The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners approved changes restricting single-projectile firearm use for hunting turkeys to help preserve lower than expected turkey population.
On Saturday, the Pennsylvania Game Commission banned the use of single-projectile firearms, such as muzzleloading rifles, handguns, and slug guns, for the fall turkey hunting season. These new changes come one year after the Commission eliminated the use of centerfire and rimfire rifles.
The measure was adopted as a means to combat the below-goal turkey populations. In the past, the game commission reduced the length of the fall season as the primary method to increase turkey populations. The Commission noted that while relatively few hunters used rifles, they accounted for approximately one-third of the fall turkey harvest. The new approach will maintain the season’s full length while only affecting an estimated 1% of hunters.
“Fall turkey season length in a given wildlife management unit often varies from one year to the next because of adjustments intended to meet turkey population goals,” said Commissioner Michael Mitrick, who represents District 6 in southcentral Pennsylvania. “But with this change, one thing is constant: regardless of the season or where you’re hunting turkeys, only shotguns and archery gear are allowed. It can’t get much simpler.”
The new regulation will take effect in about six weeks. Only shotguns and archery gear will be allowed for fall turkey hunting. The Game Commission will issue a news release soon after the change officially takes effect.