In Maine, hunting is prohibited on Sunday, regardless of species, hunting season or location. Eight other states have strict Sunday hunting limitations, but Maine makes no exceptions to the statewide law. Highly contested for 128 years, the 1883 law may have been enacted as an attempt to keep hunters in church on Sundays, but it has developed into a environmental and social debate.
The 128-Year-Old Law
As of 2011, Maine has prohibited Sunday hunting for 128 years. Unlike other states, which allow certain types of game hunting or hunting until a certain time of day on Sunday, Maine does not recognize any exceptions to the Sunday law. To get around this, many Maine hunters will travel to adjacent or nearby states, such as New Hampshire, Vermont and New York, which do not have any Sunday prohibition law.
Maine's citizens have been grappling over the Sunday prohibition law for decades, but the issue has been in the forefront for the past six years, as amendment laws have come into play. For his past four terms in office, Maine Republican Representative Stacy Fitts (Pittsfield) has been lobbying to amend the Sunday hunting prohibition law. Under his proposed legislation, hunters would be permitted to hunt on Sundays on their own land. However, the bill has not moved forward despite its support.
While use of a firearm for the purpose of hunting is prohibited on Sundays in Maine allows firearm target practice, dog training and transportation of hunting materials (including firearms) on Sunday if not used for the purpose of hunting. Firearms may only be transported if they are carried in two separate pieces or in a locked case. Clips and ammunition do not need to be locked or separated from the firearm.
Environmental and Social Concerns
In Maine, hunting is a six-day-a-week enterprise that causes stress on the environment, animals and other types of recreation seekers, according to the Humane Society. It is also a concern of safety, states the organization, as hikers, bird watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts must contend with firearm-laden hunters on the same property. If the Sunday prohibition law is appealed in Maine, the Humane Society argues that this will lead to property usage conflict as well.
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