Senate Bill 850, introduced by Sen. Chap Peterson (D- Fairfax), would remove the state’s longstanding ban on Sunday hunting.
The bill is scheduled for a hearing on Monday, January 31st at 9 a.m. in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee. Sportsmen are encouraged to call their state senator in support of SB 850.
Virginia is one of only 11 states that restricts or prohibits hunting on Sundays. Other states that restrict or prohibit hunting on Sundays include: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and West Virginia.
“Sunday hunting restrictions or bans limit hunter access and impede new hunter recruitment,” said Rob Sexton, USSA Vice President for Government Affairs. “The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is proud to be working with a coalition of groups who share our same goal – removing these restrictions.”
The Sunday Hunting Coalition is a multi-organization coalition of leading conservation, sportsmen’s, and hunting groups committed to removing bans and restrictions on Sunday hunting. In addition to the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, members of the coalition include the National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Rifle Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Archery Trade Association, Boone and Crockett Club, Cabela’s, Delta Waterfowl, Mule Deer Foundation, National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, and the Wildlife Management Institute.
Take Action! Virginia sportsmen should call their state senators and ask them to support SB 850. Tell them that there is no justification for the Sunday hunting ban and that removing the ban will increase hunter access, encourage new hunter participation and boost the economy.
To find your state senator’s phone number and other contact information, use the USSA Legislative Action Center at www.ussportsmen.org/lac.
Let’s start with the numbers. There are multiple economic impact studies that have been completed during the past five years. The first was produced by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC). The LBFC is a bipartisan committee made up of six members each from the House and the Senate. Their report, which was issued in 2005, estimated that Sunday hunting would create 5,300 new jobs and generate $629 million of economic impact each year in Pennsylvania.
Those numbers were supported by two additional recent studies. The first was produced by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) earlier this year. NSSF’s study projected 8,200 jobs and a $764 million impact– a substantial increase over the 2005 study. Just last week, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance released its own study – done using the exact same criteria used for the 2005 LBFC study and simply updating the numbers based on the most recent data available. This study showed a creation of 7,200 jobs and $777 million in economic activity.
My point is this – whether we are talking about an additional $650 million or $750 million, or 5,300 verses 8,200 jobs , we’re still talking about injecting more than a half-BILLION dollars into the Commonwealth’s economy each year and creating thousands of new jobs.
The second item that I find baffling is the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s position: they are actively advocating for a policy that RESTRICTS their own members’ property rights. That’s right, by not allowing landowners – or hunters – to decide for themselves if they want to allow or partake in Sunday hunting, property rights are being restricted with the blessing and encouragement of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
Additionally, it’s presumptuous of the Farm Bureau to think that they should be able to dictate what happens on ALL PUBLIC and PRIVATE lands in the Commonwealth. Do farmers own a significant amount of land in Pennsylvania? Absolutely, and hunter’s often benefit from the use of it, just as farmers benefit from sportsmen controlling game populations by hunting. But farmers don’t own all the land – not even close. What gives Farm Bureau the right to tell every landowner in the state what they can and cannot do on their own land?
The bottom line is this: Under House Bill 1760, farmers (and regular landowners) will have the same ability to restrict when and if hunters can access their land on Sundays just as they do Monday through Saturday right now. House Bill 1760 merely puts control of setting seasons and bag limits into the hands of the appropriate governmental agency—the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
At the end of the day, there are many arguments that have been tossed about as to why Pennsylvania should continue to treat sportsmen and sportswomen different from other citizens – some more perplexing than others. But why in 2011, is the state of Pennsylvania still telling landowners that they are not able to decide how to use their own land on Sunday? And what cost to the Commonwealth’s coffers is the legislature willing to accept to continue this outdated ban on Sunday hunting?
By doing home rule we allowed counties that wanted it to opt in, and those that did not were not forced into it. Over the course of the last several years more counties have opted in, and counties have added more Sundays.
Last year an effort was made to make all the counties that allow Sunday hunting the same, it failed. An effort was also made to include WMA's in those counties that allow Sunday hunting but it also failed. Is the hodge podge of Sunday hunting what we want? Heck no. Just have to keep plugging away. The prohibition on sunday hunting was on the books for 283 years. The longest law on the books ever to be rescinded in the history of Maryland
No Sunday Hunting.
What would the Pilgrims think about other things you can do on Sunday...
Fishing on Sunday, buying liquor, gambling(lotto), or having a naked stripper dance in your lap...