The study of hunting dogs has us chasing our tails

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 9, 2008

To the Editor:

I read the article concerning the hound-hunting resolution recently passed in Southampton County.

I applaud Southampton’s support and stance on this unfair, unnecessary, unwarranted “study” currently being conducted by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. I have been very involved in this since its conception in July 2007. I was invited by Virginia

Tech and VDGIF to participate in one of these “focus group” meetings in December.

I appreciate your coverage as much as I appreciate Southampton’s support for us hound hunters. I want to let you know something most non-hunters are not aware of — actually, anyone who has not stayed involved in this study doesn’t know.

VDGIF undertook this study, so they say, due to an increased number of “complaints” concerning hounds. When VDGIF was asked to be more specific about these “complaints”, the answer I got was “from the start of the 2006 hunting season thru about halfway the 2007 season, there were 906 “complaints.”

VDGIF cannot say how many of these so-called complaints were actually levied against hound hunters, hounds or if these were actually legitimate complaints.

They say trying to track this information is extremely difficult. These 906 complaints are supposedly a total number of complaints registered throughout the state. Virginia’s population is somewhere between 6 and 7 million; 906 complaints is not a significant number when compared to 6 or 7 million residents.

Also bear in mind that a “hunting season” covers every species of game, not just deer or fox (where hounds are most widely used). A hunting season includes specific seasons throughout the year when it is legal to harvest everything from doves to bears, and everything in between.

I attended another meeting back in mid-January, held at Emporia Elementary School when Bob Duncan, the newly appointed head of VDGIF, spoke to a group of about 300 or 400 hound hunters. He stated then that this study applys to “all pursuit hounds.”

So the deer hunter and the fox hunter are not the only ones who stand to lose in this study.

Another note, you mentioned three or four additional counties in the state that have passed similar resolutions. The actual number of counties passing hound hunting resolutions that support hound hunters is 18, and more to come, hopefully.

This “study” has generated a ton of interest throughout the hound-hunting community. A newly formed grassroots organization has emerged from this, it is called the Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance (VaHDA). You can visit our organization’s Web site.

It has come to light that

Gov. Tim Kaine is pro-animal rights, and anti gun. We knew he was against the death penalty, he let us all know that when he was campaigning.

He did say, however that while he is against the death penalty, he would not allow his personal beliefs to overrule the will of the residents of the state of Virginia.

How many executions have been carried out since Kaine took office?

I understand the state is looking at changing the speed limit on Interstate 64 from 55 mph to 70 mph. Does that mean the police will not ticket someone for doing 70 while the signs read 55, at least until this idea is considered?

This is the same governor that wants to put the Navy’s new OLF here in our rural area, the same governor who originally said he would seek to remove any of the localities that do not wish to host the new OLF. Has Kaine kept his word on that issue either?

Feel free to also visit VDGIF Web site and educate yourself with the same “propaganda” VDGIF is spewing to validate this hound-hunting study. With all the budget shortfalls this year, I doubt this “study” was the best use of residents’ tax dollars. Asking Virginia Tech to moderate these focus group meetings did not come free.

Last I heard, this “study” will or has already cost us taxpayers more than $200,000.

James M. Cobb