Is It Illegal to Kill Pigeons in Pennsylvania? [No]

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One of the most common questions people of Pennsylvania ask is about the methods to remove pigeons from their property. Pigeon infestation is a collective problem of all USA residents. The most popular way to eliminate pests is to kill them. So, is it illegal to kill pigeons in Pennsylvania?   

No. It is not illegal to kill pigeons in Pennsylvania. Federal authorities of Pennsylvanian do not protect pigeons in the state except for Homing pigeons. Any person that harms kills, or traps Homing pigeon while on flight or rest is committing a crime.   

The wildlife authorities allow shooting nuisance pigeons from private property. The hunter will have to follow a set of guidelines. This article will guide you through all the necessary pigeon shooting and hunting steps.  

Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In Pennsylvania?  

It is illegal to hunt Homing pigeons in Pennsylvania. The state wildlife authorities do not protect feral pigeon species. Pennsylvania is one of the few states in the USA that legally allows the open hunting of pigeons.

However, they strongly condemn killing wild pigeons without any valid reason. The pigeon species residing in Pennsylvania are the Mourning dove, Band-tailed pigeon, white-winged pigeon, Homing pigeon, and Common ground dove.   

You will have to wait for the hunting season to shoot Migratory pigeons. Typically, the official pigeon and hunting season begins in September and ends in January.   

It is legal to eat pigeons in Pennsylvanian. However, there are conflicting views about pigeon meat being safe or not. You can purchase pigeon meat from farmers and other shops. It is not common, but on your research, you can get your hands on it. But remember killing pigeons solely for eating is a crime.   

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In Pennsylvania?  

It is unlawful to kill or hunt homing pigeons in Pennsylvanian. Homing pigeons were selectively bred to find their way home. Years ago, Homing pigeons were used for sending messages to faraway locations. Homing pigeons still hold significant importance in the country and are still part of the military.   

You cannot hunt migratory pigeons off-season because they are in the Migratory bird act treaty. This treaty is a pact between the United States and foreign countries to protect endangered birds and the birds that move according to the season. The Migratory pigeons in Pennsylvanian are Mourning and Common ground doves. However, there is a daily bag limit of 15 for Migratory pigeons.   

Killing birds specifically for food is cruel and a crime. Therefore, most of the states do not support this idea. You can eat the dead pigeon. But it is better to avoid pigeon meat because it contains disease-causing microorganisms.  

Can I Kill A Pigeon On My Property In Pennsylvania?  

Yes. You can kill pigeons on your own property in Pennsylvania. Pigeons are known as sky rodents or the rats of the sky all across the USA. They are annoying and can destroy house structures, gardens, backyards, and the harvest. Therefore, the state authorities do not protect the pigeons except for Homing pigeons.

You can kill and forcefully remove all the nuisance pigeons on your property. It is legal to throw away their nest and eggs. Killing pigeons sounds inhumane, but it is necessary, especially when they are infesting your property. Pigeons are not only a cause of nuisance, but they can also spread several diseases and parasites. The common source of house mites is usually the pigeon nest on your attic or roof.   

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In Pennsylvania State  

It is legal to shoot pigeons, but it does not mean shooting pigeon is safe. Therefore, the state of Pennsylvania has a set of rules and regulations to ensure safe pigeon hunting and shooting.

Similar to many states’ Pennsylvanian wildlife authorities also encourage studying and learning about pigeon hunting before participating in actual shooting.

There are laws for pigeon shooting in the state to guide you through the process, even if you are a beginner. Some of these laws are discussed below for your guidance and help.  

Hunting License   

All the hunters must carry their hunting licenses while on the field. A hunting license can is available online, or one can purchase it through an agent. A resident hunting license is for people above 17 through 64. A resident junior hunting license is for people above 12 to 16.

In Pennsylvania, young people under 12 cannot participate in pigeon hunting. The junior hunters must be under the direct supervision of an adult. They cannot use a weapon like archery.   

The resident senior hunting license is for people above 65. Senior citizen hunters can also purchase a lifetime hunting license or a combination license.  

Hunting Homing Pigeons  

It is a crime if a person harms, shoots kills, or forcefully removes Homing pigeon while resting or on a flight. Moreover, no one can capture or trap Homing pigeons as a pet, and it is legal to sell them.  

Pigeon Shooting Weapon   

Hunters can use manual rimfire rifles or handguns. The gun must be 22 Caliber or shorter and shoot the bullet in a single projectile. It is also legal to use manual or semiautomatic centrefire or Muzz loading shotgun that is ten gauges or less.

The shotgun ammo must be no larger than #4 lead and #2 steel. The state also allows the use of archery equipment and crossbow, and bolts. However, the ammo must not be poisonous.  

Timing For Pigeon Shooting  

The hunting time begins a half hour before sunrise and ends a half hour after sunset. Hunters can hunt as much as they want to during this time. Using weapons late at night is not safe and is a crime. Plus, the state also not allows hunting on Sundays.   

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In Pennsylvania State?  

Pigeon hunting and shooting are not difficult when you are through with all the laws. There are laws one must remember while hunting pigeons, like the protected pigeons and the bag count of Migratory pigeons. The pointers below will guide you through all pigeon shooting and hunting steps.  

  • Complete a hunting license education program online or physically. It is not mandatory, but it is for your own help.    
  • Purchase a license online through a website or get it through an agent.   
  • Register yourself online to secure a place in the public hunting areas. It might be hard to get in when you show up at the spot without reservation.    
  • To hunt on private property, write an application to the landowner and submit a signed copy to the wildlife authorities.    
  • Hunters must carry licenses and permits with them on the hunting field.   
  • Bring all the safety gear to the field, including gloves, goggles, and the vest.    
  • Hunters must register their weapons and bring their licenses along with them.   
  • Do not hunt more than the assigned bag count else you will face the charges.    
  • Inform the dead pigeon count along with their species to the wildlife authorization.   
  • Properly dispose of the dead birds in large bags far from the area.    


Pennsylvania state does not protect pigeons. It is legal to shoot and hunt them with a license. The only exception is Homing pigeons which hold significant history and purpose. Therefore, no one can harm or remove Homing pigeons from public or private property.

The state also protects the Migratory pigeons to a certain extent. It is not legal to kill Migratory pigeons off-season, even on personal property. The state organizes a hunting festival for hunters to enjoy shooting Migratory pigeons on specific days. The hunting schedule for Migratory pigeons is uploaded on the official Pennsylvanian wildlife website yearly.