PORTLAND – Recent letters to The Portland Press Herald spoke of the pros and cons of adding Sunday as an additional day of hunting. I’m here to tell you that most hunters and sportsman would not support any initiative that would allow Sunday hunting in Maine.

The law banning Sunday hunting has been on the books forever. It’s most likely as result of Maine’s old “blue laws” and its origins probably date back to the days when families in rural areas reserved each Sunday as a day of worship and family gatherings. Most hunters use Sunday as a day of travel when traveling to deer camp for any period of time.

I would agree with those readers that suggest Sunday hunting is a bad idea. Sure, any hunter in a casual conversation would tell you they would welcome an additional day each week to hunt, but the fact is, there are no major initiatives to implement Sunday hunting in Maine.

In a recent conversation with Tim Bell, the new executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (an organization that represents more than 14,000 hunters and sportsmen), confirmed for me that there is no initiative by his organization that would support Sunday hunting in Maine.

I think I speak for a majority of hunters in Maine in saying that any concerted effort to promote Sunday hunting in Maine would hurt and set back our sport in the opinion of the general public and would not be worth the public relations blunder that it would cause.

In addition, landowners (especially those that do open up their land to hunters six days a week) and the general public should be able to access the woods and forests of Maine at least one day of the week during hunting season and feel safe in doing so.

No matter how safe the sport of hunting has become over the past 50 years, most people feel threatened when there are other people in the woods with rifles. I can understand that.

However, hunting is probably one of the safest outdoor activities that one can participate in. The fact is that more people die as a result of all terrain vehicle and snowmobile accidents in Maine each year then die in a 20-year hunting period. Unfortunately, as with any activity, all it takes is a few bad apples to place a black eye on our sport.

When it comes to hunting, sportsmen have much bigger fish to fry than trying to implement any type of Sunday hunting. Deer herds in northern and eastern Maine are at their lowest point in history. Predation by coyotes and black bear remain at the forefront of the many problems for our struggling deer herd.

In addition, efforts to keep the rising cost of a hunting license and other fees in check and maintaining access to land for hunters in southern and central parts of the state should be our priority.

 

– Special to the Press Herald