Public Comments for 02/23/2022 Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources - Natural Resources Subcommittee
SB31 - Virginia Land Conservation Foundation and Fund; membership, use of funds.
SB250 - Nonhazardous solid waste management facilities; increases the annual fees.
SB492 - Snare traps; prohibits use of traps to hunt/kill game animal during deer hunting seas. east of I-95.
As a lifelong VA resident and hunter, I implore you to pass SB8 and SB492. Hunting and trapping are fundamental ways of life for many Virginia’s. Many hard working residents are shorted 50% of their available hunting time because of out of date laws that are not based on science blocking Sunday hunting. For people working Monday-Friday, Saturday is the only day available for them to pass along the traditions to their children. Please pas these bills to keep Virginia’s hunting and trapping heritage alive and help it thrive! Thank you!
This bill is an attempt to further give deer dog hunters unrestricted access to other people's property. There simply is no reason to arbitrarily choose areas east of I95 for this restriction other than to burden trappers and property owners with the incursion of deer dogs. Deer dog hunting is most prevalent in counties in the eastern portion of the Commonwealth.
I’m a member of the Virginia Trappers Association and I’m asking you to oppose bill SB492 that puts restrictions on the rights and abilities of trappers, farmers and land owners to continuously trap nuisance and predator wild game animals. Senator McDougle stated in his submission of the bill that only a dozen or so farmers use snares to trap and that most people use them to catch deer hunting dogs. I don’t know where he retrieved this information, but that is just not true. How many dogs have been caught in snares in the last 10 years? Very few, that’s how many. Because of those few instances, he wants to ban trapping with snares for EVERYONE east of I95 during deer dog hunting season. As a farm owner, trapper and a hunter who practices Quality Deer Management along with Turkey and Quail Management on my property, I am amazed that these bills could be proposed as farmers, property owners, and even owners of backyard chickens need every possible tool to help control the coyote population. We also need these practices to control raccoon and opossum populations as they are also nest raiders of Turkey’s and Quail. If this bill were to become law it will be more difficult for farmers to control predators. This is not just a rural problem. Suburban areas have increasing numbers of backyard chickens and deer seasons that span from September through March, which would impede coyote trapping during the best time of year to trap them. As coyote populations continue to grow throughout the Commonwealth we are seeing a decline in wildlife populations as well as increased predation on livestock and poultry. Occasionally suburban pets are attacked and killed by coyotes. Thirty years ago there were hardly any coyotes in Virginia and even fifteen years ago many parts of Virginia still didn’t have any coyotes. That’s all changed within the last ten years. East of I-95 especially the coyote population is continuing to grow. Here is a report from Virginia’s DWR: https://dwr.virginia.gov/blog/random-thoughts-and-observations-on-coyotes/ Hunting alone won’t control the coyote, raccoon and opossum populations as these animals are mostly nocturnal and are rarely seen during daylight hours. Trapping is an invaluable tool needed to practice population control of these animals. Please vote NO to SB492 and allow farmers and property owners to control what is on their property, as currently regulated by the Virginia DWR. Thank you for your time and please reach out to me with any questions. Michael Hayes 2637 Canal Rd. Farnham, VA 22460 804-994-1017
Our area has defended our, and our neighbors' private property against hound groups willfully and purposely running property they do not have permission to hunt, thus ruining our own hunts, killing our livestock, and endangering our children as they ride on their own land. SB 492 has strong support from hound clubs because they are getting caught in traps they have no business to be near, while we legally protect our livestock from predators. If we bird dog hunters and equestrians can control our dogs and only hunt or ride via landowners' invitations, then deer dog owners are either not in control of their hounds or willfully trespassing and will use SB 492 as one more way to breach any owner's property and rights.
I am against Bill 492 which allows hunting dogs access to private property. As a taxpayer and land owner in Halifax County I do not want hunting dogs on my property and this bill continues to allow even more access than is currently allowed. I do not think the bill is simply about dog safety but more about access to private land thus I am against the bill. Thank you.
