Regular firearms deer hunting season begins Monday across the state, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission would like hunters to enjoy the hunting season while closely following all statewide rules and regulations.
About 750,000 hunters are expected to be in the woods on Monday, according to Richard Macklem, game commission law enforcement supervisor.
“We just want the hunters to be smart,” Macklem said. “Understand the rules and if you have any questions consult your hunting digest.”
The most common rules violation is a failure to wear the proper amount of orange, Macklem said.
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The law states that hunters must wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange on the head, chest and back combined. To be in compliance, the combination of a hat and coat or vest typically fulfills the requirement, but Macklem said measure to be sure.
In 2015, the game commission reported the lowest amount of hunting related accidents on record. Macklem said 2015 was a great year for hunter safety, but he urged hunters to handle their firearms properly.
“The main thing is we want everyone to be safe,” Macklem said. “Understand the safety zones and don’t have a loaded firearm in a vehicle. The last thing we want is a firearm accident that could have been prevented.”
A firearm is considered loaded when there is live ammunition in either the chamber or attached magazine. It’s unlawful to have a loaded firearm in, on or against any motor vehicle, according to the Pennsylvania hunting and trapping digest.
The digest defines a safety zone as an area within 150 yards of any occupied residence, camp, industrial or commercial building, or school or playground. Occupants may give permission to fire within the zone, but it is unlawful to fire into or through a safety zone from outside of a zone.
Once an animal is killed, the hunter must tag it immediately and before moving it. The tag is to be filled out using a pen and attached to the animal’s ear. The tag must remain attached and the bar code needs to be visible for game commission personnel to scan.
After scanning, the hunter may load the animal into his or her vehicle, but Macklem said there should be consideration to non-hunters.
“The best thing is for the animal to be wrapped in plastic and out of view,” Macklem said. “For the hunters, it protects the meat and it guarantees non-hunters and children won’t be exposed to unpleasant sights.”
Typically, hunters will have a pick-up truck or trailer to haul the animal, but Macklem said if a hunter drives a car the animal should be wrapped in plastic and placed in the trunk or hatchback. Although strapping an animal to the outside of a car is not illegal, Macklem said the game commission encourages hunters to avoid the practice.
“The main thing is we want everyone to be safe,” Macklem said. “Think about safety first and if there are any questions please give us a call.”
The full hunting and trapping digest can be seen online at www.pgc.pa.gov. The game commission office serving Centre County can be reached at 570-398-4744.
Regular firearms season begins Monday at 6:36 a.m.