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  1. #1
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    Default Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance

    Sportsmen and women from across Virginia have banded together to form the Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance. ( http://vahda.org ) We are rabbit, deer, coon, bear, Fox, Coyote, Squirell and bird hunting dog owners. We are Sportsmen that hunt with dogs but know that this is a fight for the survival of all hunting, as we know it! This Alliance seeks to get every Hunt Club and Hunting group to join us in the fight to save our Heritage of hunting with Dogs in Virigina by sending us their membership list and the largest donation possible. No donation is too small. This is a joining of groups NOT a replacement for any group or club. We will work together and be stronger!

    Hunting with hounds has been targeted in Virginia. The DGIF has proposed to undertake a study with Virginia Tech. It is of upmost importance that all hunting dog sportsman and sportswomen be made aware and ask to join Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance to restrcuture the DGIF. join our fight and preserve your way of hunting for future generations.


    Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance has grown to be the largest outdoor sporting organization in Virginia! We still have a great deal to do. Our heritage and very culture are under attack. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has advanced the timetable for its hunting dog study. Focus groups that were to have met "after the first of the year" are already holding meetings! While they call us alarmist, they are working hard to destroy our tradition of hunting with hounds. Wardens are telling hunters every day that "they" are going to end hunting with dogs in Virginia within five years!

    If you want to save your heritage: we need EVERYONE to do the following:

    1. Call your two legislators and POLITELY ask them to support the Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance's effort to change the selection of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Board of Directors. Tell them that you are counting on them to defend your right to hunt with dogs.

    2. Get your hunt club to send us their mailing list with email addresses! Tell everyone you hunt with or know to go to our website http://vahda.org and JOIN NOW!

    3. Send Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance a donation now and ask your club to send a donation to help with this fight.

    We must get our fellow hunters to help now. Please don't wait for someone else to act. It will only take a few minutes for you to phone your General Assembly members. Even more helpful would be a personal visit to discuss your concerns face to face.

    The future of Hound Hunting in Virginia is up to you!

    Sincerely,

    THE VIRGINIA HUNTING DOG ALLIANCE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

    Free Membership is being offered to all Virginia Hunting men and women. click on this link and join http://vahda.org



  2. #2
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    Nov. 29, 2007
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    Hello,

    How does your group differ from the very successful, very large Virginia Hunting Dog Owners Alliance? It appears to me the groups have similar if not identical goals???

    Thanks --



  3. #3
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    Our goals are the same but our agenda ( to change the selection of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Board of Directors) is different.

    The Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance is working to secure, for posterity, the heritage of hunting with dogs in the Commonwealth of Virginia and to promote and advance the opportunities to use dogs for hunting through aggressive educational programs and political action.

    Educational programs will promote hunting with dogs to the general public, the sportsmen’s community and elected officials.

    Political action may include all state and local offices (excluding Federal elections) and will include lobbying the members of the Virginia General Assembly in support of the right to hunt with dogs.

    Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance Committee

    Questions or comments? Email us at info@vahda.org
    Last edited by Hokieman; Dec. 22, 2007 at 07:11 PM. Reason: explanation



  4. #4
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    The people have a right to hunt, fish, and harvest game, subject to such regulations and restrictions as the General Assembly may prescribe by general law. Virginia Constitution, Article XI, section 4

    DGIF derives all authority from the legislature, which according to Article 1 Section 2 of the Virginia Constitution is derived from the people. The DGIF Board members all 11 are currently appointed by the Governor and serve"at his pleasure". Only the Governor sets policy for his administration, Governor Kaine has a record of being aggressively anti-gun and pro animal rights! We need the members of the General Assembly to help defend our Heritage!



  5. #5
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    Thumbs up my thoughts....

    As stakeholders in this effort , we responded to the initial call for interest from DGIF and have gotten at least 1 email back from them with updates. I don't how they are deciding WHO to interview or querry about this problem. Think I read somewhere it was by private invitation or something? You seem alarmed at the directors per se. What are the problems with their directors? Who is the problem? Are there actually directors of DGIF that are anti-hunting with dogs?!!!!

    Please enlighten! And thank you for your interest in this important matter to those of us in Virginia. My impression is that this whole thing sprang from problems the deer hunters in southern/central Va. were having with landowners. Is this true? Most deerhunters in our region are not hunting with dogs but of course there are PLENTY of foxhunting/rabbit hunting packs organized up here in northern Va. But we all share landowner relations issues with our sports.



  6. #6
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    Here are some answers the DGIF has put out for the many questions you may have.

