DNR’s public meetings on tap

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has announced that 12 public meetings will be offered at various locations throughout the state on Monday and Tuesday. All of these meetings will start at 6 p.m. and run through 8 p.m.

I have attended this annual regulations meeting every year they’ve been offered in Elkins since 1974. However, I did not go to the regulations for a few years when it took place in Buckhannon.

In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, this meeting was presented using a captive-audience or classroom-type format. When it came time for the questions and recommendations from the individual outdoors men and women who were present, sometimes the discussions could get more than a little heated. But there was never any profane “name calling” or “open hostilities” that I can remember.

In spite of some of the heated discussion on certain issues, everyone who was in attendance was well-informed about what the DNR was going to be doing in the next couple of years. In the past few years, the DNR has implemented the use of an “open house” format for the purpose of having a “more relaxed” atmosphere. The DNR may be right about the “more relaxed” atmosphere, but since they have gone to this “open house” format, the attendance has been on the decline.

Each year since they have had the “open house” format, I have recommended they return to the old classroom-type format. I will most likely make this same recommendation Tuesday, along with a few others, such as turning Kumbrabow State Forest into an older-aged deer management area, having continuous open season on all foxes like it was in the ’50s and ’60s, and opening the statewide squirrel season on the last Saturday in September.

All people who fish, hunt, trap,and who are landowners should attend these meetings. This is the opportunity to make a comment on the proposed hunting regulations for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, black bear and wild boar in 2017, along with general hunting, trapping and fishing regulations for 2018.

There will be a questionnaire the DNR will hand out for all who attend.

The DNR encourages written comments from all the public when it comes to hunting, fishing and trapping issues. This is also the opportunity to meet some of the DNR leading wildlife biologists and law enforcement personnel.

On Monday, the meetings will take place at the following locations:

• Fairmont — East Fairmont High School.

• Martinsburg — James Ramsey Technical Institute.

• Flatwoods — Braxton County High School.

• Mullens — Twin Falls State Park.

• Milton — West Virginia Pumpkin Park.

• Harrisville — North Bend State Park.

On Tuesday, the meetings will be at:

• Glen Dale — John Marshall High School.

• Moorefield — South Branch Inn.

• Elkins — DNR Operations Center.

• Logan — Chief Logan State Park.

• Parkersburg — City Building.

• Lewisburg — WVU Building at Fairgrounds.

Senate Bill 345, which will allow Sunday hunting and trapping statewide, passed the Senate by a vote of 26 to 6. This legislation is now in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. This bill has the support of the National Rifle Association, the West Virginia Citizens Defense League, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and the state Division of Tourism.

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