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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 11, 2014 01:35 PM
From: Senator Richard L. Alloway, II
To: All Senate members
Subject: Permits Relating to Hunting Dogs - Dog Training Areas
In the near future, I will be reintroducing legislation that will amend Title 34 (Game), Subchapter C, Section 2941, of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes in order to provide some relief for the beagle trainers throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is the heart of beagle field trials and rabbit hunting. There are over 60 AKC recognized beagle clubs in the Commonwealth, with membership ranging from 15 to well over 100. All of these clubs own considerable acreage which they manage for small game habitat, promoting populations of cottontail rabbits on which beagles are trained and field trialed. These grounds represent significant efforts in conservation not only for their intended purpose, but as habitat for many game and non-game species, open space, soil and water conservation, and other important recreational activities.

Beagle field trials are the largest segment of AKC licensed performance events. More than 100 events are held in Pennsylvania alone each year, including championship trials, AKC licensed field trials and hunt tests, and events sanctioned by the Pennsylvania Beagle Gundog Association and the Northeast Beagle Gundog Federation. These events reach thousands of participants and generate significant economic stimulus in rural areas in terms of travel, tourism, restaurant meals, lodging, purchase of pet supplies, veterinary services, and facilities maintenance.

In order to host field trials and provide year-round training opportunities, beagle clubs are required to obtain a valid dog training area permit from the Pennsylvania Game Commission pursuant to Title 34, Subchapter C, Section 2941.

My legislation proposes the following changes to the Title 34 to provide some relief for beagle trainers:
The acreage requirement for a dog training areas would be lowered from 100 acres to 50 acres minimum.
The requirement to obtain a special permit to lawfully trap and hunt furbearers on club grounds will be removed. Hunting or trapping of furbearers or other protected game animals may occur only during seasons established by the Commission.

Clubs would be able to manage their property with regard to big game hunting, just as other sportsmen’s organizations and private property owners do.

The dog training area must be clearly posted prior to October 1, each year with a legible notice, but the boundary lines would no longer need to be marked with 10X12 signs.

Beagle clubs are inviting targets for vandalism and trespass and most are unoccupied and unpatrolled. The addition of unlawful acts would allow for the Pennsylvania Game Commission prosecute offenders for listed offenses.

This legislation was introduced last session year as SB1068. Previous co-sponsors included: Alloway, Folmer, Browne, and Scarnati.

Introduced as SB77