I noted in the Northern Virginia Daily article of Feb. 3 that as part of Del. Todd Gilbert's reasoning to support Sunday hunting it would help with the out of control deer population.
Did Gilbert do any research on the deer kill in Shenandoah County over the past few years before sponsoring this initiative?
According to statistics by the Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries, the deer kill in Shenandoah County has declined by roughly 40 percent over the past eight years. It was down 12 percent in 2012 alone. Data for 2013 is not yet available, but if you believe the hunters I come into contact with and the experiences of yours truly this downward trend will continue.
I have no doubt that in some parts of the commonwealth deer are abundant, but that is not the case here in Shenandoah County. In fact, many hunters are afraid there won't be any deer left to hunt before long.
There is even an initiative to have a bounty placed on coyotes due to their possible effect on our declining deer population. Hunters are frustrated by spending days in the woods seeing few if any deer. Some Shenandoah County hunters are even traveling to the greener pastures of Clarke, Loudon and Fauquier county to bag one.
As far as this initiative accommodating those who want to use public lands on Sunday for their purposes, in many cases they have to pass through private lands which could be hunted to reach them.
I have had conversations with officials involved in Virginia game management who contribute the liberal doe season that has been in effect for many years and the hemorrhagic disease which killed off many deer as the cause of fewer deer to hunt. Another day of hunting will only further reduce the size of our deer herd.
So, if Gilbert is going to support a bill allowing Sunday hunting, then I think he should support a corresponding effort to lower bag limits on does in Shenandoah County. In the meantime, those opposing this Sunday hunting proposal should contact Sen. Mark Obenshain since it needs Senate approval.
Ron Golliday, Edinburg