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Virginia - hunting on Sunday SB 850

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  • Virginia - hunting on Sunday SB 850

    Apologies if this is an old tired topic.

    This morning I got this-call-to-action email about Sunday Hunting in Virginia, "SB 850". It is pasted below for those who are interested.

    Here is where I display my ignorance of the situation...What I don't understand is why the Virginia Horse Council and Virginia Farm Bureau is against Sunday hunting. Hunting seasons vary but are usually only a couple of months out of the year. We can ride horses all year long.

    Would love to know your thoughts on this topic.
    ..................................................
    Urgent Call to Action - Sunday Hunting Bill Introduced
    Posted by: "shaungier
    Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:18 pm (PST)


    Good Afternoon Riders

    Over the course of this week the Virginia Horse Council (VHC) has been closely monitoring Bill SB 850, (Hunting; allowed on Sundays), which was introduced in the General Assembly by Senator Peterson, who represents Fairfax City and part of Fairfax County. Generally, this Bill is tabled quickly but this year there is a very real threat and we need everyone to rally -and quickly.

    The VHC, along with Virginia Farm Bureau (VFB), has historically taken a position against Sunday hunting (not hunting as a whole). According to the legislative staff with VFB, the NRA has been very active in calling the VA Farm Bureau Federation and asking them to change their decision and not oppose Sunday Hunting. The bill is on the docket for Monday's Senate Ag Meeting. NRA is hitting the capital hard today and plans to be there throughout the weekend to voice their opinion.

    Our Legislative Committee chair has confirmed with VFB that they will not change their position on Sunday Hunting. They strongly suggest that everyone write letters to the Senate Ag Committee to voice your opposition to this bill. This will be our only defense.

    We also ask each of you to pass this information along to other equine groups and organizations. The more messages that the Senate Ag Committee has on Monday morning the more we can be heard. Remember the Committee will convene at 9am so your letters, calls, and emails need to be sent as quickly as possible (before Sunday). Your message does not need to be lengthy. You just need to ask that SB 850 not be put forward for passage and indicate why it is important to you (i.e. does it limit your riding, family activities, use of pastures, etc.).

    The Contacts for the Senate Ag, Conservation, and Natural Resources Committee are listed below.

    Thank you for your attention for any support you provide at this time.

    Sally Aungier
    Vice President, Virginia Horse Council

    Patricia Ticer (Chairman) - district30@senate.virginia.gov
    Phone: (804) 698-7530; Fax: (804) 698-7651

    Mary Margaret Whipple, district 31@senate.virginia.gov ;
    Phone 804-698-7531; Fax: 804-698-7651

    Emmett Hanger, district24@senate.virginia.gov;
    Phone 804-698-7524; Fax 804-698-7651

    John Watkins, district10@senate.virginia.gov;
    Phone 804-698-7510; Fax 804-698-7651

    Roscoe Reynolds, district20@senate.virginia.gov;
    Phone 804-698-7520; Fax 804-698-7651

    Phillip Puckett, district38@senate.virginia.gov;
    Phone 804-698-7538; Fax 804-698-7651

    Frank M. Ruff, district15@senate.virginia.gov;
    Phone 804-698-7515; Fax 804-698-7651

    Harry Blevins, district14@senate.virginia.gov;
    Phone 804-698-7514; Fax 804-698-7651

    Mark D. Obenshain, district26@senate.virginia.gov;
    Phone 804-698-7526; Fax 804-698-7651

    Ryan T. McDougle, district04@senate.virginia.gov;
    Phone 804-698-7504; Fax 804-698-7943

    Donald McEachin, district09@senate.virginia.gov;
    Phone 804-698-7509; Fax 804-698-7651

    Chap Petersen, district34@senate.virginia.gov; (NOTE - BILL SPONSOR)
    Phone 804-698-7534; Fax 804-798-7651

    Ralph Northam, district06@senate.virginia.gov;
    Phone 804-698-7506; Fax 804-798-7651

