Massachusetts is one of 10 states in the United States that still forbids hunting on Sundays, but that may soon change with a bill headed to the state’s House of Representatives. According to The Patriot Ledger, the bill will not do away with the ban entirely but instead lift it for the last three months of the year—deer season. If passed, the bill will allow Massachusetts bowhunters to harvest deer on a Sunday like they normally would any other day of the week.
““It’s a great idea for sportsmen who want to get out for an extra day of bow hunting,” Chris Murray, who manages an outdoor outfitters store in Hadley, told WWLP.
While Murray expects that ending the Sunday hunting ban will have little effect on his store, supporters of the bill say that it could greatly boost the state’s economy. The Sunday Hunting Coalition, a collection of conservation groups and sportsmen’s associations, predicts that the legalizing Sunday hunting could lead to 500 new jobs and $51 million in economic benefits for Massachusetts. Many hunters support the bill because it will make it easier to hunt on the weekends.
In March of this year, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law a bill that ended his state’s decades-old Sunday hunting ban. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley followed suit with a similar bill, but one that limited Sunday hunting to a handful of western counties.
Despite bipartisan support for the Massachusetts bill, the plan does have its critics. The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals publicly opposed the bill on the grounds that hunting could be dangerous and disruptive to wildlife watchers, photographers, and hikers.
“The public highly values the one day of the week that they can enjoy observing and photographing wildlife during the hunting seasons without having to worry about conflicting with hunting activities,” the group states on its website.
Old “blue laws” that banned the purchase of alcohol, hunting, and other activities on Sunday still exist in many states that belonged to the original 13 colonies. Along with Massachusetts, the states of Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maine, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia still keep hunters from the woods on Sundays.