Another in a long line of bills that would have opened the door for Sunday hunting in Maine has failed to make it through committee.
The Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee on Monday voted 8-3 not to support the latest piece of legislation geared toward lifting the Sunday hunting ban. The measure from Sen. Jim Dill, D-Old Town, faces votes in the House and Senate, though it looks to be on track to die again in 2022. There have been 35 legislative attempts in 45 years to erode the ban.
Under the original bill, Sunday hunting of wild animals and birds would be permitted north of a line bisecting Maine from the New Hampshire border along U.S. Route 2 to Bangor and north of Route 9 from Bangor to the Canadian border, including any portion of the White Mountain National Forest. In southerly areas, written permission from landowners would be required.
After lengthy testimony during Monday’s public hearing, the fisheries and wildlife committee offered up an amended bill that removed the geographic line and instead proposed that Sunday hunting be allowed on one’s own property or with written landowner permission statewide.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife had indicated that it would not support Sunday hunting in any form.The bill from Dill, the co-chair of the wildlife committee, emerged after the Legislature directed the department to form a stakeholder group and conduct a survey of Mainers about their thoughts on Sunday hunting.
The results showed that only 33 percent of Mainers supported Sunday hunting, although requiring landowner permission pushed that number to 45 percent. Requiring permission was not popular among hunters surveyed, but the majority were in favor of Sunday hunting.