Hunting incidents to be discussed

Published 10:49 am Wednesday, August 8, 2018

A Lunenburg resident, who lives in the Meherrin River District said over the past several years she has had to contend with hunting dogs being let loose on her and her family’s property, instances of hunters shooting from the road, and after asking hunters to not trespass on her property, reported profanity and threats.

Peggy Barton is going to the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors meeting Thursday, 6 p.m. at the Lunenburg County Courthouse to request that the board intervene.

Barton will read a letter to the board, included in the board of supervisors meeting board packet. Barton lives on a 150- acre property, less than 2 miles from a bridge on the Lunenburg/Nottoway County line.

She said beginning nearly 10 years ago, she and her family saw an influx of hunters who bring hunting dogs. While trespassing in most cases is prohibited, in the case of hunting, there is an exception in Virginia Code, and that is whether the individuals are retrieving their hunting animals, such as dogs. The full code, “18.2-136: Right of certain hunters to go on lands of another; carrying firearms or bows and arrows prohibited,” cites that:

“Fox hunters and coon hunters, when the chase begins on other lands, may follow their dogs on prohibited lands, and hunters of all other game, when the chase begins on other lands, may go upon prohibited lands to retrieve their dogs, falcons, hawks, or owls but may not carry firearms or bows and arrows on their persons or hunt any game while thereon,” the code cites. “The use of vehicles to retrieve dogs, falcons, hawks, or owls on prohibited lands shall be allowed only with the permission of the landowner or his agent. Any person who goes on prohibited lands to retrieve his dogs, falcons, hawks, or owls pursuant to this section and who willfully refuses to identify himself when requested by the landowner or his agent to do so is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.”

Barton said in an interview Monday she contacted her supervisor, Robert G. Zava, and she said she was able to speak with him about the issue.

She said those hunting on the property are not showing to be good neighbors, even giving verbal threats and profanity to she and her family when she has confronted hunters.

Barton also expressed concern about the safety of the hunters’ operations. She recounted one particularly frightening time seven or eight years ago when her daughter, a senior in high school at the time, was driving over the bridge at the Lunenburg/Nottoway County line, approximately a mile and a half from her home and crossed a hunter shooting at game from across a public road.

“She was driving on the road, and she was getting ready to cross the bridge,” Barton said Monday. “She saw the hunter sitting on the Lunenburg side of the road … The deer came across the bridge, and she slammed on brakes and stopped, and the man shot at the deer on their side, across (the street), right in front of her.” If she had not stopped the car, Barton said, she could have been shot.

“She still remembers it,” Barton said, who described the incident as traumatizing.

She said she contacted the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to investigate the shooting incident involving her daughter. For other violations, she said she has contacted Virginia State Police, the Lunenburg County Sheriff’s Office, Sen. Frank Ruff, Del. Roslyn Tyler and Del. Tommy Wright. Barton said when police respond to her calls, the hunters have generally left the area.

She and her husband had to build a woven fence with gates that spans the entire 150- acre property, a two-year process, in order to keep hunters off the property. Barton said even after that, they struggled with people who tried to open the gates to enter the property.

“We all want to live in peace, quiet, privacy and most of all safety,” Barton said in the letter.