There is a significant new look to the Pennsylvania Game Commission website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) homepage, as well as a new manner in navigating through the various sections. As with any transition, however, the PGC's technical staff continues to rebuild information that its website visitors have come to rely on finding online, and some outdated information will not make the cut.
"We focused on transitioning necessary information, such as the annual digest and migratory game bird brochure, which outlines the ongoing seasons and regulations, over to the new website format first," PGC Bureau of Automated Technology Services director Bob Strailey said. "Also, we made sure that hunters will be able to report their harvests, as well as those who have a Deer Management Assistance Program permit.
"Other popular sections, such as the Hunter/Trapper Scrapbook, which features hunters and trappers with their quarry, are on hold, and we have made the decision to drop previous years' postings and build the new site with photos submitted from the current seasons. Another resource area, our news release archives, eventually will provide access to news releases from 2007 through the present.
Strailey said that the transition of the website from its old Dynamic Site Framework-format to the new Aqualogic format was made necessary because the Office of Administration's Information Technology Services changed the website development package it provides state agencies to build their websites. This is the second such format change in less than 10 years.
"We encourage the public to be patient as we continue to rebuild and refine our website, which will be more user-friendly and easier to navigate," Strailey said. "We will be offering new sections to better inform the public about the Game Commission's wildlife management efforts, as well as its mission to promote hunting, trapping and wildlife viewing."
Outdoors writer and author Dave Ehrig, who serves as director of the National Muzzle Loader Rifle Association Longhunter Society Program, will discuss the upcoming post-Christmas flintlock deer season as today's guest on "Experience the Outdoors" with Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz on Oldies 1410-AM, from 7:30-8 a.m. There will be a rebroadcast of the program Sunday, from 9:30-10 a.m., on Magic, WMGH, 105.5-FM.
Hunters can help emergency food assistance agencies feed Pennsylvania's hungry by donating extra deer meat to the statewide "Hunters Sharing the Harvest" network.
Participating hunters can take their deer to one of the nearly 80 participating meat processors throughout the state and identify how much of the venison – from several pounds to the whole animal – they would like to donate. If the entire deer is donated, the hunter is asked to make a minimum $15 tax-deductible contribution to help cover processing costs, and HSH will pay the remaining fees, or hunters may also donate a portion of their deer by paying the full processing fee and notifying the processor to hold a specified amount for the program.
Established in 1991, HSH provides more than 200,000 meals annually to food banks, churches and social services feeding programs.Last year, hunters donated more than 100,000 pounds of venison.
To learn more about Hunters Sharing the Harvest and obtain a list of participating meat processors and county coordinators, visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Web site at www.pgc.state.pa.us and click on "Hunting" and then "Hunters Sharing the Harvest." Information may also be found at www.sharedeer.org or by calling toll-free 866-474-2141.
Pennsylvania Game Commission officials are urging wildlife enthusiasts to join the tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the United States in the Audubon Society's 110th Annual Christmas Bird Count, which is taking place through Tuesday, Jan. 5.
To view instructions on how to search for a circle and sign-up for an open count, visit the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on "Wildlife" in the left-hand column, and then choose the "Christmas Bird Count" icon in the center of the page. Information also can be obtained from Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count website (http://www.audubon.org/Bird/cbc/), or on the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology's website (http://www.pabirds.org).
This year's "Big Dog Statewide Coyote Hunt" will be held, Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 28-31, by Tubmill Trout Club, New Florence. For registration information, access the Web site at www.tubmilltroutclub.org or call Lin Gamble at 724-235-9798.
Here is the schedule of upcoming sports and outdoors shows:
Early Bird Sports Expo: Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 28-31, Bloomsburg Fair Ground, Bloomsburg. Show hours: Thursday, 4-9 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, call the show office at 570-594-0250 or access the Web site at www.earlybirdexpo.com.
Leesport Sportsman's Show and Flea Market: Saturday, Feb. 6, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Leesport Farmers Market. For information, call Ralph Reber at 610-944-9376.
Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show: Saturday, Feb. 6-Sunday, Feb. 14, Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg. Show hours: Saturday, Feb. 6, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday-Saturday, Feb. 8-13, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, access the show Web site at www.easternsportshow.com
Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sport Show: Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 25-28, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Ave., Oaks. Show hours: Thursday and Friday, 12:30-9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, call 610-431-4315 or access on the Web at www.sportshows.com.
As part of its popular patch collection offerings, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has commissioned a new patch to promote the Mentored Youth Hunting Program.Accompanying the 4.5x3.5-inch patch is a Saf-T Plug that acts as a visual cue that the action of any pump-action or semi-automatic shotgun is open and safe.The two items sell for $7, including sales tax, and can be obtained at any Game Commission office or through "The Outdoor Shop" on the agency's Web site at www.pgc.state.pa.us.
To order online, click on "The Outdoor Shop" icon in the right-hand column of the homepage, then choose "Pennsylvania Game Commission Outdoor Shop" in the lower left-hand corner of the page, select "Merchandise" in the banner, select "Patches" in the left-hand column and scroll down to "2009 Mentored Youth Patch & PGC Saf-T Plug." Orders also can be made by calling 1-888-888-3459.