Wild animals & birds; unlawful to hunt on private property and state waters on Sunday, exception. (SB154)

Introduced By

Sen. Phil Puckett (D-Tazewell) with support from co-patron Sen. Don McEachin (D-Richmond)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Hunting on Sundays. Allows hunting on Sundays under certain circumstances. A person may hunt waterfowl, subject to restrictions imposed by the Director of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and a landowner and his immediate family or a person with written permission may hunt or kill any wild bird or wild animal, including nuisance species, if they hunt on the landowner's property. However, the aforementioned hunting activities cannot occur within 200 yards of a house of worship. The bill prohibits the hunting of deer with dogs on Sunday. Amends § 29.1-521, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Status

03/09/2014: Passed the General Assembly

History

  • 12/31/2013 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/14 14100954D
  • 12/31/2013 Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
  • 01/21/2014 Impact statement from DPB (SB154)
  • 01/23/2014 Impact statement from DPB (SB154)
  • 01/30/2014 Reported from Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources with amendment (9-Y 4-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/03/2014 Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N)
  • 02/04/2014 Passed by for the day
  • 02/05/2014 Passed by for the day
  • 02/06/2014 Read second time
  • 02/06/2014 Reading of amendment waived
  • 02/06/2014 Committee amendment agreed to
  • 02/06/2014 Committee amendment reconsidered (40-Y 0-N)
  • 02/06/2014 Floor substitute printed 14104862D-S1 (Hanger)
  • 02/06/2014 Passed by for the day
  • 02/07/2014 Read second time
  • 02/07/2014 Reading of amendment waived
  • 02/07/2014 Committee amendment agreed to
  • 02/07/2014 Substitute by Senator Hanger withdrawn 14104862D-S1
  • 02/07/2014 Reading of amendments waived
  • 02/07/2014 Amendments by Senator Hanger rejected
  • 02/07/2014 Amendment by Senator Stuart rejected
  • 02/07/2014 Engrossed by Senate as amended SB154E
  • 02/07/2014 Printed as engrossed 14100954D-E
  • 02/10/2014 Read third time and passed Senate (29-Y 10-N)
  • 02/12/2014 Placed on Calendar
  • 02/12/2014 Read first time
  • 02/12/2014 Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources
  • 02/17/2014 Impact statement from DPB (SB154E)
  • 02/17/2014 Impact statement from DPB (SB154S1)
  • 02/26/2014 Reported from Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources (12-Y 9-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/27/2014 Read second time
  • 02/28/2014 Read third time
  • 02/28/2014 Passed House (73-Y 24-N)
  • 02/28/2014 VOTE: PASSAGE (73-Y 24-N) (see vote tally)
  • 03/06/2014 Enrolled
  • 03/06/2014 Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB154ER)
  • 03/06/2014 Impact statement from DPB (SB154ER)
  • 03/06/2014 Signed by Speaker
  • 03/09/2014 Signed by President

Comments

Matthew O'Brien writes:

It is time for this bill to pass. Private property rights and freedom to choose for my own property should be allowed.

This is the perfect compromise bill since nobody else should be on my land riding horses or hiking, they would be tresspassing. This leaves all the public land for the pursuit of other outdoor activities.

Excellent compromise!

Want to join in on the effort you can go hear to join the thousands in the effort to help with the private property rights issue:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/vasundayhunting4all/

wayne hay writes:

I agree. If the Republicans want to be the party of individual freedom, defender of the second amendment and defender of freedom, they MUST support Sunday Hunting on private property! 80% of the other states allow it, I'm embarrassed as a lifelong Virginian that Virginia prevents it. Shame on the Republican leadership for allowing this situation to continue...pass it now!

Tim Spillane writes:

Let us hunt with our children on Sundays! I can already do that in North Carolina and Maryland. Do you want to force us to go to neighboring states to spend our time and money?

No Sunday hunting is an anachronism as old as no shopping on Sundays and needs to go the way of the buggy whip!

Michael Bradley writes:

This bill needs to pass. The only thing laws do is keep honest people honest. Pass this so all you politicians can work on more serious economy problems. I mean really times have changed so let's keep up with them. PASS THIS BILL SB154.

Chris Collins writes:

The Sunday hunting ban is a fallacy. Those of us familiar with this issue know there is indeed Sunday hunting being done in Virginia as outlined in the VA DGIF Wildlife code. The only Virginians not afforded the choice to hunt on Sundays lawfully is the private landowner on his own property on any given Sunday. This is a property rights issue period. My hope is that the Republican politicians that repeatedly table legislation to lift the ban do the right thing in the Ag Sub Committee this upcoming legislative session. Virginians across this state are increasingly aware of the injustice that currently exists for the private landowner.

