While baiting deer is no longer legal on public land in any wildlife management unit, the Pennsylvania Game Commission board of game commission did approve the continued use of limiting baiting as an effective tool to manage the deer populations on agriculture lands in the southeast corner of the state in WMUs 5C and 5D on approved properties enrolled in the agency's Agriculture Deer Depredation Program, commonly referred to as the "Red Tag" program.

At the January quarterly meeting of the PGC, full-scale baiting in these areas was discontinued because it was largely ineffective. Some, incorrectly, had interpreted this to mean that all baiting had been discontinued in WMUs 5C and 5D.

"In 2010, the Game Commission's three-year evaluation of the effectiveness of permitting the use of bait for deer hunting across the southeast Special Regulations Areas counties expired," PGC executive directory Carl Roe said. "The agency concluded that broad scale and widely accessible baiting did not establish viable increases in harvest rates to justify an extension of the experimental program.

"Under this new regulation, the agency is focusing the use of bait on those farms most in need of deer control assistance during the "Red Tag" deer harvesting timeframe. Farmers applying to enroll in the Red Tag Program would need to include in their application justification for the need to use bait."

Farmers enrolled in the "Red Tag" program are provided with a specific number of antlerless deer permits, which are red in color. Farmers then give these permits to hunters to harvest antlerless deer from February 1 to September 28 each calendar year, excluding Sundays, during the hours of dawn to dusk only. The permits are not valid from May 16 to June 30, and are not legal to be used to take bucks.

The listings of farms enrolled in the "Red Tag" program are maintained by the respective Region Offices as those landowners enrolled in the program change from year to year.

*********

Beltzville State Park will be hold a Basic Boating Course instructed by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Tuesday, April 5, and Thursday, April 7, with both sessions from 6-10 p.m. There is no charge for the course, but all participants must attend both sessions and must pre-register by calling Beltzville State Park at 610-377-0045.

The Basic Boating Course is designed to 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. The 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 horsepower. More information about this course or boating safety can be found by visiting the PFBC website at www.fishandboat.com [1].

**********

The Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its 3rd Annual Fishing Derby, Saturday, April 9, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Rabbit Run Reservoir. Hot food and refreshments will be prepared by the Owl Creek Reservoir Commission and will be sold all day.

Prizes will include a three-day, two-night Stay at Caiger's Resort, 1000 Islands, Canada; Football Hall of Fame Tickets, fishing rods, bicycles and other merchandise. Registration forms and rules are available at Tom's Auto and Marine, Mountain Ave., Tamaqua; the Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce or online at www.tamaqua.net [2].

**********

Assistance is being sought by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission from trout anglers fishing on the Lehigh River during the 2011 season. Commission fisheries biologists are working on the second year of a stocked fingerling trout study and need information on the trout that anglers land from Francis E Walter Dam in Luzerne County downriver to the Cementon Dam in Northampton County.

Anglers will be able to report their information via one of three different means: completing a Lehigh Angler Logbook available on the PFBC website at www.fishandboat.com/images/fisheries/lehigh_river_angler_log_book.pdf [3], visiting a self-serve station for a postage-paid, addressed post card or participating in a staff-led field interview requests. Self serve stations will be available at select access points along the Lehigh River.

Stations are maintained by the Lehigh Coldwater Fishery Alliance and are part of a partnership with the PFBC. More information about the study or questions can be addressed to Daryl Pierce, Management Area 5 River Biologist at dapierce@state.ps.us [4] or by calling 570-588-6388.

**********

Ed Kennedy, owner of Ed's Sporting Goods, Tamaqua, is today's guest of Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz on "Experience The Outdoors," 7:30-8 a.m. on WLSH 1410-AM, Sunday, from 9:30-10 a.m., on WMGH, 105.5-FM and on the Web at www.wmgh.com [5] by clicking the "Experience The Outdoors" link.

**********

A trap shoot will be held, Thursday, April 7, beginning at 6 p.m., at Orwigsburg Gun Club, Gun Club Road, off Route 443 East, Orwigsburg. For information, e-mail jafone@comcast.net [6].

**********

Schuylkill Spurs Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation meets, Thursday, April 7, beginning at 7:30 p.m., at West Penn Archery, South Tamaqua. For information, call Kevin Titus at 570-668-5903.

**********

Lehigh Valley QDMA Banquet will be held, Friday, April 8, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at Meadows Banquet Hall, 1170 Meadows Road, Hellertown. For information and reservations, call Jon Felton at 215-529-7280 or Dean Souder at 267-382-0333.

*********

Muzzleloader shoots sponsored by the First Frontier Militia will be held Sunday, April 10, May 8, June 12, July 10, Aug. 14, Sept. 11, Oct. 9, Nov. 13 and Dec. 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club, off Route 248 between the Parryville and Bowmanstown exits on Gun Club Road. For information, call Roger Fisher at 610-377-2812.