After finding three black bear cubs stranded along a road near Troy last week, Pennsylvania Game Commission officials successfully completed a four-day race of locating and placing the two female cubs and one male cub in adoptive dens in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Sullivan County wildlife conservation officer Rick Finnegan rescued the cubs after he responded to investigate reports from passing motorists that three bear cubs were at the base of a fence near a township road.
"The cubs all weighed less than 6.5 pounds and were unable to walk," Finnegan said. "The immediate and surrounding area was surveyed for several hours and no adult female bear was observed.
"There was no evidence of a vehicle collision. This unusual set of circumstances seemed to indicate someone may have unlawfully handled the cubs and dropped them off at this location."
In Pennsylvania bear cubs are born in January and weigh 12 to 14 ounces. Female bears generally give birth to cubs every other year and are weaned in late spring or early summer.
WCO Finnegan took the two females and one male bear home, put ear tags on them and fed them evaporated milk from a baby bottle. The next step, Williams said, was to find adult females in the area that had cubs and would be receptive to having one of these three cubs placed with them.
Fortunately, Williams noted, now is the time of year that PGC biologists are visiting bear dens to study health and population trends of black bears by obtaining biological information from radio-collared sows with cubs.
After locating a radio-collared sow, the adult bear is tranquilized, its general health status is evaluated and any cubs are fitted with ear tags to identify each individual and aid biologists in studying black bear growth and dispersal trends.
It just so happened that these annual studies were scheduled to take place in Pike, Lackawanna and Luzerne counties during the remainder of the week. In the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, March 14, WCO Finnegan transported the cubs to Columbia County where PGC officials complete the relay by taking them to the Pocono Mountains to begin the placement process.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission northern bobwhite quail management plan has been posted on the agency's website at www.pgc.state.pa.us and can be viewed by clicking on the "Northern Bobwhite Quail Management Plan" in the "Small Game" section of the Hunting Page, which is accessible from the Hunt-Trap drop-down menu on the homepage.
Public comments on the agency's quail management plan were solicited last year, and overall there was strong support for implementing the plan. The PGC board of game commissioners gave approval to the final plan at its meeting in October.
Registration is underway for a Basic Boating Course instructed by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Monday, April 9, and Wednesday, April 11, from 6-10 p.m. for both sessions, at Beltzville State Park.
There is no charge for the two-session course, but all participants must pre-register by calling Beltzville State Park at 610-377-0045 to register and attend both sessions, which supply boaters with practical information so they can make better-informed decisions on the water. Instructors will provide students with information via a classroom setting to help them reduce the risk of injury and conflict on the water.
Students who successfully complete the course may apply for a Boating Safety Education Certificate for a $10 fee. This certificate is required of all operators of personal watercraft, or anyone born on or after January 1, 1982, who operate a motorboat of more than 25 hp, and information about this course or boating safety is on the PFBC website at www.fishandboat.com.
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 award-winning naturalist and author Scott Weidensaul.
A working group meeting that is open to the public will be held by the Pennsylvania Game Commission board of game commissioners, Monday, beginning at 8 a.m., at agency headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg.
Landowners interested in developing backyard habitats beneficial to wildlife can do so with the aid of "Landscaping for Wildlife in Pennsylvania," available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, written by noted outdoors and nature writer Marcus Schneck. This 160-page book contains descriptions, drawings and photos of ideal habitat for a variety of species, from hummingbirds to bats, as well as construction plans for a number of wildlife nesting boxes. Copies of the book may be ordered through the PGC website at www.pgc.state.pa.us by clicking on "General Store" in the menu bar at the top of the homepage and then "Visit the Outdoor Shop," or by calling the agency at 1-888-888-3459.
Experienced hunters and trappers who are interested in becoming volunteer instructors for the Pennsylvania Game Commission's basic Hunter-Trapper Education, Successful Bowhunting, Successful Furtaking and Successful Turkey Hunting courses, as well as future courses under consideration, are being sought by the agency.
For more information about becoming an instructor, visit the PGC website at www.pgc.state.pa.us and select "Become an HTE Instructor" on the homepage. Individuals also can request an application packet online or by calling the agency's Hunter-Trapper Education Division at 717-787-7015.
This year's Pennsylvania Game Commission free "Seedlings for Schools" program, in which students will be able to plant a variety of tree seedlings at home, on school grounds or in their communities is underway through Sunday, April 1, through the PGC website at www.pgc.state.pa.us by clicking on "Seedlings for Schools," and all order must be submitted online.