Plan to do some Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania this year? Think again

Pennsylvania hunters may soon be allowed to hunt on selected Sundays in the state. It just won't happen in 2019, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
  • The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has approved Sunday hunting.
  • The state Senate, however, has yet to give final approval to its bill.
  • The Pennsylvania Game Commission says there will be no Sunday hunting in 2019.

Sunday hunting may soon be allowed in Pennsylvania.

It's not allowed yet, however, and it won't be allowed during the 2019 hunting season.

That's the word that the Pennsylvania Game Commission is trying to relay to the state's hunters through a news release issued on Monday.

A bill allowing Sunday hunting passed the state House of Representatives on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 144-54. The senate bill, however, hasn't yet been passed in its final form. Even if Senate Bill 147 is passed a second time, as expected, and is signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf, it will not take effect until 90 days after passage.

That means the bill, which would permit hunting on three Sundays – one within the archery deer season, one within the firearms deer season and one on another Sunday selected by the Game Commission – will not provide additional Sunday hunting opportunities in 2019.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill Nov. 18, after the Nov. 16 close of the first segment of the state-wide archery deer season. Even if the bill passes the Senate and quickly is signed into law, the early archery and firearms deer seasons will have come and gone before the 90-day wait is over, and it’s likely the late archery season will have ended, too.

However, the Game Commission still would be able to choose one Sunday for hunting in 2020, either in the spring turkey season or another open season.

In the news release, Game Commission executive director Bryan Burhans said Tuesday’s House vote was a monumental step forward for Pennsylvania’s hunters, who currently are prohibited by state law from hunting anything but foxes, coyotes and crows on Sundays during open seasons.

At this time, however, he said, it’s important that hunters understand that steps remain in the process and additional Sunday hunting won’t occur in 2019.

“Many hunters are excited about the new Sunday hunting opportunities Senate Bill 147 would provide, and you can count me as part of that group,” Burhans said. “But the process takes time.

“There’s every reason, however, to believe Senate Bill 147 soon will become law. And the Game Commission will be doing its part to implement additional Sunday hunting opportunities as soon as it can.”