Senate OK’s Sunday Hunting on Private Property

January 30th, 2012 by Kim Lenz

RICHMOND – Virginians are one step closer to being able to hunt on Sundays. On a 29-11 vote last week, the Senate passed a bill that would allow Sunday hunting on private land.

Sen. Ralph Northam, a Democrat from Norfolk, introduced Senate Bill 464. Originally, it would have completely lifted the state’s ban on hunting on Sundays. A committee folded into SB 464 legislation by Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, to permit Sunday hunting “on private property, either as a landowner, the landowner’s spouse or the children of the landowner, or with the written permission of the landowner.”

At the request of Sen. Charles Carrico, R-Galax, senators further amended the measure to prohibit hunters from hunting within 250 yards of a place of worship.

Of the 20 Democratic senators, 17 for the bill and three voted against it. Of the 20 Republican senators, 12 voted for the bill and eight voted against it. The Triangle’s senators, John Miller and Tommy Norment, voted for the bill.

“I’m glad that the Senate acted decisively today to roll back an archaic restriction on a constitutional right in Virginia,” Petersen said after the floor vote Thursday.

The bill would rescind a state law that prohibits hunting on Sunday on public or private land, declaring it a “rest day for all species of wild bird and wild animal life, except raccoons, which may be hunted until 2 a.m. on Sunday mornings.”

Gov. Bob McDonnell said last week that he agrees with lifting the ban on hunting on Sundays on private property.

Opposition to lifting the ban has come from groups such as the Virginia Farm Bureau and the Virginia Humane Society.

Petersen noted that the National Rifle Association supports his efforts to eliminate the ban on Sunday hunting. According to a survey, two-thirds of licensed hunters in Virginia support hunting on Sundays, Petersen said.

The bill now goes to the Virginia House of Delegates. If passed, the measure could open up Sunday hunting as early as next hunting season.

14 Responses to Senate OK’s Sunday Hunting on Private Property

  1. Deer

    January 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I wondered what all those things going over my head were yesterday.

    Church and guns on Sunday…… pray with me Forrest, prey with me!

  2. Marvin Barnes

    January 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    What a sad world we live in that they have to kill on Sunday.

  3. Veteran

    January 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    While roads, bridges, schools, and pensions fail – – and while jobs aren’t readily created by bobsferjobs – – our Guns and God Republicans work hard on items like these. So heartening.

  4. JCC resident

    January 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    So I guess there will be no more foxhunting (chasing) as we were limited to Sunday’s because of the hunters.

  5. burger

    January 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    i have hunted for 33 years. I like having Sundays off.

  6. my choice

    January 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Well Marvin, how sad that you would take away my right to choose if I want to hunt on Sunday. No one is forcing anyone to hunt on Sunday with this bill. It simply allows us each to act according to our conscience. Too bad folks like u would deny us that choice.

  7. Conflicted

    January 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    As a hunter, I’ve always thought it strange to not be able to hunt on which I didn’t have to work.
    As a nature enthusiast (the two are not mutually exclusive), I’ve always enjoyed the fact that I could walk through the woods on a Sunday and not worry about being shot. Of course, this bill only references private land and folks will argue “stay off other’s private land and you’re safe”. That’s sometimes easier said then done (knowing where public land stops & private land starts).

  8. my choice

    January 30, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Veteran, with all the social programs, labor union issues and intrusion on our private lives that liberal democrats are trying to force down our throats it seems odd that they can find time to oppose this simple legislation and the will of the people.

  9. Jeff

    January 30, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Veteran: 17/20 Democrats voted for this while only 12/20 Republicans did. How can you say the Repbulicans are forcing this on you?
    Burger: All the bill does is give you the choice. If you don’t want to hunt on Sunday then don’t.

  10. Colin Thomas

    January 31, 2012 at 3:21 am

    You have to remember that over 3/4 of the county allow sunday hunting allready. They have not seen any increase in acceidents, nor have there been an increase incomplaints. People who hunt are typically respectful and greatful for the opportunity to hunt. I work 5 to 6 days of the week and do not get much time on the weekends with three kids. So when I typically have time to go an pass the hinting tradidtion to my children is on Sunday. Instead we target shoot on our property becasue it is not illigal to shoot on privet property on Sunday’s only to Hunt. So in reality there would most likeley be less shots fired on sunday then there is today. Not only that but the VDGIF is in full support of this measure to help control populations and maybe even shorten the season because more deer are taken per week. Lets think about this in a rational and factual way and not just fear and speculation.

  11. Colin Thomas

    January 31, 2012 at 3:25 am

    I work 5 to 6 days a week and with Three Kids it seems that the only time that I would have to pass the Hunting tradition down to my Children is on Sundays. Instead we target shoot on our property which results in more shots and disruption than if we were hunting. Over 3/4 of the country alloow Sunday hunting and those states have not seen an increase of accidents or complaints. Hunters are typically respectful and understanding of others that want to experiance the great outdoors. Lets keep a level head and look at the facts vs. speculation and fear.

  12. Plain & Simple

    January 31, 2012 at 4:26 am

    This bill passes muster for me.
    The key issue here is “PRIVATE LAND”. The commonwealth should not restrict private landowners or their guests from engaging in legal hunting activity on their property in non urban areas. Public land might be a different argument but not when it comes to my property or yours.

  13. Gun Lover

    January 31, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I have always enjoyed my guns. The detail in their craftsmanship and their accuracy when I target shot. I have to admit that I am not a big hunter. The PROBLEM I have with this article and the state’s elected officicals, including the Governor, is they are passing absolutely NOTHING. The state’s primary responsiblities are: Education, Transportation, Public Safety and promoting Commerce in the Commonwealth. Well, the last I checked, our education systems are declining with additional cuts coming(I dont include padding the pension system as increasing spending on students) and the cost of higher education becoming more and more out of reach for graduating high school seniors. we have gridlock on our highways as well as some big potholes, our police officers need new equipment to help fight a more sophisticated criminal and I dont see much happening with the economy for the state. Many of my friends who want to work cant find jobs.
    These are the issues that we should be reading about. Why arent the politicians tackling these tough issues. Instead, we are debating whether we should hunt on Sunday?? Does anyone else see the disconnect in Richmond and the same applies in Washington.

  14. cathy hildebrand

    January 31, 2012 at 7:34 pm


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