Where it all began

The Virginia Sports Club, originally called the Maryland-Virginia Sports Club, was organized in November of 1958 by a group of 11 friends eagerly awaiting the opening of deer season. These Charter Members created this Club to engage in hunting, fishing, and camping; promote safety in these activities; encourage the practice of good sportsmanship and compliance with local, state, and federal hunting and fishing regulations; support wildlife conservation programs and to assist wildlife management programs; and increase the knowledge and practice of hunting, fishing, camping, and other outdoor recreational skills that are in harmony with these activities. The membership actively pursues these objectives through their many outdoor activity-related interests. We have sportsmen who enjoy hunting Virginia’s small game with a shotgun. Also, rifles, handguns, and muzzleloaders have been used to harvest the ever-popular whitetail deer. Over the years, an increasing number of members have become interested in bow hunting. Past members have not only loaded their own ammunition, but assembled their own arrows. Many of our members have mastered the art of calling in the wily turkey, and have been often rewarded for their efforts. Each year, the Club recognizes the member who took the largest buck by presenting them with a plaque. The program has been expanded to include, not only the biggest overall buck, but the biggest buck taken by rifle, bow, and muzzleloader. Recently, the Club has added a big buck award for the young dependents of our members, aged 15 and younger. This was done in an effort to get the younger generation enthused and excited about the sport of hunting; while carrying on a family tradition that expands generations. In 1958, there was 304,605 licensed hunters in the State of Virginia; in 2017, there were 277,281—a 9 percent drop over the last 60 years. It’s imperative that we get more young people involved in the sport of hunting. When the Club first began, prospective new members could only join if they were sponsored by an active Club member. Being sponsored meant that a prospective member had been observed in the field/known by an active Club member and that Club member attested to the individual’s good sportsmanship, compliance with State game laws, and practiced good hunter safety. Even though the Club no longer accepts sponsorships for entry, we continue to strive to bring in new members that share the same commitment to the objectives established by our Charter members. Today, each of our members have successfully completed the Virginia State Hunters Safety Course. Some members have certified as safety instructors. The Virginia Sports Club is extremely proud of its accident-free safety record and vigorously strives to ensure its perpetuation.

The Virginia Sports Club shares the concern of all freedom-loving Americans for the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The Club expresses its concern and pledges its continued support through affiliation with, and encourages individual membership in, the National Rifle Association of America. The membership is committed to the responsible use of firearms and makes every attempt to exhibit those characteristics which foster a harmonious relationship with our many landowner neighbors.

In 1958, the Club leased 1,050 acres of land in Page County, bordered by the South Fork of the Shenandoah River and the George Washington National Forest. Over the course of the last 60 years, the Virginia Sports Club has amassed a lease portfolio of 14 tracts across 5 counties—Culpeper, Hanover, Fauquier, Buckingham, and Fluvanna—for over 7,100 acres. The Club membership has grown to 177 members. From landowners to law enforcement to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Virginia Sports Club has earned a valued superior reputation for high levels of integrity, ethics, and sportsmanship. Although most of our Virginia Sports Club Charter Members are no longer active in the Club, their legacy remains.

When a new member joins the Virginia Sports Club, the person is not joining a group of hunters in a land pool. The person is becoming a member of the Virginia Sports Club family, and accepts the responsibility of displaying the highest level of integrity, ethical behavior, and sportsmanship. Unfortunately, in the history of the Club, we’ve had a few members that compromised these principles and the safety of their fellow members in the field, and consequently were not allowed to return to the Club. As Virginia Sports Club members, we must band together to ensure there are no occurrences of unsafe or unethical practices on our leased properties. When you are in the field, be on the lookout for trespassers. If you see someone you don’t recognize, introduce yourself and ask them to produce their membership card. If they can’t produce it, take their vehicle license plate number (if available) and call the Tract Steward immediately. By taking these actions, you are protecting the resources of your Virginia Sports Club family members, protecting the property for which the landowner has entrusted with us, and are helping to preserve future lease renewal opportunities for our Club.