Deer season kickoff includes Sunday (Nov. 29) hunting

SAYRE — Pennsylvania’s single biggest hunting day – the opening of the Keystone State’s firearms deer season – arrives Saturday, Nov. 28.

And this year, the popular opener turns into a weekend event, with Sunday hunting allowed for whitetails.

It will be the third consecutive weekend of Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania, following the Nov. 15 archery deer offering and the Nov. 22 Sunday of black bear hunting.

Hunters on private land are required to carry written permission from the landowner when hunting on Sunday. Hunters should 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 and allow the hunter to more quickly head back afield.

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.

“For decades, hunters have shown their support for expanded Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania, and now these new opportunities are on their doorstep,” Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans said. “The day of Sunday bowhunting came 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. And 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.”

Too, this Saturday marks the second straight Saturday season opener, a change met with mixed reviews from hunters but designed to boost participation in the sport.

The deer season is a bucks-only offering from Nov. 28 through Dec. 4 in Wildlife Management Units 3A, 3B, and 3C, with antlered and antlerless season running from Dec. 5-12.

Hunters with bear permits may take bruins in units 3A, 3B, and 3C during an extended season from Nov. 30-Dec. 5 (note that bears are not fair game during the opening weekend of the deer season).

Purple paint law goes into effect

HARRISBURG — A change in Pennsylvania’s Crimes Code gives landowners the option of using purple paint, rather than signs, to post their properties and alert others that lands are private and trespassing isn’t permitted.

This law took effect this year in all but Philadelphia and Allegheny counties.

Landowners using purple paint to post their properties use vertical purple lines that are at least 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. The bottom of the mark must be no less than 3 feet or more than 5 feet from the ground. And painted marks are not more than 100 feet apart.

Hunters and trappers should know they might encounter purple markings on trees and that the marks are meant to define the boundary of an adjoining private property that’s posted against trespassing.

The new law also authorizes unarmed persons to go onto private property for the sole purpose of retrieving a hunting dog.

In Pennsylvania, failure to obey purple painted marks, as well as signs or verbal commands to keep out, is considered defiant trespass – a third-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and $2,500 in fines. If trespassing occurs while hunting, additional game law violations and additional penalties may apply.

A recent legislative act has provided the Game Commission the authority to investigate trespassing complaints and enforce trespassing violations as a primary offense, even if game law violations aren’t alleged.

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