This past weekend, after nine days of hunting, fishing and shooting expositions, the Great American Outdoor show wrapped-up in Harrisburg. The show was a great success with several thousand Pennsylvanians signing the petition at the NRA-ILA booth in support of legislation to expand Sunday hunting opportunities. There are currently two bills in the Pennsylvania General Assembly which would give discretion to the Pennsylvania Game Commission to implement Sunday hunting relative to seasons and bag limits in the Keystone state. House Bill 1374, introduced by state Representatives Frank Farina (D-112) and Robert Godshall (R-53), and Senate Bill 1070, introduced by Senator Brewster (D-45), are both pending in their respective chambers’ Game and Fisheries Committees.
As previously reported, the prohibition on Sunday hunting is an old blue law left on the books in just a handful of states. Although Pennsylvania allows some private landowners to hunt and some varmint hunting on Sundays, a large sector of the hunting population and the benefits they bring to the economy are being ignored. This prohibition denies hunters access one day per week despite the fact that hunters provide millions of dollars to habitat restoration and conservation each year through Pittman-Robertson funds and are primarily responsible for healthy ecosystems throughout Pennsylvania.
Furthermore, current law gives a select group of private landowners, whose property is enrolled as a noncommercial regulated hunting ground, the privilege to hunt on Sundays. This law amounts to tens of thousands of acres being hunted on Sundays by landowners who can afford to own and enroll their 100+ acre plots as a noncommercial regulated hunting ground. This exemption, which became law more than a decade ago, only allows those who own large tracts of land the pleasure of hunting on Sundays, while continuing to deny the majority of Pennsylvania hunters the same freedom.
Many hunters are unable to introduce their children or friends to hunting because Saturday is their only opportunity to hunt outside of the work week, and this day is often busy with organized sports and various other commitments. Countless hunters stop hunting because of the lack of opportunity, time restrictions and accessible land. The addition of an extra day in the field, especially on the weekend, increases the opportunity for those individuals to experience hunting. Allowing hunting on Sundays would undoubtedly invigorate essential hunter recruitment and retention efforts -- key factors in preserving Pennsylvania’s hunting heritage for future generations to come.
Once again, please contact your state legislators and politely urge them to support these important bills.