AUGUSTA — State lawmakers are proposing several bills that set sights on allowing hunting in Maine on Sundays.
Members of the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee met virtually Wednesday to discuss legislation that would allow hunting every day of the week.
Rep. Jeff Timberlake, a Republican from Androscoggin, said Maine and Massachusetts are the only states that continue to ban hunting on Sundays.
“The basic premise of this bill is recognizing individuals should have the right to hunt on their own property on Sundays and the right to grant permission to do so to others,” Timberlake said.
In the proposal, the property owner would need to give written permission to someone if they want to use their property to hunt.
Timberlake said hunting is a safe activity.
“As a non-hunter, you are safer in the woods than you are in the water on a boat,” Timberlake said.
Proponents of the bill said the added day will have a positive impact on the state’s economy.
Rep. David McCrea, a Democrat from Fort Fairfield, listed some of the ways this could happen.
“Many local businesses, such as restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, hunting supply establishments just to name a few would become more prosperous as a result,” McCrea said.
Those opposed said Sunday is the day landowners can enjoy their land.
Jim Connolly, the resource management director for the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, said the majority of Maine is privately owned, and this could lead to more problems.
“We have been contacted by landowners where they have expressed concerns where they are not made the ‘bad guys’ in the decision on whether or not Sunday hunting is allowed.”
Several people lined up virtually at the public hearing on both sides of the issue.
The bills will need approval from the full legislature before heading to the governor.
Lawmakers said this legislation has been brought up for a number of years, and nothing has changed.