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Hunting & Trapping Regulatory Issues

Public Discussion Period · September 1 - November 1, 2010

During the Hunting and Trapping Regulatory Issues Public Discussion Period September 1 through November 1, 2010, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) solicited citizens' discussion of regulatory issues, including those listed below, which were developed by staff based in part on recommendations by or concerns from members of the public.

Deer Issues

Either-Sex Deer Hunting Days

Either-Sex Hunting Days: Adjust the number of either-sex days during the firearms deer hunting seasons, as needed, to meet deer population objectives in each county.
Either-Sex Hunting Days: Adjust the number of either-sex days during the muzzleloader deer hunting seasons, as needed, to meet deer population objectives in each county.

Bag Limits and Antler Restrictions

Daily Deer Bag Limit West of the Blue Ridge: Increasing the daily bag limit for deer on private lands west of the Blue Ridge to two deer per day.
Daily Deer Bag Limit West of the Blue Ridge: Maintaining the bag limit of one deer per day on National Forests and Department-owned lands west of the Blue Ridge and on National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties.
Daily Deer Bag Limit in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties: Removing the daily bag limit on deer in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties, provided that the annual limit of three antlered deer is not exceeded.
Earn A Buck (EAB): Fixing a technical error in the EAB regulation related to different buck bag limits east and west of the Blue Ridge.
Earn A Buck (EAB): Potentially expanding EAB to private lands in counties that have full-season either-sex deer hunting opportunities on private land but are not meeting their deer population management objectives.
Allow Small-antlered Bucks to be tagged using an Antlerless Deer Tag: Redefining the antlered and antlerless deer criteria to allow small-antlered bucks to be tagged as an antlerless deer
Antler Point Restrictions (APR): Expanding the APR currently in place in Shenandoah County to additional counties in the Northern Mountain region of Virginia.

Archery Deer Hunting

Urban Archery: Developing criteria that will provide for additional urbanized counties and cities to participate in the urban archery deer season.
Early Archery Deer Season Opening Day: Opening the statewide early archery season during September.
Model Archery Ordinances: Developing a model ordinance or ordinances for archery deer hunting, as mandated by Code of Virginia §29.1-528.1.

Electronic Checking

Late Season Electronic Checking: Requiring that all deer checked after the first Saturday in January be checked electronically (by telephone or Internet).

Turkey Issues

Fall Hunting Opportunities

Fall Hunting Opportunities: Expanding fall seasons in counties with the highest turkey populations
Fall Hunting Opportunities: Separating the early segment of the fall turkey season and early muzzleloader deer season
Fall Hunting Opportunities: Eliminating the harvest of turkeys on Thanksgiving Day
Fall Hunting Opportunities: Standardizing the late statewide fall turkey season to first Saturday in December to last Saturday in December
Fall Hunting Opportunities: Providing 2 weeks of fall hunting in January beginning the second Saturday in January

Turkey Population Concerns

Turkey Population Concerns: Shortening fall turkey seasons in certain counties with declining or stable but low population densities to increase survival and population densities

Bear Issues

Bear Hunting Seasons

Bear Hunting Seasons: Changes in muzzleloader season
Bear Hunting Seasons: Change firearms season
Bear Hunting Seasons: Changes in archery season
Bear Hunting Seasons: A uniform bear season concurrently opened for all hunting methods

Bear Hound Training Season

Bear Hound Training Season: Expand bear hound training season to be concurrent with raccoon training season
Bear Hound Training Season: Add the month of January to the existing season

Furbearer Issues

Clarify Legality of Selling/Purchasing Furbearer Parts

Clarify legality of selling/purchasing furbearer parts: The objective of a proposed regulation change would be to clarify existing law by specifically allowing the sale of all or specific types of furbearer parts.

Eliminate Otter Carcass Submission Requirement

Eliminate Otter Carcass Submission Requirement: Eliminating the carcass submission requirement for trapped otters west of the Blue Ridge. Staff will solicit voluntary collections in some of the counties most recently opened to trapping in 2009.

Increase Raccoon Chasing Opportunities in Counties West of Route 29

Increase Raccoon Chasing Opportunities in Counties West of Route 29: Allowing raccoon chase on private lands year round and increasing the area where raccoon chase is permitted on National Forest and Department-owned lands during the bear chase season

Allow the Use of Larger size Body-gripping Traps Inside Enclosures

Allow the use of larger size body-gripping traps inside enclosures: Increase the maximum size of traps allowed to be used in enclosures to 7 ½" (to accommodate the use of 220 size Conibear-style traps). There is no proposed change to maximum size of the enclosure opening.

Small Game Issues

Rabbits

Transport of box trapped rabbits: Inserting language into the existing regulation (4 VAC 15-200-30) stating that rabbits live trapped for release and restocking may be transported from the location of capture to the location of release

Squirrel

Spring Squirrel Season: Provide additional June squirrel season hunting opportunities on public lands
Spring Squirrel Season: Provide for additions and subtractions of public lands open to June Squirrel hunting to be made administratively by DGIF staff upon request.

General Regulation Issues

Youth Hunting Days

Apprentice Hunting License Holders: Permitting apprentice hunting license holders to hunt on any youth hunting day.
Youth Deer Hunting Day: Moving the youth deer hunting day, which is currently the last Saturday in September, to the third Saturday in October to make it concurrent with the youth fall turkey hunting day.
Youth Deer Hunting Day: Removing the current exception for the youth deer hunting day in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties. This will make the youth day open statewide.

Feeding

Feeding Wildlife: Prohibit the feeding of wildlife when that activity results in property damage, endangers any person or wildlife, or creates a public health concern.
Feeding Wildlife: Extending the current four-month prohibition on deer feeding to year-round statewide.
Feeding Wildlife: Amend the current regulation language to be more comprehensive in its application to situations where organizations or entities are feeding or attracting bears.

Disease Management

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Deer Carcass Importation: Amending the current CWD deer carcass importation regulation so that it applies only to deer carcasses that originate from a designated CWD containment area rather than the entire province or state.

Population Control

Animal Population Control: Dropping the hunting license requirement for persons involved in deer sharpshooting activities conducted under a DPOP permit.
Archery Specifications: Replacing the distance requirement for bows and arrows used for deer hunting with a more meaningful specification (e.g., energy, velocity).
Tracking Dogs: Amending regulations east of the Blue Ridge to allow tracking dogs, maintained on a lead, to be used to find dead or wounded deer. Hunters would not be allowed to possess weapons while tracking with a dog. A change in the Code of Virginia (§29.1-516) may be required to permit tracking dogs west of the Blue Ridge.
Possession, Transportation, and Euthanization of Wildlife by Authorized Persons: Providing specific authorization for animals shelters or similar facilities to temporarily confine and euthanize wildlife under certain conditions
Possession, Transportation, and Euthanization of Wildlife by Authorized Persons: Providing authority for the public to transport live wildlife to these facilities under certain conditions.
Possession, Transportation, and Euthanization of Wildlife by Authorized Persons: Providing specific authorization for certain government agencies, or their contractors, to possess and transport road-killed wild animal carcasses under certain conditions.
Increasing Opportunities for Falconry: Updating the Virginia falconry regulations to expand or enhance opportunities for falconers to practice falconry in Virginia.
Increasing Waterfowl Hunting Opportunities: Allow the use of stake and/or floating blinds adjacent to Free School and Michael marshes.