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Sunday hunting: the time has come

OUTDOORS WITH JAKE

Once again the notion of Sunday hunting is being discussed across the state. The restrictions for hunting on Sunday are among the last survivors of the old Blue Laws.

Most blue laws were changed over the years. I remember when I was young, many moons ago, shopping was a no-no on Sunday. The malls were closed and so were the grocery stores. What we didn’t get done on Saturday didn’t get accomplished until Monday. It was fine back then but it had to change and it did.

Now the grocery stores are super busy on Sunday morning and you can now buy liquor and beer as well. The movie theaters are packed and sports bars are crowded with people yelling and screaming at sporting events on television. The bars weren’t allowed to open on Sunday back in the day. You can fire up the boat motor and go fishing and on the way to your honey-hole, you can stop at one of a hundred convenient stores to buy food for the coolers. The notion that Sunday is a day of rest went out the window when people started working six days a week to make ends meet. When were these hard working Americans supposed to get the shopping done as well as the chores around the house? It had to be Sunday.

I find the idea that this is once again up for discussion pretty ridiculous. It should have been decided long before it became okay to head to a Pennsylvania State licensed casino instead of Church on Sunday morning. If you don’t believe that people are gambling on Sunday mornings, drive past the Mohegan Sun and look at the parking lot. Most churches would pray to be this well attended. Local soccer and baseball fields are always filled on Sunday and so are video arcades and amusement parks. It seems like you’re allowed to do just about everything but hunt.

The main reason for this discussion is that the House Game and Fisheries Committee held the first of three public hearings earlier this month. These hearings are designed to hear both sides of the argument regarding Sunday hunting. They will then decide what to do about proposed legislation to change the blue law. It is however, important to remember that even if the law is changed, it still doesn’t mean we’re hunting on Sunday. All it does is give the power back to the Pennsylvania Game Commission and it will be up to them to make the final decision. They have yet to take a stand on either side. The other two hearings have yet to be scheduled. I will let you know if any of them are in our area.

Some of you may be wondering who is opposed to the change. The opposition to the proposed change included the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the Humane Society of the United States. It is my opinion that the Humane Society shouldn’t be allowed to voice their opinion at all. They are against hunting in general. But the farmers are a different story. Members of the PA Farm Bureau believe that six days a week for hunting is enough. They also contend that their members (farmers) don’t want to be bothered on their religious day of rest. The committee also heard testimony about trespassing, economic advantages and disadvantages as well as public opinion surveys. Both sides shot holes at the others numbers.

I hunt on Sunday in New York. I buy gas in New York, I buy food and beer in New York and I enjoy hunting on Sunday in New York. I would however stay home and hunt here in Pennsylvania if the laws change. I don’t expect this article to change your opinion if you are strongly against Sunday hunting. I just want you to see it through my eyes before you slam me for my opinions. I believe that a change in the laws would make it easier to keep kids involved by allowing them another day in the field with their parent or hunting mentor. They have a lot pulling at their spare time and the more opportunity we can give them to hunt the better.

If you would like to voice your opinion either way be sure to let you legislators know where you stand on Sunday hunting before they vote yes or no.

Get your License Now

The Pennsylvania hunting and furtaker licenses for the 2011-12 seasons went on sale earlier this week. The licenses are easier to get then they ever have been. They are available through the Game Commission’s Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS), over-the-counter at all Game Commission region offices and the Harrisburg headquarters, as well as the more than 600 in-state and out-of-state issuing agents. Licenses also are available through the PALS website:https:// www.pa.wildlifelicense.com.

You may be wondering what all the rush is about. It is all about antlerless deer licenses. Applications for the regular round of antlerless deer licenses for residents begins July 11, and nonresidents can apply beginning July 25. An antlerless license application will be printed with every general license purchased, and an application also will be available in the 2011-12 Hunting and Trapping Digest for the first and second round of unsold antlerless deer licenses. The first round of unsold antlerless licenses will begin, for residents and nonresidents, on Aug. 1, and the second round of unsold antlerless licenses will begin on Aug. 15.

The costs are the same as they have been since 1999. There is however a 70-cent transaction fee attached to the purchase of each license and permit, which is paid directly to Active Outdoors, the Nashville-based company that runs PALS. Returning PALS customers are encouraged to provide their Customer Identification Number (CID) to speed up processing.

The following licenses can be issued at this time through any means. They include the senior lifetime licenses; Mentored Youth Hunting Program permits; elk drawing applications; bobcat and fisher permits; resident landowner reduced-fee hunting licenses: Deer Management Assistance Program Harvest (DMAP) permits: the special spring gobbler license.

Just remember, July 11 is the first day to apply for doe permits.

Outdoor Life

Be sure to watch Pennsylvania Outdoor Life tonight at 6:30 on WNEP-TV. We’ll take you to the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education center for a look at the wildlife they are taking care of. We will also head out in search of bats. Have a great day!

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