Bill allowing farmers to shoot wildlife without permits fails

Published 8:17 am Friday, February 18, 2011

RICHMOND—The state General Assembly on Wednesday voted down a bill that would have allowed farmers to shoot deer, elk or bear that damaged crops without permission from state game officers.

The bill was aimed at allowing landowners or their designees to kill, without a state permit, if they catch wildlife damaging fruit trees, crops, livestock or property used in commercial farming. The legislation would have allowed a farmer to call the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and get a kill permit number.

Right now farmers are required to get kill permits from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries once someone from that agency determines there is a problem.

The Farm Bureau of Virginia supported the legislation because so many farmers are losing crops to wildlife.

A House committee asked that it be studied in the coming months.