Pennsylvania Bill to Allow Hunting on Sundays Set for Vote

The very old law may be reversed in a few weeks. (Photo: GunsAmerica)

“We’re finally free of the British,” said Pennsylvania state Rep. Bill Kortz (D).

Pennsylvania legislators have successfully brought a bill before the state senate that would end the prohibition on hunting on Sundays. The prohibition predates the founding of the United States.

Even 80 years ago the state’s legislators voted on whether or not to repeal the prohibition, and while they permitted fishing on Sundays, the restriction on hunting remained in place.

Legislators and hunters alike say that the prohibition inadvertently promotes, rather than discourages, trespassing and poaching.

“Hunters with permission to hunt are almost always the first line of defense against trespassing and poaching,” said Thomas W. Redfern, legislative chair of United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania. “Legal, ethical hunters are the eyes and ears that help law enforcement against trespassers and poachers,” he said.

“Will legalized Sunday hunting reduce trespassing? Absolutely yes,” he said. “But not because of some Farm Bureau compromise trespass language, but by allowing legal, ethical hunters to be in the woods on Sunday protecting the resource, respecting the rights of landowners and reporting any trespassing poachers they encounter.”

Most states that have had “blue laws” and other prohibitions against hunting on Sundays have repealed the laws without any issues. Because of that, the bill placed a focus on trespass laws.

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, which represents local and family farms in addition to large agribusinesses, brought forward a list of conditions within the bill to prevent hunters from getting onto properties where they’re unwelcome.

Under the proposed law, hunters will need permission in writing to hunt on private property using a system set in place by the state game commission. Property owners will have a new pathway to file complaints with law enforcement and allow officers and wardens onto their property following any complaints.

The bill and its three amendments are scheduled for reexamination by the state senate and a vote on Nov. 18. If the Senate votes in its favor it will head to the governor’s desk on the same day.

See Also: Mississippi Celebrates 15th Gator Hunting Season!

“I’m from the Mon Valley. There’s a lot of hunters down there. I think they support this,” said Rep. Kortz. “To me, it’s a property rights issue. We just want to hunt on our own land [on Sundays] — that’s the other way to look at it. People who hunt on public land in Allegheny National Forest where there are no farms, why can’t they hunt on Sundays?”

Klint Macro, speaking for the Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League, said he hopes that non-hunters can appreciate a greater mixed use of the state’s wilderness, and to “pay attention to your surroundings and enjoy your hike or bike ride,” while keeping an eye out for hunters.

“For an extra ounce of safety, wearing an orange hat would increase your ability to be seen while enjoying our Penn’s Woods,” said Macro. “I make sure every time my child plays in the woods behind our house during hunting season, he has on his orange hat.”

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Nathan November 5, 2019, 10:35 am

    As a lifelong hunter and Pennsylvania landowner, I have always allowed public access to our family farms in an effort to promote the sport of hunting. I know many hunters are in favor of allowing Sunday hunting, but I have yet to meet a single landowner who supports this legislation. One after another, the story is the same: If Sunday hunting is allowed, private land will be posted and closed to the public for hunting.

    This is also my firm commitment. Several hundred acres of our family farm will be removed from the PA Game Commission Public Access partnership when or if this becomes law.

    While the majority of hunters are ethical and conscientious about respecting laws and landowners’ rights, there are many who are not. I am constantly and consistently chasing hunters out of safety zones and out of unharvested crops, in which it is not legal to hunt in PA. Constant vigilance is required if you allow public access, and I need a break. I do not want to be worshiping on Sunday morning and thinking about what soybeans are being trampled or who is discharging weapons scant yards from my back porch. Every landowner knows this struggle.

    My fear is this, that in an attempt to attract more hunters to the sport in Pennsylvania, the end result will be the closure of most of the private land across the state, and that will adversely affect both hunter numbers and the ability of the Game Commission to regulate the deer herd.

    • Ted November 12, 2019, 5:55 am

      I can’t agree more! I was born and raised in rural PA and during hunting season Sunday was the only day safe to do outside chores. Farmers I know are talking about posting their property for the first time ever if this is passed.

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