SENATE
HOUSE
JOINT
BILL STATUS
STATE LAW
REPORTS
EDUCATIONAL
CONTACT
home
home

Introduced Version - Originating in Committee Senate Bill 590 History

   |  Email
Key: Green = existing Code. Red = new code to be enacted

WEST virginia legislature

2019 regular session

Originating

Senate Bill 590

By Senators Maynard, Mann, Rucker, Smith, Sypolt, and Cline

[Originating in the Committee on Natural Resources; Reported on February 12, 2019]

A BILL to amend and reenact §20-2-22a, §20-2-23, and §20-2-26 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to permitting guided bear hunts by licensed outfitters and guides; providing the Director of the Division of Natural Resources rule-making authority; setting license fee for outfitter and guide applications; and providing penalties for guides and outfitters. 

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

Article 2. Wildlife Resources.



(a) A person may not hunt, capture, or kill any bear, or have in his or her possession any bear or bear parts, except during the hunting season for bear in the manner designated by rule or law.  For the purposes of this section, bear parts include, but are not limited to, the pelt, gallbladder, skull, and claws of the bear.

(b) A person who kills a bear shall, within twenty-four 24 hours after the killing, electronically register the bear. A game tag number shall be issued to the person and recorded in writing with the person’s name and address or on a field tag, and shall remain on the skin until it is tanned or mounted. Any bear or bear parts not properly tagged shall be forfeited to the state for disposal to a charitable institution, school, or as otherwise designated by the director.

(c) Training dogs on bears or pursuing bears with dogs is the hunting of bear for all purposes of this chapter, including all applicable regulations and license requirements.

(d) It is unlawful:

(1) To hunt bear without a bear damage stamp, as prescribed in section forty-four-b §20-2-44b of this article code, in addition to a hunting license as prescribed in this article;

(2) To hunt a bear with:

(A) A shotgun using ammunition loaded with more than one solid ball; or

(B) A rifle of less than twenty-five 25 caliber using rimfire ammunition;

(3) To kill or attempt to kill, or wound or attempt to wound, any bear through the use of bait, poison, explosives, traps, or deadfalls or to feed bears at any time. For purposes of this section, bait includes, but is not limited to, corn and other grains, animal carcasses or animal remains, grease, sugars in any form, scent attractants, and other edible enticements; and an area is considered baited for ten 10 days after all bait has been removed;

(4) To shoot at or kill:

(A) A bear weighing less than seventy-five 75 pounds live weight or fifty 50 pounds field dressed weight, after removal of all internal organs;

(B) Any bear accompanied by a cub; or

(C) Any bear cub so accompanied, regardless of its weight;

(5) To transport or possess any part of a bear not tagged in accordance with the provisions of this section;

(6) To possess, harvest, sell, or purchase bear parts obtained from bear killed in violation of this section; or

(7) To organize for commercial purposes or to professionally outfit a bear hunt, or to give or receive any consideration whatsoever or any donation in money, goods, or services in connection with a bear hunt, notwithstanding the provisions of sections twenty-three except after January 1, 2020, such services may be provided by a licensed guide or licensed outfitter pursuant to §20-2-23 and twenty-four §20-2-24 of this article code.  For purposes of this subdivision, a licensed outfitter and licensed guide must be a resident of the state, and guided bear hunts shall only be conducted on private land using trained bear dogs.

The director shall propose rules for promulgation in accordance with the provisions of §29A-3-1 et seq. of this code to establish hunter application procedures and hunting procedures for guided bear hunts.

(e) The following provisions apply to bear damaging or destroying property:

(1)(A) Any property owner or lessee who has suffered damage to real or personal property, including loss occasioned by the death or injury of livestock or the unborn issue of livestock, caused by an act of a bear, may complain to any natural resources police officer of the division for protection against the bear.

(B) Upon receipt of the complaint, the officer shall immediately investigate the circumstances of the complaint. If the officer is unable to personally investigate the complaint, he or she shall designate a wildlife biologist to investigate on his or her behalf.

(C) If the complaint is found to be justified, the officer or designated  wildlife biologist may  issue a permit to kill the bear that caused the property damage or may authorize the owner and other residents to proceed to hunt, destroy, or capture the bear that caused the property damage: Provided, That only the natural resources police officer or the wildlife biologist may recommend other measures to end or minimize property damage: Provided, however, That if out-of-state dogs are used in the hunt the owners of the dogs are the only nonresidents permitted to participate in hunting the bear.

(2) (A) When a property owner has suffered damage to real or personal property as the result of an act by a bear, the owner shall file a report with the director of the division.  A bear damage report shall be completed by a representative of the division and shall state whether or not the bear was hunted and destroyed or killed under authorization of a depredation permit and, if so, the sex and weight shall be recorded and a premolar tooth collected from the bear, all of which shall be submitted with the report. The report shall also include an appraisal of the property damage occasioned by the bear fixing the value of the property lost. Bear damage claims will not be accepted for personal and real property which is commonly used for the purposes of feeding, baiting, observing, or hunting wildlife, including, but not limited to, hunting blinds, tree stands, artificial feeders, game or trail cameras, and crops planted for the purposes of feeding or baiting wildlife.

(B) The report shall be ruled upon and the alleged damages examined by a commission comprised of the complaining property owner, an officer of the division, and a person to be jointly selected by the officer and the complaining property owner.

(C) The division shall establish the procedures to be followed in presenting and deciding claims, issuing bear depredation permits and organizing bear hunts under this section in accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a §29A-3-1 et seq. of this code.

(D) All claims shall be paid in the first instance from the Bear Damage Fund provided in section forty-four-b §20-2-44b of this article code: Provided, That the claimant shall submit accurate information as to whether he or she is insured for the damages caused by the acts of bear on forms prescribed by the director, and all damage claims shall first be made by the claimant against any insurance policies before payment may be approved from the Bear Damage Fund.  Claims for an award of compensation from the Bear Damage Fund shall be reduced or denied in the amount the claimant is actually reimbursed by insurance for the economic loss upon which the claim is based. In the event the fund is insufficient to pay all claims determined by the commission to be just and proper, the remainder due to owners of lost or destroyed property shall be paid from the special revenue account of the division.

(3) In all cases where the act of the bear complained of by the property owner is the killing of livestock, the value to be established is the fair market value of the livestock at the date of death. In cases where the livestock killed is pregnant, the total value is the sum of the values of the mother and the unborn issue, with the value of the unborn issue to be determined on the basis of the fair market value of the issue had it been born.

(f) Criminal penalties. — (1) Any person who commits a violation of the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $500 nor more than $1,000, which is not subject to suspension by the court, confined in jail not less than 10 nor more than 30 days, or both fined and confined. Further, the person’s hunting and fishing licenses shall be assigned six points; however, the hunting and fishing licenses of any person convicted of a violation of this section which results in the killing or death of a bear shall be suspended for two years.

(2) Any person who commits a second violation of the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $3,000, which is not subject to suspension by the court, confined in jail not less than 30 days nor more than 100 days, or both fined and confined. The persons hunting and fishing licenses shall be suspended for five years.

(3) Any person who commits a third or subsequent violation of the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $2,500 nor more than $5,000, which is not subject to suspension by the court, confined in jail not less than six months nor more than one year, or both fined and confined. The person’s hunting and fishing licenses shall be suspended for ten 10 years.

§20-2-23. Outfitters and guides, generally; definitions.


(a) Services of outfitters and guides for the benefit and convenience of hunters, fishermen, and others in this state are recognized as essential, and such outfitters and guides may be licensed and authorized to serve as provided in this article. The director is hereby authorized to promulgate rules and regulations on services of outfitters and guides as herein authorized and defined, including services of outfitters and guides conducting guided bear hunts.

