State Game Commissioners reaffirm support for expanded Sunday hunting
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners has reaffirmed its support of legislative action that would allow for expanded Sunday hunting opportunities. The resolution adopted by the board is in response to a direct request from the nonprofit group Hunters United for Sunday Hunting, a representative of which testified to the board last week.
The resolution is at least the third the Board of Game Commissioners has adopted over the years in support of expanded Sunday hunting. The board’s support has remained consistent through the regular turnover of commissioners due to terms expiring and replacements being appointed.
The resolution adopted this week is as follows:
“WHEREAS, The Commonwealth has experienced consistent declines in hunting participation by both resident and non-resident hunters over the past several decades, with both the number of licenses sold and revenues generated experiencing steady declines; and
“WHEREAS, Youth participation is vital to maintaining the long-standing tradition of hunting in the Commonwealth; and
“WHEREAS, Sunday hunting can be an effective means of recruiting new hunters and retaining current hunters by increasing the value of the hunting license through offering additional opportunities to spend time in the field; and
“WHEREAS, The Commission recognizes that it can effectively double the number of hunting days for youths during the school year by offering Sunday hunting; and
“WHEREAS, Many residents of this Commonwealth seek hunting opportunities and hunting leases in neighboring states that offer Sunday hunting; and
“WHEREAS, The Commission recognizes that Sunday hunting will help keep Pennsylvania hunters in Pennsylvania; and
“WHEREAS, The Commonwealth has a long-standing tradition of hunting camps and clubs; and
“WHEREAS, Sunday hunting can effectively double the number of hunting days for camp owners and club members; and
“WHEREAS, Sunday hunting has the potential to generate a substantial increase in nonresident license sales and the accompanying revenue for the Pennsylvania Game Commission; and
“WHEREAS, hunting license sales and their associated federal matching funds are the primary revenue source for the Pennsylvania Game Commission in carrying out its mission, including maintaining 1.5 million acres of state game lands and acquisition of additional public lands, research and management of wildlife and providing information and education to the public; and
“WHEREASs, Sunday hunting has the potential to provide substantial economic benefits to rural areas and businesses by increasing money spent by hunters on lodging, food, gas and other incidental items; and
“WHEREAS, Sunday hunting could effectively generate $629 million in additional spending and create 5,300 new jobs, resulting in $18 million in additional sales and income tax; and
“WHEREAS, The mission of the Pennsylvania Game Commission is to manage wildlife and its habitat for current and future generations; and
“WHEREAS, Sunday hunting, which is currently permitted to control a growing population of coyotes, will provide the biologists of the Pennsylvania Game Commission a new tool to manage wildlife populations; and
“WHEREAS, The 47 states that currently permit Sunday hunting, have not experienced any discernable impact on the health or vibrancy of game populations; and
“WHEREAS, The Board of Commissioners recognizes that the authority to permit Sunday hunting lies entirely with the General Assembly of PA; and
“WHEREAS, If the General Assembly repeals the restrictions on Sunday hunting, thus giving the authority to regulate Sunday hunting to the Board of Commissioners, the Board recognizes the many stakeholder groups that any actions on Sunday hunting will affect and will endeavor to engage these stakeholders before passing any new regulations in regard to Sunday hunting.
“NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Commissioners of the Pennsylvania Game Commission does hereby urge the General Assembly of Pennsylvania to repeal the prohibition on Sunday hunting in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“Given under the hand and seal of the Board of Commissioners of the Pennsylvania Game Commission on this 24th day of April, 2018.”