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Legislation to Protect Hunters Who Self-Report Honest Mistakes

ethical hunters legislation

Pennsylvania state reps have introduced legislation that would limit penalties for ethical hunters.

Currently, a hunter who self-reports a mistaken kill could lose his or her license, despite the honesty. The new bill proposed by Pennsylvania State Representatives Bill Kortz and Hal English would limit the penalties on self-reporting hunters without stopping the book from being thrown at poachers.

The goal of House Bill 2315 is to protect honest hunters. English has said, “Unfortunately, honest mistakes can happen while hunting,” meaning that a hunter can unintentionally break the law without even realizing it. Management unit borders are changing throughout the state, which means hunters can easily harvest animals or trespass in an unintended location by accident.

Further confusion results from the fact that Pennsylvania uses staggered dates to mark the seasons at different times around the state. Hunter could easily think they are legally hunting something in season, when in fact they’re not.

The bill would also protect Pennsylvania hunters who might have been charged in other states. Currently, under the Wildlife Violator Compact, if a hunter is charged in another state, the hunter would also be unable to purchase a hunting license in Pennsylvania. The specifics of the new bill would protect hunters who were charged trivially. The bill was drafted in association with the state game commission and with the support of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.

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Legislation to Protect Hunters Who Self-Report Honest Mistakes