Other Animals

Hunters pursuing foxes, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, striped skunks, weasels, bobcats and porcupines in Pennsylvania may now use handheld and sporting-arm mounted night-vision and infrared (thermal) optics.

A law permitting those devices in hunting furbearers became effective November 6, when it was published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners in September gave final approval to the regulatory change, but such changes don’t become effective until they’re reviewed and published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, a temporary supplement to the Pennsylvania Code.

The way was cleared for commissioner action earlier this year when House Bill 1188 lifted a prohibition on the use of night-vision and infrared optics that had been contained in state law.

“House Bill 1188, which gives the Game Commission authority to regulate night-vision and infrared optics, became law in July, and the Board of Game Commissioners, that very same month, began the process to allow furbearer hunters to use these devices,” said board president Charles Fox.

“We voted to adopt the change at our next meeting in September, setting the stage for the required, final legal review and publication today in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

At every turn in the process, hunters showed their enthusiasm for this new opportunity, and I’m happy to announce the time now has arrived.”

The change to allow night-vision and infrared optics was drafted by the commission’s Bureau of Wildlife Protection, which reviewed data from other states that permit the use of night-vision equipment and determined there were no safety concerns regarding their use for hunting furbearers in Pennsylvania.

This article was first published by PennLive on 9 November 2020. Lead Image: An Eastern coyote. 

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