Bill to Expand Hunting Opportunities, Address Crop Damage Approved by Senate

HARRISBURG- Legislation to address the mutual needs of sportsmen and agricultural producers has received Senate approval.  Senate Bill 67, introduced by Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49) would open up more hunting opportunities and would give farmers more freedom to mitigate crop damage on their farms.

The comprehensive bill, which was amended to include legislation sponsored by Sen. Greg Rothman (R-34), would establish an optional, non-public “Ag Access List” for sportsmen seeking to hunt on farmland, which would be shared only with farmers requesting crop damage assistance from hunters. The bill would also remove statutory restrictions on the Game Commission, which currently limit Sunday hunting.

SB 67 would also provide common-sense procedural relief for farmers registered in crop deprivation programs, allowing them to transport animals to processors, thereby saving time, reducing waste, and maximizing donations to charitable feeding programs.  Additionally, the legislation would ensure that one of the nine members of the Game Commission Board have an agricultural background, as most deer in Pennsylvania are harvested on private lands, many of which are farms. Finally, the bill would stiffen penalties for trespassing on private property.

As Chair of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, and Vice Chair of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, Rothman has heard from both sportsmen and farmers alike on the need for the changes proposed in SB 67.  “Crop damage caused by wildlife is having a significant impact on Pennsylvania farmers,” Rothman explained.  “I’ve heard from growers who describe the destruction and the resulting financial losses as ‘devastating’ and ‘unsustainable,’” he continued. “The good news is farmers and hunters can both be part of the solution.  The bill protects private property rights, eliminates burdensome regulations, and allows farmers more freedom to mitigate crop damage while expanding hunting opportunities,” Rothman said.  “It’s a win for all involved.”

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Contact: Morgan Wagner  


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