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Writer offers opinions on proposed changes to hunting regulations

VDGIF has an open comment period through the end of this month on proposed changes to game laws. I encourage you to participate if you have Internet access — www3.dgif.virginia.gov/web/comment/display.asp
There are many other changes being proposed. I hit the big ones affecting hunters in our area. The opinions or observations are mine and are of course just my opinion or observation. Feel free to disagree. All of us should comment on those proposals important to us.

 Some of the changes being proposed are as follows:

Creation of a one-day fishing permit for out of state anglers. The cost would be $7.

Opinion: Not a bad move to increase funding for VDGIF and a good way to affordably take a family  member or friend fishing when they come to visit. Now, how about a similar move for hunting?

Allowing dog training on squirrels on private land

Opinion: Why not? According to VDGIF, there seems to be growing interest, some probably already do it and no squirrels are harmed in doing so.

Proposal to make a 1,000 yard boundary adjacent to Lands End Waterfowl Management  Area to exclude hunting.

Opinion: While I am for having some protected areas, take a moment to read the proposal in its entirety. This is a tough one because it implies that no signage would be required. I wonder how I or any other hunter will know when we are within that 1,000 yards? We already are crunched for public waters to hunt waterfowl due to people blocking off large areas of land and water with “blind licenses”.

Proposal for Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties to change their early antlerless season to a firearms antlerless season to get the deer numbers down. There also is a proposal to remove Fauquier’s late firearms antlerless season now that the deer numbers are responding.

Opinion: This will not go over well with youth day hunters, but then again now they can have the whole month of September to hunt. Archery hunters in those areas are also not going to be happy. However, deer numbers are still very high and something needs to be done.

Proposal to add apprentice hunters to youth day as legal hunters.

Opinion: Hunting license sales continue to decline. I like the idea of youth only hunting days. But, we have to aggressively get on these license sales if we want to have an effective VDGIF that has the manpower and funds to manage our resources. Perhaps this will help. If we regular hunters cannot hunt then maybe we will take someone to introduce them. I still say to take a kid hunting. They are our future and we need new hunters badly.

Proposal to change the Earn a Buck counties. Some counties would be dropped and some added.
Opinion: It works so the change would be good for those counties north of us needing it.

Proposal to make the four northern Virginia counties wanting an early firearms season to also have an unlimited daily bag limit.

Opinion: If you want to reduce deer numbers this will definitely help.

Proposal to cut back doe days in regional counties.

Opinion: After we got hit by HD, our deer herd seems to be down. This is one way to allow the herd to get back on its feet if you want more deer again. Our numbers in KG would go from full season doe days to 27 doe days. It was like this a few years ago.

Proposal to extend squirrel hunting one more month to the end of February.

Opinion: I love to squirrel hunt. However, many squirrels are pregnant or have litters by the end of February. I would hate to orphan squirrels. However, many deer are pregnant by December and certainly by January…I guess you need to make up your own mind about it and comment.

Proposal to allow apprentice hunters to hunt on youth turkey day.

Opinion: See comment about the same for youth deer day.

Mark Fike

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