The Berkeley County Council voted last week to put an initiative onto the November 2016 ballot for the voters to decide whether to allow Sunday hunting.
The effort to reinstate hunting on Sundays is in accordance with a 2001 state law that allowed each county in West Virginia to decide whether to allow Sunday hunting by local ballot. West Virginia, as with states all across the country, is part of a nationwide trend that is reinstating Sunday Hunting as a common practice for sportsmen and women. Laws prohibiting hunting on Sundays are among the last of America's "blue laws," and for many reasons should be repealed.
The most common reason that hunters stop hunting is lack of hunting opportunity. Since most hunters work Monday through Friday, a ban on Sunday hunting essentially cuts their available hunting time in half. Sunday hunting also helps to recruit new hunters to this time honored past time. Many young people have school or athletic obligations on Saturday. Allowing Sunday hunting means that parents have more opportunities to hunt with their sons and daughters, sharing an important part of West Virginia’s heritage. Maintaining the current large number of hunters is crucial to maintaining the revenues necessary to sustain crucial wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation programs.
Along with the benefit of continuing a time honored tradition, Sunday hunting provides an economic benefit to many rural areas. Every day that hunters are in the field, they spend money on fuel, food, lodging and dozens of incidentals that go along with a day’s hunt. You can see the positive economic impact Sunday hunting would have on the restrictive states here. This economic impact is provided by both in-state and out-of-state licensees. Out-of-state license revenues have seen continued growth as a result of Sunday hunting in those states that allow it. Hunters are more likely to go on out-of-state hunting trips when they can hunt a full weekend, and out-of-state hunters pay higher license fees and spend more money on incidentals than in-state hunters.
Currently, 21 of West Virginia’s 55 counties allow hunting on Sundays with 7 of these counties reinstating this just last year. Your NRA fully supports the reinstatement of the hunting rights of men and women afield and looks forward to working with members of the legislature next legislative session to fully restore the time honored tradition of hunting to all of West Virginia.
Please stay tuned to www.nraila.org for further updates.