Hunters say being allowed to go afield on Sundays would open up opportunities, especially for youngsters.
It’s an issue that’s not going away.
Pennsylvania Game Commissioner Dave Putnam said that, in hearing from hunters about license fees, pheasant permits and more, there was one common denominator.
If hunters are going to pay more, they want more. And what they want is the ability to hunt on Sundays, Putnam said.
Count Terry Gerhart of Coudersport among them. A leader with the Northeast Beagle Gundog Association, said when asked by Putnam that he’d surely support the idea.
His group invests a lot of time into trying to get children involved with hunting, he said. The problem is sometimes competing with mostly full schedules.
“It can be nothing but a blessing. In Pennsylvania, it would be a huge benefit for what we’re trying to accomplish,” Gerhart said.
Lawmakers have introduced legislation that would remove the prohibition on Sunday hunting and allow the commission to decide what Sundays to open up. That’s been tried before and failed, most recently last year.
The commission continues to try to broker change. It hosted a number of groups opposed to sharing the woods with hunters on Sundays, like the Keystone Trails Association, at a meeting in Harrisburg in January to look for common ground.
There’s been no word on if any consensus was reached.
In the meantime, Pennsylvania isn’t the only state looking at the issue.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation has said it is working to pass statewide Sunday hunting in West Virginia during this legislative session.
“Following voter passage of Sunday hunting in all 11 counties where it was on the November ballot, the time has arrived to repeal this old blue law,” it said in a press release.
In Connecticut, legislation has likewise been introduced to legalize Sunday hunting there. .
According to The Sportsmen’s Alliance, Connecticut is “currently one of the most restrictive states on Sunday hunting. The only Sunday hunting allowed in Connecticut occurs on licensed, bird-hunting facilities.” Even then, the hunter must have the permission at the local level, it added.