In 2009, 73 clubs claiming a total membership of 18,944 people, one club of an unknown number of members and 320 individuals responded to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Annual Questionnaire. In 2008, 341 individuals responded to the DNR questionnaire.
All of the proposed regulations changes for the 2009 deer and bear seasons were approved by large margins with one exception. The one that failed to be approved was the recommendation that caliber restrictions on centerfire and muzzleloader firearms be removed. I was opposed to this idea and said so in my March 22 column. A total of 298 individuals responded to this proposal. The vote was 145 (49 percent) in favor and 153 (51 percent) against.
I like the idea of adding Calvin Price State Forest to the list of "Older-aged Deer Management Areas." It would not hurt for Kumbrabow State Forest to be added to this list.
Some of the individual recommendations I think would be of interest to local sportsmen and sportswomen are:
In the General Comment column, a few individuals would like the state to have more conservation officers. I would be in favor of this, but it would be expensive. Two clubs claiming 22 members and one individual want the DNR to quit catering to bow hunters, which I really do not think they are doing. One person would like the state to impose a special tax on acreage leased for hunting. I think this would require an act for the legislature.
In the deer-general column, some of the recommendations were as follows:
Five individuals would like to be able to purchase deer stamps during the season, one person would like for the state to allow a hunter to take two deer per day in any season. One person is opposed to any firearms deer hunting prior to buck season, and one person recommended that the WVDNR establish a January primitive weapons season.
In the deer-buck column, four clubs claiming 65 members and eight individuals would like to establish an antler restriction of at least 14 inches and/or numbers of points statewide. I would be opposed to that idea. I am in favor of selected areas being older-aged deer management areas, as the DNR is now doing, but not statewide.
In the antlerless column, one club of 30 members wants the anterless season closed in Barbour and Randolph counties. Two individuals want the anterless season closed in Randolph County, and two individuals want the anterless harvest increased in Randolph County. One person would like public acreage to be included in the anterless season in Randolph County.
In the turkey column, three individuals would like to be able to hunt spring gobblers all day. Two clubs with 51 members and three individuals would like the state to prohibit rifles during the spring gobbler season.
In the furbearer/predator/dog training column, I would like the state to have continuous open season on all foxes. I have stated this opinion on previous questionnaires. This is the way it was in the 1950s and 1960s. One club of 45 members and two individuals wants to eliminate field tagging of bobcat. Several individuals want changes in the dog training laws. Looking over their recommendations, some of their ideas are conflictive.
Several anglers would like the DNR to establish a trout season. We have had year-round trout fishing for more than 35 years. The only major problem with the current setup is the following of the stock trucks.
Twenty-four people attended the sectional meeting this past March in Buckhannon. This compares to 55 in 2008, 39 in 2007, and 30 in 2006. When the meeting was in Elkins, there were 69 in 2005, 63 in 2004, and 70 in 2003. I have stated in past columns that this meeting needs to be moved back to Elkins, using the old format.