Sunday, July 8, 2012

Whatever happened to Sunday hunting?

By John Hayes / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In the fall, it looked like the repeal of Pennsylvania's Sunday hunting ban was a strong possibility, if not a slam dunk. With new action last week, Sunday hunting is back on the radar.

House Bill 1760 would have transferred hunting authority from the legislature to the Game Commission, with a mandate to implement some form of Sunday hunting within one year of passage. At the time, legislative Republicans and Democrats agreed that Sunday hunting could provide Pennsylvania with as many as 8,000 jobs and $700 million in new revenue. The state would have joined 39 others, including New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey, where some form of Sunday hunting is legal.

In December the tables began to turn following pressure from the influential Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, which cited an inconvenience to farmers.

"The discussion has changed in the state on Sunday hunting," said Rep. Marc Gergely, D-White Oak, in a December interview. A hunter and Game and Fisheries Committee member, he supported the bill. "The most interesting fact in the debate is that Democrats are now more supportive of Sunday hunting than Republicans."

Last week organizers of a new non-profit group, Hunters United for Sunday Hunting, with links to the National Wild Turkey Federation, signaled its intention to sue the state to overturn the Sunday hunting ban.

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