S p rin g 20 1 6
A quarterly Newsletter of the Virginia Hunter Education Association
Letter from the President
By “Hank” Tomlinson, President
It seems uncanny, but I think I might be a mind
reader. As you read this, you are thinking how
glad you are that winter is over. That is what is
going through my mind. So, if winter is over, it is
time to buckle down and get back to work. I am
ahead of the game, as we had our first class over
in Highland County on February 27, and it did not
feel like winter was over. Anyway, it was good to
be back in the classroom and to be able to share
knowledge with the students. Here are some of
the items that we have to be thinking about, and I
am sure there are one or more you will be
interested in.
1. Firearms at Holiday Lake – what I am
hearing is there are signs saying “No
Firearms” at Holiday Lake. I don’t know
any more than that. Pardon the pun, but
somebody may have jumped the gun
concerning the Governor’s Executive
2. It has been requested by David Dodson
that Association members take on the task
of administering the Challenge Test as a
separate part of the Hunter Ed Challenge. I
have tentatively agreed to this but will
submit it to the Board of Directors. Most
likely there won’t be much change except
for people.
3. I am still trying to locate the proposal
package that was submitted for
Installation of commercial power to the
shotgun and rifle range.
Inside This Issue
Letter from the President
A Message from the VP
Secretary’s Notes
Holiday Lake 2016 HE Schedule
Treasurer’s Report
Three Ways to Connect
Board Bulletins
Regional News
Region 4 Annual Bird Hunt
In Our Sights
4. The “Jot Form” system is working. This
is a method where people can ask
questions about the Association or
Hunter Ed or almost anything else.
These questions come directly to me
with a copy to Mike Norkus, and we
answer them in a timely manner.
I would like to express my personal thanks to
Wendy Hyde for all the work she does with the
newsletter and website. She keeps us all on
track and does one heck of a job. Thanks Wendy
from all of us. I hope to see as many of you as
possible at Advanced Training.
Until then………………Hank
Page 1
A Message from the VP
By Mike Norkus, Vice President
As I travel around the state or in my Hunter Ed/IBEP
classes I’m always finding someone to talk too about
deer hunting. It seems the conversation invariably
comes around to deer being a nuisance, especially in
cities, towns and on farms with crops. Here are a few
ways (tips) and programs designed to help alleviate
the problem of nuisance deer you can mention in your
Urban Areas
Deer are generally considered a nuisance when they
are eating gardens or expensive landscaping plants.
The best way to solve this problem is to plant things
deer don't like to eat. This usually includes plants like
juniper, hawthorne, or other prickly/thorny plants.
The next best way to prevent them is to exclude them
from coming at all.
Build a 5–8 foot fence around your garden. This
is the single best method.
Have a dog roam your yard. Deer will usually not
visit properties with dogs.
Loud noises or hazing sometimes works, but
they can become accustomed to these activities.
After trying these, you can also attempt to use
chemicals which taste bad or smell bad to the deer.
There are a variety of products that can be used
to make the plants unpalatable. Most of these
have a pepper or sulfur-base. You can make your
own out of cayenne pepper and rotten eggs.
Some of the commercially available products are
supposed to last through a couple of rain events,
but most will wash off with the first rain.
Products to scare the deer away generally
contain predator urine, sulfur, or human scents.
You can try to make your own with human hair,
soap, or perfume/cologne. There are also
fertilizers that are made from bio-solids that
have shown some success, but they have a very
bad odor, even to humans.
For instances where non-lethal deer management has
not worked, the Virginia Department of Game and
Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has created 5 management
options available to landowners and/or
municipalities. These five programs, Deer
Management Assistance Program (DMAP), Damage
Control Assistance Program (DCAP), Kill Permits, Deer
Population Reduction Program (DPOP), and Urban
archery season all require meeting with a VDGIF
Page 2
representative to determine if an area qualifies for one
of the programs. The objectives of each of these
programs are as follows.
Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP)
DMAP is a site-specific deer management program that
increases a landowner's or hunt club's management
options by allowing a more liberal harvest of antlerless
deer than offered under general hunting regulations.
The primary goal of DMAP is to allow landowners and
hunt clubs to work together on a local level to manage
their deer herds. Landowners/hunt clubs have the
option to increase, decrease, or stabilize deer
populations on their property enrolled in DMAP. These
objectives are accomplished by harvest strategies that
control the numbers of antlerless deer taken, primarily
through the issuance of DMAP tags. DMAP tags can be
used only to harvest antlerless deer (does and male
fawns) and are not valid for antlered bucks.
Damage Control Assistance Program (DCAP)
Like DMAP, DCAP started in 1988 and also is a sitespecific deer damage management program designed
to increase a landowner's management options by
allowing a more liberal harvest of antlerless deer than
offered under general hunting regulations. The primary
objective of DCAP is to provide site-specific assistance
to control crop depredation or other property damage
by deer. A land owner who demonstrates damage from
deer can use a kill permit at the time of damage (see
below) or may defer removing deer until the hunting
season using DCAP tags. DCAP permit tags can be used
only to harvest antlerless deer (does and male fawns).
DCAP is not available in cities and counties east of the
Blue Ridge in which the general firearms deer season is
full season either-sex (except Fairfax County).
Kill Permits
As provided by Virginia State Statute §29.1-529. Killing
of deer damaging fruit trees, crops, livestock or
personal property or creating a hazard to aircraft or
motor vehicles, the VDGIF is authorized to permit
owners or lessees of land to kill deer where deer cause
commercial or personal property damage. Under the
kill permit system, a landowner/lessee who sustains
deer damage must report the damage to the local
conservation police officer for investigation. If, upon
investigation, the officer (or designee of the Director)
determines that deer are responsible for the reported
damage, he/she may authorize in writing that the
owner/lessee, or other person(s) designated by the
officer, be allowed to kill deer when they are found
upon the property where the damage occurred.
(continued on Page 3)
A Message from the VP
Secretary’s Notes
(continued from page 2)
By Aaron Grimsley, Secretary
Deer Population Reduction Program (DPOP)
DPOP is a site-specific urban deer management tool
that allows managers of public properties with unique
deer management needs (e.g., parks, airports) to use
deer hunters to kill extra antlerless deer outside of
traditional established seasons or with weapons
generally reserved for other seasons (e.g., rifles during
muzzleloading season).
Urban Archery Season
An urban archery season was initiated in 2002 to help
reduce deer-human conflicts in urban areas while
providing additional hunting recreation. Only
antlerless deer may be taken during this season. This
special season provides hunters with 4 additional
weeks before the statewide archery season begins in
October and 3 additional months after general
firearms season ends in January. Several urban
counties and all but a few cities and towns are eligible
to participate in this urban archery program. In order
to participate, a locality must submit a letter of intent
to VDGIF by April 1 and advise VDGIF of any
applicable weapons ordinances or other restrictions.
The season offers maximum flexibility to localities. No
special hunting licenses or permits are required
beyond archery and big game licenses.*
Some reminders:
Kill Permit required from VDGIF to kill during
closed season.
Department regulation makes it illegal to place
or distribute food, salt, or minerals to feed or
attract deer or elk from September 1 through
the first Saturday in January, statewide (unless
noted in the exception below). It is also illegal
to put out these substances to attract deer or
elk during any deer or elk season within any
county, city, or town that allows deer or elk
hunting. This prohibition does not include the
planting of agronomic crops or wildlife food
It is illegal to feed deer year-round in
Buchanan, Clarke, Dickenson, Frederick,
Shenandoah, Warren and Wise counties
(including the cities and towns within).
Hunt hard and hunt safe! >>>---------->
Regards, Mike
* Information adapted from the DGIF website.
