Pennsylvania GC Proposes 2010-11 Seasons
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners gave preliminary approval to hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for 2010-11, including broad changes to deer, bear, turkey and small game seasons.
The public may offer comments on all proposed 2010-11 seasons and bag limits, as well as other Board actions, between now and the Board's next meeting, April 19-20, at which time the Board will finalize seasons and bag limits for 2010-11. Also, the Board will take action on setting antlerless deer license allocations for the 22 WMUs at its April meeting. Deer harvest estimates for the 2009-10 seasons will be available in mid-March.
Following are several articles on meeting highlights.
BOARD ADDS OTHER WMUS TO SPLIT RIFLE DEER SEASONS
The Board of Game Commissioners gave preliminary approval to a slate of deer seasons for the 2010-11 seasons that includes adding Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 2C, 2E, 4D and 4E to the split five-day antlered deer season, Nov. 29-Dec. 3, and seven-day concurrent season, Dec. 4-11. Those WMUs now part of the split season structure are WMUs 2C, 2D, 2E, 2G, 3C, 4B, 4D and 4E.
The proposed package retains the two-week (12-day) concurrent, antlered and antlerless season in the remaining 14 WMUs.
Deer harvest data from 2009-10 is expected in mid-March, and will be used to guide the Board's establishment of antlerless deer license allocations.
Two other changes proposed, so far, is to eliminate the two-week antlerless deer seasons held following the close of the regular firearms season leading up to Christmas in Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5C and 5D. However, the Board voted to extend the concurrent antlered/antlerless deer hunting for archery hunters in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D from Jan. 17-29.
Based on a motion by Game Commissioner Thomas Boop, the Board directed staff to prepare for its April meeting to suspend the issuance of Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) antlerless deer permits to public landowners, unless an approved management plan is in place. Boop noted that this action does not impact private landowners ability to enroll in DMAP, which enables landowner to address deer management objectives on their properties.
Hunters with DMAP antlerless deer permits may use them on the lands for which they were issued during any established deer season, and will continue to be permitted to harvest antlerless deer from Nov. 29-Dec. 11 in WMUs 2C, 2D, 2E, 2G, 3C, 4B, 4D and 4E.
Fees for DMAP permits are $10 for residents and $35 for nonresidents.
BOARD PROPOSES ADJUSTMENTS TO BEAR SEASONS
The Board of Commissioners today gave preliminary approval to sweeping changes to black bear seasons for 2010-11. Included in those changes are a statewide five-day archery bear season (Nov. 15-19), and a three-day statewide bear season that would open on Saturday, Nov. 20, and then continue on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 22 and 23. The Board also eliminated all extended bear season that previously were held during all or portions of the first week of the firearms deer season.
Pennsylvania extended modern-day bear hunting started in 2002, when bear hunters were given the opportunity to fill their tags the first week of the firearms deer season in Carbon, Monroe and Pike counties. With the advent of the state's 22 WMUs, the extended season was held in WMU 3D in 2003. In 2004, the number of WMUs open for the concurrent deer/bear season was expanded, and the Board has made adjustments to those areas that are included or closed based on population trends.
CHANGES PROPOSED FOR 2010-11 TURKEY SEASONS
Several changes are proposed for fall and spring wild turkey seasons under the 2010-11 seasons given preliminary approval today by the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners.
"A new hen turkey harvest and survival rate study that is beginning in 2010 is designed to determine the effect of fall turkey season length on turkey harvest rates," said Carl. G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. "The research design calls for a three-week season for 2010 and 2011 in WMUs 2F and 2G, and then it decreases to a two-week season for 2012 and 2013; and a two-week season for 2010 and 2011 in WMUs 2C, 2E, 4A, 4B and 4D, which increases to three-weeks for 2012 and 2013.
"To implement this study, we have proposed to add a week of fall hunting for WMU 2F and decrease by one week the fall season for WMU 4D. The increased fall season length in WMU 2F also will address the request we've heard to increase the season to provide more recreational activities to camp owners in this WMU."
Roe noted that WMU 4D has shown a pattern of adverse effects from three-week fall seasons and this research study is being conducted to address this issue and determine if changing season length has the desired effect on harvest rates.
"The fall turkey season in WMU 5A has been closed for seven years and has now improved enough to recommend reopening the season in 2010," Roe said. "The summer sightings and spring harvest density trends suggest that the population has stabilized and can withstand a conservative fall harvest, which is consistent with the management plan to recommend opening a fall turkey season that has been closed when population indices indicate no population growth after five years.
"For these reasons, we are proposing a conservative, three-day, mid-week (Tuesday-Thursday) fall turkey season for three years in WMU 5A, beginning 2010, while continuing to monitor population indices to determine how well the population can withstand the harvest," Roe said.
The fall turkey seasons in WMUs 5C and 5D were shortened to four days in 2009 due to concerns of decreasing population trends, and although we usually monitor changes for three years before making additional recommendations, population indices suggest the populations here have declined substantially since 2001-2005. These WMUs warrant additional protection by closing the fall either-sex turkey season.
In response to opening bear season on Saturday, Nov. 20, the Board eliminated the last Saturday of the fall turkey season in WMUs 2B, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C and 4E. The motion, made by Game Commissioner Ronald Weaner, was designed to ensure that there would not be an overharvest of turkeys in these units.