    Hunting with Hounds in Virginia: A Way Forward
    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
    The following are questions, and their answers, often asked of VDGIF and Virginia Tech staff related to the Hunting with Hounds project.

    How were people selected to participate in the focus group meetings?
    Focus group participants, representing the broad spectrum of stakeholder interests, were invited to attend by VDGIF and Virginia Tech personnel leading this process. Many people had previously contacted the VDGIF and expressed an interest in participating. Others were invited because they had some involvement in hound hunting issues in the past, either as a hunter, hunt club member, landowner, or in another capacity. Many participants are leaders in their communities, many of them represent the views of local hunt clubs, sportsmen's groups, and kennel clubs. Obviously not everyone could be invited to participate in this first of many opportunities to participate in the project, but no one was purposefully excluded.

    How many and what kinds of complaints has the VDGIF received about hound hunting?
    Although the exact number and nature of complaints is difficult to track, the VDGIF dispatch center received 906 calls during last hunting season and thus far this season related to hound hunting. Five hundred of those calls related to concerns regarding hunting in roadways and 406 calls were related to trespass/dog retrieval complaints. It is unclear how many of those calls were due to actual infractions or misunderstandings by the callers. More important than the number of complaints, however, is the fact that complaints received by conservation police officers, VDGIF staff, and others over the past several years has increased to the point that hound hunting issues were getting the attention of some legislators. The VDGIF initiated the Hunting with Hounds in Virginia project as a way to proactively and positively examine issues related to hunting with hounds, in hopes of bringing hunters and landowners together to resolve issues rather than battle each other over competing bills in the General Assembly.

    Isn't the real purpose of the project is to get rid of hound hunting?
    The short answer is absolutely not! The purpose of the Hunting with Hounds in Virginia project is to preserve the tradition of hunting, including hunting with hounds, in a manner that is fair, sportsmanlike, and consistent with the rights of property owners and other citizens. The VDGIF believes that hound hunting is a time-honored tradition in the Commonwealth and hopes that, through this project, stakeholders can find their own ways to resolve valid issues related to hound hunting, enabling this important Virginia heritage to continue with dignity and the highest standard of ethics.

    I've heard that the VDGIF is going to adopt regulations like the ones they have in Georgia and other southern states, is that true?
    No changes in regulations or laws governing hunting with hounds are proposed at this time. Any strategies that are proposed in the future will be the result of discussions among the many stakeholders involved in this project. In recent years, other southern states have enacted regulations aimed at reducing conflicts related to hound hunting. Strategies employed by other states include hunt club and dog registration requirements and allowing hound hunting only on areas that meet minimum contiguous acreage requirements. As part of this process, the VDGIF Technical Committee will be reviewing and evaluating the strategies developed by other states; however, the purpose of the Hunting with Hounds project is to find strategies that work for Virginia. What works for other states might not be appropriate for the Commonwealth. By providing many, varied opportunities for public input and involvement in resolving hound hunting issues, the VDGIF and Virginia Tech hope that any recommendations resulting from this process reflect the interests and needs of Virginians.



  7. #7
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    There are about 225,000 licensed hunters in Virginia according to DGIF. There are about 170,000 hound hunters! and another 25,000 waterfowl & bird hunters using dogs!

    "the VDGIF dispatch center received 906 calls during last hunting season and thus far this season related to hound hunting. Five hundred of those calls related to concerns regarding hunting in roadways and 406 calls were related to trespass/dog retrieval complaints. It is unclear how many of those calls were due to actual infractions or misunderstandings by the callers."

    The numbers don't add up to me to merit a hound hunting study.



  8. #8
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    I am so very glad to see this thread here.

    906 calls....

    How many counties in VA? Divide that by 906. Or 406. Or the 170,000 licensed hunters.

    Your comment that the numbers do not add up is the understatement of the year (thank-you!).

    May I also point out several observations regarding those so-called complaints?

    * Exactly how does VGDIF define a VALID complaint? What is some irate person calls 3 x in one day? or maybe a dozen times in one hunting season? In such a case how many times is it counted?

    * Shouldn't a VALID complaint not be counted as such unless and until it is INVESTIGATED by a game warden and determined to be such?

    * Shouldn't there be compilation and analysis of complaints in a data base so some valid conclusions can be drawn, such as looking for trends over a 3-5 year period, determining what group is causing most complaints, what localities most are in etc.

    906 complaints is....incredibly suspect, vague, and useless if they cannot provide more info than that single figure.

