After the historic passage of Senate Bill 464 in the Virginia Senate last week by an overwhelming, bipartisan 29 to 11 vote, Sunday hunting legislation now faces a decidedly tougher challenge in the House of Delegates. Assigned to the Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee, House Bill 921 will first be considered by the Natural Recourses Subcommittee on the evening of Wednesday, February 1.
Please contact members of this subcommittee as well as members of the full Committee TODAY and urge them to protect Virginia’s hunting heritage by supporting HB 921. The seven members of the subcommittee will, for all intents and purposes, determine the fate of this legislation that will decide the future of hunting in the Commonwealth.
Currently, Virginia is one of only six states in the country that strictly bans hunting on Sunday. This prohibition threatens the very future of our hunting heritage by discouraging hunter recruitment and retention. In addition, this antiquated ban harms Virginia’s economy.
Due to increasingly demanding work, family and extracurricular schedules, older and younger hunters alike often have only Sundays available to hunt. The ban keeps them from remaining or becoming hooked on hunting. There is a reason that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a radical group whose ultimate goal is to end all hunting in America, is one of the most active advocates of maintaining the ban. Hunting license sales in Virginia have decreased from 500,000 to 300,000 in little more than two decades, while the Commonwealth’s population has increased by millions. Our opponents know that the future of hunting is at stake and you should too.
At a time when the economy is struggling and too many Virginians are out of work, legislators must not continue to refuse the enormous economic benefits associated with allowing hunting on Sundays. Comprehensive research from the National Shooting Sports Foundation shows that allowing hunting on Sundays would generate a total annual economic impact estimated at $296 million and create 3,927 jobs. All of this would be spurred by simply eliminating words from state statute books (the current prohibition), not spending taxpayer dollars on some pie-in-the-sky scheme.
HB 921 is likely to be amended to conform to the Senate-passed SB 464. The Senate bill eliminates the comprehensive ban and allows for Sunday hunting on private lands and public waterways. Additionally, the bill does not allow the hunting of deer with dogs or hunting within 250 yards of a house of worship on Sundays. While the bill does not achieve everything desired by those concerned about our hunting heritage, it is an enormous and necessary step in the right direction.
Expanding hunter opportunities is crucial to protecting Virginia’s hunting heritage. If we can’t increase or at least sustain the number of license sales in the state, future generations may miss out on these cherished traditions. After you have contacted the Subcommittee members listed below, please call or e-mail other members of the full Committee as well as your own Delegate and respectfully urge him or her to help guarantee Virginia’s proud hunting traditions for future generations by voting in favor or HB 921. To locate your Delegate and his or her contact information, please click here.
Delegate James Edmunds (R-60)
Delegate Lynwood Lewis (D-100)
Delegate Ken Plum (D-36)
Delegate Tommy Wright (R-61)
Remaining Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee Members:
Delegate Beverly Sherwood (R-29), Chairman
Delegate Ed Scott (R-30)
Delegate Danny Marshall (R-14)
Delegate Bobby Orrock (R-54)
Delegate Charles Poindexter (R-9)
Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96)
Delegate Barry Knight (R-81)
Delegate Will Morefield (R-3)
Delegate Mike Webert (R-18)
Delegate Margret Ransone (R-99)
Delegate David Bulova (D-37)
Delegate Mark Sickles (D-43)
Delegate David Englin (D-45)
Delegate Mathew James (D-90)
Delegate Luke Torian (D-52)