When we asked for your opinions on a Sunday hunting bill that’s making the rounds in Augusta, we knew the topic — always a hot-button issue — would generate plenty of heated debate.
It did just that.
In fact, over nearly two decades writing outdoor columns here, I can’t recall another issue that prompted as many readers to email responses. In all, more than 80 of you reached out, with a whopping 75 percent opposed to Sunday hunting in Maine. In the online poll that accompanied my column, 55 percent of more than 800 respondents were opposed to the proposal. Dozens more shared comments on the bill online.
Here’s some of what readers had to say, edited for space and clarity:
From Bob Brummel: The issue in Maine is that we are a rural state with woods behind many homes and you’re not quite sure who is roaming around back there carrying a high-powered rifle. At least on Sundays you might feel safe going outside. I don’t see it happening but it’s too bad you couldn’t allow sunday hunting in northern Maine above a certain line and maybe below that line just allow shotgun and archery hunting.
From Paul Smith: I think the landowners and the deer and other animals deserve a day off from being chased by someone with a gun. I used to hunt, but not any longer. I’ll get my meat from the market.
From Morgan: NO — NEIN — NON — NUNCA — NYET. We need one day of peace. Now we have tourists all year, flooding our beaches and parks, speed boats, ATV’s and snowmobiles. Sunday may be the only day of quiet. The only day to go out and bird watch, rock hound, canoe or have a peaceful picnic. Where can we go for quiet time?
From Anonymous: I just ordered 100 NO HUNTING/TRESPASSING signs from Amazon. The fact that Sunday hunting in Maine is even a question has finally made me decide to post my 300+ acres of woodland.
From Bruce McKim: I am a nonresident but frequent Maine about six times a year, especially during deer season. Your neighboring state, New Hampshire, has had Sunday hunting for how long? I, for one, would like to see the Sunday hunting legal, but solely at the discretion of the land owner. At least that way, if you do find a land owner allowing you to hunt their land on Sunday, you won’t be violating any fish and game rules pertaining to legal hunting.
From Anonymous: Even though I’m not a hunter, put me in the group that has generously allowed hunting on my property, and will immediately post my land “No hunting” if a Sunday hunt is allowed. I am forced to curtail my outdoor activities during hunting season and I refuse to not have one day a week that I can feel safe on my own property.
From Victoria Mcintire: Can’t we have ONE DAY of peace where non-hunting folks can enjoy the pleasures of our land without hearing gunshots? I’m not anti-hunting but if six days a week isnt enough to put your allotted game in your freezer or on the table, maybe a seventh isn’t going to help you either. It’s not about religion for me but nice quiet time in nature for one day a week during the season isn’t too much to ask for IMHO.
From Debra Wilkins: As a lover of nature and all things associated with walking in the Maine woods, I oppose the Sunday hunting proposal. During hunting season, my safe access to the woods is limited to one day a week. I value that day and use it each week weather permitting. Hunters use the argument that those who work only have one day a week to hunt. Well, I only have one day a week to enjoy Maine’s woods and nature.
From Anonymous: I would like to see this issue settled once and for all. How about a statewide referendum vote? I have favored Sunday hunting for years as a landowner I cannot hunt on my own land. Maine is one of [few] states that disallow it. I never bought the bogus arguments of “more land will be posted [if Sunday hunting is allowed].”
From TerryAnn Holden: Those who own land should be able to have at least one day a week in November where we can be out in our own woods without fear of being shot. If I want to go collect boughs and berries for my wreath on a Sunday afternoon I shouldn’t have to be dressed in blaze orange from head to toe and be nervously listening and watching for any sign of a hunter.
From Steve Kazmierczak: No way! If ever enacted, I will be first in line to post my land against any hunting, any time.
From Trent Emery: Sunday hunting on private property flies in the face of the outdoor heritage that the hunters in the state of Maine have collectively protected. LD 1033, “An Act to Allow Sunday Hunting on Private Property with Written Permission of the Landowner,” limits the opportunities of non-land-owning hunters and prioritizes opportunities for land-owning hunters. This bill rejects the fact that all hunters, landowners or not, equally fund wildlife management, and should therefore have the same equal rights of access. Maine has come a long way from the near extirpation of wildlife during the market hunting days. Over time, all hunters have made the commitment towards wildlife recovery and protecting hunting in Maine. Certain landowners, and their chosen few, should not have more rights to the wildlife that all hunters equally cherish.
John Holyoke can be reached at email@example.com or 207-990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke. His first book, “Evergreens,” a collection of his favorite BDN columns and features, is published by Islandport Press and is available wherever books are sold.