Baby steps in play when it comes to Sunday hunting

It appears that a bill to permit Sunday hunting is moving right along legislatively.

Before you launch into full-force rejoicing over it, look carefully. This is not a bill to allow hunting on every Sunday but rather a bill that will allow Sunday hunting on just three Sundays: one during the regular firearms deer season, one in archery season and one still to be specified by the Game Commission.

It’s a start, I suppose, perhaps an experimental program to test it out before it is allowed for every Sunday in every season.

I am of an age where I can remember that the opinion of anything regarding Sunday activities would be governed by whether or not folks thought it violated the commandment that the Sabbath Day — which Sunday is not — should be held as holy to the Lord and His command was that for our own good, that should be a day of rest.

Now, however, our society has determined to erase all thoughts of God’s commands and Christianity way back on the farthest burner, as undeserving of any consideration. Now it all boils down to a matter of convenience. Many folks ask me my opinion on the matter and it is this: I care little for what is legislated about hunting on Sundays.

I personally have a much higher priority for my time on Sundays, which is to be at church teaching a Bible class and playing the organ for worship services. So if it is legislated that deer season can commence on Sundays, I simply will choose not to participate on that day. Others may do as they choose.

The Farm Bureau in Pennsylvania remains in absolute resistance to any Sunday hunting and it is a powerful and influential group. Another consideration for our state is that surrounding states have legalized Sunday hunting some time ago so many hunters simply opt to travel a bit and hunt in states where they can hunt on Sunday and where they as yet don’t have CWD concerns. That, of course, cuts into Pennsylvania’s license sales and a reduction of those are one thing the Game Commission does not need right now.

In that vein, remember that the first round of antlerless licenses go on sale tomorrow. So if you have neglected getting your new hunting license, you better get it done today. And it is true that you do receive the full-sized license Digest with the purchase of the license. What a relief it was to have that publication. I took mine home and spent an hour reading nearly every word of it.

A note of interest is that there was not a single shooting accident during the spring gobbler season just past. NOT One!

One contributing factor may have been that the constant rain plus an evident reduction in the population of wild turkeys discouraged many hunters and caused them to simply give it all up early.

Beginning this approaching fall wild turkey season, turkey hunters are no longer required to wear fluorescent orange. I remember the protests and arguing that went on when it was made law that turkey hunters had to wear orange while moving through the woods and have orange displayed near their set-up spot. Now, since statistics seem to prove that wearing orange made no real impact on turkey-hunting accidents, the laws have been rescinded. But we are still conflicted about it.

I am concerned that excited hunters, seeing movement or shapes in the woods and not seeing orange will assume it is turkeys and shoot. It’s a real concern. I’m sure this attitude is a hang-over from my own turkey-hunting accident when exactly that occurred.

Two hunters heard my calls from afar, sneaked into the area, and when they saw movement in the bushes, they just assumed it was a turkey and began shooting. I will still continue to display orange near my set-up and when I move. Let’s see where the accident stats go from here.

The latest thing for senior hunters to wrangle about is whether or not they should be allowed the special privilege of shooting smaller bucks in deer season.

In other words, not having to count points but being allowed to shoot spikes, fork-horns etc.

I agree that having to count points is a particular problem for seniors, who can see that a deer moving through the woods has antlers but may not be able to determine the number of points it has. I have that very problem. For seniors, they want the rules for them to revert back to the days when, if you saw horns, you could shoot and count points later.

Everybody in the woods, it seems, desires special rules and special days that fit their particular problem or desire. But this sort of controversy has gone on since rules for fair-chase hunting were first instituted. We are upset if any group has a day or two more to hunt than our group does and so on, and thus shall it ever be I am sure.

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