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Flu outbreak delays late pheasant releases

Published December 28. 2013 09:00AM

An outbreak of avian cholera at the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Loyalsock Game Farm in Lycoming County will delay the late-season stocking of approximately 2,400 pheasants, but nearly 9,000 pheasants have been stocked.

All stockings to be postponed are in Wildlife Management Units where either-sex pheasant hunting regulations are in place. Affected counties, by region, are:

Northcentral Region Clearfield County; Southcentral Region Cumberland and Franklin counties; Northeast Region Carbon and Monroe counties; and Southeast Region Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lehigh and Montgomery counties.

Avian cholera is a bacterial infection that is contagious among birds and can affect other animals, but typically presents no human health risk. Birds that will be released at a delayed date are undergoing antibiotic treatment and are expected to be released in early-to-mid January.

Nearly 9,000 pheasants have been released from PGC farms, which have experienced an above-average production year. Already the agency has surpassed its goal of releasing 200,000 pheasants, and more than 209,000 have been released so far this year.

Late-season pheasant hunting opened statewide Monday, Dec. 16, and continues through Saturday, Feb. 22.

Only males may be taken in most Wildlife Management Units south of Interstate 80, but cock and hen birds may be taken in WMUs 1A, 1B, 2B, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4D, 5C and 5D.

Regulations are printed in the "2013-14 Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest" provided with the purchase of hunting licenses.

This and other information on regulations for pheasant hunting and stocking is available on the PGC website at .

In addition to pheasant hunting, there are other opportunities to take small game, with most seasons extending past the close of the statewide flintlock and late archery deer seasons, which close Saturday, Jan. 11.

These deer seasons continue in WMU 5C through Saturday, Jan. 25.

Small game seasons by species now open are: squirrel, through Saturday, Feb. 22; ruffed grouse, through Saturday, Jan. 25; rabbit, through Saturday, Feb. 22; and snowshoe hare, through Wednesday, Jan. 1 in WMUs 2B, 2G and 3A. The statewide late archery and flintlock muzzleloader deer seasons run concurrently from Dec. 26-Jan. 12.

Waterfowl hunters have plenty of hunting opportunities into April.

Hunters may take Canada geese and white-fronted geese during the following upcoming seasons: Atlantic Population Zone, through Saturday, Jan. 25; Southern James Bay Canada Goose Hunting Zone, through Saturday, Jan. 18; and Resident Canada Goose Zone, through Wednesday, Jan. 15 and February 1-28.

Regular snow goose season runs through Saturday, Jan. 25 in the Atlantic Population Zone, through Saturday, Jan. 18 in the Southern James Bay Zone and through Friday, Feb. 28 in the Regular Population Goose Zone.

Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers may be hunted in the North Zone through Saturday, Jan. 4 and in the South Zone through Wednesday, Jan. 15.

Details on waterfowl bag limits in each of the zones are listed in the "Pennsylvania 2012-13 Guide to Migratory Game Bird Hunting" on the PGC website.

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