Saturday, December 26, 2015

Pittsburgh Area Gunmaker To Forge $1 Million Pistols From A Meteorite

cabot guns meteorite
  @AaronSmithCNN


Cabot Guns announced that its "extra-terrestrial pistols" will be forged from a meteorite as old as the Earth itself, and could sell for as much as $1 million at auction next year.

"It hasn't been done before and that's the kind of thing that drives me," said Bull Creek Rod and Gun Club member and Cabot founder and president Rob Bianchin in an email to CNNMoney. "I think it's fair to state many of the pistols we have constructed border on art."

"Meteor is rare, more so than terrestrial precious metals and I wanted to create a set of guns that were formed from a material that had intrinsic value," BiaNchin said.

Cabot, a four-year-old company located near Pittsburgh that's sometimes called the Rolls Royce of gun makers.The company's clients include actor Joe Mantegna, rocker Kid Rock and Twisted Sister's Dee Snyder.

BiaNchin said that holding the meteorite is "awe inspiring," but it is difficult to work with. He compared the cutting of the meteorite "to cutting a rare diamond."

Cabot has fashioned a pair of pistol grips from the meteorite, and BiaNchin is now confident they can move on to building an entire gun.

"We were not sure it was possible, but we have passed the critical stage of construction and we are confident these will be a fully functional set of left and right-handed mirror image pistols," he said. "Building each component has been a science experiment."
biachin cabot meteorite
Rob Biachin, founder and president of
Cabot Guns, plans to forge a pair of pistols,
like the one pictured
here, from this meteorite.

The gun company plans to forge its "Big Bang pistol set" from a 35-kilogram chunk of the Gibeon meteorite, which crashed to Earth 4.5 billion years ago and was discovered in Namibia in the 1830s.

The meteorite will be fashioned into a pair of semiautomatic .45 caliber pistols of the 1911 style. Cabot specializes in the 1911 pistols, which were invented in the late 1800s and used by the U.S. military for more than 80 years, serving through both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam.

According to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Gibeon is prized for its unusual patterns of crystallized metal, known as the Widmanst├Ątten lines.

The Gibeon is actually a massive deposit of meteorites totaling many tons of iron. Polished, palm-sized pieces are selling on eBay, starting at about $50.

 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Hunting For The Purfect Gift?

Game Commission selling two new calendars, and loads of collectibles to please any holiday budget.


          While hunting is often challenging, bagging the perfect gift for the hunters and wildlifers in your life is as easy as placing a phone call or logging onto the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s website.

          
Among other gifts available this holiday season, the Game Commission is offering not one, but two new calendars for 2016.

          
In addition to the 2016 edition of the popular Pennsylvania Wildlife Calendar, which has been published annually for years, the Game Commission this year also has produced a 2016 Birds of Pennsylvania calendar. 

          
Like the wildlife calendar, the Birds of Pennsylvania calendar contains striking full-color photos and is chock-full of useful information. The calendar gives tips on the best times to view birds or listen for their calls, advises on when to think about readying nest boxes or planting trees or shrubs that benefit birds, and contains a plethora of dates for bird-themed events and festivals. 

          
Both calendars are a bargain at $9.25, plus shipping, plus sales tax for Pennsylvania residents.
          
A pair of books offered for sale for the first time last holiday season remain hot sellers and are sure to please.

          
Pennsylvania Deer Hunting, Through the Pages of Game News, a 174-page collection of classic deer-hunting stories that have been published over the years in Pennsylvania Game News magazine, sells for $15.50.

          
Also available is the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s new Game Cookbook, a collection of big-game, small-game and wild fowl recipes submitted by camp cooks from across Pennsylvania. The spiral-bound 108-page cookbook is priced at $9.43.

          
The books are among many gifts available either through The Outdoor Shop at the Game Commission’s website, www.pgc.state.pa.us, or by calling toll free to 1-888-888-3459.

          
Also popular this holiday season is the 2015 edition of the Pennsylvania Big Game Records Book. This is the 50th anniversary of the state’s Big Game Scoring Program, and the new records book is loaded with color photos of many of the new entries. 

          
And hardcover and soft-cover editions of “Gone for Another Day,” the recent sequel to the classic Ned Smith compilation, are available, as well. 

          
There are many new collectible patches, including the new Hunting Heritage patch, which features the same logo seen on the new Hunting Heritage license plate, and the 2015 Working Together for Wildlife patch featuring a great blue heron.  

