The Economics and Common Sense of Sunday Hunting

By Evan Heusinkveld, Director of State Services

Great interest has been taken in the debate over Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania this year.  When you drill down into the facts of the debate, however, I find the reasoning behind the uproar utterly perplexing.

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?

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9 thoughts on “The Economics and Common Sense of Sunday Hunting

  1. This kind of thinking….the “I have my rights and to hell with you” is the very thing landowners are sick and tired of dealing with. Not only that, but there are a LOT of hunters who cannot read. And, they are blind. They walk right past NO TRESPASSING signs and never see them, and do not read them.
    I’m a hunter, but I’m tired of dodging bullets 6 days a week from hunters who come from the ME generation. My dogs and I should have the RIGHT to walk our country property without having to worry about the hunters who trespass on our property and hunt right up to the property line on property adjoiners and shoot our direction. If you want to hunt on public lands on Sundays, ones that were paid for by license sales, I have no problem with that….and if the owner of land wants to invite others on to hunt on his land as his guests on a special Sunday pass, no problem there either. But I and others are SICK of dealing with hunters (who are armed and belligerent) sneaking and trespassing. There is no reason to be puzzled here. We property owners are not responsible, and frankly, I could care less, about what kind of revenue is generated. BTW, we know how these “projections” work….the numbers are funny and the reality is never the same. What I and those who oppose Sunday hunting DO care about, is that we pay the taxes on our properties and YOU and the others have no regard for OUR rights. I should not have to opt out or post my property to keep someone who does not own it and does not have permission off of it. Your thinking is 180 degrees backwards, and you are likely 100% the kind of hunter I would not want on my property.

  2. The economic impacts are grossly inflated at best. Simple math shows that for the lower figure to be accurate each and every single licensed hunter in Pennsylvania ( based on figures published in the PGC Annual Report) would be responsible for over $700 annually, just on Sunday. The average hunter doesn’t spend that much all year let alone just on a few days which would equate Sundays.
    Second , it is not a land rights infringement to bar open or even expanded hunting on Sunday.
    The landowner may own the land but they do not own the wildlife, which is held in trust by the Commonwealth for all residents. See Article 1 section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

  3. That guy sounds like a nut case. Here in Nebraska you do not have to post your land for no hunting, but it is illigal to hunt on someone’s land without gaining permission to do so. Trespassing fines are pretty steep. From the way he talks. He wants to hunt his land alone and then go out and hunt other properity. Hunting is a privilage and if we want to stop hunting just keep up the “my land, my birds, my fox,” and pretty soon no hunting and a over population of animals.

  4. I do not understand the problem. As a property owner you and you only control who traverses your property. If signage doesn’t work the law does. Trespass laws are being strenghtened in light of possible Sunday Hunting. I see s/h as additional opportunity for hunters and some economic benefit to Pa’s economy. Afterall, the only two things we can’t do on Sunday in Pa. is: Buy a car and hunt. Time to change.

  5. I am from Alaska so have no clue how things work in PA. But we allow hunting for set seasons and usually 7 days/week for the duration of the season. It appears very strange to me that PA is restricted on Sundays – to me it sounds like some ancient hold-over from the days when churches had a much stronger say in the day to day business of the original colonies. The complaint above will happen Sunday or no Sunday hunting – slob hunters don’t observe rules regardless – but I seriously doubt Sunday hunting regulations are at all linked much. Land laws in quite a few states require the owner to post their lands against trespass – frustrating for sure but that’s the way it is. How is the general public supposed to know what’s private and what’s not and where the boundaries are? Projections may be optimistic but what if they are just half of the projections? That would still be a very substantial contribution to the state’s economy.

  6. $764 million dollars into the economy from 1 million licensed hunters? the math don’t add up. they are saying this to try to use the ploy that it has an economic benefit. does that mean the PGC will charge an extra $76.40 per license to make these numbers work? And where are these additional thousands of people going to get these added jobs?
    Also why is the US Sportsmans Alliance in this? This is a PA issue. Stay out out of PA U.S.S.A. If they are only talking about adding one extra day of hunting that being a Sunday for deer season, why not open the season the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving or both?

  7. The math for the existing amount of hunters does not add up but, i personally know at least 25 former hunters who can’t hunt any longer. The reason they can not enjoy what alot of us take for granted is because they HAVE to work 6 days a week. The only day available to them is Sunday. Okay take vacation, sick leave, or whatever right? They have families and those are typically reserved for other functions. Now some of my friends have kids who would love to go hunting with their fathers or mothers, but like I said the day that is available is Sunday and there isn’t any hunting on Sunday. So the numbers may be skewed for existing hunters but think about how many new hunters it would atract as well as bring back the hunters we have lost.

  8. In the Bible it says to keep the sabbath holy.

    Sunday hunting would help give me one extra day w/o taking off work but I think we SHOULD keep the sabbath holy AND also give people and the game animals 1 day a week for THEIR rest also.

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