VDGIF votes to allow unplugged shotguns

This is from The Virgina Civil Defense League’s ….Alerts. If you don’t receive them, you should sign up. They are free and VCDL is the best friend Virginia Gun Owners have!

As of October 26th, hunters will be able to carry shotguns without
plugs (plugs limit the number of rounds a shotgun can hold) when
hunting non-migratory game:

http://tinyurl.com/23j93d

VDGIF votes to allow unplugged shotguns

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2007 – 12:06 AM
By ANDY THOMPSON
TIMES-DISPATCH COLUMNIST

It was a busy day yesterday for the board of Virginia’s Department of
Game and Inland Fisheries. The group convened for its periodic
regulation review, deciding on dozens of proposed amendments to state
regulations governing game wildlife, hunting, trapping, wildlife
diversity, fishing and fisheries resources and boating.

The amendments considered were first introduced at the July 17
meeting of the board, and a public comment period followed from July
24 to September 24. According to the department, 352 individuals
submitted a total of 825 comments during that time.

The vast majority of the interest, 755 of the comments, concerned a
few proposed hunting and firearms regulations. And at yesterday’s
meeting, which included a public comment period, most of the citizens
who spoke, and the debate among board members, centered on a couple
of issues: the release of captive reared mallards, an expanded
muzzleloading season west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the use of
unplugged shotguns for hunting non-migratory game.

Dave Burpee of the Virginia Bowhunters Association spoke out against
adding a week to the beginning of muzzleloading season for deer
because that’s also the final week of the first bow-hunting season.

“We spent time with [the VDGIF] working up to where we would be able
to have an archery-only season,” he said. “The key there is that it
would be before the animals were disturbed because of the sound of
gunfire, and they change their patterns and it would make it an
entirely different hunting experience.”

Despite his protestations, the board voted to allow the extension of
early muzzleloading season west of the Blue Ridge.

While no one from the public spoke about it, the issue of whether to
allow the use of unplugged shotguns for hunting non-migratory game
brought the most division among the members of the board.

Bob Duncan, the department’s wildlife division director, pointed out
that different states are split on the issue. The Carolinas and West
Virginia allow the use of unplugged shotguns, while Maryland,
Pennsylvania, Delaware and Georgia do not. Questions of safety were
raised, which Duncan said weren’t an issue in states that allowed
unplugged guns. Ultimately the board voted 5-4 to allow the use of
unplugged guns.

The effective date of that regulation was moved up to Oct. 26 (the
standard date for hunting and firearms regulations was July 1, 2008)
to allow hunters to use unplugged guns when fall turkey season opens
Oct. 27.

The issue of whether to allow the release of captive reared mallards
generated the most interest from speakers.

Richmonder Vince Thornhill spoke in favor of allowing releases.

“What these mallard releases can do is give opportunities within the
grasp of the average hunter,” he said.

Many approved of the recommendation to prohibit captive mallard
release for a number of different reasons. Bob Hoffman, of Ducks
Unlimited’s Great Lakes Regional Office, mentioned the possible
spread of disease as a concern whenever domestic and wild animals
come in contact. Reid Knight, a doctor from Virginia Beach, mentioned
the possible negative effects on the black duck population that the
release of captive mallards could have.

In the end, the board decided not to vote on the measure, citing a
desire to wait for a forthcoming report by U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service on the issue.

Gary Martel, the director of fisheries, sought a few minor changes
for his division, which the board adopted. Notably, for trout
anglers, once trout are caught and taken into a fisherman’s
possession, they cannot later be released. Martel said because the
rate of survival of creeled trout is so low, anglers must now either
decide to keep the fish they catch or release them immediately.
Fishing and boating regulations will go into effect Jan. 1, 2008.

Contact Andy Thompson at (804) 649-6579 or outdoors@timesdispatch.com.

1 comment to VDGIF votes to allow unplugged shotguns

  • Grapeshot

    So Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is 1% smarter than the feds on this one. Now where is our open-to-the-public pistol range? When I contacted VGDIF a while back about the closing of their only operating range for sighting in pistols, they told me that their purpose was not to provide facilities for recreational pistol shooters! Isn’t hunting recreational? I hunt with a pistol some and told them so but it did not make any difference apparently. So I guess I’ll dial in my pistol at 50 ft. instead of 25 or 50 yd. Bet me! Must find a friendly land owner.

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