The Pennsylvania Game Commission has unanimously approved the use of semi-automatic firearms for hunting, including deer and bear.

Originally, it was expected that the use of semi-automatic guns would be allowed for only small game and varmints, such as coyotes, to start. But the Commission took it a step further to include the fall turkey season, as well as bear, elk and deer.

The board will meet again on March 27 and 28, where the move will need to get final approval. It will also include a sunset provision which will expire on June 30, 2020, to allow the board to review the new measure.




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6 thoughts on “PA Game Commission Unanimously Approves Semi-Automatic Firearms for Hunting

  1. Why have a season ? Just shoot all the deer you want anytime you want . What happened to the people who loved the sport and the wildlife ? Let’s complain about less deer but let’s kill more and with weapons that use to be used just for military. If you need a semi auto to shoot deer you shouldn’t be shooting at all ! I’m a land owner and will no longer let anyone hunt my land ! Sportsman’s ??? Really

    1. Unnecessary and this could cause problems in populated areas. The Pa tradition has been manually operated firearms for as long as I can remember. I can visualize someone hunting for dangerous game and having the rifle jam after wounding the animal with the first shot.

    2. Maybe open your mind a little further and think of someone other than yourself. First of all semi auto doesn’t necessarily mean assault weapon. I shoot a Browning BAR 300 win mag semi auto deer rifle and not because I need more than one shot but rather the fact that the recoil is half that of a bolt action rifle, many older people cannot take the recoil of a larger rifle anymore.

      1. Many States restrict semi-autos to 5 rounds barrel and magazine. I absolutely agree with Pennsylvania’s antler Point restrictions.

    3. Semi Autos were just for the military? Never in the history of semi autos has that ever been true. It’s pretty hard to sell anyone on restrictions that say that they may only use a Pennsylvania rifle designed in the 16 hundreds to hunt with. By the way, the Pennsylvania rifle at the time it was brought here by German immigrants was far superior to the other muskets that existed and was considered an assault rifle.

  2. I understand some traditionalists’ instinct to rebel at the thought of change in our hunting regs, but we should recognize that 49 other states already allow semi-autos for hunting (not all states allow them for all hunting, but they all allow them for some game).

    I also know some people look at semi-autos as “new-fangled weapons,” but the technology is a century old and even the most popular semi-auto platform (the AR) is 60 years old. I think it’s time people accept that they’re here to stay.

    We should also recognize that despite anti-gun screeching from the left, a semi-automatic firearm is no more intrinsically “dangerous” than something manually-cycled. Yes, the follow-up shot can be quicker, but it’s not like the Game Commission is going to allow 30 round mags and bump-fire stocks.

    Personally, I welcome the change–especially when it comes to varminting.

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