With many of the traditional arguments against Sunday hunting failing to gain much traction this year, opponents of the bills have spent a lot of time focusing on the noise and disturbance factor.
You know, shouldn’t non-hunters have a quiet weekend day to enjoy the outdoors during the fall? (This shot of me hiking at Mount Rogers was shot in the summer, but you get the idea.)
Some opponents of Sunday hunting are really going whole hog on this, as you can read in this story on Sunday hunting legislation by my colleague Mike Sluss.
The thing is, these arguments are based on two things: speculation and fear.
And they don’t need to be.
Just do the math.
When a friend from Washington County wrote on my Facebook page that he wanted his Sundays free of gunfire, I pulled out the calculator and started pressing keys.
I focused on Washington County, where a friend with a home in the country likes to fish his private trout creek in peace and quiet on Sundays.
In Washington County hunters killed about 1,350 deer with rifles and muzzleloaders in the 2010 season, the most recent for which numbers are available. Hunters kill about 90 percent of their deer on private land, so that would be 1,200. Now, a few of those were killed in the late black powder season in December. But most were killed in November. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll say they were all killed over the four weeks comprising the early black powder season and the general firearms season.
Then I looked back at the day-to-day deer kill from this past season. During the busiest weeks of the deer season, in November, about a third of the deer checked in usually were killed on Saturday, while the balance were checked in the remaining days of the week.
So, we’ll say that about 400 of those deer were killed on Saturdays. Or about 100 per day.
Now, let’s assume that the Sunday kill will match the Saturday kill (though we all know it won’t). That’s 100 deer on each Sunday.
Now let’s assume that Washington County hunters are really terrible marksmen. (Sorry Washington County hunters. I know you’re not bad shots. But bear with me.) They need to shoot at least twice for every deer they kill.
So, that’s 200 shots per Sunday.
Now, we could say that those shots are spread out equally over the 11 hours or so of legal shooting light, but we all know that most of them come in the morning and evening. So let’s just put 50 shots an hour for the first two hours of shooting light, and 50 shots an hour for the last two hours of shooting light.
Washington County covers 566 square miles.
So that’s 50 shots per hour over 566 square miles.
That’s less than one shot per minute across the entire county, and remember that we artificially concentrated those shots over just four hours of the day.
If this bill passes, all those folks who are concerned about the noise of gunshots should rejoice. With all those hunters actually hunting and not shooting at targets (a lot), Sundays in the country stand to get a lot quieter.