          
The Working Together for Wildlife great blue heron print also is being offered. 

          
And, as always, gift subscriptions to Pennsylvania Game News magazine and a host of other merchandise are available at the website and might just make for the perfect gift.

          
There’s something for everybody and something in everybody’s price range.

          
Some materials also might be available for purchase at the Game Commission’s Harrisburg headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Ave., or at region offices. All orders placed online and by phone are subject to shipping and handling charges, and Pennsylvania sales tax.

          
Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said that, during this season of giving, the agency is pleased to give shoppers plenty of great choices.

          “As hunters know, hunting can be challenging, and so can hunting for the perfect gift,” Hough said. “But if you’re shopping for hunters or other outdoor enthusiasts, check out what the Game Commission has to offer this holiday season. There are a lot of choices that just can’t miss.”

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The 2016 National Wild Turkey Federation Banquet Coming In January

Here are details for the 2016 NWTF to be held on January 29th.  Se the form at the bottom to print and mail to the addresss listed or bring to a club meeting and give to Mike Zourelias
 
 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Opening Day Of PA Deer Season Draws Better Crowds Than A Year Ago

Bull Creek member Bill Davis with his buck from
Clarion County taken the first day 2015
By Bob Frye 
Better weather. More hunting pressure. And more whitetails harvested.
That's how opening day of deer season across Pennsylvania went in many places Monday.
“I probably saw more hunters and checked more dead deer than I did all last year in the two-week season. Or at least more than in the entire first week last year. I feel confident in saying that,” said Chris Bergman, a wildlife conservation officer with the Pennsylvania Game Commission who patrolled in eastern Washington and western Fayette counties.
Dan Puhala, the commission's officer in northern Allegheny County, said he and his deputies saw plenty of hunters, too. Several killed bucks.
“They weren't massive, but they weren't bad either. One was a pretty decent size,” Puhala said.
Officer Mike Papinchak, who patrols northern Westmoreland County, said he saw a lot of activity, too.
“I saw a few deer taken, and a couple of real nice bucks actually. I had a nice 10-point killed in Murrysville. It was a real nice deer,” Papinchak said.
That's not to say everyone harvested, or saw, a deer.
“I didn't see anything all day, other than some other hunters,” said Dan Balcerek of Green Tree, who spent a good portion of the day hunting state game land 203 near Warrendale.
“I keep seeing buck rubs. I'm just not seeing the bucks. There just aren't enough people out here to move them around.”
John Yasko of Harmony, too, hunted game land 203, and he likewise was skunked as of mid-afternoon.
He had seen few hunters and no deer. He had been counting on a few of the former to move some of the latter.
“But it turned out I was wrong,” Yasko said.
A lack of hunting pressure was a factor in other places.
Randy Pilarcik, the commission's officer in eastern Butler County, said he saw fewer hunters than he expected, especially given the mild weather.
He suspected that might be a result of what deer are legal to take at this time. Across most of the state, only bucks, antlered deer, are legal game through Friday. Antlerless deer, or does, become legal Saturday.
”I'm expecting there to be a lot more people out Saturday,” Pilarcik said.
He said he saw a nice 8-point buck taken in Lancaster Township, near Zelionople.
Matt Kramer, officer in southern Beaver County, similarly said he saw more hunters in the portion of his district that lies in wildlife management unit 2B, where hunters can take deer of either sex, than in unit 2A, where only bucks are legal. But pressure was “relatively limited” everywhere, he said.
Several officers commented on was how hunters stayed in the woods late into the day.
That was evident at Northmoreland Park, near Apollo. Nathan Henry of Vandergrift and Chuck Goedicke of Oklahoma Borough were heading out there after 3 p.m. with a goal of staying until dark.
Goedicke had tags to shoot a deer of either sex, and said he wasn't picky.
“Some guys are trophy hunters. I'm a meat eater,” he said. “You can't eat a rack.”
Yasko, too, was sticking it out to see what might happen.
“I hope something works in my favor,” he said.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter@bobfryeoutdoors.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Outlook For Statewide Pennsylvania Deer Season Better Than 2014

A pair of 8 points taken by Bull Creek Secretary
Pete Denio and his son in 2014 in Clarion County
By Bob Frye 
 
Last year's statewide firearms deer season likely left more hunters than usual feeling disappointed.
 