    Richard Stuart, district28@senate.virginia.gov;
    Phone 804-698-7528; Fax 804-698-7651

    David W. Marsden, district37@senate.virginia.gov;
    Phone 804-698-7537; Fax 804-698-7651




    Here is a cut and paste of the language they want to strike:


    1. To hunt or kill any wild bird or wild animal, including any nuisance species, with a gun, firearm or other weapon on Sunday, which is hereby declared a rest day for all species of wild bird and wild animal life, except raccoons, which may be hunted until 2:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. However, a person lawfully carrying a gun, firearm or other weapon on Sunday in an area that could be used for hunting shall not be presumed to be hunting on Sunday, absent evidence to the contrary.
    When I pull on my boots, I know who I am

  • #2
    The prohibition on Sunday hunting stems from our states old "Blue Laws". The laws were founded upon religious beliefs and texts setting the Sabbath aside as a day of rest for Christians.

    This Blue Law was intended to stop a person from engaging in hunting on the Sabbath, so that the person (ostensibly) would not be tempted to disobey Gods law.

    You would be surprised by how many licensed hunters oppose Sunday hunting, because they believe that Sunday should be spent in Church - not hunting.

    Which leaves the atheists and Jews in a bit of a pickle, doesn't it. If observant Jews observe their Sabbath on Saturday, then they pretty much aren't able to hunt on the weekends at all.

    All stakeholders have an equal right to access public land, and equestrians, hikers, bikers, birdwatchers and all other users enjoy access year round.

    Hunting is highly regulated, with established seasons, some only lasting a few weeks. Since most people work, this leaves the weekends to hunt. Since a season might be only a few weeks long, we are literally only giving a sportsman a few days in a year in which to access public land.

    That is no reason to extend a season - as hunting is rightfully highly regulated and bound by a code of ethics.

    But it is a reason to reconsider the merits of marginalizing a small minority of taxpayers, and effectively prohibiting them from accessing public land to engage in a legal activity.

    Opponents of Sunday hunting dismiss such concerns, saying that a hunter can just go out on the weekdays.

    One could reply that the same could be said of other stakeholders - that if they want to ride, bike, birdwatch - do it on the weekdays so that other citizens have greater access on the weekends.

    Much of the opposition to Sunday hunting comes from AR activists, who see any effort to create interest in hunting, to cultivate new hunters, to teach children, to improve or enhance access to public lands, even for the disabled sportsman or veteran, as a threat to their goal of banning hunting (species by species, state by state).

    I doubt it will pass; it never does. Which is quite a shame, really. Because we are concentrating almost all hunting in Virginia on one day of the week - Saturday. Spreading it out, decreasing the number of hunters on public land on a single day - would enhance everyone's enjoyment of public land.

    An example of the tragedy of the commons, I'm afraid.
    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
    -Rudyard Kipling

    Comment


    • #3
      My personal experience is that I'm relieved there is one safe day of the week when I can go out on my on land, though I still wear blaze orange and usually also bells, also color and bells on any dogs or horses I have with me, and worry far less about getting shot. Our deer season, not even counting bowhunting, is a coupla months long, early Nov to early Jan. And we encounter hunters any/most days of the week, so there are some hunters who are able to get out on days besides the weekends.

      Too many times during hunting season we are concerned on our own driveway about stray shots. Also too many hunters sitting on their lawn chairs on the road with their weapons, albeit at rest, pointing out into the road. And they don't shift their position when you go by! Got that shotgun pointing right at you, although again I recognize it's in a lap and not in firing position. But I was taught never to point a gun at anybody any time, even if you're sure it's not loaded, even if it's at rest, etc. etc. I'm a gun owner and I have no problem with good hunting practices but there are so many that don't follow good practices that hunting season is a very tense time. I was up in NoVA looking at a horse a few weeks ago and the horse owner spontaneously started talking about a hunter situation upsetting her livestock. So there are many good hunters but unfortunately some inconsiderate and/or downright dangerous ones.

