Maine and Massachusetts Push to Overturn Bans on Sunday Hunting


Updated: 9:17 PM, Sun November 19, 2023

Maine and Massachusetts Push to Overturn Bans on Sunday Hunting

Some states are making strides towards lifting longstanding bans on Sunday hunting, and there is now a concerted effort to overturn these laws in Maine and Massachusetts, the final two states with full bans.

In Maine, the state’s highest court is currently examining a lawsuit that questions the necessity of a 19th-century law preventing hunting big game animals such as deer, moose, and turkeys on Sundays. In Massachusetts, hunters are also actively lobbying to change state laws that forbid Sunday hunting.

Currently, 40 states have no prohibitions on hunting on Sundays. The bans originated from blue laws that not only regulate which businesses can operate but also restrict the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

However, animal welfare groups, conservation organizations, and others are rallying to defend the prohibitions. Despite this, the days of Sunday hunting bans may be numbered, as several other states, including Virginia and South Carolina, have recently relaxed their own limitations on Sunday hunting.

Opinions among residents of states where hunting is deeply rooted in the culture are divided. Some hunters argue that the bans protect the rights of private landowners, while others feel that the rules limit hunting opportunities or are simply outdated.

Opponents of these laws see them as remnants of the blue laws from the 17th century that aimed to restrict citizens’ activities on a day designated for prayer. The argument for lifting the bans includes the opportunity for people to harvest their own food, especially in poor, rural communities where grocery costs are high.

States along the East Coast, where hunting is a popular activity during the fall, still have either full or partial bans on Sunday hunting. However, South Carolina and Virginia have recently made progress in opening limited hunting on public lands on Sundays. Similar changes have also been seen in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware in the past few years.

Maine’s ongoing court case regarding Sunday hunting involves a couple who have filed a lawsuit arguing that the state’s right to food amendment in the constitution should allow them to hunt on any day of the week. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has heard arguments in the case, but the timeline for a ruling remains uncertain. Maine initially banned Sunday hunting in 1883.

In Massachusetts, where the ban on Sunday hunting is believed to date back to the Puritan era, a campaign to repeal the ban gained traction but stalled in the state legislature in 2014. However, a new proposal to authorize Sunday hunting using bows and arrows was introduced earlier this year, raising hopes among supporters.

Efforts to overturn Sunday hunting bans along the East Coast face opposition from various interest groups, including animal protection advocates, state wildlife management authorities, and private landowners.

For example, Maine Woodland Owners, a group representing rural landowners in the state with the highest percentage of forested land, argues that the ban is crucial for maintaining private lands open for hunting access on the remaining days of the week.

Sportsmen’s groups, such as the National Rifle Association and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, have long advocated for overturning Sunday hunting restrictions and have achieved significant success over the past three decades. They argue that removing these laws would eliminate regulations that have no basis in wildlife management and would boost the economy, creating jobs and generating millions of dollars in economic activity.

However, wildlife managers in states where Sunday hunting is permitted have sometimes opposed efforts to lift the bans. In Maine, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife testified against a proposal earlier this year that would have allowed Sunday hunting with bows and arrows or crossbows. Agricultural, landowner, and conservation groups also voiced their opposition, emphasizing the importance of having one day of rest without disruption for landowners.

While debate over Sunday hunting has been ongoing for years, it remains a contentious issue in states where hunting is deeply ingrained in the culture. Whether the bans will ultimately be rescinded or maintained depends on the courts, legislatures, and public sentiment.

Overall, the push to overturn bans on Sunday hunting in Maine and Massachusetts highlights the ongoing debate over private landowner rights, hunting opportunities, and the relevance of these blue laws in the modern era. As the discussion unfolds, proponents and opponents of Sunday hunting will continue to voice their perspectives on this divisive topic.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What is the current status of Sunday hunting bans in Maine and Massachusetts?

Currently, Sunday hunting is banned in both Maine and Massachusetts.

How many states in the US have bans on Sunday hunting?

At the moment, there are 40 states in the US with no prohibitions on hunting on Sundays.

Why are Maine and Massachusetts considering overturning their Sunday hunting bans?

Supporters argue that overturning the bans would provide additional hunting opportunities, help rural communities, and view the bans as remnants of historic blue laws. They also believe the bans infringe on landowner rights.

What are some arguments made by opponents of overturning Sunday hunting bans?

Opponents argue that the bans are necessary to preserve private land owner rights and provide one day of rest from hunting activities. Rural landowner groups also see the bans as crucial for maintaining access to private lands for hunting on other days of the week.

Which interest groups are opposed to overturning the Sunday hunting bans?

Animal protection advocates, state wildlife management authorities, and private landowners are among the interest groups opposed to overturning Sunday hunting bans.

What are some benefits cited by supporters of lifting Sunday hunting bans?

Supporters, such as sportsmen's groups like the National Rifle Association and Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, argue that lifting the bans would boost economic activity, create jobs, and allow hunters to fully participate in their chosen pursuit.

Are there any ongoing legal challenges to the bans in Maine and Massachusetts?

Yes, in Maine, the state's highest court is currently considering a lawsuit challenging the ban on hunting big game animals on Sundays.

How have other states approached Sunday hunting bans in recent years?

In recent years, states like Virginia and South Carolina have rolled back their Sunday hunting limitations, indicating a potential shift in attitudes towards these bans.

What will determine the future of Sunday hunting in Maine and Massachusetts?

The outcome of the ongoing court case in Maine and the progress of repeal efforts in Massachusetts will significantly impact the future of Sunday hunting in these states.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson, a seasoned journalist and USA news expert, leads The Reportify's coverage of American current affairs. With unwavering commitment, he delivers up-to-the-minute, credible information, ensuring readers stay informed about the latest events shaping the nation. Michael's keen research skills and ability to craft compelling narratives provide deep insights into the ever-evolving landscape of USA news. He can be reached at for any inquiries or further information.

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