That most special time of year, the fall hunting season, is approaching, and by the time you see this year’s hunting and trapping guide, you will no doubt be well into planning your upcoming hunts. We enjoy an abundance of wildlife in Virginia thanks to sportsmen and women like you who are passionate about hunting. Hunting for most species has never better; so please take someone new hunting with you this year and help keep the hunting heritage alive and well in Virginia.
Given the continuing concern over lead in the environment and its impacts on avian species, I would like to encourage your use of non-lead ammunition. We are experiencing an increase in lead poisoning of species like the bald eagle. While the specific sources of that lead are not well known, as wildlife conservationists we can do our part to avoid exposing wildlife to lead poisoning through the use of non-lead ammo and the proper disposal of carcasses.
On another front, technology continues to increase the effectiveness of various types of shot used for migratory game bird as well as upland game bird and turkey. We owe it to our wildlife resources to know the ethical limits for the ammunition we use. I would strongly encourage folks to spend time at the range patterning your shotgun. The results reported in hunting ads may or may not be achievable with your particular firearm or choke.
Lastly, but importantly, the incidence of chronic wasting disease in deer continues to rise. As you read this message, the Department is increasing its CWD surveillance efforts and evaluating additional measures to protect our highly valued deer resource. CWD has now been found in 25 states and, in order to minimize our risk of further introductions, we need to be proactive and ensure that we take all practical measures to avoid the spread of the disease in Virginia. There is no cure or vaccine for CWD.
Just remember, we’re on our game so you can be on yours!
Bob Duncan, Executive Director, DGIF
Virginia’s Wildlife Restoration Program & You
Hunters and trappers create many opportunities for Virginians to enjoy exceptional hunting, trapping, and wildlife watching. Through the Federal Assistance in Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration program, you help the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries make wildlife-oriented outdoor recreation even better each time you buy a firearm, ammunition, or a hunting or trapping license.
When you buy hunting-related equipment, a portion of the excise tax levied on the manufacturer goes to the Federal Assistance in Wildlife Restoration program. Virginia currently receives over $12 million each year from this program, which funds a large portion of the Department’s habitat management and wildlife population research projects.