Sunday Hunting Clears First Hurdle in Pa. Legislature
July 5, 2019
Sunday hunting appears to be closer to reality in Pennsylvania, although in smaller doses.
A scaled-down version of the original Senate Bill 147, which called for allowing hunting on 14 Sundays a year passed through the Pa. Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, sending it to the full legislature for a vote.
Editor's Note: Please search for “Sen. Judy Ward Issues Statement on
Hunting” for related content.
The scaled-down bill allows for hunting on three Sundays, one during deer rifle season, one during deer archery season and one to be named at the Game Commission’s discretion.
State Sen. Judy Ward (R-30th) is opposed to Sunday hunting, saying she listened to her constituents, the majority of whom she said are not in favor of it.
“I have historically not supported Sunday hunting,” she said. “After much consultation with hunters, farmers and outdoor enthusiasts who are clearly still not in favor of this measure in any form, I voted against the bill.”
Although not in favor of the bill, Ward said scaling it back to only three days at least partially alleviates some of the issues opponents have with Sunday hunting.
“I am encouraged that the legislation was changed to at least partially address these concerns,” she said.
Rep. Jim Gregory (R-80th) said the House will not be voting on the bill until it comes back in session, but he is not supporting it.
“I am a no vote,” he said. “I was a no vote in the spring and will be a no vote in the fall.”
Gregory said he has heard from members of the farming and hunting communities and they do not support Sunday hunting.
At a meeting earlier this year at the Freedom Township Fire Hall attended by 300 hunters, a poll was taken to gauge interest in Sunday Hunting.
“It was faster to count the hands of those for it than to count the hands of those against it,” Gregory said. “Nine out of 300 hunters in that room favored Sunday hunting.”
Matt Johnson of the group Sportsmen for the Future said he doesn’t like the idea of Sunday hunting because it is traditionally a day of rest and family time.
“For us it’s family time,” he said. “That day is meant for your family and this would take that away.”
The argument can be made that if you are opposed to Sunday hunting you can choose to stay out of the woods that day, but Johnson said it’s not that simple.
“It’s going to put pressure on every hunter to get out into the woods on Sundays because of the competition for deer,” he said.
Johnson said that the first day of rifle season and the first two Saturdays after are usually the best days to hunt because there are more hunters in the woods, which moves the deer around.
“When Sunday hunting kicks in, every hunter knows that people will be out there, so you are going whether you are for or against it,” he said.
Johnson said if Sunday hunting passes, it is another step toward the end of multi-generational hunting traditions.
“Now that the first day has been moved to Saturday, even though a lot of people didn’t want it, they will go because there will be more hunters in the woods moving deer and you will see Monday hunting start to die down,” he said.