Bloody Sunday? Repeal of hunting ban thrills-- and chills

When Karen Wood was shot to death in her own backyard in 1988 while wearing white mittens, some suggested the Maine woman's death was her own fault. After all, those mittens might resemble a deer's tail, and she had stepped outside during hunting season without wearing blaze orange.

As later dramatized in Carolyn Chute's novel The Merry Men, hunting symbolizes the clash of culture between traditional ways and land swarmed by wealthier newcomers who prefer cameras, binoculars, and mountain-bikes over scopes, powerful rifles, and deer stands.

That clash has been muted in the new debate about Sunday hunting, with state government officially acknowledging one key factor: money.

Hunting on Sunday has long been banned in Virginia, a relic of so-called blue laws, which kept the Sabbath day safe for the worship of deities, not bucks and gobblers. And while hunters have long wanted that forbidden fruit, bills to repeal the ban would always die like a bullet-riddled animal.

This year, however, the wind is blowing the hunters' way. With the hunting and fishing license sales that sustain it dropping, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries endorsed a repeal of the ban last June, and– calling it a property rights issue– Governor Bob McDonnell supports Sunday hunting.

Eight bills were introduced in the General Assembly, and by a vote of 29 to 11 the Senate on January 26 approved Sunday hunting on private property. The bills in the House of Delegates remain in committee, but they seem likely to pass in the Republican-controlled chamber.

Surprisingly, despite all the momentum, some hunters are downright ambivalent about lifting the Sunday ban. And some of the Virginians who prefer the outdoors for hiking, biking, and horseback riding have a pretty adamant reaction: They're afraid they're going to be shot.

The hunters

"Would it be nice to be able to hunt on Sunday? Absolutely," says hunter Joe Ford. "Would it be nice to walk in the woods without worrying about hunters? Absolutely."

Living far in the wilds of northwestern Albemarle County near the Shenandoah National Forest, Ford has hunted all his life. And as a special permit-equipped bowhunter who's been called in to clear out landscape-chomping deer in some of the county's tonier subdivisions, he can pretty much hunt all year long.

"There have been so many discussions about this topic in hunting cabins and around campfires," says Ford. "A lot of guys working six days a week, struggling to feed their families, Sunday is the only day they can hunt."

When he was younger and working six days a week, Ford says he didn't like the Sunday ban either. Today, however, amid the various forms of deer hunting– archery, muzzleloader, rifle– the season can stretch from September to January.

"Virginia has one of the most liberal hunting seasons," Ford points out. "Why extend the season by 10 days?"

Ford believes Sunday hunting will pass the General Assembly because, he says, "It's all about the money."

Fellow hunter and hunting shop owner Tony Shifflett sees nothing wrong with that.

"You'll see hunting license sales go up 15 percent," predicts Shifflett, the owner of Rangeland in Ruckersville where  crossbows range from $1,200 up to $2,000.

"A guy who works five days a week is reluctant to buy one with only one day to shoot," says Shifflett, noting that a federal excise tax of 11 percent contributes to state coffers.

"You can play football on Sunday," says Shifflett. "You can do NASCAR on Sunday. What's the difference?"

The non-hunters

"I feel endangered," says Corky Shackelford, whose Dovetale Farm in Stony Point has been in his family for generations and it's posted with no trespassing/no hunting signs.

"There are hunters who don't respect those signs or they ignore them," says Shackelford. "It's like driving– some are really careful, and some are not."

Farmers like Shackelford traveled to Richmond on January 24 on behalf of the Farm Bureau, which opposes lifting the ban in the name of farmers.

"They want the peace and quiet one day a week," says Shackelford. "And they're concerned about their own safety and their livestock."

While Shackelford's never lost any livestock to hunters, he tells the story of a neighbor who denied a hunter access to pick up a turkey illegally killed on the farm. Two days later, the farmer found one of his cows dead– "shot point blank," Shackelford relates.

Between 2009 and 2011, the number of hunting licenses sold has dropped from 253,000 to 219,000, according to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Shackelford doubts the argument that licenses will spike with Sunday hunting. He contends hunters will just gain more flexibility in their schedules.

"My own argument is fairness for other people," says Shackelford. "Horseback riders, hikers, bikers– they want a day, and hunters get six days."

Carrie Bess Douglass is a horseback rider who's had frightening run-ins with hunters, so she only rides her horse on Sunday, and then she wears orange blaze.

"When a horse hears shooting, it can go crazy," she says. "And this is an extraordinarily large animal."

