I just read this.
July 22, 2019 President Layton, Commissioners, Executive Director Burhans, and Deputy Executive Director Grohol and Palmer,
Good morning gentlemen. My name is Kevin Askew, I am the Executive Director for Hunters United for Sunday Hunting. Let me first say that my organization is undeterred in our mission to remove the prohibition of Sunday hunting in PA Title 34 Game Law through education, and influence legislatures to change the law accordingly.
I am here today to thank you, the Board of Commissioners for the work you have and are about to put in regarding Senate Bill 147.
Unfortunately, legislators have not provided full regulatory authority to the Pa. Game Commission. The anchoring and dictating by the law of two Sunday’s in SB147 is not based on any science as you know. Please be aware that no Pa. based sportsmen or conservation organization was at the table when this deal was made.
You must accept and realize the Pa. Farm Bureau is still opposed to SB147. So what! This opposition should not deter you in the least. Why? Page 23, 2019 Pa. Farm Bureau Policy Book, Wildlife Management Section, Line 6, “We recommend sound science be used to manage wildlife populations.” The Pa. Farm Bureau just wants to posture and stand in the way of wildlife conservation progress in this state for no real reason. The Pa. Farm Bureau knows full well that they are getting stronger hunting trespass laws that benefit both farmers and landowners. All the while providing additional hunting opportunities to farmers and others.
SB147 still has a few more hurdles to go through before it becomes law. The best-case scenario is that SB147 gets through the Pa. House in September and onto the governor's desk for signature opening up the possibility for Sunday hunting opportunity this fall. The other scenario is it gets held up in the legislative process and does not reach the governor's desk until late November or December effectively eliminating any Sunday opportunity for the 2019-2020 hunting season.
What you as commissioners and an agency do, and how you handle the progress and implementation of SB147 is extremely critical in both short term and long term. Once SB147 becomes law, all eyes are on the Pa. Game Commission. Some want you to succeed. Others want you to fail. So what do you do?
You all know what Hunters United for Sunday Hunting team has done to get to this point today. My recommendation is that you follow the same template. Be completely transparent, educate and keep people informed on what is going on. Tell people what, why and how you can and are implementing these three Sundays. If SB147 gets held up for some reason don’t be afraid to say why and place blame where it belongs.
This is a great educational opportunity for both politicians and the public. If done right the agency can very well reap the benefits. If done wrong you have just given the opposition the club to beat us with in this conservation battle for hunting on Sunday. There is no better evidence of this than the ridicule of Joel Rotz, Pa. Farm Bureau, “hunters who can't go out on Sundays already have an economic impact, such as by going to sports events or eating and drinking at bars and restaurants in their communities.”
Hunters United for Sunday Hunting welcomes the additional hunting opportunity in SB147 and understands the task and decisions ahead of you as commissioners. Thanks for the work that you do and the resources that you protect.
Kevin B. Askew
Executive Director, Hunters United for Sunday Hunting
**Of note, Joel Rotz, Pa. Farm Bureau was in attendance. He did not address the commissioners.**
at July 22, 2019