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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 10-29-2011, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Fate of bill to allow Sunday hunting unclear after

Fate of bill to allow Sunday hunting unclear after Farm Bureau opposes


Associated Press
October 27, 2011

HARRISBURG (AP) The sponsor of a bill to permit hunting on Sundays in Pennsylvania said Thursday its fate is uncertain because of staunch opposition from the state Farm Bureau.

House Game and Fisheries Chairman John Evans, R-Erie, said after a four-hour hearing on the topic that he was still trying to round up enough votes to get his bill out of committee. Pennsylvania is among 11 states that ban or place special restrictions on Sunday hunting, according to the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation.

"Right now it's pretty close we have members who are on the fence," Evans said.

The Farm Bureau argues that proponents have not made a clear case for changing the law and that there is considerable support for preserving one day a week when people can be outside without running into hunters or hearing gunfire. The organization also says trespassing problems would increase by adding another day of hunting.

Evans' bill would give the state Game Commission authority to determine precisely how Sunday hunting might be implemented. Supporters say it would give an economic boost to the state and provide opportunities for young hunters.

The Game Commission's board voted 4-3 in June in favor of repealing the Sunday hunting ban, and executive director Carl Roe said the agency would undertake a deliberative process if it gets the authority to write rules for it.

"There's no doubt in our mind that including Sunday hunting will certainly have a positive impact on the hunting industry," Roe told the committee.

Curt Ashenfelter, executive director of the Keystone Trails Association, said the Sunday prohibition makes the outdoors available for hikers, bird watchers, mountain bikers and others without having to be concerned for their safety. The Pennsylvania Equine Council also is opposed.

Some lawmakers on the committee disputed the safety risk, saying other activities were far more dangerous, and that hunting season occurs at a time when other recreational use is relatively light.

"You have the woods to yourselves all summer long," Rep. Marc Gergely, D-Allegheny, told Ashenfelter. "You're restricting us when you're not even there."

Rep. Dan Moul, R-Adams, said he wants to amend the bill so that it would pertain to private property only, not state gamelands or other public property. Moul said he would not support the bill without it, as he represents a district with a strong Farm Bureau element.

Evans said people with religious opposition to Sunday hunting can simply post their land to prohibit it.

A legislative study released last week said the state could generate up to $804 million in economic activity by permitting the additional day of hunting. The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee report said it would create about 7,500 jobs and almost $57 million in taxes.

Rob Southwick, whose company produced that report, told the committee that about 43 percent of all hunting activities take place on a Saturday, suggesting that Sunday would also prove popular for people who work all week.

Nearly 1 million general hunting licenses are sold in Pennsylvania each year.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 10-29-2011, 01:29 PM
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Re: Fate of bill to allow Sunday hunting unclear after

"Some lawmakers on the committee disputed the safety risk, saying other activities were far more dangerous, and that hunting season occurs at a time when other recreational use is relatively light." Just proves some of the elected are not the best or brightest. I guarantee there are more folks in the woods in October, November and early December than in February, March and April.

Folks go into the country in the Autumn to watch colors, and buy apples, pumpkins etc. They don't go slogging the muddy trails or watching leaves in March. Are those legislators idiots?

The farm bureau is absolutely correct about increased trespassing and a day to be in the woods. Not that it is dangerous per se, but to avoid dog walkers from chasing the deer and permit families to hike and watch leaves without worrying if some idiot will shoot at a rustle in the bushes.

But folks have the wrong idea about who should be posting. It shouldn't be that if the landowner doesn't want it HE must post his property. Let those in favor of it post their property as open. Or to alleviate the ugly posters altogether require ATV's, hunters, bikers, horseback rider and fishermen to carry written permission when on private property.
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