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Hound-Hunters & Private Landowners Stakeholder Advisory Committee

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is committed to continuing the tradition of hunting with hounds for both wildlife management and recreational benefits. Furthermore, DWR is committed to ensuring that hunting practices are consistent with and respect the rights of private property owners. At the direction of the Board of Wildlife Resources, DWR has initiated a collaborative stakeholder process. One of the main goals is to reduce conflicts between people who hunt for deer or bear with hounds and private landowners who do not want hounds on their properties.

To support this work, DWR has enlisted the help of a professional, highly respected facilitator (University of Virginia Institute for Engagement and Negotiation) to gather input through both an online survey and in-person interviews. The consultant will then convene and facilitate a Stakeholder Advisory Committee focused on solution identification. This important effort is expected to last through the end of this calendar year.

Overall, the full timeline will be driven by the Committee itself. This stakeholder engagement process includes the following activities and anticipated timelines:

  • Identification of interested parties and the best method(s) to solicit stakeholder input: Completed in spring 2023
  • Stakeholder Survey: An online survey was open to the public June 5–23, 2023
  • Stakeholder Interviews: Completed July 2023
  • Summary of the Stakeholder Survey and Interviews: Completed August 2023; View Report
  • Stakeholder Advisory Committee Meetings: Anticipated August 2023 to February 2024; View meeting materials below under Status Updates
  • Committee Results and Recommendations: Draft and final reports are anticipated February–March 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

How has this issue been addressed in the past and what has resulted from these prior efforts?

In 2008, the agency conducted a statewide stakeholder process on the topic of hunting with hounds which produced several reports (Hunting with Hounds: A Way Forward - Technical Report; Content Analysis of Written Correspondence; Survey Report) and Stakeholder Advisory Committee Recommendations. In 2016, the DWR developed a follow-up report (A Report on Deer Hunting with Dogs) to the 2008 process at the request of the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries (now Board of Wildlife Resources). A key recommendation coming out of the 2016 report was the creation of a deer dog hunter/landowner stakeholder group to establish ongoing dialogue and identify solutions. In 2021, the Board of Wildlife Resources adopted a resolution to:

Why hasn’t DWR acted on the 2016 recommendation to convene a deer dog hunter/landowner stakeholder group to establish ongoing dialogue and identify solutions before now?

Historically, the DWR has sought to preserve the tradition of hunting with dogs, for both wildlife management and recreational benefits, while ensuring that hunting methods are consistent with and respect the rights of private property owners. Until recently, key stakeholders have not expressed a willingness to engage in discussion. The DWR believes that a collaborative stakeholder-driven process is the best way to move forward. Stakeholder involvement allows those most impacted by the issues to play a role in shaping the outcome.

Why are we doing this Stakeholder Advisory Committee (Committee) process now?

At the January 2023 meeting of the Board of Wildlife Resources, stakeholders representing both the landowning and hound hunting communities appeared and expressed a willingness to have discussions of ways to avoid and resolve conflicts between the hunting and landowning communities. This led the Board to direct the formation of the stakeholder committee.

What is the timeline for the Stakeholder Advisory Committee?

Overall, the full timeline will be driven by the Committee itself. The DWR selected a consultant, The Institute for Engagement and Negotiation (IEN), a public service organization of the University of Virginia, in March 2023 to help facilitate discussions among stakeholders, develop a process to share concerns, and work toward developing collaborative solutions. This stakeholder engagement process includes the following activities and anticipated timelines:

  • Identification of interested parties and the best methods to solicit stakeholder input: Completed in spring 2023
  • Stakeholder Survey: An online survey was open to the public June 5-23, 2023
  • Stakeholder Interviews: Completed July 2023
  • Summary of the Stakeholder Survey and Interviews: Completed August 2023
  • Stakeholder Advisory Committee Meetings: Anticipated August 2023 to February 2024; View meeting materials below under Status Updates
  • Committee Recommendations: Anticipated December 2023
  • Committee Results and Recommendations: Draft and final reports are anticipated February–March 2024

Who is on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee?

Stakeholder Advisory Committee representatives reflect various stakeholder interests regarding hound-hunting (for deer and bear) and private landowner concerns. Committee Members bring the perspectives of private landowners, hound-hunters, local governments, still hunters, Native Americans, agricultural landowners, and wildlife management interest groups to the discussion; some Committee Members represent more than one of these perspectives. There are 21 primary representatives on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee. Except for the At-Large Citizen representatives, each organizational body selected its own primary and alternate representatives to serve on the Committee. The representatives include:

  • 1 representative each for these 12 Organizations: American Bear Foundation, Virginia Chapter; Appalachian Habitat Association; B&W Hunt Club; Property Rights Coalition of Virginia; Sporting Dog Coalition of Virginia; Virginia Association of Responsible Sportsmen; Virginia Bear Hunters Association; Virginia Deer Hunters Association; Virginia Farm Bureau; Virginia Hound Heritage; Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance; Virginia Property Rights Alliance
  • 6 representatives serving as At-Large Citizen Representatives
  • 1 representative from a Native American Tribe (Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe)
  • 1 representative each for 2 Local Governments (Louisa County, Spotsylvania County)

When will Stakeholder Advisory Committee meetings occur?

  • August 10, 2023
  • August 31, 2023
  • September 11, 2023
  • September 29, 2023
  • October 19, 2023
  • November 3, 2023
  • January 2024 (date to be determined)
  • As needed, future meeting dates will be determined by the Committee.
  • Note: Committee meeting summaries will be posted on this webpage 2–3 weeks after each Committee meeting.

Who is invited to attend the Stakeholder Advisory Committee meetings?

To maintain the integrity of collaborative discussions during the Committee meetings, these meetings are by invitation only. Invited attendees include the primary (and alternate) Committee members (see “Who is on the Committee?”). Facilitation experts from the UVA-Institute for Engagement and Negotiation will be leading and facilitating these meetings, and they will invite technical experts as needed. Summaries of each Committee meeting will be posted on this webpage two weeks after each Committee meeting.

Which types of hunting will the Stakeholder Advisory Committee be expected to discuss?

The stakeholder engagement process is anticipated to be limited to the topics of enhancing relationships and avoiding/resolving conflicts between deer and bear hunters using hounds and the landowning community. However, potential solutions may include ideas and support from other hunters who use dogs.

What is the consultant’s role?

IEN believes enduring solutions are built upon commitment and involvement. Stakeholder interests, concerns, and opportunities must be identified as part of this process. IEN will guide discussions to build trust within the Committee. The team will promote understanding of opposing viewpoints and ensure parity amongst stakeholder interests. The consultant will also facilitate Committee meetings and provide meeting summaries. Ultimately, this is a stakeholder driven process. IEN is there to support and encourage those involved in this effort.

How much will DWR pay the consultant?

DWR has a fixed-price contract with the consultant for $113,923 ("base amount"), with a pre-negotiated option if services are required beyond the original scope of work (i.e., $3,607 per additional in-person committee meeting; $1,414 per additional virtual committee meeting). As of January 2024, the cost of one additional in-person meeting is anticipated to be added to the base amount.

What is DWR’s role in the Committee?

The DWR will provide the Committee with logistical and technical support. Ultimately, this is a stakeholder driven process.

Where are the results from the Stakeholder Survey and Interviews?

To request stakeholder input, an online public survey was conducted from June 5-23, 2023. For this survey, 8,868 survey responses were submitted. In addition, interviews were conducted with 18 stakeholders to allow for in-depth discussions on interests, concerns, and suggestions. Results from the survey and interviews were summarized in this report.

What types of recommendations are possible?

The recommendations will be determined by the stakeholders. The Committee will consider the feasibility of recommendations as part of its process. Additional assessments may be required by external parties and cooperating stakeholders.

How do I send questions to DWR?

You can contact the DWR Planning Team with questions or input by emailing them at advisorygroup@dwr.virginia.gov.

Resource Documents

Stakeholder Advisory Committee Representatives

Stakeholder Advisory Committee representatives reflect various stakeholder interests regarding hound-hunting (for deer and bear) and private landowner concerns. Committee Members bring the perspectives of private landowners, hound-hunters, local governments, still hunters, Native Americans, agricultural landowners, and wildlife management interest groups to the discussion; some Committee Members represent more than one of these perspectives. There are 21 primary representatives on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee. Except for the At-Large Citizen representatives, each organizational body selected its own primary and alternate representatives to serve on the Committee. The representatives include:

  • 1 representative each for 12 Organizations:
    • American Bear Foundation, Virginia Chapter
    • Appalachian Habitat Association
    • B&W Hunt Club
    • Property Rights Coalition of Virginia
    • Sporting Dog Coalition of Virginia
    • Virginia Association of Responsible Sportsmen
    • Virginia Bear Hunters Association
    • Virginia Deer Hunters Association
    • Virginia Farm Bureau
    • Virginia Hound Heritage
    • Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance
    • Virginia Property Rights Alliance
  • 6 representatives serving as At-Large Citizen Representatives
  • 1 representative from a Native American Tribe (Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe)
  • 1 representative each for 2 Local Governments (Louisa County, Spotsylvania County)

Status Updates

Have Questions?

You can contact the DWR Planning Team with questions or input by emailing them at advisorygroup@dwr.virginia.gov.