A bill has been introduced in the Mississippi Senate by Lee Yancey of Brandon, which would add yet another unnecessary law for Mississippi hunters. The law would prohibit hunting within 1/4 mile of any church while worship services are being held. It would also outlaw hunting with a firearm within 200 yards of a dwelling without the permission of the owner or lessee.
While I’m sure Mr. Yancey’s motive for introducing such a bill is well-intentioned, this is nevertheless simply another example of big-brother government interfering where there is really no need. The first part of the bill forbids hunting within a quarter mile of a church ‘while worship services are being held.’ Has Mr. Yancey’s church service ever been disrupted by the crack of a deer rifle in the middle of a sermon? I have attended church in a rural setting for many of my 51 years, and not once have I ever heard the sound of gunfire while in church. Neither have I ever heard the sound of dogs trailing a rabbit through the church cemetery.
The second part of the bill prohibits hunting with a firearm within 200 yards of a dwelling without the permission of the owner or lessee. While I live on only 13 acres, I have one tree stand and three shooting houses. The tree stand and two of the shooting houses are within 200 yards of two different neighbors. However, I hunt only with a 12 gauge shotgun in this area, for obvious safety reasons. My neighbors are aware of these deer stands, and they have no problem with the location. They know I have enough common sense and respect for their property not to shoot in the direction of their homes. Furthermore, if my neighbors did object to the location of these stands, I’m certain we would discuss it in a civil manner and we would reach some sort of friendly agreement.
Government too often erroneously assumes its citizens have little or no common sense. It also too often dismisses the likelihood that neighbors can work out their own disagreements. While it is true that a dispute occasionally arises which requires the intervention of law enforcement, more times than not neighbors can resolve disagreements without the need of the sheriff or game warden. Mr. Yancey should understand that Mississippi hunters need no further regulations at this time, and he should withdraw this bill from further consideration. In other words, Mr. Yancey, if we hunters need you, we’ll call you.