An ongoing debate in Virginia about hound hunting has prompted the staff of Game and Inland Fisheries to make recommendations to the Board on how to proceed following a comment period.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website describes the process this way.
The goal of the process will be to provide diverse opportunities for hunting with hounds in Virginia in a manner that is fair, sportsmanlike, and consistent with the rights of private and public property owners and other citizens.
The process, which will be proposed to begin immediately, will take a multi-pronged approach incorporating biology and sociology, input from stakeholders, modeled after the Department’s Bear and Deer plans with a time line to produce recommendations and a final report by November 2008. Possible solutions that could come out of the process could include non-regulatory, educational efforts, or regulatory amendments or statutory amendments.
I have contacted the VDGIF seeking their position on the use of hounds for hunting as a management tool. The debate about whether hunting with hounds is sportsmanlike or ethical can debated forever with little or no change to how an individual perceives it. My interest is in the science of hound hunting, use of hounds as a game species management tool and how hound hunting is effecting landowners. It appears the state is already working to better coordinate seasons to reduce conflicts.