- Last Updated on 08:05 AM 04/10/13
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
A few questions
To the editor:
During nearly every General Assembly session of the past several years, legislation designed to give private landowners access to hunt their private property seven days a week has been introduced in one of the two chambers. Most of the bills also offered other law abiding, ethical hunters the same opportunity if they sought and acquired written permission of a private landowner.
Every piece of such legislation, once it arrived in the meeting room of the House of Delegates Natural Resources Subcommittee, was dead on arrival, largely due to subcommittee members Lee Ware, James Edmunds, Matt Fariss and Delegate Thomas Wright’s influence.
When asked about their position and actions prohibiting private landowners access to their own property, the delegates have repeatedly responded that “it is for the common good of the commonwealth,” though they have yet to offer any descriptive detail defining the “common good.”
The “common good” is an interesting argument when the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) has shown that hunting license sales in the commonwealth, the primary source of habitat maintenance funds, has declined to about half of 1993 sales.
Additionally, as license sales continue to decline at approximately 3 percent per year, the DGIF supervisory board, which supports allowing hunter access seven days a week, has stated that in the very near future, the department will reach a point that it can no longer sustain operations at this rate of decline.
At the same time, studies show that giving private landowners/hunters access seven days a week would bring nearly 4,000 jobs and $300 million in revenue to the state. I am interested to better understand how preventing these positives provide for the common good.
When asked about the numerous polls and studies conducted by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the National Shooter’s Sports Foundation and Quinnipiac University, which indicate more Virginians favor lifting these restrictions than oppose, the above Natural Resources Subcommittee members respond, “that’s not what the people I’m talking to are saying.”
During the 2013 General Assembly session, the following hunting access bills were introduced; HB 2036 to allow archery hunting seven days a week; HB 2112 to allow hunting on military bases seven days a week; and HB 2225 to allow private landowners and their guests to hunt their property seven days a week.
I, like many other Virginia hunters, are interested to hear exactly what it is that the constituents of the 60th district are saying on this subject:
1. Do the citizens of Halifax and other surrounding 60th district counties truly feel it is right that private landowners be deprived their property rights and be restricted from hunting rabbits, squirrels, coyotes and deer on their own property one day a week, while other landowners are authorized to operate private hunting preserves for business purposes, hunt (not shoot) penned foxes, raccoons and bears seven days a week?
2. Do citizens of the 60th district truly feel that rabbits, squirrels, coyotes and deer need a day of rest, more so than the preserve birds, penned foxes, raccoons and bears mentioned above that are pursued seven days a week?
3. Do the citizens of the 60th district truly feel that allowing archery hunting seven days a week puts their safety at risk by possibly being misidentified as a deer while horseback riding, backpacking or bird watching, particularly when 90+ percent of archery attempts are taken at less than 25 yards?
4. Finally, do Delegate Edmunds’ constituents truly feel that allowing hunting seven days a week on military bases in some form, would create a safety risk for them on their private property, or impede their ability to horseback ride, hike or bird-watch on their private property or the state’s wildlife management areas?
And sir, my final thought; the transportation bill that passed both chambers of the General Assembly this year in one of their final meetings was been dubbed the “un-perfect compromise.” Un-perfect meaning that those on neither side of the debate got everything they initially sought in the bill. This, in my opinion, is the personification of a representative, democratic process that worked as advertised.
Is it too much to believe that such an end could be achieved on the issue of landowner/hunter access to private property seven days a week?
To the editor:
“Many of the fees have not been looked at for adjustment in 20 years,” Bowman said.
Does increasing the animal licensing fee for dogs increase revenue and at the same time decrease the total number of animal licenses purchased?
I can predict that the increase in total animal licensing fees collected in 2014 will increase, but total animals licensed will be about the same, when compared to the current ratio of licensed verse non-licenses animals.
Is it reasonable to believe that the increase in animals without licenses and most likely without rabies vaccination will stay the same, or possibly will increased as well?
Only those of us purchasing animal licenses will contribute to the increase of this revenue category.
With rabies being a public health issue, it would be very interesting for a summary to be published of the past two years by month to see how many animals without licenses or rabies citations were issued. Are these citation numbers increasing Mr. Moser?
If your dogs are in a kennel, animal control does a great job of policing compliance, it’s easy work.
2013 fees would have produced additional income without the 2014 increase being needed if enforcement occurred.
James E. Clark Jr.
To the editor:
I remember watching the news on television last week, and there was a terrible automobile accident on one of the major highways in Virginia.
An SUV ran off the road, down an embankment and flipped over, landing upside down. Thankfully everyone in the SUV was OK, but they couldn’t find their little baby.
Moments later the firemen arrived and found the baby underneath the vehicle upside down in his seat without a scratch on him not even crying.
One of the firemen commented that it was a miracle the little baby was all right.
It just goes to show you God still causes miracles to happen today. God is good.
Stewardship Virginia April 1-May 31
To the editor:
I am honored to be launching the 2013 Stewardship Virginia spring campaign to run April 1 through May 31.
Stewardship Virginia is a campaign to encourage volunteers to participate in projects that will contribute to conserving Virginia’s landscapes, improving water quality, providing for improved recreational opportunities and enhancing fisheries and wildlife.
Citizens, businesses and service groups across the commonwealth are encouraged to become involved by adopting streams, planting buffers, improving wildlife habitat and participating in educational and recreational programs.
Virginia’s natural resource agencies and others will participate in these efforts, and each participant will receive personal certificates of appreciation.
Given citizens’ commitment to wise stewardship, I am asking people to identify and undertake one or more projects and to register their event or activity, with Stewardship Virginia so we can recognize this contribution to improving the environment.
Or, for those who prefer, volunteer for one of the projects sponsored by our natural resource agencies. You can find a list of them at www.dcr.virginia.gov/stewardship.
Virginia’s landscapes and waterways are important for their ecological value, scenic beauty and recreational opportunities.
If you or your organization would like to participate in Stewardship Virginia, complete the attached registration form and mail or fax it to the address listed. You can also register your event online at the above website,
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is once again taking a leadership role in this campaign. If you have any questions or need additional information, call Bonnie Phillips with the Virginia Department of’ Conservation and Recreation at (804) 786-5056 or toll free at 1-877-42-WATER.
Thank you for your support.
Robert F. McDonnell