H. B. 4418

(By Delegates Williams, Stemple, Collins,
Beach, Michael and Proudfoot)

[Passed March 14, 1998; in effect ninety days from passage.]

AN ACT to amend and reenact section fifty-four, article two, chapter twenty of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to license for privately-owned commercial shooting preserves; permits an additional month of hunting; requires operators to furnish numbered tags; and removes the exemption of nonresidents purchasing required state hunting licenses.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section fifty-four, article two, chapter twenty of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:

§20-2-54. License for privately-owned commercial shooting preserves.

(1) The director may issue a license for privately-owned commercial shooting preserves to any person who meets the following requirements:
(a) Each commercial shooting preserve shall contain a minimum of three hundred acres in one tract of leased or owned land (including water area, if any) and shall be restricted to no more than three thousand contiguous acres (including water area, if any), except that preserves confined to the releasing of ducks only shall be authorized to operate with a minimum of fifty contiguous acres (including water area); and
(b) The exterior boundaries of each commercial shooting preserve shall be clearly defined and posted with signs erected around the extremity at intervals of one hundred fifty yards or less.
(2) The director shall designate the game which may be hunted under this section on which a more liberal season may be allowed.
(3) The operating licenses or permits issued by the director shall entitle holders thereof, and their guests or customers, to recover not more than eighty percent of the total number of each species of game bird released on the premises each year, except mallard, black duck, ringnecked pheasant, chukar partridge and other nonnative game species upon which a one hundred percent recovery may be allowed.
(4) Except for the required compliance with the restriction on the maximum number of released birds that may be recovered from each preserve each year, as provided in subsections (3) and (8) of this section, shooting preserve operators may establish their own shooting limitations and restrictions on the age, sex and number of birds that may be taken by each person.
(5) In order to give a reasonable opportunity for a fair return on a sizeable investment, a liberal season shall be designated by the director during the nine-month period, beginning the first day of August and ending the thirtieth day of April.
(6) All harvested game shall be tagged with a numbered tag prior to being either consumed on the premises or removed therefrom, such tags to remain affixed until the game actually is delivered to the point of consumption.
(7) Each shooting preserve operator shall maintain a registration book listing all names, addresses and hunting license numbers of all shooters; the date on which they hunted; the amount of game and the species taken; and the tag numbers affixed to each carcass. An accurate record likewise must be maintained of the total number, by species, of game birds and ducks raised and/or purchased, and the date and number of all species released. These records shall be open to inspection by a delegated representative of the director at any reasonable time, and shall be the basis upon which the game recovery limits in subsection (3) of this section shall be determined.
(8) Any wild game found on commercial shooting preserves may be harvested in accordance with applicable game and hunting laws pertaining to open seasons, bag and possession limits, and so forth, as are established regularly by the director and the United States fish and wildlife service.
(9) State hunting licenses shall be required of all persons hunting or shooting on shooting preserves.
(10) The fee for such commercial shooting preserve license shall be fifty dollars per fiscal year for the first three hundred acres of the shooting preserve area, plus twenty-five dollars per fiscal year for each additional three hundred acres or part thereof.