SUNDAY HUNTING BANS - WHAT DO YOU THINK?
As of 2015, there are 11 states left in America that have some form of ban or restriction on hunting during a Sunday. The laws in Virginia, West Virginia, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, and South Carolina date back to the late 1700s and early 1800s “blue laws” that intended to keep the Sabbath holy.
The original forms of the laws were written to stop people from participating in activities that conflicted with the religious “day of rest.” Besides hunting, the original laws also prohibited opening a store for business, tilling fields and drinking alcohol. However, after various legislative battles got most of these restrictions removed, these 11 states were all that were left maintaining the bans and restrictions on Sunday hunting.
Although the laws have survived removal attempts thus far, they face heavy and growing opposition every year. Recently North Carolina has altered the restrictions on hunting and, with some exceptions, gives the right to ban Sunday hunting to local municipalities.
There are many groups that oppose the bans and restrictions, for a variety of different reasons. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, the Quality Deer Management Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the National Rifle Association, and the Wildlife Management Institute have all spoken out against the bans in some way.
The most pressing argument against the bans is the economic impact that allowance of Sunday hunting would bring. According to statistics from The Coalition to Lift State Bans on Sunday Hunting, lifting these restrictions would result in 27,000 new jobs, $730 million in wages, and $2.2 billion in other economic activity. These are no small numbers and must be seriously considered when discussing the issue of Sunday hunting bans, regardless of what your ultimate stance may be.
Arguments against the bans do not stop there. Many believe the laws are repressive to hunters by restricting their practice without just cause. They state that the laws hurt hunters who work long weeks and cannot always make time on Saturdays for hunting, and they show that there is no biological or conservationist reason for these restrictions. Those who oppose the laws provide fairly strong arguments.
The main groups that have argued for continued restrictions fall under three main categories: religious, animal rights, and outdoor recreation. The religious arguments are apparent, for the same reason that the laws were created they should be maintained. The animal rights argument is predictable; the Humane Society of the United States wants hunting to stop under any circumstances and a day with these animals not being pursued is a great start to them. Outdoor recreation, though, has a few different reasons within itself.
Hikers, bikers and birdwatchers want to have one day a week that is guaranteed no hunting so they can feel safe while they complete their activities. But older and rural hunters also fall into this category. These individuals are the ones who have the time and/or land to hunt on all week long, and do not want urban “weekend warriors” encroaching on the public and private lands that the older and rural hunters depend on. Some statements from the average hunter, however, consider this view to be “short sighted.”
With the arguments from both sides laid out, it is easy to see why this issue of Sunday hunting bans is so controversial. So, we would like to ask our readers what you all think about this issue.
Do you think that these 11 states should keep their current Sunday hunting bans and restrictions, or do you think that the laws are outdated and should be repealed?