The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners is formally adopting a change to the law that allows hunters of fur-bearing game to use night vision optics. The new law allows for all night vision systems from head-mounted optics to night vision and infrared riflescopes.
The change was accepted in September but didn’t go into effect right away. Pennsylvania requires all changes to be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, a supplemental erratum to the Pennsylvania Code, before hunters can follow them.
Now that the change was published in the Bulletin, furbearer hunters are free to use their optics of choice to take game. Board of Game Commissioners President Charlie Fox said he was pleased to announce the change thanks to the passage of state House Bill 1188, sponsored by Republican Rep. Parke Wentling.
“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 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,” he continued. “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.”
Pennsylvania considers bobcats, coyotes, foxes, opossums, porcupines, raccoons, skunks and weasels as fur-bearing game. Legislators and wildlife officials made the change to allow night vision after reviewing data from other states that already allow its use.
When the Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Protection reviewed other state’s statistics, it found that night vision didn’t have a negative effect on hunter safety, which allowed the bill to proceed.