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Board takes step to protect PA Commission shooting ranges

From the Pennsylvania Game Commission

-- A new regulation approved by the Game Commission requires all State Game Land shooting range users to possess either a valid Pennsylvania hunting or furtaker license or a Game Commission-issued range permit.

The change means unlicensed persons will contribute to the cost of maintaining the ranges, as well as better quantifying and controlling use of the shooting ranges.

In the past few years, the Game Commission made large investments in 29 State Game Land shooting ranges, including lead remediation, safety barrier reconstruction, shooting range redesign and other related projects. The investments, though expensive, kept many shooting ranges open to the public. Hunter and furtaker license dollars provided resources to keep agency shooting ranges open.

The new regulation requires shooting range users who do not have a valid Pennsylvania hunting or furtaker license to purchase a range permit, which would cost $30 per year for residents and nonresidents.

Exceptions to the permit requirement are those 16 years of age and younger, properly accompanied by a licensed or permitted person 18 years of age or older, and each licensed hunter or range permit holder could have one guest.

Initially, all permits will be effective from April 1, 2011, until June 30, 2012. After the first year, each permit issued will be valid from July 1 until June 30. Permits will be able to be purchased through the Game Commission's Outdoor Shop on the agency's website at www.pgc.state.pa.us.  

Following purchase, which requires payment by credit or debit cards, a downloadable permit will be provided and permittee's may print it on a home computer.  The agency will also sell the permits through its Harrisburg headquarters and six Region Offices. However, since the purchase will be processed through The Outdoor Shop, only credit cards will be able to be used for payment.

The regulation prohibits all other target shooting from taking place on State Game Lands, except at designated ranges. The regulatory change will not result in increased cost or change in privileges for licensed hunters and furtakers.

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