Natural Resources Commission meeting postponed and moved

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An important upcoming meeting of West Virginia’s Natural Resources Commission has been rescheduled and its location moved. Appearing on this past Saturday’s edition of West Virginia Outdoors on MetroNews, Division of Natural Resources Director Steve McDaniel confirmed the meeting originally set for May 3rd at Hawk’s Nest State Park has been rescheduled for May 31st at Stonewall Resort.

“Seven weeks away we are hoping we can get on the other side of this and have some kind of open, public meeting,” McDaniel said.

The meeting will be the second of the year, but is often one of the most critical since its the meeting where the recommendations for the big game hunting bag limits and season dates for each fall are approved.

“The drop-dead date, the last available date we could have it was the end of May to still get he regulations out. But if we’re still under these social distancing rules, we will still have the commission meeting at Stonewall, but we will do some kind of Skype or digital video conferencing and the public will be able to attend on line. But it’s seven weeks away, so we’re hoping that’s not the case,” he said.

There is also a much anticipated vote on a proposal by McDaniel to lower the buck limit in West Virginia from three to two. McDaniel indicated at the end of February’s commission meeting he wanted an up or down vote on the matter. It has been a matter of considerable debate among sportsmen, particularly on social media, for several years.

“It’s still on the agenda and we fully intend to vote one way or the other on that,” he said.

Out of state license sales since the beginning of the pandemic have not increased noticeably according to McDaniel, therefore the state has not considered a plan to shutdown license sales to out of state residents. Neighboring Ohio made the move last week in an attempt to discourage out of state visitors.

“We’ve been monitoring it, but it’s not very high and I don’t think that many are coming because most of our parks and campgrounds are closed and there’s really nowhere for them to say,” McDaniel said.

West Virginia’s spring gobbler hunting season will open as scheduled on April 20th. McDaniel said there had been no consideration of canceling the season, but encouraged social distancing.

The DNR has stopped stocking trout at Spruce Knob Lake after the U.S. Forest Service closed the road into the area and closed down the Spruce Knob campground, bathrooms, and overlook facility. However, the lake is still open for fishing if anglers decide to park and walk into the area.

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