    I see very little credibility for counting them unless they can back them up with solid evidence.

    And that is just for starters.



  9. #9
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    It's too late to ask these questions. You have to become directly involved - as Tech is in charge of this study - not DGIF.

    The folks at Tech have no idea what hunting with hounds is like. They'll take that unverified figure and consider it gospel.

    The reason this came about is that a couple of citizens contacted their state reps about some jerks trespassing on their land. Instead of dealing with the game warden - they wanted the exception to trespass revoked. Finally, after the bills were killed, the legislature tasked DGIF with finding out if a regulation needed to be changed.

    Somehow, DGIF decided to expand this very narrow issue to encompass the entire commonwealth and hunting with any type of hound, for any quarry.

    It's too late to get ticked off at DGIF, because the study is underway and hunters are already being completely ignored. We're the stakeholders - but we're not being treated like stakeholders.

    Don't get me started.



  10. #10
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    Putting on my flame suit now ... I have foxhunted. In VA. Tho I haven't hunted in several years due to not having a horse up to the task for a while.

    I'm also a property owner. In central VA. I have never called any kind of authority, be it the co. sheriff's office, the game warden, or whomever. But there is most definitely a problem with hounds and I can sympathize with those who have felt the need to call someone.

    Because I have had so many, almost daily during hunting season (including on Sundays) problems with hunting dogs running onto my property, circling my riding area throughout entire schooling sessions, keeping every horse on the place agitated and our dogs, cats, and chickens as well -- and often they are running loose and not actively being hunted. I'm talking about deer dogs here. DH and I were trying to school this week -- fun calming your horse down with deer starting up and racing by VERY close, followed endlessly by the dogs because they don't seem to be on a direct line but are sounding off and circling.

    Dogs hunting morning, afternoon, middle of the night. Friday some folks were hunting around our place, men "hallooing" endlessly but three hounds insisted on hanging out in one of our horse pastures, ignoring their calls, then one dog started making a beeline for the henhouse but ran when I shouted at him (but of course it agitated the chickens anyway).

    And then there's the men parked on the side of the road, waiting for the dogs to run the deer by. The men in lawn chairs on our semiprivate dirt road. Sitting there with their shotguns in their laps with the business end POINTED AT THE ROAD, so that I am DRIVING BY WITHIN FOOT OR SO (no shoulder to the road) OF A LOADED SHOTGUN POINTING RIGHT AT ME. Being in a car is only slight comfort when you are in close range of a presumably loaded shotgun.

    Hunters on the property without permission. Frequently. And not in the act of retrieving a dog, either.


    Frankly, foxhunting just seems a different business to me. There are staff right up there with the hounds as much as possible. That's a big difference from foot followers, who can't possibly stay with the hounds, or those who just stay in one place and don't try to follow the hounds. With staff right there with the hounds, it's much easier to do your best to ensure land is only crossed or entered with prior permission as much as possible. There aren't generally firearms involved, and again, since the hounds are being closely hunted they are called off lines other than the hunted quarry pretty quickly.

    As both a property owner and (at least a former) foxhunter, I'm just saying there are definitely two sides to the story. Truly, the lands surrounding me are hunted multiple times per week from November to early January. Many of our own animals, although many get accustomed and tune it all out, just can't ignore the dogs trespassing on their property and it keeps them agitated.

    I hope all hunters will try to consider if there aren't ways to work more with property owners. There are complex issues here, truly. Living where I live is sometimes noisier than my dearest friend's place in Church Hill in Richmond. DH and I just have to laugh and try to joke about it, but it is VERY aggravating.

    And a lot of the new property owners, I'm guessing, will be coming from urban and suburban backgrounds and will not have much exposure to hunting and country ways. We need to think of ways to work together.

    BTW, I'd guess the comments about DGIF being out of the loop at this point are spot on. I've worked with DGIF through their Wildlife Mapping program in the past, and now the Master Naturalist program ... I think those guys are great. I'm guessing it's not really in their hands at this point, as another poster suggested???



  11. #11
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    I think we're talking about two different things.

    What you're having a problem with is enforcement of our hunting and game regs.

    And yeah - I'd be ticked. I'm a landowner too, and allow hunting on my farm. On the other hand - I know that there is a difference between a person, hunting with a dog or dogs - and obeys the law - and one who doesn't.

    What's the old saying about you can never find a cop when you need one? Well, maybe your area needs more or better game wardens.

    What's being done is an enormous, overly broad study that is going to take down the good and the bad hunters alike. I don't distinguish between mounted, english style foxhunting, and other hunting. It's ALL hunting with hounds.