Chris Collins
Short Pump, VA

Daren Brown writes:

The hypocrisy of allowing fox hunters, bear hunters, furbearer trappers, and upland game bird hunters to hunt on Sundays while denying the rest of us the opportunity is beyond belief. At the same time, legislators who support laws that allow those who hunt with hounds the 'right to retrieve', and even offer them discount rate hunting licenses,DO NOT support the majority of Virginians and landowner's property rights. This is not representative government. It is time for equal access and equal hunting rights for all.

Jason Brady writes:

I'm a lifelong Republican but find myself unable to defend our party on topics such as this. Republicans claim to be the party of "small government" who preach that the government shouldn't be telling you how to live your life of use your own personal property. That is, unless you disagree with them and the VA Farm Bureau who is a/the major political contributor opposing this b/c "Farm Bureau members in Virginia have discussed and voted in favor of opposing Sunday hunting, Stoneman said. In policy discussions among elected representatives of the organization, members faith-based beliefs.."

Matthew O'Brien writes:

Well said Jason Brady!

and yet the Va Farm Bureau never produces any evidence of how they reach the conclusion that their members don't want me to hunt my own property on Sunday. I fully support their members freedom and liberty to decide whether or not they allow or participate in Sunday hunting. However, they should not be allowed to decide that I'm not able to participate on my own property in an activity one day of the week that is perfectly legal and safe the other 6 days of the week.

Republicans are loosing voters over this issue, voters that should be lock stock and barrel in their camp.

Just ask anti-Sunday hunting X Attorney General candidate Mark Obenshain...

Richard Brady writes:

It is beyond me how any Virginia legislator could oppose this bill. It is purely a property rights issue. As has been said, we finally got rid of most of the antiquated blue laws, yet the prohibition against a landowner hunting on his own property on Sunday remains. It is time for the people to speak. I have been a member of the Virginia Farm Bureau for years, but they are not representing the majority of their members on this issue. They certainly do not represent me. Perhaps it is time to take my insurance business elsewhere.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

It's absurd that Sunday hunting is illegal. My land, my gun, my business.

S. Canepa writes:

As a property owner of hunting land with a very active hunt club, I support the ban of having no hunting on Sundays, both on my own property and on surrounding private properties. Sunday is the only day during hunting seasons when non-hunters, their friends, children and their pet dogs can enjoy the woods without fear of being shot, either by a hunter on the landowner's property or one shooting from a neighboring property. Shooting is an activity which has no borders, and it can cause serious harm, even death, to neighbors on surrounding properties. Sundays are the only day non-hunters can walk around in Virginia's beautiful quiet woodlands for hours during fall and winter seasons without fear of hunters, ticks, and chiggers. They need that experience as much as hunters who already have six days every week of hunting season for that experience. Sundays also are the only days when property owners can walk around safely and inspect their woods to insure hunt club members are respecting the property by not leaving trash or damaging trees, etc, in any unnecessary manner. It is not selfish to request Virginia's Sunday ban on hunting remain on the books. It is selfish to demand hunting be allowed seven days every week during hunting seasons whether on or off the landowners' property. If allowed on private property, many neighbors would not be safe just walking down the road on Sunday to get their paper or to their mailbox, particularly when the driveway borders the property line. Thank you for keeping Virginia's ban for hunting Sundays off private property, whether it is the landowners or not.

S. Canepa writes:

As a property owner with a very active hunt club, I support the Sunday ban on hunting, both on my property and on my neighors' properties. Bullets know no boundaries, and hunting is an activity which can cause grave, if not life-threatening, harm to neighbors on surrounding lands. Sundays are the only day during Virginia's beautiful fall and winter months when non-hunters, their friends, children and pet dogs can enjoy the woods without fear of hunters, ticks, chiggers and snakes. Hunters already have six days during these months for that enjoyment, and enough is enough already. Sundays also are the only days landowners can walk safely about their property to ensure it is not being trashed or damaged unnecessarily by either hunt club members or others. Many driveways border properties, and Sundays are the only day a landowner really can feel comfortable taking a liesurely stroll down to the end of the driveway for the paper. Keep the ban on Sunday hunting on a landowner's property on the books. It protects every Virginian in the long run. Additionally, if the truth be known, practically every serious hunter favors the ban. It also gives him a chance to safely walk around and survey the best or better places for a stand, the removeable of one, or the repair of one.

A. Snyder writes:

I'm conservative-minded, married to a life member of the NRA, and no one could be more pro-property rights than I. Still, I agree with S. Canepa wholeheartedly, that Sunday should be left a day free of hunting. This allows me to walk on my own property without threat from the hunters who populate my property and all adjacent properties without my knowledge. While it's true that hunting season is already limited, the burgeoning tick populations in the woods confine my enjoyment of my property to the very months overlapping hunting seasons. All I ask is one safe day out of seven, and I hope the hunters can be satisfied with the remaining six!
Regarding property rights, hunters already accept the limitations of seasons and bag limits on their own private property.
I hope our Commonwealth will continue to distinguish itself as a state in which it is still safe on Sundays to enjoy walking, cycling, horseback riding and all the other pleasures that are rendered unsafe in other states during the winter hunting seasons.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

...no one could be more pro-property rights than I.... ...Sunday should be left a day free of hunting.

