DOVER — Last month, permission to hunt deer on Sunday in the state was officially signed into law. The policy change constitutes a significant increase over one made in 2016 that opened five specific Sundays for hunting during the season.
“Senate Bill 198 legalized Sunday hunting across the whole season established by the state,” said Rob Hossler, DNREC‘s environmental program administrator. “The new legislation will add 18 more Sundays during the season to hunt giving us a total of 23 Sundays during the 2018-2019 season on public and private land.”
The rationale behind the deregulation concerns increased deer-related property damage reported by farmers and a desire to increase recreational hunting accessibility and opportunity for the state’s hunters. Mr. Hossler notes that the regulation itself was likely an old “blue law” — or Sunday law, traditionally designed to restrict Sunday activities for religious reasons — held over from earlier decades.
“I think there are still about seven states that have blue laws like this, mostly in the northeastern part of the U.S.,” he said. “It’s the same basic idea behind not being able to sell alcohol on Sundays. Most of the Midwestern states always allowed Sunday hunting.”