Officials propose 16 changes to hunting, fishing regulations

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia wildlife officials have proposed 16 changes to the state’s hunting and fishing regulations.

Officials with the Division of Natural Resources met Sunday and explained the rationale for the changes, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. The proposals will be voted on during meetings in May and August.

Some of the bigger proposals included lengthening the spring turkey-hunting season, changing smallmouth-bass fishing regulations along the New River, expanding nighttime hunting for coyotes and imposing a creel limit on panfish.

The proposal to lengthen the spring turkey season from 27 days to 35 days would provide additional days of hunting recreation, said Paul Johansen, the agency’s wildlife chief.

The proposal to expand nighttime hunting for coyotes to year-round is an answer to requests from predator hunters.

The proposed smallmouth-bass fishing regulations would impose a 14- to 22-inch slot limit, which is modeled after regulations in Virginia, said Mark Scott, the agency’s assistant chief of fisheries.

The proposal to impose a 30-fish aggregate creel limit for all panfish species comes because some anglers have taken huge numbers of fish from some waters, Scott said.

“We’ve seen people keeping cooler loads of crappie and bluegill,” he explained. “Does anyone really need 100 crappie? After thinking it over, we felt like a 30-fish-per-day limit would be about right.”

Other possible changes could affect youth-season hunting and fishing at specific bodies of water.

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