Rifle Hunting Hearing June 10

Published 4:50 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2013

BUCKINGHAM – On Monday, June 10, the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors will take aim, again, at the county's current rifle hunting ordinance requiring hunters who use rifles .23 caliber or larger to hunt deer and bear to do so from an elevated stand at least 10-feet from the ground.

During its May 13 meeting, supervisors, with a motion by Vice Chair Danny Allen, voted four-to-three to conduct the June public hearing to reconsider an earlier proposal to rescind the county's current rifle hunting ordinance.

Allen was not present at an April 15 meeting when a tie vote shot down the proposal to rescind the current ordinance and adhere to the rifle hunting regulations as set forth by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and any applicable state and federal laws.

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At that April meeting, Supervisor Bill Talbert led with the motion to rescind the current rifle hunting ordinance. After a second by Supervisor Joe Chambers, the motion drew yes votes from Chambers, Chairman Monroe Snoddy and Talbert; and no votes from Supervisors Donnie Bryan, John Staton, and Cassandra Stish.

On Monday night, Allen told his fellow supervisors that he wanted the proposal to be reconsidered.

Sharing his reasoning, Allen said he wanted to get hunters out of tree stands and allow them to hunt with rifles from the ground.

Emphatically, he stressed that he was not asking the board to reconsider the “ditch-to-ditch.” He reiterated, “The ditch-to-ditch is gone.”

During the April 15 hearing, Allen's “ditch-to-ditch” proposal, which he recommended during a called meeting on March 26, prompted an outcry from a large group of residents who hunt with or support hunting with dogs.

That proposal, as advertised for public hearing, sought to make it unlawful to engage in hunting with a firearm between the ditches of any primary or secondary highway.

Subsequently, after hearing the opposition expressed by the majority of the audience during that April 15 meeting, supervisors unanimously ditched the “ditch-to-ditch” proposal

On Monday night, County Administrator Rebecca Carter explained that in order for the board to reconsider the previously proposed ordinance to rescind the current rifle hunting ordinance, the proposal would have to be re-advertised and a public hearing scheduled.

Subsequently, Allen led with a successful motion to conduct a public hearing on the proposal to rescind the current rifle hunting ordinance and abide by VDGIF regulations and applicable state and federal laws.

After a second by Talbert, the motion drew support from Allen, Chambers, Chairman Snoddy, and Talbert. Opposing were Stish, Bryan, and Staton.

The hearing will be held in conjunction with the board's regular monthly meeting scheduled for June 10 in the Peter Francisco Auditorium at the County Administration Complex. Although the meeting begins at 7 p.m., the hearing is set for 7:15.

Over the last several months, the board has targeted several proposed changes to its rifle hunting ordinance without hitting the bull's eye.

At its March 11 meeting, supervisors, voted down a motion by Supervisor Talbert to accept the recommendation of a board-appointed committee to study the issue that subsequently called for adopting an ordinance authorizing hunting deer and bear from the ground with rifles .23 caliber or larger.

During that March vote, Supervisors Talbert, Chambers, and Vice Chair Allen supported the committee's recommendation but Chairman Snoddy and Supervisors Bryan, Staton, and Stish voted in opposition.

In turn, Stish proposed revising the ordinance to allow rifle hunting of deer and bear from a fixed location on the ground.

However, on March 26, during a resultant public hearing on that proposal, it didn't take three members of the board-appointed rifle hunting ordinance committee or the audience long to target the “fixed location” requirement of Stish's proposal.

Subsequently, the board, aiming to have any revisions in place in time for the upcoming hunting season, scheduled another public hearing to coincide with its April 15 meeting, which yielded the tie vote.

Now, on June 10, if the target hasn't become too tattered or blurred, supervisors will again set their sights on the hunting from an elevated stand issue and perhaps this time they'll hit the bull's eye-whatever that may be.