Pennsylvania hunters are another step closer to enjoying expanded Sunday hunting after legislation to allow hunting on three Sundays passed the state House of Representatives overwhelmingly in a 144-54 vote Thursday. The amended version of the bill, Senate Bill 147, sponsored by Sen. Dan Laughlin of Erie, will now return to the Senate for a concurrence vote. If approved there, it will go on to the governor for his consideration.
While efforts to legalize Sunday hunting have a long history, the Pennsylvania chapter of BHA drove a pivotal stake in the ground in March of 2018 when it published a statement opposing the ban and calling on members to engage with their elected officials on the issue.
“Keystone state BHA members who over the past two years have leant their voices to the effort by contacting their representatives and demanding Sunday hunting have profoundly impacted this vote,” said Pennsylvania Chapter Chairman Nate Fronk, who lives in Clarks Green. “Along with our many conservation partner organizations, with whom we coordinated efforts, sportsmen and women created a cacophony that legislators found impossible to ignore.”
BHA President and CEO Land Tawney agreed.
“This victory is directly attributable to the commitment and hard work by our Pennsylvania members,” Tawney stated. “At 1,300-plus members in Pennsylvania, 40,000 North American strong and still the fastest growing sportsmen’s organization on the planet, the BHA family gets it done!”
The bill allows for one Sunday during the firearm deer season, one during the archery deer season and a third Sunday to be determined by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
House amendments include the following:
- Hunters must have written permission to hunt on private land on Sunday.
- Waiver of trespassing violations for those who go on private property to retrieve a hunting dog.
- Allows for the game commission to call on local police to help enforce trespassing rules.
- Delay of the law’s effective date by at least three months from final approval.
In its original form the bill entirely removed Pennsylvania’s prohibition on Sunday hunting and would have allowed the Pennsylvania Game Commission to manage hunting seven days a week.
“The board and members of Pennsylvania BHA offer our sincere thanks to those legislators who voted in favor of access, conservation and the future of hunting here in Pennsylvania,” said Chris Hennessey, regional manager for BHA. “Hunters and anglers are regaining a foothold in Harrisburg and we are here to stay.”
To learn how PA House members voted on this bill, Click Here.
To learn how PA Senate members voted on this bill, Click Here.