PA. Fish and Game Headquarters, Harrisburg, PA. Fish and Game officials passed new legislation Tuesday afternoon expanding the deer hunting season by initializing the first ever Automotive Tags program, a form of hunting where a vehicle is used as a weapon. The Automotive Tags program starts a month earlier than the typical December 2 rifle season and gets its name from the practice of embedding a license plate, or tag, into the deer as a result of bagging it with a vehicle.
The new program has it’s critics but proponents say that people poach deer with their vehicles anyway killing an estimated 115,000 deer (source) on PA’s roadways before hunting season even starts. This new law, lawmakers claim, will allow the government to regulate the vehicle bagging process and will hopefully help reign in the exploding deer population.
Jeffrey Beaner is a game warden for central PA. He likes the expanded hunting season saying that it allows people to bag and control the deer population in populated areas where firearms would be dangerous to use, such as in developments and city parks. “This law provides the avid hunter with a legal alternative to a rifle,” he says, “which allows the sportsmen to bag deer in areas were the deer present a bigger nuisance.”
The vehicle tags will be available with the purchase of a regular PA hunting license. The large orange Automotive Tag must be placed on the front bumper of the vehicle whenever the vehicle is engaged in the hunting process.
The law states that all vehicles involved must have a valid PA safety inspection and firearms may not be used during the early Automotive Tag hunting season. Bagging Antlerless deer with your car is legal only if you purchase the Anterless Tag in addition to your Automotive Tag.
Critics claim that this new law is dangerous, encourages reckless adrenaline fueled driving, and will cause major trauma to the driver of the vehicle.
Beaner is confident that todays vehicles of are up to the task. “Vehicles today have great crash test ratings and a useful array of airbags which will prevent driver injury.” Still, Beaner does suggest taking simple precautions. “When you go Automotive Tag hunting try to use large vehicles like an SUV or pickup truck. They reduce the risk of maiming a deer and help ensure you don’t get mauled when you try to load a dazed deer into the back of your vehicle.”
The early Automotive Tags hunting season will debut November 2, 2014 but sources close to the Game Commission say you should pre-order the optional hunting license tag because they are already selling out of the 150,000 that are available.