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Statewide Sunday hunting bill headed to House

By ERIC EYRE

Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill that would allow Sunday hunting statewide in West Virginia has cleared the full Senate.

Voters already have approved hunting on Sundays in 33 counties. But state lawmakers say the patchwork of county laws creates confusion among hunters, especially those who live in other states and come to West Virginia on weekends to hunt.

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 26-6 to make hunting and trapping legal on private lands anywhere in West Virginia, provided landowners give their permission.

“This bill is going to authorize people to hunt on Sunday on private lands — not public lands —in every one of West Virginia’s 55 counties,” said Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan. “It will no longer be a county-by-county decision.”

The National Rifle Association, West Virginia Citizens Defense League, state Division of Natural Resources and Division of Tourism are backing the Sunday hunting bill.

The DNR has estimated that the state could collect more than $610,000 a year in additional revenue, if the Sunday hunting bill (SB 345) becomes law.

“This bill doesn’t change the length of any season,” Trump said.

Only 11 states currently restrict Sunday hunting in some manner. Virginia recently eliminated a prohibition on Sunday hunting.

The bill next moves to the House of Delegates.

Last year, the House of Delegates debated legislation to make Sunday hunting legal on private property across the Mountain State. The West Virginia Farm Bureau opposed the bill, and the bill stalled in the House Judiciary Committee.

See more from the Charleston Gazette-Mail

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