Page 3
I hope everyone had a wonderful winter and a
safe and successful hunting season. For the few
that mailed in dues during first quarter, I
apologize it took a while for the checks to get
deposited. The Treasurer has opened a new
account so that dues can be deposited quickly. I
am currently accepting dues for 2016.
Thank you,
All Annual and Associate memberships expire
on March 31, 2016.
“Annual dues are to be paid by April 1st of the
current calendar year and are current through
March 31st of the following calendar year.” (Article
IV, Membership, Dues)
To join or renew, go to www.vahea.org, print the
Membership and Renewal Form and mail it, along
with your check, to the address printed at the
bottom of the form.
Membership options and costs are:
Regular (1-year) $ 25.00
$ 15.00
Hunter Education Events
Schedule 2016
April 1-3
April 22-24
May 6-8
September 16-18
September 30 –
October 2
Advanced Training
Hunter Skills Weekend
Youth Hunter Ed Challenge
Advanced Training
Hunter Skills Weekend
Treasurer’s Report
Three Ways to Connect
By John Maher, Treasurer
VHEA on the web
Page 4
I have received all the materials held by the
previous Treasurer.
The VAHEA account ($15,357.07) has been audited
and financial transactions found to be correct. The
account has been moved to Sun Trust Bank which
has branches throughout Virginia, providing
convenient access for current and future officers.
Four 2016 membership checks have been received
from the Secretary and deposited. The recurring bill
for web services ($60.00 per quarter) has been paid
and that account is now set up for automatic
quarterly payment. When I receive checks, I will
reimburse the Secretary who paid for last year’s
annual registration with the Virginia State
Corporation Commission ($25.00).
After the Minutes of the September Board Meeting
are approved, I will purchase a laptop for VAHEA
and install the 2011 Quicken software received from
the Treasurer.
As a 501 (c) 3 corporation, VAHEA must document
how it conducts its business to ensure compliance
with Virginia and Federal regulations. As Treasurer,
I will be assembling copies of key documentation
(e.g., Corporation Charter from Virginia State
Corporation Commission (SCC) and IRS Letter of
Determination) and documenting the tasks
performed by the Treasurer. As this effort
progresses, I may discover additional documents
and possibly requirements.
We have 97 current members; 80 Life Members
(one being an Associate Life Member) and 17
Annual Members, 4 of whom have renewed for
To ensure continued delivery of
contact Editor Wendy Hyde at
[email protected] with corrections to
your e-mail address.
Have you seen the VHEA web site lately? We’d made
some changes and added a few things:
There's a NEW "Tree Stand Safety" page that
includes three infographics created by Glen
Mayhew, some basic safety rules, a video, and links
to treestand-specific resources
We’ve obtained permission from Kalkomey to use
the videos from the curriculum on the web site!
They will be changed from time-to-time, and right
now you’ll find videos on the “Hunter Safety” page
about safely loading, unloading and transporting
The "Hunter Education Classes" page has been
updated to match the new DGIF requirements that
started in January 2016 AND now features two
videos – one promoting hunter education and one
about how to obtain a license
The map and list of regions has been updated to
correspond to the new regional structure
Look for the “Virginia Hunter Education Association”
and “LIKE” us. You’ll be in the know about upcoming
events, registration deadlines, see photos of events and
members doing great things to promote and encourage
hunter safety and education!
VHEA at the
Developed by the VHEA specifically for connecting with
Virginia Hunter Education Instructors, it’s a great way
to voice opinions, discuss ideas, solve problems and
otherwise communicate with your local teaching peers.
To get started contact Wade White, the forum
administrator, at [email protected] Provide your full
name, Instructor ID # and desired user name. Your
account will be set up for you and a temporary login will
be sent to you.
