Senate Bill No. 144
(By Senator Unger)
[Introduced January 11, 2012; referred to the Committee on Natural Resources; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §20-2-37 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to allowing shooters who are in possession of a firearm in or near the woods to not have to possess a valid hunting license.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §20-2-37 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2. WILDLIFE RESOURCES.
§20-2-37. Display of license, etc., by persons in possession of hunting, fishing, etc., paraphernalia.
(a) Any person having in his or her possession in or near the fields or woods, or about the streams of this state, any dog, gun, fishing rod or other hunting, fishing or trapping paraphernalia, shall, upon demand of any officer authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter shall have authority to require any person who is hunting, pursuing, or in possession of game in or near the fields or woods or about the streams of this state to state his or her correct name and address, and shall exhibit for inspection: (a) (1) All applicable licenses and documents set forth in section thirty-six of this article; and (b) (2) all firearms and wildlife which he or she may have in his or her possession.
(b) The mere fact that a person possesses a firearm shall not trigger the authority of subsection (a) but may be considered along with other evidence in a determination as to whether a person is hunting or pursuing game.
(c) Nothing in this section may be construed as authorizing searches that violate article three, section six of the West Virginia Constitution or the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, nor may anything in this section be construed as effecting a waiver of these Constitutional provisions.
NOTE: The purpose of this section is to better clarify the distinction between hunters and shooters in the field. It would allow shooters who are in possession of a firearm in or near the woods to not have to possess a valid hunting license.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.