Mr. Chair and members of the Subcommittee, My name is Heidi Crosky and I am writing on behalf of the Virginia Animal Owners Alliance. We ask that you please oppose SB 492. While this bill may be well-intentioned, it is not the answer to the conflict between dog hunters and property owners in the State. Virginia citizens should have the right to protect their property AT ALL TIMES and snaring is an important tool in the tool box when it comes to predator management. Whether we're talking about coyotes or hunting dogs, these animals are predators that cause great destruction when they encounter a herd of livestock. The very presence of a dog quickly spreads panic throughout a herd of prey animals. This legislation is choosing to uphold the protection of hunting dogs (that are loose on private property) above all else. This is a narrow view that is disingenuous to the farmers and property owners of Virginia. It is important to note that these issues have already been extensively addressed in this very committee with HB 1175 and HB 1176. We need more management of coyotes in the Commonwealth, not less. These predators do not suddenly stop preying on livestock when deer season begins. Please stand with the farmers and property owners of Virginia and oppose SB 492. Sincerely, Heidi Crosky Virginia Animal Owners Alliance
ABSOLUTELY AGAINST THIS BILL. Will only restrict private landowners and trappers more from enjoying their lands and lawful means of harvesting and conservation due to the lack of responsibility of the hound hunters to properly control their dogs. With today's technology there is no excuse why hound hunters cannot prevent unwanted trespassing on private lands.
My husband and I own thousands of acres in southwestern Goochland County, VA, and we live on eleven acres in the far eastern part of the county. We would like to build a second home on our farm along Stokes Station Rd and Whitcamp Rd, but we have not done so because of the issue of nuisance dogs. We are greatly disturbed by the lack of laws protecting our rights to enjoy the peacefulness of our property and still hunt without dogs running and barking all across our land. Some of the hunters even attach bells to the collars, which creates more constant noise pollution. Furthermore, because of the "right to retrieve," we often have hunters parking on our roadside and at our gates, and come onto the property. I am confident that if you had property or a home to enjoy in this part of the county, then you would absolutely vote against this bill and draft new legislation to protect the rights of taxpaying landowners. There is NEVER a day during deer season when we do not have dogs running all across our land and disturbing our peace. I have talked to the dog owner hunters, and they always have the same response: I know my dogs are running on your property. They cannot read the no trespassing signs, and I'm not doing anything wrong or illegal. I cannot believe in modern times such actions are lawful, and I am doubly shocked that any Virginia lawmaker would put forth legislation to further disempower landowners. I will be watching the votes on this bill very closely because your vote will determine my vote when you are up for reelection! Please, vote NO to SB492!
Hello! I do not trap and do not use snares. However, I have livestock (chickens, ducks, and hogs) which my family rely on for food. This bill, SB492, would remove my ability to trap and control for livestock predators such as foxes and coyotes for 7 weeks out of the year, all as a special interest favor for garnering hound hunters votes, at the cost of sacrificing private property rights. I’ve had problems with both foxes and coyotes in the past - when something is repeatedly snd regularly killing your animals, it’s emotionally and financially harmful, and one which necessitates all available tools to stop as quickly as possible. I’ve been able to protect my remaining livestock by allowing others to trap in a localized and acute manner. Trapping is the best tool in the toolbox for protecting livestock. Don’t take away that tool and leave me powerless to protect my animals for that segment of the year. Please leave trapping decisions up to the landowner. If they hunt with hounds, they can prohibit snares on their property. Don’t make me cede even more of my rights and my property to others’ hounds against my will and without my permission. My land is supposed to be my property.
SB23 - Historical African American cemeteries and graves; qualified organization, eligibility for funding.
The City of Portsmouth strongly supports these initiatives.
Thank you for your support of this bill. The City of Portsmouth strongly supports this initiative.