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Law now allows night vision scopes to hunt predatory animals


Harrisburg, PA – Legislation sponsored by Rep. Parke Wentling (R-Crawford/Erie/Lawrence/Mercer) to allow hunters of predatory animals to use thermal and night vision equipment (House Bill 1188) is now law.

“Relaxing restrictions on the use of thermal imaging and night vision equipment has the potential to usher in a new frontier of predator hunting throughout Pennsylvania,” said Wentling. “As many experts have made clear throughout the legislative process, the legal use of this equipment is a monumental game changer in ensuring maximum safety for predator hunters and effectively keeping predator populations in check to better protect preyed-upon wildlife, livestock, pets and personal property.”

Specifically, Act 41 of 2020 amends the Game and Wildlife Code by removing the current statutory restriction on the use of a sight or scope that can transmit or project a light, infrared, ultraviolet, radio, thermal, ultrasonic, particle or any other beam outside of a sight or the scope onto a target.

“Predator hunting continues to grow out of necessity and beyond the realms of sport, public safety and economics,” said Mick Borland, a predator hunter from Platea Borough, Erie County, who originally brought the need for thermal and night vision equipment to Wentling’s attention. “I applaud Rep. Wentling for authoring legislation to expand the possibilities for predator hunters to more effectively hunt at night and dramatically level the playing field between predator species and prey.”

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is responsible for regulating the use of thermal and night vision equipment.

“Everyone understands that there are coyotes in the woods,” said Bill Marino, a predator hunter from Springfield Township, Erie County. “The problem that now exists—especially in the extreme Northwestern portion of Pennsylvania—is they have become numerous, emboldened and are infringing on human habitats. Many citizens have lost domestic pets/animals to aggressive and determined coyotes. House Bill 1188 advanced into law by Rep. Wentling and Sen. [Dan] Laughlin will help in addressing this growing problem.”