Cumberland Times-News

Columns

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.

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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.

Sincerely,

Mike Sawyers,

Outdoor Editor

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