    This should have been approached from a law enforcement perspective. If there is a high incidence, or citizen complaints about speeding on a road, the cops set up speed traps, increased patrols, DUI checks, etc.

    This is how DGIF should respond to citizen complaints about illegal hunting.

    They didn't. The excuse was that it was "too hard to prove", the hunter wasn't taking legal advantage of the exception to trespass.

    I don't agree. It was lousy law enforcement, or good law enforcement without the support necessary to do their jobs.

    Again, what you are complaining about isn't ethical and legal hunters. You're upset with people who break the law. Who wouldn't be?

    The laws and regs are already on the books. They're not being enforced. We don't need a "study". We need DGIF to do its job.

    I love hunting. I really love hunting with my little beagle. I also love to hear the cry of my neighbors hounds, and understand that the hounds might get a bit too eager and come onto my land. As long as folks obey the law - they are welcome to retrieve their hounds - I might even give them a hot cup of tea. I recently reunited two lost beagles with their owner. Nice dogs, nice hunter. Glad to have his hounds back.

    Part of living in a rural area is accepting the culture and community that existed there long before you moved in. A loose hunting dog happens. It's just a fact of life. Just like your horses might get loose after a storm. Heck - I've had cows end up in my front yard. Bear too.

    Most of the complaints about hunting come from urbanites who move into the country but what the country to adapt to their idea of what country life is like. Others have legitimate complaints because a few jerks are being...... jerks. Again - that's a job for law enforcement - not "focus groups".

    I am infuriated by people who drink and drive. But I don't want to outlaw alcohol or cars - I just want people prosecuted. What's being done to hunters is that we're all being painted with the same brush. It's unfair, and there is no way we can defend against it, because we don't have money.

    The needs of a rabbit hunter are different from a deer hunter. Or bear. Or duck. Or fox. Some people hunt on public land, some hunt on leased land, and some own their own land. Hunting with dogs is extremely varied - yet a blanket approach is being taken. It will end in disaster.



  12. #12
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    Dec. 22, 2007
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    It was told by Cale Godfrey that they kept records of no such numbers , but if I wanted to field calls in his office I could see for myself . On another note a FOIA inquiry has been submitted by Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance to get an actual figure total on the complaints.

    You still have a voice, that the reason Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance was started, were a political action group and will be lobbying the members of the general assembly to not pass any new bills that may be submitted to the floor. join today, this fight will be won or lost in the general assembly.

    I agree with J swan those are enforcement issues of laws that are already in place. A call to the local police would have resolved any issue you may have had, but letting them get away with that nonsense makes everyone look bad.



  13. #13
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    These are the Grants that were awarded to Dr. Steven Mcmullen



    Development of a land-use management plan for virginia's wildlife management areas
    Grant #: 447897
    Sponsor: VA Department of Game & Inland Fish
    PI: McMullin, Steve L.
    Inception to Date Total: $180,431
    Original Proposal #: 07267306
    OSP Admin.: Caldwell, Janice S.
    Program: Research
    Maximum Amt: $180,431
    Fund Code Financial Mgr. Department College Start Date End Date Transaction Year
    447897 McMullin, Steve L. Fisheries and Wildlife Science Natural Resources Aug 1, 2007 Jun 30, 2011 $180,431 2008
    Total Transactions: $180,431

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hunting with hounds in virginia
    Grant #: 447898
    Sponsor: VA Department of Game & Inland Fish
    PI: McMullin, Steve L.
    Inception to Date Total: $79,443
    Original Proposal #: 07267306
    OSP Admin.: Caldwell, Janice S.
    Program: Research
    Maximum Amt: $79,443
    Fund Code Financial Mgr. Department College Start Date End Date Transaction Year
    447898 McMullin, Steve L. Fisheries and Wildlife Science Natural Resources Aug 1, 2007 Jun 30, 2011 $79,443 2008
    Total Transactions: $79,443

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is a job offer he submitted to Utah State University.


    RA Virginia Tech
    Research Associate: Public Involvement and Conflict Resolution Specialist
    Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences
    Virginia Tech

    The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences seeks to fill a full-time, term-limited research associate position with expertise in public involvement and conflict resolution in natural resource management and planning. The person in this position will work closely with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to facilitate public involvement in planning processes related to issues of importance to the agency. Primary emphasis in the first year will be on the issue of hunting with hounds in Virginia, with emphasis shifting in subsequent years to development of a land-use management plan for Virginia's state-owned wildlife management areas. Duties of the position include arranging and facilitating focus groups, advisory committee meetings and other public involvement events as well as maintaining lines of communication between Virginia Tech and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. This is a special research faculty position with full faculty benefits, including tuition waiver for classes as outlined by Virginia Tech policy. The position is expected to be funded for at least 4 years but must be renewed annually.

