LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Delaware Equine Council opposes Sunday hunting

The Delaware Equine Council very strongly opposes House Substitute 1 (HS1) to House Bill 289 (HB289) regarding hunting on private and public land on any Sunday.

Deer hunting season coincides with the best time to be outdoors. For horseback riders, there is no better time than the fall and winter months to enjoy riding the trails without concern for excessive heat and insects.

Sunday has traditionally been the only day during deer hunting season that horseback riders have no concerns regarding hunters being present. The argument has been made that many hunters work six days a week and cannot hunt during the present season. Many horse owners also work six days a week and want to enjoy their horses safely on Sunday.

Hunting on private land and public lands on any Sunday causes great concern for the safety of anyone that wishes to enjoy the outdoors. The same is not true for any other day during the hunting season, and horseback riders, along with bird watchers, hikers, runners, etc., are aware of this and respect the rights of the hunters, even though it closes the door for any opportunity for them to occupy any portion of the woods during that time.

Several of the trails on public lands are on the border with private land. The hunter and horseback rider are both allowed to use the same trail, thus increasing the risk of accidents. Is Sunday hunting really worth taking that risk?

The dates that Sunday hunting would be allowed are very confusing to the non-hunter. Members of the general public do not know the dates of the hunting seasons, and adding specific Sundays will increase the confusion. Making the public aware of which Sundays are hunting days and which areas are closed for hunting will be very difficult.

Allowing hunting on the five specified Sundays proposed in HS1 to HB289 would open the door for similar legislation in the future for additional Sundays to be added.

This legislation has been approved by the Delaware House Natural Resources Committee and is now being reviewed by the Delaware Senate Natural Resources and Environmental Control Committee.

If approved by the Senate, the bill will be forwarded to the governor for signature. The Delaware Equine Council stands firm on opposing all Sunday hunting, and we urge citizens with similar concerns to contact their state senator to voice their opinions.

Stan Vonasek
President, Delaware Equine Council

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