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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

DGIF Reviews Hunting with Hounds

For those of you who hunt deer or other game, but especially deer, using dogs, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has launched a review of the practice in the Commonwealth. Focus group meetings will be held around the state during November and December and are being conducted by Virginia Tech. A very small number of hunters who are not practicing good ethics have caused trespass complaints from property owners which sparked the review. Accordind to DGIF, the goal is “To provide diverse opportunities for hunting with hounds in Virginia in a manner that is fair, sportsmanlike and consistent with the rights of property owners and other citizens.” The process includes many avenues for hound hunters to participate, such as focus group meetings with individual stakeholder groups, a survey conducted through the Department’s web site, opportunity to review all developments, public meetings, and by letter or e-mail. About half of the focus groups will be made up of bear, deer, fox, and raccoon hound hunters. The remainder of the focus groups will be populated by landowners, government representatives, other hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. If you are a hound hunter, make your views known during this public process. Go to for more information about how you can participate.


quailwood said...

I was disappointed to see that no one appears interested in this subject.

Perhaps this will get y'alls attention.

PETA and HSUS have been invited to participate in this study.

What precipitated this "study" was nothing more than 906 unverified, unsubstantiated complaints to the VDGIF last year. They don't know who the people were, if the same person called three times, if the complaints were justified - nothing.

All hunting with dogs is being "studied". Including foxhunting, (in the English style), rabbit hunting, squirrel hunting, bird hunting - everything. Even if you have one little rabbit hound. Lease hunting land. Own your own land. Hunt with a pack of dogs. Hunt on public land.

Also, Virginia Tech is the entity that is compiling the information and will be making a recommendation. The folks at Virginia Tech know absolutely nothing about hunting, firearms, or hound/dogs.

But the mere fact that the VDGIF invited PETA and HSUS to participate is enough to infuriate me. It should you too.

quailwood said...

I was disappointed to read that no one appears interested in this subject.

This may get y'alls attention. The Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have been invited to participate in this study - as "stakeholders".

Every type of hunting with hounds is subject to this study. Whether you have a bird dog, a lone little rabbit hound, a full pack of coonhounds; it doesn't matter.

All forms of hunting with hounds is being examined, including hunters who only hunt upon leased land, or their own land.

DGIF has informed Tech that 906 "complaints" were received last year. They have no information as to whether or not those complaints were justified, if the same person called more than once, if any investigation was done, any arrests made - just a log of calls.

There are approximately 250,000 hunters in Virginia. 906 unverifiable "complaints".

And the only strong voices in this study are two groups who have enormous bankrolls and a huge PR machine to manipulate the facts to make sure things go their way. Add to that a DGIF that has no leadership, and Virginia Tech urbanites to prepare the recommendation, and the outcome is predetermined.

I'd encourage people to contact DGIF and insist upon participating directly in this study - not just being permitted to write a letter or email. DGIF is playing this pretty close to the vest - made all the more problematic by the recent scandal and firings.

yaahoo2u2 said...

Your argument against the study because of "unverifiable complaints" is worthless at this point. The barn door is open and plenty of verified complaints are being catalogued as you write.

Whether PETA and HSUS were invited or not, by law DGIF cannot ignore the opinions of non-hunters. I know that this idea is not shared by most hunters who believe that any hunting decisions should be made only by hunters, but how would DGIF or anyone else judge who qualifies as a hunter in order to have a say? All someone has to do is say they are a hunter, whether they actually are or not.

As for your complaint about VA Tech not knowing anything about hunting, here is the bio for the professor leading the study.

Dr. Steve L. McMullin is Associate Department Head and Associate Professor of Fisheries and Wildlife at Virginia Tech. Before coming to Virginia Tech to pursue his doctorate in wildlife sciences in 1989, Steve was assistant director of the fisheries division with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. His academic and professional interests include leadership and administration in natural resource agencies, public involvement in resource decision making, and human dimensions of fisheries and wildlife. Steve directed the public involvement processes for the VDGIF Deer and Bear Management Plans.

Andrew said...

This is a good thing. As a hunter and a private land owner in VA, I prepare my property every year for a good hunting season, only to be ruined year after year by unethical hunters and their dogs.

I can only hope they limit the "rights" of these trespassers and poachers.