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spectr17
12-12-2003, 12:51 AM
December 07, 2003

Sunday hunting ban could come under attack

By Mark Taylor, Roanoke Times

This fall Virginia's deer hunters said goodbye to a long tradition when the openers for the early muzzleloader and general firearms seasons moved from Mondays to Saturdays.

The change received generally good reviews and also prompted a fair amount of speculation that it could be a step toward changing another Virginia tradition - the ban on Sunday hunting.

Virginia is one of just a handful of states that allows no hunting on Sunday. The list is shrinking.

Maryland and West Virginia are among the states that recently have relaxed Sunday hunting bans.

Virginia's ban has long created grumbles among some of the state's sportsmen. Every few years someone tries to make an organized attempt to have the ban overturned.

Those efforts never get too far.

The latest such effort is being headed by Darrell Hoskins, a 27-year-old auto technician from Fredericksburg. Hoskins has launched an Internet-based petition, in which he urges Gov.Mark Warner and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to overturn the ban on Sunday hunting.

The petition, which can be found at PetitionOnline.com/SHV/petition.html, had attracted 667 signatures as of Friday afternoon.

The ban's critics chiefly argue that it unfairly limits time in the woods for hunters who have weekday work commitments.

"Many of Virginia's sportsmen have full-time jobs with long hours that consume most of our week, leaving only our weekends to enjoy our sport of hunting," reads Hoskins' petition, in part.

It's hard to argue that point.

A hunter in most counties west of the Blue Ridge has only three weekend days to hunt deer with a rifle.

Yet those who continue to support the Sunday hunting ban - and there are a bunch of them - also have some good arguments.

Chief among them is the strong religious conviction that Sunday is to be a day of rest. It's a position held by plenty of hunters, who are willing to sacrifice hunting time in deference to their faith.

Some hunters, too, worry that allowing Sunday hunting could lead to shorter seasons or reduced bag limits to adjust for what would assuredly be heavier weekend hunting pressure.

Other supporters of the ban appreciate having a weekend day during which nonhunters such as hikers, bikers and birders can go afield without having to flinch at the sounds of gun shots.

Hunters have their weekend day, the nonhunters say, why shouldn't we have ours?

All of those arguments existed in states where Sunday hunting bans have fallen by the wayside. What's the difference between those states and Virginia?

One could say Virginia is more tradition-bound than most states, but a big difference is the leadership behind the movement to overturn the ban.

Those who've headed such efforts in Virginia may have been passionate, but they simply haven't had the political know-how and media savvy to advance their cause very far.

For both supporters and opponents of Virginia's Sunday hunting ban, the next couple of years may prove to be pivotal.

At no time in recent history has the climate seemed better for an assault on the ban.

The complexion of the General Assembly is changing, with the recent departure of many old-school lawmakers who staunchly stood behind the ban.

Meanwhile, Gov.Warner has made no secret of his desire for the state to attract more outdoors-related tourists. Allowing Sunday hunting could be seen as a way to lure more money-wielding sportsmen to the state.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries publicly takes no stance on the Sunday hunting issue. However, the department's recent regulations changes have clearly leaned toward expanding hunting opportunities. Their agency heavily dependant on license revenues, department officials have to believe that Sunday hunting might help them attract more paying customers.

If there is one certainty in this, it is that both supporters and critics of Virginia's Sunday hunting ban should be prepared to fight hard for their beliefs this time around. With the ban's continued survival no longer a given, the group that works the hardest and smartest will probably come out on top.

At least for now.

LexVegas
09-07-2005, 06:36 AM
Contact your state legislators and ask them to support Sunday hunting.

The Virginia state legislature website has a link that will direct you to a form so that you can contact both your legislator and Senator in one email. Mine are on record as supporting Sunday hunting. Make sure yours are too.

Bills of this type get introduced almost every year in the legislature. If one makes it to the floor for a vote it well be too late to make sure that your representatives will support your viewpoint. Email them, and tell your friends to do the same. http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-soapbox.gif

LexVegas
01-20-2006, 12:10 PM
I don&#39;t know that anyone but me ever checks this forum, but if you do---please contact your state Delegate and Senator and urge them to support House Bill No. 632 (which would repeal the ban on Sunday hunting west of the Blue Ridge) and Senate Bill No. 387 (which would allow Sunday hunting on the Sunday following the season openers for bow, muzzleloader and gun).

If you care about Sunday hunting, tell your friends and family to contact their representatives as well. The ban on Sunday hunting will never be overturned unless we, as hunters, let our representatives know that this is an important issue to us. http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-soapbox.gif http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-soapbox.gif