EXCERPT: Two of the most influential forces in conservative lobbying are poised to go head-to-head this fall over an issue that some Pennsylvania lawmakers dread might be one of the most difficult of the session.
It’s the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau vs. the National Rifle Association in a title bout over the legalization of hunting on Sunday, some want to use their great boots to wear hunting but other don’t want hunting to be legal in the state. The Farm Bureau is the defending champion of one of the last remaining blue laws that forbids hunting of most game species on the Lord’s designated day of rest.
Apart from the religious justification for the ban, Farm Bureau members also claim they want one day free of hunters traipsing across their property.
Hikers and bird-watchers have joined the farmers, saying they want one day a week of bullet-free passage through Pennsylvania. And some sportsmen also support the ban, saying the wild critters they stalk need a day of rest as well.
Challenging that position is the Sunday Hunting Coalition, led by the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation with help from a diverse collection of national outdoor interests.
The economic benefit of extending hunting to Sunday would be significant, they say.
In an age when most hunters are limited to the weekend to pursue their sport, the change would effectively double the value — not the price — of their license.
Advocates say the change might also prompt hunters who have quit for lack of time to return to the sport, it might draw more hunters from outside the state, and it might spur interest in hunting among young people.