By John Culclasure, Central Appalachian States Manager
Two bills, SB 1725 and HB 2658 that would have severely restricted hunter access to public waters in Virginia have been defeated.
Both bills would have prohibited stationary blinds within 150 yards of a riparian owner’s shoreline at the mean lower water mark unless written permission is obtained from the riparian owner to construct it closer to shore. Many waterfowlers strongly opposed these bills because the effect of the legislation would have been to close hunting on miles of public waterways.
Concerned hunters and representatives from sportsmen’s groups, including the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, testified before the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Subcommittee #1 twice to oppose the legislation.
On January 28, the Subcommittee voted 8-0 to recommend laying HB 2658 on the table, and the bill died after it failed to move out of the House of Delegates before crossover. SB 1725 passed the Senate on January 31, but the bill was passed by indefinitely with an 8-0 vote in the same Subcommittee on February 11.
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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?Vote Here
- Increase the number of states with discounted license tailored to specific groups. (5.19%)
- Increase access to public lands. (24.77%)
- Provide more information for new participants. (4.09%)
- Provide hands on opportunities to improve skills and knowledge. (13.19%)
- Engage youth through hunter and conservation programs in schools. (42.98%)
- I feel we have enough sportsmen and women and do not believe R3 programs are necessary. (9.79%)