HARRISBURG – Hunters submitting dates to employers for vacation days during some fall and winter seasons would be wise to check the calendar.
Opening day for some seasons will begin a week later than usual during the 2013-14 license year that received preliminary approval by the Pennsylvania Game Commission board of game commissioners at Tuesday's quarterly meeting. This was done to accommodate calendar swings related to the timing of Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28, that occur about every seven years.
Commissioner Bob Schlemmer of Export, Westmoreland County, who was appointed to the board in 2009 and was elected vice-president in 2012, was elected president of the BOC. Dave Putnam of Centre Hall, Center County, who was appointed to the board in 2009 was elected vice-president. Brian Hoover of Glenolden, Delaware County, who was appointed to the board in 2012 was elected secretary.
Final approval of the seasons-and-bag limits package is expected at the Monday, April 15, quarterly meeting of the BOC, when antlerless allocations will also be announced, and a complete list of the proposed seasons is posted on the PGC website at http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/ and public comments may be made on all the board's action until the spring meeting. Included in the package is a proposal allowing qualified adult mentors to transfer one Deer Management Assistance Program antlerless deer permit to a youth they are mentoring as part of the Mentored Youth Hunting Program.
Among other modifications proposed for the 2013-14 seasons are changes to fall turkey seasons in several wildlife management units; an earlier start to the junior and regular squirrel seasons; four changes to extended bear hunting opportunities; increased daily and season bag limits for beavers in certain WMUs; the addition of WMUs 3A, 3D and 4E to the list of WMUs open for fisher trapping; and a return of the statewide snowshoe hare hunting season with a shortened season in WMUs 3B, 3C and 3D.
Another proposed change is to eliminate the extended regular firearms season in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D. Only the Special Regulations Area counties of Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties will retain the extended regular firearms season.
Adopted for 2013-14 are a slate of deer seasons that retains the split, five-day antlered deer season from December 2-6 and seven-day concurrent season from December 7-14 in 11 WMUs and a two-week concurrent season from December 2-14 in 11 WMUs. Having the split season are WMUs 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3B, 3C, 4B, 4D and 4E; having the concurrent season are WMUs 1A, 1B, 2B, 3A, 3D, 4A, 4C, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D.
Hunters with DMAP antlerless permits may use them on the lands for which they were issued during any established deer season and will continue to be permitted to take antlerless deer from December 2-14 in the 11 WMUs with the split season. Fees for DMAP permits are $10.70 for residents and $35.70 for nonresidents.
Four changes are proposed for the extended bear seasons which are designed to make it easier for hunters to understand. Retained are expanded bear seasons in the state's most urban WMUs of 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D and allowing the taking of bears with a bear license during all deer seasons from September through early December.
Proposed extended bear season dates for 2013 are September 21-November 16 in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D, for archery only; October 5-November 16 in WMUs 5B, for archery only; October 19-26 in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D, for muzzleloaders only; October 24-26 in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D, for any legal sporting arm for juniors and seniors, disabled person permit holders to use a vehicle as a blind and resident active duty in armed services; and December 2-14 in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D.
Statewide bear seasons are a five-day archery season from November 18-22 and the four-day season that opens Saturday, Nov. 23, and continues Monday-Wednesday, Nov. 25-27. Extended bear seasons have been proposed for December 4-7 in WMUs 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E; from December 2-7 in WMUs 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D; and from December 2-14 in WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D.
Several changes have been proposed for the fall turkey season, with the following dates for 2013: WMU 1B, November 2-9 and November 28-30; WMU 2B (shotgun and bow only), November 2-22, and November 28-30; WMUs 1A, 2A and 2D, November 2-16, and November 28-30; WMUs 2C, 2E, 4A, 4B and 4D, November 2-22, and November 28-30; WMUs 2F and 2G, November 2-16, and November 28-30; WMUs 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C and 4E, November 2-22, and November 28-30; and WMU 5A, November 5-7. WMUs 5B, 5C and 5D will remain closed for the fall seasons.
For the 2014 spring gobbler season, the proposed season will be May 3-31, with full-day hunting from May 19-31. A one-day Spring Gobbler Youth Hunt has been proposed for April 26.