Pennsylvania is moving closer to approving expanded Sunday hunting.
On Saturday, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners approved the potential changes as a proposed rulemaking. In April, the board will have to approve the changes as the final rulemaking for them to take effect.
Pennsylvania Moves to Expand Sunday Hunting
The proposed changes follow a long battle in the state legislature. Afterwards, the Pennsylvania Game Commission got the authority to set three Sundays when hunting would be legal – one in the deer archery season, one in the firearms bear season and one on another Sunday of their choosing.
According to a press release, the preliminary proposal only expands hunting during the archery deer and firearms bear seasons.
Pennlive.com reports that on Sunday, Nov. 14, after the proposed changes, besides deer, hunters could target squirrel, grouse, rabbit, pheasant, woodchuck, opossum, skunk, weasel, raccoon and porcupine.
Likewise, on Sunday, Nov. 21, besides bear, they could hunt squirrel, grouse, rabbit, pheasant, woodchuck, opossum, skunk, weasel, raccoon and porcupine.
Concurrent Antlered and Antlerless Firearms Season
The board also approved a statewide, 14-day concurrent antlered and antlerless firearms season. The goal in proposing it was twofold: to simplify regulations and to offer more opportunity for younger hunters.
That season would start on Saturday, Nov. 27 and close on Saturday, Dec. 11. Deer hunting would also be permitted on Sunday, Nov. 28, the only Sunday during firearms deer season when that is allowed.
David Stainbrook, supervisor of the commission’s Deer and Elk Section, says that antlerless permits are their main tool for controlling deer populations.
If the board gives final approval to the proposed concurrent season at the April meeting, they will lower the antlerless license allocation to reflect the extra five days of hunting.
They calculate the antlerless license number by the estimated number of tags necessary for hunters to harvest the number of deer required to hit the population goals for each wildlife management unit. With five extra days of hunting, they will need fewer tags to reach the population goals.