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Release #041-12
April 24, 2012
For Information Contact:
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GAME COMMISSIONERS ADOPTS 2012-13 SEASONS AND BAG LIMITS

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for 2012-13, including a move to allow Mentored Youth Hunting Program participants to take part in fall turkey seasons and establishing antlerless deer license allocations.

Other changes include expanded bear hunting opportunities in urban/suburban Wildlife Management Units (WMUs); the extension of the fall archery deer season by one day to include Monday, Nov. 12; additional small game season dates prior to Christmas; the closing of the snowshoe hare season throughout the state, except in WMUs 2F, 2G and 3A; the addition of WMU 4C for bobcat hunting and trapping; the addition of WMUs 2G and 4D for fisher trapping; various changes to the beaver trapping seasons to reduce bag limits in WMUs 3A and 3D and to increase bag limits in WMU 5D to address nuisance complaints

Licenses for the 2012-13 seasons will go on sale in mid-June.

Following are several articles on meeting highlights.

BOARD RETAINS SPLIT RIFLE DEER SEASONS

The Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to a slate of deer seasons for 2012-13 that retains the split, five-day antlered deer season (Nov. 26-30) and seven-day concurrent season (Dec. 1-8) in 11 Wildlife Management Units. The list includes (WMUs) 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3B, 3C, 4B, 4D and 4E. The package also retains the two-week (Nov. 26-Dec. 8) concurrent, antlered and antlerless deer season in WMUs 1A, 1B, 2B, 3A, 3D, 4A, 4C, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D.

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. 26-Dec. 8 in WMUs 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3B, 3C, 4B, 4D and 4E. Fees for DMAP permits are $10 for residents and $35 for nonresidents.

As part of the statewide archery deer season, the Board extended the closing day by one day to include Monday, Nov. 12, which is Veterans Day in 2012 and represents an additional day that some hunters may have off from work and be able to hunt. The statewide fall archery deer dates are from Sept. 29-Nov. 12.

Additionally, the Board also gave final approval to retain the use of crossbows in the archery deer seasons.

The Board retained the antler restrictions enacted for the 2011-12 seasons, which includes the "three-up" on one side, no counting a brow tine, provision for the western Wildlife Management Units of 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B and 2D, and the three points on one side in all other WMUs.

BOARD SETS ANTLERLESS DEER AND ELK LICENSE ALLOCATIONS

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today set antlerless license allocations for each of the 22 Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) for the 2012-13 seasons. After hunters purchase a general hunting license, they may apply for antlerless deer licenses based on staggered timelines, which will be outlined in the 2012-13 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest presented to each license buyer and published on the agency's website in early June. Licenses will go on sale in mid-June.

The Board also set the elk license allocation at 65 licenses (19 antlered elk and 46 antlerless elk) for the 2012 hunt. The allocation does not include the one Conservation Elk Tag, which was auctioned at the Safari Club International Banquet.

Beginning in mid-June, applications for the public drawing of the elk licenses will be accepted through the agency's online license sales system or when an individual purchases his or her 2012-13 license. The applications cost $10.70, and only one application may be submitted each license year. No mail-in applications are accepted.

Antlerless deer license allocations by WMU (along with the 2011-12 allocation figures) are:

WMU 1A allocation is 42,000 (42,000).
WMU 1B allocation is 33,000 (30,000).
WMU 2A allocation is 59,000 (65,000).
WMU 2B allocation is 67,000 (71,000).
WMU 2C allocation is 50,000 (58,000).
WMU 2D allocation is 62,000 (60,000).
WMU 2E allocation is 21,000 (25,000).
WMU 2F allocation is 27,000 (34,000).
WMU 2G allocation is 33,000 (23,000).
WMU 3A allocation is 26,000 (26,000).
WMU 3B allocation is 40,000 (40,000).
WMU 3C allocation is 35,000 (29,000).
WMU 3D allocation is 39,000 (39,000).
WMU 4A allocation is 29,000 (28,000).
WMU 4B allocation is 26,000 (23,000).
WMU 4C allocation is 35,000 (35,000).
WMU 4D allocation is 36,000 (37,000).
WMU 4E allocation is 28,000 (29,000).
WMU 5A allocation is 19,000 (19,000).
WMU 5B allocation is 51,000 (50,000).
WMU 5C allocation is 111,000 (117,000).
WMU 5D allocation is 19,000 (22,000).

