Game Commissioners Adopt 2009-10 Seasons and Bag Limits
Following are several articles on meeting highlights.
BOARD ADOPTS MODIFICATION TO EXPANDED USE OF CROSSBOWS
At its January meeting, the Board gave final approval to a regulatory change to permit the use of crossbows in archery deer and bear seasons. Prior to that vote, however, the Board accepted an amendment to prohibit the use of magnifying scopes during the archery deer and bear seasons.
“Shortly after that vote, the agency began to receive significant public comment about that magnification prohibition,” said
As approved in January, the Board’s amendment to include a sunset date for the expanded crossbow use remains in place. This provision will require a future Board to consider the impact of expanded use of crossbows, if any, before
For the 2009-10 seasons, a crossbow must have a peak drawn weight of at least 125 pounds, and a bolt must be equipped with a broadhead that has an outside diameter or width of at least 7/8 inches with at least two cutting edges on the same plane throughout the length of the cutting surface, and shall not exceed three inches in length. There is no maximum draw weight.
Crossbows may only be used during the early and late muzzleloader season when they overlap with archery seasons and an archery license is required.
DEER SEASONS TO BE SIMILAR FOR 2009-10
The Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to a slate of deer seasons for the 2009-10 seasons that retains all of the opportunities provided in the past to address the goals of the agency’s deer management plan. The only significant change was the Board’s vote to extend the late flintlock season for Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 2B, 5C and 5D to run from
Hunters in WMUs 2D, 2G, 3C and 4B will again have a five-day, antlered deer only season starting the Monday after
On Monday, the Board received a presentation by the Bureau of Wildlife Management regarding the study that has begun to evaluate the impact of split seasons in WMUs 2D, 2G, 3C and 4B on hunter success rates for future use as a new management tool. (For more information on the study, please see “News Release #012-09 in the “News Release” section of the agency’s website – www.pgc.state.pa.us.)
Roe noted that, in 2008, the four WMUs chosen for this split season were because: WMUs 2G and 4B have ongoing deer research in them; WMU 2D is an area where antler restrictions are set at four points on one side, and is where the agency previously had deer research conducted; and WMU 3C is an area where antler restrictions are set at three points on one side, and is an area of the state where no extensive deer research has been conducted.
“Antlerless deer harvest versus number of days of opportunity, or the overall season length, will be evaluated, and we will conduct annual surveys of hunters to address other aspects of the program,” Roe said. “Stakeholders may be able to provide input by sharing whether they’d like more opportunity via time, such as two weeks or more, or more people involved through perhaps more tags and shorter seasons.”
The Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) that addresses landowner deer management objectives within WMUs remains in place. Hunters with DMAP antlerless deer permits may use them during any established deer season, and will continue to be permitted to harvest antlerless deer from
“DMAP provides a tool to harvest antlerless deer on specific properties to lessen deer impacts for landowners and the habitat,” Roe said. Fees for DMAP permits are
BOARD APPROVES ANTLERLESS DEER LICENSE ALLOCATIONS
The agency continues to seek a decrease in the population trends in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D, which are the three most developed areas of the state. Based on CAC input, and supported by scientific measurements, the agency is continuing to allow for an increase in the population trend in WMUs 4E and 5A. In all other WMUs, the agency continues to seek stabilization of population trends. The only WMU to see an increase in its allocation is WMU 5C, which increased from 92,000 last year to 113,000 for the 2009-10 seasons.
For more information on these measurements, both the quantitative thresholds and qualitative labels, please see “Deer Program” on the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) in the “Quick Clicks” box in the right-hand column of the homepage.
Following is a listing of the approved allocations for each WMU, along with last year’s allocation. More detailed information for each WMU allocation will be posted on the agency’s website in the near future, in the “Deer Program” section.
WMU 1A allocation will be 42,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 1B allocation will be 30,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 2A allocation will be 55,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 2B allocation will be 68,000 to continue to decrease the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 2C allocation will be 49,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 2D allocation will be 56,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 2E allocation will be 21,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 2F allocation will be 28,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 2G allocation will be 26,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 3A allocation will be 26,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 3B allocation will be 43,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 3C allocation will be 27,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 3D allocation will be 37,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 4A allocation will be 29,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 4B allocation will be 23,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 4C allocation will be 35,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 4D allocation will be 40,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 4E allocation will be 30,000 to allow an increase in the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 5A allocation will be 19,000 to allow an increase in the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 5B allocation will be 51,000 to continue to stabilize the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
WMU 5C allocation will be 113,000 to continue to decrease the population trend, up from last year’s allocation of 92,000.
WMU 5D allocation will be 22,000 to continue to decrease the population trend, which is the same as last year’s.
