Sent to the Times Leader and the Patriot News.
Please let me know if it pops up somewhere else.
Sara Speed of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), author of “Pennsylvania Should Leave Sunday Free of Hunting” claims the HSUS has 650,000 supporters in Pennsylvania; however; according to HSUS’s 2009 tax return, the HSUS membership magazine All Animals has a national circulation of only 450,000 subscribers. One must wonder how many of those “supporters” (and not actual members) know what the HSUS really is.
The truth is; the HSUS is an anti-hunting organization who reportedly gives less than 1% of its budget to local animal shelters.
The Humane Society of Harrisburg is clear with that message. “The Humane Society of Harrisburg Area is an independent organization, not related to HSUS, the ASPCA, or any other Humane Societies. We receive no funds from national organizations or the government.”
Ms. Speed cites fear that hunting is not safe. Let’s set the record straight. Hunting is one of the safest activities for participants and is even safer amongst non-participants.
Data from the International Hunter Education Association indicates 93 fatal and 805 non-fatal hunting injuries were recorded in the U.S. with more than 20 million active hunters. Of those, 351 were self-inflicted. Hunting is safer than billiards, golf, swimming and home accidents.
82% of landowners do not oppose Sunday Hunting. Private individuals own 54% of all forestland (8,906,000 acres) in Pennsylvania and over fifty percent of forestland owners purchased their land primarily because they want to hunt.
Ms. Speed does bring up an excellent point; however.
Hunter numbers are declining and HSUS wants to keep it that way. That is the true reason for Ms. Speed’s op-ed.
Research indicates Sunday hunting would help to reverse that trend. Fifty nine percent of inactive hunters and former hunters said Sunday Hunting would moderately or strongly encourage them to hunt more or return to hunting.
Our youth hunters are strapped for time. During the deer season, the bus drops them off at around 4:00 PM. Hunting hours end at approximately 5:05. Sunday hunting would give our young hunters one extra day to hunt during the deer rifle season, if implemented.
HSUS leads you to believe that law enforcement will be stretched thin if expanded Sunday hunting is implemented.
Our Wildlife Conservation Officers already work a seven day work week and it is currently legal to hunt coyote, crows, fox and other nuisance species on Sunday.
The non-hunting public should know the truth with regard to hunting and not the fallacies of the HSUS and their supporters.
• Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is the AIDS of our deer herd. It has been found ten miles from the Pennsylvania border.
• Lyme disease prevalence is shown to increase with increased deer herds.
• Deer vehicle collision increase with increased deer herds.
• Hunting helps control the spread of CWD and Lyme disease and keep deer vehicle collisions lower through hunter harvest.
• Hunters provide for 750,000 meals to the needy through donation of game through Hunters Sharing the Harvest on an annual basis.
• Hunter dollars purchased 1.5 million acres of state game lands that are open for public use throughout the Commonwealth
• Hunter dollars and a share of Pittman Roberson funding; an excise tax on sporting goods and ammunition; are what funds the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) who is responsible for 467 species of wildlife. The PGC receives no general fund tax dollars.
• Hunting injects 3.5 billion into Pennsylvania’s economy annually and hunting and fishing provides 28,000 jobs across the state, fishing another 23,000. Combined, those jobs account for $1.7 billion worth of paychecks and $371 million in state and local taxes
• Projections show Sunday hunting will add between 5,300 and 8,190 new jobs; and will contribute an additional $630 and $765 million in spending. In these tough economic times, the added benefit of Sunday hunting will increase spending and boost local economies providing a solid, reliable tax base.
• Thanks to hunters dollars; wildlife regulations; habitat restoration and conservation efforts, wildlife is safe in PA. In 1980, PA had two pair of nesting bald eagles and today there are nearly 200.
Hunting is an important traditional recreational activity in Pennsylvania. The Quality Deer Management Association asks you join us in support of HB 1760.