Proposed Regulation Amendment

4VAC15-50-11. Game: Bear. Open season; generally.

Summary

The proposal is to (i) move the six-day open season earlier by one week in the counties of Amelia, Appomattox, Brunswick, Buckingham, Campbell, Charles City, Charlotte, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Essex, Gloucester, Greensville, Halifax, Isle of Wight, James City, King and Queen, King George, King William, Lancaster, Lunenburg, Mathews, Mecklenburg, Middlesex, New Kent, Northumberland, Nottoway, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward, Prince George, Richmond, Southampton, Surry, Sussex, Westmoreland, and York, (ii) extend the open season by two weeks in the counties (or portions of) Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell (except on the Channels State Forest and Clinch Mountain WMA), Scott, Washington (northwest of I-81 and west of Route 19), and Wise, and (iii) remove the opening Saturday from the counties (or portions of) of Augusta (North of US-250), Frederick, Roanoke, Rockingham, and Shenandoah.

Text of Regulation

Rationale

Move the 6-day open season earlier by one week in certain counties

The proposal would change the timing of the 6-day open season, not the season length. There have been multiple requests to begin the Southside and eastern Virginia 6-day season one week earlier to align with the opening day of the other bear-hound open seasons in Virginia.

Extend the open season by two weeks in certain southwestern VA counties

The proposal would result in an extra two weeks of open season (general firearms hunting, open to all licensed hunters) in portions of southwest Virginia at the end of the current open season. The objectives for Bear Management Zones 1 and 2 have changed from the 2001-2010 Black Bear Management Plan objective of "increase" to the 2012-2012 Black Bear Management Plan objective of "stabilize". Bear populations in these zones are increasing and season lengths must change to meet these new objectives accordingly. Adding two additional weeks of open season will be implemented to help meet the new population objectives in addition to providing a diversity of recreation for all types of bear hunters.

Remove the opening Saturday in certain counties

The opening Saturday was added to Roanoke County and Bear Management Zone 5 to meet 2001-2010 Black Bear Management Zone Objectives. This day was added as a measure in 2011 to increase harvest in those areas. The resulting harvest on that day is not meeting objectives and has caused complications and confusion for both hunters and VDGIF law enforcement. There have been multiple requests to have a consistent opening day for enforcement purposes and to curb hunter confusion.

Comment on this proposal:

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