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Pennsylvania Small Game Hunting Laws & Regulations

Small Game Hunting Seasons in Pennsylvania

Squirrel

  • Season Dates:
    • Junior Hunt: September 9-23
    • Statewide: September 9-November 24, December 11-23, December 26-February 29
  • Bag Limits: 6 daily, 18 in possession

Pheasant

  • Season Dates:
    • Junior Hunt: October 7-14
    • Statewide: October 21-November 24, December 11-23, December 26-February 29
  • Bag Limits: 2 daily, 6 in possession

Rabbit

  • Season Dates:
    • Junior Hunt: September 30-October 14
    • Statewide: October 14-November 24, December 11-23, December 26-February 29
  • Bag Limits: 4 daily, 12 in possession

Grouse

  • Season Dates: October 14-November 24, December 11-23
  • Bag Limits: 2 daily, 6 in possession

Bobwhite Quail

  • Season Dates: September 1-November 24, December 11-23, December 26-March 30
  • Bag Limits: No Limit

Crow

  • Season Dates: August 24-March 24 (Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays only)
  • Bag Limits: No Limit

Woodchuck

  • Season Dates: July 1-June 29 (Except during regular firearms deer seasons)
  • Bag Limits: No Limit

Snowshoe Hare

  • Season Dates: December 26-January 1
  • Bag Limits: 1 daily, 3 in possession

Arms and Ammunition Regulations for Hunting in Pennsylvania

Approved Firearms and Ammunition for Hunting

  1. Shotguns:

    • Type: Manually operated and semiautomatic
    • Gauge: 10-gauge or less
    • Capacity: Maximum of 3 shells (chamber and magazine combined)
  2. Rifles and Handguns:

    • Type: Manually operated and semi-automatic
    • Caliber: .22-caliber rimfire or less for small game
    • Exception: No caliber restrictions for hunting woodchucks (except for air-guns)
  3. Air-Guns:

    • Caliber Range:
      • .177 to .22 for small game
      • At least .22-caliber for woodchucks
    • Requirement: Must propel a single projectile or bullet
    • Note: BB ammunition is prohibited
  4. Muzzleloading Firearms:

    • Type: Rifles and handguns
    • Caliber: 40-caliber or less for rifles and handguns, 10-gauge or less for shotguns
  5. Bows and Crossbows:

    • Types: Long, recurve, and compound bows, and crossbows
    • Ammunition: Arrows

Ammunition Specifications

  • For Shotguns and Muzzleloaders:
    • Single-projectile ammunition or fine shot pellets
    • Size: No larger than No. 4 lead, bismuth-tin, or tungsten-iron, or No. 2 steel
    • Approved Types: Non-toxic shot
  • Magazine Capacity:
    • No restriction on magazine capacity for semiautomatic rifles used to hunt small game.

Important Notes

  • These regulations are established to ensure safe and responsible hunting practices.
  • The restrictions and specifications cater to different types of game and hunting methods, balancing effectiveness with environmental considerations and safety.
  • Hunters should always confirm the latest regulations as they may be subject to change or vary based on specific hunting seasons or areas.

Fluorescent Orange Requirements for Hunting in Pennsylvania

Small Game and Porcupine Hunters

  • Requirement: Minimum of 250 square inches of fluorescent orange.
  • Placement: Must be worn on the head, chest, and back combined.
  • Visibility: Orange must be visible from all angles (360 degrees).

Woodchuck Hunters

  • Requirement: A solid fluorescent orange cap on the head.
  • Visibility: Orange must be visible from all angles (360 degrees).

Crow Hunters

  • Requirement: No fluorescent orange required.

Key Points

  • Purpose: The use of fluorescent orange increases visibility, ensuring safety by making hunters more noticeable to others.
  • Compliance: Hunters must adhere to these requirements to avoid penalties and ensure a safe hunting environment for everyone.
  • Recommendation: Even when not legally required, wearing fluorescent orange is advisable for safety in areas where other hunters are present.

Pheasant Hunting in Pennsylvania: Regulations and Requirements

Season Dates

  • Junior Hunt: October 7-14. Stocking locations available at www.pgc.pa.gov.
  • Statewide Season: October 21-November 24, December 11-23, December 26-February 29.
  • Hunting Area: Open statewide.
  • Bag Limits: Both male and female pheasants may be taken in all Wildlife Management Units (WMUs).

Pheasant Permit Requirements

  • Who Needs a Permit: All adult hunters and some senior hunters.
  • Exemptions:
    • Senior lifetime resident hunting or senior lifetime resident combination license holders who acquired their licenses before May 13, 2017, do not need a pheasant permit.
  • Junior Hunters and Mentored Permit Holders: Hunters under 17 need a FREE permit.
  • Cost: $26.97 for the pheasant permit.
  • License Display: Permit must be signed and carried while hunting.

Pheasant Stocking Regulation

  • Firearm Discharge Restriction: It is illegal to discharge a firearm within 150 yards of a Game Commission vehicle during pheasant release operations.

Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas (WPRAs)

  • Open Season Restriction: No open season for pheasant hunting in WPRAs, except under specific authorization by executive order.
  • Hunting Other Species: Hunting other small game species is permitted in WPRAs during their respective open seasons.
  • Dog Training: Now allowed within WPRA boundaries.
  • Boundary Information: Visit www.pgc.pa.gov for detailed WPRA boundaries.

Key Points

  • Purpose of Permit: The pheasant permit is an essential requirement for adult hunters and is designed to support the management and conservation of pheasant populations in Pennsylvania.
  • Compliance: Hunters must ensure they have the necessary permits and follow the specific season dates and bag limits to adhere to the state's wildlife conservation regulations.
  • Safety and Ethics: Hunters are encouraged to practice safe and ethical hunting, respecting wildlife management guidelines and other hunters' rights.

Hunting Party Regulations for Small Game in Pennsylvania

Size Limitation

  • Maximum Party Size: Hunting small game in groups is limited to a maximum of six persons.
  • Exceptions:
    • Waterfowl and Dove Hunters: This limitation does not apply when hunting waterfowl or doves from a blind or other stationary positions.

Transporting Small Game: Regulations in Pennsylvania

Transport by Owner

  • Tagging Requirement: No tagging required when the small game is transported by the owner.

Transport without Owner

  • Labeling Requirement: Small game transported without the owner must be labeled.
  • Label Information: Must include the owner's name, address, Customer Identification (CID) number, and signature.

Purpose and Compliance

  • Regulation Objective: These rules are designed to ensure accountability and legal compliance in the transport of harvested game, aiding in wildlife management and conservation efforts.
  • Legal Compliance: Hunters must adhere to these regulations to ensure the lawful transport of small game and to support sustainable hunting practices.
  • Record Keeping: This practice aids in traceability and responsible game management, especially when game is transferred between different parties.

Hunting Regulations for Specific Species in Pennsylvania

English Sparrows and European Starlings

  • Regulation: May be taken in unlimited numbers.
  • Restriction: Hunting these species is prohibited during the regular firearms deer season.

Pine Martens and Sharp-Tailed Grouse

  • Regulation: No open season for hunting pine martens or sharp-tailed grouse in Pennsylvania.

Key Points

  • Management and Conservation: These regulations reflect the state's wildlife management and conservation priorities. English sparrows and European starlings, often considered invasive, are controlled due to their potential impact on native species and ecosystems.
  • Protected Species: The absence of an open season for pine martens and sharp-tailed grouse indicates their protected status, likely due to conservation concerns for these species.
  • Legal Compliance: Hunters must respect these regulations to ensure sustainable and ethical hunting practices and to support Pennsylvania's wildlife management efforts.
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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.