SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A mistake in the 2020 game regulations resulted in a cascade of criticism for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources in the past week. Officials say however, it was an oversight and will be corrected.
The issue was a controversial proposal to allow those under the age of 14 to use a crossbow for hunting in the four archery hunting only counties of southern West Virginia. The Natural Resources Commission rejected the proposal which had drawn a lot of fire. The most adamantly opposed was the West Virginia Bowhunters Association.
DNR Director Steve McDaniel even recommended the measure be rejected at the May commission meeting due to the groundswell of opposition.
However, when the printed regulations brochure was published, the proposal was noted as if it had been approved.
“It takes a while to build the template for the regulations brochure and when we did that, to save time, we had all of the proposed regulations in there. It was supposed to be removed, but it wasn’t,” said McDaniel.
His phone began ringing the moment the printed regs arrived at sporting goods stores around the state.
“It was an oversight. We apologize. We were already running behind because of the delay to the meeting and with everybody working from home trying to get the regulations printed. It slipped through the cracks. We’ll get it fixed.” he said.
The first shipment of the printed regulations was recalled by the agency. McDaniel said there wasn’t enough time to reprint, which would also be costly. He expected there would be a sticker added to reflect the correction before they are distributed back to agents statewide in the coming days.
The state law which allowed for the use of crossbows in West Virginia was deliberately tooled to disallow them in Wyoming, Logan, Mingo, and McDowell Counties. The proposed change to allow their use among youth hunters drew a firestorm of criticism and was overwhelmingly rejected by members of the commission.