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Location: swva
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Posts: 43
Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance

http://www.fauquier.com/letter/535/

Smear tactics
Jessica R. Swan

2008-10-21 10:43:01

Smear tactics

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recently completed its "Hunting with Hounds" Study.

Several people have been busy using the media as a bully pulpit, misrepresenting the purpose and issues, as well as making inaccurate statements regarding property rights and hunting.

They want to frighten you into believing that government is taking away your property rights, forcing you to allow ATV’s and recreation on your land, that all hunters are criminals, those that use dogs abuse or neglect them, and hunters deserve ridicule because they look or dress differently.

None of these claims is true.
It is time for facts.
There is no law permitting violation of property rights. To state otherwise is disingenuous.

Some editorials assert that 18.2-136 means a hunter's rights are superior to those of the landowner. This is a misreading of the wording and intent of the statute, as well as the state constitution.

Every state recognizes exceptions to trespass. In other states, similar laws permit farmers to retrieve loose livestock, permit retrieval of legally downed game, or permit collection of trash that has blown onto the land of another. Other states permit a person to retrieve a dog. There is nothing unusual or unconstitutional about these laws.
Exceptions to trespass involve exigencies — situations in which immediate action is required. To save a drowning child, to catch your dog that dashed out the door into your neighbor’s yard, to assist an animal in distress, to prevent an accident, to retrieve trash.

These are responsible and compassionate behavior, not criminal acts or recreation.

The exception need not be written into law to exist, though, like many other states, Virginia has a statute for one of them.

18.2-136 is an animal welfare law. It exists so a lawful hunter can immediately retrieve his hunting dog and prevent any harm to the dog, or annoyance to a landowner. The hunter must be unarmed, on foot, and must identify him or herself. Any other act is a crime.

The law is clear and is enforced, though some would have the public believe otherwise.
In Virginia, the landowner is protected from liability, and all civil remedies remain available to the landowner. No rights are infringed.

In a recent editorial, Mr. Don Marro asserted that the wildlife on his property belongs to him. He is incorrect.

In America, government holds wildlife in trust for the benefit of the public, not the wealthy elite.

Historically, wildlife was the sole property of the landowner. Since only the upper class owned land, they were the only ones that could legally hunt and fully participate in society and government.

English subjects, unable to improve their condition, became resentful of the upper classes. The class hatred exists to this day.

In the colonies, His Majesty’s policies were applied, creating discontent among colonists that resulted in the American Revolution.

Thanks to these men and women anyone can hunt in America. There is no class warfare, no "toffs,” no landed gentry. Bird watching, hiking, wildlife viewing, angling, and every form of hunting — the poor and rich are side by side as equals.

There are many peer-reviewed studies and literature on the use of dogs in hunting, hunting in general, and wildlife biology and management. The veterinary research on the care, behavior, feeding, training and welfare of the working dog is legion. Hunters gladly participate in this research and eagerly assist veterinarians and wildlife biologists. The results benefit all Americans.

The letters to the editor demonstrate ignorance of the ethics espoused by American sportsmen — by Theodore Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, and other visionaries. Sportsmen created fair chase and modern conservation. They know what comes of unregulated, nonselective, unethical hunting.

The North American wildlife conservation model is unique. Among its tenets is that wildlife management be based in sound science, and ethical conduct is paramount.

Modern sportsmen have codes of ethics, standards of conduct, and are vociferous advocates for conservation and animal welfare. Though they comprise a small percentage of the population, they are responsible for more than 100 years of funding for restoring and protecting land and wildlife.

Not everyone understands, or is willing to accept, that a tremendous amount of effort and training is required to hunt with a dog. Hunting with a dog can be very subtle, the nuances and complexity are often unseen by those unacquainted with hunting.

Other hunters prefer different methods. Many people choose not to hunt, or disapprove of hunting. Those who use a dog, hound, or raptor merely prefer a traditional approach.

All viewpoints warrant respect, and all can be accommodated in modern society.

What is unpardonable is the jeering, mocking and denigration of beliefs and traditions.

Those who disparage rural cultures will be embarrassed to learn that the United Nations disagrees.

This fall, U.N. and researchers concluded that as traditional and rural cultures disappear, the health of the surrounding ecosystem plummets. Biodiversity is required in man and nature for either to flourish.