PHEASANT SEASON CHANGES TO ENHANCE WILD RECOVERY PROJECT
The Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to a major change in pheasant hunting designed to be the first major step toward re-establishing wild pheasant populations in
Under the agency’s recently approved Ring-necked Pheasant Management Plan, the Game Commission calls for restoring self-sustaining and huntable populations of wild pheasants in suitable habitats called “Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas” (WPRAs), and defined as the Pike Run,
To give these wild pheasants the best opportunity to establish naturally reproducing populations, the Board has banned the release of any artificially propagated pheasants — including Game Commission raised pheasants — within these WPRAs. Also, to limit disturbances to nesting hen pheasants, dog training of any manner will be prohibited in these WPRAs from the end of small game season in early February through
“Working with major partners, such as Pheasants Forever, the
“While we hope to identify more, the Game Commission will continue to raise and release pheasants on public lands with suitable pheasant habitat each fall. And, should we receive additional revenues, we plan to increase our pheasant production level to 250,000 birds, as noted in the Ring-necked Pheasant Management Plan.”
For the 2009-10 seasons, the WPRAs are defined as the following geographic locations:
(1) Pike Run WPRA: The portion of
(2) Somerset WPRA: That portion of
(3) Central Susquehanna WPRA: Portions of WMU 4E in
A native of
During the early 1890s,
In the early 1900s, the Game Commission set aside a special appropriation of funds to purchase and propagate game. Pheasant eggs were purchased and given to agency refuge keepers, sportsmen’s organizations and private individuals interested in raising pheasants. The first stocking of pheasants by the Game Commission occurred by 1915.
Habitat loss, from urban/suburban sprawl to changes in agricultural practices, had an impact on
For more information on pheasants and the history of the agency’s pheasant management plan and propagation program, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), select “Hunting” then click on the photograph of the pheasant.
BOARD ADJUSTS EXTENDED BEAR SEASONS
The Board of Commissioners today gave final approval to the traditional three-day statewide black bear season before
While most bear seasons remain the same, extended hunting opportunities were added for WMUs 5B and 5C, in the southeastern portion of the state, and will run
Bear licenses must be purchased prior to the opening of the firearms deer season.
BOBCAT SEASON EXPANDED TO WMUS 4A AND 4E
After nine bobcat seasons, the Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to add Wildlife Management Units 4A and 4E to the list of WMUs in which bobcats can be taken by those hunters/trappers who are selected for a permit. The upcoming public drawing to award bobcat permits, which will be held in September, will continue to guarantee permits to those who have earned a certain number of preference points.
The decision to add WMUs 4A and 4E to the bobcat hunt/trap area is based on the increased number of incidental bobcat captures and bobcat sightings in these areas.
Beginning in 2003, the Game Commission began awarding preference points to individuals who apply for and do not receive a bobcat harvest permit during a given year. This preference point system was designed to incrementally increase the probability of receiving a permit each year that an applicant is unsuccessful. Bobcat permits are awarded using a random computer drawing from an applicant database. The number of preference points is applied to the applicant’s name prior to the drawing. Under this system, the odds of being selected increase significantly as points are accrued, but new applicants always have a chance of being selected. Applicants who are selected and receive a permit are prohibited from applying the following year and their preference points are set back to zero.
“Last year, we modified the selection process to provide guaranteed permits to applicants who earned the maximum number of preference points,” said
In order to receive a guaranteed permit for the 2009 drawing, an applicant will have to have applied without being drawn for five years, as well as apply this year, to have the maximum number of preference points of six and receive a guaranteed permit.
Residents and nonresident furtaker license holders, as well as combination license holders, are eligible for the public drawing to award bobcat permits.
In other trapping-related action, the Board gave final approval to a change in the cable restraint season to allow those eligible for the cable restraint season for foxes and coyotes to keep non-target furbearers that are incidentally captured in a cable restraint during seasons in which those furbearers are legal for harvest.
HUNTERS REMINDED ABOUT PROCESS FOR SETTING WATERFOWL SEASONS
In July, in concert with federal frameworks, the Game Commission will set seasons and bag limits for September resident
In August, the Game Commission and waterfowl hunting organizations will invite waterfowl organizations, individual sportsmen and the public to attend a briefing on the status of waterfowl populations and proposed preliminary federal frameworks for the 2009-10 hunting seasons.
In addition to reviewing frameworks established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for upcoming waterfowl and migratory bird seasons, Game Commission staff, along with conservation partners, will provide updates on current and planned research and management programs, as well as past hunting results.
Based on public comments received and gathered at the meeting, Game Commission staff will prepare and present recommended composite waterfowl and migratory bird seasons, bag limits and related criteria to the USFWS for final approval. All migratory bird hunting seasons and bag limits must conform to frameworks set by the USFWS. States select their hunting seasons within these established frameworks.
By mid-August, once the final selections are made, the Game Commission will print and distribute brochures outlining the seasons and bag limits for waterfowl and migratory bird seasons to U.S. Post Offices, where hunters may purchase their mandatory federal duck stamp. The brochure also will be posted on the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) along with a news release announcing the agency’s final selections by mid-August.
