CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A national sportsmen’s advocacy group is trying to convince West Virginia lawmakers to join the ranks of 39 other states that have no restrictions against Sunday hunting by touting the potential economic benefits of such a move.
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation Coordinator John Culclasure appeared Tuesday before the Joint Commission on Economic Development to urge lawmakers to pass a law next year legalizing Sunday hunting statewide, news outlets reported.
Making Sunday hunting legal statewide could create about 2,600 jobs and spur up to $155 million in additional economic activity each year, Culclasure said. Twenty-two of the state’s 55 counties currently allow hunting on Sunday on private land.
Numerous West Virginia residents travel on the weekends to states such as Ohio and Kentucky where there are no Sunday hunting restrictions, Culclasure said. Allowing Sunday hunting would encourage residents to stay in the state and prompt out-of-state hunters to explore West Virginia, he argued.
“West Virginia is not a destination hunting state, but it very well could be with fewer confusing laws for nonresidents,” he said. “Confusing county-by-county Sunday hunting rules discourage hunters from hunting in West Virginia. In one county it’s legal, in the next, it’s not.”
Removing West Virginia’s ban on Sunday hunting would add 19 days to the state’s big-game season and four days to the small-game season. Buck season would gain an extra day, wrapping up on a Sunday, instead of a Saturday.
West Virginia is currently one of 11 states that either prohibit or restrict hunting on Sundays. The rest are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.