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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Comment Period Open for Proposed Elk Hunting Moratorium Regulatory Amendment

The Board of Game and Inland Fisheries requested a moratorium be placed on hunting of elk in Virginia at the August 17, 2010 meeting in Richmond. The proposal is to (i) designate that the term elk refers specifically to Rocky Mountain elk and (ii) prohibit the hunting of Rocky Mountain elk in Virginia. The Department will be embarking on a pilot program to restore elk in southwest Virginia and until a viable herd is established the hunting of elk will be prohibited. Currently, hunters are allowed to kill elk that wonder across the Kentucky border during deer season.

This is a big step forward for those who have wanted to see an elk herd reestablished in the Commonwealth. It is a sensitive subject in the western part of Virginia as some land owners are concerned about the damage that could be caused by the large animals. For those who would love the opportunity to one day be able to hunt the majestic animals without incurring the cost of traveling to the west and paying large fees associated with outfitters and travel, this is an opportunity that could pay dividends.

DGIF, pursuant to §§ 29.1-103, 29.1-501, and 29.1-502 of the Code of Virginia, proposed the amendment 4VAC15-90-85 (PDF). A public comment period on the regulatory proposal opened August 20 and closes September 20, 2010. The Board will hold a public hearing on the proposal at its meeting 9:00 AM October 5, at 4000 West Broad Street, Richmond, and will consider the proposal for possible adoption as a final regulation amendment at that time. Written comments on the proposed regulation amendment should be submitted online, or may be emailed to or postal mailed to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Attn. Policy Analyst and Regulatory Coordinator, 4016 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia 23230, and received no later than September 20, 2010. Below are links to background information that will be helpful to those wishing to comment on the proposal.

Elk Management and Restoration Plan »

Elk Plan Public Input Summary (PDF)

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