Why it Matters: The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has a tenured history in fighting against Sunday hunting prohibitions wherever they exist. In the northeast region, states including Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware continue to impose these restrictions – in their own unique ways – upon sportsmen and women. Being able to hunt on seven days results in more dollars spent by hunters in restaurants, hotels, gas stations and stores throughout the state, boosting local economies, while also affording farmers and other landowners the ability to diversify their income sources. As evidenced by the recent opening of Sunday hunting on Wildlife Management Areas in South Carolina, the desire to remove and/or lessen Sunday hunting restrictions has been a key focal area on the eastern seaboard. In the northeast, the work continues.
- Maine – CSF submitted testimony in support of LD 626, LD 1166, and LD 1241– three bills that would have uniquely addressed the Sunday hunting prohibition in the Pine Tree State.
- Maryland – CSF submitted a letter of support to Governor Wes Moore, requesting that he sign (which he ultimately did) 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 to all “game bird and game mammal seasons” on each Sunday. CSF also testified in support of Sunday hunting for waterfowl in Senate Bill 327 (S. 327) and House Bill 983 (H. 983) – legislation that was enacted but done so without the Sunday hunting provision.
- Pennsylvania – CSF joined alongside partners within the Pennsylvania Sportsmen and Women’s Policy Workgroup for meetings in Harrisburg to support Senate Bill 67 (S. 67) – legislation that would allow the Pennsylvania Game Commission to authorize Sunday hunting.
With regular sessions winding down in many states, it’s the perfect time to reflect on some of the Sunday hunting efforts that have been taken, as well as those continuing to be driven, in the northeast region. In Maine, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, CSF has been hard at work engaging on legislation that would open up access and opportunities for sportsmen and women to pursue game seven days per week.
On April 14, CSF submitted a letter of support to the Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife regarding LD 626, LD 1166, and LD 1241. Each of these bills, in their own way, would lessen the present restrictions on Sunday hunting in the state. CSF has long been involved with this topic in Maine, serving on a stakeholder group that surveyed members across the state regarding their perceptions of Sunday hunting authorizations. Despite all three bills receiving “Ought Not To Pass” votes in Committee, CSF will continue to work towards removing this prohibition in the years ahead.
On April 13, CSF submitted testimony to Governor Wes Moore, encouraging him to sign two Sunday hunting bills – H. 466 and H. 1087 – into law. Both bills were signed, and on July 1, they were enacted. Going forward, sportsmen and women in Worcester and Wicomico Counties will be able to pursue all “game bird and game mammal seasons” on each Sunday during their respective seasons. CSF also joined partners including Hunters of Maryland, Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, and others in supporting S. 327 and H. 983 – pro-sportsmen’s packages cosponsored by Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus leadership that originally contained language authorizing Sunday hunting for waterfowl but were eventually signed by the Governor without those provision included.
In the Keystone State, CSF is supporting S. 67 – legislation sponsored and cosponsored by leaders of the Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. Introduced in February, this bill would turn full regulatory authority for Sunday hunting over to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC). CSF looks forward to supporting this bill in Committee in the near term, and eventually working with the PGC to open up additional Sunday hunting opportunities in the years ahead.