The Jan. 26 Rappahannock News features a report, online here, of some local reactions to the Virginia Senate bill to lift the state’s long-standing ban on Sunday hunting. An informal poll on the Rappahannock News’ RappNews.com website last week garnered 116 responses to this question: Should Virginia lawmakers end the ban on Sunday hunting?
In the poll — online from Thursday, Jan. 26 until Monday, Jan. 30 — 68 of the respondents (about 59 percent) said yes, the General Assembly should turn several bills introduced recently in the senate and house of delegates into a law that allows Sunday hunting on private land. Forty-seven respondents (41 percent) said no, they shouldn’t.
Though there’s no way of exactly knowing in a web-based survey where votes are coming from (or how often they might come from the same voter), but we did ask those who wished to make a comment to tell us their real names and email addresses – and the 25 percent of respondents who did comment were most lucid and heartfelt, on both sides of the issue.
The comments entered by survey participants are below (and you can still add further comments at the bottom of this page, if you like.)
• Hunters have six days a week to hunt, while many of us have less than that to do what we enjoy to do. That one day of no shooting, of being able to safely go out and walk or to enjoy the day without the sound of gunfire is nice. During the hunting season, those of us who do ride on back roads, across fields, in the woods have to worry about being mistaken for a deer, we have to wear extra protection, put bells on our horses, wear bright orange, and the potential for our horse to spook or bolt should they not be use to the sudden sound and crack of a weapon being discharged.
Also, going out and finding partially cut-up deer carcasses, intestines and skins thrown to the side of the road or tossed carelessly out of the back of a pickup truck shows a HUGE lack of respect for what they DO have. Perhaps if some of their rights are taken away, those who do hunt will start to respect their rights and responsibilities more.
• Hunting on Sundays not only frees up adults to hunt, but should help give kids a chance to hunt. They to have really busy schedules, from school to after school activities . . . like sports.
• Please, please, please give us one day a week without the sounds of gunfire! Even now, we seem to have many in our area who “target practice” all week long including Sunday, and we suspect that some may be Sunday hunters as well. I’m not opposed to hunting, per se, because I realize that it is a viable means of helping control animal populations, but please keep in mind that many of us do not hunt, and we would like to be able to enjoy the same rural woods and fields without fearing for our lives. I write this from experience, because my sister was out jogging last year on a rural road, and a bullet grazed her neck. Very fortunately, she was not seriously injured, but it was an accident that didn’t need to happen and could have had dire consequences. Joggers, hikers, and trail riders limit their rides to Sunday now to avoid the same possible situation. One day free of bullets and gunfire seems like a small thing to ask so that ALL of us in the Commonwealth can continue to enjoy the beauty and solitude of the nature that surrounds us. Please do NOT lift the ban on Sunday hunting!
• If you don’t want to hunt on Sunday then don’t. This law does not say that you must hunt on Sunday. The law change that the majority in Virginia is seeking only asks for the freedom and liberty to choose what we do with our Sunday, on OUR OWN property. This thing is a no-brainer considering the the rest of the country has proven, despite what the doom-and-gloom sayers in Virginia say, that we can share the woods equally without cutting out anybody from pursuing an activity. You too can come and join the effort fighting for freedom and liberty and property owners rights here: facebook.com/groups/vasundayhunting4all
• There is no true ban on hunting on Sundays in Virginia. Yes, Sundays are more restrictive than other days . . . but hunting on Sunday is neither banned, nor illegal. When we tally up the legal hours of hunting we find that just on Sundays, Virginia regulates more hours of hunting (16 of 23 species offer hunting on Sundays) than it regulates Monday through Saturday (hunting hours for the seven species where no Sunday hunting is allowed). Those that support a change in our Sunday hunting regulations are simply asking that certain restrictions be eased. Virginia licenses about 225,000 hunters, and there are about two million gun owners in Virginia; without any change in our Sunday hunting regulations, anyone basically has every right to shoot, and without limit, on any given Sunday. Some people oppose a change in our Sunday hunting regs because they fear being shot . . . but few realize that more Virginians will die from mis-prescribed medications than from hunting accidents. Is it reasonable that we hold hunters to a higher standard of safety than the standard of safety that we hold our medical professionals to?
• I hunt; I am also an insurance adjuster, I am too busy with deer claims from Monday through Friday to get much time in the woods. I pay taxes on my land and should have the right to use it seven days a week. Nobody is going to make you hunt on Sunday if you do not want to. The argument about stray bullets and safety is moot as I can shoot on my property seven days a week now. If you feel unsafe and stray bullets are coming your way, then you need to call law enforcement as there are laws on the books for that already. Bottom line, what gives YOU the right to tell me what to do on MY property? I would never think to come over to your property and tell you what to do over there. This Sunday hunting ban is outdated, unconstitutional and it’s time for it to go!
