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General Assembly lifts Sunday hunting ban

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Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginians will have the right to hunt on Sunday beginning July 1, according to a bill signed into law last week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
House Bill 1237, introduced by Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock), gives private landowners and their family members lawful authority to hunt and kill wild birds and nuisance species on their property, provided the land is not within 200 yards of a “place of worship.”
An exemption in the law gives landowners and their family members the right to hunt outside of 200 yards of a place of worship “any wild bird or wild animal, including any nuisance species, on the landowner’s property.” That exemption means deer and bear also may be hunted on Sunday.
However, HB 1237 specifically prohibits hunting deer or bear “with the assistance or aid of dogs, on Sunday.”
Non-landowners also may hunt on Sundays, with the written permission of the landowner.
Lee Walker, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said biologists with the Bureau of Wildlife Resources need to examine game species affected by the additional hunting day and make recommendations for when hunting seasons should begin and end.
“The Bureau of Wildlife Resources will recommend setting [season] dates that will make sure additional hunting days will not negatively impact those hunted species [mentioned in the legislation],” Walker said. “We’re trying to make as few changes possible.”
Walker said the new hunting regulations should be posted on the department’s website by July 1. The new regulations also will be included in the new hunting and trapping handbook, which will be released Aug. 1.