House passes Steele package that supports hunters, farmers

Includes bill to permit Sunday hunting until 2029

HARRISBURG, June 27 – Today the Pennsylvania House sent to the Senate with bipartisan votes three bills sponsored by Rep. Mandy Steele designed to protect Pennsylvania’s wildlife, farms and forests.

“Farmers are being financially crippled by crop damage, while our woodlands are being decimated by the deer herd, and the legacy of hunting is waning, Steele said. “These bills are a collaborative effort with many organizations to revive hunting, while also being stewards of our wildlife and natural resources.”

The bills would:

  • Permit Sunday hunting through June 30, 2029. Currently, the Game Commission may only designate three Sundays a year for hunting, which was changed in 2019 from full Sunday prohibition. Sunday hunting would not be permitted in the 100 state parks that are normally open to hunting during hunting seasons. It also would increase the penalties for hunting on private land without permission.
  • Connect farmers to licensed hunters to manage deer populations on their property. The PGC would create an online registry that farmers could access.
  • Require that at least one member of the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners has experience in the agriculture industry. This would put a person knowledgeable in wildlife management on the board.

Steele said that this package has been developed with the help of the PGC, Hunter Nation, Hunters United for Sunday Hunting and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

According to the PGC, the number of hunting license sales have been declining, from a high of 946,989 licenses in 2013 to 844,826 in 2022. Additionally, the PGC said that Sunday hunting has been popular with hunters; over 60% of survey respondents said they have taken advantage of an authorized Sunday hunt day, with over 90% saying they hunted on the firearm deer season Sunday date.

Steele said allowing Sunday hunting could revive interest in hunting.

“For my family, Sundays are a day for family bonding, a time to be outside together,” she said. “Hunting is impactful for many families, as well. It’s time to offer Sunday hunting.

“Hunters are instrumental to conserving the environment. Through this package of bills, we may embrace our hunting heritage, as well as work with farmers, which represent one of Pennsylvania’s largest industries, while helping to nurture thriving forests.”

Pennsylvanians may add their voice in support of the legislation by visiting https://pahouse.com/steele/TakeAction?ac=173.


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