CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hunters in five West Virginia counties will soon have the option to hunt on Sundays.
Voters in Braxton, Webster, Wirt, Nicholas and Calhoun counties approved Sunday hunting, which is illegal in all but 14 of the state’s counties. The issue was on the ballots in Lewis and Gilmer counties as well, but did not pass. Although counties have had the option of placing the issue on the ballots for about 12 years, Jerry Jenkins, lieutenant colonel with the state Division of Natural Resources, said it doesn’t come up very often.
“This is the first time in a long time there has been any election,” he said.
Many of the 14 counties that allow Sunday hunting made that decision around 2002, he said. That’s when the Legislature voted to allow counties the option for Sunday hunting.
“It has always been illegal to hunt on Sundays in West Virginia until 2002,” Jenkins said.
According to information from the DNR, there doesn’t appear to be any negative effects on wildlife populations in counties that allow Sunday hunting, and few hunting-related injuries have been reported. The DNR doesn’t take an official stance on the issue but is responsible for enforcing the laws in counties that allow it.
There are several guidelines for Sunday hunting. For example, it is only allowed on private property.
“You have to have written permission from the landowner to hunt on their property,” Jenkins said.
It is not allowed on the Sunday preceding the Monday opening of a big game season, such as deer or turkey.
“Our deer season historically comes in on Thanksgiving week,” Jenkins said. “That Sunday prior to Thanksgiving you can’t Sunday hunt.”
Although most counties don’t offer the option to hunt on Sundays, Jenkins said it’s a popular choice among hunters.
“I think its pretty popular,” he said. “It’s on private property only, so I think it’s pretty popular. We get a lot of calls in here asking what counties you can hunt on Sundays…