Board addresses hunting issue

Published 10:52 am Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Members of the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors addressed concerns of hunting practices in the county, including instances of trespassing on property when asked not to, carrying and using weapons on public roads, reckless driving and reportedly hunting when intoxicated, and receiving threats from hunters when confronted.

Peggy Barton, during the Thursday meeting, read a letter she wrote, detailing concerns about hunting practices around her property on Bethel Church Road.

Barton said her family has lived on the property for 45 years and within the past 10 years, the situation has escalated. She said she and her husband built a fence with gates around the 150-acre property. She said they had instances of people trying to open the gates to enter the property. They the gates. Barton said they have posted no trespassing signs, and asked hunters not to enter the property.

“I’ve asked them many, many times, ‘please stay out of the driveway,’ Barton said during the meeting. “That’s not enough.”

She recounted one particularly frightening time, both during the meeting and in a previous interview, 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 the 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.

Barton said she previously spoke with Meherrin River District Supervisor Robert G. Zava about the incidents.

Major DJ Penland with Lunenburg County Sheriff’s Office attended the meeting and encouraged Barton to contact the sheriff’s office if future events occur. Barton expressed concern in an earlier interview that the issues persist even after multiple calls to the sheriff’s office. She said she has contacted the sheriff’s office and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) about the issues. The sheriff’s office redirected her to DGIF, who told her to contact the sheriff’s office.

Brown’s Store District Supervisor Mike Hankins expressed sympathy toward Barton’s circumstances and read a series of laws involving hunting, including that it is a violation for hunters to carry open or concealed guns on property, that hunters have the right to retrieve hunting dogs from a property and that it is a violation for hunters to park their trucks along the road.

“If one hunter misbehaves, then all hunters have to pay for it,” Hankins said. “It behooves all of us who love to get out there and chase rabbits, deer hunt, turkey hunt, whatever it is, to behave amicably.” He suggested that if Barton sees hunting trucks illegally parked along the road, to track the license plate number and contact police. He also encouraged her to contact area hunting clubs and talk to them about their members’ behavior.

Barton cited concerns about talking to hunters directly, describing past experiences where hunters threatened and cursed at her when confronted.