Sunday hunting in West Virginia has been prohibited for years but could be closer to a reality after a bill easily sailed through the state Senate and is now in the hands of the House of Delegates.
Eleven states still prohibit Sunday hunting in some form, even on private land, based on archaic laws dating back decades. Exactly why the prohibitions were put into place in some of those states is unknown or murky at best.
Some argue the prohibitions are in place to “give the wildlife a rest,” which is idiotic and has no biological basis considering hunting seasons are a fraction of the entire year. Others say it’s because Sunday is “a day of worship,” which means a government agency (the wildlife departments or legislators) are establishing policy or laws based on religious grounds. How anyone hasn’t sued about that yet is mystifying. And still others say that six days a week is plenty of time to hunt, and Sunday should be a day anyone can get outdoors without hunters being in the woods.
The last one also is silly. Not everyone has the opportunity to hunt during the week. Jobs and family life prevent some folks from going Monday through Friday. They look forward to the weekend and then only have one day because someone, for some reason, believes they shouldn’t be allowed to hunt on their own property on Sunday. What balderdash.
Likewise, hunters from out of state who come in to spend time and money are handcuffed by these outdated laws or regulations. That costs the states and retailers money from loss of license sales, food, gas and other expenses. Quibble about the amount if you wish, but in these times of state wildlife agencies being strapped for cash, every dollar helps.
West Virginia is on course to right this wrong-headed approach, thankfully, with the bill approved by a 26-6 margin in its Senate. It would allow hunting on private land throughout the state, with public lands still being closed on Sunday. Although I don’t care for that aspect, it’s within the state’s purview to manage it’s public lands through its wildlife department as it sees fit. Perhaps one day those will be open on Sunday, too.
Voters approved Sunday hunting but due to some county laws or regulations, there were still issues that this new bill should clear up. It’s expected to be taken up in the House and, I hope, will pass there and be signed into law.
Along with hunters, the bill has the backing of The National Rifle Association and West Virginia Citizens Defense League, along with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and West Virginia Division of Tourism. More than $600,000 in revenue could be generated if the bill is approved.