Cumberland Times-News


December 21, 2013

Dear Santa, Del. Beitzel

So, I got to thinking, who are the two folks who could help me get something I want?

Then it dawned on me that two important dates are on the horizon, Christmas and the first day of the 2014 Maryland General Assembly session.

Aha! When I write my letter to Santa this year I will copy it to Delegate Wendell Beitzel. After all, with the changing of the district lines for Maryland state delegates, I now live in Wendell’s district. Plus, Wendell is the co-chairman of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, so I know he is interested in wildlife issues.

In fact, the delegate recently attended the 10th Annual National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses Sportsman-Legislator Summit in Illinois, rubbing shoulders and discussing outdoor issues with counterparts from various states.

Here is my letter.


Dear Santa Claus and Delegate Wendell Beitzel,

I have only one item on my Christmas wish list this year.

I would like my readers who hunt to be able to get after squirrels or ducks or grouse or deer or rabbits or turkeys on every Sunday during the seasons for each of those species.

I would like a grandfather to be able to take a grandchild into the woods on a Sunday to hunt squirrels.

I would like a construction worker who works Monday through Saturday to have a day to hunt.

I would like hunters in Maryland to be brought up to the level of people who go to movies or swim or fish or ride motorcycles or play tennis.

Those folks are not prohibited from taking part in their favorite activities just because it is Sunday. And, in fact, hunting is more safe than many of these other activities.

I would like a person who pays taxes on his or her land seven days a week to be able to hunt on Sunday if they choose.

Santa, please tell the critters that pull your sled that they have nothing to worry about. Maryland does not have a reindeer hunting season.

Delegate Beitzel, please tell the Marylanders who don’t hunt that they have nothing to worry about.

They are at more risk from a stray dog than from a legal, license-buying hunter.

I know, sir, that during your Illinois summit you visited with representatives from states where Sunday hunting is legal during prescribed seasons.

In fact, that is the case for most of the United States of America.

It is only in a few Eastern states where this prejudicial blue law remains in effect.

I thank you and your fellow caucus members for the small amount of Sunday hunting we have acquired in recent years. Now it is time to take the full step, to introduce a bill that would allow us to hunt on Sundays throughout the appropriate seasons for each and every game critter.

I’d like it to apply to both private and public lands, but if you want to restrict it to private lands, well, that’s OK.

Also, if you want Sunday hunting to apply statewide, that’s cool, but at least introduce it for Almost Maryland.

The capable biologists who work for the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service have often told us that there is no biological reason to restrict Sunday hunting, that the additional day per week would not imperil any wildlife.

So, please, the two of you, give this request some serious consideration. I’m on my way to the food market to purchase milk and cookies.

And I promise not to sit on your lap.


Mike Sawyers,

Outdoor Editor

Text Only
  • Don’t do it. Don’t do it

    Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • It’s hotter here than in D.C. or Baltimore

    At this time of the year, the weather is a frequent subject of conversation, particularly the temperatures. We are now in the “Dog Days,” usually the hottest days of the year. The term comes from our sun appearing to be near the “Dog Star” (Sirius) and the “Little Dog Star” (Procyon). In reality, the sun is now about 94.5 million miles away while Sirius is 8.6 light years away with Procyon at 11 light years distance. Sunlight takes only 507 seconds to reach us, while the two dog stars’ light takes about a decade to travel to our eyes. So our sun is in the same direction (but not distance) as these two bright winter evening stars.

    July 20, 2014

  • Mike Sawyers and his father, Frank Sale of quart-sized Mason jars lagging, merchants claim

    The opening day of Maryland’s squirrel hunting season is Sept. 6 and I am guessing you will be able to drive a lot of miles on the Green Ridge State Forest and see very few vehicles belonging to hunters of the bushytail. It wasn’t always that way. In the early 1960s, when I was a high school student in Cumberland, there was no Interstate 68. What existed was U.S. Route 40 and in the last couple of hours before daylight on the opening day of squirrel season there was an almost unbroken line of tail lights and brake lights between Cumberland and Polish Mountain.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hugo Perez Columnist, son are range finders, but where are .22 shells?

    We feel pretty lucky on this side of the Potomac to have a nice shooting range to utilize for free and within decent driving distance.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Stopgap

    Kicking the can down the road was one of the things American kids did to pass the time in the old days, particularly if they lived in rural areas where there was little traffic to contend with.

    July 16, 2014

  • Further proof you should never bet on baseball

    Had you known in March that ...

    July 16, 2014

  • Build it now Build it now

    Anticipated savings from demolition work that will provide ground for a new Allegany High School on Haystack Mountain may allow the addition of an auditorium at the school.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fronts, highs, lows determine weather

    Weather news on television and internet focus on violent weather, extreme temperatures and flooding.

    July 13, 2014