Ralph Martone, president of the Pennsylvania Game Commission board of game commissioners, has followed up on his commitment to make the workings of the board more open and transparent by announcing it will be hold a public working group meeting Monday, March 26, beginning at 8 a.m., at agency headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg.
Martone said the working group meeting is being held in advance of the board's regularly scheduled quarterly meeting, Monday and Tuesday, April 23 and 24. In addition, the working group meeting will be webcast through the agency's website at www.pgc.state.pa.us .
Among the items that will be discussed at the working group meeting are the seasons and bag limits for the 2012-13 seasons that run from July 1 through June 30, which will be the subject of the board meeting April 24; the preliminarily approved use of bait on "Red Tag" farms in Wildlife Management Units 5C and 5D; the preliminarily approved removal of shotgun-only regulations for fall turkey hunting in WMUs 1A, 1B and 2A; a briefing on the agency's furtaking enforcement efforts from 2011; an update on the agency's social media outreach efforts; and a report on streamlining fluorescent orange regulations.
"Working groups are strictly an opportunity for the board and game commission to exchange ideas and information and to ask questions about various proposals that may come before the board at upcoming quarterly meetings," Martone said. "Since no votes are taken during these working group meetings, we have not scheduled time for public comments, however, we will allow for anyone in attendance to submit questions in writing to the board.
"I would encourage the public to use the time between the working group meeting March 26 and the official board meeting in April to express their opinion on these and other issues before the board.
"Public comments are scheduled at each of the board's quarterly meetings, which is the time when the board does take votes on proposed regulations and other action items, and the board also receives public comments through e-mail and letters."
This week's edition of "Experience The Outdoors," hosted by Doyle Dietz, Sunday, at 7 a.m. on 1410 WLSH and 9:30 a.m. on Magic 105.5, will feature custom fishing rod builder Randy Emerich of Pottsville.
A trap shoot will be held, Thursday, March 15, beginning at 6 p.m., at Orwigsburg Gun Club, Gun Club Road, off Route 443 East, Orwigsburg. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
J&B's Fishing and Hunting Flea Market and Show will be held, Saturday, March 24, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Clarion Hotel, 300 Meadow Ave., Scranton. For information, call Bob Kester at 570-587-0214, John Mecca at 570-342-6990 or visit the website at www.jandbfishhuntshow.com .
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's 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.