      So I'm in the "during rifle season, family activities, access to my own pastures, etc." are restricted camp. Sunday is such a relief, though we still have to be cautious. That's why I'm in favor of no hunting on Sundays.

      I recognize the other viewpoints but that is the day-to-day reality we live with. Our next-door farm owners (also a horse farm) got pretty tough with some hunters shooting across their pasture season before last, and I will say for us personally that the last two seasons have been a bit better, possibly as a result of that. They are lifetimers here with several generations on their farm and we have only been on our farm 12 years, so they had some clout to make waves with relatively less concern about retaliation.

      So I can see both sides and personally like the Sunday restriction. These issues may seem simple on paper but the reality of everyone trying to safely use and enjoy land the way they want is not easy. Some folks hunt, some don't, and everyone hopefully wants to be good neighbors, so you try to strike the best balance you can.

      And unfortunately autumn is for many far and away the best time to be in the woods for any activity -- no worry about copperheads and rattlesnakes, or cottonmouths if you're in their range, too, no bugs, no worry about heatstroke or heat exhaustion -- so there's lots of competition for time in the woods during the fall months.
      If thou hast a sorrow, tell it not to the arrow, tell it to thy saddlebow, and ride on, singing. -- King Alfred the Great

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by riverpup View Post
        Hunting seasons vary but are usually only a couple of months out of the year. We can ride horses all year long.
        Actually Hunting season can begin in September and go until April.

        We can only go on trails when they are not hunting, so Sundays it is, except for April thru part of Sept.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post
          Actually Hunting season can begin in September and go until April.
          Since when? What season are you referring to?

          I know of NO season that goes from September through April. Even mounted foxhunters do not have a designated season - ours is self imposed.

          By the way - hunting occurs almost year 'round in this state. Depends upon the species and the weapon. But very few hunters hold a license for more than one species - so most hunters are only out a few days out of the entire year.

          I don't see any reason an equestrians rights are superior to any other user of public land. Heck, at least sportsmen pay for the parks and all the conservation and wildlife restoration efforts, including acquisitions of land for parks.

          Excise taxes and license revenue pay for that - and we've been paying it since 1937. Gladly.

          You're welcome.
          Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
          Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
          -Rudyard Kipling

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally Posted by Fairview Horse Center
            Actually Hunting season can begin in September and go until April.
            Originally posted by JSwan View Post
            Since when? What season are you referring to?

            I know of NO season that goes from September through April.
            Deer hunting in Northern VIrginia

            Other activities in a park don't really endanger others the way hunting does. Non-hunting days gives the rest of the activities some time to enjoy the land without constant worry of being shot. If hunting is allowed all the time, then the huinters get full use, and the rest get nothing.

            Comment


            • #7
              The prohibition on Sunday hunting stems from our states old "Blue Laws". The laws were founded upon religious beliefs and texts setting the Sabbath aside as a day of rest for Christians.

              This Blue Law was intended to stop a person from engaging in hunting on the Sabbath, so that the person (ostensibly) would not be tempted to disobey Gods law.

              You would be surprised by how many licensed hunters oppose Sunday hunting, because they believe that Sunday should be spent in Church - not hunting.
              I would think that's exactly why.

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by Fairview Horse Center
              Actually Hunting season can begin in September and go until April.
              Since when? What season are you referring to?
              We hunted through April a couple times...apparently the hunting was just too good to stop in March. I wish hunt season lasted longer.

              Comment


              • #8
                The hunt I belong to starts cubbing the 3rd week of July. Our season ends the first week of March. We hunt Thursdays and Sundays, so I guess I'm glad I hunt in NC.

