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Sunday hunting measure advances

Legislation that would permit limited Sunday hunting is on the governor’s desk for enactment.

The Pa. Senate Republican Communications Office announced that Senate Bill 147 “provides for hunting on three Sundays: One during rifle deer season, one during the statewide archery deer season and one on a Sunday determined by the Game Commission.”

Final legislative approval occurred on Monday.

“I expect there will be a slight increase in participation in license sales,” Treasurer Dennis Munksgard said. “To define slight, I would say less than 12 percent.”

While there were antlerless tags available earlier this year, they’re all gone now.

“To this day we continue to get calls asking for antlerless tags because word was out there we had doe tags left,” he said, noting those some of those interested hunters note that “they had not purchased a license in a number of years.”

“We sold out of (Wildlife Management) 1B and 2F tags on August 7th.”

All of Warren County’s representatives – Representative Kathy Rapp and Senators Scott Hutchinson and Michele Brooks – voted against the measure.

“I am not in favor of Sunday hunting,” Hutchinson told the Times Observer earlier this year. “There are a lot of downsides to it.”

“There are innumerable acres of land that will be closed to hunting by farmers,” Hutchinson said.

Landowners have said they will post their land and not allow any hunting if Sunday hunting is approved, he said. “We’re talking hundreds of thousands of acres.”

Businesses — including restaurants and sporting good stores — that rely on certain big sales days could also be hurt by allowing hunting on more of those days, Hutchinson said. “I’ve also heard from some retail businesses that say some of their big days… like the Thanksgiving holiday, that Saturday, that Sunday… will go away for them.”

That, and there are folks who don’t hunt who “want our day in the woods,” he said. “I buy into what a lot of other folks say. ‘We need a day of rest when people can be in the woods, whether they be horseback riders, hikers, or bird watchers.”

“A lot of those folks have spoken over the years,” Hutchinson said.

SB 147 also stipulates that “written permission of the landowner is required to hunt on private property on any of the Sundays being added to the expanded Sunday hunting provisions,” according to the Republicans statement, in addition to requiring a financial analysis of all Game Commission fees within 180 days of enactment.

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