Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Pennsylvania Game Commission OKs Hunting Big Game with Semiautomatic Shotguns

In 2017, Pennsylvania became the last state to restore the right to hunt game with semiautomatic rifles.

On April 24, 2018 the Pennsylvannia Board of Game Commissioners voted to correct a strange twist of the Pennsylvania game laws. In five counties where rifles are not allowed for the hunting of big game, semiautomatic shotguns have been allowed for decades.

In the rest of Pennsylvania, semiautomatic shotguns were not legal for hunting big game.

Now Pennsylvania hunters will be able to use semiautomatic shotguns to hunt big game in the rest of the state.

Semiautomatic centerfire shotguns that propel single-projectile ammunition will be lawful sporting arms in most of Pennsylvania’s firearms deer, bear and elk seasons in 2018-19.

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave unanimous approval to regulatory changes that permit these sporting arms for deer, bear and elk hunting. For elk, the shotgun needs to be 12-gauge or larger.

The Game Commission historically has permitted the use of semiautomatic shotguns for deer and bear seasons within its special regulations areas near Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

With today’s vote, such authorization is extended to the remainder of the Commonwealth, as well as to the state’s elk hunters.
There are several shotguns that use rifled barrels and sabots to give an accuracy and range potential comparable to centerfire rifles.

In 2016, Pennsylvania gave the Game Commission the authority to approve semiautomatic rifles for hunting. In January of 2017, the Game Commission approved the hunting of big game, small game and furbearers with semiautomatic rifles. In spite of the 2016 law, the decision to allow hunting big game with semiautomatic rifles was reversed in March of that year.

Semiautomatic rifles are legal to hunt small game and furbearers in Pennsylvania, but not big game. Furbearers include coyotes, foxes, and raccoons.

The first semiautomatic rifle designed for big game was patented in 1900 and  introduced in 1906 by Remington. It proved a popular and successful design.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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