I write to protest House Bill 325 sponsored by Delegate Mautz, who was quoted in Sunday’s Star Democrat saying that this bill would “only add a couple of Sundays” to the hunting calendar. Councilman Callahan was also incorrect when he said “only 3 more Sundays” would be added. Wrong! While Talbot County already has 7 Sundays reserved for hunters, this bill would add 10 more Sundays – creating 17 uninterrupted weeks of hunting! Since hunters make up only 3% of the population, I really don’t understand why they merit 100% of the Sundays during so much of the year.
I was happy to learn that Maryland DNR announced a 45% increase in park attendance in 2020, following a record-setting attendance in 2019. I love to see kids put aside their hand-held devices and get outside. Doctors in 34 states are now praising the health benefits of being outside in nature, essentially handing out “green prescriptions.” The trouble is, an unintended consequence of hunting on your property might be that your neighbors have less use of their property – from dog walking to bird watching. Property lines in woods are rarely marked, and the perception of danger – as well as respect for hunters – deters many Marylanders from recreating outside during hunting season. A statewide poll in 2018 showed that 68.9% of all Marylanders oppose Sunday hunting, while only 21.9% favor it. Maryland residents deserve a safe option one day a week to enjoy our natural resources.