A special committee on hunting on county park land determined that all firearms should not be allowed on county park property. Robert Forman acted as the PRAC (Parks and Rec Advisory Commission) hunt committee spokesman and indicated the current ordinance had loopholes.
“The county does have an ordinance of discharging firearms in the parks…but those who have at least two acres of land are allowed to hunt on their own property,” Foreman said. What’s to prevent a hunter to shoot from his land into park property to kill wild game?
Since the Federal government allows hunting in their parks and the Commonwealth of Virginia allows hunting in their parks, should these governmental bodies not take precedence over local government?
Foreman said the committee did decide that firearms were not appropriate for hunting in county parks but said that the ordinance should be tightened up and the loopholes closed.
However, Foreman and his committee determined that since bow hunting was less dangerous, the weapons should be allowed to be used in county parks during the appropriate hunting season. But Foreman said that blog posts favored a ban on hunting on park land and those who signed an online petition “but not necessarily inconclusively determining the public sentiment.”
Four-hundred-twenty-one signed the online petition indicating hunting of any type should be banned in Chesterfield public parks; 128 signers were from out of the county.
Foreman made three motions in favor of bow hunting on county park lands.
Motion No.1 requested bow hunting be allowed if specified parks met certain criteria and permission of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, as well as permission from the Chesterfield Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.
Motion No. 2 recommended a pilot project at the Dutch Gap Conservation Area. Once the Dutch Gap pilot project was deemed successful, the Swift Creek and Brown and Williamson Conservation Areas (once public access and parking had been completed) would be added after the pilot program had been evaluated.
Motion No. 3 Once the actions Motions one and two had been completed, there would be a permanent hunting committee formed within PRAC. The hunting committee would then assist Parks and Rec in implementing the pilot program.
PRAC voted four to four on the motions which required the PRAC chairman to cast the tie breaking vote. Chairman Ron Maxey voted against the motions and PRACs recommendation that hunting of any kind would remain restricted in county parks.
The Board of Supervisor could revive the concept at a later date.