The final turkey season change is a proposal to change the closing day of the spring season to May 31. This date provides additional recreational hunting without impacting the resource because disturbance of hens would be minimal since most hens would be in their later stages of nest incubation.
PRELIMINARY APPROVAL GIVEN TO EXPAND ELK HUNTING OPPORTUNITIES
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave preliminary approval to a regulatory change to allow any unfilled antlered or antlerless elk license awarded for an annual elk season to be valid for taking either an antlered or antlerless elk anywhere within this Commonwealth outside of the elk management area during any designated extended elk season following the regular elk season.
"From time to time, elk wander outside the boundaries of the area in which the Game Commission is attempting to contain them in," said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. "Because of elk-human conflicts, we do not want to have elk establish populations in areas outside a certain area.
"For this reason, we want to allow elk license holders who have not taken an elk during the regular season to be able to participate in an extended season to target elk that have gone outside the elk management area."
The Board also approved the 2010 elk season to be held on Nov. 1-6, and to an extended elk hunting period for those with unfilled elk licenses to be Nov. 8-13.
In related action, with the agency continuing to work to update and implement the elk management plan, the Board gave preliminary approval to regulatory changes to address a somewhat confusing aspect of elk management policy. Under the proposal, terms such as elk range, elk management area, elk hunt zones will be clarified in the management plan and regulations.
Under the regulatory change, "elk management area" would be defined as that portion of Wildlife Management Unit 2G in McKean, Potter, Tioga, Elk, Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, Clearfield and Centre counties, bounded on the north by Rt. 6, on the east by Rt. 287, on the south by Rt. 220 and I-80 and on the west by Rt. 219.
Also, "elk hunt zones" would be comprised of areas as established by the Director on an annual basis prior to the opening of elk season. The divisional line between two or more elk hunt zones shall be the center of the highway, natural watercourse, other natural boundary or marked boundary.
WILD TURKEY (Male or Female): Wildlife Management Units 1A, 1B and 2A (Shotgun and bow and arrow) - Oct. 30-Nov. 13; WMU 2B (Shotgun and bow and arrow) - Oct. 30- Nov. 19; WMUs 2C, 2D, 2E, 4A, 4B and 4D - Oct. 30-Nov. 13; WMUs 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C and 4E - Oct. 30-Nov. 19; WMU 5A - Nov. 2-4; WMUs 5B, 5C and 5D - CLOSED TO FALL TURKEY HUNTING.
SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): Special season for eligible junior hunters, with required license, and mentored youth - April 23, 2011. Only 1 spring gobbler may be taken during this hunt.
SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): April 30-May 31, 2011. Daily limit 1, season limit 2. (Second spring gobbler may only be taken by persons who possess a valid special wild turkey license.)
BLACK BEAR (Statewide) Bow and Arrow only: Nov. 15-19. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.
BLACK BEAR (Statewide): Nov. 20, 22-23. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.
ELK (Antlered or Antlerless): Nov. 1-6. Only one elk may be taken during the license year. The Board will decide later on an allocation of elk licenses for the 2010 season.
ELK, EXTENDED (Antlered and Antlerless): Nov. 8-13. Only one elk may be taken during the license year. Eligible elk license recipients who haven't harvested an elk by Nov. 6, in designated areas.
Elk, Special Conservation Tag (Antlered or Antlerless): Sept. 1-Nov. 6. One elk tag for one antlered or antlerless elk will be auctioned at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation annual banquet.
DEER, ARCHERY (Antlerless Only) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Sept. 18-Oct. 1 and Nov. 15-27. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Oct. 2-Nov. 13 and Dec. 27-Jan. 29. One antlered deer per hunting license year. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) Statewide: Oct. 2-Nov. 13 and Dec. 27-Jan. 15. One antlered deer per hunting license year. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 2F, 3A, 3B, 3D, 4A, 4C, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D: Nov. 29-Dec. 11. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER (Antlered Only) WMUs 2C, 2D, 2E, 2G, 3C, 4B, 4D and 4E: Nov. 29-Dec. 3. One antlered deer per hunting license year. (Holders of valid DMAP antlerless deer permits may harvest antlerless deer on DMAP properties during this period.)
DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2C, 2D, 2E, 2G, 3C, 4B, 4D and 4E: Dec. 4-11. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, ANTLERLESS (Statewide): Oct. 21-23. Junior and Senior License Holders, Disabled Person Permit (to use a vehicle) Holders, and Pennsylvania residents serving on active duty in 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): Oct. 16-23. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (Statewide): Dec. 27-Jan. 15. One antlered per hunting license year, or one antlerless deer and an additional antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (WMUs 2B, 5C, 5D): Dec. 27-Jan. 29. One antlered per hunting license year, or one antlerless deer and an additional antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, Antlerless (WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D): Dec. 27-Jan. 29. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, ANTLERLESS (Military Bases): Hunting permitted on days established by the U.S. Department of the Army at Letterkenny Army Depot, Franklin County; New Cumberland Army Depot, York County; and Fort Detrick, Raven Rock Site, Adams County. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.