Support Sunday Hunting In Maine
Maine’s ban on Sunday hunting might be coming to an end soon, leaving Massachusetts as the only state with a full ban in place. But the bills need the hunting community’s voice to be heard loud and clear in order to cross the finish line.
The four bills currently being considered in Maine’s State House, in total, would establish a youth deer hunting weekend (LD 672), allow youth hunting on Sundays (LD 626), give landowners the ability to allow hunting on their land on Sundays (LD 1166), and allow Sunday hunting only with a bow or crossbow (LD 1241).
In 19th Century America, "blue laws" restricted many activities on Sunday, including hunting and other outdoor activities.
Maine and Massachusetts are the only two states in the entire country that do not have some form of Sunday hunting. Of the other 48 states, only 11 have partial bans: South Carolina, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, West Virginia, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.
A common argument against Sunday hunting in Maine is that other states do not have the same land access laws that they enjoy, said Jared Bornstein, head of Maine Hunters United for Sunday Hunting (HUSH). Well, except for New Hampshire and Vermont.
“Maine is 95 percent privately-owned,” he said. “And it’s mostly timber company land. The timber companies don’t care about people hunting on Sundays. They have land all over the place. They have land in New Hampshire and Vermont, and both of those states allow Sunday hunting.”
Bornstein authored one of the bills, LD 1241, as a compromise between those for and against the Sunday hunting ban being lifted. He said the bill was the result of hundreds of conversations with hunters, guides, non-hunters, legislators, and landowners.
“Non-hunting Mainers have a red line on hearing gunshots in the woods on Sunday,” he said, “and that if hunters are going to be given an extra day in the woods then they should be giving back something in return.”
Bornstein’s proposed bill, which was presented in the House by Rep. Sophia Warren and currently has nine co-sponsors, would allow hunting on Sundays with a bow or crossbow only and would also charge each hunter a $31 fee.
The fee will be divided equally between Land for Maine’s Future, outdoor educational programs for kids, and the Warden Service for any increase in enforcement needs.
A recent poll showed that 48 percent of the state supports the bill while only 27 percent are opposed. The remaining 25 percent are neutral on the issue.
Similar bills have been introduced and voted down over the last few decades. None of them had the element of compromise, as this bill does — nor did they have the same level of public support.
Bornstein said that passing this bill will provide valuable weekend access for those who can’t hunt during the week and would provide economic relief to many.
”[For many working-class hunters], hunting puts food on the table and opens up their budget a little bit for the winter to maybe pay for more heating oil or other necessities,” he said. “The ban on Sunday hunting is an economic injustice issue and this bill will help right that injustice.”
Let Representatives in Maine know that you support Sunday hunting in the Pine Tree State and ask them to support the proposed legislation that would lift the current ban.
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