Against Sunday hunting

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, February 1, 2012

FRANKLIN—A number of Western Tidewater hunt clubs say they will not hunt on Sundays if the statewide ban is lifted.

“Six days a week is enough, and sometimes it’s too many,” said David Edwards, president of Black Creek Hunt Club.

The state Senate last week voted 29-11 to allow Virginians to hunt on private property on Sundays. Virginia is one of 11 states that prohibits or restricts hunting on Sundays. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Norfolk, is now in the House. If passed, Gov. Bob McDonnell says he will support it.

Hunt clubs normally lease or rent land for its dues-paying members.

Edwards noted that Black Creek Hunt Club’s landowners are very traditional.

“We feel it’s their choice,” he said. “Growing up, we didn’t work on Sundays or anything like that. I think a lot of landowners wouldn’t want it.

The matter has not come up for a vote for club members, but Edwards expects that a continued ban on Sunday hunting will be added to the bylaws.

“I don’t understand why they need to hunt on Sundays,” Edwards said. “If people want to hunt, they will take the time to do it.”

Indiantown Hunt Club in the Capron area nearly a year ago voted unanimously against hunting on Sundays if the ban is lifted, said President John Rawls Jr.

“The landowners we hire are already so gracious to us and so generous,” Rawls said. “We just felt like we would be overstepping our boundaries, wearing out our welcome.”

Around since 1944, the Indiantown Hunt Club has 55 members.

Sedley Hunt Club also voted unanimously against hunting on Sundays, said President Troy Cook.

“I just don’t believe you need to hunt on Sundays,” Cook said. “Everyone is pretty much on the same page.”

Carroll Drake, president of Meherrin Hunt Club outside Boykins, said the 40- to 50-member group is leaning toward leaving the option open.

“If you want to hunt, you hunt,” Drake said. “Those that don’t want to hunt, won’t hunt. That way we are not keeping anybody from doing what they want to do on their public land that we lease.”

“We believe in live and let live so to speak,” he added. “That’s a heck of a phrase for a hunt club.”

The bill includes not allowing dogs for hunting on Sundays.

“So that would cut back (the interest),” Drake said.

Sunbeam Hunt Club is generally against Sunday hunting, said President Gene Worley.

“We have three churches in the immediate area where we hunt,” Worley said. “It’s something we don’t want to disrupt on Sundays.”

The club has hunts scheduled for the entire first and last weeks and every Friday and Saturday during the season.