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Everything Pennsylvania Bear Hunting 2010

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HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania bear hunters will be able to enjoy a full-week of archery bear season (Nov. 15-19), followed by a Saturday opener of the three-day firearms bear season, which will run Nov. 20, and the following Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 22 and 23, according to Carl G. Roe, Pennsylvania Game Commission executive director.

“Pennsylvania’s bear population covers more than three-quarters of the state, and includes a number of world-class trophy bears,” Roe said. “This has earned Pennsylvania recognition as one of the top states for bear hunters. Every year, we have a number of bears exceeding 500 pounds included in the harvest.”

Since 1992, six bears with an estimated live weight of 800 pounds or more have been taken in Pennsylvania. The possibility of another 800-pounder being taken by a hunter is always in play when Pennsylvania’s bear season opens.

In 2009, the largest bear taken was a 668-pound (estimated live weight) male taken in Jefferson Township, Dauphin County, by Edward Bechtel, of Lykens, on Dec. 3.  In all, 13 bears taken by hunters weighed 600 pounds or more, further illustrating Pennsylvania’s status as a major bear hunting destination.

The 2009 bear harvest of 3,512 is second only to the 2005 bear harvest, in which hunters took a record 4,164 bears.  Other recent harvests were: 3,075 in 2000; 3,063 in 2001; 2,686 in 2002; 3,000 in 2003; 2,972 in 2004; 3,122 in 2006; 2,360 in 2007; and 3,458 in 2008. Over the past ten years, hunters have taken more black bears than in any other decade since the Game Commission began keeping bear harvest records in 1915.

“Conditions this year are favorable for another record harvest,” said Mark Ternent, Game Commission black bear biologist. “Bear populations are up in many parts of the state relative to past years; hunter participation is expected to be good, based on the number of bear licenses being purchased; and acorns are plentiful, which tends to keep bears out of dens and active through the fall hunting season. The only unknown is if we will have favorable weather for hunters on opening day.

“Weather can have a huge impact on the season’s outcome, but so can fall food conditions. However, our fall food surveys indicate that acorn production is exceptional over large parts of Pennsylvania this year. But, even with good food conditions, pre-season scouting will still be important.”

Bears were taken in 54 counties last year, which was the same as 2008, but an increase from 2007, when bears were taken in 49 counties. The state’s top five counties — all from the Northcentral Region – along with the 2008’s harvest results in parentheses, were: Clinton, 295 (139); Lycoming, 280 (252); Tioga, 217 (236); Cameron, 214 (75); and Potter, 181 (294).

The total bear harvest by WMU for 2009, including 2008’s harvest results in parentheses, were: WMU 1A, 8 (21); WMU 1B, 36 (67); WMU 2C, 247 (227); WMU 2D, 128 (166); WMU 2E, 77 (117); WMU 2F, 282 (246); WMU 2G, 1,027 (729); WMU 3A, 255 (313); WMU 3B, 292 (392); WMU 3C, 73 (177); WMU 3D, 276 (199); WMU 4A, 125 (145); WMU 4B, 43 (43); WMU 4C, 141 (105); WMU 4D, 442 (456); WMU 4E, 58 (53); WMU 5B, 1 (0); and WMU 5C, 1 (1).

Hunters will need to have a general hunting license and a bear license.  Bear licenses are not part of the junior or senior combination licenses, and must be purchased separately.

All hunters who harvest a bear must immediately tag it with their field harvest tag that is part of the bear license, and, if during the statewide three-day season, transport the carcass – minus entrails – to one of the Game Commission bear check stations within 24 hours, and present it along with their general hunting license and bear license. During the archery season, hunters should contact a PGC region office within 24 hours to have their bear checked.


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LOCAL BLACK BEAR INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON-LINE

Interested in learning more about what’s going on with black bears in your county? Please consider visiting the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s “Field Officer Game Forecasts” found on the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us). Developed to share field officer perspectives and observations on game and furbearer trends in their respective districts and to help hunters and trappers get closer to the action afield, the field reports have been warmly received by many hunters and trappers since they were added to the website.

“Our field officers spend a tremendous amount of time afield, often in areas hunters and trappers are eager to learn more about,” said Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe. “Their observations have value to hunters and trappers so we decided to make them accessible to anyone who enjoys hunting and trapping in Pennsylvania – resident or nonresident.”

BEAR CHECK STATION HOURS OF OPERATION

Hunters who harvest a bear during the three-day statewide season (Nov. 20, 22-23) must take it to one of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s check stations within 24 hours. Check stations will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Nov. 20; from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 22 and 23.  In addition, all check stations will be open on Sunday, Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

During the five-day archery bear season (Nov. 15-19) or after 8 p.m. on Nov. 23, hunters with bears to be checked should contact any of the Game Commission region office that serves the county in which the harvest took place for assistance. Office telephone numbers are listed on page 5 of the 2010-11 Hunting and Trapping Digest, issued with hunting licenses.

