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Steps remain: Additional Sunday hunting won’t happen in 2019

Passing the state House of Representatives Oct. 29 by a 144-54 vote, legislation that would provide expanded Sunday hunting opportunities in Pennsylvania appears likely to become law soon. But the Pennsylvania Game Commission wants hunters to know Senate Bill 147 has not been passed in final form yet, and even if it passes the state Senate a second time and is signed into law, it will not take effect until 90 days after passage.

That means the bill, which would permit hunting on three Sundays — one within the archery deer season, one within the firearms deer season, and one on another Sunday selected by the Game Commission — will not provide additional Sunday hunting opportunity in 2019.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill Nov. 18, after the Nov. 16 close of the first segment of the statewide archery deer season. If the bill passes the Senate Nov. 18 and quickly is signed into law, the early archery and firearms deer seasons will have come and gone before the 90-day wait is over, and it’s likely the late archery season will have ended, too. The Game Commission still would be able to choose one Sunday for hunting in 2020, either in the spring turkey season or another open season.

Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said the House vote was a monumental step forward for Pennsylvania’s hunters, who currently are prohibited by state law from hunting anything but foxes, coyotes, and crows on Sundays during open seasons. But he said steps remain in the process and additional Sunday hunting won’t occur in 2019.

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