The hunting and fishing regulation meetings were held at several locations in the state on March 16 and 17. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is making some proposals for the 2009 hunting and fishing seasons that I am not in complete agreement with.
One of these changes is to have an early muzzleloader season for anterless deer in select counties starting Sept. 21 through 26. Such a setup would allow one anterless deer to be checked in on a RM or RRM stamp. Some states have such a season, and it has been my understanding that our neighboring Virginia has encountered several problems with this idea.
The DNR also wants to add Cal Price State Forest located in Pocahontas County to the roster of "older aged" deer management areas. Now this could be a good idea. I know a few hunters who would like for Kanawha and Kumbrabow State Forests to be included on this roster.
The DNR also proposes to modify the one-day youth squirrel season to be a small game season exclusive of migratory game birds. I am in agreement with this. I have said in past columns that the youth hunts are important for the future of sport hunting.
This past Monday, I talked with a game biologist and conservation officer at the Elkins Operations Center about the DNR's proposal to eliminate caliber restrictions on centerfire and muzzleloading firearms for hunting big game. ome centerfire rifles just do not have enough muzzle energy to make a humane kill on deer-sized animals in this state. One of them is the cartridge that was the subject of last week's column, the 9mm Parabellum. A few other cartridges I feel are unsuitable for big game hunting include the .17 Remington centerfire, the .204 Ruger, the .22 Jet Magnum, the .221 Remington Fireball, the .256 Winchester Magnum, the .32 Smith & Wesson Long, and the .38 Special, to name a few. I will be voting against this proposal.
The DNR proposes that Randolph County have a limited anterless firearms season only on private acreage this year. Just how many permits will be handed out will be announced later.
I have stated in past columns that the DNR needs to move the annual regulations meeting back to Elkins using the old format. While I do not have any idea how many attended this years' meeting in Buckhannon, I do know that more sports men and women participated in these meetings under the old setup than the new.
Right now, I would recommend that all anglers, hunters, trappers, landowners and others to get this questionnaire filled out and to the Elkins Operations Center. They must be in the hands of the DNR personnel by April 10 for their vote or recommendation to be counted.