Douglass declines to mention the details of interactions with reckless hunters. "Those guys have guns," she says.

"I understand they work all week long," says Douglass, an anthropology professor at UVA. "So do I. If we can't ride Saturday or Sunday, we won't have a day to ride for four months."

Douglas says Albemarle is the third largest horse-owning county in the state, and she asserts that hunters wanting seven days a week is too much. She has one suggestion for those who want to hunt on Sundays: make Saturday a non-hunting day.

"My argument is their argument," she says. "I only have one day to ride."

Shopkeeper Shifflett says nobody should fear hunters, whether on Sunday or any other day of the week.

"If you're following the law, no one should have to worry," says Shifflett. "I'd damn sure wear blaze orange when I'm walking. I'd have blaze on my dog. It's a common sense thing."

The legislators

State Senator Bryce Reeves, a Republican who represents eastern Albemarle, says in a statement, "I know much has been discussed about the dangers and liabilities of Sunday hunting, but to me the issue is more of a fundamental question of private property rights."

State Senator Creigh Deeds was born and raised in Bath County, where schools are closed the first day of hunting season. Remembering how short the season was during his childhood, he voted against lifting the ban.

"The season is not two weeks anymore," says Deeds. "It stretches from September to January.  I love hunting, but I think six days a week is enough."

The delegates who represent Albemarle County– Democrat David Toscano and Republicans Rob Bell, Steve Landes, and Matt Fariss, did not respond to a reporter's inquiries by press time .

Fariss, who has picked up three summons for illegal hunting (with two convictions), sits on the agriculture committee in the House of Delegates, which will likely take up the bills on February 1. He did not respond to multiple calls .

When things go wrong

Naturalist Marlene Condon, who wants to maintain the ban, mentions a bullet fired from private property whizzing by her head in her rural front yard in western Albemarle and points to a Department of Game and Inland Fisheries study that finds while 85 percent of Virginians like to use the outdoors, only three percent of the population has a hunting license.

The Game Department tracks hunting fatalities, and reports seven from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009, five of which were accidentally self-inflicted. For 2009-2010, there five fatalities; and in 2010-2011, there were four (with one self-inflicted in each of those seasons.)

The details behind the statistics can be tragic. On December 3 of last year, 18-year-old Travis B. Smith from Waynesboro was killed by his father, Thomas Scott Wright, when his rifle accidentally discharged on a hunting trip in West Virginia. And in November, seven-year-old Connor Ryan Craig was accidentally killed by his 10-year-old brother as the two boys were hunting with their father in Nelson County.

When someone is shot hunting in Virginia, usually it's hunters shooting other hunters, but in 2009 a man named Jason Cloutier, who failed to properly identify his target, killed 23-year-old Ferrum College student Jessica Goode and injured another student as they searched for frog specimens for a science class.

While that is the Game Department's only official case of a non-hunter getting killed, one may have happened in Albemarle. Just ask Hugh Garrison.

On November 29, 1997, his wife of 30 years, Janice Garrison, was shot in the head in their Stony Point-area yard after they heard gunshots coming from the surrounding land– land that was posted no hunting.

Given the trauma Hugh Garrison has experienced from seeing his wife killed while standing beside him, perhaps it's not surprising he's no fan of reckless hunters– nor extending hunting to seven days a week.

"A stupid idea," says Garrison. "We have enough problems dodging bullets six days a week. Can't we have one day a week with peace and quiet?"

Last fall, Garrison called the police when he heard hunters after dark who were discharging weapons close to his house.

The man suspected of firing the shot that killed Janice Garrison, Glen Scott Snow, was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm the day she died and was sentenced to 37 months in prison.

"I've seen the man in camo on a four-wheeler," alleges Garrison. "His life has gone on."

"Sunday is the Sabbath," says Garrison, unappeased to learn that the Senate added an amendment that forbids hunting within 250 yards of a church.

In 2006, after a pet cat was gunned down by an angry homeowner in the Bentivar subdivision, Albemarle County officials entertained the idea of banning gunfire in rural areas near residences. However, property rights opponents helped quash that plan.

As rare as it is that pets or humans are killed during hunters' activities, naturalist Condon contends that she should have the right to feel safe outside, and she notes the obvious, "If you're the one who gets shot, it matters."


Update 10:55am, January 31: An early online version of this story accurately quoted Professor Douglass when she referred to a horse as a "two-ton" animal, she says she meant that metaphorically to show that it's a really big animal. That quotation was deleted before the story went to press.


