Legislation to Protect Honest Hunters Passes Senate

HARRISBURG – Legislation, House Bill 359, introduced by Reps. Hal English (R-Allegheny) and Bill Kortz (D-Allegheny), has unanimously passed the House and Senate.

This legislation amends title 34 relating to license revocations resulting from game violations. The bill now heads to the governor for his signature.

“Presently, a hunter who harvests a deer or turkey of the wrong sex or accidentally takes two can turn the animals into a wildlife conservation officer and receive a new tag, pay a small fine and suffer no license revocation,” said English.

“Our bill will expand this practice to include the other two big game animals, bear and elk.”

The bill also addresses situations where a person is erroneously hunting in the wrong area and takes a game animal that is out of season, but upon learning of the honest mistake, turns the animal into the Game Commission within 24 hours.

“This measure does not change any of the other penalties hunters face for illegal out-of-season kills, except for the elimination of license revocations in those instances where the hunter self-reports and surrenders the animal,” said English.

“Rep. Kortz and I designed this bill to promote ethical hunting practices by allowing hunters to keep their licenses when they are honest about reporting a mistaken kill. It rewards ethical and truthful hunters who take the right steps.”

Restitution for mistakenly killing bear or elk has been set at $100 for each animal killed. Violators who are on a payment plan to repay penalties and who are making on-time payments may not have their hunting or trapping privileges suspended for failure to pay penalties.

Finally, the bill provides for continued use of body cameras by Wildlife Conservation Officers.

“I thank Rep. Kortz for also recognizing the need for this legislation and his eagerness to work together to get it done. I also appreciate the bi-partisan support from both the House and Senate on this piece of legislation,” added English.

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