On September 20, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Central Appalachian States Coordinator John Culclasure testified before the West Virginia Joint Commission on Economic Development during an interim session hearing on the economic impact of allowing Sunday hunting across the state. The National Rifle Association’s Dakota Moore also testified before the committee.
Culclasure’s testimony focused on the economic benefits that eliminating the Sunday hunting ban would bring to West Virginia: estimated total impacts of more than 2,600 jobs, $50 million in wages and $155 million in economic output. Culclasure spoke to the potential for West Virginia to become a destination hunting state, the expanded opportunities that would be available to hunters by being able to hunt seven days a week, the favorable experiences in other states that have recently expanded Sunday hunting, the positive effect that removing the Sunday hunting ban would have on hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation, and the importance of hunters to the American System of Conservation Funding.
A member of the Joint Commission on Economic Development, West Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Delegate Rupert “Rupie” Phillips remarked, “In addition to improving our state’s economy, expanding Sunday hunting would benefit families because with so many folks working on Saturdays they would have both days of the weekend to spend time together in the great outdoors building important family bonds.”
Sunday hunting is permitted in West Virginia on a county-by-county basis, on private lands only with written permission of the landowner. Twenty-two counties currently allow Sunday hunting and voters in five additional counties will decide whether to approve Sunday hunting this November.
West Virginia is one of 11 states with Sunday hunting restrictions. In recent years, Sunday hunting advancements have been made in Connecticut, Virginia and North Carolina. CSF is a member of the Sunday Hunting Coalition.
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?