On Tuesday, September 10, the Game and Fisheries Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will hold a public hearing on a bill that would allow three days of Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania, and strengthen trespass laws. We encourage our members to contact your State Representative and voice your support for this bill.
The Pennsylvania Senate gave careful consideration and passed a version of this bill (Senate Bill 147) in June, with the support of the Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society (RGS/AWS), and thanks to the leadership of the bipartisan Pennsylvania Sportsmen’s Caucus assisted by our close partners at the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. The bill then was referred to be taken up by the Game and Fisheries Committee. RGS/AWS has asked the Game and Fisheries Committee to report favorably on the bill, and provided brief written testimony for the upcoming hearing. Our input – along with the support of a coalition of like-minded organizations – will be conveyed during the hearing through the testimony of Harold Daub, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists.
All Sunday hunting is currently prohibited in Pennsylvania, even though the surrounding states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia have all authorized Sunday hunting in some capacity. Several neighboring state agencies have shared information regarding the success of their efforts to expand Sunday hunting with the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives. A Pennsylvania Game Commission survey of lapsed hunters, found that a lack of time and conflicts with work obligations were among the most frequently stated reasons for the decision to stop hunting among youth hunters and adult hunters up through 35 years of age. A National Shooting Sports Foundation study found that Sunday hunting could generate an additional $764 million for the state’s economy and create over 8,000 new jobs, through outdoor industries and other businesses such as restaurants, gas stations and hotels.
As RGS/AWS acknowledged in our testimony,
“We recognize not all hunters would choose or be able to take advantage of Sunday hunting; however, there are limited opportunities for the legislature to address the numerous barriers and conflicting obligations of lapsed, current, and potential new hunters. Passage of SB 147 is a simple, immediate step that can be taken to benefit Pennsylvania’s current and future sportsmen and women.”
For some, not hunting on Sunday may continue to be a personal choice. For others, barriers may persist even if this opportunity is provided. Regardless, an ample and engaged population of active hunters is critical to sustaining our overall outdoor heritage, and for providing the financing and advocacy that support wildlife conservation for the benefit of all.