No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

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No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby NNMountaineer » Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:09 am

The City of Newport News has passed an ordinance that now makes it illegal to waterfowl hunt on the entire Warwick River and the Newport News half of the James River.

This started when the (now ex) City Manager moved to Newport News and bought a house on the Warwick River. The typical issues with waterfront owners & waterfowlers ensued and he decided he didn't like hearing shotguns early in the morning (although he did buy a house less than 2 miles across the river from an Army base with a very active firing range). Well your highness got in the ear of City Council and they, very quietly, passed this ordinance. I have been informed that they went through channels with VDGIF and Newport News is now under the impression that they have jurisdiction over the entire Warwick River and HALF of the James River. I have also been told that VDGIF is "trying to stay out of it" and "doesn't want anything to do with it". The Newport News Police Chief has also informed his officers that they will be enforcing this ordinance.

I don't hunt in these areas but this is a major issue that needs the attention of waterfowlers state wide. Newport News has set a precedence for other localities to be able to move us out of any area where people complain about hunters on the water near their waterfront property. If you hunt near Poquoson, Yorktown, James City, Charles City, New Kent, Smithfield, Suffolk, Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, Lancaster, etc. THIS IS A PROBLEM. It baffles me that VDGIF has just let this slide by with no action. Before anyone makes the safety argument I also want to make sure people understand THIS IS NOT A SAFETY ISSUE. Right now Newport News' argument is "you can still duck hunt you just have to use a bow". Explain to me how an arrow with a broadhead shot into the air is safer than a load of steel 2s.

I've asked what can be done about this and the answer is essentially someone will have to be arrested, take the charge to court, win the court case, then they will have to sue the city to have the ordinance reversed in a separate court case. Any lawyers on here?

My questions are:
1. Why do we fund VDGIF with (outrageous) license fees IF THEY ARE NOT GOING TO STAND UP FOR THE INTERESTS OF HUNTERS?
2. How does Newport News have jurisdiction over state owned water?
3. Where is the boundary in the James River and how will it be marked?

Please spread the word and if you live in Newport News, vote for different members of City Counsel because these clowns don't give a rats ass about your interests.
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby LEWDOG » Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:06 pm

Do you have a link to the ordinance , I will then have something to take to the other virginia forums ? I would think that mwr and the military waterfowlers would want in on the fight to keep waterfowl hunting on these public waters . To ask do you have any idea how many blinds there are on those waters for those hunters will have power to shake DGIF tree ?

:eek: LD :mad:
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby NNMountaineer » Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:30 pm

I will post it when I find it. There are roughly a dozen blinds maybe more on the Warwick. Not as many on the James because it is big water with not much protection from storms. Many people hunt it with floating blinds.
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby NNMountaineer » Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:50 pm

VDGIF routinely throws up their hands on issues like this saying there is nothing they can do, localities can make their own decisions, they don't have jurisdiction in the cities blah blah. But you know who's quick to show up if a hunter is out of line in a city? A VDGIF conservation officer. These issues are all highly political and rarely, if ever, end for the hunters benefit. Which again brings me to the question of why are we funding them? Why do we not have a voice on these issues?

If they threatened to make oyster harvesting illegal on the James River because waterfront property owners were complaining about work boat noise, the vast majority of the VMRC board would be up in outrage and this would never pass. Why do hunters, waterfowlers especially, not have this voice from an agency THAT WE PAY FOR?
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby Ducks27 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:04 pm

Unbelievable, has anyone found the actual ordance, typically like poquoson it reads something like no discharge of weapon with in 300 yards of dwelling or public rd. Thats poquoson, trying to figure out how its written
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby LEWDOG » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:22 pm

NN the fast answer is waterfowl hunters are seen everyday of the season by rich land owners on public water after the gun shots have echo all over the early morning. It's easy to see that our sport will be the first to go into the history book .

:eek: LD :sarcmark:
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby Ducks27 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:36 pm

I got friends with a blind there that are now out of a place to hunt they called me last week saying they may be loosing blind the had for years and it's also a place for military folks to duck Hunt as well on the Warwick and james, there the ones getting screwed. What's next every hunter should irate if this goes through
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby NNMountaineer » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:38 pm

It's already gone through. It's a done deal. I will post the ordinance once I find it in writing.
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby Islander marsh runner » Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:47 am

The only ordinance I see in the game regs is that there is no discharge of firearms in the city exception approved ranges. However, wvec tv had a short article a bout the waterfowl hunting stated that it was prohibited to duck hunt in the city ofnewport news and the boundary of the city goes half way out to the James . It also said that duck hunters are scouting out places now to build duck blinds and they wanted to remind the public of this ordinance. I can't find it in the code yet, coulldbe they haven't put it in thee yet. I hate to see this cause it's a typical example of how things work around this area. Doesn't take much fuel for others localities to follow suit and ban all hunting.
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby LEWDOG » Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:02 am

"no discharge of firearms in the city exception approved ranges" that will do it , there is no reason to single out one sport .
Nothing in that can stop the hunt or stop the license of blinds and Newport News has a big problem with firearms and that ordinance isn't going away . Now what is a firearm, is a air gun that uses air to push out the shot a firearm ? If I had a blind on those waters and there were fowl to kill I would mount a crossbow on the blind and make a bolt with a cup that will hold a 1/2 pound of steel shot and 20 foot of wire attach and get out there and shoot clay birds till the season comes in .

:eek: LD :no:
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby Ducks27 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:36 am

Hasnt that ordance always been there???
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby gooosehunter » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:24 am

This is just completely crazy! Time to take it to the courts. As far as this dimwitt from the city. It is time to have a fishing trip with three hundred boats in his back yard. This is not acceptable as the city of NN has many more problems with gun shots in the hood than on the water. The city of Norfolk has a similar law too because it is a bird sanctuary.
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby fowl mouth » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:54 am

That ordinance has always existed. Still huntin' it :hammer:
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby NNMountaineer » Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:06 am

There has always been a no discharge of firearms in the city limits ordinance. The city limits have always been interpreted as to the mean low water mark, until now. I want to know how Newport News can extend its jurisdiction into a state owned waterway. This is the same interpretation of the law that has allowed us to hunt in state owned water around national parks, military bases, etc for my entire lifetime. Why does Newport News now have the authority to charge people for lawful activities on a state owned waterway? Newport News does not own the water, and they also do no own the bottom of the waterway. Still trying to find the ordinance.
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby NNMountaineer » Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:56 am

Ok guys as far as I can tell there is no new ordinance, my bad. However what they are trying to do is enforce city code 43-9 "Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, it shall be unlawful for any person to discharge a firearm within the City of Newport News, Virginia." over the waterways. This city code has been the law in Newport News for a very long time and enforced to the mean low water mark, as it should be.

The reason their jurisdiction DOES NOT continue into the state owned waterway is because of Virginia State Code 28.2-1200 "All the beds of the bays, rivers, creeks and the shores of the sea within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, not conveyed by special grant or compact according to law, shall remain the property of the Commonwealth and may be used as a common by all the people of the Commonwealth for the purpose of fishing, fowling, hunting, and taking and catching oysters and other shellfish. No grant shall be issued by the Librarian of Virginia to pass any estate or interest of the Commonwealth in any natural oyster bed, rock, or shoal, whether or not it ebbs bare."

The fact that VDGIF has not pointed to this, and made it crystal clear to the city of Newport News is an atrocity. I can assure you that all city of Newport News law enforcement has been directed to charge people for hunting in the waters around Newport News specifically including the entire Warwick River and half of the James. I can also assure you that VDGIF is aware of this issue, and has remained silent. THIS IS THE PROBLEM.

What can we do? Any lawyers on here? Friends of lawyers?
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby NNMountaineer » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:03 am

fowl mouth wrote:That ordinance has always existed. Still huntin' it :hammer:


I agree, and I would too. Just be aware you may get harassed by law enforcement. Do not get crappy with them, most of them do not agree with this either but are doing their jobs. Know the Virginia State code. If it has to go to court, a defense lawyer will have a field day with this.
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby Ducks27 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:36 am

Newport news officer I know was told that, no hunting on James and Warwick enforce it, he doesn't agree. Needs to be fought, straight up Newport news cronies trying to quietly slip the nuese around our necks
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby romeodog » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:48 am

Got this issue sent to a friend's friend at DU corporate and he sent it on to one of their policy specialists in the DC office. Very strange situation and I'm not sure if DU can help but let's see what he says. I agree with you Mountaineer, we need more support and VDGIF to do something
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby fowl mouth » Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:25 pm

The irony of it all is there is a Newport News cop with a blind on the river. :help: I'm sorry but if your using private access etc etc I don't know how they will be able to enforce this. And they aren't gonna pay one of their boys to go out there and enforce it. They would rather spend city dollars on marathons and big metal love NN signs. My bet is this will be ignored as usual until a homeowner has a fit. Which myself personally have only seen once. To be honest Newport News cops are actually really good dudes and I don't see them making this a big issue. There's a lot worse things to worry about around these parts and they know that.
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby NNMountaineer » Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:43 pm

fowl mouth wrote:The irony of it all is there is a Newport News cop with a blind on the river. :help: I'm sorry but if your using private access etc etc I don't know how they will be able to enforce this. And they aren't gonna pay one of their boys to go out there and enforce it. They would rather spend city dollars on marathons and big metal love NN signs. My bet is this will be ignored as usual until a homeowner has a fit. Which myself personally have only seen once. To be honest Newport News cops are actually really good dudes and I don't see them making this a big issue. There's a lot worse things to worry about around these parts and they know that.


Yeah the Newport News cops are not the issue. And there's more than one that is losing their hunting spot over this. I agree that if you're not right up next to someone's house that there will likely not be an issue, and the guys on the street do not want to deal with this. The ones making these decisions are catering to a select few wealthy homeowners that continue to complain.

I would encourage anyone hunting around Newport News to stay as far away from houses as possible if you do continue to hunt there. While technically legal to hunt state owned water, you will eventually ruin it for the rest of us. They are trying to make it sound like they are not keeping us from hunting, we just have to use archery equipment. This is their words, not mine. I would argue that forcing us to use archery equipment is, in fact, keeping us from being able to harvest waterfowl. Which violates state code 28.2-1200.
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby LEWDOG » Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:59 am

I posted this on TOS .
Still hunting it is one sided the way I see it for the float hunter will have a better chance of getting a warning but the fixed blind owner isn't going to be that lucky .
A fight the fixed blind hunter could use is they bought a blind license from the state that has in the laws that the blind is going to be use for hunting waterfowl . IMO that is a license shooting range in the state of VA. .

:huh: LD :yes:
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby ipittythefoo » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:47 am

Sec. 44-3. - Uses of and activities on wetlands which are permitted.

The following uses of and activities in wetlands are authorized if otherwise permitted by law:
(1)
The construction and maintenance of noncommercial catwalks, piers, boathouses, boat shelters, fences, duckblinds, wildlife management shelters, footbridges, observation decks and shelters and other similar structures, provided that such structures are so constructed on pilings as to permit the reasonably unobstructed flow of the tide and preserve the natural contour of the wetlands;
(2)
The cultivation and harvesting of shellfish, and worms for bait;
(3)
Noncommercial outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, boating, trapping, hunting, fishing, shellfishing, horseback riding, swimming, skeet and trap shooting, and shooting on shooting preserves, provided that no structure shall be constructed except as permitted in subsection (1) of this section


Only thing I found in the local ordinances.
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby NNMountaineer » Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:07 pm

LEWDOG wrote:I posted this on TOS .
Still hunting it is one sided the way I see it for the float hunter will have a better chance of getting a warning but the fixed blind owner isn't going to be that lucky .
A fight the fixed blind hunter could use is they bought a blind license from the state that has in the laws that the blind is going to be use for hunting waterfowl . IMO that is a license shooting range in the state of VA. .

:huh: LD :yes:


I agree. I think it's good for us that the state code specifically mentions fowling AND hunting. This in itself voids the Newport News discharge of firearms ordinance on the public waters. Never since the invention of firearms has fowling ever been defined as an activity accomplished with anything other than a firearm.

Continue to spread the word on this. I want people to know that what Newport News is attempting to do is a violation of state code.
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby Dog Tired » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:17 am

NNMountaineer wrote:
LEWDOG wrote:I posted this on TOS .
Still hunting it is one sided the way I see it for the float hunter will have a better chance of getting a warning but the fixed blind owner isn't going to be that lucky .
A fight the fixed blind hunter could use is they bought a blind license from the state that has in the laws that the blind is going to be use for hunting waterfowl . IMO that is a license shooting range in the state of VA. .

:huh: LD :yes:


I agree. I think it's good for us that the state code specifically mentions fowling AND hunting. This in itself voids the Newport News discharge of firearms ordinance on the public waters. Never since the invention of firearms has fowling ever been defined as an activity accomplished with anything other than a firearm.

Continue to spread the word on this. I want people to know that what Newport News is attempting to do is a violation of state code.


if my memory serves me right, the state will sell you a blind permit for anywhere you can punch in the GPS/Lat Long...including the area in question---- another part of the problem. the state wants your money but doesn't want to appropriately manage the very thing you're giving them money for. classic big govt.
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Re: No More Waterfowling on the James and Warwick Rivers

Postby anjordan77 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:43 am

The ordinance also applies to Reservoirs owned by Newport News that aren't in Newport News. So nobody can hunt Diascund Reservoir or Little Creek Reservoir. Colonial Heights recently(2012) amended their ordinance to say hunting is permitted in the wetlands. Of course all of the wetlands are blinded up with spite blinds but that's another topic for a later convo.
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