DCNR Enrolls 52 State Forest, Park Tracts in Deer Management Assistance Program

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Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Michael DiBerardinis today announced that DCNR has enrolled more than 907,000 acres of state forest and parkland in the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s (PGC) Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP).

The program, offering landowners the chance to request additional antlerless deer permits to be made available to hunters, enables DCNR and others to more effectively manage white-tailed deer and curtail damage to crops and forestland.

“DCNR’s request for acreage open to DMAP hunters reflects adjustments based on the deer numbers researchers saw from the air last winter, and the forest regeneration district foresters are seeing on the ground this summer,” said DiBerardinis. “As DCNR enters its third year of DMAP participation, hunters will notice fewer areas enrolled, but more acreage included.”

This year, DCNR is requesting the Game Commission to issue 21,593 coupons to hunters to pursue deer on 52 areas of DCNR land totaling 907,875 acres. In 2004, 23,863 coupons were issued to hunt 80 DMAP tracts totaling 713,015 acres.

“In some areas where we know deer numbers are low, we have dropped tracts from the program, or expanded the acreage while seeking fewer allocations,” DiBerardinis said. “In other areas where forest regeneration problems exist, we have grouped tracts together to better utilize hunters who now can obtain two permits per area. Also, we’ve enlarged some areas to compensate for the PGC’s reduction in antlerless deer license allocations in some of its Wildlife Management Units.”

State forest and parkland surveys show wildflowers and other woodland plant species either are missing from most of their former range or are found only in limited numbers. The white-tailed deer also is linked to declining populations of the snowshoe hare, Appalachian cottontail, several species of songbirds and ruffed grouse.

DCNR implemented DMAP in 2003 on a trial basis within its state forest system only, enrolling 38 tracts totaling 446,821 acres in 11 of its 20 state forest districts. This year, the 907,875 acres enrolled in DMAP acreage can be found in 19 state forest districts.

The Bureau of State Parks has almost 43,000 acres in 16 parks, some of which are included in the forestry areas where they were surrounded by state forestland. Enrolled state parks include: Bald Eagle, Clear Creek, Cook Forest, Elk, Greenwood Furnace, Little Pine, Lyman Run, Ohiopyle, Oil Creek, Parker Dam, Presque Isle, Prince Gallitzin, Promised Land, Sizerville, Tobyhanna and Whipple Dam.

DMAP application coupons will be made available to interested hunters beginning Monday, Aug. 1. To obtain them for state forest or parkland on or after Aug. 1, hunters can visit DCNR’s Forestry web site at www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/; follow the links to the DMAP page; then to the specific area where they want to hunt.

As of that same date, applications only will be accepted through the U.S. Postal Service mail. Then, beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 22, potential hunters can apply using an online form. They also can stop at the appropriate local forest district or state park office after Aug. 22. Coupon availability also will appear on the web site.

For more DMAP details contact Merlin Benner, wildlife specialist, Bureau of Forestry at 570-724-8140 or jobenner@state.pa.us.

In a continuing effort to increase deer hunter participation on its DMAP areas, while supporting the statewide Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) effort, DCNR again is offering a financial incentive to hunters donating venison to feed the hungry. DCNR funds will be used to pay for butchering and processing of white-tailed deer donated to HSH efforts, if they were taken in DCNR’s designated DMAP areas.

“Records from our network of participating meat processors show hunters donated 270 deer taken from DCNR lands enrolled in DMAP,” said HSH spokesman John Plowman. “Clearly, results of this donation plan are impressive and reflect the growing success of this concept. HSH thanks DCNR for its stewardship, financial support and compassionate idealism that has connected the need for forest management with hunters sharing deer with needy people.”

Up to $50 a deer will be covered under this reimbursement program between DCNR and the state Department of Agriculture. Visit www.sharedeer.org, or phone (866) 474-2141.