Proposed Regulation Amendment

4VAC15-240-40. Game: Turkey. Open Season; spring season for bearded turkeys.

Summary

The proposal is to allow apprentice hunting license holders to hunt on the youth spring turkey hunting day(s).

Text of Regulation

Rationale

This regulation amendment offers a strategy to address the Board's recently adopted resolution reaffirming its support for its hunting constituency and charging the Department to identify specific policies and practices that can be put into place through regulation by the Board or legislation by the General Assembly to address the declining number of hunting license holders in Virginia.

During recent years, the Department has established popular youth hunting days and an apprentice hunting license to encourage hunter recruitment and retention. Although the creation of "Youth" only days and apprentice licenses are popular and effective at recruitment, they fail to stabilize or reverse the decline in hunting license sales (average 3% annual)

A considerable number of people in National Shooting Sports Foundation new hunter study focus groups stated that not having a place to go hunting is the single most important barriers and that many hunters are skeptical about hunting opportunities due to perceived land overcrowding and unsafe practices. Currently apprentice opportunities are only during "regular" seasons when crowds are at their highest. This regulation proposal would create opportunities for apprentice hunters when conditions are likely less "crowded".

Survey respondents that did not use their apprentice license stated a lack of desire to go hunting and time restrictions were important reasons. Therefore, increasing opportunity and designating a "special" day may increase excitement and participation.

Comment on this proposal:

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