Glad to see landowners support muzzleloader rights

Published 10:04 am Wednesday, January 25, 2012

To the Editor:

I am glad to see that more landowners are interested in standing together to protect a landowner’s right to hunt with a muzzleloader in Southampton County (“Supervisors will be asked to allow muzzleloader hunting,” Jan. 20).

This restriction is only levied against hunters in our county due to the bullying of hunting clubs against citizens and council members. The last time this issue was debated, many members of these hunting clubs went around scaring little old ladies into believing that they would be shot while hanging up their clothes on the clothesline. And that hazard is only with a muzzleloader? How absurd!

If you look at the facts found in the Accident Report of the International Hunter Education Association, muzzleloading hunting is not more dangerous than hunting with a rifle or a shotgun. There are many reasons that this type of hunting is safer. One, that the season is short and very few people hunt this way. Two, the requirement positions the hunter in an elevated stand looking down on their target, not across the field from the deer. It is more dangerous climbing up the tree!

As I said at the last hearing, since hunting clubs manage most of the land in Southampton County, they can still include the restriction in their bylaws, but don’t take away my rights as a landowner.

These hunters have also convinced their wives that their way of hunting with dogs will be destroyed and hunting as we know it will end. That is also absurd! Every county in the state has dog driving hunts, still hunting and muzzleloading hunting.

Southampton has trophy deer, but so do many other counties in Virginia. And, those counties have all types of hunting.

For the record, I also like to hunt with dogs and even own some of my own. I like to still hunt, use a bow and I can travel a few miles down the road and muzzleload hunt. I just can’t do it on my own land since I live in Southampton County.

John Birckhead