Check station information is listed on page 38 of the 2010-11 Digest. The only changes in bear check station information since the printing of the digest is that the Mifflin County and Southcentral Region Office bear check stations have been moved.

The new Mifflin County check station will be opened at the Brown Township Municipal Building, which is about one mile from the previous site at the Mifflin County Youth Park. The Brown Township building is about 80 yards off Route 655, one mile west of the Route 322/655 interchange.

The Southcentral Region Office check station has moved to the new Pennsylvania Army National Guard Readiness Center (aka “Armory”) on Route 26, 0.3 miles south of the Routes 22/26 interchange that is one mile west of Huntingdon, Huntingdon County.

Also, the Game Commission has made several operational changes at check stations, including the use of handheld scanners, to expedite the processing of bears and to improve hunter satisfaction during this important process.

HUNTERS CAN CHECK ON TRAFFIC AND ROAD CONDITIONS IN ADVANCE

Hunters can check traffic and road conditions on more than 2,900 miles of roadways by simply calling 511 or logging onto the Department of Transportation’s website (www.511pa.com) before heading out for bear season.

“’511PA’ is Pennsylvania’s official travel information service,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “This service from PennDOT provides travelers with reliable, current traffic and weather information. This site enables hunters to check on the status of road conditions before heading out to their bear hunting destination.”

GAME COMMISSION OFFERS BEAR HUNTING TIPS

Pennsylvania Game Commission officials point out that one of the biggest mistakes bear hunters make is failing to locate areas with good fall food supplies – acorns, beechnuts, apples, corn – before the hunting season and overlooking areas of dense cover where bears like to hide.

“Signs to look for while scouting include droppings; bedding areas, which are scratched out depressions, usually at the base of a tree or log; and active trails with tracks,” said Mark Ternent, Game Commission black bear biologist. “In beech stands, look for fresh claw marks on tree trunks indicating that bears are feeding in the area, and in oak stands look for fresh droppings that are almost completely composed of acorns bits. Either of these signs suggests bears are feeding nearby and, if food conditions are right, they will likely still be there come hunting season. A good time to scout is early November, so you can assess local mast conditions.”

Other bear hunting tips include:

● Look for bears in the thickest cover you can find, such as: swamps and bogs, mountain laurel/rhododendron thickets, north-facing slopes, regenerating timber-harvest areas, wind-blown areas with lots of downed trees, and remote sections of river bottoms. Bigger bears are notorious for holding in thick cover, even when hunters pass nearby.

● Organized drives are effective. Hunters working together often increase their odds of taking bears, especially those bears holding out in thick cover. Develop plans to safely drive likely bear hideouts and follow them to the letter. A minor slip-up by a driver, flanker or stander is all a bear needs to elude even the best-planned drive. Regulations limit the size of organized drives to 25 people or less.

● Hunting on-stand early and late in the day gives hunters a great chance to catch bears traveling to and from feeding and bedding areas. Hunt areas that provide cover to traveling bears and ensure there is either a good supply of mast or cornfields or cover near where you plan to hunt.

● Use the wind to your advantage. If a bear gets a whiff of you, you’re busted as a hunter. Bears have an outstanding sense of smell. They often let their noses guide the way as they travel. Always place yourself downwind of expected travel lanes when hunting on-stand or driving. Bears are cagey enough without giving them more advantages.

●Stay focused and assume nothing. Black bears blend in well in forest settings at dawn and as dusk approaches. Spend too much time looking one way and you can miss a bear. Even though bears are quite heavy, they often are surprisingly quiet moving through the forest. You may see a bear before you hear it coming. Staying alert and remaining vigilant are critical.

BEAR HUNTING BULLETS

● A bear license is required to participate in any bear season.

● Only one bear may be harvested per license year from all seasons combined.

● A hunter who harvests a bear must complete all information on his or her bear harvest tag and attach it to the ear of the animal immediately after harvest and before the carcass is moved. In addition, within 24 hours, hunters who kill a bear must take it, along with their general hunting and bear licenses, to a Game Commission check station for examination. Bear check stations are maintained at the agency’s six regional offices and at other locations listed on page 38 in the 2010-11 Hunting and Trapping Digest.

● Once a hunter has used his or her bear harvest tag, it is unlawful to possess it in the field. Also, hunters are reminded to remove old licenses from their holder before placing a new one in it. If you keep an old license in the holder, you may accidentally use it to tag big game and unintentionally violate the law.

● It is unlawful to kill a bear in a den; use a radio to locate a bear that has a radio transmitter attached to it; hunt in areas where artificial or natural bait, hay, grain, fruit, nuts, salt, chemicals, minerals, including residue or other foods are used, or have been used, as an enticement to lure wildlife within the past 30 days; use scents or lures; pursue bears with dogs; or to hunt bears in a party of more than 25 persons.

