Pennsylvania bowhunters just made history.

The first ever day of regulated Sunday big-game hunting was Sunday, Nov. 15, for archery deer hunting only.

In total, there are three Sundays, all in consecutive weeks, when limited big-game hunting will occur in 2020.

Sunday, Nov. 22 is open for bear hunting during the statewide general bear season, and Sunday, Nov. 29 is open for deer hunting during the firearms deer season.

On those three Sundays, hunters on private land are required to carry written permission from the landowner. Please list the landowner’s contact information, especially a phone number if possible, on the permission slip. If a game warden needs to check the validity of a permission slip, providing the landowner’s phone number will help expedite the process, allowing the hunter more quickly to get back to hunting.

Except on Sundays, Nov. 15, Nov. 22 and Nov. 29, only foxes, coyotes and crows may be hunted on Sundays during open seasons.

Sunday hunting has long been prohibited by state statute, though foxes, coyotes and crows were exempted from the ban years ago and, more recently, the three new days of Sunday big-game hunting were approved through the passage of Senate Bill 147, sponsored by Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie. Without further legislation, the Game Commission cannot further expand Sunday hunting opportunities.

Hunters are more than excited for the new Sunday hunting opportunities awaiting them in the coming weeks, Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said.

“For decades, hunters have shown their support for expanded Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania, and now these new opportunities are on their doorstep,” Burhans said. “The day of Sunday bowhunting coming up Nov. 15 comes at the most-exciting time of the archery deer season, when bucks are on the move throughout the day and when action can unfold at any minute. Meanwhile, the Sundays within the statewide bear and firearms deer seasons will turn the opening days for those seasons into opening weekends, doubling hunters’ opportunity to participate. That’s a huge win for hunters, since many have extremely busy schedules that severely limit their hunting time. By providing additional opportunity to hunt on a likely day off, it only increases the likelihood of keeping them engaged in hunting and helping to recruit new hunters.”

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