According to Pennsylvania Game Commission harvest estimates, the kill of 303,973 was down 14 percent compared to the year before and by as much as 22 percent in some Western Pennsylvania wildlife management units.
 
Part of that was expected as the commission made available fewer antlerless deer licenses.
But opening day and both Saturdays of the season, which account for the majority of the hunting pressure and harvest, were miserable, said Chris Reidmiller, the commission's wildlife conservation officer in southern Indiana County.
 
“Each day had that 35 degrees and rain kind of weather. I think that played a part in how things went,” Reidmiller said.
 
“There were places I was at, with the rain and fog, that you couldn't see 50 feet,” said Shawn Harshaw, the commission's officer in northern Cambria County.
 
The good news? That might mean better hunting this time around. The 2015 deer season runs Monday through Dec. 12, and reports from around the region indicate deer numbers are looking good.
 
“This year, I've seen more deer than I have in the past three years. There are a lot of trophy-class bucks, too,” said Shawn Barron, a conservation officer in southern Somerset County. “It looks promising to me. It just seems like this year is going to be better than most.”
Other officers were equally optimistic.
 
Dan Sitler, who works northern Washington County, said he has seen and heard of more big bucks this year than last.
 
“We have lots of deer and lots of nice bucks running around. And it's not just in one place but all over. From the West Virginia line all the way to Peters Township and everywhere in between, we've got lots of deer,” Sitler said.
 
Chris Bergman, the officer in eastern Washington who also covers western Fayette, said deer are everywhere in both of those areas, too. Rod Burns, officer in eastern Armstrong, said the same is true there, as did officers Matt Kramer in southern Beaver and Mike Papinak in northern Westmoreland.
 
Steve Leiendecker, a land management supervisor for the commission who works in Fayette and Greene counties, singled out game lands 223 and 179 in Greene as potential hot spots.
 
“If I wanted to point someone in the right direction for deer, I'm thinking Greene County would be the place to go. It's really holding a good number of deer,” he added.
 
Even southern Cambria, where deer numbers were low just a few years ago, has seen the herd rebound where it's in good shape, officer Seth Mesoras said.
 
Things are a little trickier in southern Butler County. It also has lots of deer, said conservation officer Randy Pilarcik, who patrols from Slippery Rock south to Cranberry. But access is an issue, he said.
 
“We've got way too many deer. The problem is finding places to hunt,” he said.
 
That's not the case in northern Indiana County, said Nate Kimmel, the commission's wildlife conservation officer there.
 
“I've been seeing an exorbitant amount of deer,” he said. “I think it's a huge opportunity up here in Indiana County.”
 
There's ample public land, Kimmel added, including two of the southwest region's “deer hunter focus areas,” places where the commission is increasing access to get hunters to new timber cuts that potentially are full of whitetails. One is on game land 174, the other game land 262.
 
Other focus areas locally are located on game land 111 in Fayette and Somerset, 51 in Fayette, 223 in Greene and 108 in Cambria and Blair.
Maps of all are available at www.pgc.state.pa.us .
 
Dave Gustafson, the commission's chief forester, said hunters would be wise to spend time in those places. In years past, such timber cuts often have been tough to get to, being “remote destinations” far from roads, he said. But the commission is trying make things easier by opening roads leading closer to focus areas, he said.
 
“Our goal is to guide hunters within a half-mile or less of game lands locations where deer are taking advantage of these habitat improvements,” Gustafson said.
 
Regardless of the where they go, hunters always are advised to hunt places with lots of food for deer. This year, that may require some exploring.
 
Commission bear biologist Mark Ternent compiles the state's annual fall foods abundance survey. He said acorn crops are average or better in most places.
 
A couple of local counties, however, are lacking.
 
Mary Jo Casalena, the commission's turkey biologist, said the acorn crop in Somerset County is “below average.” Harshaw said the acorn crop in Cambria likewise was poor and already is largely gone.
 
Things look better in Fayette, Leiendecker said. The woods that make up game land 51 seem to have lots of acorns, especially in the higher elevations in the Dunbar area, he said.
Now if only the conditions are better this year.
 
“I feel as long as the weather cooperates, it should be a pretty decent season,” Bergman said.
 
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Preliminary First-Day PA Bear Harvest Results

Harvest includes a more than 700-pound bear taken in Blair County.
 
            The first day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season resulted in a harvest of 1,508 black bears, according to preliminary totals released Monday by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

            
Archery and other early bear season harvest data still is being entered into the Game Commission’s database, and is not available at this time.

