A push to further expand Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania and remove the limits imposed by the 2019 law that allowed hunting on three Sundays has taken its first step in the General Assembly.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau opposes the measure and believes it would result in a significant expansion of Sunday hunting while removing the ability of farmers and other rural landowners to have their concerns heard and addressed through the legislative process.
Senate Bill 607, sponsored by Sen. Dan Laughlin of Erie County, cleared the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee with a 7-4 vote. The measure now heads to the full chamber for consideration.
The bill would grant the Pennsylvania Game Commission full authority to set Sunday hunting rules, taking those decisions away from the General Assembly. While Sunday hunting was previously limited to foxes, crows and coyotes, a 2019 law allowed expanded hunting to occur on three Sundays only and, if on private land, only with written permission from the landowner. The legislation would remove both of those limits.
While PFB has historically opposed Sunday hunting, grassroots members voted in November 2018 to shift PFB policy so that the organization could take a neutral stance on a Sunday hunting bill that met certain criteria. That paved the way for a compromise bill in 2019 that met those objectives: Limiting hunting to three Sundays, requiring written permission, and strengthening trespass laws.
PFB believes that Senate Bill 607 would essentially renege on that compromise by allowing Sunday hunting to be greatly expanded without farmers and other rural landowners having that same opportunity to see their concerns addressed through their elected legislators.