Senate Bill 147 is out of committee and getting more traction than any other legislation to expand Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania’s history.
Supporters of Sunday hunting say the latest proposal is bittersweet. They asked for 14 Sundays, but changes to the legislation propose three Sundays.
“We’re pleased that the opportunity is being presented to hunters,” said Kevin Askew, the executive director for Hunters United for Sunday Hunting. “We’re disappointed that it’s only three days.”
Details are expected to be changed on the Senate floor.
Hunting groups are pushing for the Pennsylvania Game Commission to manage which three Sundays would be allowed, instead of lawmakers.
“We want the subject matter experts here at the Pennsylvania Game Commission setting our seasons and bag limits, using scientific wildlife management to make those decisions,” said Harold Daub, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists.
Some hope that if the bill passes, it opens the door for adding more Sundays in the future.
“Ultimately, I think that the hunting public is going to want more, especially if they get a taste of it,” said Travis Lau, a game commission spokesman.
“People are going to see that having the ability to hunt on Sundays really does not cause any of the issues that the farm bureau tried to spin up on this thing,” said Daub.
The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau has continued to say farmers need one day a week for peace and quiet, and to move around their properties to do repairs.
“Under no circumstances does Farm Bureau policy support legislation to expand Sunday hunting. Neutral does not mean support,” Mark O’Neill of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau said in a statement.
“Forty-seven other states hunt on Sundays,” said Askew.
Daub says if the bill is signed into law, it could go into effect as early as this fall.