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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Sunday hunting pits NRA against farm, recreation g

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Sunday hunting pits NRA against farm, recreation groups

By Amy Worden
Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
Sun, Oct. 30, 2011


HARRISBURG - One might think the fight to open the fields and forests of Pennsylvania to Sunday hunting would pit guns against religion.

After all, the ban on shooting on the Sabbath has its roots in the blue laws of the 19th century.

Instead, it is shaping up to be a face-off between arguably the two most powerful lobbies in the state: sportsmen and farmers.

The National Rifle Association and other firearms and hunting groups are making a big push this fall for legislation to overturn a 138-year-old ban on Sunday hunting, arguing that they should have the right to hunt seven days a week during hunting seasons.

They cite economic advantages for expanding hunting, pointing to a new study completed by a legislative commission that predicts that adding days will create thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue.

But those involved in the state's number-one industry - agriculture - and recreation groups say they simply want a day of peace in the countryside each week.

Farmers say they want to preserve the one day when they don't have to worry about trespassers, while hikers, bikers, and horseback riders want to continue enjoying public land on Sundays without the fear of getting shot.

The legislation - still being debated in a House committee - would not open all Sundays to hunting. Rather, it calls for the Pennsylvania Game Commission - which voted, 4-3, last spring to support the bill - to determine which Sundays, in which hunting seasons, would be open to shooting.

For instance, the commission could designate Sunday hunting only during the peak two-week open deer season beginning at the end of November, or extend it to all Sundays from the start of the Canada goose-hunting seasons in September through the snow goose season that ends in April.

Thirty-nine states allow some form of hunting on Sundays, including New Jersey.

Still, the committee chairman and bill sponsor, Rep. John Evans (R., Erie), said he was not sure a bill will get voted out of committee.

"Right now it's pretty close - we have members who are on the fence," Evans said after a four-hour hearing on his bill Thursday.

Gov. Corbett said he wanted to review any legislation before determining whether or not he would support it.

"I'm not going to weigh in on it right now," Corbett said Thursday. "I want to see the bill."

Friction between the warring factions spilled over during a contentious hearing Thursday before the House Game and Fisheries Committee.

Joel Rotz, the chief lobbyist for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, testified that proponents have failed to make the case that the interests of all Pennsylvanians are better served by removing the current restrictions.

"We are hearing a growing voice among them who wish to be outdoors on Sunday enjoying a broad range of activities," Rotz said. "They say that one day a week should be preserved for their pleasure without the concern of encountering hunters or hearing gunfire."

One after another, pro-Sunday hunting lawmakers assailed the farm bureau and its position, contending it was not representing the will of its 52,000 members. One, Rep. Mark Gergely (R., Allegheny), mocked the bureau's defense of the rights of "leaf peepers," also known as foliage watchers.

Rotz responded that a majority of the bureau's membership has consistently voted against Sunday hunting.

The committee members hammered representatives of the hiking and horseback-riding communities for not having any proof that outdoors enthusiasts or their animals had been shot at or killed by hunters.

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 "the perception they are in danger."

But Carl Roe, executive director of the Game Commission, which has seen a decline in hunting licenses in recent years, said that expanded hunting will help generate revenue and give young people more opportunities to get involved in the sport.

"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.

Hunting is big business in Pennsylvania, which issues more than 900,000 licenses to shoot deer, waterfowl, elk, bear, and other animals each year, among the highest number in the nation.

In 2010, hunting generated roughly $1.7 billion in retail spending, a figure that would grow by 27 percent with Sunday hunting, according to the study prepared for the Legislative Finance and Budget Commission.

But Ashenfelter and others argued that non-hunting brings in revenue to the state and local business, too.

He said the legislative study that found Sunday hunting would help the economy did not consider revenue lost when nonhunters from around the region who used to pursue outdoor activities in Pennsylvania's natural areas decide to stay home or go elsewhere
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 11:27 PM
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Re: Sunday hunting pits NRA against farm, recreation g

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He said the legislative study that found Sunday hunting would help the economy did not consider revenue lost when nonhunters from around the region who used to pursue outdoor activities in Pennsylvania's natural areas decide to stay home or go elsewhere
Yah, yah, yah. But the facts prove that come Nov/December nobody but the hunters are in the woods away.

