A proposed Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources regulation that would have banned awards for predator hunting contests was pulled from consideration on August 18. Working behind the scenes and with local pro-hunting activists, Hunter Nation actively opposed this “animal rights” agenda item.
On May 27, at the Virginia DWR Board meeting, the staff presented information on predator hunting contests. After public comments, the board voted to advertise a proposed regulation prohibiting predator hunting contests for offering cash awards as prizes. The official public comment period for this regulation proposal was open from June 15 to July 30.
Comments in opposition to this proposal included:
- A belief that elimination of contests would increase predator numbers (especially coyotes), resulting in increased livestock and pet attacks and decreased game populations (deer, turkey, small game).
- Coyotes are a non-native nuisance animal that needs to be controlled in any was possible.
- Concern about additional proposals to ban other types of hunting and trapping.
- It interferes with the state's constitutional right to hunt.
- The proposal is not based on science and caters to the opinions of those in opposition to wildlife management.
When the DWR Board Wildlife and Boating Committee met on August 18, it declined to act on this proposed regulation. The DWR Board did not consider this issue the following day, effectively killing this proposal. Legal counsel to the DWR Board determined that the agency board likely did not have the authority to enact it since the issue was unrelated to wildlife biology or actions during hunting activities.
However, since this issue remains near the top of the agenda of “animal rights” groups, Hunter Nation will remain prepared to confront this topic during the 2022 Virginia General Assembly legislative session.