Use of approved semiautomatic rifles and air guns now permitted in Special Regulations Areas.
Four electronic devices recently approved for use while hunting now may be used afield.
Within established seasons, hunters now may use electronic decoys in hunting waterfowl; electronic dove decoys solely for hunting doves; electronically heated scent or lure dispensers; and electronic devices that distribute ozone gas for scent-control purposes.
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners in September gave final approval to a measure to allow the devices, but with all regulatory changes, the changes do not become law until they are published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
The changes will be published in the Nov. 18 Pennsylvania Bulletin.
Electronic devices generally are prohibited for hunting use in Pennsylvania, but the Game Commission over the years has received requests to review several specific electronic devices, and has approved some of them for hunting use. As part of the review process, the Game Commission evaluates to what degree a given device might negatively impact the principles of resource conservation, equal opportunity, fair chase and public safety.
In reviewing the devices that recently were approved for hunting use, the Game Commission identified no negative impacts that would result from their use.
Other electronic devices that are permitted for use while hunting or trapping in Pennsylvania are:
• Firearms that use an electronic impulse to initiate discharge of their ammunition
• Electronic sound-amplification devices incorporated into hearing protection devices and completely contained in or on a hunter’s ear
• Electronic devices used for locating dogs while training and hunting
• Electronic illuminating devices affixed to the aft end of a bolt or arrow and used solely for locating or tracking a bolt or arrow after it is launched
• Electronic crow decoys used solely for hunting crows
• Electronic rangefinders, including handheld devices and those contained within a scope or archery sight, so long that it does not emit a beam
The Nov. 18 Pennsylvania Bulletin also contains regulatory changes that make it lawful to use semiautomatic rifles and air guns for hunting small game and furbearers within the state’s Special Regulations Areas.
Air guns need to be between .177 and .22 caliber when used within Special Regulations Areas to hunt small game, woodchucks or furbearers.
Semiautomatic rifles need to be .22 caliber rimfire or less to hunt small game, woodchucks or furbearers within Special Regulations Areas.
These requirements vary slightly from those applying elsewhere in the state, where air guns used for small game must be between .177 and .22 caliber; and .22 caliber or larger when hunting woodchucks and furbearers.
Outside of Special Regulations Areas, semiautomatic rifles must be.22 caliber rimfire or less when used for small game, and there is no caliber restriction for woodchucks or furbearers. Only single-projectile ammunition may be used.
Special Regulations Areas include all of Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and Ridley Creek and Tyler state parks during special controlled hunts.