In this week’s Small Town Outdoors blog, Tyler Ripper talks about Sunday hunting in PA. It’s a little longer of a blog, but we hope you enjoy it and share your own opinion on the matter!
What can you do on a Sunday? Well just to name a few things: go to church, hike trails, relax, read Small Town Outdoors blogs when we release them on a Sunday… ya know, pretty much anything. However, there are 2 things that you cannot do on Sundays in Pennsylvania: hunt, or buy a car.
These are referred to as Blue Laws. Taking a quick look back in history, most blue laws were created to prevent/ban certain non-religious activities on Sundays because Sunday is supposed to be a sacred, religious day of rest. Former blue laws include preventing work, buying, selling, shopping, public entertainment, sports, etc.
Now, most of these blue laws that used to be established have since been overturned; and for good reason. Some people are very religious and go to church on Sundays and treat the day as a full day of rest, and that’s 100% okay. Nothing wrong there. But whether he/she is religious or not, some people want to do other things on Sundays as well whether that’s work, or hunt, or shop, etc.
But the two blue laws that are still in effect today in PA?
1) Car sales are NOT allowed on Sundays. I don’t quite understand this one, and think it’s kind of weird and inconvenient, but I don’t know all the details to this one so I’m just going to leave this one be.
2) Hunting in PA on Sundays is illegal with the exception of foxes, coyotes, and I believe groundhogs and crows as well. But other small game animals, and big game like deer, turkey, bear? Nope. That’s a negative ghost rider.
First off, there’s always going to be people against hunting. And as hunters, the only thing we can do is continue to be respectful, and ethical in the sport of hunting. Because the more that every hunter takes that to heart, the less ammo people will have against hunting.
Now, specifically looking at an argument against Sunday hunting, a friend of mine brought up a good point. He said that Sundays is the only day that he can take his dog out on a run/walk in the woods and not have to worry about hunters being out and about. His dog is a brown lab, and can closely resemble a deer if she’s running through the woods without any orange on. That’s a fair point, and I can understand that. People who don’t hunt that also want to enjoy a day in the woods can take Sundays to do so without the worry of hunters roaming around as well.
However, to counter that point, hunting doesn’t occur year round. There’s really no hunting in the summer, and in the spring, turkey hunting occurs for a month.
Rifle season for deer lasts 2 weeks in the end of November and beginning of December. It’s normally snowing or freezing out anyways, so most people probably aren’t going out in the woods in that weather; but hunters will.
Now for me, I’m a big archery hunter. I also have a full-time job that I work Monday – Friday, 7am – 5pm and live an hour away from it. Even if I didn’t live an hour away, by the time I would get out of work, get ready to hunt, and actually get set-up in the woods, there wouldn’t be much time to hunt before it gets dark, and I’d be entering the woods DURING the primetime of the evening; not ideal. Until late in the season when it gets dark at 5, then I really have no shot to hunt.
So that leaves me with 1 day to hunt each week during season, Saturdays. And I’m not the only one. A lot of other people are like that as well. Hell, some people have to work Saturdays too. The only other way to hunt during the week is if I take vacation days. So if Sundays were legal to hunt, that gives hunters who can only hunt 1 day a week or don’t have the vacation to get more days off, the opportunity to hunt another day. Which if you want to be a successful hunter, you need to put in the time to do so.
What about getting a younger generation of hunters involved? There are worries/complaints the number of hunters are declining, especially in the youth. Well, kids who are in school, especially ones who have other activities after school gets out (sports, band, tutoring, etc.), also do not have the opportunity to hunt during the week. Leaving them only Saturdays and Sundays. Want numbers to grow in the hunting community, especially in younger hunters that want/need experience? Then give them more opportunities to get out.
Some states have small restrictions on Sunday hunting, but they’ve found a compromise. For example, a few states allow Sunday hunting, but only on private land. There are only 4 states left that have a complete ban on Sunday hunting: Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. So you’re telling me we can’t find some type of compromise on Sunday hunting, when 46 of the 50 states have?
Well, PA is finally making a little bit of progress with that. There have been attempts to do this before, but it’s always been shot down at some point fairly early during the process. However, this bill seems like it’s got some momentum to it.
On February 5th, the PA “Senate Game and Fisheries Committee voted 8-3 to move Senate Bill 147 out of committee and onto the Senate floor,” as read on Lancaster Online. They go onto say that a push for Sunday hunting has never come this far; but we still have a ways to go.
If the Senate floor passes the bill on, it will then go to the House of Representatives. From there, they could accept it, reject it, or make changes to it, which would ultimately send it back to square one starting the whole process over. If this bill makes it all the way and passes, then the PA Game Commission would control Sunday hunting.
So while we are making progress, we still have a ways to go before a bill gets passed for Sunday hunting. Then we’ll have to see how the Game Commission will control it. I just hope that a common ground can be agreed upon at the very least, and some type of compromise can be put in place.
What are your thoughts? Do you think hunting on Sundays should be allowed? Why or why not? Let us know by leaving a comment on this blog or any of our most recent social media posts from today. And as always, find the outdoors within.
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