The state Board of Game Commissioners on Tuesday gave final approval to a regulatory change that makes permanent the lawful use of crossbows in archery deer and bear seasons.
The specific action taken by the board was removing the sunset date provision inserted into the regulatory changes that permitted crossbows in 2009.
The sunset provision required the board and agency staff to review the impact of expanded use of crossbows on the deer and bear resource before June 30, 2012.
In other action, the board:
Agreed to update the standard hunting hours table for the 2012-13 seasons;
Gave preliminary approval to a regulatory change to allow the use of draw-lock devices. The change also eliminates the minimum draw weight of 35 pounds for bows;
Approved hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for 2012-13, including a move to allow Mentored Youth Hunting Program participants to take part in fall turkey seasons and establishing antlerless deer license allocations.
Other changes include:
The extension of the fall archery deer season by one day to include Monday, Nov. 12;
- Gave preliminary approval to a regulatory change to define decoy as "any artificial representation or facsimile of a bird or animal used to attract other birds and animals. This term shall not be construed to include living birds or animals." The use of electronic or battery operated decoys remains illegal;
- Gave preliminary approval to a regulatory change to clarify that the prohibition on the use of "meat and animal products" in relation to furbearer trapping includes the use of "artificial representations or facsimiles thereof." This is necessary to avoid attracting birds of prey to sets;
- Gave preliminary approval to a regulatory change requiring license holders to notify the agency within 30 days of any change of residency status, which will cost $6. However, the regulatory change will preclude the license holder from having to acquire a new license for the license year in which the change in residency has taken place. For example, if an individual purchases a resident license, but then moves out of state, they will have to notify the agency of the change in residency status and pay a $6 fee, and they may continue to hunt for that license year still using their resident license. The following year, however, they will need to purchase a nonresident license. Presently, if a resident license holder becomes a nonresident, their license immediately becomes invalid and they have to purchase a nonresident license for that year;
- Established dates of the Board's two upcoming meetings as follows: June 25-26, at the Harrisburg headquarters; and Sept. 24-25, tentatively set to be held in Franklin, Venango County. The Board also set the dates for the first quarterly meeting of 2013 to be Jan. 27-29, 2013, at the agency's Harrisburg headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, just off the Progress Avenue exit of Interstate 81; and
- Announced the next Working Group Meeting of the Board will be held on Tuesday, May 29, at the agency's Harrisburg headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, just off the Progress Avenue exit of Interstate 81.