The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has undergone a name change to become the Department of Wildlife Resources.
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries was formed in 1916. In 1926, its name was changed to the Game Commission. In 1987, the name was changed back to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Now, it has been changed again to the Department of Wildlife Resources.
There are a few reasons why the department decided that now was the time to change the name. As many citizens already know, the department is primarily self-funded. The department’s traditional constituents continue to know the agency as tee DGIF. As the demographics of Virginia have changed, however, this name has lost its relevance to the general public and many constituents who are non-sportsmen.
Many Virginia citizens today are not familiar with the terminology of “game” animals. Moreover, the department’s mission and the wildlife management responsibilities it has been given now extend to all wildlife. The former name has hampered efforts at reaching the full Virginia public and introducing them to all that the wildlife of Virginia have to offer. Several other wildlife management agencies across the country have adopted names that are more readily recognizable to all citizens and that better encompass their full missions. The name change will accomplish the same here in Virginia.
This change in the name does not mean less commitment to the hunters, anglers and boaters whose contributions have made this department what it is today. Instead, it better enables the department to continue to serve them while achieving name recognition with the public and attracting new customers, rather than continuing to rely on increases to existing funding mechanisms. The name change provides an opportunity for the department’s story to be relevant to and readily understood by all Virginians.
The department is very mindful of the costs that are associated with an effort like this. Even before the tight budget times that have recently arisen, the department planned to minimize these costs as much as possible by phasing in the change. Certain things such as signs at offices, the department website, law uniforms and vehicle markings and email domains, will be taken on initially while other changes will take place more gradually.