West Virginia BHA 2024 Legislative Update

WVBHA 2024 State Legislature Update


The 2024 West Virginia state legislative session is about two-thirds done. Your local chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has been monitoring the session for issues that impact our public lands, waters, and wildlife. After a quiet start, there are a few bills to watch. Legislative action will accelerate as the session winds down, so stay tuned to this blog for more updates. 


We can start with the good news! Senate Bill 425 directs the WVDOT to include a public stream access whenever new bridges are constructed, or old bridges repaired. This would greatly increase opportunities for hunting, fishing, along with those cherished family floats. West Virginia BHA strongly supports this bill as it has potential to add additional access points to our amazing public waterways. 

 This bill is currently sitting in the Senate Natural Resources Committee and we need your help to get it moving! TAKE ACTION and contact the Senate Natural Resources Committee and express support to SB 425! 



Senate Bill 688 allows WVDNR and WV Division of Forestry to enter into private forest management contracts on state lands. The language of the bill indicates that these contracts are for removal of forest biomass for the purposes of wildfire protection, but there are also provisions for “economic development.” While we are not opposed to forest management activities on public lands, we are cautious of any language that would suggest economic development opportunities could compete with sound management of quality wildlife habitat. Furthermore, WVDNR uses controlled wildfire for habitat management, and we would not want this important tool removed from their toolbox. SB 688 has passed the Senate and now sits in the House Government Organization Committee. SB 688 in the news:

Amendment to forest bill is rejected, bill passes which aims to better protect state-owned land from wildfires - WV MetroNews



House Bill 4504 removes the “resident” landowner requirement for hunting license exemptions on private property. WVDNR indicates that this would cost the state approximately $1 million dollars and lead to the loss of four NRPOs. Year after year BHA sees bills from lawmakers that may not understand the complexities of conservation funding. Any bills that result in fewer licensed hunters hurts West Virginia by reducing our share of federal conservation dollars from the excise taxes WV hunters already pay on firearms, ammunition, and other sporting goods. These federal dollars are part of a match program for state license sales; license exemptions for non-residents leaves DNR out to dry and federal money on the table. HB 4504 has passed the House Natural Resources Committee and now sits in the House Government Organization Committee. HB 4504 in the news:


About West Virginia BHA

Our chapter is dedicated to serving the interests of conservation and access to clean public lands and waters. Through planning, collaboration, and dedication, we will make a difference.

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