Contact: John Culclasure, Southeastern States Assistant Director
On January 8, Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Delegate Hyland “Buddy” Fowler introduced legislation that would increase the penalties for various hunting, fishing and trapping violations.
Specifically, HB 449 would provide that any person convicted of violating laws prohibiting hunting or fishing out of season, exceeding bag or creel limits, unlawfully killing bear, trespassing, hunting while under the influence of alcohol or any narcotic drug, shooting in or across a road, shooting from vehicles and various other wildlife related violations, may be prohibited by the court from hunting, trapping or fishing in the Commonwealth for a period of one to five years.
Many states have taken measures to increase penalties for poaching in recent years, including Virginia, which passed legislation (HB 1613) in 2019, sponsored by Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Delegate James Edmunds, that increased the penalty for violating wanton waste regulations.
“Poachers undermine professional wildlife management and erode public support for hunting and fishing. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to advance this bill to protect our sporting traditions," said Delegate Buddy Fowler.
Virginia’s sportsmen and women support more than 39,000 jobs, contribute more than $3.6 billion to the economy of the Commonwealth, and in 2019 generated more than $62.6 million for conservation funding through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and sporting-related equipment through the “user-pays, public-benefits” structure known as the American System of Conservation Funding.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (10.81%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (13.81%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (62.46%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (12.91%)