BOARD CLOSES PIKE RUN WILD PHEASANT RECOVERY AREA

The Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to retain four Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas (WPRAs) for the 2012-13 seasons, while closing the Pike Run WPRA in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The agency's Ring-necked Pheasant Management Plan seeks to restore self-sustaining and huntable populations of wild pheasants in suitable habitats, and specifically calls for the creation of WPRAs. The agency is releasing wild-trapped pheasants into these areas, with a goal of achieving a density of 10 hen pheasants per square mile.

"The Pike Run WPRA in southwestern Pennsylvania has concluded and habitat patch analysis shows that Pike Run meets only one of five targets in the pheasant habitat model," said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. "Pheasant densities are at one hen per square mile, which is far short of the 10 hens per square mile objective.

"In light of the area's habitat characteristics and low pheasant densities, and in keeping with the pheasant management plan, Wildlife Management Unit 2A, which includes the previously designated Pike Run WPRA, will be reopened to hunting male pheasants and the stocking of game farm pheasants will be reinstated beginning with the 2012-13 season."

Under the WPRA program, small game hunting is prohibited in the designated areas, as well as the release of any artificially propagated pheasants - including Game Commission-raised pheasants. Also, to limit disturbances to nesting hen pheasants, dog training of any manner and small game hunting is prohibited in WPRAs from the first Sunday in February through July 31 each year.

The Board also took final steps to allow for crow hunting within WPRAs, which would be added to the exceptions that allow for groundhog and waterfowl hunting within WPRAs, and opened WMU 2B to the hunting of male and female pheasants.

"Working with major partners, such as Pheasants Forever, the California University of Pennsylvania and local landowners, we already have a jump-start on creating WPRAs," Roe said. "These groups have invested in creating the necessary pheasant habitat in these areas of the state.

"The Game Commission will continue to raise and release pheasants on public lands with suitable pheasant habitat each fall. And, with the additional revenues made available through Marcellus shale well leases on State Game Lands, we will increase our pheasant production level to 200,000 birds for the upcoming season."

BOARD ADOPTS MODIFIED EXTENDED BEAR SEASONS

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today approved expanded bear hunting opportunities in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D as a means of reducing bear-human conflicts in these urbanized areas of southwestern and southeastern Pennsylvania.

However, before approving the extended seasons, the Board removed WMU 1A which was part of the original list of units in which hunters will be able to harvest bears during all deer seasons from September through early-December, as well as during statewide bear seasons.

As approved, bear hunters will be able to participate in an archery bear season in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D from Sept. 15-28; in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D from Sept. 29 until Nov. 10; a muzzleloader bear season in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D from Oct. 13-20; a firearms bear season in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D, from Nov. 26-Dec. 8. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

"Pennsylvania's black bear population is larger and more widely distributed than ever, and bear-human incidents are becoming commonplace, especially in more developed areas," said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. "Continued expansion of residential development into areas occupied by black bears has resulted in more frequent sightings and encounters between people and bears.

"In WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D, all with relatively high human population densities, there currently are low bear densities. As part of the Game Commission's bear management plan, the agency wants to continue to have a minimum number of bears in these areas, and the agency wants hunters to have an opportunity to play an important role in bear population management in these urban/suburban areas."

The Board also retained the statewide archery bear season, four-day general firearms bear season and extended seasons in all or portions of certain WMUs. Those dates are: a statewide five-day archery bear season (Nov. 12-16); a four-day statewide bear season that will open on Saturday, Nov. 17, and then continue on Monday through Wednesday, Nov. 19-21; and a concurrent bear/deer season in WMUs 3D, 4C, 4D and 4E on Nov. 28-Dec. 1.