The U.N. is addressing this issue and asks the scientific community to reach across disciplines working together to prevent extinctions.

Chief Seattle was right. All things are connected.

It’s unfortunate that some are willing to compromise the welfare of working dogs to further their personal agenda. It is impossible to remain silent when some attempt to garner support by misleading the public and equating lawful hunters to poachers, animal abusers, or other criminals.

The truth is, the vast majority of sportsmen are decent, ethical, law-abiding citizens. They respect property rights, obey laws, and care for their dogs.

Those that disobey laws are criminals. Treat them as such. Never equate them with hunters.

As a landowner, I do not consider a hunter retrieving his hound to be a "taking" of my property rights; his retrieval demonstrates respect for my property rights, and his devotion and love for his hound.

For the thousands of ethical sportsmen, who hunt with or without hounds, thanks for your sportsmanship, ethics, and your steadfast commitment to conservation.

Jessica R. Swan
Catlett, Virginia

Fauquier Times-Democrat

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Joined: 09/21/2008
Posts: 3
Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance

Now is the time for all sportsmen to stand together(hopefully it's not to late), please stop all the bickering about dogs. We now, are all in trouble. As I'm sure you all know, Democrats control a majority of the House and Senate. Thats not very good news for any sportsman in any state. Anti-hunters and anti-dog still hunters you may just be able to get what you have been asking for, a ban on dog hunting. But be very aware, Your hunting rights will be next. Please don't be so ignorant as to think all this bantering is done by hunters, there are anti-hunters, animal rights activists, and ban wagon riders that constantly stir the pot to entice us sportsmen to argue that one type of hunting or another is best. Be very aware that dog hunting in all states is just a building block to get where they want to be... A BAN ON ALL HUNTING!!!!! Fishing will follow.
Fellow still hunters please, please don't amuse yourselves by thinking that you are part of something good by standing with these groups that are trying to take the right to dog hunt away from a fellow sportsman,by doing so you are jeopardizing all hunting rights including your own.

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Location: Virginia
Joined: 12/06/2007
Posts: 45
Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance

I have heard of land owners takeing matters in to their own hands and just shooting any dog they see on their land. I may not like hound hunting for deer but i am not for this method either. Problem is there is one person near where i hunt that has over 500 dogs and he lets them run free all the time. I have also seen hunting dogs TRAINED to return to their owner on command so i can not think why you would have to go on the land of someone when you could stand at the edge and call for your dog to return. While i am on it why do you need to go looking for your deer dog at 3am as was mentioned in an earler post, i did not know you could hunt at night in VA for deer, is this a new season or an extention like they want to hunt on Sunday? When i went hog hunting with dog the dogs are outfitted with a gps traker and the owner of the dogs new right where the dogs were and they came to a whistle when he wanted them to return. just my 2 cents worth.

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Location: swva
Joined: 01/14/2008
Posts: 43
Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance
VaScout wrote:
I have heard of land owners takeing matters in to their own hands and just shooting any dog they see on their land. I may not like hound hunting for deer but i am not for this method either. Problem is there is one person near where i hunt that has over 500 dogs and he lets them run free all the time. I have also seen hunting dogs TRAINED to return to their owner on command so i can not think why you would have to go on the land of someone when you could stand at the edge and call for your dog to return. While i am on it why do you need to go looking for your deer dog at 3am as was mentioned in an earler post, i did not know you could hunt at night in VA for deer, is this a new season or an extention like they want to hunt on Sunday? When i went hog hunting with dog the dogs are outfitted with a gps traker and the owner of the dogs new right where the dogs were and they came to a whistle when he wanted them to return. just my 2 cents worth.

Vascout - Any new legislation will effect all hunting dog owners, this just isn't about the deer hound hunters but it also effects bear hunters, coon hunters who hunt at night.

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Joined: 08/01/2008
Posts: 16
Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance

Fact, I get one day a week to hunt and I'm out in a quiet forest and have been stalking a nice buck for an hour. I'm just about ready to pull the trigger on him and here comes a pack of dogs and the deer runs off. Know not only does the dogs ruin my chance at a nice buck, they ruin my hunt for the rest of the day. That is the problem with running dogs for deer, they ruin anyone else’s chance to hunt. If you want to run dogs on private land, I don't care. Stop ruining my day in the woods!!!

