Legislation would allow Sunday hunting on public lands in the state for the first time; legislature votes to advance bill to governor’s desk
RICHMOND, Va. – Today, public lands hunters in Virginia scored a major win when the state legislature voted to advance to the governor’s desk a bill that would allow Sunday hunting on public lands in the state for the first time.
The legislation, Senate Bill 8, would permit Sunday hunting on public lands where hunting is allowed the other six days of the week. Inasmuch as Sunday hunting would vastly expand hunter opportunity – doubling the number of hunting days for youth during the school year and providing flexibility for adults who are unable to hunt during the work week – the bill would benefit Virginia’s economy, facilitating increased expenditures by hunters at sporting good stores, restaurants, hotels and other businesses.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers’ Capital Region chapter, comprised of members residing in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, activated BHA members in support of the legislation, working with a broad coalition of hunting groups to promote its passage.
“Capital BHA is thrilled to see the legislature’s passage of legislation that would legalize public land hunting on Sundays in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Isaac Weintz, a Capital Region board member from Richmond. “We would like to thank our members and partners in conservation for the collective efforts to advocate for this bill. Our thanks also go to Senator Petersen for introducing the bill and Delegate Edmunds for championing this issue in the House of Delegates. It is our hope that Governor Youngkin will sign this bill into law when it arrives on his desk.
“We are proud of our efforts to connect constituents with their legislators and provide them a vehicle to show support for this issue,” Weintz continued. “Many Virginians rely on public lands for their hunting opportunities, and they often point to access as the one of the largest barriers to hunting in the commonwealth. Now hunting in Virginia can be the most accessible and equitable it has ever been. Capital BHA is proud to play a role in advancing this issue.”
BHA chapters have been actively engaged in expanding Sunday hunting opportunities state by state. In 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed into law a bill that allows hunting on three Sundays starting in the 2020-21 season. In 2021 in North Carolina, a vote by the state Wildlife Resources Commission opened public game lands in the state, including all of the state’s national forests, to hunting on Sundays for the first time. Both efforts advanced thanks in part to outspoken support by BHA members.
“Today was a great day for hunting opportunity in the Old Dominion State,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “Restrictions on Sunday hunting were a barrier to many, and I couldn’t be prouder of those who stepped up and used their collective voice to get this much-needed change over the finish line. Grassroots voices matter.
“Today, the people of Virginia won the day,” Tawney continued. “The push for legal hunting on Sundays continues. Last year, it was North Carolina, and before that, Pennsylvania. Who’s next? South Carolina hunters, the time for action is now!”
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.