D is for Delaware, D is for the Diamond State and now D is certainly for deer, thanks to Delaware Governor John Carney who recently signed Senate Bill 198 expanding Sunday deer hunting opportunities statewide. In addition to opening Sunday hunting on all private lands, the new law directs Delaware’s Department of Natural Recourses and Environmental Control (DNREC) to pinpoint additional Sunday hunting opportunities on public lands through its deer depredation program. While the move is in step with the efforts of the NRA and like-minded hunter-conservationist groups working to protect America’s hunting heritage, it also addresses the state’s burgeoning whitetail deer population and ongoing damage to agricultural crops.
For background, Sunday hunting in Delaware was banned for nearly a century until 2016 when five Sundays were set aside for hunting on private and DNREC-regulated public lands. However, it only provided for hunting on certain Sundays during the muzzleloader and shotgun deer-hunting seasons and did not include select archery Sundays.
As reported by NRA-ILA, SB 198 received overwhelming support in the state’s General Assembly, passing the Senate by a vote of 17-2 and the House of Representatives by a vote of 39-2. NRA-ILA—and New Jersey hunters—certainly thank Senator Bruce Ennis (D-14) and Representative William Carson (R-28) for sponsoring the legislation and Governor Carney for signing it.
“This is another positive step toward ending all Sunday hunting bans,” said Erica Rhoad, Director of Hunting Policy for the National Rifle Association’s Institute of Legislative Action. “NRA will continue to fight to end bans on Sunday hunting and expand access to hunting nationwide.”
Why Sunday Hunting is Important As NRAHLF.org has noted, states that have repealed such outdated prohibitions not only have had no adverse impacts on game populations, but Sunday hunting has given the respective state wildlife agencies more flexibility in managing populations. This includes the ability to increase hunting in areas with unsustainably high game populations. In addition, Sunday hunting expands opportunities particularly for those who can only hunt on weekends, while helping to recruit and retain hunters, who pay the bulk of wildlife conservation funding through Pittman-Robertson funds levied on sales of guns and ammo. And, of course, never discount the economic benefits that Sunday hunting brings to rural communities as traveling hunters must buy gas, meals and lodging.