A Nicholas County sportsman wants to return to the debate over Sunday hunting in West Virginia.

Sunday hunting has been legal on private land in the state since 2001.   The legislature approved a measure which authorized hunting in all 55-counties after a bitter battle in Charleston.  However, to earn support for the measure lawmakers allowed a clause in the law which enabled the measure to be put on the ballot and decided by the voters of each individual county.    The very next election, in 2002, voters in 41-counties spoke clearly and closed Sunday hunting. 

Since then, nothing has changed and the matter hasn’t seriously been discussed.  Cory Boothe of Nicholas County however is ready to bring it back up.

“I think sportsmen didn’t show up at the ballot box in 2002,”  Boothe said. “Not having something, people will show up wanting it.”

Boothe is also convinced communication and organization have changed in the decade since the fight.  He believes social media is a measure by which a lot of sportsmen from various parts of the state can communicate and unite.

“I hear everyone saying, ‘Why hasn’t this happened yet?'” Boothe said. “It’s time to do something about it.”

Boothe believes the best chance to expand Sunday hunting will come in the state’s small, rural counties.  He’s circulating petitions in Calhoun, Wirt, Gilmer, Nicholas, and Webster Counties.  If he can get five percent of the voters to sign the petition, he can get the measure on the ballot.   He fully realizes the first hurdle is small compared to the second.   He’ll face an uphill climb against the powerful West Virginia Farm Bureau if the measure is put to a vote.

“Without a doubt,” said Boothe. “In my mind the Farm Bureau hates deer, but at the same time they don’t give us a management tool to harvest the deer by either not allowing hunting whatsoever or not allowing that additional day on Sunday.”

The biggest advocacy group in favor of Sunday hunting during the 2001 legislative fight was coal miners.  Boothe says that hasn’t changed.

“I am HIGHLY supported by local coal companies,” he said. “That’s probably where the majority of the petition votes will come from.  They want to hunt legally on thier own land on their only day off of the week.”

Boothe says it also comes back to a philisophical question.  He maintains it’s unfair for a landowner to be blocked from hunting on their own land on Sunday.

“People should have that decision to make,” he said. “However, if Sunday hunting is passed on private land in West Virginia, landowners don’t have to say ‘yes.’  They don’t have to allow anybody to hunt on Sunday, but people who wish to do so will have the option.”

Boothe says the Sunday hunting option is available in all but seven states in the country.  

 The West Virginia counties where Sunday hunting is presently allowed, on private land only, are Boone, Brooke, Clay, Hancock, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Marshall, Mingo, Ohio, Wayne, Wetzel, and Wyoming Counties. 

You can contact Boothe about his petition drive HERE.

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  • Todd Thornton

    The people who are against Sunday hunting is the same people who gripe when their mercedes or lexus gets totaled when they hit a deer on the road. So my advice to them if you Don't want Sunday hunting quit griping. I would say 75 percent that doesn't want hunting on Sunday don't even attend church!

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  • Skip

    I think that Sunday hunting should be legal I work 5-6days week it would let me spend more of the outdoors with my young boys that love to hunt not being smart but if you go to church on Sunday go to church then go hunting my kids go to church every wed. Know one is saying to stop people from going church just want to add more days to the sport that we love to do one season out of the year

  • Jerry Toothman

    Sunday hunting should be allowed by anyone who wants it. Sunday is a religious day, but who is it hurting. Also, crossbows should be allowed, every state around us is hunting with them (without permits) so why not WV ?

  • Jared Shaffer

    I would gladly put out some petitions in Marion Co if you need me to! I am all for Sunday hunting and I go to church. I dont see it any different than fishing, golf, watching football. If its on private land there should be no problem! I am lucky to hunt a good bit during the season but I truly feel bad for the guys that work six days a week and dont get to hunt!

  • JAKE

    would like to get same petition going in Braxton, anyone help on how to get started

  • rob

    I work 5 to 6 days a week I work for the DOH.
    I think a person should be able to hunt on sunday because people who go to church have services throught out the week, since they have church every day of the week sunday hunting should not interfear with the working man,, people who recieve checks get to fish every day if they choose to people who work do not get to hunt and fish every day where i live you cant hunt on sunday unless you belong to a club this should be changed to legal sunday hunting

  • Zane

    I'm all for Sunday Hunting also I live in Grant Co and hunt Grant and Mineral both. I can't see how if you have your own land they can tell you, that you can't hunt. I can understand the public side of it, this just shows ya what this country has come to and it ain't good.

  • Jethro

    At least have bow hunting on Sunday. I think it was stopped due to shotguns going off early Sunday mornings when every one was trying to sleep in was the biggest complaint. The church thing was just an excuse

  • thornton

    If the coyotes kill nest predators such as raccoons, skunks and possums, then yes...coyotes could, in an odd off-hand way, help the ruffed grouse.
    And, I would guess that anyone that runs a deer feeder that feeds the nest predators to breeding fatness does more harm to ruffed grouse than any coyote.
    That idea will never fly at the barbershop tho...deer hold selfish trump these days.

    All species, game and not, would benefit from a healthy forest with the implied correct percentage of early successional. That being the point...healthy populations of a species can absorball the factors of decline that are natural and most that are man-induced.
    I would then prefer to see interest and effort expended to create that healthy forest and balance amongst species than fret over Joe or Jane hunting on Sunday.

    What I don't really believe is that many hunters care or even have a clue about the ruffed grouse...other than "they sure scare me when I walk into my deer stand!"
    Well, that is not as likely to be such a nerve-shattering an experience these days or the next.
    More sad that.

    Again..Sunday hunting?...eh, small taters all around the table.

  • thornton

    Fewer coyotes will not help the ruffed grouse, Shadow.
    You appear to not understand the value and use of early sucessional by many species.

    Good luck on the Sunday hunting iniative...but, on both sides of the aisle, it is much ado about little, comparably.

    • Shadow

      After a little analysis, you are the only hunter that I have talked to that says a good word for coyotes other than insurance provider and the DNR. Which one of those are you? My guess is DNR,

      • thornton

        Neither, Shadow...48 season Grousehunter.

        You spin my words a bit...I searched for a positive for the coyote and found it.
        Don't ask if you do not want the inconvenient truth.
        Basically, coyotes do not bother me nor do wolves when I hunt the U.P.
        But then again, deer interest me about as much as a hamburger interests Oprah.

        Sadly, your analysis is flawed from a lack and depth of information...think a bit past your own front sight.

        But this is off topic....the fella who started this initiative has an uphill climb and I wish him luck.
        I simply see far more important, and more difficult, issues that are not being addressed....and noted one.

        • Shadow

          I am duly impressed with your Wisdom and Intellect. I hope you will address us with the more important and difficult issues and your plan to solve them.

          • thornton

            Probably be a better idea for you to research and slowly read a bit about early successional species and the early successional stage of forest growth as a start.
            Otherwise, it appears as tho bandwidth relative to both is wasted on you.

            I see that disingenuous was the most recent word-of-the-day.

    • Shadow

      The obvious answer to your statement is: More coyotes help the Ruffed Grouse. Do you really believe that?

  • Dave Jackson

    Why not vote on crossbow use?

    • NorthernWVman

      I agree

  • virgil casto

    I would like sunday hunting in nicholas county. I work six days a week. so iam all for it.

  • adam

    The biggest help in Sunday hunting is the working man. But this is the same as all the rest of government controlled things like taxes they are not worried bout the working man I am from Preston county and would love to see the same petition

  • Redgooser

    Should have to have a hunting license to be able to vote for or against this!