FINAL 2017-18 HUNTING/TRAPPING SEASONS APPROVED
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for the 2017-18 license year. A list of all seasons and bag limits appears in the full news release.
The commissioners also set the number of antlerless deer licenses to be allocated, as well as the number of elk licenses to be allocated for the coming license year.
The board voted to allocate 804,000 antlerless deer licenses statewide, which up from 748,000 licenses in 2016. Allocations by Wildlife Management Unit appear in the full news release.
Hunters should note the boundary between WMUs 2C and 2E has changed.
Hunting licenses for 2017-18 go on sale in mid-June and become effective July 1. After hunters purchase a general hunting license, they may apply for antlerless deer licenses based on staggered timelines, which will be outlined in the 2017-18 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest to be made available online.
Other modifications approved for the 2017-18 seasons include: moving the statewide archery bear season to the next-to-the-last week of the archery deer season; changing the firearms deer season in Wildlife Management Units 5A and 5B to bucks-only hunting from the opening day through the first Friday; opening a conservative mid-week fall turkey season in Wildlife Management Area 5B, and reducing the season length in WMUs 4A, 4B and 4E; eliminating the post-Christmas segment of the ruffed-grouse season to improve adult survival due to recent population declines; restoring an extended black-bear season in WMU 3A; opening the Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Recovery Area to a youth-only pheasant-hunting season; removing restrictions on hunting small game, other than pheasants, in all Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas, and re-establishing statewide put-and-take bobwhite quail hunting with a longer season and larger bag limit, given the lack of wild quail in the state and the low likelihood of quail reintroduction occurring in Pennsylvania anytime soon.
Several more highlights pertaining to the 2017-18 seasons and bag limits appear in the full news release.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM TODAY’S COMMISSIONERS MEETING
SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLES OK’D FOR SMALL GAME, FURBEARERS
Hunters heading afield in the 2017-18 seasons will be able to carry semiautomatic rifles for hunting small game and furbearers, but not for big game, based on regulatory changes approved today by the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners.
The commissioners in January preliminarily approved a proposal that would have allowed semiautomatic rifles to be used in any season where manually operated centerfire rifles now can be used. The board amended that measure, giving final approval to hunting small game and furbearers with semiautomatic rifles beginning in the 2017-18 seasons. It made no changes to the list of lawful sporting arms for hunting big game.
Commissioners said a clear majority of Pennsylvania hunters voiced opposition to hunting big game with semiautomatic rifles at this time, and the board’s vote reflects that opinion. Between the Board of Commissioners’ preliminary vote and the vote today, Game Commission staff conducted a scientific survey from a random sample of 4,000 of the state’s hunters, more than 2,000 of whom responded. The findings of that survey were presented to the commissioners at the board’s meeting on Monday.
The findings of the survey show clear support for hunting furbearers (55 percent support or strongly support), woodchucks (51 percent support or strongly support) and small game (42 percent support or strongly support, and 12 percent neither support nor oppose) with semiautomatic rifles. For big game, while 28 percent of survey respondents expressed support or strong support for semiautomatic rifles, 64 percent of respondents said they opposed or strongly opposed semiautomatic rifles for big-game hunting, with 52 percent saying they were strongly opposed. The results bolstered the expressed opposition to hunting big game with semiautomatic rifles that appeared to a lesser extent in the written comments the Game Commission received in recent months.
“We listened to our hunters,” President Commissioner Brian H. Hoover said.
Read more about the new regulations in the full news release.
RECLAMATION OF REFUSE COAL TO GENERATE REVENUE
The reclamation of refuse coal beneath about 23 acres of State Game Lands 332 in Indiana County could generate an estimated $1 million for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, based on an agreement approved today by the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners.
Robindale Energy Services Inc., of Armagh, has agreed to remove an estimated 1.8 million tons of recoverable coal refuse material beneath the game lands. The six-year deal permits the company to occupy an additional 41 acres, as well.
Mining will be regulated by the Commonwealth’s Mining Regulations and the Commission’s Standard Coal Refuse Reclamation Agreement.
Learn more about the recent land acquistions and energy deals.
Courtesy of PA Game Commission
HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners gave preliminary approval to hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for the 2017-18 license year.
