Am I the only one out there that feels  Virginia needs to establish a deer hound training season? I've searched the net for concerns and proposed regulations, etc. and cannot come across very much about people pushing for a deer hound training season. Aren't you getting tired of wasting your gas to drive to North Carolina to run your dogs out of season or risking a ticket running them here. I understand that we don't need to be running pregnant mommas or running the spots off of the yungenz but, there is the month of September. We're in the woods anyways by mid Sept. for youth hunting day why not stir it up a bit and let them pups get some experience before the season. I believe that a deer hound training season would help keep some of those jerks out there from abandoning dogs that aren't running or even worse calling yourself the undertaker and laughing about it. Admit it we all know one and they make the rest of us look bad. Let's help give the slow learning dogs a chance and maybe get a better image for our selves by contacting your local and state officials and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and get this thing proposed. You may want to start here  but it will never happen if we don't push for it. You should be stopping by this site regularly anyway to stay up on your local hunting regulations. Happy hunting and be responsible your actions reflect on the rest of us hunters out here. Below is an e-mail response I received from the VADGIF and also an one I received from a member of the Stakeholders Advisory Committee that conducted the hound study . Still waiting on responses from other parties. I also added a new page "Hound Study" to my site containing four documents produced as a result of the Virginia tech and DGIF hound study.  

Thanks for contacting us about establishing a deer hound training season.  As you might recall, there was a recommendation in the recent hound-hunting project that VDGIF and Virginia Tech undertook pertaining to training seasons.  Creation of such a season would require a new regulation by our Board, and the next opportunity to propose one would be during our next regulation cycle, which begins next fall (2010).  Next summer, please check our website ( or drop me a line for exact dates and how to submit ideas.
We anticipate that a deer hound training season would be a controversial proposal, even though it was recommended during the hound project.  The Stakeholder Advisory Committee negotiated the deer hound training season recommendation with some expectation that modifications to the right-to-retrieve law and laws governing hunting from or near roads would be addressed by the General Assembly.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need additional information.  We look forward to working with you and your group as you develop your ideas.
Nelson W. Lafon
Deer Project Coordinator
VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries
P.O. Box 996, 517 Lee Highway
Verona, VA 24482

O: 540-248-9295
C: 540-569-0023
F: 540-248-9399

As a member of the committee I had the experience of receiving an education in hound hunting that most people couldn’t even imagine. I will give the VDGIF credit to say that they went to every length to make sure that those serving on the committee were well educated on the sport of hound hunting, not only in Virginia but in every state of our nation. I am greatly appreciative of what I learned and I feel that this education has done well to prepare me for what lays ahead for the future of hound hunting. 


During the study many issues that were controversial to hound hunting were presented to the committee. Most of the issues were complaints against our sport with the largest majority being related to unethical behavior. I was surprised to see how many still hunters had sent in complaints against us with that majority of those being bow hunters. Their complaint was one of hound hunters running hounds during the times that they were trying to hunt. Of course they gave the old “hounds  are disrupting the behavior characteristics of the deer” argument. That is an argument that you can never convince a hound owner of, in fact, someone ought to ask the does that eat the grass 10 feet from my kennel if they feel disrupted. They don’t give a flip about the hounds that are going berserk 10 feet away. 


Another complaint was from the none hunter or even the anti-hunter who complained about hounds being run year around. One view point was that there was never any peace in the area where they lived. Stray hounds would wander lost up and down the roads. Many hounds would come up to and hang around people’s homes where they were not wanted. Then you have the argument of the detrimental effects that running hounds in the summer cause to the deer. ie: pregnant does, fawns w/ spots, bucks in velvet.  Of all the arguments, these last ones would have the most credibility then any of the others.


None the less, all complaints that were sent in to the VDGIF were read by the committee. Over 700 e mails were sent in and let it be noted that the majority were in favor of hound hunting. Yet,, many complaints were valid complaints. They were worthy of being addressed. Many would require a change in the ethical standards in how our sport was practiced. This will take some time but, we can get there but, we can only get there when we accept the responsibility to police our own ranks. We must put peer pressure on those that are determined to continue down the wrong road. These people drag the rest of us down with them. We must find the courage within ourselves to stand up and point a finger at those that are hurting us even if it means turning them in to the authorities if they refuse to get in sync with the rest of us. If we don’t, our reluctance will eventually cost us our beloved hound hunting.


 We both know that presently there is a 365 / 24/7 fox hound chase season. This law was implemented in a time when the public wasn’t so much against hunting, guns, political correctness etc. The Masters of Fox Hound Association is credited with getting this law established in Virginia.  The “Free Casting” fox hunters (or those that you see running in the pens) caught a ride on the coat tails of this law and today they can boast on the freedoms that they have which is contrary to what we have. When you look at the comparison, one can’t help but wonder, “What was anyone thinking?”  How did they miss the deer hounds in all of this? Remember that when that law was passed, deer populations in Virginia were non-existent in many areas of the state. I assume that no one ever guessed that our sport would ever grow as it has over the years.  Now we find ourselves as the largest hound hunting sport in the state and yet, we can’t legally train our hounds. Clearly, something is wrong with this picture. We both know that most deer hound owners,  train their hounds in the name of fox hunting. Unfortunately, many are stupid about it and do not give any consideration to bow hunters. When they run their hounds all over the bow hunters it just makes problems worst.  


I read your blog and as I concur with the desire of establishing a training season for our hounds, I would ask that you hesitate in voicing an alignment with the idea for a couple of weeks in September. We have every right to practice our sport just like everyone else. We are required to purchase a hunting licenses to practice our sport just like the bow hunters.  There are 57,000 deer hound hunters in Virginia.  The number of participants for fox hunting is less than 10,000. Hound hunters as a whole spend over 500 million dollars each year in the commonwealth.  The woods do not belong to bow hunters anymore then they do to the hound hunters. Though I will agree that we must respect each other in the practice of our sport, one should not have priority over the other.


As far as the Deer Hound Training Season goes.  As a member of the SAC, I propose the idea to resolve many of the complaints against us. It was embraced by the majority of the SAC committee as well as Bob Duncan, Sherry Crumley, several VDGIF Biologist and several high ranking conservation police officers. They all agreed it would do a lot to help our situation. I was totally convinced that it was going to happen. In the end, the result of the study pretty much came to an abrupt halt.  Because of this, the proposal of a deer hound training season halted as well.  Since the conclusion of this study, I have become very involved with the Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance. My hope is that I can convince enough VaHDA board members that this is much needed and way behind the times in Virginia. With their support, this is something that could probably happen. People like yourself must raise their voice and let the VaHDA and the VDGIF know that we want this. Without it, they are forcing respectable hound owners to lie and break the law.

My proposal is as follows.


(Training within penned enclosures excluded) A Deer Hound Training season would run from the conclusion of the general firearms season until April 1st of each year. It would be legal to train hounds 24 hours a day, 7 days per week during this time. The training season would be closed from April 1st until Aug 15th.   The training season would start again on Aug 15 and run until the beginning of the general firearms season in November. During the months of October and until the beginning of the general firearms season, the training season would be limited to night time training only except for Sundays.


I could go on and write about this subject forever. I have probably already written 3 times more then you want to read. I have not given up hope for a training season but, I have come to realize that it is going to take some politicking. The first order of business is to arouse numbers of people to get in line and make their desires known to the organizations listed above. Once they realize that there is a large enough number that wants this, we can start making things happen.    


Hope this Helps