            
Bears have been harvested in 53 counties during the statewide season so far.
            
The top 10 bears processed at check stations by Monday were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 592 pounds or more.

            
The largest of those bears – a male estimated at 713 pounds – was taken in Blair Township, Blair County, by Richard A. Watt, of Gallitizen, Pa. He took it a 7:10 a.m. on Nov. 21, the season’s opening day.

            
Other large bears taken in the season’s opening day include: a 685-pound male taken in Letterkenny Township, Franklin County, by Dustin J. Foust, of Orrstown, Pa.; a 649-pound male taken in Limestone Township, Warren County, by Matthew B. Stanga, of Tarentum, Pa.; a 648-pound male taken in Brush Creek Township, Fulton County, by Andrew D. Fischer, of Crystal Spring, Pa.; a 640-pound male taken in Weatherly Township, Carbon County, by Kenneth J. Mehlig, of Weatherly; a 618-pound male taken in Blooming Grove Township, Pike County, by Brad D. Losito, Hamburg, Pa.; a 617-pound male taken in Henry Clay Township, Fayette County, by Glenn P. Pyeritz, of Markleysburg; a 614-pound male taken in Logan Township, Huntingdon County, by Glenn L. Hannah, of Warriors Mark; a 592-pound male taken in Packer Township, Carbon County, by Michael J. Ulinitz, of Barnesville; and a 592-pound male taken in Dunbar Township, Fayette County, by Jason K. Burns, of New Alexandria.

            
The 2015 first-day preliminary harvest is a decrease compared to 1,623 bears taken during the 2014 opener. Hunters in 2014 harvested a total of 3,366 – the seventh-largest harvest in state history. The largest harvest – 4,350 bears – happened in 2011, when preliminary first-day totals numbered 1,936.

            
Other first-day harvest totals were 1,320 in 2013; 1,751 in 2010; 1,897 in 2009; 1,725 in 2008; 1,005 in 2007; 1,461 in 2007; 1,461 in 2006; and 2,026 in 2005.

            
The preliminary first-day bear harvest by Wildlife Management Unit was as follows: WMU 1A, 10 (6 in 2014); WMU 1B, 35 (54); WMU 2B, 2 (0); WMU 2C, 133 (162); WMU 2D, 99 (84); WMU 2E, 20 (21);WMU 2F, 208 (171); WMU 2G, 275 (365); WMU 2H, 31 (49); WMU 3A, 27 (101); WMU 3B, 133 (133);WMU 3C, 41 (44); WMU 3D, 160 (105); WMU 4A, 76 (66); WMU 4B, 60 (67); WMU 4C, 46 (44); WMU 4D, 130 (132); WMU 4E, 17 (15); WMU 5A, 0 (3); and WMU 5C, 0 (1).

            
The top bear hunting county in the state on the first day of the season was Lycoming County, with 149.
 
Opening-day harvests by county and region are:
 
Northwest (277): Warren, 70 (69); Forest, 55 (32); Venango, 45 (42); Clarion, 41
(35); Jefferson, 40 (30); Butler, 10 (11); Crawford, 9 (15); Mercer, 5 (3); and Erie, 2 (11).
Southwest (144): Somerset, 45 (61); Fayette, 39 (62); Armstrong, 20 (21); Cambria, 14 (7); Indiana, 14 (5); Westmoreland, 11 (15); and Allegheny, 1 (0).
 
Northcentral (531): Lycoming, 149 (143); Clinton, 131 (91); McKean, 55 (60); Centre, 48 (60); Clearfield, 40 (36); Elk, 31 (46); Potter, 30 (64); Cameron, 19 (54); Union, 15 (24); and Tioga, 13 (130).
 
Southcentral (214): Huntingdon, 63 (45); Bedford, 43 (43); Fulton, 21 (19); Blair, 18 (20); Juniata, 17 (10); Perry, 15 (29); Franklin, 13 (6); Mifflin, 13 (22); Snyder, 10 (9); Cumberland, 1 (1).
 
Northeast (314): Pike, 77 (49); Luzerne, 44 (26); Monroe, 33 (25); Wayne, 32 (19); Sullivan, 29 (37); Bradford, 20 (31); Wyoming, 20 (13); Carbon, 18 (18); Susquehanna, 14 (23); Lackawanna, 13 (9); Columbia, 11 (6); Northumberland, 2 (2); and Montour, 1 (0).
 
