Push to expand Sunday hunting grows
What if you could hunt pheasants on Sunday in Pennsylvania? The HUSH (Hunters United for Sunday Hunting) movement is getting more support daily. Supporters would like to see an expansion of our existing Sunday hunting opportunities (coyotes, crows) to include upland game and small game. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
For as long as I’ve had a Pennsylvania hunting license, I’ve heard people talk about the state’s Sunday hunting opportunities; for specifically, the lack of them. My glad venture into hunting came relatively late; I was in my mid-twenties when I moved to a rural area (Shickshinny) and neighbors immersed me into the pastime.
Often since then there’s been a buzz of support for expanded Sunday hunting, but the buzz always fizzled. The current groundswell of support for expanded Sunday hunting here feels different this time. This time the push definitely has legs.
Harold Daub, Tower City, an avid hunter who’s working tirelessly for HUSH (Hunters United for Sunday Hunting), said the movement is growing because the time is right.
“It’s a new landscape we are fighting on this time,” Daub said. “With every state that borders PA now doing wildlife management 7 days a week, we are hearing from more and more Pennsylvania hunters, and property owners/buyers that are gladly paying more money for out of state licenses, and higher taxes to have property in neighboring states, just to be able to get more time to hunt.”
Daub and others are talking to legislators about the loss of potential PA revenue, and they are taking notice.
“The Hunters United for Sunday Hunting team is doing a great job of educating hunters, and non-hunters, legislators, and citizens on the verifiable facts associated with the HUSH mission goal of having the prohibitive language removed from Title 34 Game Law, and to have the Pa Game Commission regulate wildlife management,” Daub said. He urged anyone interested in the topic to attend a meeting from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday Sept. 30 at Pennsylvania Game Commission headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg.
Some folks believe that allowing hunters afield for an additional day will stretch the already-stretched PGC budget. Is it time for a license increase - a move that could be “softened” by expanding the Sunday hunting?
Daub said that the PGC already regulates wildlife 7 days a week; even so, he definitely supports a license fee increase.
“Saying it (expanded Sunday hunting) will cost the PGC simply is not factual – if anyone thinks that the PGC isn’t a 7-day-per-week law enforcement operation, they are incorrect,” Daub said. “Executive Director Bryan Burhans is on record stating ‘this is a revenue neutral issue’ for the PGC - the sheer fact that the PGC is charged with enforcing the prohibition of hunting game and furbearers on Sunday proves that the PGC operates a 7 day a week operation.”
Like Daub and supporters of HUSH, I believe that a Sunday hunting expansion will help with hunter retention and recruitment.
“Whenever surveys are taken asking why Pennsylvanians either stopped hunting, or never hunted, the biggest barrier identified is ‘time’ and it is the most-commonly reported answer to the question,” Daub said. “Therefore, if we could have the PGC review the possibility of hunting some additional species on Sundays, it would clearly eliminate as much of the “time” barrier as would be possible.”
But will some people still have difficulty finding time to hunt?
“I’m sure they would, but it won’t be because the only day that could go is Sunday and today there is very limited species that can be hunted in PA on Sunday,” Daub said. “We need to remove this barrier of limited time as much as possible to optimize the recruitment, retention, and reactivation of PA hunters – and there are 480 wildlife species in PA that are counting on the conservation programs funded by PA hunters who pursue just 62 game and furbearing species that we are permitted to hunt.”
(You can find Hunters United for Sunday Hunting on Facebook)