Pennsylvania (PA) Deer Hunting Minimum Caliber Regulation

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The past few months have seen steep increase intentions regarding the proposal in Pennsylvania deer hunting minimum caliber regulations. All this pressure and unsettlement were put to rest a few weeks ago when the board of game commission in the respective region had their voting. I am not sure if the final decision was an advantage, as they voted down the proposal.

Among the commissioners, Dennis Fredericks seemed to have a bold opinion of why he voted against the proposal. In fact, he had the brightest alternative in which I am sure played an essential role in some of the members backing him up in his stand.  The meeting was held virtually with and was a unanimous voting process to ensure fairness and transparency in the proceedings.

Pennsylvania Proposed Hunting Regulation

What Does the Regulation Entail?

The minimum hunting caliber regulation on deer hunting in Pennsylvania is practically still on a stalemate. The government sought to increase the physical limitation instead of deer hunting in the said region, setting a minimum range that is to apply to all its hunters. This regulation states that smaller calibers, less than 24, are not to be used on big game hunting, which does include the deer.

A burning issue that theoretically led to the government viewing this as a solution was the alarming rate of fatalities associated with hunting; especially those resulting from attempts on predators with inferior rounds. The .223 and 22-250 calibers are the most popular of the prohibited centrefires that will be deemed inefficient to get the job done. 

A Personal Opinion on the Regulation

Personally, this is more of a short term solution that brings with it more harm than good. With the rounds in the limelight, we see the inception of young hunters into the shunting genre. If we prohibit their use, then it will mean that we expect a decrease in the number of new hunters.

Coincidentally, older hunters find these cartridges more practical because of their light recoil. Prohibiting them will mean that they will no longer participate during the next season, compromising the number of able hunters. At first, it may seem to work, but the ratio of hunter to prey will tip to one side sooner or later.

Daniel Fredericks, a commissioner on the board, gave the world a more stable and practical approach. In his view, taking on an educational system is better than adding more restrictions to the already in place regulations. He saw fit to invest in the education of proper round selection, which was a significant concern not only to the state but also to foreign regions. He emphasized the importance of adequate preparation for any possible outcome before heading to the field.

Bullet placement and angling also need to be incorporated in the course.

Consequences if the Proposal Passed

If the proposal had been passed, then PA hunters would find themselves deer hunting without popular calibers like; .222, 22-250, and .230. I cannot imagine how life would be with such a regulation in place, especially since I find the .230 well suited for the job. 

If the proposal were to pass, it would second the already in place elk regulations. However, from public feedback and mild considerations, the larger percentage of the responsible voters saw fit to vote against it. If it were up to me for the final vote, I would see no need to change the outcome.

The proposal states that although most of the famous .22 calibers are explicit to predator hunting, their reliability is compromised. For an inexperienced hunter, it is possible to make such an error. On the one hand, experienced hunters claim that they can get the job done with a correct combination. 

However, the game commission argues that this is false information and is yet to doom most hunters in their region. The commission always advocates for the quick and painless killing of game animals, which the lesser calibers cannot deliver. The potency in which several shooters base their arguments results in unethical harvests that do not correspond to the already set laws.

Hunting with Firearms in Pennsylvania

Is it Legal to Hunt with Suppressors in Pennsylvania?

In the state of Pennsylvania, it is legal to use silencers in your hunting escapades. Unlike most regions, their game commission does not see the need to restrict its use. However, you will require a certification from the committee, and a copy of the certificate is to be on you. Failure to have them will put you on the wrong side of the law.

Can you Hunt Deer with Pistol in Pennsylvania?

No, you cannot hunt a deer with a pistol in PA. According to the law, the use of any automatic or semi-automatic firearm in deer hunting is not allowed. So, can you hunt deer with a rifle in Pennsylvania? The answer remains, no!

This law only applies to the medium and big sized game, with smaller prey having lesser restrictions.

In small game hunting, the use of semi-automatic rifles and manual handguns is acceptable.

How Many Points Does a Deer Have to Be?

The answer to this question is three. For you to legally take down a deer in Pennsylvania, either of its antlers needs to be at least three points. This figure is not consistent across the state, as the western side tends to disregard the brow tine as a point.


In conclusion, I believe that this proposal’s outcome is, in fact, to the game’s favor. The number of disadvantages and limitations that would have come accompanied to it would be irreversible. Ideally, Frederick’s solution would be much more effective with lesser setbacks.

On a separate note, the commission also restricted the use of e-bikes on hunting rounds. The board saw fit to limit the reason additional civilians would dwell in dangerous areas. Also, other forms of e-movements would be pushed if the proposals were passed, leading to overpopulating these precious lands.

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