Modifications proposed for the 2017-18 seasons include: moving the statewide archery bear season to the next-to-the-last week of the archery deer season; changing the firearms deer season in Wildlife Management Units 5A and 5B to bucks-only hunting from the opening day through the first Friday; opening a conservative mid-week fall turkey season in Wildlife Management Area 5B, and reducing the season length in WMUs 4A, 4B and 4E; eliminating the post-Christmas segment of the ruffed-grouse season to improve adult survival due to recent population declines; restoring an extended black-bear season in WMU 3A; opening the Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Recovery Area to a youth-only pheasant-hunting season; opening WMU 5A to put-and-take bobwhite quail hunting, given the lack of wild quail in the area and the low likelihood of quail reintroduction being initiated there soon.
The public may offer comments on all proposed 2017-18 seasons and bag limits, as well as other board actions, between now and the board’s next meeting, March 27 and 28, at which time the board is scheduled to finalize seasons and bag limits for 2017-18.
Also, the board will receive at its March meeting staff recommendations for antlerless deer license allocations for each of the 23 WMUs. Deer harvest estimates for the 2016-17 seasons are expected to be available in mid-March.
Following are several articles on meeting highlights.
- Split Firearms Deer Seasons Up for March Approval
- Fall Turkey Season Changes Move Forward
- 2017-18 Seasons and Bag Limits
Read the details
Courtesy of PA Game Commission
Proposed regulation would require that only licensed drivers operate vehicles on game lands.
Wildlife Conservation Officers and deputies routinely encounter unlicensed drivers operating motor vehicles on roads, in parking areas and elsewhere on game lands.
But since only police have the authority to enforce the state’s Vehicle Code, the violations only can be enforced when the appropriate police agency is available to take the case.
In instances when police can’t respond, the violations go unaddressed.
But the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave preliminary approval to a regulation that will allow officers to stop unlicensed drivers from unlawfully driving on game lands.
The proposed regulation states that vehicles requiring registration under the Vehicle Code can be operated on game lands only by licensed drivers.
The measure will be brought back to the March meeting for a final vote by the board.
Courtesy Pennsylvania Game Commission
Commissioner James Daley takes over as board secretary.
At their first quarterly meeting of 2017, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners reorganized, selecting officers to serve the board this year.
Commissioner Brian Hoover stayed on as the board’s president, Commissioner Timothy Layton remained the board’s vice president, and Commissioner James Daley took over as the board’s secretary.
The board also selected its meeting dates for the coming year.
The board will meet next at its working group meeting to be held Feb. 27 at the Harrisburg headquarters.
The board’s next quarterly meeting is scheduled to be held March 27 and 28, and the board plans to meet again on June 26 and 27 and on Sept. 25 and 26.
Courtesy Pennsylvania Game Commission
Amendment package includes expanded Sunday hours at Game Commission ranges.
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave preliminary approval to a package of regulatory changes regarding the use of Game Commission-owned public shooting ranges.
One change would allow shooting ranges on state game lands to be open longer – from 8 a.m. to sunset – on Sundays within the firearms deer and bear seasons.
As it is now, shooting ranges on game lands regularly are open from 8 a.m. to sunset Monday through Saturday, but regular Sunday hours are noon to sunset. On the Sundays immediately preceding the firearms deer and firearms bear seasons, however, ranges are open from 8 a.m. to sunset.
Commissioners said the proposed expansion of Sunday hours, while minor, would create a convenience for hunters who might find themselves pressed for time to adjust sights or scopes on firearms at the height of the hunting season.
Other amendments would prohibit range users from intentionally shooting at or damaging the frames and stands on which target backboards are mounted, or using a firearms in negligent disregard for the safety of others.
An amendment clarifying automatic firearms cannot be used Game Commission ranges also was passed as part of the package, and another amendment clarifies that Game Commission shooting ranges, regardless of length or size, are designated by default as rifle ranges, and may be designated as handgun-only ranges if posted as such by the commission.
The amendments will be brought back to the March meeting for a final vote.
Courtesy Pennsylvania Game Commission
Executive Director R. Matthew Hough retiring; Deputy Executive Director Bryan Burhans to take helm.
After more than three years as executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and nearly 35 years with the agency, R. Matthew Hough today announced he will retire March 24.
Following his announcement, and the commissioners expressing their appreciation to Hough on a job well done, Commissioner Robert W. Schlemmer made a motion to appoint Game Commission Deputy Executive Director Bryan Burhans as Hough’s permanent replacement, beginning March 25.
The motion was approved unanimously.
Hough in making his announcement recalled proclaiming to a sixth-grade classmate he’d pursue a career in wildlife conservation, and said working for the Game Commission has been a dream come true.
“I’ve been blessed,” he said.
Commissioners thanked Hough for guiding the Game Commission through challenging times, and for the stability that resulted.
