Seeking Input from Sportsmen

The Governor’s Advisory Council is looking for opinions from Pennsylvania sportsmen on how to improve the hunting experience in our state.  My suggestion would be Sunday hunting, and lowering of fees for out of state residents.

Pennsylvania dropped its ban on Sunday fishing in 1937, and other blue laws, such as those limiting the sale of liquor and beer, have been greatly relaxed. With the exception of car sales, hunting remains the only activity that’s restricted on Sunday in Pennsylvania.

Seems silly to me.  If it helps slow the decline in hunting, it seems like a no brainer.  Hunting is big money for Pennsylvania, which is why even Ed Rendell is worried about it’s decline.  Look how much trouble states like New Jersey have with wildlife management, since it’s almost entirely destroyed its hunting and shooting culture?  It would be a pity if that happened here.

9 thoughts on “Seeking Input from Sportsmen”

  1. Yeah, I want to do some hunting there in PA and I got a friend with deer on his land. The only time I can go hunt is on a weekend, because working stiffs like me have to work during the week. And $110 for a non-resident deer permit just seems outrageously stupid to me. And since my friend insists on bow-only hunting on his land, how much extra will that cost me for the license? It’s nuts. And these idjits wonder why hunting is on the decline. Eventually, only the rich will be able to afford to hunt, just like in England.

  2. I go deer hunting up in Elk County every year, and I’d sure appreciate not having to pay quite so much as $101 for my license. I’m not exactly sure what the justification is for the $81 difference between resident and non-resident.

  3. I mean, NY does the same thing to non-residents. It’s like a hostility towards “outsiders.” Is it any wonder why hunters’ numbers are on the decline?

  4. From my experience, I saw a similar price for non-resident hunting in Ohio (and Michigan…)

    Since I’m a Michigan resident, I end up hunting in Michigan.

    However, I’ve not seen many states with a no-hunting-on-Sundays law. That was a new one to me.

  5. I believe every state charges non-residents substantially more. Here’s why:

    1) Often F&G departments are not funded through general taxes. They are expected to make enough revenue on their own to fully support staff, research, maintenance, infrastructure, programs, land purchases, etc.

    2) Since only hunters and anglers pay the fees that fund the departments, the increase in fees falls on us. It’s easier to pass fee hikes on to people who don’t live in the state and can’t complain with any success to political officials.

    3) Therefore the only test they have is the market. When sales dip to where they are taking in less money, even with fee hikes, they know they have gone too far. Unfortunately, it can take a while before those trends are noticed since only 15% of hunters do hunt out of their home state. Now, you could argue that if a state would reduce the fees, they might see that number rise. However, they would most likely have to raise fees on residents, and 96% of hunters hunt in their home state. So, you can see how easy it is to piss off a much larger group, even if it’s a minor fee hike.

    4) A big issue that we probably need to pick up and fight is the fact that non-hunters and anglers often have unrestricted use of the same properties, but they don’t pay a dime to support it. We’re shouldering the costs to maintain trails for hikes, boat ramps for people who just want a party barge, and all sorts of other outdoor recreation essentials. I’m a supporter of licenses for some of those uses, much like we have hunting and fishing licenses. If you want to use public land, pay for it. This could give relief to both out-of-state hunters and in-state hunters.

    5) That said, if there’s a state that has outrageously high hunting fees for non-residents, politely email their F&G Board/Commission/whatever and let them know that as a non-resident, you would love to come to their state to hunt. Explain that you understand tight budgets, but that as a non-resident, you shouldn’t be expected to pick up the slack. Also note that by losing your “hunting business,” they also miss out on the gas taxes you’ll pay getting there, the hotel taxes or camping fees you’d pay to stay there, the food you’d buy there, and the other spending you’d be sure to do while visiting their fine state. While they don’t have to respond to you, they might hear from enough people that it would be a signal to bring down license fees a bit to see if there’s a spike in demand.

  6. I do think it fair to charge non-residents more – up to a point.

    But the Sunday ban sounds like a left-over from several generations back that the legislature just never got around to changing, and another example of why I occasionally say that all laws (possibly excepting treason) should have a “sunset clause” requiring reconsidering/passing.

    Uh, car sales? Seriously? What, to let sales types avoid the temptation of lying for one day a week?

  7. Have you followed Sunday hunting debates, teqjack? Because I have and my observations are that they still have strong support in most states. It’s definitely weaker in Pennsylvania, but the debate is far from simply a “left-over from several generations back” in many other states where the bans are on the books. However, if your observations have been different, I’d love to hear your take.

  8. Sunday clause compromise…

    Sunday, no hunting between 8:30 and noon. This should keep noise down for most churches. Men going to church instead of hunting making those wives that force people to church happy.

    Hunting could be done earlier in the morning or later in the day. (Before opposing it, understand the law of “Foot in the Door”) ;-)


    Here’s a funny, I was at SGL242 pistol range. And all of a sudden we notice at the top of the range was a deer. It’s like WTF my four legged friend. Do you not hear the dozens of gun shots going off in your vicinity?

    It just stood there for about 5 minutes…

  9. As a 7th day Sabbath observant Christian who hunts, if I lived in Pennsylvania I’d file a lawsuit over Sunday hunting. Sunday is effectively the only day of the week I have to hunt. That law so obviously shows a preference to a particular religious belief and discriminates against people like me.

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