Currently there are only 11 states (Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia) that either prohibit or limit hunting on Sundays. Having grown up in Maryland prior to the state allowing any sunday hunting opportunities, living in Virginia for 10 years with no Sunday hunting, I do not mind those states that continue to disallow it. There are plenty of other outdoor activities to enjoy, not to mention any number of chores to do around the house.
But I can not say that I do not appreciate Maryland’s recent expansion in allowing sunday hunting in certain counties. Road trips to my home state that happen to coincide with one of the selected Sundays, offer the feeling of a bonus day to be in the treestand. While in contrast, trips to Virginia to chase long beards with Adam and Kevin are limited to the few hours between saturday’s sunrise and 12 o’clock noon. An extra day would be awesome!
I have heard many reasons behind the idea of prohibiting hunting on Sundays. The most common is the preservation of “blue laws.” Blue laws are a set of laws dating back to the 1700′s that are meant to enforce certain religious values. They observe ideas about keeping the sabbath, where Sundays are to be a day or worship and of rest. Many things are restricted. For example, alcohol sales are prohibited, and unfortunately so is hunting. Many states that have blue laws have lifted the ban on hunting even when they adhere to other articles. For example, I can hunt on Sundays in Georgia but alcohol sales are still banned in most counties.
It is this hunter’s humble opinion that in today’s nation of religious freedom and the separation of church and state, laws rooted in religious beliefs are improperly founded. If we truly give the freedom to the people to choose what they wish to believe, then why does the government impose regulations based upon a specific religious value? The choice to hunt or not to hunt on Sundays should be made based upon the hunter’s beliefs, not the government’s.
I am not an atheist nor a devout anything. But i do not see how being either applies to these laws. If your beliefs promote being restful on Sundays, be restful. If they don’t, go hunting. I want to make my own choice and not have it made for me.
I am a realist and understand that we can not rely on individuals to make the correct choice in every circumstance. Our prisons are full of examples of this theory gone awry. So I am not a big advocate for deregulation and the abandonment of law and order. But sensible regulation should be applied. If a state chooses to ban sunday hunting based upon ecologic, economic, or other reasons that can be substantiated by facts, then more power to them. Like I said, I do not have a problem with the position of these remaining 11 states. But when these states rely upon the church of a few to restrict all its residents for any reason, it tears at one of the foundation blocks on which this country was built, religious freedom.
An example of a change of thought on this matter is in Maryland expanding its sunday hunting opportunities, New Jersey allows hunting on private land, and a continued push in Pennsylvania and Virginia to adopt sunday hunting. Thirty-nine other states offer sunday hunting, and several of the remaining states are opening their doors to limited opportunities. Hopefully, this trend will continue and sportsmen will soon be free to take to the field when they choose throughout the hunting season.
Let me know how you feel on this subject. Is sunday hunting allowed in your state? If not, do you wish it was?