Pennsylvania’s first big game hunting Sunday arrives this weekend
For the first time since colonial days in Pennsylvania, deer and bear hunters will be allowed to continue their careers on select Sundays, starting this weekend.
After a long-standing recurring battle in the state legislature, the Pennsylvania Game Commission was allowed last year to set 3 Sundays on which big game hunting would be legal for the first time since before Pennsylvania does become a state: one during archery season. , one during gun season and another Sunday chosen by the commission.
Earlier this year, the commission approved Sunday, Nov. 15 for archery deer hunting; Sunday, November 22 for bear hunting; and Sunday, November 29 for deer hunting during gun season.
Before Senate Bill 147 came into law late last year, only crows, coyotes, and foxes could be hunted on Sundays. The law in force prohibited Sunday hunting, but exempted these 3 animals. Coyotes can be hunted year round. Foxes are legal game from late October to late February. Crows can be hunted on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from the beginning of July to the following mid-April.
Pennsylvania remains one of the few states to continue to ban most types of hunting on most Sundays of the year.
New Sunday hunting opportunities create an opening weekend for bear season, which previously opened on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, skipped Sunday and then resumed Monday through Wednesday.
As the commission continues the controversial opening on Saturday of the deer hunting season with firearms, which it first implemented last year, Sunday, November 29 will have the same effect on the hunting season. deer.
“While not everyone was in favor of moving the opening day of the deer season to Saturday, most commissioners felt that after talking to hunters in their districts, there were usually more than support than opposition, and the change would allow more hunters – especially youth and young adults – to hunt on opening day, ”said Tim Layton, then chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners, as the council planned to continue the program this year.
“Now this idea appears to be supported by an increase in license sales, which is extremely encouraging as, frankly, there hasn’t been a lot of positive news to report on this front in recent years.
“It shows that moving the opener to Saturday was the right decision to make.”
Data on license sales were presented to the commissioners by Coren Jagnow, the commission’s human dimensions scientist. She said hunting license sales through December 2019 increased 0.4% in 2019 to 849,575, an increase of 3,351 licenses.
Jagnow noted that license sales have tended to decline for more than three decades. In the previous license year, sales fell 3.4 percent, a loss of over 30,000 hunters. And since the peak year for license sales in 1982, license sales have only increased 13 times in 36 years.
She said there is a strong correlation between the Saturday 2019 opening and increased license sales, giving reason for optimism that further increases may be possible in the years to come.
“It certainly looks like a step in the right direction to reverse the long-term trend of losing hunters,” she said.
Contact Marcus Schneck at [email protected].