Sunday hunting bill set to go before House Committee
Pennsylvania’s Sunday hunting bill, which would give the Pennsylvania Game Commission the authority to permit hunting on three Sundays a year, will take its next steps when the House Game & Fisheries Committee hears the legislation
Sept. 10 at 1 p.m.
Introduced by Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie), along with Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny and Westmoreland), SB147 was passed by the state Senate June 25 by a 36-14 vote. Although the original bill called for up to 14 days of Sunday hunting, the bill was amended prior to the senate vote to permit Sunday hunting on only three days — one during the firearms deer season, a second during the archery deer season and a third date to be determined by the PGC.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, if SB147 moves out of the House Game & Fisheries Committee, it would go to the state House of Representatives when its members return from recess Sept. 17.
Although Sunday hunting could be implemented as soon as this fall if Gov. Tom Wolf signs the bill into law, it’s tough to predict whether or not that would happen as the 2019-’20 deer hunting seasons begin
Sept. 21. PGC Communications Director Travis Lau said earlier this summer that the PGC’s commissioners would likely want to increase hunting opportunities as soon as possible.
“I’m not sure what the actual timetable would need be for that to happen this season,” Lau said.
Supporters of SB147 say the bill will provide more opportunities for people with busy schedules to head afield, as well as offer an additional tool to help get young people involved in the sport. Several groups, such as the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the Keystone Trails Association, remain opposed to the bill.
Laughlin previously called SB147 “a major step toward increasing recreational opportunities for the thousands of Pennsylvania sportsmen and women who enjoy hunting.”
“This will remove one of only two ‘Blue Laws’ remaining in the state of Pennsylvania,” he said. “You can’t hunt and you can’t buy a car on Sunday in Pennsylvania.”
Pennsylvania is one of only three states in the nation — the others are Maine and Massachusetts — that prohibits or severely restricts hunting for game on Sundays. Only foxes, crows and coyotes may be legally pursued in the Keystone State on that day.
Wildlands Conservancy establishes new nature preserve: A new, 43-acre nature preserve will be established by the Wildlands Conservancy thanks to longtime Conservancy supporters Merrill and Nancy Brenner. The mostly forested preserve is adjacent to the Wildlands’ 11-acre Reimert Memorial Bird Haven, a bird watching hotspot and area that has several species of concern.
The Brenners have been Conservancy annual fund contributors for more than 20 years and volunteers for over a decade. Their support enabled the Wildlands to secure the tract, located between Sweetwood Drive and Mountain Road in Lower Macungie Township, from the Wertman Family. In addition, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources helped to make the purchase possible.
“Nancy and I have always appreciated the natural environment, including the remaining forests and open spaces in the Lehigh Valley, and have long wanted to conserve land for future generations,” says Merrill. “We are grateful for all that Wildlands does to protect such lands—improving our water and air and providing access to nature—and to inspire conservation values. We are very excited to add to the land resources that Wildlands protects and provides for the people of the Lehigh River watershed.”
Free veterans trout fishing event Sept. 21 in Bangor: Area veterans are invited to take part in an all-inclusive fishing experience at Green-Walk Trout Hatchery near Bangor Sept. 21, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The event, which is free to veterans, is presented by the Hokendauqua Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Lehigh Valley Military Affairs Council and the hatchery. It includes light breakfast, full picnic lunch and fully guided fishing for trout.
For registrations, or to learn more, contact Phil Hublitz at phil[email protected] or 610924-5481.
Old growth forest program coming up: The public has the opportunity to learn about one of the Lehigh Valley’s few oldgrowth forests, Matson’s
Woods, during a two-part program presented by Northampton County Division of Parks & Recreation Sept. 21.
Part of Louise Moore County Park, Matson’s Woods is a 7-acre tract of giant oak trees included in the Old Growth Forest Network (OGFN), a national network of protected, old-growth native forests. The event kicks off with a 10 a.m. presentation by OGFN Lehigh Valley Coordinator Greg Huber, who nominated the tract for the network, on the history and value of Matson’s Woods and oldgrowth forests. “A Rarer Than Rare Woods Right in Our Backyard” will take place at Alumni Hall in the Gates Center at Northampton Community College, 3835 Green Pond Rd., Bethlehem.
Following Gruber’s presentation, the group will head to Matson’s Woods to see the forest. Participants should meet at Moore Park Farmhouse, 151 Country Club Rd., Easton. Contact Jim Wilson at JWilson @northamptoncounty.org.
Mark Demko is a freelance writer for The Morning Call.