Harrisburg – Legislation sponsored by Senator Mario Scavello (R-40) to allow Pennsylvanians to engage in falconry on Sundays was approved by the Senate this week.
Currently, Pennsylvania law prohibits hunting on Sunday, with the exception of the hunting of foxes and coyotes. Senate Bill 123 will add an exception for falconry, the sport of hunting small game species with birds of prey. The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
“Of all the field sports that fall under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, falconry is the only one that uses a trained wild animal,” said Scavello. “This legislation is being offered because these birds of prey need to fly and eat daily. Under current law, a falconer who wishes to take his or her bird of prey out in the wild, even for daily flight and not to hunt, would still be in violation of the Sunday hunting prohibition.”
The senator noted that the hawks and falcons that are utilized are a valuable part of the Commonwealth’s unique and diverse wildlife, and that laws and regulations are in place to ensure that falconers follow sound conservation principles in pursuit of the sport.
“In fact, the very existence of falconry depends upon the continued welfare of these birds of prey,” he said.
Scavello added that endangered birds of prey have benefited from the long-standing tradition of falconry, a sport which has been used historically for re-introduction of these species in the wild.
There are fewer than 200 falconers in Pennsylvania, and all must qualify under the strict guidelines of the Pennsylvania Game Commission Falconry program.
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