    Master's degree in fisheries & wildlife science, natural resources, or related field. Experience in one or more of the following areas: planning and public involvement in a natural resources field, conflict resolution, and meeting facilitation. Excellent communication skills. Anticipated salary is $30,000 per year with opportunities for adjustments depending on funding and performance.

    Apply online at www.jobs.vt.edu , searching on posting # 070791. Attach a resume or cv, a cover letter, and a list of three professional references to the online faculty application. Review of applications will begin on September 7, 2007. Individuals with disabilities who need accommodation in the search process should contact the search committee chair, by the review date. Virginia Tech is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. For further information contact:

    Dr. Steve L. McMullin, Search Committee Chair
    Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences
    Virginia Tech
    Blacksburg, VA 24061-0321
    smcmulli@vt.edu
    Phone: (540) 231-8847
    Fax: (540) 231-7580


    Steve L. McMullin, Associate Professor
    Associate Department Head
    Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences
    President-Elect, Southern Division American Fisheries Society
    Virginia Tech
    Blacksburg, VA 24061-0321
    Phone: (540) 231-8847
    Fax: (540) 231-7580



  14. #14
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    This was in the Roanoke Times and written by Bill Cochran.

    Hound hunting debate mounts
    Bill Cochran

    BILL: My name is Bryan Morris and I am the president of the United Eastern Virginia Hunting Dog Association and interim co-chair of the Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance. I am writing in reference to our position with the hound hunting study and the resolution that has passed the Board of Supervisors in several Southside Virginia counties.

    The resolution in question merely emphasizes to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries that these counties are in favor of hound hunting, which plays a large part in their local economies. The resolution does state opposition for the current study by the DGIF and Virginia Tech.

    The reasoning behind our opposition is as follows:

    The impetus for the study is a reported increase in complaints [about hound hunters], but no numbers have been reported to substantiate this claim. Mr. [Bob] Duncan, [DGIF wildlife chief], was asked about the number of complaints, and was unable to give an estimate. We would like to be informed of the specific number and nature of the complaints, which sparked this study.

    The study will be expensive. We have not been told the cost, but Virginia Tech advertised the assistant’s position at $30,000 per year with full faculty benefits. We do not see this as a judicious use of our licensing fees.

    The profile of the focus group members continues to change. The original proposal involved a group of hunters that used dogs meeting to identify problems and offering options or proposals before legislation was imposed. When the study was announced at the DGIF June meeting, it was to include not only houndsmen, but also animal-welfare group members, still hunters, hikers and landowners.

    As opposition to the study arose, we were then told that 70 percent of the study participants would be houndsmen. Now we are told houndsmen will make up 50 percent. How are we to be certain that the methods are not being changed to insure a predetermined outcome?

    Mr. Duncan has stated on several occasions that there may be no changes made or legislative proposals. This is very difficult to believe. The results of this study will most certainly be the basis of proposed legislation. The backing of Virginia Tech and the DGIF will give enough credence to any bill to guarantee its path through the legislature. The original process would have allowed for houndsmen to work with the DGIF to institute programs and practices that would not involve restrictive legislation.

    The method by which individuals are picked to be on the focus group is also questionable. What insurance is there to guard against “cherry picking?” How can we insure that our interests are being protected? The results of inquiry into a bear baiting issue by the DGIF, resulted in a proposal to ban tracking collars. No matter how “well intended” the resulting proposal was ill conceived and misguided. The issue was baiting, not telemetry.

    In short, the study is unfounded and costly. It has questionable composition, means and methods. Therefore, the results will be questionable. Since this study will be the basis of upcoming legislation that will have the backing it needs to easily pass the legislature, we find it unacceptable in its current form.

    We recognize that there are issues to address. We want to be part of the solution and not have it imposed upon us. We urge all of our membership to be courteous and professional. Information on the Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance can be found at vahda.org.

    BRYAN MORRIS
    DVM



  15. #15
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    Things you need to know about the hound hunting study
    by Bill Cochran


    Dr. Steve McMullin may not be carrying a whistle or wearing a zebra shirt, but he is in for a lot of refereeing as facilitator of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ study of hunting with hounds in Virginia.

