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Bill would alllow Sunday hunting

Area sportsmen and women need to be keeping a watchful eye on the 2017 West Virginia Legislative session.

On Feb. 23, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 345 that was sponsored by State Sen. Mark Maynard (R) from Wayne County. This bill expands Sunday hunting in the state on private land with written permission.

If this senate bill becomes law, people will be able to go hunting anywhere on private land with written permission. Currently, West Virginia permits hunting on Sunday in some counties that have been approved by the voters of that respective county. This new bill will remove this confusing patchwork of counties where hunting is not permitted on Sunday.

I have been highly in favor of this for several years. I don’t remember how many times when I was in school (junior high, high and college) when the weather was not fit to be outdoors on Saturdays, but was perfect for squirrel hunting on Sunday.

There are other reasons to remove this ban on Sunday hunting. Being able to go hunting on Sunday will help recruit new hunters. It will also permit parents or families the opportunity to go hunting with their children and sharing with them an important part of the nation’s heritage.

Being able to go hunting on Sunday could also provide some economic benefits for rural areas. Hunters will be spending money for fuel, food and other expenditures.

I can remember on one of our family squirrel hunting trips to Roane County when Dad filled up the car with gasoline. Dad always used a credit care when he bought gas, but this rural country store wouldn’t take credit cards. We ended up putting the purchase on a grocery bill.

From my own studies, I have noticed that states that allow Sunday hunting have the most abundant game populations. Allowing hunting on Sunday permits state wildlife management agencies more flexibility in managing the game populations. This includes the ability to increase the hunting in areas that have unsustainable high game populations.

For the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, revenue should grow because more out-of-state or nonresident hunting licenses will be sold. This will allow more time for travel and hunting for out-of-state hunters.

Today hunting is restricted in West Virginia in certain counties on Sunday. However, other outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, target shooting, even golf are perfectly legal every day of the week, as they should be.

This Sunday hunting ban only works to discourage hunting at a time when hunter participation and recruitment need to be encouraged in order to save out hunting heritage.

This past Wednesday, State Senate Bill 345 passed the Senate by a vote of 26 to 6. State Sens. Greg Boso (R) from Nicholas County and Robert Karnes (R) from Upshur County were among the six senators who voted against this bill. The 11th Senatorial District takes in Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Upshur, Webster and part of Grant counties.

Now, area sportsmen and women need to make contact with their legislators and let them know how they feel about being able to go hunting on Sunday. In Randolph County, our legislators are William G. Hartman, Phillip Isner and Dana Lynch, and Gov. Jim Justice. They can be contacted at the following telephone numbers and email addresses:

• William G. Hartman

Capitol Phone: 304-340-3178

• Phillip Isner

Capitol Phone: 304-340-3145

phil.isner@wvhouse.gov

• Dana Lynch

Capitol Phone: 304-340-3916

dana.lynch@wvhouse.gov

Also contact our governor, Jim Justice, at State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd E, Charleston, WV 25305, or call 1-888-438-2731.

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