So much for that meritless point of view.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 11:28 PM
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Re: Sunday hunting pits NRA against farm, recreation g

"We are hearing a growing voice among them who wish to be outdoors on Sunday enjoying a broad range of activities," Rotz said. "They say that one day a week should be preserved for their pleasure without the concern of encountering hunters or hearing gunfire."

In other words, these groups want to preserve one day of the week for thier exclusive use of the outdoors. Meanwhile hunters share the woods with everyone on all legal hunting days and do not expect exclusive use.

The fact of the matter is that hunters activities are far less disruptive to their pursuits than their activites are to ours.

I support all hunters, regardless of weapon or technique!
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 11:48 PM
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Re: Sunday hunting pits NRA against farm, recreation g

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Originally Posted by dpms
The fact of the matter is that hunters activities are far less disruptive to their pursuits than their activites are to ours.
You might have that as an OPINION, but it is far from being a fact.

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don't wish things were easier;
wish you were smarter.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-31-2011, 12:55 AM
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Re: Sunday hunting pits NRA against farm, recreation g

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Originally Posted by quackmaster4
You might have that as an OPINION, but it is far from being a fact.
I have had plenty of hunts impacted while hunting in and around Pittsburgh. That okay because I except it as part of the deal. Had a archery hunt two weeks ago pretty much end when someone walked through the woodlot. I knew the fellow, he was just out for a walk. My hunting didn't affect his walk one bit.

I cannot think of one example of where I negatively impacted anybody pursueing another outdoor activity while hunting. Now, some non-hunters may choose to not use the outdoors because hunting season is open. That is their choice but hunters do not have a choice to hunt on a certain day of the week except for coyotes, foxes and crows.

I support all hunters, regardless of weapon or technique!
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-31-2011, 12:03 PM
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Re: Sunday hunting pits NRA against farm, recreation g

It seems a little odd that all these outside interest are trying to get into the act about SH in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately the NRA and the out of state sportsman clubs do not vote in Pa and the PFB pays taxes in Pa and does vote.
When they introduced hunting on Sunday here in Jersey it was not that big of an issue, but then we are not using high powered rifles either.
The longer this goes on the uglier itís becoming and if it fails to get approved it will take years if ever to get presented again.
Come over and buy a non-resident license here in NJ and come hunt on Sundays we would welcome you with open arms.
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-31-2011, 01:58 PM
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Re: Sunday hunting pits NRA against farm, recreation g

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Originally Posted by MountainGable
The longer this goes on the uglier itís becoming and if it fails to get approved it will take years if ever to get presented again.
Being from NJ you might not know this the change to legalize SH in PA has been going on for many two session in a row at least back 2003-2004 in its current form

what has changed... is people have sensed a window of opportunity with the change in the governor office and change in leadership in the house to move SH.

PFB is in a excellent position to horse trade for something they want legislatively if they are wise enough to figure this out

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Support Sunday hunting for the future.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-31-2011, 02:03 PM
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Re: Sunday hunting pits NRA against farm, recreation g

I say give them the tax relief in the form of abolishing the death tax on farm properties, stronger trespass laws; and free signs if they want them.

The man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic. ~Roosevelt
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-31-2011, 03:14 PM
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Re: Sunday hunting pits NRA against farm, recreation g

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Unfortunately the NRA and the out of state sportsman clubs do not vote in Pa and the PFB pays taxes in Pa and does vote.
Really? PA members of the NRA don't vote?

Shoot straight

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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-31-2011, 04:33 PM
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Re: Sunday hunting pits NRA against farm, recreation g

Let's see, "give" the FB tax relief, stronger trespass laws, and free signs. No thanks, that would mean MY money(taxes) going to printing signs and abolishing a tax, just so YOU can have SH??

Problem with today, we have been lured for many years that the Government, state and fed, just has money laying around to "give" away. THAT IS MY/OUR MONEY!!!!!! Sooner we get that basic fact through our heads, the sooner this country gets back on it's feet. I guess when your so involved in politics, you lose this tiny piece of information once the wheeling and dealing gets going. Just normal to spend someone else's money to get your desired results.
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