HARRISBURG, PA — On Friday, the Pennsylvania Game Commission reopened the last of its closed shooting ranges on additional state game lands in counties upgraded to the yellow phase in the state’s three-phase matrix to ease COVID-19 restrictions.
Those counties include: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery and Philadelphia.
Within those counties, any rifle, shotgun, pistol and archery ranges on state game lands have reopened and regular hours of operation have resumed.
The latest upgrades also will reopen to the public the Game Commission’s Southeast Region Office in Reading, which will resume regular lobby hours beginning Monday, June 8. The agency’s Harrisburg headquarters will remain closed to the public until further notice.
The final ranges to reopen are on: State Game Lands 106 in Berks County; State Game Lands 43 in Chester County; State Game Lands 300 in Lackawanna County; State Game Lands 205 in Lehigh County; and State Game Lands 234 in Montgomery County.
With all Game Commission shooting ranges and region offices open again, Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans thanked hunters, trappers and target shooters for their patience in recent months as the agency made adjustments to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.
“While most state game lands shooting ranges have been back up and running for at least a couple of weeks, these final reopenings ensure hunters, trappers and other properly permitted target shooters can resume practice at their range of choice,” Burhans said. “The agency already has extended the validity of 2019-20 shooting range permits, which will expire on Aug. 31 rather than June 30, so there are nearly three full months for shooters to make up for lost time, and I wish them the best in doing so.”
The Game Commission closed all shooting ranges on state game lands in late March in accordance with Gov. Tom Wolf’s developing guidance to help control the spread of COVID-19.
To enable hunters and target shooters to make up for lost opportunity due to ranges being closed, the Game Commission has extended the life of 2019-20 shooting-range permits, which have a printed expiration date of June 30, 2020. The permits will be considered valid to use on state game lands shooting ranges until Aug. 31, 2020.
Pennsylvania 2019-20 hunting and furtaker licenses, which also are set to expire June 30, 2020 and allow holders to use shooting ranges on game lands, will be honored for range use through Aug. 31, 2020, as well. However, hunters and trappers are reminded that beginning July 1, 2020, they will need 2020-21 licenses before engaging in any hunting or trapping activity through June 30, 2021.
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