The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 11, 2013

Ronceverte to stage urban deer hunt

By Tina Alvey
Register-Herald Reporter

RONCEVERTE — The River City will once again stage an urban deer hunt this fall, but the starting date will be later than usual, and the rules have been tweaked.

Police Chief J.R. Byer Jr. advised city council Monday evening that the projected beginning of this year’s deer hunt is Sept. 20.

As always, only bow hunting will be permitted inside the city limits, and all sites must be cleared with the police department in advance, Byer said. City-owned property will remain off-limits to hunters, he added.

Saying he agreed with Byer, Mayor David Smith nonetheless noted, “That’s the chief’s decision.”

Smith pointed out that city-owned property such as the park and cemeteries are open to the public, with walking paths and — in the park’s case — recreational areas that are often in use. Permitting hunters to stalk prey in those venues could be a danger to public safety, the mayor and police chief agreed.

The main change in rules for this year’s hunt is the site for all deer carcasses to be checked in, Byer said. Rather than take up police officials’ time to perform that task, hunters will be directed to take the deer to Whitetail Pro Archery Sporting Goods LLC at Red Oaks Shopping Center in Fairlea.

The city received 18 applications from hunters interested in participating in last year’s urban hunt, Byer said. Each hunter is allowed to bag two deer, one of which must be a doe.

The chief cautioned that licenses may not be issued immediately upon application if he and his designee are busy with law enforcement work, but he said the wait should not be longer than 48 hours.

Application forms will be available at City Hall early next week.

In an unrelated matter, Byer also reported that the Police Department is now using new software that he believes will result in savings of both time and paper, especially when an officer is preparing documentation for grand jury presentations.

The Lewisburg Police Department is already using this same system, Byer said, noting that the White Sulphur Springs Police Department and the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department are both considering it.

“It can link all of our departments once everyone has it,” Byer said, emphasizing the data would only be available to law enforcement personnel.

In other business:

- Council voted unanimously to co-sponsor the second annual Halloween Bash, which will be staged at the Clifford Community and Recreation Center on Oct. 26. The bash is coordinated by the Ronceverte Development Corporation and the Main Street organization and includes games and assorted activities, including a costume contest.

- Council member Bob Baker announced Greenbrier Valley Shrine Day will be celebrated Sept. 28, with Shriners out in full force at select street intersections to collect funds for the Children’s Hospital. Baker urged everyone to give generously, noting that contributions at the Shriners’ State Fair booth were down this year.

- The mayor issued a proclamation in support of the HOPE Coalition’s work promoting awareness and prevention of suicide. According to the proclamation, West Virginia has the seventh highest suicide rate in the U.S.

— E-mail: talvey@register-herald.com