Get Ready for Sunday Hunting, Pennsylvanians!

After more than 100 years, hunters in Pennsylvania will finally be able to hunt on Sunday once Gov. Tom Wolf signs S. 147 into law.

Get Ready for Sunday Hunting, Pennsylvanians!

As I prepare for my annual trip to deer camp in northern Wisconsin, I can't help but think how different things would be if Wisconsin had the same antiquated law as some northeastern states that bans hunting on Sundays. Besides cutting two days from our nine-day gun deer season, a Sunday hunting ban would effectively halve the number of days a lot of hunters get to go afield on the weekend. The new legislation in Pennsylvania will allow hunting on only three Sundays, one during rifle deer season, one during statewide archery deer season, and a third day to be selected by Pennsylvania's Game Commission. The Pennsylvania state Senate approved S. 147 in a vote of 38-11, moving the bill to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk, where he has committed to signing the measure into law.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has made Sunday hunting a priority issue in Pennsylvania. NSSF led the Sunday Hunting Coalition, along with 15 other like-minded hunting and conservation groups and outdoor retail businesses. NSSF was successful in recent years in bringing Sunday hunting to North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and South Carolina. Maine and Massachusetts still have outright Sunday hunting bans, and several states still restrict hunting, including allowing hunting only on private lands.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pennsylvania had over 975,000 paid hunting license holders, second only to Texas. It's been estimated that removing all Sunday hunting barriers in Pennsylvania could contribute as much as $764 million to the state's economy, including jobs, output and wages created from hunter expenditures ranging from licenses, ammunition, and hunting supplies as well as food, fuel and lodging. Let's not forget who usually foots the bill for conservation. Increased spending in Pennsylvania means more money available through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act. 

While three Sundays out of the entire hunting season is not a complete victory, it's a leap in the right direction. Any time a state is able to increase opportunities for hunters, anglers and trappers rather than further restrict those opportunities is a win for sportsmen and women nationwide. 

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