ADOPTED 2009-10 HUNTING SEASONS AND BAG LIMITS
SQUIRRELS, Red, Gray, Black and Fox (Combined): Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license, and mentored youth –
SQUIRRELS, Red, Gray, Black and Fox (Combined):
PHEASANT: Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license –
PHEASANT: Male only in WMUs 2A, 2B, 2C, 4C, 4E, 5A and 5B –
HARES (SNOWSHOE RABBITS) OR VARYING HARES:
WOODCHUCKS (GROUNDHOGS): No closed season, except: Sundays; during the antlered and antlerless deer seasons; and until noon daily during the spring gobbler turkey season.
STARLINGS AND ENGLISH SPARROWS: No closed season, except during the antlered and antlerless deer seasons and until noon daily during the spring gobbler turkey season. No limit.
SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): Special season for eligible junior hunters, with required license, and mentored youth -
SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only):
BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 4A, 4B and 4D) Bow and Arrow only:
BLACK BEAR (Statewide):
BLACK BEAR (Portions of WMUs 3B, 4E and 2G):
- The portion of WMU 3B, East of Rt. 14 from
Troyto Canton, East of Rt. 154 from Cantonto Rt. 220 at Laporte, and East of Rt. 42 from Laporteto Rt. 118; and that portion of WMU 4E, East of Rt. 42; and
- The portions of WMUs 2G in
Lycomingand Clintoncounties and WMU 3B in Lycoming Countythat lies North of the West Branchof the Susquehanna River from the Rt. 405 bridge, West to the Rt. 15 at Williamsport, Route 15 to Rt. 220, North of Rt. 220 to the Mill Hallexit, North of SR 2015 to Rt. 150, East of Rt. 150 to Lusk Run Road and south of Lusk Run Road to Rt. 120, Rt. 120 to Veterans Street Bridge to SR 1001, East of SR 1001 to Croak Hallow Road, South of Croak Hallow Road to Rt. 664 (at Swissdale), South of Rt. 664 to Little Plum Road (the intersection of SR1003, South of SR 1003 to SR 1006, South of S R 1006 to Sulphur Run Road, South of Sulphur Run Road to Rt. 44, East of Rt. 44 to Rt. 973, South of Rt. 973 to Rt. 87, West of Rt. 87 to Rt. 864, South of Rt. 864 to Rt. 220 and West of Rt. 220 to Rt. 405 and West of Rt. 405 to the West Branchof the Susquehanna River.
BLACK BEAR (WMUs 4C, 4D, 4E, 5B and 5C):
ELK (Antlered or Antlerless):
ELK (Conservation Tag):
DEER, ARCHERY (Antlerless Only) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D:
DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) Statewide, including WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D:
DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2E, 2F, 3A, 3B, 3D, 4A, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D:
DEER (Antlered Only) WMUs 2D, 2G, 3C and 4B:
DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2D, 2G, 3C and 4B:
DEER, ANTLERLESS (Statewide):
DEER, ANTLERLESS MUZZLELOADER (Statewide):
DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (Statewide):
DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (WMUs 2B, 5C, 5D):
DEER, Antlerless (WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D):
DEER, ANTLERLESS (Military Bases): Hunting permitted on days established by the U.S. Department of the Army at Letterkenny Army Depot,
ADOPTED 2009-10 FURBEARER HUNTING SEASONS
COYOTES: No closed season. Unlimited. Outside of any deer or bear season, coyotes may be taken with a hunting license or a furtaker license, and without wearing orange. During any archery deer season, coyotes may be taken while lawfully hunting deer or with a furtaker license. During the regular firearms deer and any bear seasons, coyotes may be taken while lawfully hunting deer or bear, or with a furtaker license while wearing 250 square inches of fluorescent orange. During the spring gobbler season, may be taken by those with a valid tag and meet fluorescent orange and shot size requirements.
RACCOON and FOXES:
OPOSSUM, SKUNKS & WEASELS: No closed season, except Sundays and prior to noon during the spring gobbler season. No limits.
BOBCAT (WMUs 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4D and 4E):
ADOPTED 2009-10 TRAPPING SEASONS
MINK and MUSKRAT:
COYOTE, FOXES, OPOSSUM, RACCOON, SKUNKS and WEASELS:
COYOTE and FOXES (Statewide) Cable Restraints:
BOBCAT (WMUs 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4D and 4E):
ADOPTED 2009-10 FALCONRY SEASONS
SQUIRRELS (combined), QUAIL, RUFFED GROUSE, COTTONTAIL RABBITS, SNOWSHOE OR VARYING HARE, RINGNECK PHEASANT (Male or Female combined):
No open season on other wild birds or mammals. Waterfowl and Migratory Game Bird seasons will be established in accordance with Federal Regulations this summer.
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For Information Contact: Jerry Feaser 717-705-6541 PGCNEWS@state.pa.us
SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission