The following is the text of a letter delivered this week to key Pennsylvania Senate lawmakers:
Subject: Support of Senate Bill 607
To: Leader Kim Ward, President Pro Tempore Jake Corman.
The Pennsylvania Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) supports the efforts by Senator Laughlin and requests a positive vote on Senate Bill 607.
BHA’s mission is to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters.
BHA strongly supports SB 607 which would remove the remaining prohibition on Sunday hunting and give the Pennsylvania Game Commission the full authority to regulate hunting seasons for all seven days of the week. We would like to build on the resounding success that occurred with the three Sundays that were opened to hunting in 2020.
We advocate for the expansion of Sunday Hunting in Pennsylvania for the following reasons:
- Sunday Hunting would provide increased opportunities for junior hunters and working age adult hunters to become engaged in hunting and conservation. This will lead to better recruitment and retention of hunters throughout the state. In addition, Sunday hunting would result in additional economic benefits to the outdoor industry along with the rural communities and businesses that support it.
- Children's schedules today are more rigid than in the past. Sunday hunting would double the amount of time that junior hunters can spend in the field without interfering with school and team sports, many of which have Saturday activities. Likewise, the work and social demands of many adult hunters limit their time and Sunday may be the only time available to hunt with their children.
- Lack of time plays a major role in why many Pennsylvanians leave hunting. During the Covid 19 pandemic we saw a marked increase in the number Pennsylvanians drawn to the outdoors and hunting. Now we must work to keep those new hunters in the fold. Prior to the pandemic, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) tracked a downward trend in hunting license sales over the last decade. The PGC has identified hunter recruitment and retention as an important factor in improving support for our hunting and trapping heritage in the Keystone State. In a survey of lapsed hunters conducted for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, lack of time and work obligations were among the most frequently stated reasons for the decision to stop hunting. This was especially true in junior hunters and adult hunters under the age of 35. These are the groups that need to be recruited to maintain and grow Pennsylvania’s hunting population. Permitting Sunday hunting would work to alleviate the diminishing number of young hunters.
- Increased hunting opportunities also would lead to increased profits for the rural communities and businesses throughout the commonwealth. A National Shooting Sports Foundation study found that Sunday hunting could create over 8,000 new jobs and pump $764 million into the state’s economy. This includes not only traditional outdoor industries but other businesses such as restaurants, gas stations and hotels.
BHA Pennsylvania Chapter’s board of directors urge a positive vote for this bill. Thank you for the consideration.
Nate Fronk, President
BHA Pennsylvania Chapter