HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Hunting advocates say while adding three days of Sunday hunting a year was a step in the right direction, Pennsylvania still needs more. Legislation is in the works to make that happen.
There are 25 different outdoor groups that want the state Game Commission to have total authority over Sunday hunting.
The Game Commission has passed several resolutions saying it would accept this authority.
Right now, it’s the legislature that has control over Sunday hunting.
The Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen & Conservationists says the switch is vital because commissioners are the wildlife management experts who making decisions to regulate PA’s 480 species based on science.
So, there’s no guarantee they’d allow hunting every Sunday for every species.
For example, the commission would likely be cautious about turkey hunting, given it’s trying to get back to the state’s population goal.
But, advocates say allowing Sunday hunting could help control certain issues, like removing an excess deer population in an area with a chronic wasting disease problem.
Legislation is still preliminary, but many hunters are hoping action gets taken this legislative session.
“To do otherwise Priscilla would be very wasteful of Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars, wasteful of our legislators time, and in the end, what’s happening is Pennsylvanians are losing out on an opportunity in the field with family and friends, and that’s truly why we hunt,” said Harold Daub, the executive director of the Federation of Sportsmen & Conservationists.
Daub says statistics show in other states, not as many people hunt on Sundays as they do on Saturdays.
There are still groups, like the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, that have made their stances clear against expanding Sunday hunting. They say farmers need one day a week for peace and quiet and to move around their properties to do repairs.
Another thing conservationists are advocating for is to fill empty seats in both the Game and Fish and Boat commissions.
The resource agencies are staffed with professionals, like biologists, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.
Several commissioners’ terms are up or just about to be up.
The federation recently sent a letter to the Governor requesting action.
In the meantime, the Game Commission had to push up a meeting to have enough commissioners to conduct business.