By Alana Barricks, Mid-Atlantic States Coordinator, Congressional Sportsmen's Founation
I grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and, although my family members were not hunters, I was always surrounded by passionate members of the sportsmen’s community. Little did I know, their hunting access was being restricted by an antiquated Sunday hunting ban. It wasn’t until I began my career at the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) that I learned about Sunday hunting restrictions and the importance of sportsmen’s access to the outdoors.
Sunday hunting restrictions are one of the last remaining examples of Puritanical blue laws enacted in the 1700s. Presently, there are 11 states with restrictions on Sunday hunting. Over the past four years, several of these states have made strides to expand seven-day hunting opportunities. My home state of Pennsylvania, however, is one of three states that still has a nearly complete ban on Sunday hunting.
When I joined CSF and moved to Virginia, I was an avid recreational shooter and Second Amendment advocate but had no prior experience with hunting. In 2014, thanks in part to the work of CSF, Virginia passed House Bill 1237 which allowed Sunday hunting on private property with the written permission of the landowner. This important bill allowed me to take my very first hunting trip with one of my colleagues. Between our busy schedules, Sundays were the only days available for me to go out in the field, and I harvested my first white-tailed deer on a Sunday. Two weeks after the successful hunt with my colleague, I traveled to Arizona to visit my family, where I had the opportunity to partake in a dove hunt, which, again, took place on a Sunday.
Sunday hunting has numerous positive benefits, including fueling rural economies, increasing landowner liberties, and improving hunting license sales which thereby provides additional conservation funding for state fish and wildlife agencies to carry out critical conservation work that benefits all citizens – hunters and non-hunters alike. As a former non-hunter, I can personally attest to the benefits that Sunday hunting has provided in my life, and I look forward to continuing to champion the repeal of restrictions against Sunday hunting in the years ahead so that others can share the same positive experiences that I have had afield.
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