CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Opposition to plans for a controlled deer hunt at Chief Logan State Park in Logan County caught the attention of Governor Jim Justice. The Governor announced last week he has put the brakes on the proposed hunt for a period of time to take a closer look.
“I have become aware of concerns being voiced in Logan County as it pertains to this limited hunting proposal for Chief Logan State Park and I have asked DNR Director Stephen McDaniel to do further study on both sides of this issue and report back to me within 30 days,” Gov. Justice said Friday in a news release regarding the decision. “I am an avid outdoorsman and I want to be sure the DNR has looked at every facet of this, get all the facts and scientific research and then present it to me for consideration,” Gov. Justice added. “We want to make a decision that balances the interests of all sides.”
I have become aware of concerns in Logan County as it pertains to a limited hunting proposal at Chief Logan State Park. I have asked DNR Director Stephen McDaniel to do further study on both sides of this issue and report back to me within 30 days. https://t.co/kNV0ZUDnet
— Governor Jim Justice (@WVGovernor) June 1, 2018
On Saturday’s West Virginia Outdoors, McDaniel added he is putting together the facts and figures to defend the agency’s proposal to allow for the very limited and controlled hunt on the property.
“We have met with these groups on a couple of occasions and I’ll go to work putting together all of the facts and figures and we’ll present our case,” said McDaniel. “He’s very object and he’ll make a decision and we’ll go forward from there.”
A small group in Logan County opposed to the hunt claims it is not necessary. The group questions the DNR’s facts regarding the deer population within the park. Friends of Chief Logan furthermore consider the hunt inhumane. They have suggested if there is truly a need to lower deer numbers in the park, DNR should hire trained sharp shooters to eradicate the necessary number.
The controlled hunts were authorized by the legislature more than two decades ago as a way to lower the population of deer in the parks when the numbers exceeded the carrying capacity of the park lands. A population too high will cause damage to the park’s flora through over browsing, but according to McDaniel there is clear evidence the hunts have worked to protect the park’s plant life as well as the wildlife.
“State Park Superintendent Sam England has been involved in theses controlled hunts for 20 years,” McDaniel offered. “He’s got some data which suggests the rebound of several different plant species within the parks as a result of these hunts.”
The 30 day moratorium created by the Governor allows ample time to thoroughly look at the data and information from both sides and make a decision without impact plans for the hunt in November if the decision is made to move forward. Governor Justice seeks input from all West Virginians with an interest in the issue.