More PGC rules changes
In addition to setting season dates, the Pennsylvania Game Commissioner board voted to clarify or amend certain hunting regulations. The PGC Board of Commissioners met last week.
Archery and Muzzleloader Season Overlaps
A muzzleloader bear season – which overlaps with both muzzleloader deer season and archery season – was adopted for the 2020-21 hunting seasons. Previously hunters were permitted to carry both a muzzleloader and bow during the overlap; new language was needed to make this permissible during the muzzleloader bear overlap.
When the carrying of both muzzleloaders and archery equipment is permitted, hunters must possess valid licenses and tags to use both and are required to follow the fluorescent-orange requirements for the muzzleloader season.
Mentored Youth Program Clarifications
When the mentored youth program began, it applied only to youth under 12. Now that additional ages are included, certain language needed to be clarified.
First, mentored hunters of all ages now are eligible to hunt the same species. This expands opportunities in each age class and eliminates confusion about which species different-aged hunters may hunt.
Also, while mentored hunters under the age of 7 will continue to be issued permits that do not contain deer or turkey harvest tags – meaning the deer and turkey tags they use will continue to be provided through transfer from their adult mentors – mentored hunters of all other ages will be issued their own tags.
Mentored hunters who are 7 and older can now apply for their own antlerless deer licenses and Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permits, as well as migratory bird licenses and pheasant permits.
With the changes, all mentored hunters may hunt the following species: rabbit, snowshoe hare, ruffed grouse, mourning doves, bobwhite quail, pheasants, crows, squirrels, porcupines, woodchucks, coyotes, deer and wild turkeys.
Although language about the program was changed, the safety requirements remained the same. Any mentored hunter under 17 years old may not carry a firearm while moving. Also, a mentor may not be accompanying more than one youngster. The mentor and the mentored hunter may not possess more than one firearm.
A final vote on a proposal to allow state game lands users to ride Class 1 and Class 2 electric bicycles in the same manner they can ride traditional bicycles has been tabled by board.
Commissioner Tim Layton said the fine detail of language within the proposal makes it too complex to consider for approval at an online meeting, and suggested it be brought back to the commissioners’ next meeting, scheduled to be held Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26 at the Game Commission’s Harrisburg headquarters.
To help increase and enhance use of state game lands by disabled persons, the PGC will now accept ATVs which are registered through DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) or the state Department of Transportation. Prior regulation required eligible ATVs used on game lands to be registered with DCNR. But since ATVs can’t be dual-registered, those registered with PennDOT couldn’t lawfully be used on game lands, even if they otherwise were eligible. The change benefits those ATV users who already have registered their ATVs for use as mobility devices with PennDOT.