The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

November 24, 2012

Bob Garrett column: Time to put away the spotlights

You, your friends and family can join Joe Rebar and the other Sierra Club trekkers this morning for a moderate-to-strenuous 10-mile hike at the R.B. Winter State Park.  

You’ll hike on a variety of trails and loop back to the meeting spot which is the parking lot nearest to the breast of the dam along state Route 192. Please meet by 8:30 a.m. and bring along a lunch and plenty of water to drink.

If you still need to get your rifle sighted-in for deer season, you need to hurry. The game commission’s public ranges are open from noon to sunset today and then they will be closed for the next two weeks. Most private ranges will also be closed for the season after today.

Jerry Feaser, the spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, wanted to remind everyone that spotlighting for wildlife is prohibited after 11 p.m. and shinning spotlights onto any building is illegal. The law also prohibits spotlights that would excite, frighten or harass livestock, poultry or other farm animals.

For the most part, it’s illegal to spotlight wildlife while in possession of a firearm. However, there are some very limited exceptions for licensed handgun owners. Spotlighting is not permitted during the two-week firearms deer season. It will be legal to start spotlighting again after the rifle deer season during the muzzleloader season and late archery seasons. It is also illegal to shine a spotlight on photoelectric cell lights — those which have sensors that turn them on automatically at night.

“The problems come in when people are not being respectful of rural residents by shining lights on buildings or livestock,” Feaser said. “The other problem is when people use spotlights to aid in poaching.”

Illegal spotlighting is punishable by a fine of $75 to $200 plus court costs. If the spotlight is used in an attempt to take game illegally, other penalties apply. Anyone who wants to report a potential violation should call the game commission’s regional office at 398-4744.

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