For the first time since 2004, the Pennsylvania Game Commission will offer public tours of its four game farms, including its two locations in Lycoming County, Saturday, Sept. 25
Loyalsock Game Farm is located at 136 Game Farm Road, five miles north of Montoursville, on Route 87, and the tour starts at the hatchery. Northcentral Game Farm is located at 1609 Proctor Road, 23 miles north of Montoursville, on Route 87, and the tour starts at the hatchery office of the Proctor Farm.
"Tours are designed to provide the public an opportunity to learn more about the Game Commission's game farms and our pheasant propagation program," PGC executive directory Carl Roe said. "While pheasants are not a native species to Pennsylvania, or the United States for that matter, the Game Commission's pheasant-stocking program provides a tangible product for the license buyer, heightens the hunting experience especially for youth at a time when wild pheasant populations are low and is a valued service for many sportsmen."
Tour stops will include hatcheries, brooder houses, and rearing, "grow-out" and over-wintering pens. Workshop discussions will focus on objectives in propagation management, including sportsmen's organizations participating in raising day-old chicks provided by the farms to increase local hunting opportunities and surplus day-old hen chicks that are sold to the public.
Also, after registration and before taking the tour, visitors may view a brief DVD highlighting farm operations throughout the year. When visitors arrive on tour dates, they will be asked to register before game farm personnel take them on a guided tour, and in order to maintain bio-security and minimize human contact with the birds, visitors will be asked to remain with tour groups.
Since budget cuts in 2005, the agency has been raising 100,000 ring-necked pheasants annually at the PGC's four game farms and releasing them on State Game Lands and other public lands under cooperative agreement.
"In recent years, the Game Commission has invested in many game farm improvements," Roe said. "And, thanks to recent revenues from Marcellus Shale-related gas leases on State Game Lands, the agency plans to increase its production level to distribute 200,000 birds during the 2012-13 hunting seasons."
Goals for the pheasant propagation program are found in the agency's pheasant management plan, which can be viewed on the agency's website at www.pgc.state.pa.us.
National Hunting and Fishing Day will be celebrated at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, Kleinfeltersville, with a program of outdoors-related events Sunday, Sept. 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will feature hands-on activities for all ages, including archery and muzzleloader shooting.
In 1970, the first to suggest an official "day of thanks" to sportsmen was Ira Joffe, owner of Joffe's Gun Shop in Upper Darby, Delaware County. Gov. Raymond Shafer adopted Joffe's idea and created "Outdoor Sportsman's Day" in the state.
With determined prompting from various sportsmen, the concept soon emerged on the national level when, in early 1972, Congress unanimously passed legislation authorizing a National Hunting and Fishing Day to be held. President Richard Nixon signed the first proclamation May 2, 1972, of National Hunting and Fishing Day, and soon after, all 50 governors and more than 600 mayors had joined in by proclaiming state and local versions of National Hunting and Fishing Day.
There will be many exhibits and displays from local, state and national sportsmen's organizations, including the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Trappers Association. Among the seminars will be programs on upland dogs by the Ruffed Grouse Society and birds of prey by Red Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Schuylkill Haven.
Another highlight will be the laser SHOT system, which uses laser beams to simulate hunting experiences that test an individual's marksmanship and decision making in hunting situations.
Bears Head Archery, Delano, located one mile off Exit 134, Interstate 81, has its 3-D course open daily to the public from dawn to dusk through Saturday, Oct. 15. Donations are accepted, and for information, contact Frank Blazusky at 570-467-0331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 "Pennsylvania Game Commission Big Game Record Book" editor Bob D'Angelo.
This year's Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show is underway today and Sunday at Hersheypark Giant Center, Hershey. Hours are, today, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, access the website at www.largestrvshow.com.
A trap shoot will be held, Thursday, Sept. 22, beginning at 6 p.m., at Orwigsburg Gun Club, Gun Club Road, off Route 443 East, Orwigsburg. For information, e-mail email@example.com.
This year's ICORE East Coast Regional Championship matches will be held, Sunday, Sept.25, at Ontelaunee Rod and Gun Club, New Tripoli. For information, call Fred Pickard at 570-657-7427 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pennsylvania State Parks naturalist Stephanie Strub will lead a seven-mile guided hike through Hickory Run State Park to the famed Boulder Field, Saturday, Oct. 1, to explore the field and learn a little about the park's natural history. For required preregistration or information about this event, contact Stephanie Strub at email@example.com or 215-453-5015.
"Ruger Rimfire Series East Coast Championship" matches will be held, Sunday, Oct. 2, at Ontelaunee Rod and Gun Club, New Tripoli. For information, call Fred Pickard at 570-657-7427 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This year's Schuylkill County Friends of NRA Banquet will be held, Thursday, Oct. 6, beginning at 5 p.m., at St. Nicholas Hall, Minersville. For tickets and information, call Mike McCord at 570-628-1382, Gary Reibsane at 717-647-4314 or Harry Meyers at 570-691-7564.