Deer hunters in West Virginia have to be pretty dang excited with the recent news from the state legislature that their weekend deer hunting on public land has just doubled! Beginning in the 2018 fall seasons, hunting will be allowed on Sundays on public land statewide.
According to the MetroNews, opening up Sunday hunting on public land was one of the main goals of the year for Division of Natural Resources Director Steve McDaniel. Private land in West Virginia was opened to Sunday hunting in 2017, and Senate Bill 451 has now finished off the action by including public land in the Sunday rule.
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The push to allow Sunday hunting was met with heavy resistance in the legislature back in 2001, and this time around, McDaniel credited the grassroots work by local sportsmen to get the change made, the MetroNews stated. The National Shooting Sports Foundation and West Virginia Division of Natural Resources also pitched in to help the cause.
The state contains more than one million acres of National Forest, 380,000 acres of wildlife management areas and 71,000 acres of state forest – all of which are now open to deer hunting for a whole weekend at a time!
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Congrats to all of those involved in the work to get this legislation passed and banish such a ridiculous old law! As someone that relies on public land for the majority of my hunting opportunities, I can’t even imagine how frustrating it would be to only be allowed to hunt one day out of a weekend, unless you spent the gas money and nonresident license fees to hunt in a neighboring state – which many hunters surely have done. And I probably would, too.
We all know how much work and family obligations take priority over hunting most of the time, and there are already so few weekends available during the few months of fall, it would be pretty tough to not be able to be in the woods on a perfect October or November Sunday. Those quiet Sundays can be some of the best deer hunting days around Wisconsin, especially when the Packers play and everyone else is watching the game and not in the woods.
The vast amount of public lands that we have access to in this great country are a large part of what makes America so great, and keeps our hunting heritage alive and well. So every opportunity to remove any obstacle to access and utilize that public land for hunting, fishing, etc. needs to remain a high priority. There are still eight other states with some sort of Sunday hunting restriction, according to the NSSF. Hopefully with some more hunter involvement and the work of public-land advocacy groups like Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Keep It Public, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and many more, those same absurd restrictions can be removed, and Sunday hunting bans will be completely wiped off the map.
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