● During the firearms bear season, hunters are required to wear at all times 250 square inches of fluorescent orange on their head, chest and back combined, visible 360 degrees. In WMUs where the archery bear season and fall wild turkey season run concurrently, bowhunters, when moving, are required to wear a hat containing 100 square inches of solid fluorescent orange. The hat may be removed when the hunter is stationary or on stand.

● Bears may be hunted with: manually-operated center-fire rifles, handguns and shotguns with an all-lead bullet or ball, or a bullet designed to expand on impact – buckshot is illegal; muzzle-loading long guns 44-caliber or larger; long, recurve or compound bows or crossbows with broadheads of cutting-edge design. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds. Also, crossbows are legal for the archery bear season.

● It is unlawful to intentionally lay or place food, fruit, hay, grain, chemicals, salt or other minerals that may cause bears to congregate or habituate in an area.

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PA 2010-2011 Waterfowl Hunting Seasons and Bag Limits

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2010-11 MIGRATORY GAME BIRD SEASONS AND BAG LIMITS SELECTED;
HUNTERS ENCOURAGED TO REPORT BANDED BIRDS;
FEDERAL REGULATIONS POSTED ON GAME COMMISSION WEBSITE;
WATERFOWL HUNTERS CAUTIONED ABOUT EATING MERGANSERS;
GOOSE BLIND DEADLINES FOR CONTROLLED HUNTING AREAS;
WEAR A LIFE JACKET IF HUNTING FROM A BOAT;
2010-11 WATERFOWL SEASONS AND BAG LIMITS

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today announced that the agency has made its selections for the 2010-11 migratory game bird hunting seasons and bag limits.

Annual waterfowl seasons are selected by states from a framework established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Game Commission selections were made after reviewing last year’s season results, waterfowl survey data, and input gathered from waterfowl hunters and the public.  Final approval from the USFWS is expected by late September.

Roe also noted that the Game Commission again has posted the waterfowl season brochure and maps on its website (www.pgc.state.pa.us).  The agency currently is mass-producing brochures to be distributed to U.S. Post Offices within the next two weeks.

“Many hunters already have purchased their hunting licenses and federal waterfowl stamps in anticipation of the season,” Roe said.  “For their convenience, in addition to being able to pick up the waterfowl brochure and maps at post offices and license issuing agents, hunters can obtain this important information from the Game Commission’s website.”

Kevin Jacobs, Game Commission waterfowl biologist, said the federal frameworks are again allowing for a 60-day duck season, with a six bird daily limit.  The same species restrictions and bag limits that were in place for the 2009-10 season will continue, with the exception of a two-bird daily limit for pintail throughout the 60-day season.

“In reviewing public input, we have heard that hunters would prefer that we not close the duck season in the Northwest Duck Zone during the two-week firearms deer season (Nov. 29-Dec. 11),” Jacobs said. “We have incorporated this request into the season dates for the 2010 duck seasons, which will run from Oct. 9-23, and from Nov. 6-Dec. 30.”

Jacobs also noted that hunters will be able to harvest 25 snow geese daily in both the regular snow goose season (Nov. 6-Feb. 19) and Snow Goose Conservation Hunts, which was extended by one additional week (Feb. 21-April 16). To participate, hunters will need to obtain a free conservation hunt permit and file a mandatory report of harvest/participation in addition to their other required licenses.  Specifics on how to obtain a permit for the Snow Goose Conservation Hunt will be announced later this hunting season.

Once again, young Pennsylvania hunters will be provided with a special day of waterfowl hunting on Saturday, Sept. 18.  The Youth Waterfowl Day will be open to those 12- to 15-years-old who hold a junior hunting license. To participate, a youngster must be accompanied by an adult, who may assist the youth in calling, duck identification and other aspects of the hunt.  During this special day-long hunt, youth can harvest Canada geese, ducks, mergansers, coots and moorhens.  The daily bag limit for youth participating in the Youth Waterfowl Day for is the same as the regular season daily limit in the area being hunted. The only exception is that when September Canada goose daily bag limits exceed the regular season limit for the area being hunted, youth can take the September daily limit.

Also, this agency again will hold a special youth-only waterfowl hunting day at the controlled hunting blinds at both Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area and Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area. The youth day for Middle Creek is Nov. 20, for Pymatuning, Nov. 27. A special drawing of applications submitted by junior license holders will be held immediately before the regular drawing for goose blinds.  Interested youth should use the same application on page 28 of the 2010-11 Digest.  Only one application will be accepted per junior hunter.

