Kortz, English introduce bipartisan ethical hunting legislation

HARRISBURG, Sept. 7 – State Reps. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, and Hal English, R-Allegheny, today said they introduced legislation aimed at not penalizing ethical hunters who self-report a mistaken kill. Specifically, the bill would remove the threat of a license suspension for those truthful hunters who make an honest mistake and then contact the Pennsylvania Game Commission, turn in the animal and plead guilty to the offense.

"Given the facts that borders of wildlife management units and of special areas within them can be easily confused, and that the commission is now using staggered dates around the state for some big game seasons, hunters can think they are legally hunting when in fact they aren’t," Kortz said. "For hunters who make an inadvertent mistake, due to a few yards or recently changed dates, to face the same revocations as a common poacher who is hunting out of season or at night isn’t fair."

The language of H.B. 2315 was drafted in a bipartisan effort working closely with the Game Commission.

"Unfortunately, honest mistakes can happen while hunting." English said. "Whether because of changes and complications in hunting seasons and boundaries, or mistaken game kills, a hunter could break the law without any intent at all. Our bill spells out the limited circumstances in which hunters can then immediately turn themselves in, surrender the animal, and face all the appropriate penalties, minus the added punishment of losing their hunting privileges for years to come for a one-time mistake."

The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs support the bill.

The legislation was referred to the House Game and Fisheries Committee.