Public Comment Period Open for Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Proposed Regulation Changes

Contact: John Culclasure, Southeastern States Assistant Director

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is accepting public comment on proposed regulation changes related to fishing, resource management, and access to department-managed lands. 

Among others, the proposed regulation changes include:

  • Adding boat launch sites to the list of facilities where a current hunting, fishing, trapping, boat registration, or access permit is required for use. The regulation would also apply to department-managed lands, whereas now it only applies to wildlife management areas. Additionally, the regulation would exempt vessel passengers from the fee requirement if they are not the owner or operator of the vessel.
  • Clarifying requirements for dispersed camping on wildlife management areas and DWR-owned or managed lands.
  • Adding Alabama bass, an invasive species, to the predatory and undesirable species list, which requires a special permit to possess, import, or sell. The rule proposal provides an exception that would allow the live possession and release in the same body of water in which they were caught.
  • Adding spotted bass to the list of species that may not be stocked on privately-owned ponds and lakes.
  • Allowing photo catch-and-release fishing tournaments to be held on department owned-lakes, ponds, or streams.

The deadline to comment on the proposed regulation changes is October 11. Comments may be submitted online or by mail. The DWR Board will vote on the proposed regulations during their meeting on October 22.

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Recently, Virginia has proposed legislation that would make the punishment for poaching, in their state, a 1-5 year prison sentence through HB-449. Poaching undermines the social acceptance of hunters, jobs, recreation, local and state economies, and conservation efforts. How should poachers be punished?

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