By Brett Stayton, Mid-Atlantic States Coordinator
On February 19, the Maryland Senate Committee on Health, Education, and the Environment held a hearing on several bills, including SB 390, which would authorize the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to allow deer hunting on Sundays throughout the appropriate season.
This would apply to private land and specifically designated public land. The bill was introduced by Senator Jack Bailey, a Co-Chair of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.
Sunday hunting allowances for deer in Maryland have been passed on a county-by-county basis since 2003. This has resulted in a confusing patchwork of various allowances that can change depending on which side of a county line you are hunting. SB 390 would provide the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) with the ability to streamline these allowances where biologically and sociologically supported, offering increased access and opportunity for Maryland’s sportsmen and women. The bill would also protect, in statute, all existing Sunday hunting allowances that have been passed to date, and give the DNR regulatory authority to grant additional Sunday hunting opportunities throughout the state.
Support for Sunday hunting is gaining momentum in the surrounding area, and significant progress has been made in recent years to expand Sunday hunting opportunities in the neighboring states of Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Mid-Atlantic States Coordinator Brett Stayton joined the panel of in-state and national partners to testify in support of the bill. CSF and 10 other sportsmen-conservation groups submitted a formal letter supporting the elimination of restrictions on Sunday hunting in Maryland.
As a member of the Sunday Hunting Coalition, CSF works with partner organizations to reduce barriers to hunting on Sundays and expand Sunday hunting opportunities for sportsmen and women.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (13.75%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (11.25%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (61.25%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (13.75%)