HARRISBURG – At Tuesday's quarterly meeting of the Pennsylvania Game Commission board of game commissioners to set seasons and bag limits for the 2010-11 hunting seasons, public opinion weighed heavily over the research and recommendations of the agency's biologists and game-management personnel when by a 6-2 vote the number of days to hunt doe in four wildlife management units was reduced and the allocation of antlerless tags was arbitrarily reduced by 32,200 in seven WMUs.

Public opinion in the majority of the state, however, was ignored in making drastic changes for the upcoming bear season, which will have five days of statewide archery hunting, Monday-Friday, Nov. 15-19, and three days of firearms hunting, which begins Saturday, Nov. 20, and continues Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 22 and 23. Eliminated, however, are all concurrent seasons that had been held during the firearms deer season.

Board president Jay Delaney of Wilkes-Barre, who represents the Northeast Region, was the main proponent of the changes in the bear season and was supported by vice president Ron Weaner and commissioners Tom Boop, Dave Putnam, Bob Schlemmer and Ralph Martone. Those six commissioners also voted for the deer changes, and board secretary Dave Schreffler and Southeast Region commissioner Greg Isabella voted against both issues.

Regionally, those who hunt deer in WMU 4E, which includes portions of Luzerne and Schuylkill counties, will be effected by the change that will permit the hunting of antlered deer only the first five days of the firearms deer season – Monday-Friday, Nov. 29-Dec. 3. Also affected are WMUs 2C, 2E and 4D, with concurrent antlered and antlerless hunting will begin Saturday, Dec. 4, and continue the second week of the firearms season, Monday-Saturday, Dec. 6-11.

As part of the PGC deer-management plan, during the last two seasons these regulations were in effect in WMUs 2D, 2G, 3C and 4B. These WMUs were selected after research by the agency to provide specific information, but the additional units have been added to appease hunters who have complained about the lack of deer.

In addition to WMU 4E being one of the four arbitrarily selected for reduced doe hunting, it is among the seven that had its antlerless allocation reduced. This year, 4E will have an allocation of 27,000 antlerless licenses, which is a 10-percent reduction of the recommendations of PGC staff.

Other WMUs that had a arbitrarily reduction in antlerless allocations are 1B, 2C, 2D, 2F, 3D and 4D. Commissioners Boop and Weaner either made the motion or the second for each of the reductions, which passed by the same 6-2 split that supported the new bear seasons and WMU issue.

"I don't feel the reduction is significant," Boop said. "We've heard from hunters that they want to see more deer, and eliminating five days of doe hunting should result in more deer."

This opinion, however, contradicts the first two years of research in the four test WMUs, which was presented in a report by biologist Chris Rosenberrry, who heads the deer-management program. According to the study, which will continue for two more years in the four test WMUs, hunters are complaining that they still are not seeing the number of deer they expect.

In addition, there has been a decrease in the number of doe taken and no increase in hunter participation during the second week of the season. Meanwhile, Delaney cited too many bears as the reason for supporting the news seasons.

Only in the Northeast Region, however, has there been overwhelming support for this change, with moderate support in the Northcentral Region. Throughout the rest of the state, sportsmen indicated they were against the change, including some areas that were 6-1 against the change.

In addition to majority of public opinion being against the change, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is in opposition because of the negative impact it could have on the hen study being conducted during the fall season. Also against the new season is the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, who voted 20-8 against the proposal at its spring convention.

Here is the breakdown of antlerless allocations by WMUs for the 2010-11 seasons:

WMU 1A allocation will be 41,705, which is decrease from last year's allocation of 42,000; WMU 1B allocation will be 27,844, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 30,000.

WMU 2A allocation will be 54,879, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 55,000; WMU 2B allocation will be 68,000, which is the same as last year's. DMAP is not available this year for WMU 2B; WMU 2C allocation will be 44,107, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 49,000; WMU 2D allocation will be 50,123, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 56,000; WMU 2E allocation will be 20,407, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 21,000; WMU 2F allocation will be 22,148, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 28,000; WMU 2G allocation will be 15,210, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 26,000.

WMU 3A allocation will be 25,247, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 26,000; WMU 3B allocation will be 33,761, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 43,000; WMU 3C allocation will be 26,358, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 27,000; WMU 3D allocation will be 31,622, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 37,000.

WMU 4A allocation will be 27,521, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 29,000; WMU 4B allocation will be 22,148, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 23,000; WMU 4C allocation will be 34,351, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 35,000; WMU 4D allocation will be 30,052, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 40,000; WMU 4E allocation will be 26,899, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 30,000.

WMU 5A allocation will be 18,269, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 19,000; WMU 5B allocation will be 50,812, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 51,000; WMU 5C allocation will be 121,960, which is an increase from last year's allocation of 113,000; WMU 5D allocation will be 22,000, which is the same as last year's. DMAP is not available this year for WMU 5D.