It looks like hunters in the Old Dominion will soon have an extra day to enjoy their sport, according to a report released today by The National Shooting Sports Foundation.
NSSF reports legislation (SB 464) to end the ban on Sunday hunting in Virginia was in the State Senate with an overwhelming vote of 29-11 to allow Sunday hunting on private lands. Companion legislation will now move to the House of Delegates for a vote.
From the release:
“Yesterday’s vote was a great step forward in our campaign to allow Sunday hunting in Virginia,” said National Shooting Sports Foundation Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “We applaud Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk) for his fortitude and resolve in championing this bill through the Virginia State Senate.”
NSSF is encouraging all sportsmen in Virginia to contact their state delegates and urge them to support SB 464. This legislation is limited to private lands and public marshes only and excludes deer hound hunting.
Allowing sportsmen in Virginia to go afield on Sundays is part of larger effort to increase participation in hunting that also involves improving access and opportunity for sportsmen living in the state. Since most hunters take to the field on weekends, removing barriers to Sunday hunting will effectively double the value of most hunters’ licenses.
The benefits of Sunday hunting, however, would not be limited to the sportsmen’s community. An economic impact report released by a coalition of America’s leading conservation, sportsmen’s and hunting organizations has found that removal of Sunday hunting restrictions would result in an estimated 3,927 new Virginia jobs. The report also notes that these jobs would pay more than $105 million in wages and contribute more than $296 million in additional economic activity to the commonwealth. Given this potential economic boom, the coalition is moving forward rapidly.
“With yesterday’s victory in the State Senate, we are now moving our focus to the House of Delegates,” said NSSF Director of Government Relations Jake McGuigan. “Given that hunting license sales in Virginia have dropped from 500,000 in the mid 1970′s to 300,000 today, we need to educate sportsmen that in order to save one tradition, we need to modify another.”
NSSF is a member of the Sunday hunting coalition which includes the National Rifle Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Archery Trade Association, Bass Pro Shops, Boone and Crockett Club, Cabela’s, Delta Waterfowl, Mule Deer Foundation, National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, Quality Deer Management Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and the Wildlife Management Institute