Saying this bill will pass because of a republican-controlled House just shows the ignorance of this writer. Many of the opponents of this bill are republican. The reason is they are religious and think the Sabbath should be kept holy. You should be writing the news with no bias, which obviously isn't the case the way this article is written. Virginia is one of only 10 states which ban Sunday hunting, and other states don't have problems with people being shot off their horses. Finally, hunting season is only 3-4 months long, during the cold months. Other outdoor enthusiasts, of which I am, have the other 8-9 months a year with better weather.

Maybe this will mean less unexcused absences from school and work. They can get their "game" on Sundays now!

Deleted by moderator.

It is time that Virginians be given the freedom and liberty to choose to participate on the 7th day in an activity that is legal and safe the other 6 days. To those who don't want to participate in Sunday hunting they should be happy as well. The law that is going through the House does not say "You MUST hunt on Sunday."

There is a grass roots effort of thousands that has gathered on facebook, please come and join in:!/groups/vasundayhunting4all/

You can also go here for an easy method to contact your legislators, just a few clicks away:

As far as this attempt at journalism missed the mark, the writer's obvious disdain for hunting bleeds through in her writing and I dismiss this as yellow journalism. I would have thought that an editor would have been able to pick up it.

This author should have also clarified in this article that the current Senate bill has 3 qualifiers:
1. Private Property Only with written permission
2. No use of deer dogs
3. Not with 250 yards of a church

As far as criminals in the woods (actually a very small minority of hunters):
Do we say that a bank robber is banking when he demands money from the teller? No
Is a shop lifter shopping when she shoves her pockets full of merchandise? No

Yet this writer references crimes and criminals in this story as hunting and hunters. Poachers, tresspassers and every random shot fired in the state is not a hunter. I learned at a very young age not to jump to conclusions and label, it is never a good practice.

Every state that has overturned their bans (and it is only 6 states that have a ban on harvest of game on Sunday) has not experienced any of the doom and gloom those anti hunting types, hiding behind no Sunday hunting, predict.

This is a property owner's rights, freedom and liberty issue and Virginians deserve to have both.

AS for the person who stated enthusiast have the rest of the year in better weather to be out side. Well winter is my favorite and best time to be hiking. I do not hike at all in the summer. It is way to hot, buggy and crowded. Winter is the best. At least we have A national park in Virginia that the hunter can't have.

Great buck in the photo Tony!

That is right Ann! So does that mean you are supporter now? If you were found to be hiking on my property I would have you arrested for tresspass, just sayin'.

Boo - average weight of a horse is between 1500 and 2000 pounds - a ton = 1000 pounds. Draft horses weigh more.

As for hunting - truly you want to control the deer population around here - ban it for about 5 years - they will starve themselves out to more managable numbers. The did this in the George Washington Forrest with the squirrel population and it worked. The animals reproduced less. It is nothing to see twin fawns each Spring because the deer are over hunted.

There should also be stiffer laws for those who violate the hunting laws - we have a Rep who has been convicted twice? So, I walk in the woods and I must wear blaze orange to protect myself from the idiot hunters who cant tell human from deer? Really? Those people shouldn't be hunting!

I am for hunting but it is out of control and our population is out of control because of overhunting and urban spread.

We don't need Sunday hunting - we need to get it all under control but with the Reps always in charge of VA - never will happen.

For those who object on the grounds that Sunday hunting desecrates the Sabbath, where is your campaign to shut down the state's liquor stores? If safety is the concern, why are you not campaigning to stop all forms of gunfire on Sunday? For that matter, since it is far more likely you will be killed or injured in a motor vehicle accident, why not ban driving on Sunday? Certainly , liquor and driving present an even more serious threat but the state is moving forward to open more of it's liquor stores on Sunday. Tell the truth. You simply don't want hunting in any shape or size. Ann, the proposed law as written today, preserves your Sundays not only in National Parks but also in the Virginia wildlife management areas that hunters paid for. It also prohibits Sunday hunting in the National Forests and the State Parks. The only places it is allowed is on PRIVATE PROPERTY where you would be a TRESPASSER!

Hey Truth! 1000 lbs = 1 ton? I'm gonna be complaining big time if I pay for a ton and only get half. 2000 lbs to a ton last time I checked unless you go to the "short ton". Try Wikipedia.
I have a Tennessee Walker who comes in at about 1200 lbs and we have a Percheron that might get to 1700. There may be a few of the big draft horses that even top a ton but very few are getting ridden. Truth doesn't hurt but lies do. My dad used to say that "ignorance can be cured, but stupid is a terminal disease". Go for the cure.

