Legislation would reduce penalty for forgetting hunting license

HARRISBURG, April 25 – Hunters who forget their license when they go into the woods would face a reduced penalty under legislation introduced by state Rep. Gerald Mullery.

“While it is important for hunters to have their license on them while in the woods, sometimes human nature gets the best of them and they just forget and leave it either at home or in their vehicle,” said Mullery, D-Luzerne. “My legislation would make the punishment less harsh for forgetfulness, which occasionally happens to people.”

House Bill 1291 would reduce to $50 the penalty for people who have a hunting license but simply forget to bring it with them. Currently, state law treats hunting without buying a license and hunting but forgetting to bring a license as the same, with a fine of no less than $250 and no more than $500.

“Hunting illegally without first purchasing a license is quite different than an individual forgetting to carry a valid license with them into the field. Although forgetting one’s license may be negligent, it is far different than knowingly and willfully breaking the law by engaging in illegal hunting and therefore should be treated differently,” Mullery said.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Trappers Association have supported Mullery’s introduction of the measure in past legislative sessions.

The bill is expected to be referred to the House Game and Fisheries Committee, of which Mullery is a member.