Once again, the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources committee has killed a bill that would have allowed hunting on Sundays in Virginia. It got little press, and most people don’t care, but it serves as a fine example of how greed and misuse of political power can rob our grandchildren of their legacies.
Though Sunday hunting is overwhelmingly supported by those who hunt, and is supported by wildlife management professionals, the measure was dead the moment it was assigned to the AC&NR committee, not because it was opposed by Animal Rights activists, nor anti-gun groups, or even Blue Law proponents who would like to ban everything other than church on Sunday, it was killed by the Farm Lobby.
Why? Because its members want to keep all the hunting opportunity to themselves. Farmers can take off any day they choose to hunt. Banning hunting on Sunday hardly reduces their opportunity to hunt at all. But for working stiffs, banning hunting on Sunday cuts their opportunity in half. For those who live where they must travel to hunt, driving a long way for a single days’ sport often just isn’t worth the time and expense. Farm Bureau spokesmen unctuously plead that the animals need a day of rest. OK, fine, how about Tuesday? Or heck, give them two, Tuesday and Thursday. Why does it have to be Sunday instead of those days when most people other than farmers can’t hunt anyway?
The answer is that it isn’t about the animals, its about the landed gentry, who already control most of the hunting because they own the land, not being satisfied until they squeeze everyone else out completely. If they could ban Saturday hunting as well, they would.
But they forget that beyond the working class adults they are squeezing out of hunting, there is another group who can’t hunt during the week, and they are the young people in school who will never become hunters because there is so little opportunity to hunt in Virginia. The number of hunters among the young is declining all over the USA, but no where so fast as in Virginia and the six other states that ban Sunday hunting. We are well past the point where most people don’t hunt, we are near the point where most people don’t even know anyone personally who hunts.
The Farm Bureau forgets that when election time comes, the number of people voting is what gets counted, not the number of acres owned. The Animal Rights groups are out there waiting for public support for hunting to erode enough so that they can ban the sport altogether. As the Farm Lobby greedily uses the force of government to deny others the opportunity to hunt, they are at the same time hastening the day when their grandchildren will lose their legacy of hunting as well.