Skip to main content

Hunter vs. Hunter: The Battle for Sunday Hunting

Hunter vs. Hunter: The Battle for Sunday Hunting

Grungy No Hunting SignLet's be honest: Hunting is not mainstream. I know it sounds blasphemous to say, but in modern society, hunting has sort of fallen by the wayside in favor of living indoors and typing "YOLO" on Facebook whenever you do something totally crazy.

Today, hunting has a lot of opponents. My colleagues and I have made no secret about our disdain for Ingrid Newkirk and her band of attention whores. Similar organizations threaten the very way of life for hunters by means of sabotaging hunts, or by lobbying for ammo bans without concrete scientific data.

Despite all this, the real opposition for hunters in the northeast doesn't come bearing signs screaming "Meat is murder!" Rather, hunters needn't look any further than their own peers to see who's really stepping on their rights.

The Sunday hunting debate is one that has raged on for years. With origins in Puritanical blue laws, legislation barring hunting on Sunday keeps hunters from enjoying their lifestyle while still fitting in time for work and family during the rest of the week.


Under the guise of keeping the Sabbath holy -- which is all fine and good, if you choose to follow that religion -- states have been able to keep a number of trades besides hunting from going down on Sunday. Cars, alcohol and even housewares have been prohibited under blue laws -- some to this day.


Today, there are 11 states that prohibit or restrict hunting to some extent. While most have exceptions to the rule, two states -- Maine and Massachusetts -- ban Sunday hunting altogether.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are some who wish to keep it this way, but the shocking part is just who is trying to keep hunters out of the woods on Sunday.

Pennsylvania lawmakers are no strangers to the hunting debate. For the last few years, the state's Sunday hunting ban has been on the chopping block, yet the push from hunters was receiving pushback from other hunters.

In a July 3, 2011, story published in The (Easton, Pa.) Express-Times, state Rep. Joe Emrick, R-Northampton, who is a member of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, recognized the opposition coming from a surprising source.


"It's a very polarizing issue," he said. "And the feedback that I'm getting from most hunters and hunters in my district is that they are opposed to it, surprisingly."

In the same story, state Rep. Marcia Hahn, R-Northampton, said the hunters in her district tend to side with farmers.

"I did speak to a lot (of hunters) in my district," Hahn said. "They are against it because of the farmers in that area are against Sunday hunting." Now, the battle for Sunday hunting will move on to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, with grassroots organizations on the front lines hoping to overturn the state law.


"Lawmakers had 25-plus years to act on this and they did not, so we're going to take it out of their hands and go straight to the courts," said Kathy Davis, a volunteer for Hunters United for Sunday Hunting.

Pennsylvania isn't the only state where Sunday hunting is (hopefully) on its way out. In Connecticut, the state legislature recently repealed the state's Sunday alcohol prohibition -- yet Sunday hunting is still illegal. Same goes in Virginia, where proposed legislation to repeal Sunday hunting bans have been tabled for the remainder of the year.

But why the opposition? A report published by the National Shooting Sports Foundation claims up to 27,400 jobs could be created by lifting bans and restrictions in all 11 states, potentially paying $734,187,827 in wages and bringing in about $2,216,691,102 in economic activity.

Hard to argue with those kinds of numbers, but amazingly, some still have a problem with it, and the vocal minority continues to get its way.

Beyond economic growth, Sunday bans and restrictions really hamper hunters' time to get out in the field -- which in turn cuts back on recruitment.

"While I can't overlook the ironic, unconstitutional nature of Sunday hunting laws, there is really a bigger, more unfortunate issue at stake," said Mike Schoby, editor of Petersen's Hunting. "In today's uber-hectic world, the two-day weekend is one of the few brief moments families get to spend together. With soccer, tee-ball and other sports usually taking up most Saturdays, this leaves only Sunday for parents to take children hunting.

"Remove that day and what happens? Reduced recruitment, reduced participation and a future generation that doesn't know anything about hunting other than a vague recollection that father 'used to do it.' If you want to get more kids afield to continue our great heritage, removing obstacles like Sunday hunting laws is mandatory."

Yet the vocal minority continues to get its way. Though the bans remain in place for now, the fight is growing stronger than it has ever been. It may not be long until states finally repeal Sunday hunting bans and restrictions.

Until then, we'll just have to keep fighting the good fight, and make the most of Saturday.SundayHuntingMapThis map, provided by the Coalition to Lift State Bans on Sunday Hunting, shows states with restrictions or bans on Sunday hunting. For more information on individual state statutes, click here. And be sure to make your voice heard; visit our friends at Sportsmen Vote and take their poll.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

B&C Typical Mule Deer

B&C Typical Mule Deer

Doug Burris Jr's typical mule deer taken in 1969, could just be one record that will never be broken.

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Kevin Steele sights in his CZ .557 carbine rifle that he plans to use on a Colorado elk hunt.

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Kevin Steele and Jason Morton are above the Arctic Circle pursuing grizzly bears in Alaska and put a stalk on what they believe is a good one.

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

Smith & Wesson's Tony Miele and host Kevin Steele track an African lion across the Kalahari for the ultimate handgun showdown with the King of the Beasts.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Crossbow technology, accuracy and power continue to advance with demand, and this year's crop is the most impressive yet; here's a look at the top five that caught our eye.Ranking the 5 Best Crossbows for 2020 Bowhunting

Ranking the 5 Best Crossbows for 2020

Chris Larsen - September 21, 2020

Crossbow technology, accuracy and power continue to advance with demand, and this year's crop...

Salty capers add a burst of flavor to the sauce, which pairs beautifully with the grilled venison loin in this recipe.Grilled Venison Loin with Caper-Mustard Sauce Recipe Recipes

Grilled Venison Loin with Caper-Mustard Sauce Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Salty capers add a burst of flavor to the sauce, which pairs beautifully with the grilled...

Technology is taking deer hunters, and their gear, into the future. The Best New Deer Hunting Technology Accessories

The Best New Deer Hunting Technology

Jeff Johnston - May 15, 2020

Technology is taking deer hunters, and their gear, into the future.

Here's how to toughen up the weakest link in your shooting system.How to Mount a Rifle Scope for Maximum Accuracy Optics

How to Mount a Rifle Scope for Maximum Accuracy

Joseph von Benedikt

Here's how to toughen up the weakest link in your shooting system.

See More Trending Articles

More News

There will now be 2.3 million more acres of land for hunting and fishing. Trump Admin Announces Historic Recreational Access Expansion News

Trump Admin Announces Historic Recreational Access Expansion

Lynn Burkhead - August 19, 2020

There will now be 2.3 million more acres of land for hunting and fishing.

How COVID-19 is affecting hunters here, and around the world.Coronavirus and Its Role On Traveling Hunters News

Coronavirus and Its Role On Traveling Hunters

Joe Arterburn - March 23, 2020

How COVID-19 is affecting hunters here, and around the world.

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians; learn more about this tick-transmitted problem.Ticks Making People Allergic to Meat News

Ticks Making People Allergic to Meat

David Hart

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians; learn more about this...

Will coronavirus really have an impact on upcoming hunting seasons?How Will Coronavirus Affect Outdoorsmen? News

How Will Coronavirus Affect Outdoorsmen?

Lynn Burkhead - March 10, 2020

Will coronavirus really have an impact on upcoming hunting seasons?

See More News

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now