In addition to a regular Pennsylvania hunting license, persons 16 and older must have a Federal Migratory Bird and Conservation Stamp, commonly referred to as a “Duck Stamp,” signed in ink across its face. All waterfowl hunters, regardless of age, must have a Pennsylvania Migratory Game Bird License to hunt waterfowl and other migratory birds, including doves, woodcock, coots, moorhens, rails and snipe. All migratory game bird hunters in the United States are required to complete a Harvest Information Program survey when they purchase a state migratory game bird license. The survey information is then forwarded to the USFWS.

“By answering the questions on the survey card, hunters will improve survey efficiency and the quality of information used to track the harvest of migratory birds for management purposes,” Jacobs said.

Hunters must use non-toxic shot while hunting ducks, geese or coots in Pennsylvania. The use of decoys powered or operated by batteries or any other source of electricity is unlawful in Pennsylvania. Also, the use of any sort of artificial substance or product as bait or an attractant is prohibited.

Jacobs 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, so shooting hours for these species will continue to close at sunset.  The only exceptions are during the early September Canada goose season (Sept. 1-25) and the Snow Goose Conservation Season (Feb. 21-April 16), in which the USFWS has permitted states to extend the hunting hours to one-half hour after sunset. Also, during the first part of the dove season (Sept. 1-28), hunting hours are from noon through sunset.

For complete early Canada goose season information, as well as webless migratory game bird seasons, please see News Release #78-10, which the agency issued on July 29.

FEDERAL REGULATIONS POSTED ON GAME COMMISSION WEBSITE

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has posted a synopsis of federal regulations that govern migratory game bird and waterfowl seasons to assist hunters in finding answers to questions.

To review the information, go to the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), put your cursor on “Hunt/Trap” in the menu bar at the top of the page, click on “Hunting,” scroll down and click on “Waterfowl Hunting and Conservation,” and then scroll down and click on “Federal Waterfowl Hunting Regulations Synopsis” in the “Waterfowl Hunting Regulations” section.

Additional information can be found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website (www.fws.gov/hunting/whatres.html), where a complete version of the federal regulations (50 CFR Part 20) are posted. When state law differs from the federal law, hunters must comply with the more restrictive law.

HUNTERS ENCOURAGED TO REPORT BANDED BIRDS

Waterfowl hunters are encouraged to report banded ducks, geese and doves they harvest online atwww.reportband.gov, or by using the toll-free number (1-800-327-BAND). Hunters will be requested to provide information on where, when and what species of migratory birds were taken, in addition to the band number. This information is crucial to the successful management of migratory birds.

Kevin Jacobs, Game Commission waterfowl biologist, also stressed that reporting leg-bands helps the Game Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service learn more about waterfowl movements, and survival and harvest rates that are critical to population management and setting of hunting regulations. Each year, nearly 380,000 ducks and geese and 30,000 mourning doves are banded across the United States and Canada.

“Information provided by hunters is essential in our efforts to properly manage our migratory game bird populations and harvest opportunities,” Jacobs said. “By reporting the recovery of a leg-band, hunters not only assist in managing the resource, but also have an opportunity to learn interesting facts about the bird they harvested.”

Jacobs noted that the online and toll-free reporting systems have produced big dividends. Under the old reporting system utilized until the late 1990s, about one-third of recovered banded birds were reported by hunters. Now, with the option of using online or toll-free methods, band reporting rates are estimated to have stabilized around 70 percent. This allows more information to be obtained from the program and can reduce costs associated with banding ducks, geese and doves.

WATERFOWL HUNTERS CAUTIONED ABOUT EATING MERGANSERS

To minimize potential health impacts, it’s suggested that hunters don’t eat merganser ducks, especially those harvested in the Lake Erie and northwestern Pennsylvania hunting zones.

Studies conducted over the past two decades on Pennsylvania and New York mergansers, especially common and red-breasted mergansers in the Lake Erie region, have concluded they may have varying levels of contaminants, including PCBs.

Mergansers consume fish and other aquatic organisms that may cause a concentration of contaminants in body tissue. Health officials have issued similar consumption advisories for certain species of fish found in these same waters.

For this reason, hunters are cautioned to not consume any mergansers. Other waterfowl should be skinned and the fat removed before cooking. Stuffing should be discarded after cooking and should not be consumed.

GOOSE BLIND DEADLINES FOR CONTROLLED HUNTING AREAS

Application deadlines are fast approaching for waterfowl hunters interested in being selected for the limited number of goose blinds at the controlled hunting areas at the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Pymatuning or Middle Creek wildlife management areas during the regular Canada goose season. A goose blind application must be submitted on the form that is found on page 28 of the 2010-11 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations.

Hunters may apply to only one area per year and may submit only one application, which must include the individual’s 2010-11 nine-digit Customer Identification (CID) Number.

The Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area will accept applications through the mail until Sept. 7, at: PGC Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, P.O. Box 110, Kleinfeltersville, PA 17039-0110. A public drawing will be held at 10 a.m., Sept. 8.

