Just in time for the opening of the two-week statewide firearms deer season, the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced an update to the "PA State Game Lands" app, which can be downloaded for most mobile devices through links on the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us).
"Using a smartphone or tablet's built-in navigation features, this app provides turn-by-turn directions to destinations you select and includes destination-specific details such as WMU, county, acreage, hunting zones, hunting hours, 2012-13 seasons and bag limits and more," PGC executive director Carl Roe said. "The app has built-in mapping capabilities allowing you to browse State Game Land boundaries, parking areas and shooting ranges displayed over your choice of USGS 7.5 minute topographic maps, satellite imagery or road maps, and in areas of no cellular service, cache maps on your device for use offline.
"Simple menus allow users to search for State Game Lands by the State Game Land number, Wildlife Management Unit or by which SGL is the closest to your present location. All results appear in distance order, allowing the user to find the nearest State Game Lands access no matter where you are."
To use, just enter any Pennsylvania city into the search criteria to plan your next adventure. Then save your favorite destinations for future use. The app also allows you to find and navigate to Game Commission facilities and shooting ranges and use the "Report Your Harvest" feature to phone in or input harvests and follow directions to bear and elk check stations.
"This update includes significant enhancements, including many that users have requested," Roe said. Users can now store maps on their device for navigating with or without cellular service."
Other improvements include 7.5 minute USGS topographic maps, State Game Lands boundaries, new search enhancements to find destinations using maps, fast links to report violations and access a Hunting Hours table and the Game Commission's mobile website. Developed by Gogal Publishing, of Warrington, the APP sells for $9.99.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary's annual Holiday Open House is Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and among the attractions is an art exhibit by wildlife artist David Hughes. As part of the day, the visitor center will remain open until 5 p.m. and trail fees will apply for those who walk to scenic overlooks.
"Flying Squirrel Survival Skills," a short program that introduces visitors to this nocturnal mammal and focuses on how it prepares for the long winter, will be at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
For more information, visit the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary website at www.hawkmountain.org or call 610-756-6961.
A youth activity table will open immediately following the morning presentation and will be open until 2 p.m., providing youngsters the chance to complete a simple nature-themed project to take home.
At 11 a.m., husband-and-wife naturalist team John and Yoke DiGiorgio will share short video clips they filmed of an eagle nest along the Delaware River and will share insider stories from their resulting book, "The Nesting Diaries." This photo essay details activity at a 2009 bald eagle nest that successfully fledged four chicks, a rarity for bald eagles, and they will hold a question-and-answer session and book signing from noon until 3 p.m.
At noon, volunteers and staff will lead Nature Walk Bingo, an easy outdoors activity for all ages, followed by a chance to see a hawk or owl during the sanctuary's signature "Raptors Up Close!" program at 1 p.m. At 3 p.m. the annual drawing for the sanctuary's 2012 Mountain Raffle will be held.
Sunday's edition of "Experience The Outdoors," hosted by award-winning Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz, at 7 a.m. on 1410 WLSH and 9:30 a.m. on Magic 105.5, will feature Pennsylvania Game Commission board of game commissioners president Ralph Martone.