@ Truth Hurts

The avg weight of a horse is between 900 and 1,100 lbs, and the last time I checked a ton was 2,000 lbs. So you and the professor are only off by roughly 300%. Fun fact: The heaviest horse ever was named Samson and weighed 3,360 lbs. That's still considerably less than 2 tons.

Matthew O'Brian, as a native of this area I can name thousands of "Good Ol' Boyz" around here who hunted without licences, hunt year round, kill the animals cut off the trophies and leave the animal to rot. (I can name names.) That is a FACT that no one speaks of around here. There are more out hunting illegally than legally. We don't have the game wardens to police it, by the time they arrive they have disappeared and when they are brought before the judge it is a slap on the wrist.

I am all for hunting BUT the idiots out there now? Perhaps the Hook needs to poll the farmers around Central VA and ask them how many shots to they hear fired on their Private Property and how many animals they have found killed by hunters? Many go unreported because it is just considered the "culture" here.

Responsible hunting I am all for. Legal hunting I am for, but we have a free-for-all around here and no one really cares.

Truth Hurts, the comment by Ms. Douglass was, “And this is a two-ton animal." I suggest you review your standard weights and measure because a ton is equal to 2000 pounds, not 1000. Yes, there are very big draft horses out there but I highly doubt that anyone is taking them for a ride. As it now, Sunday hunting is illegal however discharging a firearm is not. I hear far more gunfire throughout the day on Sunday during hunting season than during the rest of the week. The call for a "peaceful Sunday" is disingenuous; the gunfire will still be there as it always was.

What keeps getting lost in this discussion is that it is on private property only! If you don’t want anyone hunting your land on Sunday, don’t allow it! How simple is that?

@Boo Radley - my family consists of breeders, olympian riders, judges, trainers and instructors.

- from Wikipedia - The size of horses varies by breed, but also is influenced by nutrition. Light riding horses usually range in height from 14 to 16 hands (56 to 64 inches, 142 to 163 cm) and can weigh from 380 to 550 kilograms (840 to 1,200 lb).[23] Larger riding horses usually start at about 15.2 hands (62 inches, 157 cm) and often are as tall as 17 hands (68 inches, 173 cm), weighing from 500 to 600 kilograms (1,100 to 1,300 lb).[24] Heavy or draft horses are usually at least 16 to 18 hands (64 to 72 inches, 163 to 183 cm) high and can weigh from about 700 to 1,000 kilograms (1,500 to 2,200 lb).[25]

So perhaps it was exagerated in the article above BUT "average" is not as average today when the average thoroughbread is now 17 hands as apposed to 10 years ago being 15.3 hands. They are breeding them to be bigger now.

Her horse may be a draft cross too. You don't know. Which does equate to a ton.

Trespass and poaching laws can be and are enforced not only by game wardens (VDGIF Conservation Police) but by local sheriffs, the state police, and within municipal boundaries, county and city police. If you can name names, there is an 800 number provided by the game department to report wildlife violations. Be a responsible citizen. Report violations. If you personally witness a crime, report it and testify to what you witness. Responsible hunters don't tolerate poaching and wanton waste. While we are on that subject - unlimited kill and wanton waste is exactly what the Va Farm Bureau is asking for.

"And why do hunters pose with their dead animals, grinning? Seems kind of psycho to me. Just kill the animal, have gratitude that it will provide meat so that you may live another day, then be on your way with it. No need to pose, looking like a psychopath. People who have a need to pose and grin and revel in it all make me wonder what other sorts of things they would get up to if only they were allowed, and could get away with it. If society goes to pot those are the people I'd be worried about, versus hunters who do what they do purely out of necessity to eat, without any psychopathic posing and grinning........."

Hey boooo! Hunters hunt for many different reasons, not all hunt for food. I highly recommend you read Heartsblood by David Peterson or Coyote Soul, Raven Heart by Reg Darling. I quote from the latter sums up exactly why I hunt:

"I hunt for the sustenance of my spirit. The meat I bring home is the biological component of that sustenance, the connecting link back again to the organic harmony around me." Reg Darling

What a terrible piece of "journalism."
The same folks "terrified" to walk or ride in the woods will get in ther car without any thought of what might happen on thier way to work. The risk of getting injured in a car crash is infinitely higher than getting injured in a hunting accident. Injuries related to horses are also substantially higher than injuries related to hunting. Farmers are far, far more likely to get hurt or killed in a farming accident than a hunting accident. (Why are farmers okay working their fileds six days a week but not the seventh?) Heck, even gardeners have a higher chance of getting killed from a bee sting than a hunter. I'm amazed at how so many people use irrational and baseless fears to justify their opposition to Sunday hunting.
Please stop telling me how dangerous it is out there without first examining the other risks we all face on a daily basis.