Applications for the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area will be accepted through the mail until Sept. 11, at: PGC Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area, 9552 Hartstown Rd., Hartstown, PA 16131. A public drawing will be held at 10 a.m., Sept. 18.

Blinds at Middle Creek and Pymatuning will not be operational during the September season. Shooting days at Middle Creek during the regular season are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  Shooting days at Pymatuning are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

A separate drawing is held for blinds that accommodate hunters with disabilities. Applicants must submit a current copy of their Disabled Person Permit (to hunt from a vehicle) issued by the Game Commission.

Also, this agency again will hold a special youth-only waterfowl hunting day at the controlled hunting blinds at both Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area and Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area. The youth day for Middle Creek will be Nov. 20, and for Pymatuning it will be Nov. 27. A special drawing of applications submitted by junior license holders will be held immediately before the regular drawing for goose blinds.  Interested youth should use the same application on page 28 of the 2010-11 Digest.  Only one application will be accepted per junior hunter.

Successful applicants will be mailed a hunting reservation entitling them to be accompanied by up to three guests. On hunting days, hunters also may apply, in person, for a chance at any blinds unclaimed by a reservation holder.

Persons who have previously hunted a controlled goose hunting area at the Game Commission’s Pymatuning or Middle Creek wildlife management areas may apply for unclaimed blinds on the morning of the designated shooting day, but only when there exists an absence of applications for the unclaimed blinds from persons who have not previously hunted a controlled goose hunting area.

BY LAND OR BY SEA, WATERFOWLERS URGED TO KEEP SAFETY IN MIND

Waterfowl hunters – whether hunting from shore or from a boat – are urged to keep safety first and foremost in mind, said Keith Snyder, Pennsylvania Game Commission Hunter-Trapper Education Division chief.

“Basic firearm and hunting safety are critical,” Snyder said. “Treat every firearm as if it is loaded and make sure that the muzzle is always pointed in a safe direction.  Never place your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire. Be aware of any companions’ locations at all times and maintain a safe zone-of-fire.  Waterfowl action can be exciting, but never swing your barrel toward another hunter.

“Make sure firearms are unloaded prior to reaching your hunting location and immediately after you are done hunting. Also, if you are using a boat, remember that state law requires that all firearms be unloaded in any boat propelled by motor or sail, and should be cased with actions open.”

Snyder also noted that, in Pennsylvania, all those using a boat are required to have a properly-fitted personal flotation device (PFD) readily accessible.  For more information on boating laws and regulations, as well as safety tips, please visit the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s website (www.fish.state.pa.us).  Better yet, take an approved boater’s safety course.

Additionally, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, every year several hunters die from drowning and hypothermia.

“When you have a crew of hunters, with decoys and equipment, and dogs, a boat can easily become unbalanced, especially if the wind comes up,” Snyder said, “Not only is it unsafe to overload a boat, exceeding the limits posted on the capacity plate is also illegal.

“Sudden immersion into cold water is one of the leading causes of boating fatalities in the Commonwealth. It places a severe strain on bodily systems that can lead to hypothermia or, worse, cardiac arrest. Survivors of cold-water accidents have reported their breath driven from them on contact with the water.”

Anyone falling into cold water should immediately ensure that their and any companions’ PFDs are intact, and work to find a way to exit the water or right the watercraft.  Cover your mouth and nose – if possible – to prevent inhaling water.

If you can’t get out of the water immediately and the shore is too far, raise your knees and wrap your arms across your chest to help reduce heat loss through the body’s core. Don’t leave your watercraft and attempt to swim to shore.  It’s probably further than you think.  Experts recommend you stay with your boat until help arrives.  If possible, try to climb back into your boat or on top of it.

“Most important,” Snyder suggests, “get into the routine of making the life jacket part of your hunting equipment, and wear it.”

2010-11 WATERFOWL SEASONS AND BAG LIMITS

DUCKS:

Lake Erie Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 25-Jan. 1.

North Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 9-23 and Nov. 11-Jan. 4.

Northwest Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 9-23 and Nov. 6-Dec. 30.

South Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 9-16 and Nov. 17-Jan. 17.

Total Duck Bag Limits: 6 daily, 12 in possession of any species, except for the following restrictions: daily limit may not include more than 4 mallards including 2 hen mallards, 1 black duck, 2 pintails, 1 mottled duck, 1 fulvous tree duck, 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 1 canvasback,  4 scoters and 2 scaup.  Possession limit may not include more than 8 mallards including 4 hens, 2 black ducks, 4 pintails, 2 mottled ducks, 2 fulvous tree ducks, 6 wood ducks, 4 redheads, 2 canvasbacks, 8 scoters and 4 scaup.

Mergansers: 5 daily, 10 in possession (not more than 2 hooded mergansers daily, 4 hooded in possession).