                I'm not sure how I feel about having hounds in the woods in high summer, but that's a subject for another thread.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post
                  Deer hunting in Northern VIrginia

                  Other activities in a park don't really endanger others the way hunting does. Non-hunting days gives the rest of the activities some time to enjoy the land without constant worry of being shot.
                  This. This is my experience exactly. Thanks for putting it so much better than I did!
                  If thou hast a sorrow, tell it not to the arrow, tell it to thy saddlebow, and ride on, singing. -- King Alfred the Great

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I am so happy PA has no hunting on Sundays. It's great to have one day a week where I can hack out without worrying about the hunters. And even better, one day of peace at home without shotguns blasting constantly. I have nothing against hunting; we need it to control the deer population around here, but I love my quiet Sundays.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No it doesn't. There is no one continual season that long. Even general firearms season for deer isn't that long.

                      Seasons are defined by species and weapon. That means that a hunter (since most of us hunt one, maybe two species at most, and then only with one weapon) have maybe a couple of days in the ENTIRE YEAR where we can hunt. And even then, only a few hours out of that day, IF we can find a place to hunt.

                      And even then it is highly regulated, especially waterfowling. A waterfowler who only hunts a certain species has but a matter of days in the entire year - and even then just a few hours. Is he or she really that big a threat to you? They're on or near the water for crying out loud - in blinds. In January. Are you out there riding your horse on our lakes and rivers in January? Got lots of folks taking a dip in freezing water?

                      Every other user of public land is permitted free and unfettered use of it - even if your activity interferes with other users (and horseback riding isn't exactly without controversy- many many people want equestrians OUT of parks). Our parks are horribly abused and trashed by people - and yet they are still permitted free and unfettered access to it - but the sportsman is the one who pays to repair all the damage - even if he is not permitted to hunt the land. We never complain.

                      Bicyclists annoy the heck out of a lot of people - and people with dogs tick off the equestrians. The non riders don't like to deal with the "dangerous" horses and the horse manure either.

                      A lot of hunting takes place, with permission, on PRIVATE land. In fact, more and more hunting takes place on PRIVATE land. The prohibition on Sunday hunting affects everyone, including people who lease their land for hunting.

                      Just because a Bill would permit hunting on Sunday, does not mean that the law would permit some sort of free for all.

                      All it means is that the archaic, discriminatory law would be a thing of the past, and that the game department can begin the process of implementing regulation. That regulation would not necessarily allow hunting to take place on Sunday. The ban is only lifted - it does not mandate. The game dept is free to make any and all regulation it deems fit.

                      The regulations would be similar to all the other ones out there on hunting. They are specific to a certain park, certain seasons, types of weapons, setbacks, all kinds of details that ensure sportsmen minimize their impact on other users. And often, a ban on a specific type of hunting, a species, or any type of hunting at all - it all depends on the location. (State Forest versus WMA versus urban park). It also depends on what the public has to say about a proposed regulation - and all residents can provide input.

                      We're not out there putting you in danger any more than your horse is putting other citizens in danger. Or someone walking their dog.

                      You're in more danger when you encounter a loose dog while on horseback than you are encountering a duck hunter sitting in a blind on a riverbank.

                      A ban on Sunday hunting means that I cannot even go out on my own land and hunt. You may go out on YOUR land and ride, ride your ATV, shoot off fireworks - make all kinds of noise, have parties, no matter how much it annoys your neighbors. You can have a horse show if you want - whatever.

                      But I can't even go out, on my own land, and sit in a blind for few hours. Or allow my neighbor to come over and sit in his stand and bowhunt - which is silent.

                      Even if hunters are paying a lease for my land - they are not permitted to hunt it. Private clubs are not permitted to use their own land. Everyone else in the state can do whatever they want on their land.

                      A ban on hunting affects many people who never even step foot on public land, nor intend to even if the ban is lifted.

                      And certainly the Sabbath justification is ridiculous. If a person's religion requires him to go to church on Sunday, then go. No need to impose their religious beliefs on me.

                      This Bill comes up every year and every year it is defeated - no doubt it will be this time so no need to worry.

