PA Game Commissioners Propose 2009-10 Seasons and Bag Limits
The public may offer comments on all proposed 2009-10 seasons and bag limits, as well as other Board actions, between now and the Board’s next meeting,
Following are several articles on meeting highlights.
BOARD APPROVES EXPANDED USE OF CROSSBOWS
Under the new regulation, 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.
Also, before giving the measure final approval, the Board adopted an amendment to prohibit the use of magnifying scopes for archery equipment and crossbows during the archery bear and deer seasons. The use of non-magnifying scopes — such as those that provide a red dot for sighting purposes — will continue to be legal.
The proposal given approval also would remove the lawful use of crossbows during the October muzzleloader or late flintlock muzzleloader season. Other changes made by the proposal simplify and make the language of the regulations easier to understand.
DEER SEASONS TO BE SIMILAR FOR 2009-10
The Board of Game Commissioners gave preliminary 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 in 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 were for this split season 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 Wildlife Management Units (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
PHEASANT SEASON CHANGES TO ENHANCE WILD RECOVERY PROJECT
The Board of Game Commissioners today gave preliminary 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 (pending amendment for April). Portions of Management Unit 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 PROPOSES ADJUSTMENTS TO EXTENDED BEAR SEASONS
The Board of Commissioners today gave preliminary 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 preliminary 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 this area.
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.
“Because the selection process is random it is possible that, under the current system, a person can maintain maximum preference points and never be selected to receive a permit,” Roe said. “It is also possible — and this has occurred numerous times — that applicants may be selected to receive permits multiple times over the years, while others are never drawn. Some bobcat permit applicants see these situations as inequitable.
“Last year, we modified the process to provide guaranteed permits to applicants who earned the maximum number of preference points. We can provide this benefit without negating the chance of a new applicant to receive a permit or significantly reducing the odds of being drawn for an applicant with less than the maximum number preference points.”
In order to receive a guaranteed permit for the 2009 drawing, an applicant will have to have applied without being drawn for the previous five consecutive 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 preliminary approval to a change in the cable restraint season to allow those eligible for the cable restraint season for foxes and coyotes to use 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 host 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.
PROPOSED 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):
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):
U.S. Armed Services or in the U.S. Coast Guard only, with required antlerless license. Also included are persons who have reached or will reach their 65th birthday in the year of the application for a license and hold a valid adult license, or qualify for license and fee exemptions under section 2706. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
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,
PROPOSED 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):
PROPOSED 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):
PROPOSED 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