Thursday, December 8, 2011

MHC letter regarding Sunday hunting bill in PG County

Dear Delegate Valderrama,

I am writing on behalf of the Maryland Horse Council (MHC), which is the umbrella organization for all Maryland horse associations, businesses, farms, owners and enthusiasts. Our membership represents over 30,000 Marylanders, many of whom are your constituents in Prince Georges County.

I write to express our concern over proposed bill PG 304-12, which would allow Sunday hunting on private land on most Sundays in the season. Although MHC has consistently supported efforts by farmers and landowners to control the deer population and the damage that it can inflict on crops and the landscape, we do believe that there should be one day each week when members of the public, including horseback riders, bikers, hikers and joggers can enjoy both public and private land without concern for their safety, and indeed without loss of quiet enjoyment.

Although we understand that this bill is limited to private land, that limitation does not address these concerns. For one thing, the sound of gunshots does not respect property lines. More importantly, stray arrows and bullets sometimes do not, either, particularly when deer stands are close to boundaries, or when public land is a narrow swath following a stream bed or abandoned rail line. Moreover, in many areas, the boundaries between public and private land are not clearly marked, causing both hunters and recreational users inadvertently to go astray.

We urge you to reconsider your sponsorship of this bill.

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