Sportsmen long accustomed to Pennsylvania's often antiquated and tradition-bound hunting rules may be pleased to know that the state's Game Commission has gone kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.
The commission's board gave final approval today (Tuesday) to allowing the use of crossbows by anyone during the deer and bear archery hunting seasons.
Previously, the state required only handicapped persons could use the horizontally held hunting tools.
Limitations on broadheads apply but they're matters that a crossbow hunter already deals with.
A catch to the rules is that the prohibition on the use of telescopic sights continues, though red-dot type 'scopes can be used.
Crossbows also will become legal implements during Pennsylvania's early muzzle-loading-only antlerless deer hunting season and the late season flintlock deer hunting season.
The board also reserved to itself the right to vote on the matter again before June 30, 2012.
Pennsylvania's general archery deer hunting season will be Oct. 3 through Nov. 14 and Dec. 26 through Jan. 9.
The state's general deer hunting season will begin Nov. 30 and end Dec. 12.
Other antlered and antlerless seasons will exist, depending upon Wildlife Management Units.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn