H. B. 4675
(By Delegate Mezzatesta)
[Introduced February 27, 1998; referred to the
Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources then Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact section three, article two, chapter
twenty of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to the division of
natural resources; wildlife; property and other damage; and
transferring ownership to the division.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section three, article two, chapter twenty of the code
of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2. WILDLIFE RESOURCES.
§20-2-3. Ownership of wildlife.
The ownership of and title to all wild animals, wild birds,
both migratory and resident, and all fish, amphibians and all
forms of aquatic life in the state of West Virginia is hereby
declared to be in the
state division of natural resources, as trustee for the people. No such wildlife shall may be taken or
hunted in any manner, or at any time, unless the person so taking
or hunting the same shall consent wildlife consents that the
title thereto shall be and remain in the state of West Virginia
is and remains in the division of natural resources for the
purpose of regulating the taking, hunting, using and disposing of
the same wildlife. The taking or hunting of wildlife at any time
or in any manner by any person shall be is deemed such consent:
Provided, however, That all fish, frogs and other aquatic life in
privately-owned ponds are, and shall remain, the private property
of the owner or owners of such privately-owned ponds, and that
such fish, frogs and other aquatic life in such privately-owned
ponds may be caught, taken or killed by such owner or owners at
The division of natural resources is responsible for the
wildlife in this state at all times and is liable for any loss or
damage caused by wildlife that occurs in the state at any time.
The division shall fully reimburse any person for loss or damage
caused by wildlife when the person files a claim with the
division for reimbursement.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide compensation
for loss or damage caused by wildlife.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.