Board Bulletins
VHEA Officers:
Hank Tomlinson
[email protected]
Vice President Mike Norkus
[email protected]
John Maher
[email protected]
Aaron Grimsley
[email protected]
Regional Directors:
Region 1
JC Gaitley, III
[email protected]
Region 2
Wade White
[email protected]
Region 3
Region 4
Karen Cash
[email protected]
At Large
Jesse Ebron
[email protected]
The next meetings are scheduled for Friday, April 1,
2016 (during Advanced Training weekend) at
Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, Appomattox,
Board Meeting is from 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Membership Meeting starts at 7:00 pm
Nominations for President and Secretary will be
conducted at the April 1 meeting. The section of the
by-laws pertaining to the nomination and election
process are included in the column to the right.
Your Contributions Count
Your Regional Directors are always interested in
what’s going on in your county, and some of the
regions are so large that we rely on your help to
locate and share information. Help us get the
word out on Association events by staying in
touch with your Director.
Page 5
Excerpted from VHEA By-Laws,
SECTION 2. Term of Office and Election Process:
(A) Each Officer shall hold office for a period of two
years and until his or her successor shall have been
duly elected and shall be and remain qualified for
their term of office.
(B) The Term of Office shall begin January 1 following
the election. The offices of President and Secretary
shall be elected in even years. The offices of VicePresident and Treasurer shall be elected in odd
(C) The process of election of officers will proceed
according to the following schedule:
The Board will appoint a
Nomination/Election Committee of one (1)
Regional Board member and one (1) elected
officer (not running for office that year) by
the first scheduled Board meeting of the
year normally in conjunction with an
Advanced Training Weekend (normally in
March). Notice to all members of the offices
to be filled, Nomination/Election
Committee members and due date for
nominations to be received, will be
communicated to all members at the spring
informational meeting held in conjunction
with an Advanced Training weekend, by
email, and posted to the website by May 1.
The Nomination/Election Committee will
qualify (member is good standing) all
nominees and report to the Board a list of
candidates for each open office by July 1.
The Nomination/Election Committee will
announce the slate of candidates and voting
process to the entire membership in good
standing (dues paid and life members) by
email, written letter (if so indicated by the
member) and posted to the website by
August 1.
The election will be held from August 1 to
August 31 by mail-in ballot or by email. The
election is open to all currently active
members and life members as of July 1 of
the same calendar year. Any ballot post
marked after August 31, or any email
submitted date stamped after August 31
will not be counted.
The Nomination/Election committee will
count the ballots and announce the results
of the election at the annual meeting of the
Regional News
Region 1
Nothing to report
Region 2
Virginia Hunter Skills Weekend
April 22-24, 2016
Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center,
Appomattox, VA
Please continue to promote this event in your
late March and early April classes – there are
still openings!
Class offerings include: Basic Bowhunting, Rifle,
Pistol and Shotgun, Muzzleloading, Recovery of
Wounded Game, Skeet, Wild Game Cooking,
Advanced Bowhunting, Predator Hunting,
Preserving Your Wild Game Harvest, Longrange Rifle Shooting, Upland Game Bird
Shooting Skills, Bowfishing, Big Game Rifles,
Deer Hunting Skills, Reloading Ammunition,
Small Game Hunting Skills, Survival AND
Turkey Hunting Skills.
To download a printable flyer and registration
form to hand out in your classes go to:
Region 3
Nothing to report
Region 4
No report submitted
At Large
Hello All,
Hope you have made it through the winter
fine. Spring Gobbler season is closing in fast.
Hope you get a chance to get out there and
enjoy the outdoors. Hunter Skill Weekend is
coming up. Hope you can mention it in your
Hunter Ed. Classes. Stay Safe and have a fun
Jesse Ebron BOD 5
Page 6
Region 4 Educators Practiced
What they Teach during Their
Annual Bird Hunt
By Ben Unruh
Each year the hunter education instructors of Region
4 gather at the historic Rose Hill Game Preserve to
engage in a day full of excitement, fellowship and a
tasty wild game dinner! Historic Rose Hill Farm has
been owned by the Ashby/Covington family since the
1800’s. The farm is 210 beautiful acres of prime
habitat where upland preserve bird shooting is as
natural as you will find anywhere. This year on
March 13th fourteen instructors and their guests took
to the field to test their skills hunting pheasants and
chucker behind trained bird dogs and their handlers.
