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Monday, October 19, 2009

Farmers May Be Surprise Ally for Hikers in Pennsylvania

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based on a news article in the Patriot News

Pennsylvania, for years has had a "no Sunday hunting" law. In March 2009 State Representative Ed Staback introduced HB 779. This law would not of itself allow Sunday hunting, but it would give the Pennsylvania Game Commission the authority to decide whether it wants to allow Sunday hunting.

Proponents say that Pennsylvania loses revenue to neighboring states which allow hunting. They argue that hunters leave the state on Thursday for hunting weekends, so more than just one day of hunter spending is lost. Sales of hunting licenses in Pennsylvania have declined steadily in recent years.

Most landowners, farmers in particular, oppose the bill. The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, the largest farm organization in the state says they have 46,000 families that oppose the bill. Their largest concern is that they will need to spend the time policing their farms the extra day. Individuals have mentioned several reasons for maintaining the status quo. Examples include wanting to have a day they can ride their horses without concerns about people in the woods with rifles, and wanting to continue to have one day a week when they could relax slightly from concerns for livestock.

Fish and Wildlife services report that Pennsylvania Wildlife Watchers spent a Total of $955,903,000 last year and hunters Spent a Total of $936,459,000. The number of resident and non-resident wildlife watchers was reported as 4,688,000, while 926,892 hunting licenses were sold.

See PA HR 779 official information

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