Why It Matters: Prohibitions and restrictions on Sunday hunting serve to the detriment of our nation’s sporting communities and state and local economies. An additional day to hunt would mean more dollars spent by hunters in restaurants, hotels, gas stations and stores throughout the state, boosting local economies. Relatedly, allowing farmers and other landowners to diversify their income sources by allowing an additional day of hunting on their land will help to provide a large capital influx to rural economies that are hardest hit by the recent pandemic. That’s why the desire to remove and/or lessen Sunday hunting restrictions has been a growing theme across the nation, with most states that have existing Sunday hunting restrictions actively working to lessen or eliminate said prohibitions over the past decade. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has been heavily involved with removing this remaining blue law wherever it may exist and will continue to do so until seven-day hunting is a possibility in all states.
- Last week, CSF submitted testimony in Maine and Maryland in support of several Sunday hunting bills.
- In Maine, CSF submitted testimony to the Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, calling on it to support LD 626, LD 1166, and LD 1241 – three bills that would, in their own ways, lessen the present restrictions on Sunday hunting.
- In Maryland, CSF sent a letter to Governor Wes Moore, requesting that he sign House Bill 466 (H. 466) and House Bill 1087 (H. 1087) into law – two bills that would expand the existing Sunday hunting authorizations in Worcester and Wicomico Counties (respectively) to all “game bird and game mammal seasons” on each Sunday.
- The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation has long supported Sunday hunting authorizations and will continue dedicating its efforts towards getting these bills signed into law.
The inability to hunt on Sundays may sound foreign to most American hunters, but for several states on the east coast, it’s a lingering reality. However, Maine, which has a complete ban on Sunday hunting, and Maryland, which has county-by-county authorizations, are looking to change this and increase opportunities for sportsmen and women.
Last week, the Maine Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife held public hearings for three uniquely different bills that would open up Sunday hunting authorizations. LD 626 would allow “a person who holds a valid junior hunting license, a person who is under 18 years of age and holds a valid hunting license or a person 18 years of age who is enrolled in secondary school and holds a valid hunting license may hunt wild animals or wild birds on private land on Sunday with written consent from the landowner.” LD 1166 would allow landowners with five or more acres to hunt wild animals and wild birds on their property on Sundays. Finally, LD 1241 would create a process by which archery hunters may purchase permits to hunt on Sundays. CSF submitted a letter of support regarding all three bills to the Committee.
In Maryland, Governor Wes Moore has two bills on his desk – H. 466 and H. 1087 – that would expand the already existing Sunday hunting authorizations in Worcester and Wicomico Counties. CSF sent Governor Moore testimony in support of these bills.
Sunday hunting restrictions are examples of puritanical blue laws that serve no legitimate purpose today other than to restrict opportunities for hunters. As CSF stated in its testimony, access is a major limiting factor hindering participation in hunting, and restrictions on Sunday hunting provide a temporal-access barrier to youth and others that work or attend school throughout the week and are often involved in extra-curricular activities on Saturdays. Additionally, introducing and/or expanding Sunday hunting opportunities would also significantly benefit these states’ economies, particularly in rural areas, by increasing economic output and job creation.
CSF will continue to work towards lessening and eliminating Sunday hunting restrictions wherever they exist.