    The process has divided hound hunters. Some see it as an attack on their tradition. Others believe the best hope for preserving their sport is to join with the DGIF and address issues that have been giving hound hunting a bad name among landowners and even other hunters.

    The task for McMullin, who is associate professor of the Virginia Tech Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, is to make certain the process is clear, fair and meets designated goals.

    Here are his comments on several questions I asked:

    Q. What is behind the examination of hound hunting in Virginia?

    A. The DGIF began this examination in an effort to preserve the tradition of hound hunting while addressing the legitimate concerns of landowners who have complained in increasing numbers in recent years that their rights are being trampled.

    Some landowners have suggested that legislation is needed to address their concerns. The DGIF would prefer to have reasonable people from all sides of the issue talking to each other to address concerns. It is better to bring hunters and landowners together to work out their own solutions rather than fighting each other over potential laws and regulations.

    Q. Some hound hunters say the process is an effort to outlaw the use of dogs in deer hunting. How would you reply to that?

    A. Nothing could be further from the truth. Why would an agency that derives the majority of its income from hunters and anglers want to eliminate a significant number of its stakeholders?

    The agency’s goal in this process is clear: to preserve the tradition of hunting, including hunting with hounds, in a manner that is fair, sportsmanlike and consistent with the rights of property owners and other citizens.

    All hunters should be concerned about shrinking opportunities to hunt because Virginia’s landscape is changing. Development pressure has gobbled up or surrounded many areas that have traditionally supported hunting, and many of the new landowners are less supportive of traditional uses of the land.

    Q. What about the people who say this process is nothing more than an anti-hunting move?

    A. I think it is unfortunate that a few folks are preying on the legitimate concerns of hunters with baseless and ridiculous accusations of anti-hunting sentiment in the DGIF instead of working with the agency to address the real issues.

    Q. Who are the stakeholders in this process?

    A. Everyone who has an interest in hunting in Virginia is a stakeholder. Our goal is to provide ample opportunity for everyone who chooses to participate.

    Q. A technical committee has been assigned. What is its function?

    A. It consists of DGIF wildlife managers and conservation police. Later we expect DGIF media specialists will be involved. The committee’s task is to research the issues and provide technically sound information to benefit the stakeholders.

    Q. Hound hunters say they originally were told that they would be the only stakeholders in an effort to solve their own problems. Now even animal-right’s people will be involved. What’s behind the broader base?

    A. The DGIF is bound by law to look out for the interests of all Virginians with respect to wildlife. Hunters, and especially hound hunters, clearly have the most direct interest and will be treated as the most important stakeholders in the process. However, the other people with an interest in the issues must be brought to the table. You can’t resolve issues between landowners and hunters by talking only to hunters.

    We will have an advisory committee comprised of a broad cross-section of all interests. Members must agree to pursue the goal of preserving the tradition of hunting, including hound hunting, in a manner that is fair, sportsmanlike and consistent with the rights of property owners and other citizens.

    Q. Some hunters will tell you that involving animal-rights people is carrying it a bit far. What’s your take?

    A. They have the same right to participate as other stakeholders. We are specifically inviting people who we know have a great interest in the issues to participate in a series of focus group meeting over the next couple of months. The majority of these will be for hunters, and about half of them specifically for hound hunters. One focus group will consist of non-hunters who have an interest in the issue.

    Q. What if a person would like to be a stakeholder but is not selected to be part of the advisory committee? What opportunities will he or she have?

    A. There is much more to this process than who will serve on the advisory committee. This is a very inclusive process. Everyone with an interest in hunting in Virginia has multiple opportunities to participate, including through informal surveys, public meetings, review of the draft report and by calling, writing on emailing the DGIF.

    Q. What is the role of Virginia Tech in the process?

    A. To serve as a neutral and impartial manager. We have no stake in the outcome other than to ensure that every effort is made to promote the participation of those who have an interest in the outcome and to also ensure that all interests are treated fairly.

    Q. What skills do you personally bring to the table?

    A. I have more than 30years' experience in the fisheries and wildlife profession, first as a fisheries manager and chief of fisheries management for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and for the last 18 years as a faculty member of Virginia Tech’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences.

    In Montana, I revamped the state’s process for involving the public in making management decisions. In Virginia I have worked with the DGIF to implement my philosophy of public involvement through the development of the first statewide deer management plan and the statewide black bear management plan.

    My career has been dedicated to demonstrating that sound management of fish and wildlife must include both good science provided by professionals and meaningful involvement of stakeholders in determining what benefits we want our resources to produce.

