On Wednesday, June 29, Orion Sporting Group was dealt a setback in its lawsuit against Nelson County when Judge J. Michael Gamble ruled that Virginia’s constitutionally protected right to hunt, fish and harvest game, does not include sporting clays and other simulated game. The case is believed to be the first constitutional legal battle over the right to hunt in the U.S. Previously, Nelson County had approved shooting live game at Orion’s 450-acre rural tract of land, but effectively banned the discharge of firearms for sporting clays, helice, and other clay pigeon shooting activities to be located on the same property. Orion litigated, contending that the county’s ruling violated the right to hunt explicitly protected by the Virginia Constitution and that the proposed shooting activities were an accessory use by right of the hunting preserve. The right to hunt in Virginia, like many other states, is protected and legislated by the state. In 2000, the citizens of Virginia ratified by popular vote "…the right to hunt, fish and harvest game…" amendment to the state constitution. Despite Judge Gamble’s ruling, Orion contends that constitutional protection extends to preparatory hunting activities, such as hunter education, training, and practicing with sporting clays, helice, and other clay target sports. Such preparatory activities assist one in hunting and harvesting game safely, efficiently, and more humanely. "We believe our case has merit. And while we respect Judge Gamble’s decision, we are disappointed in the outcome of this trial," said D. Alan Nunley, Orion’s corporate counsel. "In light of today’s decision, Orion will weigh all of its options over the next several days to move forward in a positive direction." We will continue to keep you informed of any new developments in this case.