Sunday Hunting in PA

Apparently farmers are the main people opposing this:

Apart from the religious justification for the ban, Farm Bureau members also claim they want one day free of hunters traipsing across their property.

Hikers and bird-watchers join the farmers, saying they want one day a week of bullet-free passage through Penn’s Woods. And some sportsmen also support the ban, saying the wild critters they stalk need a day of rest as well.

Do the wild critters get a day of rest from bears, bobcats, or cougars? Sunday hunting, I think, is an important move to help reverse a declining sport, or at least to slow the decline. It’s amazing to me what a tough debate this has been. I can’t think of any state that’s passed Sunday hunting where it wasn’t a fight, and not with HSUS, but other hunters and people from rural areas where hunting is generally well supported.

15 thoughts on “Sunday Hunting in PA”

  1. I have raised my personal objections to Sunday Hunting on your weblog before.

    Though there was no formal poll, the majority of members of the local Sportsmans’ club also seem against it. I read online in the Tribune Democrat that a major sportsmans club in Cambria or Somerset County formally voted a resolution against Sunday Hunting twice.

    I think the idea about bringing new hunters into the fold is fantasy. This is really about increasing revenues for outfitters, businesses that cater to camp owners, etc. Mainstream Pennsylvanians who actually hunt seem lukewarm at best.

    I have talked to three other farmers who will completely close their land if this passes. If there is less land access, the gain in hunter interest will be negated.

    Nothing personal, just vigorous difference on public policy.

  2. Richard, I no longer live near Pennsylvania, but I have spent many years hunting deer and turkey in and around Elk County, and have long wished that I could get an extra day to hunt there. I notice that while you state that you object, you don’t provide a reason for your objection.

    From the linked story, the only objection is that there are benefits to having one day a week hunting free. If so, there’s an easy solution: move the hunting-free day to Wednesday or Thursday or any other weekday. That way, hunters get another day off to hunt, and those that want one hunting-free day a week get that, too. Win-win.

  3. As I am moving from a state with no sunday restrictions to a state with sunday restrictions… I call BS on these reasons.

    If farmers want a day off from hunters coming onto their property, the answer is simple – don’t let them. It’s private property, they need permission. If they violate that, they’re trespassing.

    As for the hikers and whatnot, hunting season is hardly year-round in most east coast states. Don’t know about PA specifically.

    As someone with very limited time off during hunting season (saturdays and sundays are it!) why am I cut off by 50%?

  4. Chris brought up my question, why is it so difficult for the landowners who don’t want to allow access on Sundays to simply inform any hunters who wish to use their land of that fact?

    How about a little personal responsibility?

    Why does it become the duty, and expense, of the state to a) spend money enforcing the wishes of some of the population with no factual basis to justify it, and b) prevent those hunters and landowners who don’t have a problem with Sunday hunting from agreeing amongst themselves to do so.

    The anti-Sunday landowners’ argument boils down to unwillingness to manage their own affairs and demanding the state do it for them, ie an entitlement mentality.

  5. As a hunter, hiker and birdwatcher I’d like to add my two cents. State Parks do not allow hunting. There are lots of them in PA. You can hike and watch birds there every day of the week–oncluding Sunday.

    As for farmer’s: Post it or specify in your lease to a hunting club that no Sunday hunting will be permited. Control your own destiny.

  6. Mathew Carberry,
    Some of those points were re-hashed the last time this issue came up on this site. Public property (Wildlife) lives on my private property. If we ever want to adopt a Scandinavian system, I would consider it to eliminate slob hunters and enrich myself. Until then, We need to deal with the reality I have. For the record, The Commonwealth provides little direct support for wildlife management, Hunters and landowners do. I have taken my share of personal responsibility in this matter over several decades.

    Quite a few state parks do indeed allow hunting. The nearest one to me has large areas open. Check the DCNR website.

    Finally, as one who grew up checking traplines before church, I can attest that if you really want to get out in the woods, there are already legal Sunday hunting opportunities. This is about the Deer and Turkey retailers’ lobby.

    Hunting in modern societies is one of the few areas of endeavor that still gives a nod to concepts of tradition.
    By offending that tradition, many farmers will not bother with posting “no Sunday Hunting”, they will just post.
    You may not like it, but it will happen.

  7. ahem. Apparently the husband has been using my computer. The number 4 comment was mine.

    Richard – I don’t understand your point. I’ve never seen a state where hunters are allowed on private land without prior permission. Since the complaint in question isn’t to do with wildlife management but with hunters “traipsing across property” it seems very clearly to me to me a trespass issue, not a game control issue.

  8. HI Heather,
    Maybe this will explain it better:

    Prior permission is not necessary to hunt private land in Pa. PGC has discouraged the hunting leases that prevail in many other states. The good of this is hunters can often wander at will on unposted land and people of modest means still have plenty of places to hunt. The bad is that I think we have more than our fair share of slobs. Managing trespass is a part time job during deer season.

  9. Well then PGC needs to reconsider this policy. Down here in AL, you can’t hunt private property without permission and we just don’t have these issues with people hunting when they’re not wanted.

    It’s funny how these things just kinda work themselves out when you respect private property rights….

  10. Thanks, Richard. I stand corrected on the issue of hunting in state parks. (The three nearest me do NOT allow it, but I see a goodly number of PA SPs do, indeed, allow hunting.)

  11. That does clarify things somewhat. I’d still think, though, that rather than banning sunday hunting, it would be more effective to pursue better property rights.

  12. I am going to be doing some hunting in a state that has a “no Sunday hunting” next fall. I don’t like it, I think it is a retarded throwback to the era of most blue laws, but the policy only applies on public lands. Private landowners can make whatever access rules they want. This in part has led to the creation of “hunt clubs” where people band together to purchase land which can be preserved in a wild state for hunting. Go figure — evil bambi killing hunters doing more for preservation than greenies…

    In any event, PA appears to have a strong and clear criminal trespass law ( There is ZERO reason why a private property owner can’t post their land with any restrictions they so desire. “No trespassing… period!” or “No trespassing permitted on Sundays” or “no access without permission; call XXX-XXXX” or whatever they want should be valid according to the statute.

    Trespass on private property while hunting ( is another, secondary offense. In addition to the criminal trespass issues, it is also a summary offense (I assume like a traffic ticket with fine) and is cause for revocation of the hunting license.

    As a hunter I always check to see what the status of the land where I am hunting is; in Alaska we have a hodgepodge of private, federal, state, and tribal land which all has its own rules. However, I have little sympathy for private land owners who won’t take the basic step of signing their own property.

    Tthe “private property” strawman really falls down when you declare a need to restrict access to PUBLIC lands due to a fear that people will violate trespass laws on private property. That’s like saying, “Well, I’m afraid that people will open carry on my private property and will commit the crime of criminal trespass by refusing to leave if I ask them to, so we need to ban open carry everywhere.”

  13. I hear and understand most of the opposition’s arguments on the subject of Sunday hunting. While I certainly don’t agree or find any logical reason to support the religious opposition, i do understand and somewhat support birdwatcher’s, etc.. arguments. However, my reasoning for wanting to hunt on Sunday is this. I work a a lot, most times i can only hunt on weekends then return to work on Monday. Therefore usually that only leaves me with Saturday to hunt. I would absolutely LOVE that one extra day to enjoy the sport i was born into and grew up with and enjoy to this day. That one extra day to enjoy the woods before returning to life’s daily BS. I know it’s not only me, in fact I’ve heard tons of people say that same thing to me while in discussion. That i believe is the best reason, and THE reason why this should be passed fully.

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