You’d be hard pressed to come up with a state more rich with the tradition of hunting than Maine. From the commonplace white-tailed deer and turkeys to the more eclectic bear and moose, Maine is home to a wide variety of game that calls to America’s sportsman both near and far. Which is why the idea of hanging on to the Sunday hunting ban is so perplexing.
Take the Deer firearm season for example. Open this year from October 31 to November 26, three full hunting days are lost due to the prohibition of Sunday hunting – five if you add October 30 and November 27. Those five days would account for a 17% increase in the amount of time hunters would be allowed to take to the field. A 17% increase in your ability to bag a deer. For anyone whose deer season ended with an empty freezer, that 17% sounds pretty good. The same holds true for other game.
Your chance for success in bear season rises 15%. Your chance in pheasant season rises 14%. Moose season would be a real game changer.
There are four moose seasons in Maine. Each run six days from Monday to Saturday. Add a seventh day to the equation and we’re talking about at a 16% greater chance of success. Why is that a game changer? Because the season is so short thus the opportunities are even less.
But set aside the idea of how extra days will add to your chance of success and think about the economics.
According to the 2014 State of Maine’s Environment report “activities related to the hunting of these three species (bear, moose, and white-tailed deer) alone contribute to almost $175 million directly to the state economy per year.” A 15% increase in related revenues deposits an additional $26 million into the coffers of Maine’s outfitters, guides, and hospitality professionals.
More days means more opportunities. It means more revenue. It means neighboring hunting hotbeds like New Hampshire, Vermont, or New Brunswick can’t play the “you can’t hunt on Sunday’s in Maine” card when competing for outdoor dollars. That means a potential 15% increase in hunting related revenue is just a start. Just a start because people will spend more time and money at Maine’s restaurants, gas stations, hotels, and stores.
What we’re really talking about is making it easier for the home team. The guides, outfitters, and retailers of Maine who are competing against the guides, outfitters, and retailers of New Hampshire, Vermont, and New Brunswick. Denying our professionals the opportunity to hunt on Sunday is like asking the Soxs to forfeit one game a week – then they’d never catch the Yankees.
It’s time to swing away.
In a day and age when distractions are coming from every angle, when you’re juggling your daughter’s soccer games with your son’s scout meetings and late nights at work, the opportunity to get out in the woods is a dwindling one. Those extra days, no matter what the season, can mean the difference between an empty freezer and a full one. It’s the difference between servicing 100 clients or 115 clients. It’s the difference between buying your daughter a new pair of cleats or settling for last season’s mangled pair.
Put an end to Maine’s ban on Sunday hunting. Give the guides, outfitters, and retailers a fair chance to compete. In the end it will mean more income for them, more revenue for the state, and more opportunities for you to make your mark in a truly American tradition.