The morning began with breakfast at 0600 at the
Fredericksburg Cracker Barrel to fuel up for a
rigorous day of hunting. Upon arriving at the farm,
Ben Unruh teamed up with his son-in-laws, Josh
Berry and Brandon Murphy to make up Group A
while Rick Wilkes brought his liver and white
Brittany led Group B with hunters Mike Livingston
and his son Jack while his wife Barbara and
grandson, Gage, joined in as observers. Al Tierney led
Group C comprised of his son Ransom and new
hunters Jenny Zeng and Leon Li. Leonard Hart led the
Group D team with John Zook, Steve Austin and Geoff
Austin. Each Group took turns at the 5 stand skeet
range to warm up shooting clay pigeons. While the
hunters warmed up on the skeet range, the Rosehill
staff planted birds in the lush sorghum and grass
fields. Once everyone was comfortable with their
firearms, each group headed for their designated
field. The professionally trained dogs elevated the
excitement as they raced back and forth in the tall
grass and then, as they caught the scent of a bird,
their tail wag accelerating, they honed in and locked
up tight pointing to the bird in the grass, waiting for
the handler’s signal to flush. As we closed in on the
pointing dog, the hunters were assigned a shooting
order and the command was given to flush! Out of
the grass burst a pheasant, fast and furious in flight,
as the first hunter leveled his gun and pulled the
trigger – a miss, the second hunter closed the deal as
(continued on page 7)
Annual Bird Hunt
(continued from page 6)
floated in the air and the bird fell to the ground. By
the time we lowered our guns, the dog had already
embarked upon the retrieve and was proudly
returning with our quarry. Once the bird was
secured, he was off to find he next one. At first
bounding through the grass and then, as if on a leash,
he stopped abruptly, head cocked and body frozen;
he was on another one holding his point solid and
awaiting the handler’s permission to flush again. The
scene was repeated again and again in every field as
the game bags filled and the excitement continued.
With each point, we marveled at the skill and selfcontrol exhibited by the dog. It was truly amazing to
watch the dogs find and point their quarry yet refrain
from taking our quarry until given their handler’s
command. After nearly three hours of high-stepping
Page 7
photo shots and then
embarked on cleaning
them. As we gathered
for some fellowship and
set the table, a chucker
and pheasant were
selected for each
participant, seasoned
and put on the grill. We
were very fortunate that
the weather held and
offered only a few
refreshing sprinkles until
after dinner. After lunch
we sat around and shared our experiences and took
account of who had the best shot and awarded one
lucky hunter with the “Bird Lover’s” trophy to care for
until next year. A few door prizes were also handed
out along with some free skeet coupons compliments
of the good folks at Rosehill. It was a grand day to
commemorate the end of our 2015 teaching season
just in time to begin planning the classes for 2016.
Leon Li and Jenny Zeng with their first birds
through the heavy cover, the hunt came to an end
but the excitement continued. The chatter
between hunters talking about their shots kept
the blood pumping between points. At times, the
shots rang out in unison but in the end, every
hunter had a clear kill they could claim as their
own. As we left the field, the Rosehill staff were
busily setting up tables and chairs and preparing
a meal from contributions by all that included
coleslaw, potato salad, rolls and a variety of pies
and drinks. The only thing missing was the main
course, the bounty of the hunt. Our guides
collected the birds and positioned them for some
Ben Unruh (center) with son-in-laws Josh Berry and
Brandon Murphy
Editor’s Note – THANK YOU to Ben for submitting
this great report!
Page 8
This is the first in a series of “Meet the Officers” interviews in which we get acquainted with the current Vice President,
Secretary and Treasurer.
