Blue Laws Still Keeping Hunters Out of the Woods On Sundays 200 Years Later
By Toby Trigger

Posted: March 26, 2016

We’re lucky here in Montana with our long hunting seasons, low cost hunting licenses and the ability to hunt on any day that ends in “Y”.  But that’s not the case in other states who must adhere to BLUE LAWS which disallow hunting on Sundays.

The ban on Sunday hunting stems from puritanical “blue laws” established in colonial America and into the 1800s, to prevent trade and other activities that conflicted with observance of a “day of rest.” When these restrictions were put in place, the other activities prohibited included opening a store for business, drinking alcoholic beverages and tilling fields. Merchants challenged these laws at the end of the 19th century and the restrictions began to be removed.

Other outdoor activities are allowed on Sunday, including those that take place on public and private property, such as fishing, hiking and golf. Restrictions on Sunday hunting effectively and tacitly endorse the view of animal extremists that there is something wrong with hunting. Such a view ignores the fact that hunting is part of America’s heritage and hunters contribute billions of dollars to wildlife and conservation programs.

Eleven states either restrict or ban hunting on Sunday. The removal of bans on Sunday hunting in all eleven states analyzed could result in over 27,000 new jobs being created, paying over $731 million in wages, and contributing about $2.2 billion in additional economic activity.

Sunday hunting is seen as a key component of providing youth and the citizenry with more opportunities to engage in the sport, which will ultimately lead to more hunters in the years to come. Maintaining America’s large number of hunters is crucial to maintaining the revenues necessary to sustain crucial wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation programs. Anti-hunting groups support Sunday hunting bans as part of their general opposition to hunting.

Current Sunday Hunting Bans

Connecticut, North Carolina, and Virginia are the latest states to expand Sunday hunting opportunities for hunters. In 2014, Virginia hunters experienced a successful, first season of Sunday hunting on private land and public waterways. Virginia allows for hunting on Sundays with some exceptions mostly relating to the proximity of a place of worship. In 2015, both Connecticut and North Carolina passed legislation that lessened restrictions on their Sunday hunting laws. Connecticut allows bow hunters to hunt deer on private property in overpopulated deer management zones and North Carolina added firearms to the legal methods of take while hunting on private land on Sundays

Sunday Hunting Prohibited

Three states prohibit hunting on Sunday for any wild game – Delaware, Maine, and Massachusetts.

Maryland and West Virginia allow hunting on Sundays in some counties on private land. South Carolina and Virginia allow Sunday hunting on private land and some public waterways for waterfowl. North Carolina allows Sunday hunting with archery equipment and firearms (with restrictions) on private lands – migratory game birds may not be taken on Sundays. New Jersey allows bow hunting on Sundays for deer on state wildlife management areas and private property. Pennsylvania allows hunting on Sundays for foxes, crows and coyotes. Connecticut allows deer hunting on Sunday with a bow and arrow on private property provided such property is in a deer management zone identified by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to be overpopulated with deer.

This fact sheet was provided by SAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONAL at

Featured Photo Credit :


New Podcast!

Riley's Meats - Butte Wild Game Processing