Hunting coyotes set for March public hearing

Published 9:31 am Tuesday, February 26, 2013

COURTLAND—Southampton County supervisors will have a public hearing during their 7 p.m. Monday, March 25, meeting on whether or not to allow the use of higher-caliber rifles to hunt coyotes.

It will be held at the County Government Center in Courtland.

Southampton County supervisors in May delayed taking action on the proposal introduced by Capron District Supervisor Bruce Phillips and Boykins/Branchville District Supervisor Carl Faison.

The county code makes it illegal to hunt anything with a rifle larger than a .22 caliber, except for groundhogs from March 1 to Aug. 31. The county code also prohibits muzzleloader rifles or muzzleloader shotguns loaded with slugs. Shotguns are allowed.

Phillips and Faison indicated that residents who hunt coyotes had asked about using larger-caliber rifles. They claim the coyotes are becoming more of a problem and shooters being limited to a .22 caliber make the animals tougher to hunt.

They suggested the county law be changed to allow for rifles for groundhogs and coyotes outside the general firearms deer season. Coyotes could be hunted 24 hours a day except on Sundays.

They feel this would give landowners control over a nuisance while keeping rifles out of the woods when people are deer hunting.

If supervisors approve hunting coyotes with rifles, nothing could be implemented until after the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries sets regulations, which is normally done in May.