SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Resident hunters and anglers who reach 65 years of age on or after January 1, 2012, will need to purchase the new Class XS Senior Sportsman’s Lifetime License to hunt, fish or trap in the state, according to Frank Jezioro, director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. The West Virginia Legislature has established the new lifetime license to permit the DNR to capture more federal revenue for its fish and wildlife management programs.
The one-time fee for the Class XS Senior Sportsman’s Lifetime License will be $25. Purchase of the Class XS license will allow seniors to hunt for small game, turkey and bear, and for deer during the archery, youth, buck-gun and muzzleloader seasons. License holders will also be able to fish for both trout and warmwater fish. No other state-issued licenses or stamps will be required for these activities.
Jezioro emphasized that the license will not be required for those who are already 65 years of age or older, and it will not change the existing privileges of landowners or those who hold other lifetime licenses. Except for landowners, all seniors currently over 65 years of age who wish to participate in antlerless deer seasons or harvest additional deer must continue to buy the required stamps for those options. The pistol license will continue to be required of all individuals who wish to hunt with a pistol.
Class XS Senior Sportsman’s Lifetime License holders will be eligible to hunt during the annual Special Split Youth and Class Q/QQ season typically held the last day of October, and for two days after Christmas. Senior sportsmen who are exempt from buying the license may wish to voluntarily purchase the Class XS license to participate in this season.
“This license will help us recover the dollars our citizens have already spent on hunting equipment,” explained Jezioro. “The federal government collects a tax on all hunting and fishing equipment sold, and returns it to the states based partially upon the number of license holders they have and the state’s land area. The new license will allow West Virginia to count seniors as license holders and qualify for a bigger share of the federal money. This is expected to bring in much-needed dollars that are crucial to continued efforts of DNR wildlife programs.”
The DNR will spend the additional revenue from the new Class XS lifetime license for activities that especially benefit senior sportsmen, such as additional access for the mobility-impaired, improvements to and operation of the state’s fish stocking program, and construction of additional shooting ranges. Responding to legislative intent, the agency also will explore other ways to provide additional benefits to Class XS license holders.
Beyond the planned benefits to seniors, Director Jezioro concluded that, “As a soon-to-be senior sportsman myself, I take comfort in the thought that my purchase of the new senior lifetime license will help all West Virginia sportsmen, from grandparents to grandkids, to continue enjoying the hunting and fishing tradition that is so much a part of the fabric of our lives. That means a lot to me and, I believe, to most sportsmen in the state. ”
Curtis Taylor, Wildlife Resources Section