Top court upholds Maine’s Sunday hunting ban

Maine’s highest court has ruled that the state’s longstanding ban on Sunday hunting is constitutional.

The court considered a lawsuit that asked whether the ban on hunting game animals such as deer, turkey and moose on Sundays was still necessary. Maine is one of a dwindling number of states that restricts hunting on Sunday.

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The lawsuit concerned a claim that the state’s “right to food” amendment to its Constitution should allow hunters to pursue game on Sundays. The amendment was the first of its kind in the United States when it passed in 2021.

Jared Bornstein

FILE – Jared Bornstein walks through brush while hunting Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in Turner, Maine. Maine’s highest court ruled Thursday, March 28, 2024, that the state’s longstanding ban on Sunday hunting is constitutional. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court was not swayed by the argument. The court ruled Thursday that under the definition of poaching, the right to hunt “exists in situations in which hunting is otherwise legal but does not extend to situations in which hunting is illegal.”

The court dismissed the complaint in a judgment that stated that “Maine’s longstanding Sunday hunting ban does not conflict with the Maine Constitution.”

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Some 40 states have no prohibition on Sunday hunting. Maine and Massachusetts are the final states with full bans.

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