In another step toward ending the prohibition on Sunday hunting in the Keystone State, the Pennsylvania House Game and Fisheries Committee will hold a public hearing on the subject. The hearing is scheduled for September 10th in Harrisburg.
SCI Vice President, Don Detwiler, submitted written testimony in support of Senate Bill 147, which would expand additional hunting opportunities for Pennsylvania sportsmen and women by allowing hunting on three Sundays a year.
According to a recent United States Fish and Wildlife Service National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, & Wildlife Associated Recreation, there are around 11.5 million hunters in the United States. That number is down by over 2 million hunters from the last survey in 2011 and is sharp contrast from the peak of hunting participation of over 17 million hunters in 1982.
That trend is seen in Pennsylvania as well where junior hunting licenses dropped by almost 20,000 hunters from 2007 to 2017. Hunters continually cite “lack of time” as one of the number one reasons they stop hunting or are hesitant to begin altogether. Allowing more opportunities will help recruit and retain a robust population of sportsmen and women that is needed to not only provide critical funding for conservation efforts in the Keystone State, but to ensure Pennsylvania’s hunting heritage remains strong.
Hunting licenses sales, as well as Pittman-Robertson apportionments, are the major funding sources for the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC). Both of these critical revenue streams are dependent on strong hunter participation numbers to allow PGC to do the important conservation work they do, not only for the game species that hunters pursue, but also non-game species and the habitat they thrive in that everyone enjoys.
“Repealing the blue law that prohibits hunting on Sundays in the Commonwealth will allow sportsmen and women to be treated the same as other Pennsylvania residents who participate in their hobby and passion of choice on Sundays,” said Safari Club International CEO W. Laird Hamberlin. “Currently, Pennsylvania residents can hike, bike, kayak, golf, fish and even gamble legally on Sundays.”
The prohibition on Sunday hunting ignores the fact that not only is hunting a deep part of Pennsylvania’s tradition and history, but also Pennsylvania sportsmen and women directly contribute billions of dollars each year to the economy while directly supporting over 25,000 jobs.
SCI will continue to support any efforts to expand hunting opportunities in Pennsylvania which would pass on the rich tradition of hunting to the next generation of sportsmen and women in the Commonwealth.