[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 141 ]
Hunting and Trapping; General
[50 Pa.B. 4744]
[Saturday, September 19, 2020]
To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission) proposed at its July 25, 2020, meeting to amend § 141.18 (relating to permitted devices) to authorize the use of hand-held and firearm-mounted night-vision and infrared optics used solely for furbearer hunting.
This proposed rulemaking will not have an adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.
The authority for this proposed rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).
This proposed rulemaking was made public at the July 25, 2020, meeting of the Commission. Comments can be sent until September 23, 2020, to the Director, Information and Education, Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.
1. Purpose and Authority
With the recent passage of House Bill 1188, the Commission now has the regulatory oversight to approve the use of night vision (light enhancement) and infrared (thermal) optical equipment. Each year the Commission is asked to review the prospective use of certain devices for hunting or trapping purposes that are otherwise prohibited by statute or regulation. As part of the review process, the Commission generally reviews to what degree use of a given device might negatively impact principles of resource conservation, equal opportunity, fair chase or public safety. The Commission has recently been requested to formally review the use of hand-held and firearm-mounted night-vision and infrared optics for furbearer hunting. The Commission has reviewed these devices and determined that their use will have no or negligible impacts to the previously mentioned principles. The Commission is proposing to amend § 141.18 to authorize the use of hand-held and firearm-mounted night-vision and infrared optics used solely for furbearer hunting.
Section 2102(a) of the code (relating to regulations) provides that ''The commission shall promulgate such regulations as it deems necessary and appropriate concerning game or wildlife and hunting or furtaking in this Commonwealth, including regulations relating to the protection, preservation and management of game or wildlife and game or wildlife habitat, permitting or prohibiting hunting or furtaking, the ways, manner, methods and means of hunting or furtaking, and the health and safety of persons who hunt or take wildlife or may be in the vicinity of persons who hunt or take game or wildlife in this Commonwealth.'' The amendments to § 141.18 are proposed under this authority.
2. Regulatory Requirements
This proposed rulemaking will amend § 141.18 to authorize the use of hand-held and firearm-mounted night-vision and infrared optics used solely for furbearer hunting.
3. Persons Affected
Persons wishing to hunt furbearers using hand-held or firearm-mounted night-vision or infrared optics within this Commonwealth will be affected by this proposed rulemaking.
4. Cost and Paperwork Requirements
This proposed rulemaking should not result in any additional cost or paperwork.
5. Effective Date
This proposed rulemaking will be effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and will remain in effect until changed by the Commission.
6. Contact Person
For further information regarding this proposed rulemaking, contact Jason L. DeCoskey, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.
BRYAN J. BURHANS,
Fiscal Note: 48-461. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART III. GAME COMMISSION
CHAPTER 141. HUNTING AND TRAPPING
Subchapter A. GENERAL
§ 141.18. Permitted devices.
Notwithstanding the prohibitions in § 141.6 (relating to illegal devices), the following devices may be used to hunt or take wildlife:
(1) Firearms that use an electronic impulse to initiate discharge of ammunition. This provision is not intended to authorize use of these devices when these firearms are otherwise prohibited devices for the applicable hunting or trapping season.
* * * * *
(10) Electronic dove decoys used solely for hunting dove.
(11) Electronic hand-held and firearm-mounted night-vision and infrared optics used solely for furbearer hunting.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-1269. Filed for public inspection September 18, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]
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