As I've written about several times, there is a peculiar alliance (using the term "alliance" loosely) between a few powerful parties that want to continue the ban on Expanded Sunday hunting. Why do I keep saying "expanded" Sunday hunting? Because a few of those parties for the Sunday ban (hound hunters, Virginia Farm Bureau) don't want the other parties (animal rights groups, some Christians) to know that Sunday hunting is already quite legal across the state. You may not have ever heard of this, because in many cases, it's not called "hunting," even though it involves dogs, guns, traps, and wildlife being injured, harassed, or killed intentionally. Gosh, it already sounds more brutal than hunting!
For those who fear that Sunday hunting represents a public safety concern, please contact your local delegate immediately, because Sunday hunting is happening this Sunday, in your County in Virginia.
What's more is that current Delegate Ware (who says he strongly opposes Sunday hunting) recently sponsored a bill (now state law) that does not allow police to "assume" someone is hunting on Sunday if they are found in possession of a hunting weapon, loaded with hunting ammo, wearing full camouflage, "in the woods." I think I can fairly question whether that law was written to benefit those who illegally shoot deer and bear on Sunday at the conclusion of their otherwise legal pursuit of deer and bear on Sunday.
Thus, I'd argue that we already have Sunday hunting for deer in Virginia. Bet you didn't know that! And Delegate Ware, strong opponent of Sunday hunting, has already done his part to make sure that Sunday deer hunting continues - legal or not.
Black Bear On Sundays, black bear can legally be chased (under the guise of "training") until cornered by packs of hunting dogs. A current bill is afloat in Virginia to expand the hours to include Sunday nights. The only requirements are that the bear not be completely killed (harvested), and that the hunters do not have any weapons in their possession. Again, I find it a bit difficult to believe that a hunter with $10,000 worth of purebred hounds will allow for the possibility that a bear will maul his or her hounds during chase season, and thus, are fairly likely to carry at least a handgun. And once again, Sunday hunting opponents like Delegate Ware passed a bill that stops game wardens from "assuming" a guy in camo, with 20 hounds and a loaded rifle is "hunting bears" on Sunday. Why would anyone make such a crazy assumption?!
In Virginia, Red Fox can be trapped commercially (for fur) or as a nuisance species. State law requires that trappers visit each trap every 24 hours (including Sundays), and kill any trapped animals with a single shot from a firearm. This means that fox trapped on Saturdays are shot on Sundays, and the trap re-set so another fox can be trapped on Sunday afternoon/evening.
Virginia law also includes this language about fox hunting:
Fox. - There shall be a continuous open season for hunting with dogs only. The hunting or pursuit of foxes shall mean the actual following of the dogs while in pursuit of a fox or foxes or managing the dog or dogs while the fox or foxes are being hunted or pursued. Foxes may be killed at any time by the owner or tenant of any land when such animals are doing damage to domestic stock or fowl.
So a red fox on a farm can be killed at any time in Virginia, as long as the landowner convinces himself or herself that the fox is "doing damage" to livestock or captive birds. Notice the term "kill" (which can include hunting firearms) vs. "hunt" (same ammo, same gun, but illegal on sundays). Plus, at any time in Virginia (including Sundays), hounds can be used to chase fox, corner them, and harass them, as long as the hunter does not fully kill the fox. Now tell me again about how the Sunday hunting ban gives wildlife a day of rest!
Rabbit and Gray Squirrel
Virginia law states:
Rabbits and squirrels. - It shall be unlawful to kill rabbits and squirrels during the closed season; however, the following persons may kill rabbits or squirrels for their own use during the closed season:
1. A landowner and members of his immediate family;
2. Resident members of hunt clubs who own the land in fee, either jointly or through a holding company;
3. Tenants residing on the premises, with the written permission of the landowner.
Again, there's a fine line between "hunting" and "killing," but this language reads that rabbits and squirrels can be pursued and..
The Woodchuck / Groundhog defined as a nuisance species in Virginia, and not a game species. As a result, it is not "hunted" but "shot." It is perfectly legal to lay in a field full of equestrians and horses and shoot groundhogs on Sunday, in Virginia. It is not, however, legal to lay in the same field on Sunday and "hunt" them.
This is a direct response to those who claim that rural life would be disrupted by "any" Sunday hunting, those who say that Sunday hunting is not part of Virginia's hunting tradition, and those who say that public safety would be at risk if "any" Sunday hunting is permitted.
Now you know that Sunday hunting, shooting, chasing, and/or killing are, in fact permitted in Virginia for many, many species of wildlife. And in instances where it is not legal, the state legislature has enabled provisions that make it very difficult to ticket and prosecute Sunday hunting violators.
And you know, it leaves me with the suspicion that many of those lobbyists and legislators who claim to so vociferously "oppose all Sunday hunting" really mean they support Sunday hunting for themselves (which they already have in place) - but not expanded Sunday hunting for everyone else.