To the editor:
According to Maine law, except for night hunting of coyotes from December 7 – August 31, hunting is prohibited from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise. In other words, although night hunting is prohibited, it is allowed because of the 30 minute deadline with no consideration for how dark it is on any given day. For all practical purposes, nightfall can and does occur less than 30 minutes after sunset.
On Halloween night, I had just gotten into my truck in the Hannaford parking lot when I heard a gunshot from what appeared to be the woods behind the store. It was cloudy and dark outside, the vehicles on the road had their headlights on, and there was no way anyone could see well enough to accurately fire a weapon, at least not without night vision equipment, the use of which is illegal. I checked the clock on my phone and sure enough, there were two minutes of legal shooting time left.
Why should it be legal to fire a weapon, in the woods, near buildings and roads when it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle without its headlights on and when it is impossible to see clearly? This double standard was imposed at the urging of a small number of consumptive use extremists and was approved by the Maine legislature with little thought of the practicality or the consequences. Perhaps a small group of Maine drivers should lobby the legislature to allow driving without headlights until 1/2 hour after sunset? That would make just about as much sense.
When will the first person be mistaken for a deer and get shot in the darkness? Hunter orange rapidly loses its visibility as the amount of light decreases. How many animals have been shot and wounded and lost in the darkness? It’s time to repeal this ill-advised law and bring back some common sense.
John M. Glowa, Sr.