already.

I thought the trash on this trip was going to be pretty light, but as we ventured downriver the second day, I ended up with nearly a full bag. It is always worse below a bridge or a boat landing it seems.

I saw no other water quality issues. I did find three trash bags of deer parts at the boat landing. I just do not understand why some numbskulls have to bring their deer remains to a public place. It is a state facility for gosh sakes, and you would think the idiots that dump this stuff would know that Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is going to investigate.

Yea, so I reported the deer dumping and reported this next issue. I hate having to call the state and tell them these things I find. It puts a bad cloud over all of us.

So next I found where some thoughtless duck hunters had gone onshore at a spot upriver from the bridge and left a mess. Empty shotgun shells and cigarette butts littered the little peninsula they were on. I even found a decoy, which now is at my house.

So if the folks that did this want that decoy back, just e-mail or call me, give me your name and describe the decoy. Then just meet with me and I’ll give you the decoy.

It’s really a shame to find where people come out on the river to entertain themselves and have a good time, yet when they leave the are so callous and disrespectful to the environment that provides such a good time for them.

We have laws that punish such unacceptable acts, and as long as I am Riverkeeper, I will utilize all the resources available to me to protect the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.

JEFF TURNER is riverkeeper for the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper Program, an environmentally conscious organization that focuses on keeping local waterways healthy. BNRP’s parent organization is The Waterkeeper Alliance. Contact Turner at his website, www.blackwaternottoway.com.