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Doug Tibbetts of Bangor is a retired Game Warden Lieutenant.
The time has come to move beyond this archaic blue law that does nothing but pander to anti hunters who utilize it as a scare tactic to pull the uninformed to their side.
I am a retired Game Warden Lieutenant who spent 40 years deeply involved in all aspects of hunting in Maine and have witnessed how hunting has drastically evolved over the years. Loss of access to hunting areas has been the major catalyst affecting these changes. In my experience, the result is that the vast majority of deer hunting is done right behind the hunter’s house or on a piece of property they control or have permission to hunt on and is almost always done from a blind or stand, which is extremely safe. Hunters no longer just go out and wander around or gang up in deer drives. Those days are over as there is no place to do that and it has become unacceptable behavior.
I don’t believe the current hunting bill goes far enough; we should open it up year-round on any land where permission is granted by the owner. These people pay the bills and provide the land; it should be their choice. Additionally, limiting working people to, usually, only having one day a week for the opportunity to hunt is totally unfair. What if the weather makes that one day impractical or what if any one of dozens of things you like to do on Sunday became prohibited because it irritated someone else?
Thinking back over the last 50 years, I can’t think of a single hiker who has ever been shot, on any day, but I can recall many people riding snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles or being out on the water and losing their lives on Sundays.
The old, tired and worn out refrain of “I won’t be able to go in the woods on Sunday for fear of being shot,” should go the way of “you shouldn’t sell alcohol on Sundays.”
I want everyone to please think about this: As far as I know, there are no retired wardens that do not wholeheartedly agree with me on this issue and our entire adult lives have revolved, deeply, around hunting and every opinion on outdoor activity that you can imagine.
There are many more reasons to move in the direction of Sunday hunting, including the statewide financial impact, but the bottom line is there is absolutely no good reason not to.