States are getting creative to find new ways to increase jobs and tax revenue, but some say the Pennsylvania Game Commission is going too far by using hunting as a way to boost the economy.
Lawmakers in the state are being asked to lift a ban on Sunday hunting that has been in effect since 1873.
According to the commission, hunting animals on Sunday would create 5,300 new jobs and add $18 million in sales and income tax to the state. The extra day would allow people who work Monday through Friday to hunt over an entire weekend and drive up sales for gun stores, restaurants and hotels.
State Rep. Edward Staback, D-Lackawanna reported in a story from Patch.com, “The proposal appears to be a win-win situation.”
As it stands now, hunters can kill crow, fox and coyotes on Sunday. The new law would expand it to cover animals such as deer and bear. Thirty-nine other states already allow Sunday hunting during the season.
“I think it’s time to expand that list,” Craig Todd manager of the Monroe County Conservation District reported to the Pocono Record. “If you work Monday to Friday, you only have one day to get in the woods.”
Wildlife groups, outdoor enthusiasts and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, which represents 50,000 farmers, strongly oppose changing the ban.
The farmers object because lifting the ban would, “Take away the one day of peace and quiet for hardworking farmers statewide,” said Mark O’Neill, the bureau’s media relations director.
Up to 80 percent of the state’s hunting land is privately owned farmland. Farmers are concerned if the ban was lifted, hunters would be all over their property firing rifles and disturbing their peace.
Outdoor enthusiasts complain that Sunday is the only day when they are free to hike and enjoy nature without worrying about hunters shooting.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) also weighed in on the discussion in a statement. The group suggested the state find other ways to generate income.
“The last thing Pennsylvania needs is a seventh day of the week for hunters to disturb animal populations, damage ecosystems, and disrupt property owners. If the state wants to create jobs and encourage young people to engage with the environment, it should promote environmentally sound, non-consumptive activities like wildlife photography, bird watching, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and camping,” said an official statement.
skrewtape via flickr.