2017 VBHA Scholarship Winner Announced!
The 2017 Scholarship Committee consisted of Freda Smith, Allen Pennington, Forest Redd, and Chairman Hunter Thrasher. The committee applied specific scoring criteria to all applications and the awardee is Savannah Blake Looney, a 2017 graduating senior at Craig County High School. The award was presented to Savannah at her graduation on May 26.
Savannah is the daughter of Larry and Stephanie Looney of New Castle and members of the VBHA. Savannah plans to attend Radford University and pursue a career in neonatal nursing.
Attached is her essay which in in response to the topic of: What can I do to help ensure the preservation of hunting bear with dogs in Virginia?
The Preservation of Hunting Bear with Dogs
"I was about eight years old when I went bear hunting for the first time. The evening before, my parents dropped me off at my grandparents' house to spend the night. We went to bed around nine o'clock only because we had to wake up super early the next day. The following moming my Nana woke me up around four-thirty, we then got dressed, ate breakfast and loaded up the dogs. I even got to bring my dog, Taz. We then crammed into my Grandpa's truck and headed out to meet some of his friends on the top of Potts Mountain. We arrived at the top of the mountain at the most perfect timing. Their dogs had just found a fresh track and we were able to
release our dogs with theirs. At about eleven o'clock, the dogs finally made their way back to us and we loaded them back into their dog boxes. Even though we weren't able to tree or kill a bear that day, I had a really great experience.
Hunting in Virginia, especially with dogs, has been a tradition for many years. However, how and when the dogs are used are regulated by the state. A few things dog owners should know to help ensure the preservation of hunting bear with dogs is when their dogs can be used, how to properly retrieve their dogs, and the training laws of their dogs. Because of these laws, I think it is very important to make sure that people are aware of the regulations so that we do not lose the ability to continue this fun activity.
The following rules are a few of the ones that l think hunters should be the most knowiedgeable on. Hound dogs are allowed to be used to hunt bears when it's not prohibited. Although, you cannot hunt with dogs during archery season for any animal. When using dogs to tree or trap animal, the hunter must kill the animal or end the chase by gathering their dogs and
allowing the animal to flee. When it's time for the owner to gather their dogs from private property, they need to introduce themselves to the landowner. However, while retrieving the dogs you're prohibited from carrying a weapon onto the landowner's property or continue the
hunting process. Dogs may be trained on private land with landowner's permission or on National Forest only during seasons in which this activity is allowed. When training, persons may not have any firearm in their possession.
I feel that as a bear hunter, I can help by making sure that others are aware of these rules and even helping others to follow these rules when I'm in the woods. While preserving the laws of hunting bear with dogs in Virginia has allowed me to go on numerous bear hunts with my
grandparents throughout the years that I have truly enjoyed. These are important so that many can continue to enjoy this activity."