Game, Inland Fisheries and Boating


Game and Inland Fisheries; kill permits. Gives the Director of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries the authority to capture and relocate bears that are damaging a landowner's property. The bill also gives the Director the discretion of whether or not to issue a permit to kill deer which have caused damage on parcels of property of five acres or less which are not used for commercial agricultural production. Currently, the Director must issue a kill permit which authorizes the landowner to have the bears or deer that damaged his property killed. Persons having prior convictions of violating wildlife laws are prohibited from being the shooter on a kill permit. The bill also makes it lawful to sell mounted quail that have been legally raised in captivity and mounted outside of Virginia.
Patron - Phillips

Local regulation of motorboat distance. Allows the localities surrounding Lake Anna to enact ordinances requiring motorboats to remain below planing speed while within 50 feet or less of the shore or docks attached to the shore. The ordinances shall not become effective until all counties, cities, or towns adjacent to the lake have adopted the identical ordinance. The authority to enact such an ordinance is currently available to the localities surrounding Smith Mountain Lake.
Patron - Dickinson

Boating; personal watercraft rentals. Authorizes the Department of Parks and Recreation to regulate the launching of personal watercraft in a certain area of Seashore/First Landing State park in Virginia Beach and requires that any such regulations be posted.
Patron - Purkey

Insuring personal watercraft rentals. Allows localities to enact an ordinance that establishes rentals for insurance coverage for businesses which rent personal watercraft.
Patron - Purkey

Identification of personal watercraft rentals. Requires businesses in Virginia Beach which rent personal watercraft to place a red or black letter "R" on both sides of each rented personal watercraft. The letter must be at least 11 x 8.5 inches.
Patron - Purkey

Assisting hunters. Allows persons who, during a hunt, reach their daily bag or season limit for turkeys, ducks, geese and swans to assist others who are hunting, by calling these wild birds, so long as their weapons are unloaded. Hunters who have reached their limit before the hunt may offer such assistance but are forbidden to have a weapon in their possession.
Patron - Abbitt

Personal watercraft ordinance enforcement. Empowers game wardens, sheriffs and other law-enforcement officers to enforce local ordinances regulating the use of personal watercraft (jet skis).
Patron - Murphy

Definition of no wake. Defines "no wake" speed as the operation of a motorboat or vessel at the slowest possible speed required to maintain steerage and headway.
Patron - Tata

Boating; no wake speed. Makes it unlawful to operate a motorboat above "no wake" speed when within 50 feet of various structures and people in the water. The bill also repeals the authority of local governments adjacent to Smith Mountain Lake to require motorboats with engines greater than 20 horsepower to operate below planing speed while within 50 feet of the shore or docks. The Smith Mountain Lake statute has never become effective, since not all of the localities have enacted appropriate ordinances as required by the statute. The bill contains a delayed effective date of January 1, 1999.
Patron - Tata

Personal watercraft rentals. Provides that beginning January 1, 1999, a person who is in the business of renting personal watercraft must provide to the person who rents such a watercraft information on the laws governing motorboat operation, specific operating requirements of the personal watercraft, and any motorboat safety requirements. The information is to be approved by the Director. Failure to do so is punishable by a civil penalty of no more than $250. The offense shall be prosecutable by the attorney for the locality and the civil penalty shall be paid into the local treasury. A provision is included to ensure that the violation of the section does not constitute negligence per se.
Patron - Tata

Operation of personal watercraft; penalty. Prohibits a person from operating a personal watercraft in excess of the slowest possible speed required to maintain steerage and headway within 50 feet of piers, boathouses, boat ramps, people in the water and other personal watercraft. The bill repeals the enabling authority of local governments to regulate the distance personal watercraft operate from shores, docks, and swimmers.
Patron - Grayson

Disabled archery hunters. Requires that disabled hunters who are certified by a physician as being unable to use a conventional bow and arrow be afforded the same hunting privileges and opportunities that able-bodied archery hunters enjoy.
Patron - Katzen

Boating; Reckless operation of a personal watercraft. Makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to operate a personal watercraft recklessly. The bill includes in its definition of recklessness activities such as weaving at high speed through vessels and crossing between the tow boat and a person on water skis, etc. If a person is convicted a second or subsequent time for this offense, the court shall order that the person not operate a personal watercraft for one year. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 1999.
Patron - Dudley

