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DGIF ahead of the game on new intiative
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
A new push from the Virginia governor’s office is likely causing some scrambling among state agencies.
The Governor’s Regulatory Reform Initiative is intended to have state agencies review their regulations and make changes to eliminate or alter rules that are no longer necessary or create unnecessary burdens on constituents.
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has a big advantage.
“This is a little bit of an easier task for the DGIF because we review all of our regulations already every two years,” said Ryan Brown, the department’s legislative and policy manager.
The DGIF’s staff was already slated to offer proposed changes and additions to its hunting and trapping regulations at the department’s upcoming board meeting in late March.
Those suggestions will have been formulated during a long development period that includes a public scoping seeking hunter and trapper input.
The agency took the same approach last year to fishing, boating and wildlife diversity regulations.
Because of the new initiative the agency will give those subjects another look this year, with the process including a public comment period.
That formal public input period opened Feb. 1 and runs through March 2.
Brown said that even though the DGIF regularly updates its regulations, the Governor-initiated program should prove beneficial.
During regular regulations reviews, he said, the agency focuses heavily on practical issues, such as fishing creel limits and hunting season dates.
“This is a chance for us to step back,” he said, and to look at all of the regulations to see if there are rules that are no longer needed.
Asking the public for help with that has its challenges.
If the regulations are obsolete, the public often isn’t thinking about them because they no longer impact their recreational pursuits.
Brown said since the comment period began the department has gotten a few suggestions. He expects input to increase as word of the effort gets out.
Any proposed changes, whether they stem from public input or from DGIF staffers’ internal reviews, will be brought forward at the same March 23 board meeting during which hunting and trapping regulations proposals will be made.
One issue sure to come up, as it does any time the DGIF seeks public input, is the ban on Sunday hunting. But that law is handled by the General Assembly; The DGIF board has no say.
Because the DGIF regulations are scrutinized so often there likely won’t be many surprises to come out of the process.
More information on the program, as well as the process for commenting, is available at www.dgif.virginia.gov.
Sherwood hosts indoor 3-D shoot today
Sherwood Archers has brought back the popular indoor 3-D archery shoot it started offering last winter.
The shoots are held at the club’s indoor range, which offers shots at foam targets at ranges up to 25 yards.
With compound bows those shots would be slam dunks, which is why this game is for shooters of traditional bows only.
Last year’s shoots drew several dozen recurve and longbow enthusiasts.
A shoot will be held tonight, starting at 6 p.m. Non-club members are welcome. The fee for a round is $5.
The club will still be offering its normal slate of outdoor 3-D shoots, weather permitting.
The next outdoor 3-D tournament is scheduled for this weekend. Registration hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to noon on Sunday.
Visit www.sherwoodarchersroanokeva.com for more information, including detailed directions to the club, which is located on Timberview Road near Hanging Rock in North Roanoke County.
New Jackson River map posted on website
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has updated its Jackson River public fishing map to reflect results of a recent court case.
The new map, which is posted on the agency’s web site, removes the open-to-the-public designation from an approximately 1-mile-long section of the river downstream from the Smith Bridge public access point.
The stretch recently was at the center of a successful civil trespassing case brought by riverside landowners against wading fishermen.
The previous map highlighted a longer section of off-limits-to-fishing water upstream.
The new map includes carefully crafted language that warns the public about trespassing while not admitting that the state is confirming private ownership of the stream bottom.
One passage reads: “Riverfront land owners have brought successful civil trespass claims against anglers fishing in the two portions of the river highlighted. In light of these court actions, anglers may find it advisable to seek the permission of the riverfront property owners.”
In the key, the highlighted yellow sections are labeled like this: “Areas Subject to Civil Trespass Litigation due to Asserted Private Ownership of Bottomland and/or Fishing Rights.”
Translation: “We’re still not sure that these sections shouldn’t be public. But if you get sued you’re on your own.”
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