Pennsylvania Sunday hunting bill signed into law

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hunter loading rifle orange vest

Expanded Sunday hunting is coming to Pennsylvania next year.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 147 into law on Nov. 27, allowing hunting on three Sundays.

“This legislation carefully balances the needs of landowners with an expanded opportunity for hunters who work and attend school during weekdays,” Wolf said, in a release.

The legislation allows for hunting one day during archery deer season; one day in firearms deer season; and one day to be selected by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The law will take effect Feb. 25, 2020. The first Sunday hunting opportunity will be identified after that by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. 

Before now, Sunday hunting was illegal in the state except for coyotes, foxes and crows.

The bill was introduced in February by Sen. Daniel Laughlin (R-Erie). It changed significantly since then, in large part to appease the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, which historically has been against Sunday hunting in any form.

The state Farm Bureau had some demands, all of which were all met as the legislation wound its way through the statehouse: allowing a maximum of three Sundays a year for hunting; stronger trespassing laws; and requiring written permission for any hunter who wanted to hunt on someone else’s land.

Under the law, hunter trespassing will become a primary offense, enforceable by state game wardens, and violators will face increased penalties and higher fines. 

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau took a neutral position on the bill, but said it was pleased with the stronger trespassing provisions included in the law.

“It is important for hunters to understand that the new trespassing provisions apply to hunting that occurs on every day of the week, not just on the three Sundays allowed under the new law,” Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Rick Ebert said, in a statement.

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