Southeast (28): Dauphin, 12 (13); Schuylkill, 11 (17); Lebanon, 3 (1); Lehigh, 2 (0); Berks 0 (2); and Northampton, 0 (1).
 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Despite Crowds, Opening Day Of PA Deer Season Offers Plenty Of Opportunities

 
Shoppers and retailers have Black Friday. Pennsylvania hunters have what might be considered Orange Monday.
It's opening day of the firearms deer season, and it draws a unique crowd.
About 750,000 hunters will take to Pennsylvania's woods Nov. 30 for a chance to bag a whitetail.
Two or three other states — Texas, Wisconsin, perhaps New York — have more deer hunters, but no one puts more hunters in a smaller space. Opening day here likely will see 20.5 hunters per square mile, said Kip Adams of Knox, the outreach and education coordinator for Quality Deer Management Association.
“And actually it's probably higher in places because when I looked at the size of the state and did the math, I included bodies of water and other places where you really can't hunt,” Adams said.
“If you were to look at just the amount of hunt-able land, the crowds would be even thicker.”
No other state has more than 16.5 hunters per square mile, he said, and in much of the country, there are fewer than five.
Pennsylvania hunters, though, can succeed despite the competition.
GO EARLY
Many hunters don't enter the woods on opening day until first light, Adams said. And they get to their spot by parking in the same lots and following the same trails as everyone else.
That's a mistake.
“You're not using all of those other hunters to your advantage,” he said.
He recommends going into the woods an hour or two before dawn via roundabout routes. That will prevent spooking deer between the parking lot and your stand in the dark. It also leaves you in position to shoot deer that come by — pushed by late-arriving hunters — the minute it is legal to begin shooting, he said.
There's another advantage to being early, said Matt Ross, a biologist with the deer association.
Deer react quickly to the sudden presence of so many hunters, he said.
“But their vulnerability is going to be at its highest on opening day because they're not adapted to it,” Ross said.
GO THICK
Penn State researchers have been putting GPS collars on deer — bucks and does — for several years and tracking their movements on multiple sites in Pennsylvania.
Their work has shown “any deer that survives the hunting season is probably surviving because they have a hiding place,” said Duane Diefenbach, director of Penn State's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
“My guess is, yeah, it's some of the thickest, nastiest cover they can find,” Diefenbach said.
“Anything you would look at and say, ‘Man, I wouldn't want to walk through that,' deer will look at and think that's good cover,” Adams said.
The key to hunting such “sanctuaries,” be they swamps, thickets or something else, is to get on the edges and ambush deer entering and exiting, Ross said.
FIND THE ‘SWEET SPOT'
One belief held by many hunters is that, once the crowds arrive, you have to go deeper into the woods to find deer. That's true, but only to a point, Diefenbach said.
“According to some of our research, about 500 to 1,000 yards from a road is where hunter harvest is highest. It's a sort of sweet spot, if you will,” he said.
Such places have the right combination of deer and hunters, Diefenbach said. Their mingling keeps deer on the move, visible and vulnerable, he said.
Inside that zone, deer typically are “using parts of the landscape that they haven't before,” Ross said. If there's spot most hunters avoid because it's too wet, for example, that might be a good “hidden space” to focus on, he said.
STAY THROUGH LUNCH
Research shows that whereas a deer's home range likely covered a square mile, or 640 acres, before deer season, it shrinks to 100 acres during daylight hours in season, Diefenbach said.
They don't stop moving altogether.
“At some point during the day, every day, during our hunting season, deer are up and feeding,” Adams said.
Movement peaks between 12 and 1 p.m., said Chris Rosenberry, chief deer biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
“About 90 percent of our collared bucks are moving at that time,” Rosenberry said.
Many hunters are heading back to camp or the truck for lunch by then. Those who stay and let the wandering crowds push deer may increase their chances of filling a tag, he said.
STAY LATE
There's something to be said for staying on the stand until the last possible minute, said Brian Kosaglow of Irwin, a pro staffer with Primos Hunting.
Deer activity starts to wind down after 1 p.m., then picks up again as dusk approaches, Rosenberry said.
The problem for many hunters, Kosaglow said, is that they're walking, too, so as to be out of the woods by dark. They should be staying put, especially with other hunters moving, he said.
“I call it the secondary push,” Kosaglow said. “As guys are walking back out of the woods, if you stay in your spot, they'll most likely push deer past you. You've just got to be willing to sit it out. You have to be as willing to see the moon and the stars as you are the sun and the clouds.”
OTHER OPPORTUNITIES
Hunters who want to avoid the crowds always can just wait. Opening day's massive wave doesn't last long.
There are crowds on the first Saturday — when antlerless deer become legal in most places — and again on the final one, said Chris Reidmiller, one of the commission's wildlife conservation officers in Indiana County. But on weekdays, there's usually little competition.
“I'd say there's probably 90 percent less pressure those days,” he said.
The key is to go when you can, Kosaglow said.
“There are plenty of quality deer out there, even on game lands. I'm seeing them on my trail cameras anyway,” he said. “But you have to be in the woods to be lucky.”
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

