The West Virginia Press Association
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A private gift to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources of approximately 650 acres of land in Mason County, a piece described as prime property for hunters, came with one stipulation.
No bow hunting.
But that’s fine, according to a DNR official and the Senate committee for Natural Resources.
“You don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth,” said Sen. Randy Smith, R-Tucker, during a committee meeting at the State Capitol Monday afternoon, Jan. 15.
Up for discussion was Senate Bill 231, described by committee counsel as a modification that would prohibit bows and crossbows, specifically on the Bright McCausland Homestead Wildlife Management Area which sits along the Kanawha River in Mason.
The property was willed to the state January 2017.
The bill was voted through unanimously and sent to the Senate Judiciary committee with a recommendation for passage there.
“I don’t blame the DNR for accepting the land (with provisions),” said Sen. Mark Maynard, R-Wayne, chair of the Senate Natural Resources committee. “Having the land for the public to use is better, even with a small restriction attached to it, as to not having the land at all.”
The Bright McCausland Homestead WMA is a haven for a variety of game, including deer, turkey, rabbits and several species of migratory waterfowl including Canadian geese, according to Gary Foster, assistant chief of game management for the West Virginia DNR.
Such a stipulation on a gift to DNR is uncommon, Foster said, but not an issue.
“Occasionally when a property is a gift deed to us for a wildlife management area, the landowner may have a restriction or two,” he added. “It was a generous gift, a nice piece of bottomland property along the river.”
Foster predicted the property we receive more use from hunters as more people become aware of it.
Four other bills were discussed in the Natural Resources committee Monday and sent to the Senate Judiciary committee with a recommendation for passage. One, Senate Bill 233, clarifies some language for Sunday hunting, which passed for private lands with written permission in West Virginia during the 2017 legislative session. It went into effect July 2017.
“There are some minor changes needed in the bills – some modifications just to clean it up,” Foster said. “A lot of people took advantage of (Sunday hunting) last fall.”