Defense for hound hunting

Published 10:37 am Friday, March 18, 2016

Virginia is blessed in many ways. The geographical position of the state puts it in a place where we get a taste of practically all types of weather. One thing that life time residents know about this state is, if you don’t like the weather just wait a couple of days, it will change and be something totally different. Virginia offers its residents the beauty of coastal beaches and within an hour’s drive you can find yourself in the rolling hills of the piedmont or go a little further and you find yourself in the awesomeness of the Appalachian Mountains. The taxes in Virginia are for the most part reasonable and land prices are typically the same. Our state has been blessed with towns and cities that offer good employment and is supported by top notch schools. In addition to this, the majority of the citizens living in the Piedmont and Tidewater regions of the state represent a strong part of southern culture. For those people from outside our state, Virginia is a very attractive place to live. Over the last 20 to 30 years there has been an influx of people from all over the country who have recognized the gifts that Virginia offers and have moved here where they could work or retire. They have been lured here by not only the gifts that the state has but have come here because of our people and our cultures.

Sadly, the influx of people from other states and countries can sometimes cause conflicts. As a lifetime resident of this great state I firmly believe that America should always continue to be the melting pot of the world and Virginia is no different. I believe that we should stand with open arms and welcome those to the commonwealth and allow them to be a part of our wonderful state, But, in doing so, there needs to be an acceptance by those who want to live here.

We are not willing to accept anyone from another country who intends to come to America and establish Shria law in our state. We are not willing to accept foreigners who will insist that we stop praying at football games or that we deny the existence of Christ in the public places. We are not willing to accept people moving into our state who come here enticed by our culture and way of life only to have them attack the very cultures that we hold dear and try to change them.

We identified these newcomers as “Come Here’s.” People who were not raised in our state or have no understanding of our way of life. From the outside looking in, they love what they see. They move to Virginia, buy a few acres and see themselves as owners of a rolling ponderosa. They have no knowledge of our southern cultures, our heritage, or our rural way of life in the commonwealth. Before you know it you find them complaining about the things they don’t understand. They push for change, change that will make our community just like the place they came from.

In recent years we have been seeing articles in the local papers attacking the practice of hunting with dogs. These “Come Here’s” make appearances at county supervisor meetings complaining about issues like “Dog Trespassing”. (This is a term that was never heard of in Virginia until the last few years) They go to exhaustive efforts to exaggerate and even fabricate stories against our sport in an attempt to build support for their opinion. In most cases the examples they give and the claims they make are disproved with no real evidence, truth of fact.

Hunting with dogs in Virginia is as old as the state itself. Most of our families have been hunting with dogs for several generations. This is part of our life, our heritage and surely our culture. If you move here and disagree with the practice, that’s OK. But, it’s not OK to think that we (life long residents to this state) must give up a part of our heritage to suit you. I won’t argue or disagree that as a land owner you deserve respect. All respectable hounds men realize that times have changed and we must recognize the respect due to our neighbors but, anyone would be mistaken if they believe that we should stop hunting with dogs because they disagree with the practice. It must be understood that you are a “Come Here” and this is Virginia. You cannot pick and choose what parts of our culture you want to accept.

If I choose to move to New Orleans, it would be insane to think that I would have a right to stop the Mardi gras because I wake up and find trash in my yard or, insist that an airport close because I decide that I don’t like the noise. When a person elects to move to a community, they must understand that it comes, “As Is”. Any crusade set out to change the way of life for your neighbors is going to be met with fierce opposition.

In the southern culture, we respect each other. We also know that being a rural neighbor we not only respect each other but there are times when we must tolerate each other. Have you ever heard what it sounds like when someone kills hogs? Or do you know what it’s like to wake up and find your neighbors cow in your garden? How about the farmer tilling his land on a windy day or spreading manure on a field? We don’t write articles to the local paper or insist that the state government pass laws to prevent it.

We understand that no personal harm was intended and we know that it is short lived and there are times where we must all have a bit of tolerance for each other. The thought of positives verses negatives for all concerned should be considered before exercising any ideas of attacking another person’s rights. If you want to be a citizen of Virginia, then be one! Don’t go and try to change everyone else’s life style so it can be like the life you moved away from. Our community was happy and content long before you came here.

If a person chooses to live in rural Virginia, then know that you choose to be a part of our community. You weren’t invited but you were welcomed anyway. Most of the problems that exist today exist due to the ignorance of the sport of hunting with dogs. If “Come Here’s” would take as much time to learn about the sport and the contributions it brings to our communities, they would understand the values it holds and why so many defend this part of our heritage so fervently.

When we have petty grievances against our neighbors we should strive to talk our differences out. Taking actions that appear to be designed to build opposition against the rights and privileges of your neighbors will only lead to harder feelings. Everyone’s goal should be the resolution of indifferences. The first step is communication.

Jim Hackett is a member for the Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance. He can be reached at