Handgun Hunting Of Deer Not All That Simple

Pennsylvania hunters need special licensing
to hunt with a handgun.
The allure includes easier portability, maneuverability in brush, having both hands free when moving, increased challenge and the excitement of pursuing deer with a novel sporting arm.
The disadvantages of hunting with a handgun include long-distance accuracy issues associated with the barrel length and the limited availability of effective non-speciality calibers.
But handgun hunters face an additional challenge that is not encountered by hunters using other legal sporting arms.
In addition to state Game Commission hunting licenses and permits, handgun hunters are required by the state Uniform Firearm Act, Title 18, to be in possession of a valid Concealed Carry permit or a Sportsman’s Firearm Permit.
The tags are not interchangeable. Pennsylvania is an open-carry state — it’s legal to appear in public with a gun that is visible. Carrying a firearm that is hidden from view requires a Concealed Carry permit issued by the county sheriff’s office. The Concealed Carry permit allows the user to carry the pistol hidden from view in most public situations, including hunting or transporting the firearm to or from hunting, target shooting or gunsmith locations.
The Sportsman’s Firearm Permit is a more restrictive subset of Concealed Carry. It authorizes a hunter to carry the gun while transporting it to and from hunting, target shooting or gunsmith locations. But it cannot be used in other Concealed Carry situations where the gun is hidden from public view.
“The main thing is transport in vehicles,” said Tom Fazi, spokesman for the state Game Commission. “From our perspective there is no provision in Game Law concerning this. As long as it’s a lawful device and not carried concealed, we don’t ask for a Sportsman’s Permit. It’s not our permit. We have no authority to request it.”
The Game Commission, however, regulates the type of firearm that may be used for hunting. Semi-automatics are unlawful — hunting handguns must be centerfire revolvers or single shot. To shoot at a state gamelands firing range, the Game Commission requires a valid hunting license or Public Shooting Range Permit. State and federal governments weigh in during the purchase of the handgun, which requires an FBI background check.
“In my experience you don’t see a lot of guys using handguns hunting,” Fazi said. “Those who do tend to be very knowledgeable about it. You see more guys in bear season who carry a rifle but maybe have a backup handgun on them, and they’d need the correct permit even if the handgun isn’t their primary sporting arm.”
Keith Savage, manager of Braverman Arms in Wilkinsburg, said that although the open carrying of a handgun while hunting without a permit is legal, he advises his customers to get a Sportsman’s Firearm Permit.
“Transporting the gun is the primary issue, but the way the law is written it isn’t entirely clear,” he said. “Due to the political climate, I’d recommend erring on the side of caution and getting at least the Sportsman’s permit if not Concealed Carry.”
Handguns used for hunting do not figure prominently in the debate over gun control. Shira Goodman of CeaseFire PA said the organization, “has not taken a position on the issue.” A spokesman for the National Rifle Association asked that his name not be used in this story and said the NRA “is not taking an official position at this time.’
Most pistols are made for self-defense or target shooting, and most of those are not efficient sporting arms. The .44 magnum is the most commonly used handgun for hunting. Savage said he wouldn’t go lower than .357 caliber. Hunting handguns normally have a barrel 6½ to 7½ inches long, and are milled to accept telescopic sights. Handgun hunters often use a bandolier-style holster that rides on the chest.
There are no special strategies or tactics associated with handgun hunting, said Savage.
“If you know what you’re doing, you’re going to able to shoot unbelievable distances even with a 7½-inch barrel,” he said. “Out to about 200 yards, handguns are as accurate as rifles, but it’s easier to be more accurate with a rifle farther out.”