One of these two things cannot be true.

Matthew O'Brien writes:

"Shooting is an activity which has no borders, and it can cause serious harm, even death, to neighbors on surrounding properties."

So you are proposing banning shooting on Sunday? I actually live in the country and there is more shooting on Sunday than any other day of the week. I know a horseback rider who has told me "I wish they would allow Sunday hunting! Then the hunters will be in the woods sitting quietly and maybe on fire once or twice. Otherwise they are out on Sunday shooting up a bunch of targets and clay pigeons."

Chris Collins writes:

For those who only feel safe on their property on Sundays, I encourage you to visit the following web page "Legalize Sunday Hunting For All" in Virginia. I encourage you to do so not as a ploy to change your mind about no Sunday hunting, but as an information gathering process for you to see a very interesting National Safety Council study conducted and one we posted on our site this morning. Hope you take a few moments to see the facts about the safety of hunting in comparison to other sports. Facts speak for themselves.

S. Canepa writes:

As a property owner with a very active hunt club, I support the Sunday ban on hunting, both on my property and on my neighbors' properties. Bullets know no boundaries, and hunting is an activity which can cause grave, if not life-threatening, harm to neighbors on surrounding lands. Sundays are the only day during Virginia's beautiful fall and winter months when non-hunters, their friends, children and pet dogs can enjoy the woods without fear of hunters, ticks, chiggers and snakes. Hunters already have six days during these months for that enjoyment, and enough is enough already. Sundays also are the only days landowners can walk safely about their property to ensure it is not being trashed or damaged unnecessarily by either hunt club members or others. Many driveways border properties, and Sundays are the only day a landowner really can feel comfortable taking a leisurely stroll down to the end of the driveway for the paper. Keep the ban on Sunday hunting on a landowner's property on the books. It protects every Virginian in the long run. Additionally, if the truth be known, practically every serious hunter favors the ban. It also gives him a chance to safely walk around and survey the best or better places for a stand, the removal of one, or the repair of one.

S. Canepa writes:

A. Synder. Thank you.

And for others, please excuse my repeat entries under this comment string. I'm a first time user of the site and did not think my first and second entries had been published. Sorry...I do have strong feelings about this issue.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Sundays also are the only days landowners can walk safely about their property to ensure it is not being trashed or damaged unnecessarily by either hunt club members or others. Many driveways border properties, and Sundays are the only day a landowner really can feel comfortable taking a leisurely stroll down to the end of the driveway for the paper.

Listen, this is just silly. You're telling me that millions of Virginians are frightened to get their newspaper, six days a week, because they think a hunter's errant bullet is going to strike them? You seriously are claiming that people are not safe walking around their own property? Can you tell me how many property owners are injured or killed by errant hunters' bullets in Virginia annually? Don't worry, I can tell you—it's zero. Zero is the number that you're looking for. You're more likely to be struck by lightning than be hit by a hunter's bullet.

Additionally, if the truth be known, practically every serious hunter favors the ban.

Congratulations, you have invoked the "No True Scotsman" logical fallacy.

Why not make Wednesday the day when hunting isn't permitted? Based on your explanation, you'd seem to support that. Right?

Sandra C. writes:

Waldo, you are the silly one. I made no claim "millions of Virginians are frightened to get their newspaper" but I was claiming people are not safe walking around their own property during hunting season. And if you want Wednesday as the day when hunting isn't permitted, that is fine, However, since the bill is about hunting on Sundays, I simply was explaining how important it is for property owners and others to have this one day out of seven as a day of rest from hunting. I probably would agree not many, if any, property owners are injured or killed by errant hunters' bullets but that is only because property owners are smart enough not to venture into the woods during hunting season except on Sundays, even if they just want to gather greenery for holiday decorating. And, yes, many landowners or tenants are nervous about walking down to the end of their driveways during hunting season if the driveway is bordered by woods.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

I made no claim "millions of Virginians are frightened to get their newspaper" but I was claiming people are not safe walking around their own property during hunting season

No, you did. You wrote: Sundays are the only day a landowner really can feel comfortable taking a leisurely stroll down to the end of the driveway for the paper. Millions of Virginians own property, so those are "landowners," and if they don't "feel comfortable," then they must be in fear of being shot. And, again—this is silly.

property owners are smart enough not to venture into the woods during hunting season except on Sundays, even if they just want to gather greenery for holiday decorating.

Prove it. Show me the survey data. As the person making the assertion, the burden is yours to prove the veracity of your claim. And I'll bet cash that you can't.

Sandra C. writes:

Waldo, Considering the subject of this bill and the stream of commments I thought everyone understood I was talking about landowners of tracts of property adjacent to or near hunting tracts of property. I apologize if you misunderstood my intent, or maybe you purposely chose not to understand my comment just so you could call me silly when in fact you were the silly for misunderstanding what these comments are all about. Perhaps if every landowner had thousands of acres on which to hunt, like is possible in many other states, boundaries could be set for hunting within those acres and far enough away from neighboring boundaries. In Virginia, however, there are hundreds of property owners who only have smaller hunting tracts of land. Unlike those who can keep their activities such as badminton, swimming, horseback riding, etc within the smaller boundaries, hunters on surrounding smaller tracts of land cannot keep their bullets from crossing the boundaries. We all know when a hunter misses his shot, he cannot call back that bullet from crossing a boundary. They cannot even keep their hunting dogs from crossing property boundaries, must less their bullets.
I personally don't mind the lost lovely hunting dogs that for years have wandered over on my property but flying bullets from adjacent property while walking in my woods or down my driveway on Sundays would be a frighting different story.
As for a survey of who and who would not agree adjacent property owners are smart enough not to venture into the woods during hunting season except on Sundays. I believe the majority are smart about this and to believe otherwise, as you seem to indicate a survey would show, you must believe most of them are stupid. Shame on you.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Sandra, your insistence that Virginia are living in fear of a non-existent problem—being shot by a hunter's errant bullet—is ridiculous. Do they also fear alien invasions? Shall we prohibit those on Sundays, just to make them feel better? What do people make of attacks by Elvis clones, and how can we reduce the perceived threat of those? No need for facts—just tell us how you feel. I gather that's the important thing.

Sandra C. writes:

Many on this SB site re hunting on Sundays along with many on the similar HB site claim, in so many words, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts can co-exist in the woods with no issues, that it has been proven all can co-use the woods, and test periods conducted during hunting season in other states show no incidents between the different users of the woods during the hunting seasons.
Let's put this to a real test. Will any of you accept this invitation to bring yourself, your family members, friends, children, grandchildren,and pet dogs to join me for walk around my farm on a day of hunting, maybe we can make that two or three days? We will be out about two plus hours and maybe cover 3-5 miles. The same time and distance friends and I like to cover on Sundays during the beautiful fall and winter months. I will request the hunt club on my private property not hunt on the day(s) of our walk. But keep in mind the hunting tracts of land around my property all will have various clubs hunting in the neighboring and surrounding woods.
Although friends and I always take our dogs on our long Sunday walks on these properties, I hope you won't mind if I do not bring my two pet dogs on the hunting day you join me for the walk. My dogs, like bullets, do not know where property boundaries begin or end, and I do not want to take a chance they'll get shot.
However, all of you with your statistics and claims should feel comfortable enough for your invited guests and their pet dogs to enjoy the day without fear any of them will be hit by a stray bullet. We will be walking around some fields and ponds, and we will see hunters in stands on neighboring properties but you should feel perfectly safe for your family members and guests considering your comments on this website.
I cannot promise you it will be a quiet walk like we enjoy every Sunday during hunting season. However, as experienced hunters (I would assume), you won't mind the noise and shooting going on around us or even beside us as we stroll around my private property, around the fields or down my mile-long driveway, all bordered by neighboring hunting properties. And certainly your family and guests won't be nervous or frightened either. I am sure you have convinced them they all will be safe.
Oh, and as a hunter, you probably won't mind when the hunters get upset, maybe start yelling, when playing children and running pet dogs start scaring away the game they are quietly trying to attract.
All the men in my family also hunted. I grew up around guns, shooting, venison stew, etc but unlike most of you it seems, my family of hunters only considered Sundays safe enough for us kids to run off and play in the woods. They enjoyed our being able to blow off energy and steam on Sundays, and we all loved climbing into the stands and playing hide and seek and all those other games of war and shooting, etc, all without parents' fear of snake bites or our coming home covered with ticks or chiggers. Virgnia's ban on hunting on Sundays was the only reason this was all possible, and the only reason all this wonderful type of experiences and remain available today to families and children during the winter months. Yet some of you claim you are not being selfish and greedy in wanting this one free day for all taken away just so a few hunters can shoot at moving targets all seven days of the week rather than the six days you now have.
As for those "tests" for incidents among co-users of woods during hunting season, naturally they had no incidents to report. How insane is anyone to be out in the woods with family, friends, pets while hunters are shooting all around them or even nearby?
BTW, the invite will stand until next hunting season, regardless of the ban. I sincerely hope the ban is not lifted or changed but regardless I really would like to see you put all your claims and statistics to test by walking around on private property with your family members and friends and pets while hunting is going on closely on all around you.