Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 29.1. Wildlife, Inland Fisheries and Boating
Chapter 1. Administration of Wildlife Resources

Article 3. Department of Wildlife Resources.

§ 29.1-109. Department of Wildlife Resources; Director.

A. The Department shall exist to provide public, informational and educational services related to this title, and to serve as the agency responsible for the administration and enforcement of all rules and regulations of the Board, the statutory provisions of this title, and related legislative acts. The Department shall employ scientific principles and procedures, as developed, researched, recognized and accepted within the bounds of comprehensive professional wildlife resource management, in the management of the Commonwealth's wildlife and natural resources.

B. The Board shall appoint a Director, subject to confirmation and reconfirmation every four years by the General Assembly, to head the Department and to act as principal administrative officer. In addition to the powers designated elsewhere in this title, the Director shall have the power to:

1. Enforce or cause to be enforced all laws for the protection, propagation and preservation of game birds and game animals of the Commonwealth and all fish in the inland waters thereof. Inland waters shall include all waters above tidewater and the brackish and freshwater streams, creeks, bays, including Back Bay, inlets, and ponds in the tidewater counties and cities. In waters of the Albemarle and Currituck watersheds, the management of the recreational and commercial harvest of blue crabs shall rest with the Marine Resources Commission.

2. Initiate prosecution of all persons who violate such laws, and seize and confiscate wild birds, wild animals and fish that have been illegally killed, caught, transported or shipped.

3. Enter into reciprocal or mutual aid agreements with other states pertaining to the enforcement of laws set forth in Chapters 3 (§ 29.1-300 et seq.), 4 (§ 29.1-400 et seq.), 5 (§ 29.1-500 et seq.), and 6 (§ 29.1-600 et seq.) across state boundaries.

4. Employ persons necessary for the administrative requirements of the Board and to designate the official position and duties of each. The salaries of all such employees shall be as provided in accordance with law.

5. Perform such acts as may be necessary to the conduct and establishment of cooperative fish and wildlife projects with the federal government as prescribed by acts of Congress and in compliance with rules and regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the Interior.

6. Make and enter into all contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to the performance of his duties and the execution of his powers, including, but not limited to, contracts with the United States, other state agencies and governmental subdivisions of the Commonwealth.

7. When practicable, consult with, and keep informed, wildlife and boating constituent organizations so as to benefit Virginia's wildlife and natural resources and accomplish the Department's mission.

Code 1950, §§ 29-8, 29-16; 1952, c. 680, § 29-1.1; 1954, c. 632, § 29-15; 1962, c. 469, § 29-14; 1974, c. 59, § 29-2; 1979, c. 264, § 29-13; 1987, c. 488; 1999, c. 215; 2000, c. 10; 2006, cc. 69, 915; 2012, c. 595; 2015, c. 68; 2020, c. 958.

§ 29.1-110. Disbursements, accounts for Department; Board.

A. The disbursements of the Department and the Board shall be limited to the amount appropriated by the General Assembly from the game protection fund to expenditures from the Lifetime Hunting and Fishing Endowment Fund. In no event shall the Commonwealth pay obligations that may be incurred by the Department or Board or be liable in any manner for such obligations except to the extent of the game protection fund and the Lifetime Hunting and Fishing Endowment Fund.

B. Accounts for salaries, allowances, wages and expenses authorized by the Board shall be certified to the Comptroller for payment as the Board may direct by resolution.

Code 1950, §§ 29-21, 29-22; 1956, c. 337; 1987, cc. 95, 488.

§ 29.1-111. Sale of timber; portion of proceeds to be paid to locality.

A. The Director is authorized to manage and harvest timber on lands owned by the Board in accordance with the best timber and game management practices, and to sell the timber. Proceeds from the sale of such timber shall be deposited in the state treasury to the credit of the game protection fund.

B. When the Director authorizes the selling of timber which is standing, or which has been cut from timber standing on land owned by the Board, the Board shall pay to the locality in which the standing timber is located twenty-five percent of the proceeds of the sale of the timber, after deducting the cost of any road constructed by the Department which is necessary for the sale of the timber.

Code 1950, § 29-23; 1964, c. 532, § 29-23.01; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-112. Payment of license and permit fees.

The Director may authorize the acceptance of any method of payment authorized by § 2.2-614.1 in lieu of money for payment of any fees collected by the Department or agents acting on behalf of the Department for any licenses or permits issued under this title or for any merchandise sold by the Department.

1999, c. 254; 2002, c. 719.

§ 29.1-113. Admittance, parking, and use at certain Department-owned facilities or Department-leased land; civil penalty.

A. No person shall make use of, gain admittance to, or attempt to use or gain admittance to certain Department-owned facilities where the Department charges a fee established by the Board pursuant to § 29.1-103, unless the person pays such fee. However, such fee shall not apply to (i) any person holding a valid hunting, trapping, or fishing permit or current certificate of boat registration issued by the Department; (ii) any person 16 years of age or younger; or (iii) the use of Department-owned boat ramps.

B. No person shall hunt on private lands managed by the Department through a lease agreement or other similar memorandum of agreement where the Department issues an annual hunting stamp without having purchased a valid annual hunting stamp.

C. Any person violating subsection A or B may, in lieu of any criminal penalty, be assessed a civil penalty of up to $50 by the Department. Civil penalties assessed under this section shall be paid into the Game Protection Fund established pursuant to § 29.1-101.

D. No owner or driver shall cause or permit a vehicle to stand:

1. On property owned or managed by the Department outside of a designated parking space, except for a reasonable time in order to receive or discharge passengers or in the case of an emergency;

2. In any designated parking space on property owned or managed by the Department in violation of any posted rule regarding use of the space; or

3. In any space on property owned or managed by the Department designated for use by persons with disabilities unless the vehicle displays a license plate or decal issued by the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, or a similar identification issued by a similar authority of another state or the District of Columbia, that authorizes parking in such a designated space. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 29.1-554, any regulation of the Board, or any other trespass provision in the Code of Virginia, no person violating this subsection shall be subject to a criminal penalty. Any person violating this subsection may, in lieu of any criminal penalty, be assessed a civil penalty of $25, which shall be paid into the Game Protection Fund.

2003, c. 562; 2004, c. 280; 2011, c. 768; 2020, c. 321; 2022, cc. 33, 34.

§ 29.1-114. Hunting from aircraft feral hogs.

Notwithstanding § 5.1-17, employees of the Department and employees of federal agencies whose responsibilities include fisheries and wildlife management, in the performance of such employees' official duties, may hunt or kill feral hogs in False Cape State Park and Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge from aircraft, with the permission of the landowner. However, no such activity shall occur during waterfowl season.

2016, c. 116; 2020, c. 958.