Cumberland Times-News

March 18, 2014

A good move

Sunday hunting in Md. would benefit many

Cumberland Times-News

— Today’s fast-paced world doesn’t allow a lot of free time for many people. The many hunters in our region will benefit if legislation permitting hunting on Sunday is approved by the Maryland legislature.

Bills permitting hunting in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties on Sunday are nearing final passage and may soon be sent to Gov. Martin O’Malley for signing into law. Except for migratory birds, all game species for which a season is open in the three counties would be hunted on Sundays.

Del. Wendell Beitzel, who introduced the House version of the legislation, said he has been given no indication O’Malley will not sign the bills. “I’m surprised there was not more opposition,” Beitzel said after the House passed his bill by a 118-12 margin. Sen. George Edwards introduced the companion bill in the Senate and saw the measure win approval by 44-2.

Sunday hunting would not take place on state forests or state parks, according to Paul Peditto, the wildlife agency’s director. If the legislation is signed by the governor, Peditto anticipates additional Sunday hunting taking place with the 2014 seasons. He also anticipates an increase in the sale of hunting licenses, especially nonresident licenses to Pennsylvania hunters.

Jerry Zembower, the president of the Allegany-Garrett Sportsmen’s Association who testified in favor of the bills, believes the additional opportunity to hunt will bring more young people into the fold. “Also the person who works Monday through Saturday will have a day to get out,” Zembower said. “It’s not about killing more animals, it’s about having time to hunt.”

Sunday hunting would appear to be  an idea whose time has come in Maryland. Given the vast number of area hunters who enjoy the sport, the new legislation will have a profound impact — and, we believe, a positive one.