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Brian Whipkey, Erie Times-News
A state Senate bill has been introduced that would allow the Pennsylvania Game Commission, not state lawmakers, to determine how many Sundays might be open for hunting.
Senate Bill 607, presented by Senator Dan Laughlin, Chairman of the Game and Fisheries Committee, Devlin J. Robinson and James R. Brewster, Chairman of the Game and Fisheries Minority, would provide the opportunity to hunt on Sundays.
If approved, the Game Commission would be able to institute Sunday hunting by regulation when setting the dates for the hunting season each year.
Last year, the legislature approved three Sundays for hunting. The Game Commission created a Sunday for black bear season, a Sunday for archery deer hunting, and a Sunday for white-tailed deer hunting.
“I haven’t heard any complaints about it,” Laughlin said on a phone call. Overall, he said, people liked him, especially those who worked. He thinks it helps more hunters find time to be in the woods.
Travis Lau, Director of Communications for the Game Commission, responded by email to questions about the future of Sunday hunting.
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“We know that license sales increased last year,” he said. “The latest numbers I saw are in late April, when the 2020-2021 general license sales were 884,105, an increase of over 3%, or over 26,000 hunters, from 2019- 20.
“We’ll still have to see where sales end as the 2020-21 licenses will be on sale until June 30, but sales for the year are already above last year’s total of 860,743. That said, in How much of the Sunday hunt played a role in the increase is an issue we are currently investigating and do not yet have a full picture of.
Efforts are underway to determine the reasons why more licenses were sold last year. For example, the pandemic has created more free time for people to engage in outdoor activities.
“We are conducting two separate surveys this spring / summer to learn more about the impact of the Sunday seasons on permit purchases,” Lau said. “Obviously, people were hunting these Sundays, and we heard a lot of positive comments about Sunday hunting and often hearing comments that people would like more.
“From the comments we have heard, it seems clear that most hunters will support Sen Laughlin’s bill, and the Game Commission supports it as well. “
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The Sunday hunt will continue this fall with three Sundays adopted with this year’s seasons. November 14 is archery season, November 21 is black bear season, and November 28 is deer season.
New this year, on November 14 and 21, hunters are also allowed to hunt other species like squirrel, grouse and rabbit (except migratory game birds and wild turkeys) which are in season on these dates.
Brian Whipkey is the Pennsylvania Outdoors columnist for Gannett. Contact him at [email protected]
Explore PA with you as an outside janitor!
My goal is to help others better understand what is available in Pennsylvania and to explain what is happening with state agencies regarding fishing, hunting, and the outdoors. I’ll answer common questions you might have regarding hunting, fishing, camping, visiting state parks and trails, and just about anything you can do outdoors. Twitter: @whipkeyoutdoors / Instagram: whipkeyoutdoors