Pennsylvanians are getting outside in record numbers, from families geocaching and day hiking to mountain biking and nature photography.
There is a notable exception to this trend, however: The number of active hunters continues to steadily decline across the state. I don’t begrudge hunters, their sport or their time in the woods, but hunters should recognize that most outdoor recreationists are not hunting, and look forward to Sundays during hunting seasons as the one day of the week that they can pursue their chosen passion without having to worry about “user conflicts” or accidentally getting shot.
Splitting the weekend between hunting on Saturdays and other outdoor activities on Sunday has been a compromise that has generally worked. This year though, the NRA has decided to push Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania as a legislative priority. This comes after the Game Commission, under pressure from the NRA, giving initial approval for hunters to start using semi-automatic rifles.
Legislators should consider the impact Sunday hunting will have on the vast majority of their constituents. Although Ricketts Glen State Park (my hiking go-to) comprises 13,050 acres, 10,144 of those are open to hunting, meaning that there may be semi-automatic weapon fire across half the hiking trails and more than 75 percent of the park. This is an issue of fairness and the equitable sharing of the resources of time and terrain. If you think that Sunday hunting is not a good idea, let your state legislators know. They’ve already heard from the NRA.
Ed Lawrence, Orangeville