    Q. When do you expect a final report and do you see recommendations going to the General Assembly?

    A. A draft report should be available for public comment by early next fall. After the public has had a chance to comment on it, a final report will be prepared and presented to the DGIF board.

    We have no preconceived plan to take anything to the General Assembly. If any recommendations go to the General Assembly, it will be because hunters, landowners and wildlife managers have worked together to generate solutions to issues that they agree require legislative action.

    An ideal solution to the issues surrounding hound hunting would be for hunters and landowners to agree on actions that resolve their own issues.



  16. #16
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    Dec. 22, 2007
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    The target of all of this is getting rid of FREE CASTING OF HOUNDS, Closing a loophole and canceling out the right to retrieve law and shortening training seasons so that other programs may be added.

    In case you don't know who is in charge of the Hound Hunting Study Committie.

    from an email I recieved.

    Mr. Rick Busch, our Assistant Director in Wildlife, is the Chair of the Hound Hunting Study Committee. Please contact him via email at Rick.Busch@dgif.virginia.gov or by phone at (804) 367-1215 for in-depth information on the focus group, schedules and any minutes. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

    Angele M. Goff
    Administrative Staff Assistant
    VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries
    4010 West Broad Street
    Richmond, VA 23230
    (804) 367-9231
    FAX (804) 367-0405



  17. #17
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    May. 25, 2003
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    Thumbs up wow!

    Wow Hokieman! Thank you for all that information. Very interesting. Does anyone know if the mounted foxhunting community members are active in this endeavor? I looked at the VHDA website and didn't see any mounted foxhunting clubs listed. Who are the mounted individual foxhunters involved? Is the MFHA involved? How?

    I'm worried that we will all be impacted by what happens here and that we ought to be involved/informed. Are foxhunters just taking a "stay below the radar" stand? Will it work here? I also hunt with a foot pack and can't help but feel we'll be impacted.



  18. #18
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    Oct. 18, 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hokieman View Post
    We have no preconceived plan to take anything to the General Assembly. If any recommendations go to the General Assembly, it will be because hunters, landowners and wildlife managers have worked together to generate solutions to issues that they agree require legislative action.

    An ideal solution to the issues surrounding hound hunting would be for hunters and landowners to agree on actions that resolve their own issues.

    Wow. He wrote that? That's an outright falsehood. The GA tasked DGIF with this issue - with the specific goal of DGIF reporting back to the GA.

    That's how it works.

    The intent was to do nothing but examine its OWN regulations to ensure there was a way to prosecute hunters who abused the exception to trespass. That's how this all started. A couple of citizens contacted their state reps because they were sick of a FEW hunters in their district not obeying the law. The reps sponsored some poorly written bills that got nowhere (because they were poorly written). So the ball kept getting tossed back in DGIF's court - and they did nothing. Eventually the GA got fed up and told the DGIF to do its job.

    DGIF came up with this horrendous "study" all on its own. They were not tasked with reviewing hunting with hounds in Virginia. They were not tasked with doing anything but reviewing their OWN internal policies, regs and law enforcement methods. Instead, they've turned this into a way to make money - and add another office staff position instead of more law enforcement.

    And that's what really makes me sick. The poster who does have a problem with illegal hunting still isn't going to be able to count on a conservation police officer (game warden). If her area needs an increased presence, they should have it. Not another white collar worker in Richmond studying charts and attending meetings.

    Unfortunately, even with your alliance, the study can't be brought under control. It's taken on a life of its own, complete with people applying for grants, more staff positions, and pushing out the voice of the sportsman completely. I don't see that changing. In fact, I predict that within the next few months - hunters will be almost completely left out of this entire process. Oh, we'll be told to "write letters", or send emails. But hunters will not be at the table.

    It's a shame, because a lot of foxhunters think a ban could never happen in Virginia. Virginia - the land of George Washington, the home of foxhunting in the US, the land of Patton, Jackie Kennedy and the Middleburg Mystique.....

    That's what they thought in the UK. And look what happened.



  19. #19
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    Here is a link of a story in Richmond Times Paper today check it out.

    http://www.inrich.com/cva/ric/sports...2-24-0109.html

    Also we at Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance won't give our rights up so easily without a fight. We will be included we represent over 269 clubs and growing each day. join our fight and be counted.



