Yearly hunting updates added to Game Commission lawbook

by Bailey Kozalla, editor-in-chief

The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s main goal is to manage all wild birds and mammals in the Keystone state, and their habitats, for current and future generations. With that, several updates have been added to the regulations book for the 2017-18 hunting and trapping seasons. They can be found in the beginning of the Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest.

An entirely new expansion to small game hunting, the PGC introduced semi-automatic rifles and air guns that can be used to hunt squirrels, woodchucks, and other animals not classified as big game. The weapon must be a .22 caliber or smaller and not have a magazine restriction. Although it is still prohibited to use semi automatic weapons for big game, this is a significant change for small game hunting.

Hunters must purchase a $26.90 pheasant permit starting this year. With an increased revenue of about $1.5 million this year, the PGC hopes to continue the pheasant propagation program in Pennsylvania. Travis Lau, spokesman for the commission, commented on the uncertain sales outcome. “It’s fair to say that regardless of how many permits are sold, or how much or little money they bring in, in planning for next year we’re going to need to look at the costs of the propagation program and the revenue generated by the permit and see if any adjustments are necessary.”

Bowhunters are able to hunt bears and deer simultaneously this year, as the statewide archery bear season has been moved up to the second to last week of archery deer season. It will be held Oct. 30 through Nov. 4.

The porcupine has been reclassified as a furbearer; however, they can only be hunted (3 daily, 10 per season). They can be harvested by those holding a hunting or furtaker license.

The Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest has changed. They are no longer included in the purchase of a hunting license. The publication can be viewed and downloaded online, or a hard copy can be purchased and mailed for $6 by the PGC. This change was implemented in order to reduce costs agency-wide.

It is very important to understand the laws of the outdoors when hunting and trapping. Ignorance to the law is no excuse. To read more about the updated laws, click here to access the digest.

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