The West Virginia DNR prepares to open its doors and its dialogue with West Virginia sportsmen. The annual Sportsmen’s Sectional Meetings are slated for Monday and Tuesday, March 16-17 at various locations around the state.
"These are our regulation meetings. This is the primary opportunity for sportsmen and women across the state to come out and visit with us," said DNR Game Management Supervisor Paul Johansen. "We can talk about anything, but we like to focus in on the proposals we plan to make to the Natural Resources Commission for the upcoming big game seasons."
By law, the Natural Resources Commission uses the input sportsmen offer during these meetings in making the final decisions on those proposals. Johansen says they take the process very seriously.
"The bottom line is we work for the sportsmen and women of this state," Johansen said. "We listen very carefully to what they have to say, we may not agree with every comment they have, but I guarantee we listen to them."
Sportsmen will get a copy of the recommendations proposed for the upcoming hunting seasons in West Virginia. The proposed bag limits and season dates along with any administrative changes to the regulations. Sportsmen can respond to a survey about all of those proposals.
Deer season regulations generally draw the most attention. 2009 will be no different. Johansen says the DNR is proposing antlerless hunting regulations for this fall very similar to those of 2008. The most radical shift is a proposal for an early muzzleloader and archery season for antlerless deer that would happen in September.
Other game proposals include bear season dates and bag limits. Those are largely unchanged from last year, but will not include an early bear-hunting season in the mountains and will be shifted in a more conservative direction after a banner year for bears in 2008. There is a recommendation to make youth squirrel season a youth small game season to allow more extensive quarry for young hunters. There is a proposal to make the Cal Price State Forest in Pocahontas and Greenbrier County into an "older age" deer management area. Currently there are already five of those areas around the state.
The proposed changes to fishing regulations for the new year include a catch and release restriction for hybrid striped bass on Rollins Lake in Jackson County. The DNR also proposes creating a catch and release restriction on a one mile section of the Bluestone River.
The meetings are an "open house" format with very informal one-on-one discussions with DNR personnel. They meetings are from 6pm to 8pm. The meeting locations are listed below.
Monday, March 16, 2009
- Fairmont – East Fairmont High School (Commons Area)
- Martinsburg – James Rumsey Technical Institute (Cafeteria)
- Summersville – Summersville High School
- Lewisburg – Brier Inn
- Milton – West Virginia Pumpkin Park (4-H Building)
- Cairo – North Bend State Park
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
- Glen Dale – John Marshall High School
- Moorefield – Moorefield Middle School (Cafeteria)
- Buckhannon – Buckhannon-Upshur High School
- Mullens – Twin Falls State Park (Chinquapin Room)
- Logan – Chief Logan State Park Conference Center
- Parkersburg – City Building/Judicial Annex