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Opposition to Sunday Hunting

510 S. 31st Street , Camp Hill, PA 17001, (717) 761-2740
Mark O’Neill, Media Relations Director
(717) 761-2740 or E-mail
For Immediate Release: June 9, 2011

PA Farm Bureau Expresses Strong Opposition to Expansion of Sunday Hunting in Pennsylvania

     (Seven Springs, PA) – Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) asserted its strong opposition to any plan to expand Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania during testimony today before the Pennsylvania House Game and Fisheries Committee, which held a public hearing at the Seven Springs Resort in Somerset County.
     Farm Bureau members oppose Sunday hunting for a wide variety of reasons, such as wanting a day of peace and relaxation on the farm, using their own land for recreational purposes and religious beliefs.
     “Most farmers put in long hours of hard work every day, but they tend to relax their work schedules on Sunday to spend more time with family.  While I appreciate hunters and the role they play in controlling wildlife populations, my family and I do not want hunters disturbing the one day of peace and quiet we try to preserve in our lives,” said Nila Cogan, a Somerset County greenhouse owner and vegetable grower, who also is a member of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s State Board of Directors.  “Having hunters knocking on the door on Sunday without notice can be more frustrating than telemarketers calling at dinner time, especially when it interrupts farm work or mealtime.”  
     Farm Bureau noted that farmers and other private landowners control about 80% of the huntable land in Pennsylvania and their concerns should hold a great deal of weight in any decision on expanding hunting opportunities.  “Farmers do not understand why anyone would want to upset or alienate landowners that give them free access to hunt Monday through Saturday by trying to push through proposals to allow Sunday hunting.  I’ve heard many farmers say they will post their land, forbidding hunting anytime, if hunting on Sunday is allowed,” added Cogan.    
     Farm Bureau pointed out that many hunters, outdoor enthusiasts and others seeking recreational opportunities oppose hunting on Sunday.  “I hear a great deal about the perceived economic benefit to the state by having Sundays available for hunting, but they ignore the economic benefit of all the other groups and individuals who are hiking, horseback riding, biking or just enjoying nature on Sundays.  Why should a particular interest that has use of the land six days a week outweigh the interest of others who only want one day a week without the concern of hunters sharing the woods?” continued Cogan. 
    PFB will oppose any legislation that would turn the authority to decide if, when and how an expansion of Sunday hunting will occur over to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) from the state General Assembly.  “We believe the General Assembly and the Governor should be responsible for answering the question of expanding Sunday hunting, because the decision is more about changing the way of life in the Commonwealth, such as religious convictions, concerns related to property rights and the ability of millions of Pennsylvanians to enjoy outdoor nature in peace and quiet on Sundays.  In addition, any transfer of the decision to the Game Commission will be seen by many citizens as a maneuver by the General Assembly to dodge accountability on a controversial issue,” added Cogan.
     PFB says it has heard concerns from some members of the state House of Representatives that young people may not be taking up hunting as a sport because of competing activities and that somehow Sundays are more available for such activities. 
     “We don’t believe that argument is valid.  Other sporting activities have already claimed time on Sundays and like everything else in life the decisions that parents and youth have to make about how time is spent comes down to priorities,” said PFB State Governmental Relations Director Joel Rotz.  “If students or adult hunters need more recreational opportunities, we would not be opposed to adding more Saturdays or additional weeks to hunting seasons, as long as they exclude hunting on Sunday.”
     Farm Bureau also reminded those concerned about limited hunting opportunities that they can participate in some form of deer hunting 103 days per year in Pennsylvania, including 18 Saturdays, and that does not account for additional opportunities to hunt on farmland throughout the growing season through the PGC’s Red Tag program.
     Some proponents of Sunday hunting point to the current prohibition as being the last of what they refer to as “arcane blue laws” that should be changed to fit societal views of today, but Farm Bureau says there is a significant difference in the comparison.  “Retail establishments sought the change to increase sales and profits, while farmers oppose the change and they receive no economic benefit from being open to hunting on Sundays.  What is most frustrating to farmers in this debate is the arrogance of the assumption that somehow privately-owned land should be available to hunters seven days a week with no recognition that farms are not only privately-owned businesses, but family homes are located on the land as well,” concluded Rotz.
      Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with a volunteer membership of more than 50,000 farm and rural families, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.
Editor’s note:  A survey conducted by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget & Finance Committee in 2005 revealed that 80% of the landowners who were surveyed did not want Sunday hunting.   The report also found that nearly half of the hunters responding did not favor expanding Sunday hunting.  


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