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Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Opposes Sunday Hunting Expansion
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 09/11/2019

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) affirmed its opposition to a Senate-passed bill that would expand Sunday hunting opportunities across the state during testimony before the House Game and Fisheries Committee.

"Pennsylvania farmers continue to oppose Senate Bill 147 as it is currently written," said PFB State Government Affairs Director Darrin Youker. "We acknowledge that an amended version of the original bill moved closer to meeting the criteria under which Farm Bureau could take a neutral position, but it fell short of the mark."

One of the key stumbling blocks preventing Farm Bureau from taking a neutral position on Senate Bill 147 is the bill fails to include language requiring hunters to obtain written permission to hunt on private land.

"Farmers don't understand why any person who is interested in legally hunting in Pennsylvania would oppose obtaining written permission from the landowner prior to hunting on their land," added Youker.

"Currently, hunters are required to obtain verbal permission from landowners, but many hunters fail to do so, and are illegally hunting on private land. Written permission would improve hunter/landowner relations and provide hunters with proof they are legally engaging in the recreational activity."

PFB notes that the move to allow Sunday hunting has failed to increase hunter numbers in other states. New York has seen a decline of 115,000 hunters since 2001, Ohio has lost nearly 37,000 hunters since 2002 and Virginia has seen license sales drop by 42,000 since 2009.

Meanwhile, Farm Bureau is asking members of the General Assembly to pass a so-called "purple paint" bill. The legislation (House Bill 1772), sponsored by Representative Dawn Keefer, would allow landowners to mark their property boundaries with purple paint stripes on trees and fence posts. Those markings would have the same legal implications as traditional "No Trespassing" or "No Hunting" signs.

"Trespassing is a significant concern among farmers and other landowners across Pennsylvania and we believe a purple paint law would discourage people from entering properties illegally," continued Youker. "Purple paint is visible and stands out in nature and can't be easily removed like a no hunting or no trespassing sign. It would be difficult for trespassers to argue that they did not notice the purple paint boundaries of the property."

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