RULES AND REGULATIONS
[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 141 ]
Hunting and Trapping; General
[50 Pa.B. 6208]
[Saturday, November 7, 2020]
To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission) at its September 26, 2020, meeting amended § 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 final-form rulemaking will not have an adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.
The authority for this final-form rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).
Notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 50 Pa.B. 4744 (September 19, 2020).
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 negative impacts to the previously mentioned principles. The Commission amends § 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 adopted under this authority.
2. Regulatory Requirements
This final-form rulemaking amends § 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 final-form rulemaking.
4. Comment and Response Summary
The Commission received a total of 20 official comments concerning this final-form rulemaking. Out of this total, 15 supported and 5 opposed the use of hand-held and firearm-mounted night-vision and infrared optics used solely for furbearer hunting
5. Cost and Paperwork Requirements
This final-form rulemaking should not result in any additional cost or paperwork.
6. Effective Date
This final-form rulemaking will be effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and will remain in effect until changed by the Commission.
7. Contact Person
For further information regarding this final-form rulemaking, contact Jason L. DeCoskey, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.
The Commission finds that:
(1) Public notice of intention to adopt the administrative amendments adopted by this order has been given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P.L. 769, No. 240) (45 P.S. §§ 1201 and 1202), known as the Commonwealth Documents Law, and the regulations thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2 (relating to notice of proposed rulemaking; and adoption of regulations).
(2) The adoption of the amendments of the Commission in the manner provided in this order is necessary and appropriate for the administration and enforcement of the authorizing statute.
The Commission, acting under the authorizing statute, orders that:
(a) The regulations of the Commission, 58 Pa. Code Chapter 141, are amended by amending § 141.18 to read as set forth in Annex A.
(b) The Executive Director of the Commission shall certify this order and Annex A and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.
(c) This order shall become effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
BRYAN J. BURHANS,
Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 48-461 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulation.
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. 20-1539. Filed for public inspection November 6, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]
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