Age of operation of a personal watercraft; penalty. Requires a person to be at least 16 years of age or older to operate a personal watercraft, unless he successfully completes a boating safety course approved by the Director of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. A 14- or 15-year-old who currently can legally operate a personal watercraft would be able to continue to operate a personal watercraft if he successfully completes the approved training course. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 1999.
Patron - Tata

Motorboat safety training. Makes it unlawful for anyone to rent a personal watercraft to another unless the rental agent has completed a boating safety course. The bill also requires watercraft salesmen and watercraft demonstrators to successfully complete a boating safety education course approved by the Director of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Any watercraft salesman or demonstrator who is licensed after December 31, 1998, has 60 days from the issuance of his license to sell or demonstrate watercraft to complete the course. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 1999.
Patron - Tata


Hunting and trapping. Replaces the definition of the phrase "hunting and trapping" with separate definitions for the words "hunting" and "trapping" for the purposes of Title 29.1, Game, Inland Fisheries and Boating.
Patron - Cranwell

Central charges. Exempts the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries from paying the costs of services provided to the Department by state agencies such as the Office of Attorney General and the Auditor of Public Accounts.
Patron - Guest

Bonus tags for deer. Requires the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries to allow the purchase of unlimited numbers of bonus tags for deer.
Patron - Reynolds

Carried Over

License fee adjustments. Authorizes the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries to increase the costs of basic hunting and fishing licenses and the big game license to an amount not to exceed the rise in the Consumer Price Index over the previous two years, using 1998 as the base year. However, the increase in each license fee cannot exceed one dollar for residents or two dollars for nonresidents. Before instituting such an increase, the director of the department must notify the chairmen of the two oversight committees of the proposed changes.
Patron - Councill

Personal watercraft. Increases the minimum age to operate a personal watercraft from 14 to 16.
Patron - Purkey

Boating; life jackets for children. Requires a child 12 years of age or younger to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) while in a motorboat. If the child is not wearing a PFD while the motorboat is underway, the owner or person in control of the boat is subject to a Class 4 misdemeanor.
Patron - Robinson

Special hunting permit. Requires the Director of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to issue a special hunting license to veterans who reside in veterans hospitals in Virginia. The permits may be obtained without paying a fee.
Patron - Ingram

Disabled hunters. Allows disabled hunters who have been issued a permit to hunt from a vehicle to hunt deer of either sex during any firearms deer season.
Patron - Katzen

Wildlife and crop replacement program. Expands the purposes of the damage stamp program and changes its name to the Wildlife Crop Replacement Program. The bill authorizes localities to enact an ordinance that establishes this new program and requires landowners who wish to participate in the program to receive payment for property damage, to pay a participation fee of between $25 and $100 (the specific amount to be set by the locality) and an assessment of one dollar for every five acres of cropland farmed. The damage stamp program is currently financed solely by a one dollar fee paid by hunters who obtain a damage stamp to hunt in a locality that has a damage stamp program. The proceeds from the sale of the stamp pays landowners for damage to their crops, fruit trees, nursery stock, livestock, and farm equipment by bear or deer. Under the bill, a locality's wildlife crop replacement program, capitalized with the additional revenue generated from landowner assessments, would not only reimburse landowners for damage done to their property by deer or bears but would also pay the cost of processing the meat of these killed animals. A cooperative extension agent is responsible for verifying damage claims. Disbursements from a wildlife crop replacement fund would occur once a year on December 31. For a landowner to receive funds for damage to his property incurred during the year, he would have had to have paid his participation and assessment fees before December 31 of the previous calendar year. If claims for any year exceed moneys collected from the sale of hunting stamps and landowner fees, moneys in the fund will be distributed on a percentage basis among all claimants. A three-member wildlife projects committee is established in each locality to make recommendations for funding wildlife projects when the fund's balance exceeds the amount of claims. The bill also requires any person who has been issued a kill permit in a locality that administers a wildlife crop replacement program to deliver the animal's carcass to a slaughterhouse designated by the locality. A game warden has the discretion to deny a kill permit in these localities.
Patron - Trumbo