Jessie, I miss typed that a 1 instead of a 2 so sorry the finger hit the wrong key - You are such the horse expert? Really?

Two horses make you an expert? Average horses 16-17 hands freaking out because of a gun shot vs an average human is not a good thing. Try it sometime - you will be on your butt.

@ Rob Wilkinson

If killing stuff "sustains your spirit" then what is there to say other than, I hope I don't run into you if and when society ever goes to pot!

"If you can name names, there is an 800 number provided by the game department to report wildlife violations. Be a responsible citizen. Report violations. If you personally witness a crime, report it and testify to what you witness."

Okay make the call - it takes on average response time in this area about 20 - 30 minutes, which gives those illegally hunting on your private property enough time to leave. And those who do it - these "good ol boyz" know the areas better than many of the property owners who just purchased it say 10 years ago. So, you call, make the report and how much follow up is done?

As I said, there are thousands out there - including this rep who was convicted twice who have no regard for the hunting laws.

I personally think that was a cheap shot at the Delegate on alleged hunting summons, for some secondary gain for the author, and until I hear from the Delegate or know the whole story I wouldn't believe very much from this article. Credibility matters and this author obviously doesn't deserve any from me.

I misunderstood Ms. Douglass' statement on the weight of a horse, and apologize for the error. -- Lisa Provence

OK - i don't intend to get in a pissing contest here but, no, 2 horses do not make me an expert. I guess 20 years of horse ownership, and many dollars invested in training from people like John Lyons, Dave Seay, and Kenny Harlow do give me a little bit of knowledge on the subject. I have earned money training other peoples horses to load and to address behavioral problems through conditioned response. I have been injured by spooked horses. the worst was spooked not by gunshots but by a running truck engine. Horses can be spooked by anything and sometimes nothing. It is a good idea to work on conditioning them to loud noise to mitigate your risks which are considerably higher on horseback than it is from nearby hunters. Good luck to you.

More deer=more ticks=bad. Let them eat

"Yet this writer references crimes and criminals in this story as hunting and hunters. Poachers, tresspassers and every random shot fired in the state is not a hunter"

Well they have the license, the gun and the Uniform.... and they are often tolerated by legitamate hunters.

If a horse throws you it does not matter whether it is 800 or 2800 lbs. Ask superman...

As far as reporting a crime, the game wardens are COUNTIES away and severely limited in their ability to respond. When you do have a trespasser and call the sherriff all you can describe is a fat white guy in cammo with an orange hat and vest. Try and pick him out of a lineup. Property owners do not want to go out and confront people with a gun. (nor should they have to)

The problem I have with hunting on Sundays is that there is already a severe shortage of enforcement officers out there and the increase in revenue from more licenses will be comsumed by the increase in complaints from landowners. It is obvious that landowners who tolerate mild trespasses because they have Sunday to ride or hike will start calling the Sherriff and the resultant overtime will probably cost way more than the increase in revenue.

This is just a great example of good old fashion lobbying helping a special interest with no real facts to justify it.

So when the law passes, all of those land owners who were tolerant can start becoming intolerant and when the enforcment gets too expensive the state will go back.

Thats how it works.

When Romney wins the presidency, you'll be feeding your families the venison that you harvest (no more food stamps or unemployment).

@ Lisa

I don't understand. You QUOTED her as saying her horse weighs 2 tons - in deference to Truth Hurts, that's 4,000 lbs. Now you've altered the quote to say it's only one ton. According to my research, a 2,000 lb horse being ridden is still pretty damn unlikely. Maybe the term you're searching for is 1/2 ton.

@Truth: There is illegal hunting the same way there is illegal everything else. You are always going to have people who ignore the laws. What does that have to do with Sunday hunting?

I think it is important to keep in mind that this bill would only allow hunting on private land and would still be subject to local regulations.

Maybe we could say that there is no hunting allowed on Wednesday. that way it is still only allowed 6 days a week.

