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Old 01-20-2008, 08:04 AM   #1
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Default Shotgun Only Areas in PA

Anyone heard anything about PA expanding the shotgun only areas for deer hunting next year?
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Old 01-20-2008, 09:05 AM   #2
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Default RE: Shotgun Only Areas in PA

Thank goodnes for the edit button!

It looks like the SRA's (including the shotgun only rule)would be by WMU and not by county lines. Thats something that I'm surprised didnt happen back when they went to WMU's in the first place
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Old 01-20-2008, 09:31 AM   #3
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Default RE: Shotgun Only Areas in PA

By Christian Berg | Of The Morning Call
January 16, 2008

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is considering a regulatory change that would all but eliminate rifle deer hunting in the Lehigh Valley, a move officials say acknowledges the area's rapid development and fast-growing population.

Commissioners will meet Jan. 29 in Harrisburg to consider a proposal that would prohibit deer hunting with a rifle throughout Wildlife Management Unit 5C, which also would be expanded to include virtually all of Lehigh and Northampton counties and a significant portion of Berks County. Only a sliver along the Blue Mountain would be excluded.

''I am really surprised that it wasn't pushed forward several years ago because of urban sprawl, but I think its time has come,'' said Commissioner Gregory Isabella of Philadelphia, who represents southeastern Pennsylvania.

''When you are talking about hunting in urban areas, you just can't use a rifle. It's just not safe anymore, where you are [hunting] in a little valley and then the next valley over is a community with like 300 homes in there.''

If the change is adopted, Lehigh Valley deer hunters would be limited to using shotguns, single-shot muzzleloaders and archery equipment. And in another proposed change, the commission wants Lehigh Valley hunters to be able to use bait such as corn and apples to lure deer within shooting range.

It's all part of the agency's urban/suburban deer management strategy, designed to reduce whitetail numbers in densely populated areas.

The rifle ban proposal was praised Tuesday by Casey Kantner, the former North Whitehall Township resident who in 2004 was struck in the head by a stray rifle bullet fired by a nearby deer hunter. She was eight months pregnant at the time.

Kantner believes the change would reduce the likelihood someone else will suffer a similar fate. ''A rifle [bullet] can go a lot farther than a shotgun [slug],'' she said.

Though Kantner delivered a healthy baby girl after the accident, she still suffers headaches and memory loss. She now lives in Flint, Texas.

The change would provide some peace of mind for Kristie Pinczok, who doesn't let her three children or four dogs play outside during hunting season because hunters sometimes roam her large Lower Saucon Township property, despite ''No Trespassing'' signs.

Pinczok and her husband allow one hunter -- a family friend -- to hunt on their property, because deer that eat their crops need to be controlled. ''It's a double-edged sword,'' she said.

Franklin Hoffman, president of the Lehigh County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, said he doubts the proposal will surprise local hunters.

''We've been expecting this for 10 years, maybe more,'' said Hoffman, who doesn't expect major opposition from any of the federation's 15 local rod and gun clubs.

Mike Dlugos, owner of Mike's Bait and Sport Shop in Nazareth, said many customers have expressed safety concerns about the use of high-powered rifles around populated areas such as Jacobsburg State Park in Bushkill Township.

''Most of the guys I talk to in this area say they don't see a problem with shotguns -- especially for deer,'' Dlugos said. ''The area is getting built up.''

If the proposal receives preliminary approval, commissioners could finalize it in April, and the new rule would be in place for 2008-09 hunting seasons.

If that happens, the only rifles that would remain legal for hunting use in the zone would be the less powerful .22-caliber rimfires, which could be used for small game such as squirrels or furbearers such as fox and coyotes.

Deer rifles are prohibited only in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Delaware and Philadelphia counties. But as part of an overall review of the Wildlife Management Unit system instituted in 2003, the commission wants to expand the rifle ban in the Southeast and around Pittsburgh.

It would be the first major expansion of shotgun-only areas since 1991, when the existing boundaries were established.

''We've been looking hard and trying to be pro-active in designating areas that are urbanized, or rapidly urbanizing,'' said Cal DuBrock, director of the commission's Bureau of Wildlife Management. ''We've continued to see growth since the boundaries were initially established.''

Each year, a total of four square miles of open space is eliminated through development in Lehigh and Northampton counties, said Mike Kaiser, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission.

''Allentown is 18 square miles,'' he said. ''So, every 41/2 years we're urbanizing [an area the size of] Allentown.''

State Sen. Lisa M. Boscola, D-Northampton, said some people may be surprised by the commission's proposal because a state-sponsored ballistics study released in March 2007 indicated that, contrary to popular belief, shotguns might not be safer than rifles.

The study found that in ricochets, shotgun and muzzleloader slugs can go farther than rifle bullets because they lose less energy when bouncing off objects.

Boscola, a member of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee , on Tuesday called the study results ''inconclusive'' when it comes to making public safety decisions.

''I am happy to see that the Game Commission is sensitive to this issue and has taken steps to protect both hunters and the neighboring residents,'' she said.

DuBrock, of the wildlife bureau, noted the rifle restrictions are part of a larger effort by the commission to streamline hunting regulations. The use of bait, for example, is now allowed on private land only in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. If the proposal is adopted, hunters throughout Wildlife Management Unit 5C would be able to use bait.

Another part of the proposal would allow hunters in the Southeast and the Pittsburgh area to shoot more than one deer at a time if they have more than one deer tag. Currently, a hunter must tag one deer before shooting a second.

Commission officials hope that liberalized baiting and tagging regulations would help hunters reduce growing whitetail populations in urban and suburban areas. The nation's largest anti-hunting organization, however, contends more aggressive efforts to kill deer will only worsen the problem.

''It may put people in more danger'' because hunters can chase deer onto roads, said Laura Simon, field director of the urban wildlife program at the Humane Society of the United States.

Instead of killing deer, she said, the commission should focus on public education efforts that reduce the amount of food available to the animals in people's gardens and landscaping.

( The proposal for expansion of Wildlife Management Unit 5C and associated hunting regulation changes can be found on Pages 15-19 of the Game Commission's January meeting agenda, which is available on the agency's Web site at
www.pgc.state.pa.us )

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Old 01-22-2008, 06:41 PM   #4
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Default RE: Shotgun Only Areas in PA

Thanks Guys! I thought with the report that came out last year about shotgun areas actually having a higher rate of incidents would deter any further expansion of the shotgun only areas. I guess it's for the best with the high density of the populations in those areasbut I hunt in a rifle area and ashotgun only area and most single shots I hear are in the rifle area and rapid fire in the shotgun areas?
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:14 PM   #5
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Default RE: Shotgun Only Areas in PA

The word is that it has little chance of passing due to the studies showing shotguns to be no safer than rifles
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Old 01-23-2008, 06:28 AM   #6
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Default RE: Shotgun Only Areas in PA

I wish they would make handguns legal in SRA's [&:][:@][:'(]
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Old 01-23-2008, 07:05 AM   #7
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Default RE: Shotgun Only Areas in PA

Quote:
ORIGINAL: rybohunter

I wish they would make handguns legal in SRA's [&:][:@][:'(]
ditto!
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Old 02-05-2008, 04:44 PM   #8
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Default RE: Shotgun Only Areas in PA

I would like to see everything south of I-80 shotgun only! It would make for better hunting too!
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