Sunday hunting bill signed into law

Published 12:04 pm Saturday, March 8, 2014


RICHMOND—Virginians will have the right to hunt on Sunday beginning July 1, according to a bill signed into law this week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

House Bill 1237, introduced by Delegate Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, gives private landowners and their family members lawful authority to hunt and kill wild birds and nuisance species on their property, provided the land is not within 200 yards of a “place of worship.”

An exemption in the law gives landowners and their family members the right to hunt “any wild bird or wild animal, including any nuisance species, on the landowner’s property,” also outside of 200 yards of a place of worship. That exemption means deer and bear may be hunted on Sunday in addition to wild birds and nuisance species.

However, HB 1237 specifically prohibits hunting deer or bear with “with the assistance or aid of dogs, on Sunday.”

Non-landowners may also hunt on Sundays, with the written permission of the landowner.

Lee Walker, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said biologists with the Bureau of Wildlife Resources now need to examine game species affected by the additional day and make recommendations for when hunting seasons should begin and end.

“The Bureau of Wildlife Resources will recommend setting (season) dates that will make sure additional hunting days will not negatively impact those hunted species (mentioned in the legislation),” Walker said. “We’re trying to make as few changes possible.”

The law goes into effect on July 1. Walker said the new hunting regulations should be posted on the department’s website by July 1. The new regulations will also be included in the new hunting and trapping handbook, which will be released Aug. 1.