GSC Member Governor Larry Hogan Enacts Wave of Sunday Hunting Authorizations and Expansions

Contact: Joe Mullin, Northeastern States Manager

  • During a year in which over a dozen Sunday hunting bills were raised in Maryland, on May 16, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland put pen to paper, enacting several pro-sportsmen’s policies that expands the growing list of county-specific Sunday hunting opportunities.
  • Several of the successful Sunday hunting initiatives were spearheaded by members of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, further exemplifying their staunch advocacy for Maryland’s sportsmen and women.
  • Throughout regular sessions, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has weighed in on a number of these policies in an effort to bring Sunday hunting to additional counties within the Old Line State.

Why it Matters: Sunday hunting bans are one of the last remaining examples of the puritanical blue laws, but in recent years, much progress has been made towards lessening these restrictions. In Maryland, Sunday hunting for all game birds and mammals on Sundays is authorized in select counties, but restrictions remain for much of the state. Removing, even lessening Sunday hunting prohibitions offers the state a variety of advantages. Legislative efforts that encourage and expand the abilities of hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and trappers by increasing access and opportunities have the potential to immediately bolster financial support for state fish and wildlife agencies, thus, supporting their mission-driven conservation projects.

On May 16, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland signed seven Sunday hunting bills into law, capping a successful year overall in providing seven-day hunting seasons to Maryland’s sportsmen and women. Throughout the year, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation submitted written testimony to various committees in support of additional Sunday hunting authorizations for the state. In a general sense, Maryland is in a somewhat unique position, as Sunday hunting is permitted in select counties, but restrictions remain for other areas of the state. This patchwork of restrictions can cause unnecessary confusion for sportsmen and women.

The pro-sportsmen’s bills that Governor Hogan signed into law, further expanding Sunday hunting opportunities within the Old Line State are included below with their respective descriptions and effective dates:

  • House Bill 51 – authorizes the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to allow hunters in Talbot County to pursue deer “on each Sunday of the deer hunting season” as well as hunt “turkey on each Sunday of the spring turkey hunting season.” The effective date is July 1, 2022.
  • House Bill 143 – “expands Sunday hunting in Somerset County” relative to the pursuit of game birds and/or mammals. The effective date is July 1, 2022
  • House Bill 170 – “expands Sunday hunting in Calvert County” relative to the pursuit of game birds and/or mammals. The effective date is July 1, 2022.
  • House Bill 485 – “makes permanent an authorization for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to allow a person to hunt deer in Montgomery County on each Sunday of the deer hunting season.” The effective date is July 1, 2022 “unless the effective date of Section 2 of Chapter 95 of 2020 is amended, in which case the bill takes effect on the taking effect of Section 2 of Chapter 95.”
  • House Bill 514 – “expands Sunday hunting in Charles County” relative to the pursuit of game birds and/or mammals. The effective date is July 1, 2022.
  • House Bill 556 – “expands Sunday hunting in Caroline, Dorchester, and Queen Anne’s counties” relative to the pursuit of game birds and/or mammals. The effective date is July 1, 2022.
  • House Bill 592 – authorizes the DNR to “allow a person hunting under a deer management permit on state and leased by a permittee for the cultivation of crops to use a shotgun or breech loading center fired rifle approved by DNR to hunt deer throughout the year, including all deer hunting seasons, in the locations and under the conditions set forth in the permit.” The effective date is July 1, 2022.

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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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