Virginian-Pilot reporter Joanne Kimberlin recently wrote about legislation focused on Virginia’s ban on Sunday hunting, an article we picked up for Sunday’s front page in The Roanoke Times.
Kimberlin spoke with a number of key players on the issue, and they didn’t disappoint, coming up with some meaty quotes.
Said Sen. Chap Peterson, a bill co-sponsor: “We don’t suspend our other constitutional rights one day a week. Why do we suspend this one?”
Greg Hicks of the Virginia Farm Bureau had an answer for his group’s support of the ban: “We’re a God-fearing group. We don’t believe in hunting on Sundays.”
Del. Mark Keam, a self-proclaimed Christian, offered his take on the church argument: “… to say hunters should be in church instead of hunting… well, that argument is a little outdated.”
I was talking about the Sunday hunting story the other day with a friend and the church argument came up. She wondered, “Does it mean you’ll be required to hunt on Sunday instead of going to church?”
The story also had this unattributed line: “Farmers look forward to Sundays as a time when they’re less likely to have hunters trespassing on their land or leaving litter in fields that can damage combines and other equipment.”
I’m not a landowner so maybe I’m missing something. But, really?
First off, trespassers are trespassers. They don’t care what day of the week it is. In fact, if I were looking to trespass to illegally hunt, I would look strongly at doing it on a Sunday because I wouldn’t have to worry about getting caught by the people who have permission to hunt the land but who are obeying the law and not hunting on Sunday.
And litter? Slobs are slobs. They’re going to litter only on Sunday? Or save their big, combine-damaging litter for Sunday? Interesting.
The story also brought up the oft-mentioned argument that non-consumptive (birding, hiking, etc.) outdoors enthusiasts enjoy having one day of peace and quiet. There is no arguing with that. Many of those folks do appreciate having that weekend day. But I also think some of that opinion is based on perception and memories of a past when hunters flooded public lands for short, intense hunting seasons.
Has anyone else gone hunting recently on public land lately? It’s a ghost town out there. You’ll hear more gun shots while hiking the Roanoke River Greenway.
And, really, there is ample public recreation land out there where hunting is not allowed at all. (Granted, the birding can be terrible in such areas because over abundant deer have destroyed the understory. But that’s another story.)
My favorite nugget in the story came from Department of Game and Inland Fisheries director Bob Duncan.
Duncan gave some blunt biological information about the potential impact on lifting the ban (short answer: none).
But Duncan also offered the smoking gun, pun intended: “A lot of the wives wouldn’t be too happy about it.”
Granted, there are plenty of wives out there who are more than happy to get their husbands out of the house any time it’s possible. But, let’s face it, there are plenty of others who believe (and probably rightfully so!) that that ban on Sunday hunting is the one thing that allows them to get any heavy lifting done around the home in November.