PA Votes ‘No’ on Semiautomatic Rifles for Big-Game Hunting

browning bar
The Browning BAR semiautomatic rifle.Browning

A last-minute move undid a unanimous commission decision for big-game hunters in Pennsylvania to use semiautomatic rifles.

Fox 43 reports Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners voted Tuesday to allow semiautomatic rifles only for small game and furbearer hunts. In January, the commission approved semis for small and big game, but backed away from big game during its final vote on the measure.

“We listened to our hunters,” says Brian Hoover, Pennsylvania Board of Commissioners president.

In a survey of the state’s hunters, 64 percent opposed big-game hunting with semiautomatic rifles. Opposition for the same weapon used on small game and furbearers was lower.

According to ABC27, Pennsylvania is the nation's holdout on semis. It's the last state to allow hunting with semiautomatic rifles. A new law took effect in November giving the commission authority to legalize the firearm for small game and furbearers. The commission said they could reconsider allowing semi-auto rifles for big game hunting, but it won't happen in the 2017-18 license year.