Archived Story

Business as usual

Published 9:16am Friday, January 27, 2012

It was business as usual at the Southampton County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday night, at least in regards to muzzleloader hunting.

My education in this matter continues. Some things you have to see for yourself; Monday night, I received an eye full.

I attempted to convince the Board of Supervisors that there is no state regulation that allows the county to deny the use of muzzleloaders in the county. After all, Southampton County is the only county in Virginia that doesn’t allow them for deer hunting.

I can now say that I have experienced some of the things that I had been told by third parties. Since third-party information is sometimes inaccurate, it was something I had to experience. It was not a pleasant experience and I learned a lot from it.

I learned that I am not going to convince anyone sitting on the board that there is no state regulation, code or statute that allows counties and cities to outlaw muzzleloaders — until the county attorney agrees.

I learned that our newly elected Board of Supervisors not only looks to the county attorney for guidance but takes what he says without question. When you are dealing with the laws and regulations, the code, of the county, that puts one man in charge and he is not an elected official. We should be concerned.

I took the advice from Supervisors Chairman Dallas Jones and have talked with County Attorney Richard Railey in regards to the state law, and the only agreement we reached is we don’t agree. I do feel that he understands my position, and that is a good thing, but he does not agree with it. He suggested seeking a majority, and I agree this is one approach worth exploring.

Directly after I was dismissed from the meeting, and the applause had died down, I was approached by multiple people. They wanted to share their advice on how we might just get the landowners back their rights.

Several good ideas were discussed. How about a petition? I couldn’t agree more. If you would like to get involved, this would be a good thing to do. How about taking Mr. Jones’ other piece of advice and contacting an attorney myself? Well, I don’t have that kind of money but, I’m being told that others are already moving in this direction.

I went to the board hoping to find the authority that gives the counties and cities the right to outlaw muzzleloaders. I was only shown what I had already researched. I believe the county attorney is biased in his viewpoint, favoring the hunt clubs, and is misinterpreting the state laws in this matter.

BOB RUDZIK is a Newsoms resident. He can be reached at outdoors@tidewaternews.com.

  • windsor52

    Lets face it; muzzleloaders are not the issue. Yes their safe use is the argument that the county stands behind as the reason for not allowing their use; but timing is the issue. If muzzleloading season opened later during the deer season congruent to the shotgun season we would be allowed to use them. We are allowed to use shotgun slug rifles! These slugs reach farther and quicker than any muzzleloader rifle will and can be fired repetitively very quickly (mine up to five times without the plug in the gun).

    Again if safety was the true issue we would not allow hunters to hunt from the side of the hardtop road. But year in and year out some 16 year old boy will be posted at the end of my driveway with a 12 guage becasue the club is hunting the block across from my farm. I also love how they think the right of way through my farm gives them the right to gather and hunt the edges of my property but somehow I can’t hunt my property during Virginia’s muzzleloading season with a muzzleloader. So until that day comes I sit with my bow and then my slug gun when shotgun season comes in!

    Timing is the issue. The fact that many people can get into the woods (during the rut) before hounds can be used to hunt deer with a very modern weapon is the issue. The fact that many large bucks will be taken before traditional hound hunting clubs can have their crack at them is the issue.

    I agree with Bob. Why can Isle of Wight, Suffolk, Surry, Sussex (I hunt in all of these cities and counties) have this privilege; but in Southampton we cannot? The terrain is very similar, hunt clubs have a similar presence, and the people are vastly Virginians?

    Suggest Removal

    • FarmerJo

      I don’t think all of Bob’s columns are negative in the least. It may be just because a person has a different view than yours, you scream it’s all negative. I haven’t read where Bob said he “didn’t like it here” Did I miss something? Not all outdoor experiences are positive or exciting that is just a fact of life.
      You people do complain when someone moves to the county, they are called “comeheres” and it’s quite evident outsiders are not that welcomed in the county.

      Suggest Removal

  • pooky

    I will not be renewing my subscription to the Tidewater News because of this gentleman. He has had ample time to speak his peace and refuses to move on but refuses to do so. Ill spend my 50 bucks on supporting my local hunt club.

    Suggest Removal

  • FromHere

    I had a concern also that this man was being allowed to express these views and opinions because it was a known fact it would create a disturbance and probably sell papers. I don’t think it was fair to him to allow him to continue writing in such a manner. He was off on a tangent that nobody could stop, but it didn’t have to go in the newspaper as a regular column. I bet if someone wrote a column periodically complaining about people moving to the county, trying to change things and taking over, it wouldn’t last long. You don’t ever see that kind of journalism from The Riverkeeper.His column is interesting and a pleasure to read.

