Contact: John Culclasure, Southeastern States Assistant Director
Virginia’s 2020 legislative session concluded with pro-sportsmen’s bills signed into law.
Management of Menhaden Fishery
On March 8, legislation was signed into law that transfers authority to manage Atlantic menhaden from the legislature to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Menhaden are important forage food for many recreationally important species, and the legislation will enable the Commonwealth to comply with the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic menhaden after the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission found the Commonwealth out of compliance with Amendment 3 of the FMP for its failure to enforce the Chesapeake Bay Fishery Cap. Secretary Ross subsequently affirmed the noncompliance finding, and the legislation was necessary to avoid a moratorium on fishing for Atlantic menhaden in Virginia state waters.
Increased Penalties for Hunting, Angling and Trapping Violations
On March 12, legislation that increases the penalties for various hunting, angling and trapping violations was signed into law. Sponsored by Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus) Member Delegate Hyland “Buddy” Fowler, HB 449 provides that any person convicted of violating laws prohibiting hunting or fishing out of season, hunting while under the influence of alcohol or any narcotic drug, shooting from vehicles and various other wildlife related violations, may be prohibited by the court from hunting, trapping or fishing in the Commonwealth for a period of one to five years.
Legislation to Establish Elk Hunting in Virginia
On March 12, legislation that authorizes the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries (Board) to create a separate special elk license to hunt elk within the designated elk management zone was signed into law. The bill also authorizes the Board to establish quotas and procedures to purchase a special elk license and authorizes the Board to charge nonrefundable application fees for residents and nonresidents. Caucus Co-Chair Delegate James Edmunds sponsored the legislation.
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Recently, numerous states have tried to pass legislation that would ban hunting contests. What is your personal view on hunting contests?
- I am fine with hunting contests and have participated in them. (47.22%)
- I support others’ ability to participate in them but I choose not to. (25.00%)
- I support hunting contests, but believe the regulations governing the contests should be updated to ensure that all contest promoters work with tanneries to make use of the animals harvested. (16.67%)
- I support hunting contests, but believe the regulations governing the contests should be updated to ensure that all contest promoters work with tanneries to make use of the animals harvested. (11.11%)
- I am unsure. (0.00%)