Sunday, May 19, 2002

Wildlife Management Gone Astray

Two Woods & Waters columns by Andy Hansroth for the Charleston (West Virginia) Sunday Gazette Mail are worthy of note. In the first article, Hansroth notes that retired DNR biologist Jack Cromer is writing a history of the DNR and wildlife management in West Virginia. In doing so, Hansroth touches on a few of the many introductions of exotic fish and wildlife into the State. For example, for many years prior to 1895, a great deal of attention was devoted to stocking streams with carp in the belief that they were to be the real food fish of the country. Only later did the undesireable features of this fish become known. Other examples include introductions of elk in 1913; 105 pairs of “English” pheasants and thousands of pheasant eggs; the purchase and release of deer from Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas, and as far away as Florida; and the purchase and release of “Hungarian partridges” from Czechoslovakia in 1937.

In the second article, Hansroth decries the recent defeat of Sunday hunting on private lands by voters in all 35 counties in which the referendum was on the ballot. This speaks volumes about the ineptitude of the State legislature. More to the point, it begs the question: “Why do West Virginia’s politicians insist on meddling with the State’s wildlife regulations instead of leaving it in the hands of the professional wildlife managers in the Division of Natural Resources?”


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