Pennsylvania Approves Scopes on Crossbows

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The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to a regulatory change that would allow hunters to use magnifying scopes on bows or crossbows during the archery deer and archery bear seasons. On March 5, in a notational vote, the Board gave preliminary approval to the modification. (For more information, see "News Release #029-09" in the "News Release" section of the agency's homepage –

At its January meeting, the Board gave final approval to a regulatory change to permit the use of crossbows in archery deer and bear seasons. Prior to that vote, however, the Board accepted an amendment to prohibit the use of magnifying scopes during the archery deer and bear seasons.

"Shortly after that vote, the agency began to receive significant public comment about that magnification prohibition," said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. "The Board decided it would be appropriate to revisit this aspect of the recently approved use of crossbows in the state’s archery seasons."

As approved in January, the Board's amendment to include a sunset date for the expanded crossbow use remains in place. This provision will require a future Board to consider the impact of expanded use of crossbows, if any, before June 30, 2012, and whether the privilege should continue into the future.

For the 2009-10 seasons, a crossbow must have a peak drawn weight of at least 125 pounds, and a bolt must be equipped with a broadhead that has an outside diameter or width of at least 7/8 inches with at least two cutting edges on the same plane throughout the length of the cutting surface, and shall not exceed three inches in length. There is no maximum draw weight.

Crossbows may only be used during the early and late muzzleloader season when they overlap with archery seasons and an archery license is required.