Ethical hunting legislation reported out of committee
HARRISBURG, PA — State Reps. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, and Hal English, R-Allegheny, today reported that their legislation aimed at not penalizing honest, ethical hunters for a mistaken harvest was unanimously approved by the House Game and Fisheries Committee.
Specifically, the bill would remove the threat of a license suspension for those truthful hunters who make an honest mistake and then self-report the mistaken harvest by contacting the Pennsylvania Game Commission, turning in the animal and pleading guilty to the offense.
“Given the facts that borders of wildlife management units and the special areas within them can be easily confused, and that the commission is now using staggered dates around the state for some big game seasons, hunters can think they are legally hunting when in fact they aren’t,” Kortz said. “For hunters who make an inadvertent mistake, due to a few yards or recently changed dates, to face the same revocations as a common poacher who is hunting out of season or at night isn’t fair.
“Current law can create havoc for bear and elk hunters. With different hunting dates for different wildlife management units, the difference of a few yards in the woods can mean the difference between a legal or illegal harvest,” he said.
“While the hunter must claim responsibility and pay a small administrative fine under this legislation, the bill would eliminate the three-year suspension of hunting privileges both here in Pennsylvania and around the country, and the severe fine.”
The language of H.B. 359 was drafted in a bipartisan effort working closely with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
The Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs supports the bill.
The legislation can now be brought to a vote before the full House.
SOURCE: House Democratic Communications Office