“You stepped up into the position, you filled the position perfectly, we could not have asked for a better executive director,” President Commissioner Brian Hoover said.
“You’ve said that you feel blessed,” Commissioner Charlie Fox told Hough. “I think we all feel blessed having you.”
Burhans said the Pennsylvania Game Commission remains a leader in wildlife conservation nationwide, and he’s honored for the opportunity to serve the agency, its employees, the Board of Commissioners and – importantly – wildlife, hunters and trappers.
“Director Hough’s leadership has set the agency on a steady course that only can lead to success,” Burhans said.
Burhans came to the Game Commission in 2014 as the agency’s deputy director of administration. He was commissioned as deputy wildlife conservation officer in 2015, and in addition to his responsibilities in the executive office, presently serves in the field in Lebanon County.
Burhans served as president and CEO of The American Chestnut Foundation headquartered in Asheville, N.C. He also served on the executive staff at the National Wild Turkey Federation for more than 12 years, worked as a wildlife biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and as a biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Hough began his career with the Game Commission in 1981, as a Wildlife Conservation Officer trainee in the 18th Class of the Ross Leffler School of Conservation. Upon graduation in 1982, he was assigned to serve as a Wildlife Conservation Officer in southwestern Westmoreland County. In 1986, Hough received a lateral transfer to his home area of northern Washington County.
In 1992, Hough was promoted to the Game Commission’s Southwest Region Office where he served for periods as Federal Aid Supervisor, Information and Education Supervisor, and Law Enforcement Supervisor prior to becoming Regional Director in 2003. In 2010, he became Deputy Executive Director of Field Operations at the agency’s Harrisburg headquarters
Courtesy Pennsylvania Game Commission
It only take a minute to report your harvest online.
Other ways to report
- By PHONE: Call toll-free to 1-855-724-8681 or 1-855-PAHUNT1 and follow the prompts.
- By MAIL: Tear out the harvest report card in your current Hunting and Trapping Digest, fill it out with the correct information and drop it off at your local post office. No postage necessary if mailed in the United States.
11/23/2016 MEDIA CONTACT: Travis Lau – 717-705-6541
GAME COMMISSION REMINDS DEER HUNTERS OF RIFLE RESTRICTIONS
STORY LINK http://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=85
As the statewide firearms deer season approaches, the Pennsylvania Game Commission reminds deer hunters that rifles used during the season must be manually operated.
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation that will enable the Pennsylvania Game Commission to regulate the use of semiautomatic rifles and air rifles for hunting, and the bill was signed into law this week.
But the Game Commission has not yet made any changes to the lists of lawful arms and ammunition for any hunting season.
For deer hunters in the upcoming firearms deer season, that means all centerfire rifles, handguns and shotguns to be used must be manually operated. The only exception is that semiautomatic shotguns may be used to hunt deer in five counties – Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery – that are defined as Special Regulations Areas.
Semiautomatic rifles generally are not permitted for any type of hunting in any part of the state at this time.
Things could change in the coming months. At its upcoming meetings, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners will be discussing the newly signed legislation and the possibility of adding semiautomatic rifles and air rifles to the lawful arms and ammunition list for various hunting seasons. But any changes must follow the schedule dictated by required procedure.
STATE’S HUNGRY THANKFUL FOR HUNTERS, DONATED VENISON
11/22/2016 MEDIA CONTACT: Travis Lau – 717-705-6541
STORY LINK http://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Game-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=84
When they sit down at the dinner table on Thursday, Pennsylvania’s hunters will have plenty for which to be thankful.
It’s prime time for Pennsylvania hunting and, with any luck, some game bags or ear tags have been filled already, or are nearly about to be.
But as hunters are giving thanks, they should know also they’re in a prime position to receive thanks for what they might choose to give.
Each year, the generosity of Pennsylvania’s hunters results in about 200,000 meals for the state’s hungry.
By donating venison through Hunters Sharing the Harvest – a program that works through a network of meat processors to channel venison donations to local food banks, soup kitchens and hungry families – hunters extend their helping hands to those in need.
And for the second straight year, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and other partners are making it easy for hunters to help out. Once again this year, the Game Commission donated $20,000 to the program – money that enables Hunters Sharing the Harvest to accept venison donations without charging hunters. In prior years, hunters who donated venison needed also to pay a $15 tax-deductible fee to cover deer-processing costs. Visit Hunters Sharing The Harvest to find a participating processor.
By helping to remove the fee, the Game Commission hopes to spur additional venison donations, allowing the program to feed more people, said R. Matthew Hough, the agency’s executive director.