PA Commissioners 2009-10 Proposals

PA Game Commission, Bear Hunting Magazine

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to expand the lawful use of crossbows to include both the archery deer and bear seasons for the 2009-10 seasons. The Board amended the proposal by including a sunset date for the expanded crossbow use that will require a future Board to vote on the measure again before June 30, 2012.

Under the new regulation, a crossbow must have a peak drawn weight of at least 125 pounds, and a bolt must be equipped with a broadhead that has an outside diameter or width of at least 7/8 inches with at least two cutting edges on the same plane throughout the length of the cutting surface, and shall not exceed three inches in length.

Also, before giving the measure final approval, the Board adopted an amendment to prohibit the use of magnifying scopes for archery equipment and crossbows during the archery bear and deer seasons. The use of non-magnifying scopes -- such as those that provide a red dot for sighting purposes -- will continue to be legal.

The proposal given approval also would remove the lawful use of crossbows during the October muzzleloader or late flintlock muzzleloader season. Other changes made by the proposal simplify and make the language of the regulations easier to understand.

The Board of Commissioners gave preliminary approval to the traditional three-day statewide black bear season before Thanksgiving, extended bear seasons in certain portions of the state concurrent with the first week of the firearms deer season and a two-day archery season.

While most bear seasons remain the same, extended hunting opportunities were added for WMUs 5B and 5C, in the southeastern portion of the state, and will run Dec. 2-5, Wednesday through Saturday, along with the concurrent firearms deer season in these units. However, the Board removed WMU 3C, in the northeastern corner of the state, from the extended season, due to a declining bear population trend.

Pennsylvania extended modern-day bear hunting started in 2002, when bear hunters were given the opportunity to fill their tags the first week of the firearms deer season in Carbon, Monroe and Pike counties. With the advent of the state's 22 WMUs, the extended season was held in WMU 3D in 2003. In 2004, the number of WMUs open for the concurrent deer/bear season was expanded, and the Board has made adjustments to those areas that are included or closed based on population trends.

Bear licenses must be purchased prior to the opening of the firearms deer season, Nov. 30.

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