Sunday Hunting! “It’s Back!!”
The Sunday hunting issue is back on the front burner here in PA. Senate Bill 147 was passed out of the Senate Subcommittee of Game & Fisheries the 5th of February to go on to the Senate floor for a subsequent vote. If passed it would then go to the House.
There has been a lot of conjecture about how Sunday hunting would be handled in various articles, but the bottom line is that this Bill would allow the decision to be left up to the Game Commission to decide how many Sundays would be included in the hunting seasons. There are hunting seasons from the end of September to the end of January and from April 20th to May 31st.
Folks who are pushing for Sunday hunting cite increased license sales as one reason to allow for expansion of Sunday hunting as well as giving a seventh day a week to hunt. Also, it was mentioned that Sunday being open to hunt would give those who only have weekends off work an opportunity to hunt an extra day.
Hunters in PA represent less than 7% of PA’s population. As you can well imagine, there is a lot of opposition to the whole idea of Sunday hunting. PA Farm Bureau still stands opposed to the expansion of Sunday hunting as does the Keystone Trails Association, KTA, which represents the hiking community across the state. In one recent article announcing KTA’s opposition to Sunday hunting, Board President Ernie Werstler noted that the Power of Outdoor Recreation Spending in Pennsylvania: How hunting, fishing, and outdoor activities help support a healthy state economy of November, 2018 by Southwick Associates and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership showed that trail users outnumbered hunters 3 to 1 and their economic impact was higher than hunters by 2.5 to 1. Trail users spent $2574 per participant according to the analysis. “Clearly the non-hunting public needs to have significant input into this issue since their economic impact is so substantial,” he said. “Any expansion of Sunday hunting could have a very detrimental economic impact on our economy if trail users discontinue their activities to avoid hunters.”
Twice the Pennsylvania Equine Council has conducted a survey of those who stopped by our booths at the Pennsylvania Horse World Expo, once in 2012 and again in 2015. The results were overwhelmingly opposed to expansion of Sunday hunting. Even those who checked they were hunters showed a much greater percentage of opposition. Keep in mind this move to expand Sunday hunting has no bearing on those equestrians who belong to the Fox Hunting Clubs. Many who wrote comments on the survey shared that they too only had weekends to be out and did not want to be concerned with interrupting hunters or be looking over their shoulders and being uncomfortable on their one day a week they could enjoy the outdoors.
If Sunday Hunting is expanded, passage through Gamelands on those designated trails that were worked for could be completely eliminated from the end of September through most of January and all of May Spring Turkey season. Some of these trails are important connectors that lead to other trails that are open during this beautiful cooler time of year.
Don’t wait. This legislation is moving fast!! Contact your PA State Senator first and share your thoughts on how Sunday hunting will affect you, your property, and your time in the outdoors.
If you don’t have your State Senator or State Representative on speed dial, you can click the link below to find their local office and Harrisburg office phone numbers. It never hurts to call both offices and/or set up a meeting with them when they are in the district.
Note: your State Senator is the far right column after you click county and your State Representative is the first column. If you live in a more densely populated area, you may need to click on the precinct where you vote.
Bud Wills, State Trail Chair
Pennsylvania Equine Council
2019 PEC TRAILRIDE
If you didn’t make the ride in 2018, for whatever the reason, you will have another opportunity in 2019. We will return to Summer’s Allegheny Trail Ride in Marienville, PA, August 1 – 4. This is a beautiful place to ride. You will be able to visit Pat’s Rocks, Hazel’s Rocks, the stone quarry, Kelly Pines, the dynamite shack, the compressors/engines, the “bra” trail and many other great destinations. There is also an historic site that has been discovered on a nearby trail that boasts Indian artifacts from centuries ago. Much too much to see in one weekend. This is not a guided ride; maps of the Spring Creek Trail system will be available.
First-time participants that were not on the 2017 or 2018 ride will have priority to sign up on a first come–first served basis. That sign up period will end on June 15, 2019. If the ride limit has not been reached at that time (approximately 44 riders), we will begin filling the ride from the waiting list of applications from riders that were on previous rides. Refunds to applicants exceeding the ride limit will be made by July 1, 2018. Electric sites will be assigned on a first come-first served basis as well. All participants must be PEC members.
There will be a pot luck supper on Thursday evening, the “gathering day”, so please bring a dish to share. PEC will arrange for Friday and Saturday evening meals including coffee and water. Breakfast and lunch are your responsibility. Stalls are included in the price of the ride and are required. No highlines, portable corrals, tying to trailers, etc. is acceptable. There is water at the barns for your horses as well as a creek that runs right through camp. There is a bath house with showers and flush toilets. There will be a central fire, please…no satellite fires. Bring your guitars and other musical instruments at fire time!
Don’t hesitate to call 888-304-0281 for any questions or concerns you may have. Or you can contact Aleta or Skip at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pennsylvania Equine Council Trails Program is focused on education that will promote access to equestrian and shared use sustainable trails on Pennsylvania’s public and private lands.
PEC Trail Committee members set on several state wide committees representing the equestrian community to educate agency and other user groups about equestrian activities and sustainable trail maintenance techniques as well as the importance of access to trails in Pennsylvania’s overall open space, wildlife and agriculture, the #1 industry in the state.
Pennsylvania is a beautiful state with wooded mountains and spectacular views of rivers and farm fields. The state has nearly five million acres of State Forests and State Parks, National Forest and National Parks as well as Game Commission Lands, much of which can be open for equestrian use. Working with these agencies is vital to keeping equestrian access to trails, as well as parking and camping opportunities.
It is important to know, when riding, whose land you are on and for what purpose that land is managed. For instance PA’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State Forests, Allegheny National Forest, under the United States Dept. of Agriculture are all primarily managed for their forestry resources with recreation as a secondary opportunity. The PA Game Commission is charged with:Protecting, conserving and managing the diversity of wild birds and wild mammals and their habitats; provide wildlife related education, services and recreational opportunities for both consumptive and non-consumptive use of wildlife, and maintaining and promoting Pennsylvania’s hunting and trapping heritage. Recreational use is not in their mandate.
The trails you love could be in jeopardy of being closed and you may not even know about it. State and national budget cuts are affecting maintenance and repair of the existing trails and thus many trails with environmental issues are being closed or may be in the near future.
Everyone can become part of the solution to our vanishing open space. Please investigate the links below to learn how you can protect our equestrian heritage. Sometimes all we need to do is Ride Smarter! Please email or call with your questions or concerns.
Click here for more trail information.
Click here for trails photo gallery.
Click here to read complete article on Sunday hunting and your trails.
Published in Trail Rider Magazine May 2015