HARRISBURG, PA- Pennsylvania’s Sunday Hunting bill, SB 147, cleared its last legislative hurdle Nov. 18 when the state Senate voted 38-11 in its favor, sending the legislation to Governor Tom Wolf’s desk for his consideration.
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. It also provides for increased penalties for trespass on private property and allows Game Wardens to enforce trespass while hunting as a primary offense. Provisions included via amendment in the House include:
- 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.
Sponsored by Sen. Dan Laughlin of Erie, the measure passed the state House of Representatives overwhelmingly in a 144-54 vote Oct. 30.
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.