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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Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?Vote Here
- Increase the number of states with discounted license tailored to specific groups. (3.25%)
- Increase access to public lands. (29.24%)
- Provide more information for new participants. (3.25%)
- Provide hands on opportunities to improve skills and knowledge. (13.72%)
- Engage youth through hunter and conservation programs in schools. (43.68%)
- I feel we have enough sportsmen and women and do not believe R3 programs are necessary. (6.86%)