The firearms deer season began Monday in Pennsylvania with an estimated 750,000 hunters going into the commonwealth’s woods and fields. I was happy to be among them, along with my dad and childhood best friend, waiting for legal shooting hours in the same drainage in Cameron County my family has hunted since the Great Depression. The season could not begin a day earlier for any of us because Sunday hunting is prohibited in the Keystone State, a legacy of Blue Laws dating back to the colonial era.
Of the six states that prohibit Sunday hunting all together, Pennsylvania is the largest and would benefit the most economically from ending this prohibition. A study conducted for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation showed that eliminating the Sunday hunting ban across all seasons would create a total of 8,193 new jobs (direct and indirect) and provide an economic boost of more than $764 million for the Pennsylvania economy.
The Sunday Hunting Coalition founded by NSSF and made up of organizations including the NRA, the Wildlife Management Institute, Boone and Crockett Club, and Pheasants Forever, among others, is hard at work in state capitals including Harrisburg with the goal of changing old laws to allow hunters more time to do what they we love. At the same time, we give a boost to the state economies through purchases of ammunition and hunting supplies. We’ll also be stopping for breakfast and buying gasoline for the trip. You get the picture.
Most state Blue Laws have been off the books for decades. So it should be with the remaining state Sunday hunting prohibitions. Heck, at one time fishing on Sundays was prohibited in my home state. Pennsylvania with its long and cherished hunting traditions deserves to benefit more from them. As a Pennsylvanian who returns to my home state very year to hunt, I know this from my own experience.