Contact: Joe Mullin, Manager, Northeastern States
- Early November brought several policy wins for Pennsylvania’s sportsmen and women
- Enacted – House Bill 1929 – Removes automatic knives from Pennsylvania’s definition of “offensive weapons.”
- Enacted – Senate Bill 431 – Modernizes the method for purchasing antlerless licenses, allowing hunters to buy these tags on the state agency’s licensing portal beginning in the 2023-24 license year.
- Both bills were spearheaded by leaders and members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation has vocally supported these policies over the past several years.
Why It Matters: Modernizing the method by which Pennsylvania’s hunters may purchase antlerless tags provides a heightened level of convenience and practicality. Currently, hunting license holders apply for antlerless licenses by submitting pink envelopes to their respective county treasurer’s office – a process that takes months to complete. By updating this method to an electronic format, hunters can more readily submit the necessary information and payment. With regards to the automatic knife legislation, residents of the Keystone State will benefit by being able to sell, carry, and use tools that are undeniably beneficial for the outdoor industry, particularly hunters and anglers, as well as the first responder community.
During the first week of November, sportsmen and women in Pennsylvania saw two long-awaited policy wins within the same day. On November 3, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC) Member Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 1929 into law, removing automatic knives from the state’s list of “offensive weapons,” as well as enacted Senate Bill 431, allowing antlerless licenses to be purchased on the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s (PGC) licensing portal and through licensed agents. Both of these initiatives were driven by leaders and members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.
The signing of House Bill 1929 brings Pennsylvania in-line with surrounding states by allowing retailers to sell automatic knives within the Keystone State. It also allows residents to own and use these knives going forward. As was previously reported, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) joined alongside several local small businesses and in-state and national organizations in submitting a letter of support for this legislation.
The enactment of Senate Bill 431 removes a drawn-out administrative hurdle and allows sportsmen and women to more easily purchase their antlerless deer licenses from the PGC’s website and/or a licensing agent. The process which this replaces – purchasing a license and then submitting the pink envelopes to the county treasurer – would typically take several weeks.
CSF congratulates Pennsylvania on these recent wins and thanks GSC Member Governor Wolf, the Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, PGC, and countless in-state and national sportsmen’s groups who helped make this possible.
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Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?Vote Here
- Increase the number of states with discounted license tailored to specific groups. (6.03%)
- Increase access to public lands. (24.71%)
- Provide more information for new participants. (3.94%)
- Provide hands on opportunities to improve skills and knowledge. (12.94%)
- Engage youth through hunter and conservation programs in schools. (43.16%)
- I feel we have enough sportsmen and women and do not believe R3 programs are necessary. (9.22%)