Pa. Game Commission considering Saturday start to deer season, semi-autos for big game |

Pa. Game Commission considering Saturday start to deer season, semi-autos for big game

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is considering a Saturday start to this year’s deer season.

Deer hunters in Pennsylvania would start the firearms hunting season on the Saturday after Thanksgiving this year under a proposal under consideration by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The commission, at its meeting in Harrisburg Tuesday, gave preliminary approval to a regular firearms season for antlered deer that starts the season on Saturday, Nov. 30. It would be the first time in decades the season didn’t begin on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

In a social media post Tuesday, the commission said it is considering the change “in an attempt to stay current with changing hunting demographics, the needs of our license buyers and to create more opportunities for our hunters.”

And that’s not the only major change the commission is considering for the 2019-2020 hunting season.

Also on Tuesday the commission directed its staff to come up with regulations to allow the use of semi-automatic rifles for big game hunting in the state.

Currently, semi-automatic rifles are legal only for hunting small game such as coyotes, foxes and squirrels. The small game regulations limit the magazine capacity of firearms to five rounds.

The big game proposal, if finally approved, would allow hunters to use semi-automatic rifles to hunt species such as deer, bear and elk.

Both proposals have a mandatory public comment periods, during which residents can send comments to the game commission.

The change of date for the start of deer season will be up for final approval at the commission’s next meeting on April 9.

At that time, the commission could give preliminary approval to the semi-automatic rifle regulations. The commission would have to give final approve to that change at its July meeting before it could take effect for the upcoming big game seasons.

Information on both proposals can be found on the game commission’s web site under “news.”