Also, a concurrent bear/deer season has been proposed to be held Nov. 26-Dec. 1 in the following:

- in WMUs 3A and 3C;

- in portions of WMU 3B, that are East of Rt. 14 from Troy to Canton, East of Rt. 154 from Canton to Rt. 220 at Laporte and East of Rt. 42 from Laporte to Rt. 118 and that portion of 4E, East of Rt. 42; and

- in portions of WMUs 2G in Lycoming and Clinton counties and WMU 3B in Lycoming County that lie North of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River from the Rt. 405 Bridge, West to Rt. 15 at Williamsport, Rt. 15 to Rt. 220, and North of Rt. 220 to the Mill Hall exit, North of SR 2015 to Rt. 150; East of Rt. 150 to Lusk Run Rd. and South of Lusk Run Rd. to Rt. 120, Rt. 120 to Veterans Street Bridge to SR 1001; East of SR 1001 to Croak Hollow Rd., South of Croak Hollow Rd. to Rt. 664 (at Swissdale), South of Rt. 664 to Little Plum Rd. (the intersection of SR 1003), South of SR 1003 to SR 1006, South of SR 1006 to Sulphur Run Rd., South of Sulphur Run Rd. 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 Branch of the Susquehanna River.
 

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BOARD ADDS FALL TURKEY TO THE MYHP LINE-UP

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to fall turkey seasons for 2012 and spring gobbler dates for 2013, and added fall turkey to the line-up for those participating in the Mentored Youth Hunting Program (MYHP).

The fall season dates for 2012: Oct. 27-Nov. 10 and Nov. 22-24 for Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 4A, 4B and 4D; Oct. 27-Nov. 16 and Nov. 22-24 for WMUs 2B, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C and 4E.

Also, fall season dates of Oct. 30-Nov. 1 were set for WMU 5A; and WMUs 5B, 5C and 5D will remain closed for the fall seasons.

In related action, the Board gave final approval to remove the sporting arm limitations for fall turkey season in WMUs 1A, 1B and 2A, which presently requires the use of shotguns, crossbows or bows. While this move allows fall turkey hunters to choose to use rifles in these three WMUs, the use of rifles in Allegheny County, which is a designated Special Regulations Area county, will continue to be prohibited.

With the expanded use of rifles for fall turkey seasons in WMUs 1A, 1B and 2A, the Board gave preliminary approval to a change in regulations governing the mandatory wearing of fluorescent orange to be consistent with the present orange requirements for WMUs in which rifles may be used for fall turkey hunting. Specifically, fall turkey hunters in these three WMUs now will be required to wear a hat containing a minimum of 100 square inches of orange while moving or relocating and to post an orange band within 15 feet of their stationary hunting location.

For the 2013 spring gobbler season, which will run from April 27-May 31, the Board continued the change in legal hunting hours to reflect the following: from April 27 until May 11, legal shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise until noon timeframe; and from May 13-31, hunters may hunt all day, from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.

The Board set the one-day Spring Gobbler Youth Hunt on April 20, which will run from one-half hour before sunrise until noon. All junior license holders and Mentored Youth Hunting Program permit holders can participate in this special one-day hunt, as well as the other spring season dates.

Additionally, the Board adopted a regulatory change to include fall turkey for MYHP permit holders. Under the change, adult mentors will have to transfer their fall turkey tag to a mentored youth if the youth harvests a fall turkey. A mentored youth may only have one fall turkey license transferred to him or her per license year.

The list of other legal species for the MYHP is: antlered deer; antlerless deer, with the transfer of an antlerless deer license from the adult mentor; coyotes; groundhogs; squirrels and spring gobbler.

CHANGES IN BEAVER SEASON FOLLOW MANAGEMENT PLAN

To comply with the recently adopted Beaver Management Plan, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to two regulatory changes regarding the placement of traps statewide and the number of traps used in certain Wildlife Management Units (WMUs).

The first regulatory change expands the 15-foot trap placement restriction near beaver dams and lodges across the state, which simplifies regulations and helps protect juvenile beavers in the colony. This change impacts beaver trapping in WMUs 3B, 3C, and 3D, where trappers previously did not have to abide by this restriction.

