Complaints from hunters also forced a change in the DNR's proposal to open the deer archery season on the Monday closest to Oct. 1. Bowhunters didn't like the idea of a Monday opener, so DNR officials changed it to the Saturday that falls closest to Oct. 1. This year's archery season will open Sept. 29.
Commission members approved a DNR recommendation to close the September antlerless-deer archery season, which had been less than popular with sportsmen. DNR officials had also proposed to shorten to three days the six-day September antlerless-deer muzzleloader season, but commission members instead chose to eliminate it altogether.
Other significant changes approved by the commission include:
* Moving the traditional December muzzleloader season ahead one week;
* Moving the traditional December antlerless-deer season back one week and reducing it from six days to three; and
* Allowing nonresident hunters to apply for antlerless-deer permits in counties and on public areas where the state offers limited permits. Before the change, applications for those permits were restricted to state residents only.
Agency officials were "extremely pleased overall with the meeting," said Paul Johansen, the DNR's assistant wildlife chief.
"We took very seriously the comments the public had made regarding our initial proposals. We came back with some modified proposals, and the commission adopted the vast majority of those we had revised."
Members of the commission include Jeff Bowers, from Pendleton County; Byron Chambers, Hampshire County; Pete Cuffaro, Ohio County; Dr. Tom Dotson, Greenbrier County; Dave Milne, Preston County; Dave Truban, Monongalia County; and Kenny Wilson, Logan County.
Reach John McCoy at johnmc...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1231.