Virginia Bill Poses Threat To Deer Populations

Alert: Virginia Bill Poses Serious Threat To Deer, Elk, And Bear Populations

Vote Possible on Wednesday

A bill in Virginia threatens to allow large numbers of deer, elk, and bear to be killed within the state with little control by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Take Action!  Virginia Sportsmen should contact members of the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee and ask them to oppose Senate Bill 868.  Tell them the bill is a serious threat to deer, elk, and bear populations within the state.  A list of the Committee members and their contact information can be found below.

Sportsmen should plan to contact them before the Committee meets this coming Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.

Virginia Senate Bill 868, introduced by Senator Richard Stuart (R- Montross), requires the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to issue a permit to any person claiming that deer, elk, or bear are causing agricultural damage allowing the person to kill deer, elk, or bear without first investigating if any actual damage occurred.

Currently, before a damage permit to cull deer or bear causing agricultural damage is issued the Department must first conduct an investigation.  Only after finding the damage was actually caused by a deer or bear can the Department allow the removal of the problem deer and bear.

Only deer and bear are subject to current damage permits.  The bill also includes elk under these provisions.

Removing the investigation requirement and adding elk to the wildlife that can be killed threatens the long term health of the state’s deer, elk, and bear.   Under the bill, simply claiming that these animals were harming agriculture would allow a person to kill large numbers of deer, elk, or bear outside of established seasons, without any restrictions on the method of take, and during any time of day or night.  Even spotlights could be used.

There would be no limit to the number of animals that could be killed once a permit was issued.  The bill is on the fast track.  It passed the Senate on February 3 and has already cleared a House sub-committee.

“This terrible legislation is being rammed down the throats of Virginia sportsmen at lightning speed.  If it passes there will be no controls on the killing of deer, elk and bear, and there will have been little to no public input,” said Rob Sexton, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance vice president for government affairs.  “Taking away the Department’s ability to investigate the validity of a damage claim is simply reckless.”

The Committee is scheduled to meet and possibly vote on the bill on Wednesday, February 16th at 8:30 a.m.   Sportsmen need to call and email the following delegates immediately.

House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee Contact Information
Chairman Harvey B. Morgan
(804) 698-1098
Vice Chair Edward T. Scott
(804) 698-1030
Delegate Beverly Sherwood
(804) 698-1029
Delegate Lee R. Ware, Jr.
(804) 698-1065
Delegate Thomas C. Wright, Jr.
(804) 698-1061
Delegate Robert D. Orrock, Sr.
(804) 698-1054
Delegate Daniel W. Marshall, III
(804) 698-1014
Delegate Charles D. Poindexter
(804) 698-1009
Delegate Brenda L. Pogge
(804) 698-1096
Delegate Barry D. Knight
(804) 698-1081
Delegate Richard P. Bell
(804) 698-1020
Delegate James E. Edmunds, II
(804) 698-1060
Delegate Tony O. Wilt
(804) 698-1026
Delegate John A. Cox
(804) 698-1055
Delegate Kenneth R. Plum
(804) 698-1036
Delegate James M. Shuler
(804) 698-1012
Delegate Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr.
(804) 698-1000
Delegate David L. Bulova
(804) 698-1037
Delegate Mark D. Sickles
(804) 698-1043
Delegate David L. Englin
(804) 698-1045
Delegate Matthew James
(804) 698-1080
Delegate Luke E. Torian
(804) 698-1052

Thank you for your support for elk and other wildlife!

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