Sunday Hunting in Virginia Clears Hurdles, Governor Approves

Hunters will finally, after decades of being told “No,” be able to hunt on Sunday in Virginia on private lands after bills were approved by the state’s Senate and House of Delegates bodies.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, has said he supports the repeal of one of the state’s last “blue laws” and will sign it into law when it arrives on his desk. The Senate and House must combine their bills before sending it to McAuliffe for the final step.

whitetail deer managementThe long, contentious fight to repeal the law has pitted hunters against landowners, legislators, anti-hunters and even some groups of hunters who supported the prohibition. Some legislators have voted on bills at least five times over the years in committees or on the House or Senate floors, only to see them fail to move forward. The Senate passed a bill two years ago for it, but it died in the House.

Sunday hunting opponents claimed the animals needed a “day of rest” from hunters, as did landowners and other state residents. The prohibition also had roots dating to the days, decades ago, of blue laws related to the Christian Sabbath day of worship.

Blue laws related to business and other events, such as sporting events, were repealed or ignored for years yet hunters took the brunt of stubborn legislators ignoring biology. Giving animals “a day off” is idiotic in a short hunting season, compared to the “off” days the rest of the year when the seasons are not open.

Additionally, arguments about faith-based holidays hold no merit for Sunday hunting bans if pinned on one religious group. If Christian believers can say Sunday hunting is stepping on their toes, how about those in the Jewish, Seventh Day Adventist or Catholic faiths? By that argument, no hunting should be done on the weekend … an argument that does not have merit. Also, a religious-based prohibition likely would not stand up in a legal challenge if put before the courts.

Now, once McAuliffe signs the final combine bill, it will be upon the landowner to decide whether he or she wishes to give permission to someone to hunt on Sunday in Virginia. The landowner can set his or her own rules — come all day, only after lunchtime when church is out, only with a bow but no guns, doesn’t matter just have fun, don’t come at all — as it should have been years ago.

There are no comparisons to be made about hunting on Sunday and other great “movements” in our society without reaching into silly hyperbole. But suffice to say, once approved, removing this prohibition and adding another measure of support to legal, ethical hunting will be a great thing.

Now, on to the next states with this idiotic ban.

— Alan Clemons, Managing Editor