Pennsylvania Game Commission officials are encouraging bird and nature fans throughout the state to join tens of thousands of everyday North American bird watchers for the 2012 Great Backyard Bird Count, Friday-Monday, Feb. 17-20.

A joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, this free event is an opportunity for families, students, and people of all ages to discover the wonders of nature in backyards, schoolyards, and local parks, and, at the same time, make an important contribution to conservation. Participants count birds and report their sightings online at www.birdsource.org/gbbc [1].

Participants are asked to count birds for at least 15 minutes on at least one day of the event and reporting their sightings online at www.birdsource.org/gbbc [1]. Additional online resources include tips to help identify birds, a photo gallery, and special materials for educators.

Participants submitting reports to the GBBC website may also report sightings by registering at the Pennsylvania eBird website managed by the PGC at www.pgc.state.pa.us [2]. Data collected helps the agency and other wildlife researchers understand the importance of particular locations to birds and bird population trends, information that is critical for effective conservation.

Each year, in addition to entering their tallies, participants submit thousands of digital images for the GBBC photo contest. Many are featured in the popular online gallery.

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Pennsylvania Game Commission officials have begun a two-year study to estimate survival rates and causes of mortality in deer in southeastern Pennsylvania. To accomplish these objectives, PGC biologists will be setting traps to capture and mark deer in portions of Wildlife Management Unit 5C, which encompasses parts of Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton and Montgomery counties.

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"Deer will be captured during the winter months using drop nets, rocket nets and Clover traps," PGC Southeast Region director Doug Killough said. "The Game Commission has used these capture methods to safely capture thousands of deer over the last decade.

"All three of these capture methods are designed to hold deer until biologists are able to tag the deer and then release them on-site. None of the captured deer will be moved to other locations, and all of the captured deer will be marked with ear tags and some will also be marked with radio collars to allow researchers to track deer movements and survival.

"Those find or harvest a tagged or radio-collared deer, please call the toll-free number listed on the tag and report where, when and under what circumstances you came across the tag. We are also looking for additional areas to trap deer. If you are interested in allowing deer capture activities on your land, please contact our Southeast Region office at 610-926-3136."

For more information on deer and deer management in Pennsylvania, visit the PGC website at www.pgc.state.pa.us [2].

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Hunters who would like the opportunity to take a second spring gobbler can purchase a second spring gobbler tag until midnight, Friday, April 20, at any issuing agent or through the Pennsylvania Game Commission website at www.pgc.state.pa [3], however, those who purchase the second spring gobbler tag online should expect a wait of 7-10 days for shipping, depending on the volume of other online purchases. Also, all sales of the second spring gobbler tag will cease at midnight April 20, which is the day before the one-day season for junior license holders and those participating in the Mentored Youth Hunting Program.

Hunters may purchase just one second spring gobbler license during a license year, as the season limit remains two spring gobblers, and the daily limit is one bird. Fees set by state law for the special license are $21.70 for residents and $41.70 for nonresidents, and for online orders, there are additional shipping and handling costs.

This year's spring gobbler season will run from Saturday, April 28-Thursday, May 31. Legal hunting hours for the opening day of the spring gobbler season through Saturday, May 12, is one-half hour before sunrise until noon; the remainder of the season, beginning Monday, May 14, has legal shooting hours of one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.

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Applications are now being accepted for the 18th annual Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp being held Sunday-Friday, June 17–22 at the Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs for applicants between the ages of 14-17. Founded in 1995 through the efforts of the late Dr. John R. "Jack" Beck and the late Enoch S. "Inky" Moore, Jr., their goal was to select 32 teenagers each year who are the leaders in their class with the thought that today's leaders in high school become the leader of tomorrow's communities.

This camp has a highly structured curriculum is based on college-level classes that includes ecology, aquatic biology, geology, hydrogeology, erosion and sedimentation control, ichthyology, riparian corridor protection, watershed management and entomology. Students also participate in a hands-on stream habitat improvement project.

Fly fishing and fly tying is included with nationally known instructors to teach the students fly casting, fly tying, stream etiquette and how to "read" the water. Camp is limited to 32 selected qualified students, and cost is $350 for the entire week, including meals and accommodations.

For more information or an application brochure contact the camp at Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp, Box 71, Boiling Springs 17007, or on the Web at www.riverscamp.com [4].

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Port Clinton Fish and Game will conduct its annual coyote hunt, Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 18-26. For information, access the website at www.portclintonfishandgame.com [5], email pcfg1@yahoo.com [6] or call Ted Knoblauch at 610-562-4310.

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Schuylkill County Chapter of Pheasants Forever will hold its annual banquet, Saturday, Feb. 25, beginning at 4:30 p.m., at the Community Fire Company, Landingville. For information, call Craig Morgan at 570-739-2627.

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Schuylkill Spurs Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will hold its annual banquet, Saturday, March 10, beginning at 5 p.m., at the Community Fire Company, Landingville. For information, call Jeff Post at 570-366-7783 or Mike Corbin at 570-929-1622.

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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 National Rifle Association Eastern Region field representative Kory Ench.

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A trap shoot will be held, Thursday, Feb. 9, beginning at 6 p.m., at Orwigsburg Gun Club, Gun Club Road, off Route 443 East, Orwigsburg. For information, e-mail jafone@comcast.net [7].

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2012 Outdoors Sports Show Schedule: Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, today and Sunday, Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, 2300 North Cameron St., Harrisburg. Hours: today, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sports Show, Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 16-19, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks. Show hours: Thursday, 1–9 p.m.; Friday, 12:30–9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; for information and tickets, access the website at www.sportshows.com [8].