Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Coordinator
On June 26, a milestone was reached by Pennsylvania’s sportsmen and women as an important Sunday hunting bill passed the Senate with a vote of 36-14.
Co-sponsored by Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Daniel Laughlin and Senator Jim Brewster, Senate Bill 147 would authorize the Pennsylvania Game Commission to permit three opportunities for Sunday hunting. This bill permits Sunday hunting during the following seasons: “(I) One day of Sunday hunting shall be instituted by the Commission during the deer rifle season; (II) One day of Sunday hunting shall be instituted by the Commission during the statewide deer archery season; (III) One day of Sunday hunting as determined by the Commission shall be instituted by the Commission.”
Driven by Caucus efforts, SB 147 was seen as a mutual compromise between proponents and opponents of Sunday hunting, and is viewed as a natural first-step towards the ultimate goal of opening up greater hunting opportunities within the state. Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Senior Director of Northeastern States Brent Miller has long worked alongside the Caucus Co-Chairs and members to expand hunting across the state.
Sunday hunting restrictions are a primary barrier to hunting participation. For many families, Sunday is the only day open on their schedules to enjoy the great outdoors with one another. Expanded opportunities for Sunday hunting have the potential to significantly benefit rural economies, as an additional day of weekend hunting generates increased revenue for local hotels, gas stations, outfitters and stores in areas where potential economic growth has been stifled by these restrictions.
Pennsylvania’s 1.4 million hunters and anglers support the state’s economy through spending over $1.5 billion while engaged in their pursuits. Through the American System of Conservation Funding – a “user pays-public benefits” approach to fish and wildlife management, sportsmen and women are the primary source of funding for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Increasing the amount of time hunters are afield will increase overall revenue for the Commission.
Having moved onto the House of Representatives, SB 147 is one step closer to expanding hunting for Pennsylvania’s sportsmen and women. CSF will continue to support Sunday hunting opportunities in the Keystone State.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (13.89%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (12.50%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (59.72%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (13.89%)