  20. #20
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    Article from Woods N Water Magizine

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hunting with Hounds - A Virginia Tradition an Issue

    Should there be any doubt that hunting with hounds is an imbedded tradition in the Old Dominion, consider that the Virginia state dog is the American fox hound. Consider that none other than the father of our country, George Washington imported fox hounds into Virginia for hunting purposes. Other prominent Virginians who molded our great state and country such as Thomas Jefferson kept and hunted with hounds. Hunting deer with hounds in eastern Virginia where the undergrowth is too thick for still hunting, standing or driving has been not only a tradition but an honorable way of life for generations.
    What has changed over the years to bring the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to consider new regulations for hunting with hounds? While not a new issue, the population growth and urbanization, posted property, development, "gentleman farms" and a more negative view of hunting and hunters all have contributed to a different view of hound hunting and hunting in general. These factors along with the few hunters who disregard property rights have brought the VDGIF to the point of seeking recommendations to resolve the issue which could result in new regulatory amendments to hunting with hounds. The intensity of the issue has certainly stepped up to another level.
    Many of the small acreage farms, often held by owners without a rural or hunting background are posted and can be a point of contention when dogs hunting adjacent farms chase game onto their land. The same is true with absentee landowners (some not even U.S. Citizens) and those holding "investment property". Checking the VDGIF General Hunting Regulations regarding hunting with dogs, it is stated:

    "When the chase begins on other lands, fox hunters and coon hunters may follow their dogs on prohibited lands, and hunters of all other game, when the chase begins on other lands, may go upon prohibited lands to retrieve their dogs, but may not carry firearms or archery tackle on their persons or hunt any game while thereon."

    This regulation does not specify deer hunters who comprise the largest group of hound hunters and may have the widest ranging packs of hounds, and although not specified, I suppose they are included in the "hunters of all other game".
    No matter what your stand on hound hunting I would advise a cyber trip to the VDGIF web site and check out their current thinking on "Hunting with Hounds in Virginia: A Way Forward". There you will find the approach which the VDGIF Board decided on, I.e. A "citizen stakeholder approach: the "stakeholders" to be comprised of "landowner based organizations; bear houndsmen; deer houndsmen; raccoon and fox hunters". Also, to create a "stakeholder" advisory group to consider issues identified by the preceding group.
    To support the effort the department has formed a technical committee comprised of biologists, law enforcement officers "and others". The names and affiliation of those on the committee are listed on the web site.
    If all is not totally a tangled mess in the above committees, the next step is to involve an "independent, professional dimensions consultant" (what a bunch of politically correct phraseology). This consultant is to report back with recommendations by the fall of 2008. Are we certain this consultant will be impartial? After paying for months of consulting, surely there must be action taken based on his or her recommendations.
    Let's look at some of the means by which houndsmen, and hunters as a group can protect their rights.
    We need to face the possible POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT on the issue. Unfortunately those with the most anti-hound-hunting sentiments, especially "recreational" landowners are folks of means and have some political influence. There are also groups (e.g. P.E.T.A.) with substantial monetary backing and political influence. The obvious action is to be in touch, individually and as sportsman groups with your legislators. And if you are not already a member of an organization with hound hunting interests - get involved as there is strength in numbers and even more in organized numbers.
    Make sure someone from your organization is included in the VDGIF "focus group meetings" and in their "stakeholder advisory group". It would appear that deer, bear and raccoon hunters can also become involved as individuals.
    Make sure you as a houndsman or your hunt club respect the rights of landowners. Get to know the landowners in your hunt areas. Let them know you will be hunting with hounds and that there is a possibility the hounds will cross onto their property. Don't assume that, since you or your club has to be running dogs on a certain acreage for generations that the right to do so exists with change of ownership. Do anything possible to improve the image of your sport.
    Landowner rights must also be considered, whether they are old established farms or newcomers. These rights are already protected under existing laws and regulations and must be respected by the houndsman, who should, in addition to adhering to the letter of the law, show respect and courtesy to the landowner.
    If you are a hunter but not a houndsman, be sure to have your voice heard on the matter, for, if the hunting with hounds is further restricted, it is another restriction on our overall hunting rights. Think of the old axiom "give them an inch and they'll take a mile". That is exactly how we should look at any anti-hunting proposals or actions.
    As a deer hunter I do not hunt with hounds here in the western Virginia mountains but do respect the tradition, way of life and the fact that hunting with hounds in eastern Virginia is really a social event as well as a sporting event, and as such it should remain under the existing hunting regulations.
    Let us hope that hunting with hounds in Virginia is truly "A Way Forward" as the VDGIF phrases it, and not a step back for the sport of hunting.



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