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Vote on WV's buck limit delayed to 'give more folks time to respond'

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A much-anticipated vote to lower West Virginia’s bag limit for buck deer has been postponed.

The West Virginia Natural Resources Commission on Thursday announced that the agenda for the commission’s May 31 meeting will not include the buck-limit question.

Steve McDaniel, director of the state Division of Natural Resources, said the commission instead would take up the issue at its August meeting in order to allow for more public comment.

“We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from hunters over the last week, and [we] want to give folks more time to respond,” McDaniel added.

The proposed change would reduce the state’s annual buck limit from three to two. Surveys conducted by and for the DNR indicate that hunters are sharply divided on the question. A majority favor a lowered limit, but a similar majority oppose changing the state’s license structure to cover the anticipated loss in hunting-license revenue.

McDaniel promised a vote on the question at the upcoming meeting, which originally was to be held May 3 at Stonewall Jackson State Park. The COVID-19 ban on large public gatherings forced the meeting to be postponed until May 31.

The meeting’s original agenda called for a vote on the buck limit, but DNR officials allowed only a few days after the agenda’s official announcement for the public to make written comments. The deadline was later pushed back to May 26.

The new deadline for comments is July 24. People who wish to comment should follow these guidelines:

All comments must include the name of the person submitting the comment, the city and state where they reside, and any organization the individual is representing.

Comments should be typed; they may not exceed one standard 8.5-inch by 11-inch page in length. All typed comments should be in 12-point Times New Roman font with page margins no smaller than one inch on all sides.

Handwritten comments will also be accepted, but must be legible and limited to no more than one 8.5-inch by 11-inch page.

Comments must be submitted by email to wvnrcommission@wv.gov, or sent by mail to the following address:

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, c/o Director Stephen McDaniel, 324 4th Ave., South Charleston, WV 25303.

The revised May 31 meeting agenda is as follows:

Introductions

Review, Correct and Approve the Minutes of the Feb. 23, 2020 Meeting

Presentation — Southwick License Structure Survey Results, Southwick Associates

Summary of the 2020 Sectional Meetings — Sportsmen and Landowners Questionnaire

Approve 2020-2021 Big Game Hunting Regulations

Review Proposed 2021-2022 Hunting and Trapping Regulations

Review and Approve 2020 State Park Deer Hunts

Review Proposed 2021 Fishing Regulations

Proposed 2021 Reptile and Amphibian Regulations

Public Comments

Director McDaniel’s Comments

Next Meeting Date and Location

Adjourn

In keeping with the COVID-19 guidelines, only 25 people will be allowed to physically attend the meeting. Members of the public can follow the proceedings live online by tuning in to the WVDNR Facebook page or to the West Virginia Department of Commerce’s YouTube channel.

People can also access the meeting by phone (with no video link) by calling 1-681-245-6817 and using Conference ID number 401 058 44#.

Reach John McCoy at

johnmccoy@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1231 or follow

@GazMailOutdoors on Twitter.