The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), and Virginia
Tech University, are holding meetings to discuss the future of deer hunting
with hounds in Virginia. The meetings followed the release of preliminary
recommendations made by the Hunting With Hounds in Virginia Stakeholder
The committee's goal was to keep the hound-hunting heritage alive and strong
in Virginia. Yet, as the first public meetings revealed, there was some
vocal discontent with current hound hunting practices.
According to the Free Lance-Star, "VDGIF has been flooded with complaints
since the study was announced last summer. The most common ones are about
the health of the hounds, property rights and the lack of enforcement
the center of the controversy is the right-to-retrieve law, which allows
hunters to go onto private property to retrieve their dogs."
The committee believed its proposals would lessen these conflicts. "The
advisory committee has made nine preliminary recommendations
increasing enforcement and fines, instituting a code of ethics for hound
hunting and improving record-keeping so wardens can target enforcement."
At one meeting, hound hunters said that "a few bad apples" were making
things bad for the majority, and they wanted heftier penalties for
violators. The committee will make its final recommendations near the end of
- Brian McCombie