Proposed Regulation Amendment

4VAC15-50-120. Game: Bear. Bear hound training season.

Summary

The proposal is to (i) add two weeks of bear hound training to the counties (or portions of) of Amelia, Appomattox, Buckingham, Campbell (east of the Norfolk Southern Railroad), Charles City, Charlotte, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Halifax, Isle of Wight, James City, King and Queen, King George, King William, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, New Kent, Northumberland, Nottoway, Pittsylvania (east of the Norfolk Southern Railroad), Prince Edward, Prince George, Richmond, Southampton, Surry, Sussex, Westmoreland, and York, (ii) move the bear hound training season earlier and add 1-week in the counties of Brunswick, Greensville, Lunenburg, and Mecklenburg, and (iii) add a two week bear hound training season in September in the counties of Brunswick, Greensville, Lunenburg, and Mecklenburg.

Text of Regulation

Rationale

Add two weeks of bear hound training to certain counties

This proposal will allow for a bear hound training season in counties (or portions of) that have a 6-day bear open season but do not currently have a bear hound training season. Expanding bear hound training opportunities in southern and eastern Virginia would meet the 2012-2021 Black Bear Management Plan goal of providing diverse recreational opportunities.

Change the bear hound training season length and timing in the one-week hound training counties of Brunswick, Greensville, Lunenburg, and Mecklenburg.

This proposal is in conjunction with the change to the bear open season dates. If the bear open season is moved earlier by one week it would eliminate the bear hound training season in these areas. Therefore, the bear hound-training season must be moved or else it would be eliminated from these counties. The proposed training season length would be extended by 1 week.

Add two weeks of September training season to the counties of Brunswick, Greensville, Lunenburg, and Mecklenburg.

There is public interest in establishing a two-week training season in Southside Virginia in September. The Board proposed establishing this opportunity to gain additional public input on the issue. The counties of Brunswick, Greensville, Lunenburg, and Mecklenburg have had an established bear hound-training season in December since 2006. These counties also contain some of the lowest human population densities in Virginia, which should result in fewer conflicts with landowners than in more heavily human populated areas. A bear hound training opportunity in September would allow bear hound hunters to have a season that does not overlap with deer firearms thereby allowing for the training of bear hounds without having to contend with deer dogs. This proposal would meet the Black Bear Management Plan goal of providing more bear-related recreational opportunities.

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