@ boo radley

How about, get rid of the use of "ton" and just say what the weight is. :D When people throw around the word "ton" it's usually to add that extra bit of dramatic kick to their words anyway. When we're talking something that's a "quarter ton" or "half ton" or 1/80th of a ton or 1 millionth of a ton, then give it up and just say what the weight is. I mean, come on. There's no need to toss around the word ton unless something actually weighs a ton or more.

What is incomprehensible, is that none of these complaints seem to surface until the subject of Sunday hunting is on the table. Many of these statements insult the intelligence of all Virginians, because they essentially say that we are willing to live in danger for our lives Monday through Saturday, in exchange for no hunting on Sunday. Folks, forms of hunting on Sunday are legal every Sunday, and statewide, and many involve the use of firearms. Recreational shooting is perfectly legal every Sunday, and essentially statewide. Hunters number 225,000+/-, while gun owners number 2,000,000.....and anyone has the right to shoot on Sunday. The Shackelford farm has been in the family for generations, yet throughout those generations, apparently none of the Shackelford family has asked Virginia's General Assembly, or the Supervisors of Albemarle County to make changes in regulation that would address their stated concerns. Yes there are accidents associated with hunting.....and they all are tradgic. No group wants that number to be "0" any greater than the hunting community. If you take a look at alcohol related falalities in VA (nearly 12,000 since 1982) you'd likely give up driving, so long as your concern for your safety is genuine.

Kill 'em all.

Well said Tony, and very rational. Thank you

I almost wrote a snide reply that lays out the ridiculousness of the anti hunting argument. I had it all typed up, but your logical post kept me from making a mockery of the anti argument instead.

I'm done with this article that is so obviously pushing several other agendas (ranging from an attack on Republicans to things other than "No Sunday Hunting").

LOL These "Hikers" crack me up! Blind uneducated stupidity. Just another example of the sheeple in america! Blind following the blind. The ONLY reason you even have public land to hike on is because of "sportsman" dollars. The appalachain trail runs through alot of Va national forest. Please show me these scary statistics where hunters are blowing hikers away? You people need to be put in your place. Spreading ignorant and false information shows ypour character. There are far more states that allow Sunday hunting on public land with little issue. In fact there3 are around 20 Million hunters nationwide with about 800 accidents reported annually. It is also a fact that a good portion of those happen on Upland hunts where the hunter accidently swings into the path of another hunting companion (Dick Cheney as an example). So statistically you have a .0004% chance of being shot by a hunter. LOL I'd say you are pretty safe as a hiker!

By the way, for one more point of "correctness" The Sabbath is actually on Saturday. So the "sabbath argument holds as much water as a 2 ton horse.

Well part of the reason that there so few hunting accidents is because people stay the hell out of the way of those uber-reponsible hunters we see loading up their trucks with 24 packs of natty lights at 10:00 am every saturday morning.

Also... hunting liceneses don't even come close to covering the cost of the game wardens let alone anything else. I think the proper lingo is "that dog don't hunt"

People go to the beach in the summer "season" because that is the "best" time to enjoy doing what they like doing. They PLAN their vactions around it. So let hunters PLAN their vacations around hunting season and take a week off work. Desides, they can use Sunday to dress their kill and clean their weapons.

I divined Provence's agenda by the end of graph four, when she used the inaccurate simile "like a bullet-riddled animal." A bullet-riddled animal does a hunter no good; most deer I have seen in the backs of trucks have one wound. Rutherford's argument hit the buck on the head: If you want to begin the argument with the safety premise, it is looney to think that we can hunt six days, putting citizens in peril, then rest on the seventh.
Also, can someone explain the Garrison case? Was a bullet removed from Mrs. Garrison? No evidence could convict him of firing a shot? That aside, a convicted felon carrying a firearm should get more than three year. That is another problem: soft sentencing. A lot of these outlaws would think more carefully if some of their buds got thrown away with long sentences.
Anyway, the bias in this article was palpable from the carotid to the raidial.
R.I.P.: Will Geer

I don't have a dog in this race as I am not a hunter. I will however comment on the fact that I can't count the number of times I've been pumping gas at a convenience store in the morning and watched a truckload of "good ol' boys" filling their coolers with beer on their way out to hunt...there's a great idea. Guns and beers, are those rights protected as well?

Seriously, nobody gives a buck about the weight of a horse. This is an article about hunting on Sundays. No talking in class, please.

You are more likely to get hit by a car while walking down the street than shot by a hunter while hiking in the woods. No supporting stats, but probably true.

