Proponents of ending Sunday hunting bans, or Blue Laws, in Pennsylvania could be approaching a landmark decision.
An upcoming pubic hearing held by the Game and Fisheries Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives could be a final major step towards the end to the generations-old Sunday hunting bans in the Keystone State.
Senate Bill 147 was already approved in June in Pennsylvania's other legislative chamber, and the Tuesday, September 10, 2019 meeting will be a last ditch effort for anyone still in favor of keeping the so-called Blue Laws preventing Pennsylvania sportsmen from hunting on the day of rest.
Among those opponents of allowing Sunday hunting are the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, who will be at the hearing to testify. Others expected and scheduled to testify include the Keystone Trails Association, Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists, and National Rifle Association.
SB 147 would open hunting on three Sundays a year: a Sunday during firearms season for deer, a Sunday during deer archery season, and a third Sunday to be determined by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. If approved by the House, it should make it to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk for signing by October at the latest.
The bill would also address private property concerns, increasing trespassing while hunting on to a higher-level offense. It would lead to a loss of hunting license as part of the penalty for a second offense.
As of right now, Pennsylvanians can pursue crows, coyotes and foxes on Sundays. The move to allow seven-day hunting weeks during the season is thought to motivate younger people who attend school, generate more license revenue from those who wouldn't hunt otherwise, and increase the recreational opportunities in the state of Pennsylvania.
In 2014, Virginia did away with its Sunday hunting ban, and Delaware more recently pushed legislation through the system as well. Now, every state touching Pennsylvania allows deer hunting on Sundays. It's been argued that economic opportunity leaves at least one day a week, driving dollars that could have been spent in-state elsewhere.
Whether or not a law gets signed soon enough to affect the 2019-20 hunting seasons remains to be seen. Most likely, a change would occur the following year.