HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Hunting on Sundays in Pennsylvania would be greatly expanded under a proposal that passed the state House on Thursday over objections about trespassing provisions and new restrictions on hunting in state parks.

Lawmakers voted 129-73 to send the bill to the state Senate.

“Sunday is an opportunity to educate our children about the great American tradition of protecting wild places and the deep connection to the land that comes through responsible and respectful hunting,” said Democratic Rep. Mandy Steele of Allegheny County, the bill's prime sponsor.

She said an exploding deer population was causing farmers' crop losses and the change would encourage people to connect with the land.

Berks County Republican Rep. David Maloney said the trespassing language concerned him, the proposal would require game wardens to work Sundays and that eliminating hunting at state parks was not an improvement.

“We have 124 state parks, and 100 of them already are permissible for hunting,” Maloney said. “But we’re going to exclude the state parks? This is why I don’t think you can make a bad bill better by doing certain amendments.”

It would authorize Sunday hunting for about five years. Current law allows three days of Sunday hunting: a day during rifle deer season, a day during archery deer season and a third day at the Game Commission's discretion. The three days a year law was enacted nearly five years ago.

Pennsylvania is among 12 states that do not generally allow hunting for deer, bear and turkey on Sundays. The state's prohibition on Sunday hunting dates to the 19th century, although there are exceptions for crows, foxes and coyotes, and for noncommercial private game reserves.

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