Game board considers semiautomatic rifles for big game hunting

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The Pennsylvania Game Commission is once again considering a proposal to allow semiautomatic rifles for hunting big game.

The commission announced Tuesday that it accepting public comment on the matter, which could be considered at the commissioners next meeting April 9.

If voted upon and given preliminary approval in April, the measure could be considered for final adoption in July and put in place for the 2019-20 license year.

Written comments can be submitted by email to pgccomments@pa.gov up until the April meeting.

The Board of Game Commissioners last year gave its preliminary approval to semiautomatic rifles for big game such as deer and bear, but in a final vote decided to allow the guns for small game only.

The hunting agency said it found no evidence that semiautomatic rifles led to a decline in safety in any state where they’re allowed for hunting, but it received thousands of comments against the proposal.

It said 2,000 hunters responded to a random survey and 64 percent were opposed or strongly opposed.

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