Bill, although, I agree that a week long hunting vacation would be AWESOME, hunting not just about sport. It's about controlling the local game population. And any hunter loading up a case of natty light at 10am is probably finished deer hunting. If they are not, hopefully they will save it for a post hunt celebration.

Deer can be pests, too. My mother-in-law hates when deer sneak up and eat her landscaping. Think of all the dead deer on the side of the road in Novemember. Each one a potential accident. Now imagine how dangerous it would be to drive those same roads if the deer population were allowed to flourish uncontrolled. They have very few predators in Virginia.

Plus, they are tasty. But they are just as tasty 6 days a week as 7.

Paul, it's not just the good old boys. It happens in every state and with every regulated sport. Oh, and go to Smith Mountain Lake and see the "good old gentlemen" loading up on wine coolers before they head out to boat.
R.I.P.: Mick Ronson

@truth hurts

You say, "As for hunting - truly you want to control the deer population around here - ban it for about 5 years - they will starve themselves out to more managable numbers. The did this in the George Washington Forrest with the squirrel population and it worked. The animals reproduced less. It is nothing to see twin fawns each Spring because the deer are over hunted."

This is by far the most ridiculous misinformation I have seen from the anti-hunters.

There has never been a ban on hunting squirrels in GW forest.

Also, if you have seen twin fawns, it is because the deer herd in your area is healthy. If you see triplets or even quadruplets, it means the herd is very healthy and has more than ample nutrition.

Jesse Baldwin stated "...the proposed law as written today, preserves your Sundays not only in National Parks but also in the Virginia wildlife management areas that hunters paid for. It also prohibits Sunday hunting in the National Forests and the State Parks. The only places it is allowed is on PRIVATE PROPERTY where you would be a TRESPASSER!"

Personally, I would prefer that Sunday hunting be allowed on Federal lands and NOT on private property, so that I can enjoy one day a week free of gunfire and the concern of stray bullets.

@truth hurts

Just got off the phone with Jerry Simms, a regional manager with the DGIF. He has confirmed that there has never been a ban on hunting of squirrels in VA.

Lying is always going to catch up with you.

I would like to see the law to include no penalty for shooting the poacher on private property.

My first point is going to be against all poaching and trespassing. I do not believe that hunters or anyone should be doing this, and if it is occurring, call the Police.

The next key point is that this is bill is for allowing Sunday hunting on Private Lands. This does not affect any of the many public land areas where you can ride horse, hike, walk, or whatever else your heart desires on a Sunday.

Each year deer become more and more of a problem in Virginia while the hunters lesson. I am one of those hunters. I am originally from MN and moved to VA with the Marine Corps. Every year I go home in November to see my family and to hunt. While I have occasionally purchased a hunting license out here, because I use my vacation time going to MN i don't have an opportunity to hunt in VA except on the weekends. That means I have Saturday to hunt, I find that fact discouraging therefore hunt less and less each year out here, however, I do go shooting often on Sundays.

As a rural resident, I'm all for allowing hunting 7 days a week, but I also believe property owners should be garnted depredation permits allowing them to take armed strangers trespassing on their property. This would be a just balance to allay the concerns of property owners about drunken louts with guns rampaging over their property and would spice up the lives of hunters by adding the element of "The Most Dangerous Game" to their sport by introducing that thrill of the death defying to their furtive intrusions onto other peoples' property.

I used to work five days now a week. Now I'm working usually working at least six for less money and, unfortunately, I don't get to choose whether it's sunday or saturday. It does bother me that the unemployed are afforded a chance to enjoy the outdoors in a way that I am not. I should not have to choose between hunting and providing for my family. I want to be able to offer shared time in the woods with my kids in the same way that my Dad for me. Please legalize sunday hunting.

PS - I certainly don't drink when handling firearms or hunting and don't know anyone who does; however, I do understand that if I want a cold beer after the guns are put away, then I need to have put beer on ice earlier in the day.

@T. Rutherford: well said and thought out, yet merely that - the comments only //seem// genius owing to their juxtaposition with criminal hunters (and hikers) caring about laws, when you can blast squirrels, and something about whose horse is bigger (and heavier).

@Hawes Spencer: these are the worst posts ever. please disable the comment button now.

@truth hurts: you are irony, sir! definitely, almost entertaining.

