Third Sunday Hunting Hearing Scheduled in Harrisburg, Evans Says
– The third and final hearing of the House Game and Fisheries Committee on
legislation allowing the inclusion of Sundays as part of regular hunting
seasons has been scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 27, at the State Capitol in
Harrisburg, Rep. John Evans (R-Erie/Crawford), chairman of the committee,
The committee held two earlier hearings in Somerset County and Northampton County on June 9 and Sept. 15, respectively.
“Our previous two public hearings included testimony from interested organizations that both support and oppose the expansion of Sunday hunting,” Evans said. “These hearings are an important part of the law-making process and allow committee members to ask questions of the groups appearing before the committee. Thus far, we have heard both advantages and disadvantages of allowing hunting on Sundays.”
The hearings are focusing on consideration of House Bill 1760, sponsored by Evans, to allow the Pennsylvania Game Commission to include Sundays as part of regular, already established hunting seasons. Currently, only coyotes, crows and foxes are permitted to be hunted on Sundays.
“Some people believe this legislation would allow hunting on every Sunday throughout the year, but that’s just not the case,” Evans said. “This legislation is merely about giving the Game Commission the option of allowing additional Sundays to be included in seasons and bag limits, as the commission sees fit.”
Under House Bill 1760, the decision of how many Sundays, as well as which Sundays during specific seasons for various game, would be made by the Game Commission taking into consideration factors such as wildlife management and habitat needs. In addition, Sunday hunting would not force any landowners to open their lands for hunting. Property owners will still retain all of the same rights currently afforded to them and can still decide if and when a hunter can access their land.
Proponents of the legislation believe allowing Sunday hunting would provide significant economic benefits, encouragement of more youth to take part in hunting activities, and increased license sales and hunting opportunities.
Opponents argue that the current blue law prohibiting Sunday hunting should not be changed and that tradition should be upheld. They cite increased trespassing and bothersome hunters as harmful impacts of the legislation.
The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. in the Majority Caucus Room, Rom 140, in the Main Capitol. A number of statewide hunting and farming and forestry organizations have been invited to testify. A schedule of those testifying will be distributed nearer to the day of the hearing.
Pennsylvania, which imposed the ban in 1873, is one of 11 states that has some type of prohibition of hunting on Sundays.
State Representative John Evans
5th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Jennifer Keaton