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Sunday hunting goes on ballot

January 18, 2002

Sunday hunting goes on ballot



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


Berkeley County voters will decide in the May 14 primary election whether Sunday hunting should continue in Berkeley County.

The Berkeley County Commissioners, following a brief discussion Thursday morning, voted to put the issue on the ballot.

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Hunters can hunt on private property on Sundays during hunting season if they have the landowner's permission.

A recent act of the state Legislature allows counties to put the issue on the ballot if they choose.

There has been both support for and opposition to Sunday hunting.

Opponents say hunters have enough time to hunt and argue that Sunday is the only day they can walk on their properties without worrying about hunters nearby.

Some hunters say they should have the right to hunt on Sundays during hunting season because 44 other states allow it.

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Gilbert Barney, of Inwood, W.Va., told the commissioners Thursday he wants to keep his right to be able to hunt on Sundays and said he did not want the issue placed on the ballot.

Jim Rickard, who represents the Martinsburg/Berkeley County Parks and Recreation Board, told the commissioners he opposes Sunday hunting. Rickard said many people visit the Poor House Road Farm Park on Tuscarora Pike on Sundays, and he worries that one of them might be shot accidentally while walking through the park.

Commissioner John E. Wright, a retired Methodist minister who said he sees Sunday hunting as part of an overall "loosening of morals," made the motion to put the issue on the ballot.

Wright has said Sunday hunting represents another slide into liberalism for the nation and the state. On Thursday, he compared hunting to other issues of concern to him, such as increased gambling and a growing number of nudist bars.

Wright also expressed concern about pressure on animals. He said animals often go into areas they typically do not frequent when people hunt them.

"I think even animals need a day of rest, as well as man," Wright said.

Commission President Howard Strauss and Commissioner Robert L. Burkhart said county residents should decide the issue.

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