Ducks Unlimited Statement on Sunday Waterfowl Hunting


Since 1937, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. has bolstered our wetlands and waterfowl conservation mission by empowering those who contribute most to this endeavor: hunters. As such, increased access to waterfowl hunting helps share our sporting traditions, increase hunter participation, and create more hunting opportunities for all. Through the framework of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, waterfowl hunters have generated billions of dollars towards critical conservation efforts through the purchase of hunting licenses, duck stamps, and taxes paid on hunting equipment. Because of this direct link between hunter participation and waterfowl conservation, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. supports efforts to legalize public waterfowl hunting access on Sundays in the few remaining states that do not already allow it.


The financial contributions of hunters and recreational shooter provide the foundation for conservation funding throughout the nation. The more hunters that take to the field, the more money and resources will be raised to protect and conserve vital wildlife habitat. However, as hunter numbers decline nationwide, the bedrock of the “user pays-public benefits” model is at risk. A critical component of increasing the retention, recruitment, and reactivation (R3) of hunters is providing increased opportunities to hunt. Allowing hunting on Sundays almost doubles the number of non-work/non-school days that hunters are permitted to get out in the blind, increasing hunting opportunity for anyone who is a student or works a full-time job. This view aligns with the seven tenets of the North American Model of Wildlife conservation, which undergirds Ducks Unlimited, Inc.’s mission. A hallmark of this system (Wildlife in the public trust, wildlife allocated by law, conservation based on scientific management and democracy of hunting) is the idea that all persons – wealthy and poor, landowner and non-landowner alike – have the opportunity to participate in and enjoy our country’s shared and bountiful natural resources. Wetland conservation is Ducks Unlimited, Inc.'s highest priority and will remain so. However, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. recognizes that conservation can only take place with the strong and broad-based support of people, and therefore, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. supports legal hunting of professionally managed, renewable wildlife resources, and any effort to bring more people into the sport and make hunting more accessible. 

As a science-based conservation organization, we have come to this statement on Sunday hunting through exhaustive determination guided by the best science available. Countless peer-reviewed studies have shown that opening Sunday hunting does not impact waterfowl populations and helps recruit hunters. Because opening Sundays does not impact the number of days available during the season, there will be little or no difference in overall take. In fact, hunting accounts for less than 9% of ALL waterfowl mortality each year. The primary factor in waterfowl population increases or decreases is nesting success during breeding and the most important factor in nest success is habitat quality. Additionally, waterfowl do not benefit from one day of rest a week. Data shows that waterfowl need at minimum 2-3 weeks between days of hunting pressure to regain normal behavior. Currently, 42 states allow Sunday hunting of waterfowl. Many of these open states are in the same flyway as states with Sunday hunting prohibitions. Many of these states are pursuing legislation to lift these old blue laws, which often date back to colonial times. 

Studies on the social impacts of hunting have shown that Sunday hunting is one of the best ways to introduce new people to hunting and offer more opportunities for hunters with limited access or time. One such study found that if Sunday hunting prohibitions were lifted in the six most restrictive states, there would be an increase of nearly 117,500 new hunters in the ensuing years. As the science clearly supports the fact that waterfowl populations would not be impacted by Sunday hunting, and studies have shown how impactful Sunday hunting can be for recruiting new hunters and retaining old ones, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. supports Sunday hunting.