FINALLY !!! Pennsylvania Considers Permitting the Use of Semiautomatic Rifles to Hunt Predators!

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By Tom Beveridge.              Pennsylvania predator hunters may soon be able to use semiautomatic rifles to hunt fox, coyotes and woodchucks.  On May 1, 2014, House Bill 2230 was introduced by Representative Gregory Lucas (R-Crawford and Erie Counties) and referred to the Committee on Game and Fisheries.   The Bill – co-sponsored by sixteen other Representatives – would amend Section 2308 of Title 34 (Game and Wildlife Code) to allow hunting of fox, coyote and woodchucks with a semiautomatic rifle of a .223 caliber or less and a cartridge capacity of not more than six (6) rounds.   If and when approved, the Bill will be effective sixty (60) days thereafter.   The text of the Bill can be found here:  http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2013&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=2230.

As an avid predator hunter, I have long awaited the day when we can finally use semiautomatic rifles in pursuit of coyotes.   Most of us have seen hunting shows such as Furtakers and Predator Nation where the hosts and hunters pursue western dogs with AR-15s or other semiautomatic rifles.   I see no reason why Pennsylvania hunters should not enjoy the same opportunities.

However, I believe there are some concerns which should also be considered.   For instance, many of us have experienced the rush of a bobcat racing into our calls while hunting coyotes.   When in season, why not allow the use of semiautomatic rifles to take that cat as well?   Also, I have had more than one raccoon waddle into a distress call.   I see no reason not to expand the option to permit hunting these animals with semiautomatic rifles.

Finally, while we are on the subject, I suggest adding an exception to Section 141.67 of Title 58 which regulates the hunting of furbearers with shot no larger than #4, to allow larger shot size for the sole purpose of hunting coyotes.   For those of you who have unloaded a 3″, 12 gauge magnum shell of #4 shot at a coyote running at 40 yards only to watch him disappear into the night, can you imagine if we could actually use the larger, Hevi-Shot “Dead Coyote!” load instead?   There might be one less deer-killer stalking about Penn’s Woods.

All in all, I commend Representative Lucas and his colleagues for opening the door to new hunting options and opportunities in the Commonwealth.   I urge all Pennsylvania sportsmen and women to support this Bill.

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5 Comments

Filed under Firearms Law, Hunting, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

5 responses to “FINALLY !!! Pennsylvania Considers Permitting the Use of Semiautomatic Rifles to Hunt Predators!

  1. Ray

    I see your point for raccoons but not bobcats as they exist in much lower numbers than coyotes and raccoons

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    • I certainly agree with your statement. My suggestion is more of a practical one as it doesn’t make sense to have to change your firearm if a cat is coming into your call during season verses a coyote. Currently, I hunt with a .223/12 gauge over and under, but would love the opportunity to use an AR-15 only in some situations. Either way, I think the Bill is a very good start. Thanks Ray !

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  2. Mike Miller

    I feel this way all game conservation should be state wide where you can hunt on Sundays, Use AR with a 10 round MAG, use electronic calls for all game and finally put an end to poachers where they can no longer obtain any fish or wildlife license.

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    • Mike Miller

      I also feel that those who have failed to shoot a deer get another chance at it that those farmers claiming crop damage allow hunters to go on their property and bag a deer and keep track of them by name and hunting license number. I know there are people out there who shoot buck just for the antlers but if they do not want the meat there are people out there that will gladly take it. I will admit I hunt deer for food. Raccoon opossum, skunk I will not due to rabies. Far as Mountain Lion in PA there are some around for the PA Game commission to state there are none in PA is false and same goes for the timber wolves have you ever heard of a coy Wolf that is a hybrid with coyote and timber wolf they are all over the US and just a word of warning for all you turkey hunters watch you back they will come in and attack you so be alert and beware watch your (6) back . My suggestion hunt a few feet off the ground just to be safe

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  3. Frank

    just because you don’t see more bobcats, don’t believe there are less. I have counted 14 over a 2 month period at my brother’s place in Bradford county.

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