- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 6, 2005

The Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries has proposed regulation amendments that would legalize the use of a crossbow in all deer hunting seasons in which archery equipment may be used.

The new regulations also would establish a special license for persons using a crossbow during the special archery hunting seasons. It would be required in addition to the basic hunting license. The proposed costs for such a license is $12 for a state resident and $25 for a nonresident, plus a 50 cent issuance fee.

Virginia wants its hunters to really think about this. The public comment period on the proposed amendments will not close until June 23, with written comments to be received no later than June 16 so the board can review them before taking final action.

The full proposal is available on the department’s Web site, www.dgif.virginia.gov, as well as at all VDGIF central and regional offices. Plus, it will be published in the April 18 Virginia Register of Regulations and will be available at public meetings.

If you wish to make a comment other than at a board meeting, it must be in writing and must be accompanied by your name, address and telephone number. Written comments can be submitted to the department’s Web site or to regcomments@dgif.virginia.gov; or mailed to Phil Smith, Policy Analyst and Regulatory Coordinator, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 4016 W. Broad St., Richmond, Va., 23230.

The department is holding one of its public meetings tonight in Richmond at 7 to address the subject of hunting with crossbows. It will be held at the Board Room of the VDGIF at 4000 W. Broad St.

Check out this lake — John Odenkirk, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist in charge of Northern Virginia waters, says he’s done with two weeks of trap-netting fish in Lake Orange (drive Route 3 west of Fredericksburg, to Route 20, near town of Orange). It was all part of a crappie exploitation study.

“[We] tagged about 650 legal [9-inch-and-up] black crappies,” he said. “That is the best small lake in the district for just about everything — bass, catfish, crappies and bluegill. We even got a 27-inch, 8-pound walleye.”

Diseased captive deer found —The first positive case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in New York State has been confirmed in a white-tailed doe from a captive herd in Oneida County. CWD is a transmissible disease that affects the brain and central nervous system of deer and elk. There is no evidence CWD is linked to disease in humans or domestic livestock other than deer and elk.

The animal that tested positive for CWD was a 6-year-old white-tailed doe that was slaughtered from a captive herd in Oneida County as part of the state’s mandatory CWD surveillance and testing protocols. Now the state will work diligently to ensure the dreaded disease will not spread to wild whitetails.

In the past several years CWD has been detected in both wild and captive deer and elk populations in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, plus in Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada. Now we can add New York, which is truly alarming Maryland and Virginia wildlife biologists because both states privately have owned captive deer herds.

I’m of the opinion deer should be wild, not domesticated like cattle.

Children invited to fish — Naturalist Glenn Cummings of the Black Hill Regional Park in Montgomery County sent a message to confirm a rescheduling of the Children’s Spinfishing For Trout Program. It will now be held Sunday, 2 to 6 pm. “We have room for additional sign-ups,” Cummings said. Questions? Call Black Hill Regional Park at 301/916-0220. Enjoy the fishing, have a hot dog and drink a cold soda.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com

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