The second regulatory change limits the number of body-gripping traps used to 10 in WMUs with high relative harvest/complaint density and with bag limit of 40 beavers per season. The purpose of this change is to lift the two body-gripping trap limit only in WMUs with high beaver harvests and complaint densities.

"Because of the high efficiency of body-gripping traps, these devices are being limited to two in WMUs with medium to low beaver harvest and nuisance complaint densities," said Matt Lovallo, Game Commission Game Mammal Section supervisor. "Limiting body-gripping traps also creates beaver trapping opportunities for the maximum number of trappers."

HUNTERS REMINDED ABOUT PROCESS FOR SETTING WATERFOWL SEASONS

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to nearly all of the 2012-13 seasons and bag limits; however, there is one group of seasons that won't be finalized until summer: waterfowl and migratory bird seasons.

In July, in concert with federal frameworks, the Game Commission will set seasons and bag limits for September resident Canada goose and webless migratory birds, such as doves, woodcock, snipe and moorhens.

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 2012-13 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.

ADOPTED 2012-13 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 - Oct. 6-12 (6 daily, 12 in possession limit after first day).

SQUIRRELS, Red, Gray, Black and Fox (Combined): Oct. 13-Nov. 24; Dec. 10-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 23 (6 daily, 12 possession).

RUFFED GROUSE: Oct. 13-Nov. 24, Dec. 10-24 and Dec. 26-Jan. 26 (2 daily, 4 possession).

RABBIT (Cottontail) Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license: Oct. 6-13 (4 daily, 8 possession).

RABBIT (Cottontail): Oct. 20-Nov. 24, Dec. 10-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 23 (4 daily, 8 possession).

PHEASANT: Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license - Oct. 6-13 (2 daily, 4 in possession). Male pheasants only in WMUs 2A, 2C, 4C, 4E, 5A and 5B. Male and female pheasants may be taken in all other WMUs. There is no open season for the taking of pheasants in any Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas in any WMU.

PHEASANT: Male only in WMUs 2A, 2C, 4C, 4E, 5A and 5B - Oct. 20-Nov. 24. Male and female may be taken in all other WMUs - Oct. 20-Nov. 24, Dec. 10-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 2 (2 daily, 4 in possession). There is no open season for the taking of pheasants in any Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas in any WMU.

BOBWHITE QUAIL: Oct. 20-Nov. 24 (4 daily, 8 possession). (Closed in WMUs 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D.)

HARES (SNOWSHOE RABBITS) OR VARYING HARES: WMUs 2F, 2G and 3A - Dec. 26-Jan. 1 (1 daily, 2 possession); CLOSED in all other WMUs.

WOODCHUCKS (GROUNDHOGS): No closed season, except: Sundays; during the regular firearms deer seasons. No limit.

PORCUPINES: Sept. 1-March 31, except during overlap with the regular firearms deer season. Daily limit of three, season limit of 10.

CROWS: July 1-April 7, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. No limit.

STARLINGS AND ENGLISH SPARROWS: No closed season, except during the antlered and antlerless deer season. No limit.

WILD TURKEY (Male or Female): WMU 2B (Shotgun and bow and arrow) - Oct. 27-Nov. 16 and Nov. 22-24; WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 4A, 4B and 4D - Oct. 27-Nov. 10 and Nov. 22-24; WMUs 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C and 4E - Oct. 27-Nov. 16 and Nov. 22-24; WMU 5A - Oct. 30-Nov. 1; 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 20, 2013. Only 1 spring gobbler may be taken during this hunt.

SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): April 27-May 31, 2013. Daily limit 1, season limit 2. (Second spring gobbler may be only taken by persons who possess a valid special wild turkey license.) From April 27-May 11, legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon; from May 13-31, legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.