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Location: Southern Virginia
Joined: 11/02/2007
Posts: 227
Deer Dog Hunt Clubs

I was raised in Southern Va., on the farm where I live now. I have owned coon dogs and deer dogs back when my health allowed me to follow them. There is nothing wrong with RESPONSIBLE implementation of hunting dogs. However, in my neighborhood, the word "responsible" doesn't exist. We have a local club that has an "in your face" attitude, and this club either owns, or has permission to hunt THOUSANDS of acres of land. I have 90. I only hunt on my property, and don't hunt on anybody else's. These dogs are strategically encroached into my woods all during the season. When one of us says anything to one of the members, the reply is always the same....."deer dogs can't read posted signs". True.......But EVERY Spring Gobbler season, these club members SNEAK into my woods and usually kill at least one turkey before I can put a stop to it. It is so bad in Lunenburg County that I put a letter in our local paper last Spring, concerning the "lack of reading" ability of these hunt club members(not just the dogs). And this group is well-known, and wants to be regarded with respect, but yet they do alot of under-handed and un-ethical things when they think nobody's looking. The problem here is simply the lack of respect of the YOUNG members of this club. The older guys have died off over the years, and the grand-children and children of these by-gone decent hunters don't give a crap whose lives they make miserable. With all this being said, I have grown from once liking deer dog hunting to hating it. So, the "blame the trans-planted yankee" thing doesn't apply to me. I was born and raised here. I'm not trying to offend anybody here, but dag-gone it, it's my opinion...... Shame on You!

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Joined: 08/01/2008
Posts: 16
Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance

That's part of what I was trying to get across in my post. Dogs don't understand where and where not to go, they just run.

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Location: swva
Joined: 01/14/2008
Posts: 43
RIGHT TO RETRIEVE LAW EXPLAINED

RIGHT TO RETRIEVE LAW EXPLAINED

Retrieving a dog doesn't violate property rights
November 2, 2008 12:36 am

It's time for some facts about hunting with hounds.

Virginia is not the only state to recognize exceptions to trespass. All states recognize them.

In some, exceptions are codified and permit farmers to retrieve livestock, hunters to retrieve legally downed game; others permit collection of debris or retrieval of dogs. There is nothing unconstitutional.

Exceptions to trespass involve exigencies, where immediate action is required (e.g., to save a drowning child, catch your dog that dashed into your neighbor's yard, assist an animal or person in distress, or to prevent an accident).

Some call Code 18.2-136 the "right to retrieve" law. That is a misreading; it grants no right.

It is an animal-welfare law. It exists so lawful hunters may immediately retrieve dogs and prevent any harm to the dog or annoyance to a landowner. The hunter must be unarmed, on foot, and must identify himself.

Any other act is a crime. The law is clear and is enforced, though some would have the public believe otherwise.

No law permits violation of property rights. The landowner is protected from liability, and all civil remedies remain available to the landowner.

The vast majority of sportsmen are decent, ethical, law-abiding citizens. They respect property rights, obey laws, and care for their dogs. Those who disobey the law are criminals, not hunters.

A hunter retrieving his hound isn't a "taking" of my property rights; his retrieval demonstrates respect for property rights and love for his hound.

Jessica R. Swan

Fauquier

For more info Email: info@vahda.org

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Location: Southern Virginia
Joined: 11/02/2007
Posts: 227
Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance

I have never had a problem with the "right to retrieve" law. If a coon hunter comes up to my house in the middle of the night, saying that his dogs are back here, not only will I show them how to get back there, I will let them drive and take a gun to get the coon. If a hunt club that is "semi-local" wants to go back there to get their deer dogs, the same. But the LOCAL band of mis-fits, drunks, and sneaky bastards know better than to come here and even ask. Bottom line is.....some bad apples make it hard on the good ones. There is NO solution to this problem, because you can't lump all clubs into one group when you have this situation. That's awful hard on the enforcement end of it. I just gave permission to ALL VDGIF employees to hunt this place. I want them to have a good time, and see what I have to put up with. They are willing to accept my offer. Stay tuned........ Big smile

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Location: swva
Joined: 01/14/2008
Posts: 43
Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance

tesoronut - I don't know your situation but if you would like to pm me your contact information I might be able to help you resolve it.

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