Hunter Nation fights back against Virginia Department of Game’s 11th hour Anti-Hunting Action
For several months, Hunter Nation’s team has been working with our members in the Commonwealth of Virginia to defeat an effort being pushed by HSUS and other national anti-hunting groups that would ban popular predator calling competitions.
In March, the Virginia Board of Wildlife Resources held a hearing on the issue and hunters showed up in force to voice their opposition. Thanks to those efforts, the Board voted to send the proposal back to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Unfortunately, the agency has been working overtime to get this misguided ban through. Just last week, our members in Virginia received word that the proposal would be added to the Board’s agenda for the May meeting.
Despite having only a few days notice, Hunter Nation went into action mode and leveraged its Social Media army of hunters, trappers and other outdoor enthusiasts who support responsible predator management to attend the virtual meeting and make their voices heard.
We’re proud to report that hunters showed up in big numbers and came armed with solid information and facts to support the need for and efficacy of calling competitions despite the agency’s efforts to keep the meeting and their intent in the shadows.
“This is a classic political maneuver that is often used to silence the voice of hardworking American hunters, many of whom simply aren’t able to take time away from work and family to have their voice heard- that’s why Hunter Nation is here”, said Luke Hilgemann, Hunter Nation’s President and CEO.
Currently, the coyote calling contests cost Virginia taxpayers nothing, help keep the growing population of these predators in check, and generate hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy..
The proposal to ban the hunts would shift the cost and burden of predator management but it offers no alternative to the contests and makes no allowance for funding should an alternative arise.
During my testimony in opposition to the ban (which you can read in its entirety here), I shared Hunter Nation’s view that not only would this ban potentially be an illegal infringement on the constitutionally protected right to hunt which has been enshrined in Virginia’s constitution for 30+ years, but that it would also have a dramatic negative economic impact on rural communities who depend on these contests to help support their businesses and main streets.
Another point that came through from those who spoke against the ban was that there is a commercial market for coyote fur and that segment of the market would be adversely impacted by a ban.
Kyle Crickenburger speaking on behalf of the Virginia Furbearers Association said, “These events are viewed by anti hunters as killing contests and making a game of killing animals. That is a biased opinion of people who are against all hunting in general and is a false accusation against licensed hunters who compete in these events.”
The clear majority of the citizens who spoke were against the ban, yet the 11-person committee voted 10-1 to move the proposal forward with a 60-day public comment period to precede their final vote.
That means the clock is ticking for the hunters, trappers, farmers, small business owners and others in Virginia who will be adversely impacted by this ban and their long-standing conservation efforts to control the predator population by continuing coyote calling contests. Hunter Nation stands ready to continue our support of their efforts against this ban which is being driven by people who have no interest in protecting the future of conservation in Virginia.
Over the next 60 days, Hunter Nation will be working to inform, mobilize and activate our Grassroots army to stand up against the anti-hunting forces and defeat this ban through any means necessary. Click here to send the Board members who voted in favor of moving the ban forward an email to let them know that their efforts to restrict hunting won’t be allowed to stand.