Skip to main content

NSSF: Pa. Hunters Don't Miss Their Shot on Sunday Hunting

2020 deer harvest numbers show just how big the extra days were.

NSSF: Pa. Hunters Don't Miss Their Shot on Sunday Hunting

The Pennsylvania Game Commission's trial run of Sunday big-game hunting included three weekends in November last year. (Photo by Woodsnorth Photo / Shutterstock)

Pennsylvania hunters racked up big numbers during the 2020 deer season, packed their meat freezers a little fuller and are already eyeing their calendars for next year.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission's trial run of Sunday big-game hunting included three weekends in November last year. It was such a success they're considering more Sunday hunts in 2021, and the 2020 deer harvest numbers show just how big of a boon the extra days were.

Hunters Took Advantage

The coronavirus pandemic led to an unprecedented renaissance for hunters in 2020 heading out to fields and woods for some natural social distancing. In Pennsylvania, that included an experiment for three extra days of big-game hunting on November Sundays. Pennsylvania hunters didn't miss their shot.

"This year's Sunday hunting opportunities were extremely popular with our hunters, and they did not see any substantial issues occur on these Sundays," explained Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans.

Just how "extremely popular" were the extra Sundays outdoors? The 2020 deer season harvest numbers were released and they're big. Really big. Almost 400,000 big.

In fact, Pennsylvania was one of only three states that harvested more than 300,000 deer and Keystone State hunters blew past that mark by nearly 90,000. When Burhans submitted the PGC annual report to the state's General Assembly recently, it showed Pennsylvania hunters took advantage of the extra days and they bagged more than 389,000 white-tailed deer. Even with the significant increase in those heading out to the woods and fields, Pennsylvania hunters did so responsibly, receiving fewer wildlife game violations than all of last year. Burhans praised Pennsylvania hunters.

"This report also notes that Pennsylvania was second in the nation for antlered deer harvested per square mile, and first in the nation in overall deer harvested per square mile," Burhans said. "These numbers are a testament to the hunting culture and traditions in our state that remain alive and well, as well as the health and productivity of our deer herd."

Opening Day Anticipation

With a healthy deer population waiting and a growing population of hunters continuing or beginning to participate in the great American hunting pastime, 2021's season is right around the corner. PGC's Burhans already spoke to the Pennsylvania House Fisheries and Game Committee and proposed expanding Sunday hunting.

"We also would like to build upon the successes of Act 107 of 2019, which provided for three days of hunting on Sundays. This change was implemented in 2020 and was met with great enthusiasm…," Burhans said. "The Game Commission supports opening additional Sundays to hunting and welcomes the opportunity to work with this Committee to craft legislation giving full authority to the Board of Commissioners to offer additional Sunday hunting opportunities."

Hunting Pays

More Sunday hunting is good news for Pennsylvania's hunters and for the Pennsylvania economy. All told the commonwealth is home to nearly 13,500 jobs related to the hunting, firearm and ammunition businesses, the fourth-most of any state. They also accounted for more than $2.2 billion in economic impact, which was good for the seventh-highest among states. If there were any doubt as to the popularity of hunting remaining high in Pennsylvania leading into next season, PGC Commissioner Travis Lau confirmed the welcomed trend, saying "Sales so far in 2020-21 have exceeded totals for 2019-20."

Last year saw a boost to hunting activities in all corners of the country, including hunters of all ages and demographics. The rise in numbers is a great sign for conservation and wildlife management, including in Pennsylvania. Monies collected from the purchase of hunting licenses and fees, and excise taxes paid by firearm and ammunition manufacturers supplying hunters with needed equipment, contribute to wildlife management and conservation project funding through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR). In 2020, that total was $1 billion, $121 million above the 2019 total.

Pennsylvania hunters will no doubt keep their eyes peeled for what the Pennsylvania House Fisheries and Game Committee determines for next year’s hunting calendar, but all signs point to more Sunday hunting. NSSF encourages hunters to recruit new friends and family to come along and join them in the hunting sports through the +ONESM Movement initiative in order to keep hunting traditions alive and well.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Sometimes you have to fish a bait that allows you to cover a lot of water efficiently. When you're on the search for bass that have moved into deeper water off the bank and away from obvious holding spots, a swimbait can locate them.

On the Search with Swimbaits

One of the best imitations of a wounded baitfish is the soft-plastic jerkbait, or fluke. A fluke darting just beneath the surface can be too much for a bass to resist. Rig it and fish it according to water conditions and cover to make this great bait even more effective.

Fun with Flukes

There are three models in SPRO's Outsider crankbait series: 55 (runs 3-4 feet), 60 (7-9) and 80 (19-21). Professional bass angler Jonathan Kelley goes over the specifics at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

SPRO's New Outsider Crankbait Series: First Look

Professional bass angler Jonathan Kelley highlights the features of SPRO's new lures at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Essential Series Spinnerbaits and Buzzbaits from SPRO

Syd Ribes with Sea Falcon highlights four new lures for saltwater fishing. At ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Lineup of Lures from Sea Falcon

Syd Ribes highlights two new saltwater lures from SPRO: Flutter Tail Shrimp and Cannon Ball Jig. At ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Saltwater Lures from SPRO

AFTCO's Matt Florentino highlights the features of the new Barricade cold-weather suit, a Best of Category winner at ICAST 2022 in Orlando. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller.

New from AFTCO: Barricade Cold Weather Tactical Gear

Three-time ICAST Best of Category winner Bubba covers it all with new knives set. With Bubba's Matt Kinamore and Game & Fish's  Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

4-in-1 Bubba Multi Flex Cutlery Kit

The innovative landing net will weigh and measure your catch while it's still in the net. Best of Category winner at ICAST 2022. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller.

Award-Winning Frabill Witness Net 'Keeps You Honest'

Game & Fish Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now