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Walls Holding Up Sunday Hunting Laws May Come Tumbling Down

Jeff Ell SmallHunters are besieging Richmond. It’s the annual assault to batter down the castle gates and have the ban on Sunday hunting lifted. Year after year they have marched on the capital in vain; their legislation drown in the moat of subcommittees and legislative malaise that has guarded the old law for generations.

But this year’s winter offensive is different. Sunday hunting advocates are armed with a new weapon: proposal HB 1237. This smart new compromise proposal has already leapt over the moat and is making its way to the very floor of the House of Delegates. The army of hunting Virginians is gathering strength and riding tall in the saddle, their blaze orange battle pennants fluttering hopefully in the clear, cold air of change.

The laws of the allegorical castle of which I speak are blue. One of the many fossilized laws that once-upon-a-time banned all sorts of recreational and commercial activities on Sunday. Laws that were enacted back when Jim Crow was alive and kicking, and lunch counters had color coded seating arrangements. A reminder that the good old days so oft pined for; were not so good for everyone.

The garrison guarding the castle of the status quo is an assemblage of unlikely allies.
So called animal rights activist, hikers, equestrians, all of those who are part of a self-ordained aristocracy whose contempt for hunting and hunters is veiled behind thin public safety arguments and bad science. Like all aristocracy, their blood is not blue; it is the same color as the proverbial necks as those they look down upon from their elitist towers.

The hubris of this pseudo-aristocracy puts me in mind of the famous egalitarian philosopher Dennis the Peasant when he said to King Arthur: “Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.”

In the same way, driving a hybrid car and grilling tofu does not anoint one with the authority to decide what private land owners can and cannot do on their property on Sunday.

Let’s also not forget the Henny Penny hound hunters who portend that the entire hunting world will come crashing down if private land owners are granted the outrageous liberty of being allowed to hunt on their own land on Sunday. Thankfully, their dogs only bark six days a week, making it easy for those rascally Sunday hunting advocates to sneak up on them.

I’m also confident that the vast majority of our hound hunting cousins opposed to Sunday hunting will soon awaken to the fact that hunting rights, like any other right, will never be maintained through a strategy of appeasement, homage, or by kissing the rings of those whose ultimate goal is nothing less than the complete ban on all hunting.

The enemies of Sunday hunting are pacing the parapets of their besieged and crumbling castle. Wringing their hands and hoping their white knight legislators will ride to their rescue at the eleventh hour. Their ears straining to hear the hoof fall of a cavalry that may not be coming this year as more and more Virginian’s are finally realizing the ban on Sunday hunting is both untenable and indefensible. Undaunted, the desperate defenders continue to rain down their arrows of false piety, and pour the boiling oil of fairytale evils and cautionary tales over the walls.

The knights in our little play in words are the vassal lawmakers who joust for the pleasure of their electorates. Politicos who pledge their fealty to the lobbyist, contributors, and the gods of reelection. This is why lawmakers and subcommittee members have traditionally leveled their lances at the annual assaults by land-owning-citizen-hunters. The good news is that their loyalties are teetering, they’ve licked their fingers and are trying to make sure they are not downwind of their constituencies this legislative season.

Thankfully the walls and alliances that served the Sunday hunting opponents are crumbling under the bombardment of the trebuchets that have been hurling their missiles of common sense against their ramparts for all these years.

Come to think of it, hurling copies of Common Sense into the castle at Richmond might not be a bad idea. But I digress.

I’ve said it before and I say it again, I’m a preacher, so the ban on Sunday hunting affects me less than others. It would also be a mistake to think that I’m anti Sabbath. I’m not. In fact, I’m a big fan of a day of rest and I will talk more about that next time.

Jeff Ell is pretty good at catching, killing, picking, and growing things to eat. He regularly finds bemusement in the outdoors and enjoys telling his stories to anyone who will listen. Jeff’s the author of Ruth Uncensored, blogs at pastorjeffell.com. and can be contacted via Facebook or smoke signal.

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