Board Seeks To Expand Mentored Youth Program For 2013-14; Board Amends Endangered and Threatened Species Lists; Board Addresses Illegal Atv Use; Board Takes Other Action
FRANKLIN, Pa., Sept. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave preliminary approval to a regulatory change to expand antlerless deer hunting opportunities under the Mentored Youth Hunting Program (MYHP) for the 2013-14 license year.
“Sporting organizations and other interested groups have continued to express an interest in having the Game Commission expand the MYHP opportunities,” said Ralph A. Martone, Board President. “These groups support this proposed change in regulations to permit the transfer of no more than one Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permit to a mentored youth hunter per license year.
“This change, along with the recent addition of fall turkey hunting to the MYHP, creates a wide range of opportunities for young hunters.”
Martone noted that this action will not significantly affect the DMAP antlerless deer harvest and is consistent with the goal of providing additional mentored youth hunting opportunities. Also, it will work in the same manner as the recent change in regulations to allow adult mentors to transfer one Wildlife Management Unit-specific antlerless deer license to a mentored youth.
If the change is given final approval at a subsequent Board meeting, beginning in the 2013-14 license year, adult mentors would be authorized to transfer one DMAP harvest permit issued to them to an eligible mentored youth. The DMAP harvest permit must be valid for the property on which the pair is hunting, and in the possession of the adult mentor at all times while hunting antlerless deer. Adult mentors may transfer the DMAP harvest permit to mentored youths only after the youth harvests an antlerless deer. A mentored youth may receive by transfer no more than one DMAP harvest permit each license year.
As is the case with antlerless deer licenses, a mentored youth is ineligible to make direct application for a DMAP harvest permit.
“Since 2006, Pennsylvania’s hunters have been taking advantage of a remarkable opportunity to introduce those under the age of 12 to hunting through the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, and we have seen a steady increase in the number of MYHP permits issued,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “Hunting is deeply woven into the cultural fabric that defines Pennsylvania, and it is important that we recruit new hunters to carry on this tradition.”
Roe noted that the logic behind the MYHP is simple and clear: create expanded youth hunting opportunities without compromising safety afield. In 2009, the first year a permit was required to participate in the MYHP, the agency issued 28,542 permits. In 2010, the agency issued 30,790; and, in 2011, the number of permits issued increased to 33,514.
For more information on the program, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and put your cursor over the “Hunt/Trap” button in the menu bar at the top of the page, click on “Hunting” and then click on “Mentored Youth Hunting Program FAQs” in the “Related Links” section. Information also is included on page 15 of the 2012-13 Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest.
BOARD AMENDS ENDANGERED AND THREATENED SPECIES LISTS
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to a regulatory change that amends the list of state endangered and threatened species to reflect the current status of breeding bird populations in the state and to update scientific nomenclature for a species of warbler.
“Whenever wildlife managers designate animals as endangered or threatened species, it means their numbers are low, their habitat is at risk and they need specialized management or care to protect and hopefully increase their populations,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “Species declines are usually the result of changes brought about by people, or changes in environmental conditions or ecosystems. Some are naturally-occurring, some are not. But all present the same unfortunate consequence: a species in trouble.
“If there is one constant, it is that the world and living conditions change, and consequently affect wildlife populations and/or distribution. Some changes are caused by natural influences such as fires, weather and disease. Others are the result or byproduct of human activities: timbering, pollution, pesticide use, development, farming and so on. Introduction of species also can influence a native species’ population. Some species listed as endangered or threatened in Pennsylvania are so distinguished because their range barely extends into the state, or their population has a fragile foothold here.”
Under the action taken today, the upland sandpiper, a grassland nesting bird long-classified as threatened, has been moved to the endangered species list because it has declined precipitously over the last two decades and has virtually disappeared from Pennsylvania.
“We believe the upland sandpiper’s rarity and diminished breeding range warrant this move,” said Daniel Brauning, Game Commission Wildlife Diversity Division chief.
The northern harrier, once a rare but regular breeder in the state, has experienced a marked decline in Pennsylvania, as well as declines in northwest and northcentral regions over the last few decades, prompting the Board to approve adding this species to the state’s list of threatened birds. The northern harrier is listed as either endangered or threatened in most neighboring states.
Long-eared owls are extremely rare breeders in Pennsylvania, and difficult to survey. Nesting locations have been confirmed in only seven locations in recent years, despite a concerted survey effort over much of the last decade; most nests are located in the Ridge and Valley and Appalachian Plateau regions. The rarity and scattering of nest records within this Commonwealth have prompted this proposal to list the long-eared owl as threatened.
Finally, in a reorganization of warbler nomenclature in 2011 by the American Ornithologist’s Union, the genus Dendroica was changed to Setophaga necessitating this administrative change in the scientific name of the blackpoll warbler, which is on the state’s endangered species list.
Roe noted that the agency recently published a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin to seek public comment on proposed language to make changes to the listing of certain bat species based on the impact of white-nose syndrome (WNS). The agency will be reviewing the public input received about the proposed language, and may be presenting additional changes to the state’s list of endangered and threatened species of bats. However, action was not taken today in regards to the listing of any bats.
For more about the Pennsylvania endangered and threatened species lists, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), put your cursor over “Wildlife” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage and click on “Endangered” in the drop-down box.
BOARD ADDRESSES ILLEGAL ATV USE
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to a regulatory change to address violations of possessing, maintaining, operating, occupying or traveling on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or snowmobile in violation of the state’s Vehicle Code (Title 75).
“Unauthorized ATV operation on State Game Lands and private lands enrolled in the agency’s Hunter Access Program continues to be one of the top 10 violations our Wildlife Conservation Officers encounter each year,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “Illegal ATV operation is a major source of wildlife habitat destruction across the state, and these violations are often accompanied by ATV classification offenses, such as a lack of registration or insurance, which are required under Title 75.”
“Under current law, WCOs do not have authority to enforce Title 75 summary offenses, and the Game Commission normally forwards these violations to other enforcement authorities, which typically ends in mixed results. This amendment will ensure safe and effective enforcement of these requirements occurring on lands under Game Commission ownership, lease, agreement or control.”
BOARD TAKES OTHER ACTION
In other action today, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners:
- Gave final approval to a series of technical regulatory changes to eliminate the reference to the Department of Environmental Resources, and replace it with a reference to Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which was made in law in 1995. The regulatory changes also update reference to the agency’s officers as “Wildlife Conservation Officers.” This change is non-substantive and is not intended to expand or limit the enforcement authority of any classification of officer;
- Gave final approval to a regulatory change to allow the use of electronic crow decoys for use in the hunting of crows;
- Gave final approval to a series of changes designed to improve the testing and certification of those applying to become permitted Wildlife Nuisance Control Agents;
- Gave approval to increase Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer compensation from $65 per diem to $80 per diem effective Oct. 1, 2012;
- Recommitted its support for legislation that would legalize the use of blood tracking dogs for hunters to recover wounded deer and bear;
- Reaffirmed the date of the Board’s first quarterly meeting of 2013 to be Jan. 27-29, 2013, at the agency’s Harrisburg headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, just off the Progress Avenue exit of Interstate 81; and
- Reaffirmed the next Working Group Meeting of the Board will be held on Monday, Dec. 17, at the agency’s Harrisburg headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, just off the Progress Avenue exit of Interstate 81.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission