"Help Protect Your Right to Use and Enjoy Virginia Rivers"

Ask Your Delegate and Senator to Support Legislation That Protects Users of Virginia's Public Rivers

Plagerize My Letter to the Editor, Please

Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

For the past few weeks I’ve been attempting to get the following LTE published in various state papers, but to no avail.  The reasons for not publishing the piece have ranged from ”you live outside of our readership area” or “this is more appropriate for our local opinion page,” to “we don’t publish anything regarding an issue that is still in active legislation” or “we get too many submissions to publish them all.”  While all of these may be fair reasons (except the one about not publishing issues in active legislation), I do think they show a misunderstanding of just how critical this issue is to sportsmen of the state and just how seriously they take preserving their constitutional rights to hunt and fish.

If you like the message of this letter, feel free to submit it to your local paper under your own name.  Just be sure to change a few words so you can be considered the original author of this piece.  Maybe if enough editors get enough submissions on this issue, they will agree to publish one of them.  LTEs are an effective way to get the issue in the mainstream conscientiousness.   We need more LTEs.


Dear Editor,

It was ironic that Ken Cuccinelli appeared at the annual Shad Planking in Wakefield, in that the event celebrates the annual shad run on the rivers of the Commonwealth. I wonder if Mr. Cuccinelli knows that shad is a popular sportfish.  For years I’ve been angling for them on the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to enjoy the shad run on the “Rapp” for the past three years, because I have been defending myself, and the Constitutional rights of every hunter, angler and paddler in Virginia, in a civil suit brought to enjoin me from fishing in a public river. 

I was fishing on a stretch of river which the state advertised as public, and according to the Dept. of Game I was following the law.  So I reached out to Attorney General Cuccinelli and requested that he attach to my case and defend the property of the Commonwealth.  Regrettably, he neglected to protect the resources entrusted to the Commonwealth and defend the Constitutional right of sportsmen in Virginia to use our public navigable rivers.

Pictures of now Candidate Cuccinelli eating a shad with anglers and hunters, made me wonder, “were they aware that he recently avoided the opportunity to protect their tradition of fishing and hunting?  Did they know he sat idle while we ran out of money defending the property of the Commonwealth?”

Before Mr. Cuccinelli applies for the job of Governor, he should first do his job as Attorney General. He owes the sportsmen of Virginia a guarantee that if they follow the laws of the Commonwealth and take guidance from a state agency, a sheriff won’t show up on their doorstep with an arrest warrant seeking $10,000 in damages.

Dargan Coggeshall, Charlottesville, VA

Virginia Rivers Defense Fund (www.virginiariversdefensefund.org)

Read More

“Keep Up the Fight, Keep Up the Fight”

Posted by on Apr 21, 2013 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

“Keep up the fight, keep up the fight.”  Those are the words Del. Scott Lingamfelter spoke to me after his address to the group of fishermen gathered at the VIP Dinner of the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival on Saturday night in Waynesboro.  Del. Lingamfelter, co-chair of the Virginia Legislative Sportsmen Caucus and candidate for the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor of Virginia, was the keynote speaker at the event, and from the outset of his talk, it was clear that he wanted all in attendance to know how seriously he takes the sporting traditions in our Commonwealth, traditions he feels are God-given.

As head of the Sportsmen Caucus, he made a pledge to solve what he called a ”major problem” in the Commonwealth, and one that is threatening our sporting heritage.  This problem he defined as the emerging conflict between the right to hunt and fish and use the pubic resources of the Commonwealth and the rights bestowed to private property owners.  He said finding a solution would be “extremely difficult,” but it had to be done.  It had to be done, he said, because, “if you are sold a license to hunt or fish in Virginia, you should be able to hunt or fish” without the threat of being sued.  He said this not only applied to Virginians, but also to out-of-state hunters and fishermen who came here to enjoy our natural resources.

He went on to say that what happened to me, should not happen to other people.  He also, pledged that while Lt. Governor (I like a positive thinker), he would kill any legislation that was not good legislation for sportsmen and that he would throw his weight behind legislation that was good for sportsmen.  Going off script a bit, he said that the youth of our state would be better served if they spent more time in a river catching fish or in a corn field shooting doves, versus how they are choosing to spend their time today.

While Del. Lingamfelter was in campaign mode on Saturday night, I got the feeling that he was genuinely committed to solving the jeopardy in which  all users of our navigable rivers find themselves.  If he is committed, then I know he has the right credentials to affect meaningful legislation.  I encourage all sportsmen and conservationists to send a note to Del. Lingamfelter and tell him to “keep up the fight.  Keep up the fight.”  You can do that by email slingamfelter@scottforva.com or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ScottLingamfelterForVirginiaLtGovernor2013.

Read More