Pennsylvania’s prohibition on Sunday hunting doesn’t mesh with today’s busy lifestyles, according to State Rep. John Evans (R-Erie), who chairs the House Game and Fisheries Committee. “There are limited opportunities that folks have to go out into the field,” Evans tells us. In the weeks ahead, Evans will introduce legislation that would simply lift the ban. “We’re not going to try to dictate to the Game Commission what opportunities should be made available to Sunday hunting… but we just want to bring ourselves in line with [nearly] 40-other states that currently permit at least some form of Sunday hunting,” Evans says.
The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau can be counted among the vocal opponents of Sunday hunting. “What farmers want is that one day a week, during the hunting seasons, when they can relax and have some peace on their own property,” says PFB spokesman Mark O’Neill. Farmers and other private landowners control about 80% of the huntable land in the Keystone State, and O’Neill says many farmers open up their property to hunters in order to control wildlife populations. “Farmers are not anti-hunting, they’re pro-hunting, but they just feel that Sunday is the day that should be left to other enterprises… or just taking it easy.”
On the flip-side, Evans says we’ve already gotten away from the “blue law” mentality that was behind PA’s Sunday hunting prohibition. “We can buy liquor in state liquor stores on Sunday, for goodness sakes,” he points out. Evans also notes that farmers – or any private landowner – would be able to post their land to disallow Sunday hunting at any time.
Rep. Evans’ committee is in the midst of three statewide hearings on the topic. The first was held last week in Somerset County; the next two will be scheduled for northeastern PA, and the state capitol. The Pennsylvania Game Commission does not take a position on the Sunday hunting issue.