Supervisors will be asked to allow muzzleloader hunting

Published 9:03 am Friday, January 20, 2012

Boy, last week’s column focusing on landowners’ rights when it comes to using muzzleloaders to hunt deer has hit a nerve or two.

First, a little background.

I moved to Southampton County in October 2010 excited about the possibility of joining a hunt club and experiencing some of the finest deer hunting in the country. I have always enjoyed hunting with dogs. With the type of cover around here, it’s almost a necessity.

Soon after I moved, I began writing an outdoor column for The Tidewater News. I hoped to share stories from local hunters and anglers, but the stories have been few and far between. So, I have focused mostly on the outdoor exploits of my twin 17-year-old sons, Robert and David.

Since moving here from Chesapeake, I have come to realize that I had to be a Southampton County resident for a year before I could join a club. That’s understandable.

Almost immediately, I found readers asking me two questions. How do I feel about hunting deer with dogs and what is my position on muzzleloader hunting in Southampton County, which is the only county in Virginia that does not allow it.

These conversations were not the five-minute kind. I began to receive an education. The more I wrote, the more people came forward. I searched for anyone who could give me a logical reason for not hunting with muzzleloaders. To this day, no one has given me one.

The landowners, on the other hand, had many valid points about why they favor muzzleloader hunting.

I have yet to receive a solid invitation to join a club and I probably never will, and my hopes for hunting Southampton County deer have all but faded. All of this because the landowners were making sense, and I guess I showed my cards too early.

A few months ago, I asked hunt clubs to shoot more than the big bucks. There are also a lot of doe out there that often run into the paths of motorists.

I was told, in no uncertain terms, that if I wanted to hunt deer in any other fashion other than how the hunt clubs choose to hunt, I needed to pack my bags and get out. Basically, I was told to get out of the county. The reality is that I wasn’t brought up that way, and it’s probably a good thing that I was never offered that invitation.

Well, I’ve followed through with getting the word out on how some taxpaying Southampton County landowners feel their rights have been compromised by the influence of hunt clubs, who favor the continued use of only shotguns for deer hunting. I fear that if this is allowed to continue, what else could be forced down our necks regardless of state laws and regulations?

I have one more commitment I’ve made to follow through with.

During the Board of Supervisors meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23, at the Southampton County Government Center in Courtland, I will ask the board members to follow through on their campaign promises and take a step in no longer conducting business as it has been done in the past. It is time to give the landowners back their rights in regards to how they wish to hunt deer on their own property.

I am asking the landowners who share the same views, at least the ones who have talked to me, to step up to the plate. Assuming the Board of Supervisors schedules a public hearing on the matter, this will be your chance to express your views.

I’ll see you all Monday night.

BOB RUDZIK is a Newsoms resident. He can be reached at