Coots: 15 daily, 30 in possession.

REGULAR CANADA GOOSE SEASON & BAG LIMITS (including WHITE-FRONTED GEESE): All of Pennsylvania will have a regular Canada goose season, however, season lengths and bag limits will vary by area as follows:

Resident Canada Goose Zone (RP)

All of Pennsylvania except for the Southern James Bay Population and the Atlantic Population zone. The season is Oct. 23-30, Nov. 8-27, Dec.18-Feb. 19, with a five goose daily bag limit.

Southern James Bay Population Zone (SJBP)

The area north of I-80 and west of I-79 including in the city of Erie west of Bay Front Parkway to and including the Lake Erie Duck zone (Lake Erie, Presque Isle and the area within 150 yards of Lake Erie Shoreline). The season is Oct. 23-Nov. 27, Dec. 13-Jan. 26, with a three goose daily limit.

Atlantic Population Zone (AP)

The area east of route SR 97 from Maryland State Line to the intersection of SR 194, east of SR 194 to intersection of US Route 30, south of US Route 30 to SR 441, east of SR 441 to SR 743, east of SR 743 to intersection of I-81, east of I-81 to intersection of I-80, south of I-80 to New Jersey state line. The season is Nov. 17-27 and Dec. 21-Jan. 29, with a three goose daily limit.

Exception: The controlled hunting areas at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lebanon-Lancaster counties, as well as all of State Game Land 46 (Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area), has a daily bag limit of one, and possession limit of two during the regular Canada goose season.

ATLANTIC BRANT (All Zones)Oct. 9-Dec. 6, 2 daily, 4 in possession.

SNOW GEESE (All Zones):

Regular Season: Nov. 6-Feb. 19, 25 daily, no possession limit.

Conservation Season: Feb. 21-April 16, 25 daily, no possession limit.  To participate,

hunters also will need to obtain free conservation hunt permit and file a mandatory report

of harvest/participation.  Specifics will be announced later this year.

HARLEQUIN DUCKS, and TUNDRA and TRUMPETER SWANS: No open season.


Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area
: shooting days are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, one-half hour before sunrise to 12:30 p.m. Ducks: Oct. 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23; Nov. 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27 and 29; and Dec. 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27 and 29. Geese: Oct. 23, 25, 27, 29 and 30; Nov. 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26 and 27; Dec. 13, 15, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29 and 31; and Jan. 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 19, 21, 22, 24 and 26.

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area: shooting days are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 1:30 p.m. Geese and ducks: Nov. 18, 20 (youth-only day), 23, 25 and 27; and Dec. 21, 23, 28, and 30; Jan. 4, 6, 8, 11, 13 and 15. Geese only: Jan. 18, 20, 22, 25, 27 and 29.

YOUTH WATERFOWL HUNTING DAY (Statewide): Saturday, Sept. 18. Open to licensed junior hunters ages 12-15, when properly accompanied, for ducks, mergansers, moorhens and coots, and Canada goose as permitted. Same daily bag limits as regular season.

YOUTH-ONLY DAY AT CONTROLLED HUNTING AREAS: Middle Creek is Nov. 20, and Pymatuning is Nov. 27.

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100 Days of Summer: Day 37- Trout Fishing Western PA

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Harrisburg, PA – Anglers fishing the Kinzua and Youghiogheny tailraces should find plenty of trout to keep them busy this fall.  The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) recently released yearling trout (6-9 inches) in the tailraces from their Pleasant Gap State Fish Hatchery. These fish are intermediate in size compared to a typical fingerling, which are stocked at less than the statewide minimum legal size of 7 inches, and to a typical adult trout, which are stocked at approximately 10-11 inches.

“These fish were surplus to the production goals of the Pleasant Gap facility and have been stocked in these tailraces to grow and become available to the anglers fishing these waters,” said Brian Wisner, chief of the PFBC’s Division of Fish Production. “The stockings offer a great opportunity for families to get outside this fall and enjoy the fishing at two very popular waters.”

In Warren County, the PFBC stocked rainbow trout in section 7 of the Allegheny River from the Kinzua Dam downstream to the confluence of Conewango Creek.

In Fayette County, the PFBC stocked brown and rainbow trout in sections 2 and 3 of the Youghiogheny River from the mouth of Casselman River downstream to the mouth of Ramcat Run and from the mouth of Ramcat Run downstream to State Route 0381.

To locate these stream sections and other great fishing destinations, click on the “County Guides” section of the PFBC website at www.fishandboat.com. Each year, trout fingerlings are stocked throughout the Commonwealth as part of the Put-Grow-Take program.  Information on all PFBC fingerling trout stockings is available at the following link: http://fishandboat.com/stock_fingerling.htm

The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website atwww.fishandboat.com.

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PA 2010-2011 Migratory Bird Seasons Begin Sept 1.

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HARRISBURG – Hunters will see similar dove and early Canada goose seasons and bag limits, both of which open Sept. 1, as part of Pennsylvania’s 2010-11 migratory bird seasons announced today by Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe.

Dove hunters, once again, will have the opportunity to participate in a triple-split season. During the first season (Sept. 1-28), hunting will start at noon and close at sunset daily. The second and third splits will be Oct. 23-Nov. 27, and Dec. 27-Jan. 1, with hunting hours a half-hour before sunrise until sunset. In all three seasons, the daily bag limit will be 15, and the possession limit will be 30

The early statewide season for resident Canada geese will open Sept. 1, and continue through Sept. 25. The early season retains a daily bag limit of eight Canada geese and possession limit of 16.  However, Kevin Jacobs, agency waterfowl biologist, noted that these bag limits are restricted in certain areas.

In the Southern James Bay Population Canada goose 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 a portion of western Crawford County, the daily bag limit is one goose and possession limit of two geese in the area south of SR 198 from the Ohio state line to intersection of SR 18, SR 18 south to SR 618, SR 618 south to US Route 6, US Route 6 east to US Route 322/SR 18, US Route 322/SR 18 west to intersection of SR 3013, SR 3013 south to the Crawford/Mercer County line.  The exception to this is on State Game Land 214, where September goose hunting is closed. This restriction does not apply to youth participating in the youth waterfowl hunting day, which is set for Sept. 18, when regular season regulations apply.

The controlled hunting areas at the Game Commission’s Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lebanon-Lancaster counties, as well as all of State Game Land 46, will remain closed to September goose hunting to address the decline in the resident Canada goose flock.  And, in the area of Lancaster and Lebanon counties north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike I-76, east of SR 501 to SR 419, south of SR 419 to Lebanon-Berks county line, west of Lebanon-Berks county line and Lancaster-Berks county line to SR 1053 (also known as Peartown Road and Greenville Road), west of SR 1053 to Pennsylvania Turnpike I-76, the daily bag limit is one goose, possession limit two geese.  This restriction does not apply to youth participating in the youth waterfowl hunting day, which is set for Sept. 18, when regular season regulations apply.

Jacobs noted that recent liberalizations in Canada goose hunting opportunities, along with control programs being implemented by many municipalities and public and private landowners, appear to be stabilizing the growth of the state’s resident Canada goose population.  The 2010 Pennsylvania spring resident Canada goose population was estimated at 231,780, which is 17 percent lower than the recent seven-year average of 280,371.

“Hunting remains the most effective and efficient way to manage resident Canada geese, provided hunters can gain access to geese in problem areas,” Jacobs said.

Once again, young Pennsylvania hunters will be provided with a special day of waterfowl hunting on Saturday, Sept. 18.  The Youth Waterfowl Day will be open to those 12- to 15-years-old who hold a junior hunting license. To participate, a youngster must be accompanied by an adult, who may assist the youth in calling, duck identification and other aspects of the hunt.  During this special day-long hunt, youth can harvest ducks, mergansers, coots and moorhens.

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. (more…)


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100 Days of Summer: Day 26-Refresh the Blue Streak

Conneaut Lake Park
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Conneaut Lake Park needs your help to save the Blue Streak. They’re Number 16 at the Pepsi refresh challenge. To get $50,000 to help restore the classic rollercoaster, they need to get to at least number 10.

We’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again. Nobody, but nobody seems to be able to mobilize our bloggers like this area. Conneaut has been struggling the last few years, and as someone who remembers the last, sad, final year of Idora, I don’t want that to happen again. Help save the Blue streak. Don’t let it go the way of Idora’s Wildcat.

Visit the Pepsi Refresh Challenge and vote today

Oh Yeah, visit the Carp and nature center at Pymatuning State Park while you’re at it.

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100 Days of Summer: Day 22- Moraine State Park

Regatta and Hot Air Balloon Festival at Morain...
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OK Susan.

Work Buddy Susan has been after me to post about Moraine State Park. Especially Since we’ve walked around it with the post on Windsurfing and McConnells Mill.

I Like Moraine. It’s a multi-use park off 19 and 422 on the other side of New Castle. Not too far, and lots of Activities.

Sure we mentioned the Windsurfing. There’s a beach with concessions, nice bay for kayaking, Picnic Areas, frisbee golf, 10 Boat launch areas for motorboats, sailboats and fishing.

For Hikers there’s 28 miles of hiking trails, 7 mile paved bike trail and 7 mile Mountain bike trail. The north Country Trail Passes through the Park, with a camping shelter on site for through hikers. Also, There’s a guided tour for Cars along Washington’s Trail through the area.

