113-264. Regulatory power over agency property; public hunting opportunities; scheduling of managed hunts.

(a) The Department and the Wildlife Resources Commission are granted the power by rule to license, regulate, prohibit, or restrict the public as to use and enjoyment of, or harm to, any property of the Department or the Wildlife Resources Commission, and may charge the public reasonable fees for access to or use of such property. "Property" as the word is used in this section is intended to be broadly interpreted and includes lands, buildings, vessels, vehicles, equipment, markers, stakes, buoys, posted signs and other notices, trees and shrubs and artificial constructions in boating and fishing access areas, game lands, wildlife refuges, public waters, public mountain trout waters, and all other real and personal property owned, leased, controlled, or cooperatively managed by either the Department or the Wildlife Resources Commission.

(a1) Every wildlife protector and every law enforcement officer of this State and its subdivisions shall have the authority within his or her established jurisdiction to enforce the rules promulgated pursuant to the power granted by this section regarding the willful removal of, damage to, or destruction of any property of the Department or the Wildlife Resources Commission.

(a2) To the extent that subsection (a1) of this section conflicts with any provision of any local act, subsection (a1) of this section prevails.

(b) Unless a different level of punishment is elsewhere set out, willful removal of, damage to, or destruction of any property of the Department or the Wildlife Resources Commission is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(c) The Wildlife Resources Commission may cooperate with private landowners in the establishment of public hunting grounds. It may provide for the posting of these areas and of restricted zones within them, require that authorized hunters obtain written permission from the owner to hunt, enforce general laws concerning trespass by hunters and concerning damage or injurious activities by hunters and by others carrying weapons on or discharging weapons across public hunting grounds or restricted zones.

(d) The Wildlife Resources Commission may schedule managed hunting opportunities for any species of wildlife administered through permits. Permit recipients shall be selected at random by computer. The Wildlife Resources Commission may require by rule that an applicant 16 years of age or older have the required hunting license before the drawing for the hunt, and that an applicant less than 16 years of age apply as a member of a party that includes a properly licensed adult if the young applicant does not have the proper hunting license. When licenses are required prior to the drawing, all applications shall be screened for compliance. A nonrefundable fee of eight dollars ($8.00) will be required of each applicant.

(d1) For applications sold directly through the Wildlife Resources Commission by telephone, mail, online, or at a service counter, the Wildlife Resources Commission may charge a fee of two dollars ($2.00) per transaction.

(e) A wildlife protector or law enforcement officer of this State or its subdivisions may have a vehicle towed at a Commission-owned or operated public boating access area if the vehicle:

(1) Is parked in an area other than one designated for parking; or

(2) Is left by an individual for a purpose other than launching, operating, or retrieving a vessel. (1965, c. 957, s. 2; 1973, c. 1262, ss. 18, 28; 1977, c. 771, s. 4; 1979, c. 830, s. 1; 1983, c. 403; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 996, s. 2; 1987, c. 827, s. 98; 1989, c. 221; c. 642, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 847; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2005-82, s. 1; 2005-164, s. 2; 2018-90, s. 1.)