BLACK BEAR (Statewide) Archery: Nov. 12-16. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (Statewide): Nov. 17, and Nov. 19-21. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 3D, 4C, 4D and 4E): Nov. 28-Dec. 1. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (Designated Areas): Nov. 26-Dec. 1. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

- WMUs 3A and 3C;

- Portions of WMU 3B, East of Rt. 14 from Troy to Canton, East of Rt. 154 from Canton to Rt. 220 at Laporte and East of Rt. 42 from Laporte to Rt. 118 and that portion of 4E, East of Rt. 42; and

- Portions of WMUs 2G in Lycoming and Clinton counties and 3B in Lycoming County that lie North of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River from the Rt. 405 Bridge, West to Rt. 15 at Williamsport, Rt. 15 to Rt. 220, and North of Rt. 220 to the Mill Hall exit, North of SR 2015 to Rt. 150; East of Rt. 150 to Lusk Run Rd. and South of Lusk Run Rd. to Rt. 120, Rt. 120 to Veterans Street Bridge to SR 1001; East of SR 1001 to Croak Hollow Rd., South of Croak Hollow Rd. to Rt. 664 (at Swissdale), South of Rt. 664 to Little Plum Rd. (the intersection of SR 1003), South of SR 1003 to SR 1006, South of SR 1006 to Sulphur Run Rd., South of Sulphur Run Rd. 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 Branch of the Susquehanna River.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D) archery: Sept. 15-Sept. 28. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D) archery: Sept. 29-Nov. 10. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D) muzzleloader: Oct. 13-20. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D): Nov. 26-Dec. 8. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.

ELK (Antlered or Antlerless): Nov. 5-10. Only one elk may be taken during the license year.

ELK, EXTENDED (Antlered and Antlerless): Nov. 12-17. 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. 10. One elk tag for one antlered or antlerless elk, which was auctioned at the Safari Club International Banquet.

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlerless Only) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Sept. 15-28, and Nov. 12-24. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Jan. 14-26. One antlered deer per hunting license year. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) Statewide: Sept. 29-Nov. 12 and Dec. 26-Jan. 12. One antlered deer per hunting license year. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 1A, 1B, 2B, 3A, 3D, 4A, 4C, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D: Nov. 26-Dec. 8. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER (Antlered Only) WMUs 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3B, 3C, 4B, 4D and 4E: Nov. 26-30. 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 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3B, 3C, 4B, 4D and 4E: Dec. 1-8. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERLESS (Statewide): Oct. 18-20. 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. 13-20. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (Statewide): Dec. 26-Jan. 12. One antlered deer 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. 26-Jan. 26. One antlered deer 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. 26-Jan. 26. 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.

ADOPTED 2012-13 FURBEARER HUNTING SEASONS

COYOTES: No closed season. Unlimited. Outside of any big game season (deer, bear, elk and turkey), coyotes may be taken with a hunting license or a furtaker license, and without wearing orange. During any big game season, coyotes may be taken while lawfully hunting big game or with a furtakers license.

RACCOON and FOXES: Oct. 20-Feb. 16, unlimited.

OPOSSUM, SKUNKS and WEASELS: No closed season, except Sundays. No limits.

BOBCAT (WMUs 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4C, 4D and 4E): Jan. 15-Feb. 5. One bobcat per license year, but all licensed furtakers may obtain one permit.

ADOPTED 2012-13 TRAPPING SEASONS

MINK and MUSKRAT: Nov. 17-Jan. 6. Unlimited.

COYOTE, FOXES, OPOSSUM, RACCOON, SKUNKS and WEASELS: Oct. 21-Feb. 17. No limit.

COYOTE and FOXES (Statewide) Cable Restraints: Dec. 26-Feb. 17. No limit. Participants must pass cable restraint certification course.

BEAVER (Statewide): Dec. 26-March 31 (Limits vary depending on WMU).

BOBCAT (WMUs 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4C, 4D and 4E): Dec. 15-Jan. 6. One bobcat per license year, and all licensed furtakers may obtain one permit.

FISHER (WMUs 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G and 4D): Dec. 15-20. One fisher per license year, and all licensed furtakers may obtain one permit.
 

