‘Not in favor’

Sen. Hutchinson: ‘A lot of downsides’ to Sunday hunting bill

When a bill that would allow Sunday hunting hits the floor of the Pennsylvania Senate, it will not have the support of Sen. Scott Hutchinson.

Hutchinson (R-21) said he was surprised how quickly the proposed legislation made it out of the Game and Fisheries Committee.

The proposal was introduced on Feb. 1 and went to committee on Wednesday. The bill’s prime sponsor, Dan Laughlin (R-49), was recently named as the Game and Fisheries Chairman.

Hutchinson has a number of problems with the idea.

“I am not in favor of Sunday hunting,” he said. “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.

Sunday hunting is allowed in the state for some species.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, under the current regulations, “it is unlawful to hunt wildlife, except foxes, crows and coyotes, on Sundays.”

The bill would remove all of the prohibitions against Sunday hunting and leave further decisions up to the Game Commission.

The bill also modifies some of the language regarding trespassing while hunting and would change some of the grading of those offenses.