Virginia is finally free of their last hunting blue law.
Hunters in Virginia will finally be able to hunt on public land on Sundays after Governor Glenn Youngkin signed Senate Bill 8 into law this week.
WFXR Fox News reports Senate Bill 8 was originally introduced by Senator Chap Peterson. The bill will officially remove the Sunday hunting ban from public lands starting on July 1, provided the hunters are at least 200 yards from a place of worship. Virginia is one of the few states left to have blue laws prohibiting hunting on Sundays.
Just like many other states, Virginia lawmakers have slowly but surely been chipping away at the law for the better part of the last decade. In 2014, the state finally opened Sunday hunting on private property by landowners or by written permission from a landowner and licensed hunting preserves.
When they first changed the law, supporters cited a report by the National Shooting Sports Foundation that argued an increase in jobs and wages in Virginia as a direct result from allowing an extra day each week to hunt. A press release on Gov. Youngkin’s website also cites the economic impact of Sunday hunting as a reason to open the state’s public areas to hunting.
“This legislation encourages Virginians to take full advantage of the many outdoor opportunities our great Commonwealth has to offer,” Youngkin said in the press release. “This legislation will open up new opportunities for hunters to enjoy the sport they love.”
In the meantime, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has already updated their website’s section on Sunday hunting to reflect the change. Although, they are taking the time to emphasize the fact that the legislation does not take effect until July 1. That means Virgina hunters won’t be able to take advantage of Sunday hunting in the state’s spring turkey season until next year.
The DWR notes on their website they will be getting the word out about the regulation change via their social media channels. They also plan to work with private landowners to further educate how Sunday hunting is implemented.
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