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  • MyHometown

    When is the tidewater news going to banish this guy to the editorials like the rest of us that want to make a statement? He was apparently given an opportunity to write about outdoor exploits for “all” to enjoy but all he seems able to do is plug his special interests and stir up controversy.

    There are many interesting stories occurring in the county and the surrounding area that might be interesting to the general public. All we get is this guy writing about his hunting exploits and how he doesn’t like it here. He doesn’t own any land so he has to go out of the county to hunt. Don’t blame that on the clubs. I know plenty of non-club members that hunt club land because they are “likable” people and have sought permission.

    All I read from him is negativity. I don’t need to pick up a paper for that. I encounter enough negative attitudes in a days time. When I see an article in the “Outdoors” Section I expect information about positive and exciting outdoor experiences or environmental reports and concerns (Thanks Jeff for your River Keeper Reports), not someones personal agenda on a community in which he doesn’t like.

    I will be contacting the Tidewater news about your purpose for the column Bob just in case they don’t read this.

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  • FarmerJo

    Bob I do feel your pain. Some people just don’t like change period. I’m just sorry I didn’t make it to what seems to be more and more a theatrical event.
    Saying this way of hunting is just not safe I feel is inaccurate. More precise is hunting period can be unsafe.
    90% of residents? Wonder how the person came up with that figure. Maybe 90% of people in the room, not county.
    Southampton county is not the ONLY county in the state of Virginia that is flat and has been cleared of lumber. Have you ever seen Isle of Wight co?

    Suggest Removal

  • FromHere

    I really hate to see somebody push an issue to absolutely no avail until everybody develops a strong dislike. That’s not fun for anybody. Life’s too short to be disliked, unhappy, dissatisfied, unwanted and it’s way too short to think you’re going to get everything you want while you’re here. As simplyfyigit said, give it a rest. Give the community a reason to change their minds and not be upset with you for as long as you live here. I don’t like everything that’s done in Southampton County either, but I live here. I take the good with the bad, and it’s mostly good if you let it be.

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  • FromHere

    And now you’re going to say it’s about landowners’ rights. Yes, it is – landowners’ rights to hunt like they want to on their own land.Everybody that owns land anywhere has to abide by the laws that are in place. And yes, they can target practice on their own land with a muzzleloader shooting a target whose location has been selected for safety. Shooting at a deer is not quite the same. The deer may not be standing in a location that is safe for someone that may be within range. You don’t KNOW that nobody is near. Excitement is excellerated with the deer shooting as opposed to target practice and good judgement is not always used by everyone. The land is flat here and a great deal of timber has been cut. That’s why we don’t deer hunt with long range high powered rifles. Buy a shotgun, join the church, join the Ruritans or something, work with the county fair, go on family outings. Put a lid on the hunting stuff for a while. Make friends. Become a part of the community. We’re country folks and yes, we’re foolish. We vehemently protect our way of life and assume people who move here want to become a part of that way of life. Chill. Stop stirring. You may be stubborn and plan to “fight to the death” but, personally, I think you’re spinning your wheels. If you want to fight with the Board of Supervisors, fight about spending, education, road repairs, police protection – something that everybody cares about and that needs attention. I can’t imagine living in the county with 90% of the residents either mad at me or talking about me. I don’t wish that for you either. Just give it a rest.

    And I am not telling you how to live your life. I am merely tired of seeing you set yourself up for hurt feelings and disappointment. You have a family. Enjoy it and exert the time to them instead of fighting a losing battle. Hunting is a way of life but it is not LIFE.

    Suggest Removal

  • FromHere

    Sir, I hate to see anyone get their feelings hurt and I also hate to see someone repeatedly bang their head against a brick wall. First mistake, don’t move into a locality and immediately try to change everything. Second mistake, don’t give the impression that you know more than the hunters that have lived here all their lives. Third mistake, don’t try to argue with an attorney about the law. Fourth mistake, not leaving it alone because all you’re going to do is make people even madder at you. The entire world is NOT about hunting. I assume you plan to continue to live in the community. I’d be trying to develop a better relationship with the locals and not just the 3 landowners that might agree with you. And by the way, are these landowners ones that have owned land here all their lives, or did they move here. You have to ease into some communities gradually, become a part of that community, THEN ease into what changes you may like. You got the cart before the horse, as the old saying goes. The damage is done. I can’t see a great deal of progress from here on. I’d give it a rest for a while and let people calm down and maybe get to know you from another standpoint besides hunting. After all, hunting is NOT everything, in spite of what many think. Me? I’d rather have friends and a sense of belonging to the community, which could include belonging to a hunt club if I like to hunt. A club who’s rules I would follow and join in the fellowship and be a part of the group.I think that option is pretty well damaged. Unless you’re just one of those guys who like to keep things stirred up. Then . . . continue, my friend. You’ve gotten a good start.

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