POINT PLEASANT — The move to permit Sunday hunting on private property in Mason County is on.
This week, the Mason County Commission approved placing an issue on the November ballot, asking the voters to decide yes or no when it comes to Sunday hunting.
The commission was presented with a petition signed by 1,387 people supporting placing the issue on the November ballot. The Mason County Clerk’s Office reviewed the signatures and determined out of those 1,387 signatures, 950 were registered voters, which was still more than what was needed to get the ballot issue placed.
The clerk’s office needed 859 registered voters to sign the petition. This number was determined by calculating five percent of the registered voters in the 2012 general election.
The wording for the ballot issue will simply state: “Shall hunting on Sunday be authorized in Mason County?” Voters should be aware this means hunting on private property, not public lands.
Sunday hunting is currently allowed in Boone, Brooke, Clay, Hancock, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Marshall, Mingo, Ohio, Wayne, Wetzel and Wyoming counties. This spring voters also made it legal to hunt on Sundays in Braxton, Calhoun, Nicholas, Webster and Wirt counties.
The ban on Sunday hunting was lifted in 2001 though the state left it up to individual counties to reinstate.
If Sunday hunting is approved in Mason County, hunters must have written permission of the landowner, according to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Also, even if the ballot issues passes, hunting would still be prohibited on any Sunday preceding the Monday opening of a big game season - this includes deer, bear, turkey or boar season.
Mason County isn’t alone when it comes to Sunday hunting remaining prohibited, at least at this point. There is also no Sunday hunting in the following counties: Barbour, Berkeley, Cabell, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hardy, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Marion, Mercer, Mineral, Monongalia, Monroe, Morgan, Pendleton, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie, Roane, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, Upshur, Wood.
The movement to get the issue on the ballot gained steam with the efforts of local volunteers and the creation of the “Petition for Mason County Sunday Hunting” page found on Facebook.
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 4.