Acts to Allow Hunting on Sunday Within the Commonwealth (H702, H714, HD3469)
MSPCA Position: Oppose
Several bills are pending that would legalize hunting on Sundays; they range from legalizing all hunting on all Sundays, to legalizing bow hunting on Sundays, to legalizing bow hunting for deer on Sundays.
The public highly values the one day of the week that they can enjoy observing and photographing wildlife during the hunting seasons without having to worry about conflicting with hunting activities.
Media outlets have recently reported on increased hunting in suburban communities and the concerns residents have over the safety of this activity near residential areas. We have been hearing more concerns about hunting. There have been several incidents: read about a woman who was shot when her dogs were mistaken for deer in Norton, a hunter shooting on Nantucket, and a high school runner shot in Mattapoisett.
If anything, the need for the prohibition on Sunday hunting is as important as it has ever been. According to recent data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1.53 million Massachusetts’ residents (34% of the population) aged 16 and older take part in bird watching, photography, hiking, and other wildlife activities unrelated to hunting. The same data shows just 1% of the population participated in hunting.
In fact, a recent poll* found that 86% of Massachusetts residents support this restriction, which has been in place for over 100 years, allowing citizens and their families to enjoy nature without worrying about conflicts with hunters.
With the number of Massachusetts’ citizens interested in wildlife-watching being so prevalent and with so few hunters, it is patently unfair to deny Massachusetts citizens access to areas where they may enjoy wildlife-watching activities one day a week, without being concerned about potential conflicts with hunters.
*This survey was conducted via telephone among a representative sample of 1,000 adults (ages 18 and over) residing in Massachusetts. Respondents were divided between survey forms A and B, yielding a final sample size of 500 for each question and a margin of error of +/- 4%. The question asked, “Hunting on Sundays has been restricted in Massachusetts for over 100 years, allowing citizens and their families to enjoy nature without worrying about conflicts with hunters. Do you agree with keeping this restriction?” 86% of the participants agreed. The responses were collected by Pacific Market Research from August 24-30, 2007.