                      I don't even know why the OP bothered to post it here - it doesn't even affect foxhunting or beagling either way. I doubt anyone cares.

                      But I think it's pretty pathetic to prohibit thousands of people from exercising a property right, or engage in a legal, ethical activity for a few hours just because you think your activity is superior or somehow more worthy.

                      If you look at the accident numbers - people are getting hurt or killed on public land from car accidents, riding accidents, bicycling accidents, drinking, drug use, gang fights and drowning.

                      The lone hunter sitting quietly in the middle of private land or a large park, or a guy sipping a cup of coffee in his blind, watching the sun rise on a cold January morning, with no one but his dog for company, is not a threat to you or anyone else. Nor are sportsmen people to be shunned or considered inferior because they enjoy the outdoors in a different way than other users.



                      Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center View Post
                      Deer hunting in Northern VIrginia

                      Other activities in a park don't really endanger others the way hunting does. Non-hunting days gives the rest of the activities some time to enjoy the land without constant worry of being shot. If hunting is allowed all the time, then the huinters get full use, and the rest get nothing.
                      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                      -Rudyard Kipling

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think having one day out of the week when the woods are free of firearms is a good thing.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Jswan,

                          I hear you. And I agree with your arguments. But deep down I'm always glad it's defeated. My husband is an avid hunter. Deer, duck, goose, turkey, dove, the occasional coon hunt, and then there is the fishing!!! I must say I am happy that he doesn't hunt on Sundays.

                          I'd like to hear from someone who lives in a state that has Sunday hunting.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jawa View Post
                            I'd like to hear from someone who lives in a state that has Sunday hunting.
                            We do. The only inconvenience that I know of is that some of our state and county lands are closed to equestrians during deer hunting season. I guess if we banned Sunday hunting we'd get to use those lands on Sunday. *shrugs* It's not that big a deal, though. At least not to me - I live so far out in the country that I have plenty of room to ride right outside my door.

                            I also live where there are plenty of dirt roads, so I can ride all during deer season. I just stay out of the woods and on the road. I would hope that most of my neighbors don't fire without being able to see their target - but there's one bunch of them (and we all know who they are) who are pretty much chuckleheads. So to prevent meeting them in an awkward situation, I just stay on the road.
                            I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JSwan View Post
                              No it doesn't. There is no one continual season that long. Even general firearms season for deer isn't that long.
                              In my county deer hunting began September 4th, and ends March 26 except for Sundays.

                              <come ON March 26th!!!>

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Does this Sunday ban apply to mounted foxhunters, or not? I assumed it did but something JSwan said above now has me wondering.
                                Yes, I know how to spell. I'm using freespeling!

                                freespeling

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Wanabe, mounted foxhunting is allowed on Sundays in Virginia. Our hunt switches to Sundays during gun season so as not to interfere with the deer hunters, since we share a lot of our country with them.
                                  Save lives! Adopt a pet from your local shelter.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by jawa View Post
                                    Jswan,
                                    I must say I am happy that he doesn't hunt on Sundays.
                                    Now that I understand! The hunting widow!
                                    Last edited by JSwan; Jan. 16, 2011, 10:49 AM. Reason: not worth the effort...
                                    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                    -Rudyard Kipling

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I wrote to the Ag committee members last Sunday, asking that they quash the bill. I have gotten 3 responses, including one from the committee chairman, indicating that they will not vote in favor of the measure. Apparently this comes up in our state (commonwealth, I mean) every year and it fails, every year.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Fairview Horse Center
                                        In my county deer hunting began September 4th, and ends March 26 except for Sundays.

                                        <come ON March 26th!!!>
                                        We have that here as well, but I believe it's divided by the type of weapon, which is what JSwan is referring to (ie - bow season, black powder season, rifle season, etc.) so no continuous season for one particular weapon.

                                        Correct me if I'm not reading you right, JSwan.
                                        Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist

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