You asked: Supervisors hold power on muzzleloaders

Published 9:29 am Saturday, December 24, 2011

You asked: How can muzzleloader hunting in Southampton County be legalized?

COURTLAND—Efforts to legalize black-powder hunting in Southampton County — the only county in the state that doesn’t allow it — have come before the Board of Supervisors before but have always been defeated.

In fact, the issue has come up three or four times in the past decade, according to County Administrator Mike Johnson.

“The board would have to bring it back up,” Johnson said of a county ordinance that prohibits the use of muzzleloaders for hunting. “A public hearing is required to change any ordinance.”

The Board of Supervisors will have four new members when it reconvenes next month. Members are split on the question of whether to legalize muzzleloader hunting.

Ivor District Supervisor Ronnie West would like to see the ban lifted.

“My feelings are that if I pay taxes and am on my land, I have the right to use whatever gun the state allows me to use to hunt,” he said.

West believes the ban is supported largely by hunting clubs, and that bothers him.

“Black-powder hunting is controlled by a few,” he said, adding that he would support removal of the ban if someone else on the board were to bring up the topic.

Newly elected Jerusalem District Supervisor Alan Edwards said he supports the ban because lifting it would bring in out-of-town and out-of-state hunters and would hurt the quality of the hunting in the county.

“Southampton County has some of the best deer hunting in the state because we don’t have muzzleloaders,” Edwards said.

Edwards, a member of the Manry Hunt Club, said he would support extending the deer season or liberally extending game limits to address concerns with overpopulation.

Muzzleloader proponents say legalization would help curb overpopulation.

Franklin District Supervisor-elect Barry Porter said he would have to study the issue and get reaction from his constituents before making a decision.

Newsoms District Supervisor-elect Glenn Updike believes there are more important issues facing the county that should be addressed.

“Right now we don’t need to be bogged down in any controversial issues,” Updike said. “I would vote not to take it up due to other pressing issues.”