As the statewide Pennsylvania deer seasons kick off, hunters will have their first opportunity to recover big game they’ve shot by tracking the animal’s escape trail with a leashed dog.
Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this year signed into law a bill that allows for the use of leashed tracking dogs to recover big game that cannot be recovered by hunters.
The legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Mario M. Scavello, provides another choice for hunters who have shot and inflicted injury on a white-tailed deer, black bear or elk, but lose the trail.
“This law will provide greater recovery of big game shot by hunters,” noted Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “Trailing big game can require specialized tracking skills, especially after nightfall. And if it’s a warmer night, or rain is approaching, every minute matters. Within a few hours, downed big game might spoil.”
Scavello’s bill recognized and championed the need for properly trained and controlled tracking dogs.
This simple and humane change in law is of great benefit to both our hunting community and some of Pennsylvania’s most-valued natural resources, white-tailed deer, black bears and elk, Scavello said.
Big-game hunters may use tracking dogs to recover big game in the 2018-19 seasons. Dogs cannot be used to locate big game unless an animal has been shot.
(Photo source: Pennsylvania Game Commission)