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STATE AND LOCAL

Virginia poised to vote on bill to allow Sunday hunting

The Virginia House of Delegates is expected to vote on a bill that would reverse the state’s current ban on hunting on Sundays, allowing the sport on private property and public waters throughout the state – with a few exceptions – as early as this week.

The Richmond Times Dispatch reports the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources last week voted 12 to 10 in “unprecedented” fashion to push the legislation to a full House vote.

And a similar proposal to lift the long-time ban that renders Virginia one of only a handful of states in the U.S. to forbid Sunday hunting is now also reportedly working its way through the State Senate, which could vote on the matter as early as this coming week.

“While Wednesday’s vote is an unprecedented advancement of any Sunday hunting bill in Virginia, there is still quite a bit of work before us to ensure the outdated prohibition is overturned,” Scott Reed, a member of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries board of directors, told the Dispatch.

“It is imperative that the ban is repealed to more effectively recruit youth hunters, to arrest the decline in hunting license sales, to respect private property rights and to continue our hunting heritage.”

And while the legislation would still prohibit hunting bears and deer with hounds on Sunday, as well as hunting within 200 yards of a house of worship, the Dispatch reports that similar bills previously taken up in the Virginia General Assembly have -- unlike this one -- usually died in committee before reaching a full vote.

“This is great news for Virginia landowners!” Wayne Hay told the Roanoke Times. “If you don’t want hunting on your land on Sunday, you don’t HAVE to hunt! And if you do, then you CAN! It appears sanity does reign in Virginia!”