(b) The term “outfitter”, as used herein, means and includes any person, partnership, corporation, or other organization, or any combination thereof, duly authorized and operating from within or without the state, who operating from any temporary or permanent camp, private or public lodge, or private or incorporated home situate within this state, provides, for monetary profit or gain, saddle or pack animals or other animals, vehicles, boats, conveyances, or equipment, or guide services for any person or persons hunting game animals, game birds, fishing, or taking expeditions, both land and water, in this state. The term “outfitter” shall not include, however, any person who occasionally, for accommodation or favor rather than profit or gain, rents equipment to hunters, fishermen, or others as a service incidental to his or her principal occupation or business without advertising outfitter or guide services or holding out to the public the offering of such services.

(c) The term “guide”, as used herein, includes and embraces outfitter services and the term “outfitter” includes and embraces guide services, but the applicant for any license hereunder may in his or her application elect to be designated as an outfitter or guide any individual operating from within or without the state who provides, for monetary profit or gain, saddle or pack animals or other animals, vehicles, boats, conveyances, or equipment, or guide services for any person or persons hunting game animals, game birds, fishing, or taking expeditions, on both land and water, in this state, including such services provided as an agent or employee of an outfitter.  The term “guide” shall not include, however, any individual who occasionally, for accommodation or favor rather than profit or gain, rents equipment to hunters, fishermen, or others as a service incidental to his or her principal occupation or business without advertising outfitter or guide services or holding out to the public the offering of such services.

(d) The term “commercial whitewater outfitter”, as used herein, means any person, partnership, corporation, or other organization, or any combination thereof, duly authorized and operating from within or without the state, which for monetary profit or gain provides whitewater expeditions or rents whitewater craft or equipment for use in whitewater expeditions on any river, portions of rivers, or waters of the state in accordance with this article.

(e) The term “commercial whitewater guide”, as used herein, means any person who is an owner, agent, or employee of a commercial whitewater outfitter, and who is qualified and authorized to provide services for whitewater expeditions in the state in accordance with this article.

§20-2-26. Same - license fee; bond; revocation of license; penalties.


When satisfied as to the applicant’s qualifications for an outfitter’s or guide’s license and upon receipt of a fee of $10 $50 therefor, the director shall issue such license which shall be for the calendar year therein designated.

When satisfied as to the applicant’s qualifications for a guide license and upon receipt of a fee of $15 therefor, the director shall issue such license which shall be for the calendar year therein designated.  

Immediately upon the issuance of an outfitter’s or guide’s license and before any outfitter’s or guide’s services are offered or rendered thereunder, the licensee shall execute a surety bond in the penal sum of $1,000 payable to the State of West Virginia and conditioned upon the faithful and reliable discharge of his or her services under and pursuant to such license. Such bond shall be approved as to form by the Attorney General and as to surety by the director, and when so executed and approved, shall be filed in the office of the director. Such bond shall be for the life of the license: Provided, That any guide providing services exclusively as an agent or employee of an outfitter is not required to execute such surety bond.

The director is hereby authorized to revoke and cancel any such license for failure of the licensee to give the bond herein required, for licensee’s violation or disregard of any of the provisions of this chapter, upon licensee’s conviction of crime, or for any other reason or cause justifying refusal of the license to the licensee upon a new application therefor. The director shall afford a licensee an opportunity to be heard upon the revocation and cancellation of the license.

No person shall act or serve as a guide or outfitter, as defined in this article, without procuring and having on his or her person at the time a valid license from the director authorizing him or her so to do. Any person violating this provision shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, may be fined not exceeding $100 $500 or confined in the county jail not exceeding ninety 90 days, or, in the discretion of the court, be both fined and imprisoned confined within the limits herein prescribed.


 

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to amend existing law to permit bear hunting with the use of a guide.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

This Web site is maintained by the West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information.  |  Terms of Use  |   Web Administrator   |   © 2022 West Virginia Legislature **


X

Print On Demand

Name:
Email:
Phone:

Print