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Local hunters are now able to test out their shooting abilities on state game lands.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission announced Thursday that shooting ranges on state game lands located in counties moving to the yellow phase of the COVID-19 mitigation plan can be reopened. York County moved to the yellow phase on Friday, along with are Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming.

State Game Lands 242 is a tract of more than 1,500 acres in Warrington and Carroll Townships in northern York County. It was one of five state game lands which opened their shooting ranges Friday. The others were: State Game Lands 230 in Cumberland County; State Game Lands 141 in Carbon County; State Game Lands 58 in Columbia County; and State Game Lands 159 in Wayne County.

Within those yellow phase counties, any rifle, shotgun, pistol and archery ranges on state game lands reopened beginning Friday and regular hours of operation resumed.

Where counties will remain in the red phase, and where stay-at-home orders remain in place and large gatherings are prohibited, shooting ranges on state game lands will remain closed.

This is the third round of shooting-range reopenings to be announced. The combined May 8 and May 15 upgrades of 37 counties to the yellow phase reopened shooting ranges on 14 game lands.

As of Friday, more than half of the ranges operated and maintained by the Game Commission are back up and running.

The Game Commission closed all shooting ranges on state game lands in late March in accordance with Gov. Tom Wolf’s guidance to help control the spread of COVID-19.

To enable hunters and target shooters to make up for lost opportunity because of 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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