Dove and Early Canada Goose Seasons to Begin Sept. 1; Game Commission Posts Avian Influenza Information on Website
Dove hunters, once again, will have the opportunity to participate in a triple-split season. During the first season (
The early statewide season for resident Canada geese will open
In the Southern James Bay Population Zone, and on the Pymatuning State Park Reservoir and the area extending 100 yards inland from the shoreline of the reservoir, excluding the area east of SR 3011 (Hartstown Road), hunters will have a daily limit of three and a possession limit of six.
Also, in western
The controlled hunting areas at the Game Commission’s Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in
Excluding these areas, the early season in the remainder of the state retains a daily bag limit of eight Canada geese and possession limit of 16.
Dunn noted that recent liberalizations in Canada goose hunting opportunities, along with control programs being implemented by many municipalities and public and private landowners, finally might be stabilizing the growth of the state’s resident Canada goose population. The 2009
“Hunting remains the most effective and efficient way to manage resident Canada geese, provided hunters can gain access to geese in problem areas,” Dunn said.
Once again, young
In addition, because the Youth Waterfowl Day and the early Canada goose season overlap this year, youth and the adults accompanying them may harvest Canada geese. The daily limit for the Youth Waterfowl Day for Canada geese is the same as the daily limit for adults in the area being hunted, as noted above.
Youth Waterfowl Day bag limits for ducks, mergansers and coots will be consistent with the limit for the regular season, which will be announced in mid-August, after the annual Waterfowl Symposium on
A season for common snipe will run from
Hunting for moorhen and gallinules will run from
Migratory game bird hunters, including those afield for doves and woodcock, are required to obtain and carry a
Roe noted that, although hunting hours have been extended to one-half hour after sunset for big game (except spring gobbler), as well as small game and furbearers, federal regulations prevail for waterfowl and migratory game birds and shooting hours for these species will continue to close at sunset. The only exception to this is during the early
Annual migratory bird and waterfowl seasons are selected by states from a framework established by the USFWS. The Game Commission is expected to announce in mid-August the regular and late waterfowl seasons, after the agency holds its annual Waterfowl Symposium,
Hunters are encouraged to use a toll-free number (1-800-327-BAND), e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org or via the U.S. Geological Survey bird banding website (www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/) to report banded ducks, geese and doves they harvest. Callers will be requested to provide information on where, when and what species of waterfowl were taken, in addition to the band number. This information is crucial to the successful management of waterfowl.
GAME COMMISSION POSTS AVIAN INFLUENZA INFORMATION ON WEBSITE
As hunters prepare for waterfowl and migratory game bird seasons, the Pennsylvania Game Commission urges hunters to review information posted on its website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) about avian influenza and wild birds. The information can be accessed by selecting “Wildlife” in the left-hand column of the agency’s homepage, and then scrolling down and clicking on “Avian Influenza” in the “Wildlife Diseases” box.
“We have compiled a list of important facts, answers to common questions and links to more detailed information on our website,” said Dr.
Dr. Cottrell noted that avian influenza viruses are classified as having low pathogenicity or high pathogenicity based on the severity of the illness they cause in poultry, and most are not considered a public health threat. Indeed, the impact of highly pathogenic H5N1 on migratory bird populations and the role that wild birds play in the spread of H5N1 is unclear.
“Scientists still are uncertain if wild birds are an important source of the highly pathogenic virus, since the vast majority of outbreaks do not include a history of wild birds mingling with domestic poultry,” Dr. Cottrell said. “The worry is that, once infected, wild birds could transport the virus to a new location, but it appears that these relatively few infected wild birds are rarely able to travel far.”
The highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza has not been detected in
Since its discovery in
Dr. Cottrell noted that if the highly pathogenic H5N1 is detected in wild birds in
“For prevention’s sake, hunters should follow routine precautions when handling game birds,” Dr. Cottrell said. “Do not kill, handle or eat sick game. Wear rubber or disposable latex or nitrile gloves while handling and cleaning game, wash hands and thoroughly clean knives, equipment and surfaces that come in contact with game. Do not eat, drink or smoke while handling animals. All poultry should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit as determined by a meat thermometer.”
Cottrell pointed out that a certain level of mortality in wild birds is normal, and that wild bird mortality can occur as a result of trauma, ingestion of pesticides, infections and accidents of nature, most of which pose no threat to the health of domestic animals or people. However, incidents of five or more ill or dead birds (not including pigeons) in the same geographic area over a one- or two-day period may indicate significant mortality and should be reported during regular business hours to the Game Commission Region Office that serves the area.
“Bag and refrigerate – but do not freeze – the birds in a cooler with ice until arrangements for pickup or disposal can be made,” Cottrell said. “Even in cases involving five or more birds, the cause of death can sometimes be determined without laboratory testing. Game Commission staff may make arrangements to acquire dead birds or recommend disposing of them in a plastic bag in household trash that ends up at a regulated landfill.”
In the past, the Game Commission’s wild bird mortality investigations have been part of a larger operation in cooperation with USDA Wildlife Services. In addition to following up on citizen reports of dead birds, Game Commission biologists have sampled mallards and other dabbling ducks statewide, as well as scaup (a species of diving duck) taken by hunters on
However, with the current economic conditions, this program has been eliminated by USDA in states like
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission