February 25, 2019

Maryland: Statewide Sunday Deer Hunting Bill Heard in Committee

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.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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