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Release #042-12
April 24, 2012
For Information Contact:
Jerry Feaser
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The following news release contains three articles related to other actions taken by the Board today:

1) BOARD MAKES EXPANDED USE OF CROSSBOWS PERMANENT

2) BOARD ALLOWS USE OF BAIT ON 'RED TAG' FARMS IN SOUTHEAST

3) BOARD TAKES OTHER ACTIONS

BOARD MAKES EXPANDED USE OF CROSSBOWS PERMANENT

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to a regulatory change that makes permanent the lawful use of crossbows in archery deer and bear seasons.

The specific action taken by the Board was removing the sunset date provision inserted into the regulatory changes that permitted crossbows in 2009. The sunset provision required the Board and agency staff to review the impact of expanded use of crossbows on the deer and bear resource before June 30, 2012.

Based on staff input to the Board, while there were increases in the archery harvests of deer and bear that could be attributed to the inclusion of the crossbow, the agency staff did not view the increase as unsustainable and the increased recreational opportunity was an added benefit.

BOARD EXPANDS USE OF BAIT ON 'RED TAG' FARMS IN SOUTHEAST

To further the Game Commission's efforts to find effective tools to manage the deer populations on agricultural lands in the southeast corner of the state, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to a regulatory change to allow for the narrow legalization of the use of bait during all deer hunting seasons in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties on approved properties enrolled in the agency's Agricultural Damage Depredation Program, commonly referred to as the "Red Tag" program.

"This new regulation allows for the focused use of bait on those farms most in need of deer control assistance through their enrollment in the 'Red Tag' program," said Carl G. Roe, agency executive director. "Presently, farmers applying to enroll in the Red Tag program need to include in their application justification for the need to use bait. What this regulatory change does is allow hunters on these properties to use bait during any legal deer season in addition to the 'Red Tag' seasons for antlerless deer, which are from Feb. 1 to May 15, and July 1 to Sept. 28."

Farmers enrolled in the "Red Tag" program are provided with a specific number of antlerless deer permits, which are red in color. Farmers then give these permits to hunters to harvest antlerless deer from Feb. 1 to Sept. 28 each calendar year, excluding Sundays, during the hours of dawn to dusk only. The permits are not valid from May 16 to June 30, and can't be used to take bucks.

The listings of farms enrolled in the "Red Tag" program are maintained by the respective Region Offices as those landowners enrolled in the program change from year to year.

BOARD TAKES OTHER ACTIONS

In other action today, the Board of Game Commissioners:

- Gave final approval to a technical change to make Game Commission regulations (Title 58) consistent with recent changes in the Vehicle Code (Title 75) in relation to all-terrain vehicles, which are prohibited for use on State Game Lands except for disabled hunters with a permit to use a vehicle as a blind on certain roads on select State Game Lands;

- Gave final approval to update the standard hunting hours table for the 2012-13 seasons, a routine change that must be adopted each year based on sunrise/sunset tables obtained from the U.S. Naval Observatory;

- Gave preliminary approval to a regulatory change to allow the use of draw-lock devices. This change also eliminates the minimum draw weight of 35 pounds for bows, as it was deemed no longer necessary and redundant to other sections of the regulations;

- Gave preliminary approval to a regulatory change to define decoy as "any artificial representation or facsimile of a bird or animal used to attract other birds and animals. This term shall not be construed to include living birds or animals." The use of electronic or battery operated decoys remains illegal;

- Gave preliminary approval to a regulatory change to clarify that the prohibition on the use of "meat and animal products" in relation to furbearer trapping includes the use of "artificial representations or facsimiles thereof." This is necessary to avoid attracting birds of prey to sets;

- Gave preliminary approval to a regulatory change requiring license holders to notify the agency within 30 days of any change of residency status, which will cost $6. However, the regulatory change will preclude the license holder from having to acquire a new license for the license year in which the change in residency has taken place. For example, if an individual purchases a resident license, but then moves out of state, they will have to notify the agency of the change in residency status and pay a $6 fee, and they may continue to hunt for that license year still using their resident license. The following year, however, they will need to purchase a nonresident license. Presently, if a resident license holder becomes a nonresident, their license immediately becomes invalid and they have to purchase a nonresident license for that year;
 
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