Pennsylvania Bill to Allow Hunting With Blood-Trailing Dogs Stalls

Pennsylvania Bill to Allow Hunting With Blood-Trailing Dogs Stalls
According to a recent survey, 96% of Pennsylvania hunters support the legalization of leashed blood tracking dogs. Image courtesy Brad Fitzpatrick

It seems that hunters in Pennsylvania who want to have the right to hunt with blood-trailing dogs will have to wait'¦again. For the last 13 years Andy Bensing and other members of Deer Recovery of Pennsylvania have been pushing to legalize the use of leashed tracking dogs to recover wounded game, a practice that is legal in the surrounding states of New York, Ohio, and Maryland. Originally introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as HB451, the bill passed with overwhelming support before moving to the senate. Once arriving at the senate, though, the bill stalled.

The state of the bill frustrates Bensing, who is also the head of the United Blood Trackers, an organization dedicated to supporting the use of blood trailing dogs to recover lost game. He says that the state's sportsmen want to see the bill passed.

"Our bill is supported by all the major sportsmen's organizations in the state and a recent survey reported that 96% of hunters in the state support the legalization of leashed blood tracking dogs," Bensing says.

When I contacted Senator Richard Alloway, Chairman of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee, he says that the bill was tabled because there simply wasn't enough detail to garner a passing vote. Bensing disagrees.

"We have attempted every time to educate the senators in advance about blood tracking dogs and how they are used but it has been to no avail to this point," says Bensing. "We meet with them or their assistants, send them packets of information and  offer to answer any questions or concerns they may have but every time a tracking bill comes up in their committee they table it and say they need more clarification.  They have made that same statement now 3 times in the last 18 months at committee meetings."

Despite the differences of opinion regarding the level of detail in the bill, there may yet be some hope that the legalization of blood tracking with dogs will occur in the near future. Senator Alloway says that he is pushing for a hearing on the bill this spring. Bensing also sees hope in the future.

"We did make a little progress at this last meeting in that they agreed to hold an informational public hearing on our bill early next year to gather more information."

Utilizing dogs to track wounded game is a practice that dates back thousands of years, and currently the use of blood tracking dogs for the recovery of lost and wounded game is legal in over two-thirds of U.S. states. Rules vary from one state to the next; in many Midwestern states dogs are required to work on a leash, while several southern states allow the use of free-ranging dogs to recover game. For now, Pennsylvania remains one of the states where blood trailing with dogs is illegal, but there are several sportsmen that hope to see that change in 2014.

Do you think hunters should be allowed to use blood-trailing dogs? Share your opinion with us in the comments!

Recommended for You


How to Fish Bottom Bouncers for Walleye

Mark Sak - May 23, 2019

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for...


MLF Pros: What's With the Moon?

G&F Online Staff

We're told to pay attention to the lunar phases. What do bass pros think?


Get Ready for Summer with Cordova Coolers

May 23, 2019

Memorial Day sale offers 15 percent off everything website-wide.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Minn Kota's Brad Henry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that there's much to like in the new Minn Kota Riptide Terrova saltwater trolling motor that comes with I-Pilot and an 87-inch shaft.

Mustad's Saltwater Jig Lineup

Russ Whisler shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the innovative features and great color schemes in Mustad's voluminous lineup of saltwater jigs introduced at ICAST 2019.

Berkley's Frittside Crankbaits

World Fishing Network show host Chad LaChance had a chance to visit with legendary crankbait master David Fritts about his new Frittside crankbaits from Berkley. LaChance, host of the Fishful Thinker on WFN, also got a few cranking tips from Fritts, the former Classic and Forrest Wood Cup champion.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these five great...


Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson - February 13, 2018

Veteran bass anglers often dismiss urban fishing opportunities as "kid's fishing ponds," but...


4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest. Although...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.