April 29, 2024

Pennsylvania Seeks to Remove Longstanding Sunday Hunting Restrictions

Article Contact: Kaleigh Leager,

Why It Matters: Sunday hunting bans are one of the last remaining examples of the puritanical and antiquated laws that were initially designed to encourage church attendance. At the time when blue law restrictions were first put in place, other activities that were illegal on a Sunday included opening a store for business, drinking alcoholic beverages, and tilling your fields. Access is a major limiting factor hindering participation in hunting, and restrictions on Sunday hunting provide a temporal-access barrier to youth and others that work or attend school throughout the week and are often involved in extra-curricular activities on Saturdays. Pennsylvania Legislators are looking to change this.


  • Pennsylvania is one of ten states (CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NC, NJ, PA, SC, and VA) that still have some type of Sunday hunting restrictions (2 prohibiting any Sunday hunting altogether).
  • SB 67 (introduced by Sen. Dan Laughlin; previous Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair) seeks to remove the longstanding prohibition on Sunday hunting as well increase the penalties for trespassing on private lands, which includes hunting on private property without written permission.
  • HB 2106 (introduced by Rep. Mandy Steele) also seeks to remove the longstanding prohibition on Sunday hunting as well as increase the penalties for trespassing on private lands, which includes hunting on private property without written permission.
  • The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter of support for SB 67 to the Senate and a letter of support for HB 2106 to the House Game and Fisheries Committee.

Currently in Pennsylvania, there are less than a handful of Sunday hunting opportunities for deer and bear, and some further opportunities for foxes, crows, and coyotes. However, State Senator Dan Laughlin and State Representative Mandy Steele are looking to increase opportunities for the sportsmen and women of the Commonwealth by introducing SB 67 and HB 2106, legislation that will ultimately remove the remaining, longstanding restrictions on Sunday hunting within the state. CSF recently submitted letters of support for SB 67 and HB 2106.

In the letters of support, CSF stated that “100% of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Budget is comprised of sportsmen and women generated dollars. In 2023 alone, the sale of hunting licenses contributed $41.9M in Pennsylvania, which in turn provided an additional $41.1M through the Pittman-Robertson Act, totaling around $83M in conservation dollars for the state.” The passage of such legislation is likely to assist in the increase of hunter participation, thus increasing conservation funding in the Keystone State. Additionally, CSF pointed to the major hindering factor that Sunday hunting prohibitions continue to create for youth and families that may be unable to hunt on Saturdays due to other extracurricular activities or work obligations.

The Pennsylvania State Legislature has previously acknowledged and acted upon the requests by hunters for Sunday hunting opportunities. For example, in 2019, the Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus spearheaded the passage of S 147 which was signed into law by former Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Governor Tom Wolf. Current statute authorizes one day of deer hunting on Sundays during the archery season, one day of deer hunting during the firearm season, and one day left to the discretion of the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) for species and season determined by them, which through subsequent rulemaking was selected to be bear hunting during the bear firearms season. Additionally, other select species such as foxes, crows, and coyotes may be hunted on Sundays in accordance with regulations adopted by the PGC. The hunting conservation community strongly supports the expansion of Sunday hunting opportunities in Pennsylvania to increase access and opportunity for sportsmen and women.

The passage of SB 67 or HB 2106 will grant the PGC full regulatory authority to set season dates and bag limits within the Commonwealth, including implementing Sunday hunting for many species of game animals. The PGC is in full support of the removal of the antiquated blue law barrier, and enactment of such legislation.

CSF looks forward to continuing to work with the  Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to encourage the passage of legislation that removes the centuries of Sunday hunting restrictions in Pennsylvania. Additionally, once enacted, CSF also looks forward to working with the PGC towards full implementation of Sunday hunting opportunities for the sportsmen and women of the Commonwealth.

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