HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A sportsmen’s group has asked a federal judge to throw out the state’s long-standing ban on Sunday hunting, claiming it interferes with hunters’ religious rights and their right to bear arms.
Hunters United for Sunday Hunting filed suit against the Pennsylvania Game Commission, which enforces the state’s game code, saying the prohibition on most types of hunting on Sunday causes hunters to suffer an “irreparable loss” of time in the field.
“Given that most people work Monday through Friday and children under 18 years of age are in school Monday through Friday, Sundays comprise fifty percent of the available time to hunt in Pennsylvania,” the lawsuit said.
The Lancaster County-based group also said the Sunday hunting ban violates the Constitution’s equal-protection clause because it allows farmers to kill deer or elk that are damaging crops. Wild hogs, crows, foxes and coyotes may also be taken on Sundays.
Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau said Thursday he did not know if commission officials had reviewed the lawsuit. The commission has been open to lifting the Sunday hunting ban if authorized to do so by the Legislature.
A bill that would have permitted hunting on Sundays died two years ago amid opposition from the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, which argued that many are in favor of preserving one day a week when people can be outside without running into hunters or hearing gunfire. The organization also said that trespassing problems would increase by adding another day of hunting.
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