In Our Sights
By Wendy Hyde
VHEA Life Member – Mike Norkus
Mike Norkus is a hard-working, hard-playing, nononsense man with a strong allegiance to God, family
and country. He is also the current Vice President of
the VHEA and a dedicated hunter education volunteer.
Mike has deep
southern roots and his
life has branched in
many directions as a
result of family
changes and the US
Army. He spent his
early years on a ranch
in Phoenix, Arizona.
After his grandfather
got sick, he, his parents
and three younger brothers moved to southern Indiana
to help on the farm. Experiences in Indiana left
impressions on Mike that would remain with him for
the rest of his life. That’s where his interest in hunting
began. His grandfather, father and he hunted rabbit,
squirrels and deer and fished a lot to supplement the
food table. Mike recalls, “I really got the bug for
bowhunting early because of the challenge it offers. I
started bowhunting when I was 14.” A sobering
incident at the same age is what influenced Mike to
teach hunter education. In his own words, he shares,
“When I was 14 years old I was walking up the road to
my friend’s house to go rabbit hunting. As I walked
down the lane to his house I heard a loud bang from
inside the house. As I ran into the house my friend was
laying in the hallway with blood everywhere and his
mother in a panic trying to process what had just
happened. My friend had put his shotgun on the
kitchen table not realizing it was loaded. As he turned
to walk down the hallway to get his hunting jacket, his
little brother reached up to the table and pulled the
trigger on the shotgun. It hit my friend in the back of
his head, killing him instantly. In the aftermath of what
happened I made a promise to myself that if I could
ever get a chance to teach young folks about gun safety
I would. Hunter Education was the perfect way to do
that. I have a passion for teaching kids hunting safety
with both guns and bows.” Mike made good on that
promise and became a VDGIF instructor in 1999, and
attained Master Instructor rank in 2002. He added
Master International Bowhunter Education Program
(IBEP) Instructor to his teaching credentials in June
2011 and is one of only two in the state of Virginia to
hold that certification.
In 1969 his father took a job in Lexington, Kentucky
and the family moved again. It was there that Mike and
Sarah met through a mutual friend; he was 18, she was
16. After graduating from Henry Clay High School in
1971 he was drafted into the Army. A career Army
man, he is currently assigned to the United States Army
Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) as a
Senior Training Developer, Collective Training
Development Division (CTDD), Multifunctional
Training Products Branch. Going above and beyond
regular duty assignments, he managed to graduate
from The University of the State of New York, Albany,
NY, with a B.S. in 1989 and earn an MBA from Central
Michigan University, Pleasant, MI, in 1991. He states
with pride, “Since then I’ve been around the world
three times and talked to everyone twice!!” Mike and
Sarah live in Colonial Heights, Virginia, where they are
members of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. Mike
serves as a deacon and sings in the choir. Sarah is a
professional writer with several published historical
fiction novels geared to the young adult audience.
They have been married 42 years and the family has
grown to include daughters Alicia and Leah, their
husbands, and six grandchildren.
“Avid” could be used to describe how Mike does just
about everything – from bowhunting for deer, bear and
elk to running, working out at the gym, swimming,
hiking, fishing, camping and enjoying the outdoors.
When he’s not travelling for the Army he likes working
on bows and making arrows in his own bow shop, as
well as doing wood work in his garage. He also finds
time to compete in a few 3D archery tournaments each
year, attend a NASCAR race or two, teach local hunter
ed and IBEP classes, is the Lead Instructor of the
archery teaching team for Advanced Training sessions
and Virginia Hunter Skills Weekends, volunteers for
Youth Hunter Ed Challenges, and is Lead Instructor for
the Next Level Bowhunting Workshops. Mike has been
an active member of the VHEA since its establishment,
was instrumental in writing the By-Laws and worked
on the recent re-write.
Mike exhibits the characteristics that make for a great
volunteer –enthusiasm, dependability, skill, dedication
and a strong work ethic. It’s also what makes him a
capable leader for the VHEA!