To say this is a liberal-left-leaning article is stating a fact rather mildly. But, it's wholly and always expected. Talk about stirring up contention over straw-man arguments! The author managed to get it all in there.....class warfare ("Bubba" vs. the upper crust), the children (Oh, save the children!), animals (covered horses and cats, but we didn't have room for cows, chickens or dogs), criminal behavior (while still addressing the perpetrators as "hunters", which is akin to addressing a murderous rapist as "gentleman"....PAH!), and even a smidgen of implied domestic terrorism! Great article.....if you're dense enough to believe in Bambi, the seven dwarfs and Cinderella.
Good Lord....WE'RE COMIN T'GITCHA!......{{"BOO!!"}}

Do I have a private property right to restrict bullets originating from other private property from entering into my own?

Or is this not about private property at all, rather being about public lands?


Do a little research and you'll find incidents that have resulted in law suits. First, though, you'll have to prove your own case (assuming you're able to work one up).

Question (since you brought it up): Did this "issue" of property-invading bullets just pop up for you, or was it the Sunday hunting that drove you to ask? Just wondering since, you'll undoubtedly be cornered in a court of law into admitting that you haven't raised a finger of opposition regarding weekday hunting since the inception of regulated hunting (1930-something?).

Would a court case be worth the cost if you're simply at your wit's end and merely sticking your thumb of outrage in the eye of hunters?

Listen, I'm a hunter who's had to deal with that very scenario. But the bullet could have come from a mile or more away....we'll never know. Fact is, regardless the day of the week or geographic location, there are always going to be morons behind guns and driving cars; it's America, Jack, get over it. All you can do is cross your fingers that none of them invades your space and swear to God that if anyone ever crosses the line of law, ethics or common sense, you're going to do everything in your power to see them (legally) crushed. Same goes for Pit-bull owners, property owners who harbor dead trees, rotten parents who raise & allow little hellions, and rude, inconsiderate, slovenly or behaviorally-defunct dirtbags.
Until they negatively affect your life directly, there's nothing you can do but lose sleep over it......or, not.

And by the way, what do you have to say for the 99.9% of hunters who are ethical, careful, thoughtful, sensical, intelligent, warm and friendly? Eh? Would you like to debate that percentage I just pulled from a dark, unmentionable place?
Tell me, comparatively speaking (go ahead, take a shot in the pun intended), what percentage of drivers are inept and incompetent? What percentage are simply rude? What percentage are malicious and dangerous with forethought and disregard? But.....what percentage are reasonable, rational, responsible and thoughtful? I say, let's mandate NO driving, for ANYONE, on SUNDAYS, because we need a break from that vicious .01%.......good idea?

@ Ralph...You had me until...

"Tell me, comparatively speaking (go ahead, take a shot in the pun intended), what percentage of drivers are inept and incompetent? What percentage are simply rude? What percentage are malicious and dangerous with forethought and disregard? But.....what percentage are reasonable, rational, responsible and thoughtful? I say, let's mandate NO driving, for ANYONE, on SUNDAYS, because we need a break from that vicious .01%.......good idea?"

You tell me, what percentage of the population drives and what percentage of the population hunt? I'll go out on a limb and say proportionately, there are far more drivers that hunters. If only a small percentage of the populace drove you could probably make a case for "no driving on Sunday" because there are a lot of dipstick drivers on the road. But since hunters are a very small minority, perhaps it's reasonable to allow the input of the majority on this subject.

Again, I don't hunt, but I'm interested in the argument, particularly as it pertains to the rights of the few as opposed to the rights, safety and protection of the many. Give someone an inch and they will invariably demand a yard...

YES to Sunday hunting. That way I can avoid all the TV sports designed to feed the brain dead couch 'taters.

Ralph, "It's dangerous 6 days of the week already, why not make it 7?" is not a very good argument to make in favor of allowing Sunday hunting.

"... the bullet could have come from a mile or more away....we'll never know.... All you can do is cross your fingers that none of them invades your space" isn't doing much to sway me either. Seems more like an argument for outlawing rifles altogether.

LEAVE THE DEER ALONE - what are you going to do - hunt them until they are extinct ?? Take all the money that you spend on guns, and bullets, and suits and whatever else you buy and donate it to a homeless shelter or food bank or to the Red Cross -- if we didn't have irresponsible people out there hunting we wouldn't have accidents like this - HUNTING SHOULD BE BANNED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hate our overpopulated/starving/eating-my-garden deer and am happy that people want to shoot them. But let me have one day in the week when I can go for a freaking walk in the woods, goldang it!! Is that too much to ask?