Pa. Push for Sunday Hunts

Pa. Push for Sunday Hunts
Hunters United for Sunday Hunting formally announced its long-anticipated lawsuit to compel Pennsylvania to end one of its last unconstitutional "blue laws," the general prohibition against hunting on Sunday.

Group files lawsuit to end Pennsylvania blue law

Today, Hunters United for Sunday Hunting formally announced its long-anticipated lawsuit to compel Pennsylvania to end one of its last unconstitutional "blue laws," the general prohibition against hunting on Sunday. Forty-two other states allow Sunday hunting of big and small game.

"We are taking the last route available to hunters, the courts. Not because hunters enjoy litigation, but because they have exhausted their legislative and executive-branch possibilities over the past 15 years," said Kathy Davis, founding president of HUSH. "All of us involved in the legal challenge strongly support the Pennsylvania Game Commission and its future success; PGC's role in this suit is a simple, unfortunate formality."

Sunday hunting has been a persistent political issue for the past 15 years, with hearings held in the Pennsylvania legislature, and legislation unsuccessfully submitted to expand hunting to Sunday. Success has been elusive as a couple special interest groups have opposed it on religious and other grounds. Proponents have long advocated that it is a simple matter of individual liberty and freedom.

"Hunting is a wholesome, safe, family-building Pennsylvania tradition that is losing ground to video games, loss of private hunting land, and limited recreational time,” Davis said. “Sunday is 50 percent of the recreation time available to most Pennsylvania hunters, so allowing Sunday hunting dramatically increases the likelihood of recruiting more hunters and conservationists than we are losing through attrition."

Those opposed to Sunday hunting cite religion, fear of land being posted, and safety as factors that influence their opposition.

"I am talking to God on the side of a mountain or out in the woods hunting and fishing as much as when I am in a house of worship," said Josh First, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. "I am a person of strong religious faith and observance, a political activist who advocates for including Biblical values in public policy, and I see absolutely no conflict between Sunday hunting and religion, in fact, they are mutually supportive,"

First is a life-long hunter, trapper and fisherman from Central Pennsylvania who enjoys Sunday hunting in New York. He said he would like the opportunity to stay in his own state to hunt on Sundays.

"Hunting culture and hunters are the kind of people that people of faith naturally support,” he said. “If you want more traditional values, then support hunting generally, and specifically Sunday hunting; it's the biggest hunter recruitment tool available."

Hunter recruitment dropped steadily since the 1980s, due to a number of factors, although it is now up slightly over the past few years as Pennsylvania has implemented new youth hunter programs. Limited time and opportunities to hunt are the biggest impacts on hunter retention and recruitment.

Proponents of Sunday hunting ask why they are allowed to target shoot all day on both private land and public land on Sundays, but are not allowed to hunt that day. Especially when they pay taxes on their own land, but are deprived the full use of their land on Sunday. For many, Sunday hunting is about private property rights being respected.

"Presently, you can shoot a thousand bullets at a target on Sunday, but you can't shoot one shell at a grouse or one bullet at a groundhog on Sunday," Davis said. "It doesn't add up or make sense, it is inconsistent law."

Others point out that hunting is a positive use of firearms and should be expanded.

"Hunting is one of the safest activities a person can participate in, and it's even safer among non-hunters,” First said. “Not one person was killed in a hunting related shooting incident in the 2011-2012 season."

Full or expanded Sunday hunting is allowed in 42 other states, including New York, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia.

"We believe the legal basis of our complaint is simple and straightforward: Hunting is core to the Second Amendment, all Pennsylvanians are entitled to equal protection under the law, and the present ban on Sunday hunting is an unconstitutional blue law," said Peter Russo, the attorney representing HUSH.

HUSH is on Facebook and on the web at HUSH's mailing address is PO Box 255, Lititz, PA 17543. Donations are welcome.

Recommended for You

Fishing How-To

Your Guide for the Best Catfish Baits

G&F Staff

If you've been catching catfish with the same method for years, it's time to change it up and...


How to Fish Bottom Bouncers for Walleye

Mark Sak - May 23, 2019

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for...


No Kidding: Angler Smashes Record for Lake Trout

Scott Bernarde - May 21, 2019

The Pennsylvania man's trophy fish was more than two pounds heavier than the previous record.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Pure Fishing's Andrew Wheeler tells Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead all about the brand new Abu Garcia Virtual rod that integrates Bluetooth technology through a free ANGLR smartphone app.

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

Major League Fishing pros talk about the first lure they choose when targeting spawning bass.

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

Multiple time FLW Costa winner Jessi Mizell is no stranger to catching big Florida bass on a popping frog. As he tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, with the new 13 Fishing Omen Black baitcasting rod, the job just got easier.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Wild Game

10 Memorial Day Recipes for Your Outdoor BBQ Staff

Celebrate the start of summer with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these...


Catfish Night & Day: How to Catch 'Em Both Ways

Terry Madewell - April 04, 2018

Catfish tend to be found in shallower water at night, but they are still active during the...


Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

See More Stories

More Stories


Behind the Badge: A Warden's First Night-Poaching Bust

Game & Fish Online Staff - July 30, 2018

Behind the Badge is a regular series of perspective stories by Oklahoma game warden Carlos...


Predator Hunting: 3 Ways to Find Elusive Coyotes

Brad Fitzpatrick - June 26, 2018

Calling all coyotes:'These predators are efficient, so finding and calling them to the gun can


Gear Reviews: New Coyote Hunting Rifles, Shotguns

Game & Fish Online Staff - September 07, 2018

Here's a look at some of coyote hunting rifles and shot gun featured in this summer's Game &...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


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