June 22, 2018

Virginia: Proposed Ordinance to Increase Discharge Distance Tabled

By John Culclasure, Central Appalachian States Manger

On June 21, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors declined to move forward with an amendment to the county ordinance code that would have increased the minimum firearm discharge distance from an occupied structure from 100 yards to 880 yards (one-half mile) unless permission from the owner or authorized agent of the structure is obtained.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter to the Board opposing the proposed discharge distance increase. The measure would have unduly burdened the legal and safe exercise of hunting on private property, removed hunting as important wildlife management tool, and severely restricted access for sportsmen and women effectively requiring hunters to have more than 500 acres of land for hunting.

Deer overpopulation is a significant problem in Loudoun County, and hunting with firearms is the most effective management tool for controlling the deer population. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist Kevin Rose explained to the Board at their June 21 meeting that the locality has the highest reported number of deer collisions in the state, and hunting with firearms accounts for 80 percent of the deer harvest.

CSF coordinated with conservation partners to oppose the measure and will continue to monitor the situation to ensure impacts to sportsmen and women are considered.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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