Public to comment on proposed hunting regulations
Published 9:24 pm Saturday, March 19, 2011
A public hearing will be held this week in the city on a slate of changes to the state’s wildlife hunting and trapping regulations.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will host Tuesday’s meeting at King’s Fork High School, 351 Kings Fork Road, from 6 to 10 p.m. It is one of 10 public meetings being held throughout the state this week and next week.
The new regulations would be effective during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons. One proposed regulation would include Suffolk in the localities that can permit bow-and-arrow hunting of deer. Currently, Suffolk cannot participate in the state’s urban archery season.
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Another regulation that directly affects Suffolk pertains to the hunting of deer with muzzleloader guns. That new regulation would allow for the hunting of deer with muzzleloaders for 18 consecutive hunting days immediately prior to and inclusive of the first Saturday in January in Suffolk, east of the Dismal Swamp line. Deer of either sex may be taken the entire time in Suffolk.
The deer population has increased significantly during the past decade in Suffolk, according to the game department’s website. The new regulation should help reduce what the department calls “human-deer conflicts” such as traffic accidents caused by deer on roadways.
Another interesting regulation would prohibit the feeding or attracting of wildlife, whether intentional or unintentional, when it causes property damage, endangers people or creates a public health concern.
Currently, according to the website, there is no legal recourse for individuals who experience property damage by wildlife attracted by neighbors. Furthermore, the feeding of wildlife can create a public health concern by concentrating large numbers of rabies-prone species, like raccoons, in one place.
Other proposed regulations pertain to the hunting of bear and deer, and the hunting or trapping of otters, rabbits, raccoons, squirrels and turkeys; the use of waterfowl blinds and firearms; and the sale of animal parts.
Anyone who’s not able to attend the meeting can comment through a variety of methods through April 15. Additional regulation amendments regarding license fees also are proposed, and public comments can be submitted online in response to those proposals through April 14.
Comments will be accepted by email at email@example.com, or by mail at 4016 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23230. Letters should be addressed to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Attn: Regulatory Coordinator.
To view the proposed regulations or comment online, visit www.dgif.virginia.gov. To contact someone with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, call 804-829-6580.