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Virginia: House Committee Tables Legislation to Endanger Deer, Elk, and Bear Populations!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thank You to All Who Contacted the Members of the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee!

Earlier today, the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee tabled Senate Bill 868 by a 17 to 3 vote.  Even though this bill has been effectively defeated for the remainder of this legislative session, it is not technically dead and there is still a chance it is revived this year.  Your NRA will continue to update you should this unlikely scenario develop, so please continue to check your e-mail and www.NRAILA.org for updates.

SB 868 would have eliminated the current provision in state law that requires officials from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) to investigate and confirm claims of crop damage before issuing deer and bear agricultural kill permits to landowners.  It would also have added elk to the list of species that may be killed pursuant to these permits.

This bill was introduced as a response to the elk restoration program the VDGIF approved last year.  The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation vehemently opposed the reintroduction effort and knows that this legislation would have ensured the failure of the program by allowing the killing of reintroduced elk without government oversight. 

While this bill targeted the elk reintroduction program, it also would have authorized the unregulated killing of deer and bear by landowners.  Wildlife has always been held in the public trust and it’s not too much to ask to have state officials at least investigate claims of crop damage prior to issuing kill permits.  This kind of unrestricted killing would ultimately harm hunting opportunities and could have devastating impacts on the populations of these game animals across the Commonwealth. Public hunting in agricultural settings should always be considered the primary means of managing wildlife

Thank you to all those who contacted the members of the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee to speak out against this potentially devastating legislation.  Your concern on this matter goes a long way in reinforcing the fact that sportsmen are true conservationists and hold the well being of species above all else.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.