Four electronic devices approved

Commissioners give preliminary OK to mobility improvements

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval in September a measure that makes four additional electronic devices lawful to use while hunting.

Once the changes become official, either this month or next, hunters will be able to use electronic decoys in hunting waterfowl; electronic dove decoys used solely for hunting doves; electronically heated scent or lure dispensers; and electronic devices that distribute ozone gas for scent-control purposes.

Electronic devices generally are prohibited for hunting use in Pennsylvania, but the Game Commission over the years has received requests to review several specific electronic devices, and has approved some of them for hunting use. As part of the review process, the Game Commission evaluates to what degree a given device might negatively impact the principles of resource conservation, equal opportunity, fair chase and public safety.

In reviewing the devices that today were approved for hunting use, the Game Commission identified no negative impacts that would result from their use.

Also at the quarterly meeting, commissioners gave preliminary approval to a host of improvements that would enhance public access to state game lands by persons with mobility challenges.

Central to the proposal is the proposed creation of the Disabled Person Access Permit, which would allow mobility-challenged game-lands users to use ATVs, golf carts and other mobility devices on designated routes on game lands.

This permit would be free, and separate from the existing permit that allows disabled persons to hunt from motorized vehicles and ATVs. A wider variety of applicants might qualify for the new permit.

The new permit would be for operation of mobility devices on designated routes on game lands. Mobility devices would need to meet specific requirements to ensure the protection of game lands, while accommodating mobility-challenged hunters and trappers. Permit holders would not be allowed to possess loaded sporting arms while in or on a mobility device without obtaining an additional permit.

All ATVs or snowmobiles used as mobility devices would need to be registered with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and display a valid registration plate or decal. All mobility devices permitted by the Game Commission would be required to display a sticker issued by the commission. And all mobility devices would need to stick closely to designated routes.