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§20-3-3. Establishment of wildlife areas; leasing lands therefor.

The director shall establish and maintain wildlife areas on lands purchased, leased or given for this purpose. Upon such state-owned or leased lands under its administration, or lands purchased from departmental funds for the establishment of wildlife areas, or upon lands purchased in cooperation with any agency of the federal government or leased therefrom or managed cooperatively therewith, the director shall regulate public hunting, chasing for sport, shooting, and limit the number of wildlife, which may be taken from such areas open to public shooting in any year. The director may establish special open seasons on any such lands, and may close any such areas, or parts thereof, to public shooting.

It shall be unlawful at any time to hunt, pursue or molest in any manner, any animals, birds or fowls on that section of any wildlife area designated as wildlife refuge, except that any legally constituted enforcement officer, or other person designated by the director, may hunt, pursue, catch and kill in any manner predatory animals and predatory birds thereon.

On the boundary of each state wildlife refuge, there shall be posted in conspicuous places, not more than one hundred and fifty yards apart, notices bearing the following words:"State wildlife refuge -- hunting is unlawful," and such other information or rules and regulations as the director may deem advisable. On the boundary line of any such wildlife area which has been established as a public shooting ground, the director shall have posted in conspicuous places, not more than one hundred and fifty yards apart, notices bearing the following words:"Public shooting grounds," together with information as to when hunting is legal on such tract.

The director shall also have the power to lease lands for this purpose for not less than ten-year periods, the rental price thereof not to be more than the amount of the annual property taxes on such land, and in no event to exceed 10¢ per acre per annum.

The director may, with the consent of the owner, set apart any tract of land in the state as a wildlife area. When such lands have been set apart, the director shall manage them in the same manner and for the same purpose as wildlife areas owned by the state. Such lands not owned by the state and now operated by the director as wildlife areas shall, at the expiration of the agreement, be reorganized as wildlife areas or be discontinued.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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