The Pennsylvania House Game and Fisheries Committee has scheduled another hearing on legislation that would transfer authority over Sunday hunting from the legislature to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. It will be held Thursday, Oct. 27, beginning at 9 a.m. in Room 140 of the Main Capitol Building in Harrisburg.
House Bill 1760, introduced by Representatives John Evans (R- Edinboro) and Ed Staback (D- Eynon), would transfer regulatory authority over Sunday hunting to the PGC, which is charged with setting seasons and bag limits. Pennsylvania is one of just 11 states that continue to restrict or prohibit hunting on Sundays, and currently, only crows, coyotes and foxes are permitted to be hunted on Sundays in the state under prohibition dating back to 1873 and serves as a barrier to recruiting new hunters and retaining existing hunters.
Supporting the bill is the Sunday Hunting Coalition, comprised of leading conservation, sportsmen's, and hunting groups committed to removing bans and restrictions on Sunday hunting. Included in the coalition is the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Cabela's, National Rifle Association, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, Archery Trade Association, Boone and Crockett Club, Delta Waterfowl, Mule Deer Foundation, National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International and the Wildlife Management Institute.
"House Bill 1760 is all about a basic American freedom, allowing landowners to decide for themselves what they do on their own land," U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance director of state services Evan Heusinkveld said. "There has been a lot of misconceptions and misinformation spread about HB 1760.
"This bill actually increases property rights for farmers and other landowners, and doesn't require every Sunday to be designated for hunting or even a single Sunday. Instead, this bill simply moves the authority to the appropriate state agency, the Game Commission where is belongs."
Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that the 2011 Young of the Year Striped Bass Survey is 34.6, well above the long-term average of 11.9, and exceedingly higher than 2010's results of 5.9. This is the fourth highest measure of striped bass spawning success in the Chesapeake Bay in the survey's 58-year history.
"This reinforces our understanding that when conditions are right, the striped bass population is capable of producing robust year classes of young rockfish," DNR Fisheries Service director Tom O'Connell said. "The survey also documented an increase in the abundance of juvenile blueback herring a population that had previously decreased dramatically in the Chesapeake Bay and along the coast and white perch, another important food and sportfish species, saw near record reproduction."
During this year's survey, DNR biologists counted more than 59,000 fish of 47 different species while collecting 4,565 YOY striped bass. Variation in annual spawning success is normal because striped bass reproduction is influenced by many factors including water temperature, winter snowfall, spring flow rates, and prevailing weather conditions.
Typically, several years of average reproduction are intermixed with the occasional large and small year-classes. The strong 2011 year-class shows that the spawning stock is capable of producing a large year-class when conditions are favorable.
DNR biologists have monitored the reproductive success of striped bass and other species in Maryland's portion of the Chesapeake Bay annually since 1954 at 22 survey sites located in the four major spawning systems: the Choptank, Potomac, and Nanticoke rivers, and the Upper Bay. Biologists visit each site monthly from July through September, collecting fish samples with two sweeps of a 100-foot beach seine.
Two limited archery/muzzleloader hunts for antlerless deer have been scheduled for the controlled access areas of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, Kleinfeltersville, Wednesday, Dec. 21, and Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. To participate, hunters must be properly licensed and be eligible to take an antlerless deer in Wildlife Management Unit 5B on the day they would be hunting.
Hunting will be by special permit only, and 100 permits will be issued by random drawing for each hunting day.
Hunters wishing to participate in the drawing should apply on a standard postcard that contains their name, mailing address, general license back tag number; muzzleloader and/or archery stamp number and antlerless deer license number for Wildlife Management Unit 5B (if applicable). Just one application per hunter may be submitted and will be accepted, by mail only, until Monday, Nov. 7, and must be mailed to Pennsylvania Game Commission MCWMA, Box 110, Kleinfeltersville 17039.
A public drawing will be held at the MCWMA visitor center, Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 10 a.m. There will be only one drawing to fill both hunting days, and the first 100 applications drawn will be assigned to the hunt on December 21, the second 100 to the hunt on January 18.
Successful applicants will be notified by mail. There will be no provisions or drawings held to fill vacancies created by permit holders who do not participate on the day of the hunt.
In addition to the antlerless deer hunts, which are being conducted for the purposes of herd reduction at Middle Creek, there will be 10 permits issued for each hunt enabling selected hunters to take an antlered deer as well. To be eligible for this antlered deer permit drawing, which will be held the morning of each hunt, hunters must still possess an antlered deer tag in addition to having been drawn for the hunt and be able to take part in the antlerless deer hunt.
This week's edition of "Experience The Outdoors," hosted by award-winning Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz, Sunday, at 7 a.m. on 1410 WLSH and 9:30 a.m. on Magic 105.5, will feature HuntNut game call founder Steve Behun of Tamaqua.
A trap shoot will be held, Thursday, Oct. 27, beginning at 6 p.m., at Orwigsburg Gun Club, Gun Club Road, off Route 443 East, Orwigsburg. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.