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PFB Reacts to Sunday Hunting, Purple Paint Bills Signing
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 12/02/2019

Although Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) took a neutral position on Senate Bill 147, which allows three additional days of hunting on Sundays in the state, the Commonwealth's largest farm organization says it is pleased with strong trespassing provisions included in the legislation.

"Hunter trespassing becomes a primary offense enforceable by the state Game Commission and violators will face increased penalties and higher fines. For example, a hunter caught trespassing for a second offense over a seven-year period, will not only face a fine, but will also lose their hunting license for one year," said PFB President Rick Ebert. "It is important for hunters to understand that the new trespassing provisions apply to hunting that occurs on every day of the week, not just on the three Sundays allowed under the new law."

Farm Bureau notes that the final language included in the bill signed by Governor Wolf is much different than the original bill introduced in February.

"Aside from including the stronger trespassing measures, the bill meets other policy requirements needed for Farm Bureau to take a neutral position. They include limiting the number of Sunday hunting days to a maximum of three per year and requiring hunters to gain written permission from landowners prior to hunting on their land for the three Sundays authorized under the bill," added Ebert.

Meanwhile, Farm Bureau strongly advocated for House Bill 1772, which is commonly referred to as the "purple paint" bill. The legislation, which was unanimously approved by the state House and Senate prior to receiving the Governor's signature, allows landowners to use purple paint on trees and fence posts to specifically designate that no hunting is permitted on their land.

"Under the new purple paint law, violators would be subject to the same penalties and fines as if the land was posted with 'No Hunting' or 'No Trespassing' signs," continued Ebert. "The use of purple paint should help combat the actions of vandals, who have ripped off or defaced no hunting and no trespassing signs."

For decades, Sunday hunting has been legal in Pennsylvania, but limited to coyotes, foxes and crows. Many landowners, farmers, outdoors enthusiasts and even a good number of hunters have fiercely opposed any expansion of Sunday hunting, so it would not be surprising if they are unhappy with the new law allowing three extra days of hunting on Sunday.

"Some farmers, who previously allowed hunting on their land, may choose to post their land with signs or use purple paint to indicate that hunters are no longer welcome on their property. We are counting on state game officials to vigorously enforce the new trespassing laws," concluded Ebert.

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