But Wait! There’s More. The Lake Arthur Regatta, Rental CAbins, Primitive Camping, Hunting Areas, Winter activities…You get the idea. Get out and take a look. This is a good weekend Because the Balloon Fest is also taking place in Newcastle, so you’re going to be in the area anyway, right?

And Joe, I Think I’m Ahead.

There’s a Camping shelter on the

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100 Days of Summer: Day 14- Conneaut And Pymatuning

In Keeping with the holiday weekend, I’m celebrating my Independence from the Web.

So here’s just a quick Video from MetroMonthly showing one of our classic regional Day Trips: Conneaut Lake Park, usually with a stop over to watch the carp at Pymatuning:

Edit: I have no idea where that typo came from or what kind of Freudian Slip it was. But it’s been corrected.

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Consumption Advisory Lifted For Pymatuning

The Pymatuning Reservoir, a man made lake in O...
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Harrisburg – The departments of Environmental Protection and Health, and the Fish and Boat Commission have lifted the “Do Not Eat” consumption advisory for all species of fish taken from Pymatuning Reservoir and Tamarack Lake in Crawford County. 

Fish tissue samples tested by the Fish and Boat Commission and Cornell University determined the large fish kills in both lakes were the result of a Columnaris outbreak. Columnaris is a naturally occurring bacterium that was triggered by several stressors, including rapidly warming waters during the spawning season.

The commonwealth’s Interagency Fish Consumption Advisory Technical Workgroup verified the findings. 

DEP also tested water quality and fish tissue samples. The preliminary results show no contaminants of concern for persons who consume fish from the lakes or for downstream water supplies.

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"Paddle at the Point" World Record: Video

Here’s a time lapse video of the record setting “Paddle at the Point” event last Saturday. Sorry I Couldn’t Make: Jamie’s Graduation intervened.


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PA Hunt Clubs: Plan Your Junior Pheasant Hunt Now

HARRISBURG – While Pennsylvania’s junior pheasant hunt seems like a long way off, Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe noted that now is the time for hunting clubs to make plans to host an organized junior pheasant hunt.

“The future of hunting is directly related to the continuing participation of young Pennsylvanians,” Roe noted. “The goal is to successfully compete with all the other activities and recreational opportunities that vie for a young person’s time. It’s truly a challenge for the Game Commission, as well as Pennsylvania’s one million hunters.

“To maximize this opportunity for younger hunters, and to ensure we pass along the importance of ethics and sound ideals that have shaped our hunting heritage, the Game Commission and Pheasants Forever urge local clubs to consider hosting a junior pheasant hunt in their community.”

Those clubs interested in hosting a junior pheasant hunt are encouraged to use the 26-page planning guide prepared by the Game Commission and the Pennsylvania State Chapter of Pheasants Forever.  The booklet offers a step-by-step guide on how to develop an organized junior pheasant hunt.  The guide-book includes: a sample timeline; suggested committees and assignments; general event planning considerations; and several sample forms and news releases.  It also includes event evaluation guides so clubs and organizations may consider changes for future junior pheasant hunts.

The guide can be viewed on the Game Commission’s website, by clicking on “Hunting” in the left-hand column of the homepage, then selecting the pheasant photo and then choosing “Junior Pheasant Hunt Planning Guide.”  Later this year, the agency will update this section to include a listing of locations that the Game Commission plans to release birds for the 2009 junior pheasant hunts, as well as a listing of all the junior pheasant hunts being hosted by local clubs.

To participate in the junior pheasant hunt, youngsters must be 12 to 16 years of age, and must have successfully completed a basic Hunter-Trapper Education course.  As required by law, an adult must accompany the young hunters.  Participating hunters do not need to purchase a junior hunting license to take part in the youth pheasant hunt, but all participants must wear the mandatory 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on their head, chest and back combined, visible from 360 degrees.

To bolster participation in the junior pheasant hunt, the Game Commission again plans to stock pheasants just prior to this special season.  For the 2010 hunt, the agency will release 15,000 birds on lands open to public hunting.  These areas will be identified in the 2010-2011 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, as well as in future Game Commission news releases and on the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us).

Additionally, the Game Commission will provide, free of charge, a limited number of pheasants to those clubs that host a junior pheasant hunt. Applications must be received by July 31, and the only two stipulations to be eligible is that clubs must have registration open to the public and must be held on lands open to public hunting.

Based on previous surveys, about half of the junior participants successfully bagged game; a male relative had accompanied most of them; the majority of participants were between the ages of 12 and 14; and many of them intend to hunt again.  The agency also received many positive comments about the junior hunting opportunity.

Pheasants Forever is a national non-profit habitat conservation organization with a system of hard-working local chapter volunteers dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasants and other wildlife populations.  Pheasants Forever emphasizes habitat improvement, public awareness and education, and land management policies that benefit private landowners and wildlife alike.  For more information, visit the organization’s website (www.pheasantsforever.org).

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