Senate committee votes to lift Sunday hunting ban

Published 8:06 am Monday, January 23, 2012



RICHMOND—The Virginia Senate this week is expected to vote on a bill that would allow Sunday hunting on private property.

The Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday voted 11-4 to lift the state’s ban.

Sen. Harry Blevins, a Republican from Chesapeake who represents portions of Franklin and Southampton and Isle of Wight counties, serves on the committee. He favored lifting the ban.

“We’ve designated hunting and fishing as a constitutional freedom in Virginia,” said Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, who wrote the private lands provision. “How you can restrict hunting one day of the week?”

The committee considered four Senate bills regarding Sunday hunting. Three would have lifted the Sunday hunting ban. The other limited Sunday hunting to private lands with the property owner’s permission.

The seven Democrats on the committee voted for the bill. Four Republicans voted for the bill, and four voted against it.

“It is time of the Commonwealth of Virginia to make a decision that the government should not be telling us, as property owners, what we can do on our property, and when we can do it,” said Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Norfolk.

Existing state law prohibits hunting on Sundays, declaring it a “rest day for all species of wild bird and wild animal life, except raccoons, which may be hunted until 2 on Sunday mornings.”

Other states outlawing Sunday hunting are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and West Virginia.