• Having been in the Senate hearing room for last year’s session where the Farm Bureau argued that Sunday was the only day farmers could safely get out and work their fields during hunting season, I’m surprised to learn that now, the deeply religious farming community wants to observe the Sabbath undisturbed by gunfire. Well, besides the paradox of wanting it both ways, the simple fact is that shooting on Sunday is perfectly legal. If sustained gunfire is the problem, it is unlikely coming from hunters. For upland game, a hunter is limited to having a maximum of five rounds in his weapon. For waterfowl and federally managed birds, it is three. Now I know someone can expend his magazine and reload but, it is the rare occurrence that game is still in sight after that many rounds. Equating hunting with barrages of gunfire is disingenuous at best. Farmers who don’t want Sunday hunting will have the power to decide what happens on their own land. Those who lease land for hunting will have to abide by the terms of their lease and the landowner can simply deny Sunday hunting rights. The bill does not convey rights to grant Sunday privileges to lessees. It is written so that written LANDOWNER permission is required to hunt ON PRIVATE PROPERTY.
• I keep hearing that six days of hunting is enough, but a working man only gets one, if he is lucky.
• I work five, six days a week and never get the time to take my kids hunting because of sports on Saturdays. With the ban lifted I will be able to take all three of my kids hunting.
• My day of rest is not necessarily your day of rest, my Sabbath is not necessarily your Sabbath. I grew up in Indiana and Michigan, with Amish, Mennonites, Seventh Day Adventists and German Baptists, to name a few. Hunters in every single group. You could not find a place to hunt on Saturday around Holland, Mich., but it was wide open on Sunday. The government needs to get out of the business of being my moral compass.
• The current ban allows one to walk in the woods with the expectation that you are unlikely to disrupt a hunt or to come under accidental fire.
• I enjoy my walks in the woods with my children and its comforting to know that there shouldn’t be any stray bullets flying around on Sundays. I have no objection to the extra seven to nine days of hunting. It is just that I would prefer that the season be extended on either end or both, to make up for the difference.
• I was raised in Rappahannock and spent much of my childhood hunting. I don’t hunt much anymore, but follow hunting season protocol (for my own safety), by not leaving the yard for six days a week. I am not greedy, and will not ask for more than one day of guaranteed rest from a potentially fatal accidental wounding from a high-powered rifle while wandering my own woods. I enjoy the peace of Sundays, and think that hunters should also enjoy Sunday as a day to recount yesterday’s hunt, process their harvest, and enjoy the beauty of the land which we all share.
Using economics as motivation for lifting the Sunday hunting ban is offensive to me as a county native and “return-here,” since I believe Rappahannock County residents sacrifice every day to maintain the beauty and serenity of this rural paradise – choosing quality of life over financial gain or convenience.
If economic incentives motivate this legislative maneuver, why not also mill the remaining forest for lumber? Why not divide our large estates into smaller properties to increase the local population and tax base? Why not, as suggested by the Culpeper Star Exponent (recommending that we follow Culpeper’s zoning policies so that we can have enough students for a football team), embrace economic and residential growth?
No thanks, I’ll take my Sundays – and use them to appreciate the pristine beauty of the land that raised me – over extra revenue and an increased consumer population, any day of the week.
• I would like it if there wasn’t any target practicing on Sundays as well. It would be nice if we could have one day a week with out hearing any guns going off.
• I am not opposed to hunting at all. We just need one day of the week when we’re not shell-shocked twice a day. Just like anything else that you really want to do you can find time for it when it’s available. I look forward to Sundays during hunting season.
• I appreciate one day a week during hunting season when I may walk in the woods with the relative insurance there will be no shots fired. My dog, Tye, especially appreciates it as he is often mistaken for a small panther or a rather thin bear. I know we are over populated with deer, that gardens (mine included) suffer from their brazenness. That said, I have been self-employed for 40 years and firmly believe that if I had work to do and could not do it in six, the seventh was not going to help very much. I think the same applies to hunting deer.
• I am outraged by the proposal to allow hunting on Sundays. That is the only day of the week during the hunting season when we can enjoy peace and quiet in our rural setting, and the only day when we can walk safely in the forest.
• I am a hunter and allow hunting on my land. But I strongly support the Sunday ban on hunting. There should be one day during season when folks can hike through their woods without risk of injury or fear of disturbing hunters.
• I am a horseback rider and have always appreciated that I can ride in the woods on Sunday without the worry of being shot. If Sundays fall to hunters, there will no longer be a day that one can hike or ride and be safe. It is imperative to share the woods and fields with others. Why should hunters have the upper hand seven days a week? Just not necessary and not fair.
• I think we should all have one day when we feel safe walking on our own property or the property we rent without having to worry about bullets coming toward us or our pets. Bullets don’t know boundaries, and having to worry about that every day of the week is stressful and takes away from the enjoyment of being out in nature.
While managing the deer population is an important issue, and we should continue to explore ways to do this effectively; hunting has not proven to be the solution. The number of hunters is declining, and I can’t see those that continue to hunt making any serious dent in the population, even with an added day.
As to the rest of the wildlife, I think they deserve a break. In fact, I’d love a real day of peace and quiet for all living things, but I know even with the Sunday ban, those with guns will be shooting them.
• Most people like me only have one day off a week and of course that would be Sunday. Sof for me to hunt I have to take a day off of work.
• If a person does not want to hunt then he will have that choice. He or she has that choice to fish. Please allow this for the working man !
• Sunday hunting is not a problem in 40-plus other states. It won’t be a problem here either. A landowner should be able to decide when lawful activities are conducted on their land.
• Nice to have one day in the woods where you are safe from hunters. They have the other six so why not give the rest of us a rest on Sunday so we don’t have to worry about getting shot if we are out and about?